Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frozen Tempo

Sunday and Monday I was in shorts for my runs and today I am bundled up and freezing!

This morning the temperatures were super cold - 28F and there was a nice layer of frost of the grass and cars.  I usually don't like to do my tempo runs in the cold mornings but today I didn't have a choice due to after work social obligations!

Running in the morning cold is bad enough but running tempo paced miles before dawn can be even worse but there are ways to make sure you run the best tempo you can.

Take an extra long warm up - In the summer I can often get away with doing only 1-1.5 miles for warm up but once the temperatures dip below 40F, I have to extend my warm up to at least 2 miles.  I also try to add in an uphill (followed by a downhill) during my warm up because that really helps to get the legs warmed up.

Expect to be slower - The morning tempo runs are usually slower than if run in the evening.  When its really cold, I can run my tempos  about 10 seconds per mile slower.  It helps that it is dark out so you can't see your watch and see the difference in pace.

Wear a headlamp - I find that I can run faster when I can see where I am going.  Its hard to do a tempo run in the dark so don't forget the headlamp (and the reflective vest).

Know your route and mile marks - It is easy to get confused in the morning and the dark so I try to keep my tempo route pretty simple.

Run a time based tempo - Often during training I run 2x2 mi tempo runs or something similar, but when it gets dark and cold out I try to switch it up.  Instead of having to do math on my garmin (because I keep my garmin mileage to total and not lap), having a total tempo time you are aiming for makes life much easier.

This mornings run actually went pretty well.  My hands were cold for most of the run but after my warm up, my legs seemed to feel pretty good.

The workout
20 mins @ Easy
10 mins @ Tempo
5 mins @ Easy
5 mins @ Tempo
5 mins @ Easy
5 mins @ Tempo
25 mins @ Easy

Based on my recent 5ks, my tempo pace is supposed to be about 6:47/mile but there is no way I can hit that pace in the mornings.  My goal was to try and get close to 7:00/mile and I came in on all my tempos at 7:04/mile.  I will take the consistency over meeting my desired pace.  This turned out to be a good workout.

I think running tempo workouts based on time (instead of pace) is a nice way to switch things up.  Plus it is way easier to keep track of things when running a tempo based on time.  I am not very good at doing addition while running so having a time goal is an easy way to get in a tempo run in the morning.

Happy Tempo Thursday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where do the hours go?

A few weeks ago I was reading a post on the Healthy Tipping Point blog entitled "Where does the time go" and it was all about the book 168 Hours: You have more time than you think.  The post sparked my interest because I really wondered where my time went during the week.  I always find myself saying "There isn't enough time in the day" but maybe I have more time than I think.

For the past two weeks I did my best to keep track of exactly what I did each day.  I tried to be as descriptive as possible and then when I was compiling the hours, I broke it down into eight broad categories - sleep, exercise, work, leisure, household, TV, driving, miscellaneous.

I think the first few categories are pretty self explainitory.  For work, I counted every hour I was at work because often I eat at my desk.  I did record my "lunch" time and it averaged to be about 30 minutes per day.  For leisure, I included all tasks such as reading my book, blog reading and writing, internet browsing, facebooking, etc.  For household, I counted every hour I was making dinner, cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. The categories for TV and driving are pretty standard and then lastly I created the miscellaneous category to include things like showering, a running club meeting I attended, and just random time that I may not have been doing specific.

And here is how it broke down for last week...

Here is how it broke down hour wise...
Sleep - 52:45 hours
Exercise - 11:15 hours
Work - 47:30 hours (45 hours without lunches included)
Leisure - 7:15 hours
Household - 19:15 hours
TV - 9:00 hours
Driving - 7:45 hours
Misc - 13:15 hours

For the first week that I tracked my hours, things were pretty much the same.  I did spend an hour more on leisure items and A LOT more time watching TV (~7 hours thanks to watching Hurricane Sandy coverage and Sunday NFL Football).  Everything else was very similar - about the same amount of time sleeping and working and exercising. 

This is just a very rough estimate of how I spend my week.  But after tracking for the first week it really opened my eyes to how much time I actually spend in front of the TV.  Sometimes the TV is on and I may be "multitasking" but I still counted that as TV time.  There were many nights where I made myself go to the bedroom to read instead of sitting in front of the TV. 

I spend at least 10 hours a week just on exercising which does not include the time it takes me to drive to the gym for yoga or drive to meet up with my running group.  It really is a big time commitment to run but I think that is one hobby that I wont be giving up anytime soon. 

