Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why can't I eat clean?

I have recently started to take a closer look at what I eat on a daily basis.  I pretty much always thought I was a good eater but I do have a pretty strong sweet tooth.

For some time I have seen challenges out there to eat cleaner and give up processed food.  That got me thinking about all of the processed foods I eat in a day...

Here are a few from the weekend that I have consumed:
Ice cream
Peach rings

And most likely a few more that I am forgetting, but those are the major ones.

I also started thinking about what exactly "processed foods" means. I don't think I actually know what is and isn't a processed food.

Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state.

So I am trying to revamp my diet to include less processed foods and try to clean foods in their natural state.  And it is pretty hard. 

Breakfast seems to be the easiest meal for me to eat clean because I am on a smoothie kick and so I have coconut milk with frozen banana, peanut butter, and spinach.  But peanut butter is processed, right? And I love peanut butter.

Lunch is a bit harder for because even if I pack a salad for lunch, I do like my salad dressing and I do love some cookies or animal crackers.

Dinner usually is a decent meal with a meat and two vegetables but often as bedtime approaches the freezer or cookie jar calls my name to eat some ice cream or more cookies.

Guess this whole clean eating is going to be harder than I thought, but I think it might be worth the challenge.  I just need to decide how intense and extreme I want to get with what I eat.  For me, giving up cookies (or dessert) is not really something I want to do so maybe I need to make sure I always have homemade cookies in the house which I know are better for me.

Having a garden in the back yard is definitely helping me to eat better and it is a start.  We now have even more vegetables than before in the fridge which makes choosing a healthy snack even easier. 

I am interested in your thoughts on eating and processed foods. How do you make it work?

A few articles I read: Here and Here and Here

Friday, July 27, 2012

How does your garden grow??

Remember what my garden looked like a month ago???

Well now it looks like this....

So far we have had 12 zucchini and 1 cucumber.  In another week or so I think we will be over run with tomatoes!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Changing plans

This morning I woke up to darkness.  It was raining and lightning at 5am and so my well made plans of running a longer run were foiled.  I laid in bed for about 15 minutes thinking maybe I could fall back to sleep but I couldn't.

So I got up and made breakfast, checked the weather and by the time I had finished my second cup of coffee the rain had stopped.

The best made plans sometimes don't work out.  I wanted to run and I wanted to do this workout this morning but I guess the weather was telling me something I didn't want to admit.  I needed to take a break.

If I had run this morning, it would have been 4 runs in 36 hours for a total of 27 miles.  I had been trying to bulk up on miles early in the week so I could have more free time this weekend (Friday thru Sunday) for other fun activities.

I don't get to relax much in the mornings, my schedule is pretty packed and so a typical morning usually looks like this...

5am Alarm goes off/Wake  up

5:10am Lace up shoes and head out for a run
6am Arrive home from run
6-640am Shower, eat, leave for work
7am Arrive at work

Its a pretty hectic schedule. 

Instead of 10 miles this morning, I had two nice cups of coffee and a relaxing morning, something I don't get to do often.  And maybe I will be able to make up the miles between now and Sunday, but if not I guess that is ok too.

Now the sun is shining brightly but my window of opportunity to run has already passed.  It wasn't such a bad morning though, actually it was just what I needed :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

End of a streak

Yesterday marked my first COMPLETE rest day in 36 days.

Wow.  Over a month of consecutive workouts.

My legs definitely needed the rest.  I had taken days off from running, usually at least one per week, but on my off days I have been filling my exercise void with active recovery by going to spinning class at the gym.

And I may be a little bit crazy for working out for so many days in a row.  But I enjoy it.  I don't always go fast every day, I usually listen to my body and see how I feel, but working out every day just makes me feel good.

I spend most of my day sitting in a chair. For the summer months, that is at the very most 10 HOURS a day people! 10 hours of 24 per day.  Yeah - I get up and walk around and take breaks and go to the bathroom and eat lunch but its still a lot of sitting. So if I don't exercise, I feel like a complete slob.

Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Apparently sitting is killing you.  And me.  So today I start my streak over again and see how far this one takes me. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Three (slightly random) Things Thursday

Oh hey it's THURSDAY!! Yay!

1. Last weekend I went  blueberry picking with a friend.  It was an insanely hot morning and I was sweating so much by the end but managed to pick about 12 pounds of blueberries.  Brian already requested blueberry muffins, but I am craving blueberry pancakes. Yum!

2. Due to a late frost at the end of May, my hydrangeas are not flowering.  There was one bud and flowers but this is it and of course the bug was on the back of the plant, hidden under several other leaves. Once I saw these few flowers, I quickly clipped them and brought them inside to a vase.  Need to enjoy the few hydrangeas we get this year  :-(

3. Check out my giant bruise!  Brian and I moved a piano on Sunday and then Monday I woke up with this! I do not bruise easily and I don't remember getting hit really hard so I don't know how this happened.  This has to be my biggest bruise EVER!

Only a couple of hours (ok more like 5-6 hours) stand between me and the weekend.  Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A jam packed super summer

I am so busy.  

Ok so I said I work 40 hours in 4 days.  And it is pretty intense.  Add on top of that running, cleaning my house, making food for my husband and trying to have social life all the while only being home for three weekends total between July 4th and Labor day.

Ugg.  This summer is busy.  But really let's be honest, I do this to myself.  I allow myself to be crazy busy because some part of me deep down does enjoy it.

The sunrise from on of my many morning runs
This week is one of the busiest yet.  And although it is only Tuesday night and I feel like its Thursday, I am filled with excitement.  Because this is what summer is all about.  It is about fitting in as much stuff as you can in 2 months.

Let's take a sneak peak into my week and my to do list and how I plan to get it all accomplished...

To Do - Week of July 16th
Run 46 miles
Work 40 hours
Yoga Monday night
Total body class Thursday morning
Spinning Friday morning
Grocery shop
Make cookies and muffins for Brian
Pack for trip/bridal shower
Birthdays this week (3)
Vacuum kitchen, bedroom and bathroom

As you can see my top priority happens to be running because it is the one thing that I will do almost every day this week.  Next would be working because that will consume me from Monday thru Thursday.  Everything else is spread out throughout the week.

The only way I can make this all work is to a) run in the mornings and b) make tons of to do list.  I know I am not the only one out there who does this.  So I will just admit it and hope that you can all understand.

Monday: AM 6 mile run, Work, yoga, vacuum bathroom
Tuesday: AM 3 mile run, Work, PM 8 mile run, Birthdays (2), vacuum bedroom
Wednesday: AM 6 mile run, Work, Manicure, bake cookies and muffins, vaccum kitchen
Thursday: AM TBC class, Work w/ a large coffee, PM 8+ mile run, grocery shop and pack
Friday: AM spin class, last minute packing, Leave for bridal shower

I cannot wait until Friday not just because it is the end of the work week but because I love weddings and I love being a part of them.  Last summer I was at the heart of wedding planning and I was the center of attention at my bridal shower which was nice, but honestly I love being a part of wedding without actually having to be the bride. 

So now you all know my little crazy secret of over scheduling myself and somehow trying to fit it all in without going crazy!  I try to do a little bit each day and that helps me to get it all done.  Usually Monday thru Thursday are the craziest days ever but the three day weekends are glorious.

Time to go and check more off my to do list! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boilermaker 2012

The Boilermaker 15k - the race that will suck out your soul and make you beg for mercy on the hills.

 Ok so it wasn't that bad. And since it was my 7th time running it in the last 8 years I knew what was coming.  Except that I had this idea in my head that it would be easy.  I thought to myself days before the race "I can run this race just as fast as my PR from last fall" but I was just ignoring the facts.

This race is hilly and my PR was from a pretty flat course.  I tried to reason with myself that I had run a 1:09:16 back in April during marathon training so I thought I could at least do better than that, but a PR would most likely be out of the question.

Below is the elevation chart from the HILLY 15k I ran in April during marathon training.

And this is the elevation chart from the Boilermaker on Sunday.

Hills = Death.  Downhills = fun.

Anyway, just wanted to prefice my race report with those details.  Now onto the rest of it.

Saturday around noon we rolled into Utica, NY and arrived at my college roommates parent's house.  There were a total of 18 people staying in one little house with one bathroom.  13 runners and 5 spectators.  It was a little insane.  It wasn't long after we arrived that we piled back into the car and went to get our race bibs at the expo.  Every other year the expo has been outside, but this year it was inside at a local college.  It was cramped and crowded and just not as fun as it used to be.

We arrived at the area to pick up bibs and I wandered over to the correct letter for my last name.  I told the guy my name and then he proceeded to look and look for my bib.  I was slightly scared because they changed the bib colors for the corral starts and I didn't see the color I was expecting.  But the guy finally found it and I was excited to see that I was a teal bib.  I wouldn't learn what this truly meant until the next morning.

Then we piled back into the car and headed to the Brewery that sponsors the race.  In all the years of running this race, I had never been inside the brewery and the tour was tons of fun plus the 2 free beers post tour was awesome.  The brewery has a bar inside it and you can taste any beer and drink they make!  I shared with Brian and we got the Blueberry Blonde beer (also the beer served at the post race party) and a Shandy (Lager and lemonade!).  I also got a water - had to stay hydrated for the race.

By the time we finally got out of there it was close to dinner time and I was starving.  A home cooked pasta dinner with meatballs never tasted so good. After inhaleing dinner, I had my fair share of cookies and then settled in to relax the rest of the night.  We watched a few TV shows and then set up bedding arrangements.  Brian and I were in the living room on the air mattress.  Soon everyone was asleep - I woke up twice to use the bathroom which wasn't ideal but good that I was hydrated.

5am came too soon, actually 4:30am came too soon when my bladder woke me up.  After using the bathroom, I settled back into bed to try and get a few more minutes of sleep.  By 5:20am I was up and in line for the bathroom.  Shortly after that I was dressed and ready to go.  I heated up my pre race breakfast of maple brown sugar oatmeal and waited for the rest of the runners to get ready.  We headed out around 5:50am with the spectator crew leaving shortly after that.

This was most likely the earliest we had gotten to the shuttles in a long time.  I remember the last time I ran this race I was worried we wouldn't make it to the start in time.  We parked at the finish and took the shuttles to the start.  The start area was so deserted and there was no one around.  No lines for porta potties or anything.  We were definitely early.  All 13 runners settled in our usual spot (in the last corral by the stop light) and waited and waited.  Slowly the area around us began to fill with runners.  At 7am the announcer started to talk and count down the time until the race started.  At 7:15am I did a little warm up with one of the other runners (this was a first for me, I usually never warm up for this race since there is no room), hit the bathrooms one more time and then said good bye to my friends.

The boilermaker is so packed with runners (14000+) that they have a pretty nice corral system set up.  This year they changed the color system, but from my experience with times for the race, I think it goes like this:

White/Pink Bibs - Elite runners (white for men, pink for women)
Brown - Fasties but not elites, running fast than 60 minutes
Teal - Runners who will take longer than an hour to run, but less than ~68 minutes
Purple - Slower than 69 minutes but faster than ~73 minutes
Navy Blue - Slower than ~74 minutes but faster than 79 minutes
Golden Yellow - Everyone else

In the past I have always been in the Navy Blue corral (formally the yellow coral) and I thought I would be moved up in to the Purple corral (formally the Green coral) so I was very surprised to see my teal bib.  I don't even know what the teal color bib used to be because I never even looked that far up in the starting area.  I never thought I would get there.

So I was pleasantly surprised and also felt really special.  Especially when the officials pointed me in a special direction for getting to my coral.  I walked and walked and walked and finally was near my teal corral.  And then off to the side I saw a glorious site.  There were special porta potties for the fast people! I had no idea! there were no lines.  You could just walk right up and go! 20 minutes before start time and no porta potty lines for the fast kids. I was impressed - too bad I had already stood in line and gone in the other area.  And on top of that there was an big open area to do strides and warm up! I had really been missing out all these years.

Being in the fast corral also was nice since I saw a lot of my running club teammates who happen to be faster than me.  It was great to see a friendly face when I was slightly nervous about this whole running fast uphill. Soon it was time to go, and the cannon sounded.  30 seconds after the cannon and I was on my way to finishing my 7th Boilermaker.

I had forgotten that the first 4 miles are up hill.  My pace hovered right about 7:25 for those first miles.  My legs felt tired and I was dripping in sweat by mile 2.  Awesome.  Only 7 more hilly miles to go.  We reached a slightly flat area just after mile 2 so I picked it up and tried to recover a bit of my breathing before the next hill.  Mile 3 and 4 were brutal and I dumped water all over myself at the water stops. Once I got to the top of the hill and mile 4, I just started going faster and charged down the hill.  My pace was picking up and I was still feeling good (as good as you can for a hilly course).  I took my Gu chomps at mile 3, 4.5, 6 and 7.5 and I think this really helped to keep my legs moving.

The crowd support really picked up during mile 5 and 6 and I was happy about that because it has seemed really sparse during the first 4 miles.  As I rounded the S curved area before the 10k mark, it was exhilarating hearing all these people shouting and cheering for the runners.  There were still 2 hills to go.

The mile 6 hill is pretty deceiving - you think it goes on and on but you just have to get to the stop light and the turn and its pretty much over.  So I kept my legs moving and happily maintained my pace and reached the top.  Mile 7 was right there and then I began flying down the downhill. This was the point where I wanted to go faster but my legs wouldn't.  I don't think I am a good down hill runner, I am better at the uphills.  I took my last chomp here and hoped that it would help propel me through the torturous mile 8 hill.

Mile 8 is the absolute worst.  You start mile 8 continuing on the downhill and then as you reach the bottom you turn the corner and see this steady incline stretching in front of you.  It can't be more than a half mile of uphill but after 8 miles its the toughest thing ever.  This is where I want to QUIT every single time. Every time.  I hate this part.  I just want to never run uphill again.  But I made it and I didn't quit and once you finish this hill you are just waiting to see the mile 9 marker.  Its always hiding and when you finally see it, you think you are almost done.  But that last 0.3 miles is long.  Thankfully it is down hill.  This is where I see Brian every year and he always makes me smile.  Although he usually catches pictures of me before I see him so he catches my death faces.

This year I guess my death face wasn't as bad as previous years.  I didn't feel too too bad coming down the hill to the finish and I was happy to be done.  My secret goal was to come in at 1:07:59 but I missed that goal by just a little bit.  It was tough race with lots more hills than I remember but I am happy with how I ran it even if I didn't meet my time goal.

Chip Time: 1:08:08 (7:19 pace)
Overall: 818/11359
Female: 109/5378
Age group: 23/965

And the post race Beer, cookies, coconut water, and Popsicles never tasted so good!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tabata Thursday

It is Thursday! For me that means it is almost the weekend.  Just need to get through the day.  Most of my co-workers took today off for a 5 day weekend so it is pretty quiet around here. 

A few months ago I heard about Tabata or H.I.I.T (high intensity interval training) workouts and I was intrigued.  Putting my body through a painfully tough workout? Sounds good to me.

The workouts are usually four minutes in total time, with 20 seconds hard and 10 seconds rest. You would think that finding the 4 minutes to try this would have been easy, but in fact it wasn't.  I kept putting it off and off, until recently I made it a priority to try it (partially because of The Fitnessista's Summer Shape up with Tabata workouts).  I decided to complete this little experiment with a new workout after an easy run on the weekend.  I wanted to be warmed up first before attempting anything.

Sunday I was up early for my easy run and when I got back I set up my computer (video examples) and my phone (tabata timer).  I had pre-selected two videos I wanted to try that morning - a regular tabata workout and then an extended tabata ab workout.

The regular tabata workout got my heart rate up immediately and by the end the 10 seconds rest was not enough. It was like a mini cardio blast and I was feeling pretty good (and sweating pretty good too).

I then moved onto the tabata ab workout.  I have been doing a lot of ab work in the past six months so I thought this would good for me to mix things up.  Once I started the sweat just starting dripping of me.  It wasn't so much that this was hard cardiovascularly for me, but my muscles were definitely working and making me sweat!

Often during this set, I had to stop and rest because I could not do the whole 50 seconds.  It was pretty intense and by the time I was done I had to wipe up the floor from all my dripping sweat.  Definitely an awesome way to end my workout for the day.

See...super sweattttty!!

I really enjoyed doing these types of workouts, ESPECIALLY since you can do them at home.  On the weekends sometimes I just do not want to go any where.  I like being at home and running from home and getting my workout in nice and early.  Having these types of workouts available makes doing strength training and ab work super easy.

Hope you all had a great 4th of July!  I ran 8 miles to meet up with my friends running in a local 5k.  Then we all went back to a friends house for a delicious brunch!  I was so tired from all the fun and food (sugar coma!) that I took a 2.5 hour nap when we got home.

Early morning run + race spectating + yummy sticky buns + afternoon nap = Perfect 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Random Things Tuesday

This is such a short week for me - I have tomorrow off for the 4th of July holiday PLUS Friday off because this week we started our summer hours at work.  Summer hours run from July 4th to Labor Day and consist of everyone in the company working 10 hour days, 4 days a week.  It is pretty awesome having three day weekends all summer, but Thursdays are a tough day at work.  I am glad we are easing into it this week with a short week!

Anyway - Since it is a little bit of a different week, I thought I would just do some of my random thoughts from this week so far (adapted from Kim!)

  • It is July meaning we are half way through the year.  My total miles so far is 963.7!  This is definitely farther along that I was last year with miles (thank you marathon training!)
  • I tried a Tabata workout on Sunday after my run.  I loved it and can't wait to try another one (more info to come!)
  • I made these warm toasted marshmallow bars over the weekend and they turned out delicious!  We still have leftovers and even though they are not "warm, just out of the oven", they are still sooo good!
  • Racing this weekend => Boilermaker 15k.  The plan is to set a new course PR (1:11:35).  This will also be my first year running the race with my garmin.  The past 6 times I have run the race, I have just used my trusty Timex watch since I didn't have a garmin until March 2011, and last year I didn't run this race.
  • We picked our first zucchini from the garden yesterday - it was hidden under some of the leaves on the plant so we didn't see it and it grew a little too big.  But it will still be great tonight as a cheesy zucchini side dish with some key west marinated chicken!

  • This week is 12 weeks from my next half marathon in September.  The training plan is all set and ready to go! I made it a bit aggressive so we will see how that goes since every weekend through September is booked with fun things!
  • Found this article yesterday from another blog about the "Most important stretch a runner can do" and I have to agree.  I really need to do it more.
  • Tomorrow, a bunch of my friends are running a 4th of July 5k race.  I plan on running to the race and then cheering them on.  I am pretty excited to spectate!  After the race, we are all going to my running buddy's house for brunch!  Can't wait for some good food.
What are your random things today?  Happy Tuesday!