As you can also see I am a bit of a workaholic.  I honestly love what I do but sometimes I wish I had a less demanding job.  Some weeks (Monday thru Friday) all I feel like I do is eat, sleep, work, exercise, do laundry and clean the house.  But I work in an area where 50 hour weeks is normal and often expected, so unless I plan on changing companies or careers, I think my 40+ hour work weeks are here to stay.

After doing this little experiment, I realize that I do have a lot of time that I could be using more efficiently.  I generally think I watch too much TV although the national average is 33 hours so I guess I am not as bad as I thought. This really was an eye opening experience to how much time I spend on everything in my life and I hope I can start to fit more and more things into my day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The secret to amazing quinoa

I made the best dinner ever on Monday night.  I had seen this recipe on another blog and decided that I wanted to give it a try because it had two ingredients that I don't cook much with - Kale and quinoa!

After arriving home from yoga I was starving but determined to try this recipe because I wanted to see how it would come out.

Sausage and Quinoa One-Pot Supper
4 sausage links cut into cubes (I used Johnsonville New Orleans Andouille Sausage)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup water
1 cup apple cider
2 cups kale leaves (or spinach leaves)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook sausage and onion until just browned (5-10 mins).  Add cider, quinoa and water to pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until liquid is just absorbed.  Add kale, cover and cook for about 5 mins, to warm kale. Remove from heat and then serve!

OH. MY. GOODNESS.  This was the best dish ever. SO easy. SO good.  And the best part was that Brian loved it.  He was apprehensive at first because I had made quinoa mac and cheese last winter and it was a little different for him.  But after one bite he was hooked and even went back for seconds!

The secret is the apple cider! It made this dish (especially with the andouille sausage) taste so, so good.  I don't think I will ever cook quinoa in just water ever again because this came out just so delicious.  I always thought that quinoa was similar to rice, it tasted good when made with water but was just a little bit more flavorful when made with broth.  Either way you can't tell the difference when cooking rice.  BUT with quinoa, there is SUCH a big difference.  Cooking the quinoa in cider (or broth) just makes this dish out of this world good!

I definitely plan on making this again (and again!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The right to Vote

This is not a political blog and it never will be.  But there is something that is very important to me and it is the fact that as Americans we have the right to vote.  The right to vote was a hard fought battle for freedom and for woman it was barely 100 years ago that we gained this right.  Throughout history, so many people have been denied the right to vote and sometimes I think we forget that there ever was a time when there were restrictions.

We are very lucky to have the freedom that we have today and often it is taken for granted.  And so today on election day, I encourage you to go vote.  Take the time to fit it into your schedule and usually they give you a nice little sticker too!

This morning I ran past my polling place at 5:30am and it was completely deserted and quiet.  When I arrived back an hour later to cast my vote, the place was packed with people.  There was a long line of people waiting to sign in and vote.  A nice man asked me my street address and I gave it to him, and he directed me to an open table to sign in based on where I live.  I guess none of my neighbors are early risers or early voters.

As I was leaving the polling place, I was passed by a runner coming in.  It looked like he had stopped in on his run and I smiled to myself.  It made me so happy to see people voting and to see other runners voting!

Also if you haven't seen it already, check out Runner's World for their take on the election and "What Kind of Runner are you??"

 I don't think I really fit into any of the categories that RW wrote about.  I think the best fit would be THE PROGRESSIVE - You run 30+ miles–dedicated miles–per week.

What kind of runner are you??

Monday, November 5, 2012

The spandex are out

I resisted as long as I could.

But finally the spandex have made their first fall/winter appearance.  I pushed it as long as I could. I wore my capris and shorts throughout October but in the last week the temperatures have taken a turn toward COLD!

Long gone are the days when my running bag will be light.  Now it will be packed to the brim with long sleeved under amour shirts, long spandex, a coat, a hat and gloves. 

It is kind of sad to have to pack up most of my little tank tops and shorts and not see them again until Spring.  Of course they wont go completely unused for the next 4-5 months because I will be making regular appearances at the gym now, but it wont be the same.

Yesterday was my first day in spandex and although it was quite chilly out, I warmed up pretty quickly and enjoyed my 6.5 mile run on the country roads.  I ran my normal route backward and got to actually take in the scenery since it wasn't dark out.  Plus it snowed a little bit while I was running.  Just a few flakes.

This morning I was again in spandex and long sleeves.  It was chilly.  My iPhone app told me it was 36F feels like 28F. Brr. 

But there is something about being out in the cold. Its almost refreshing (and it helps me wake up pretty quickly).  The air just smells clean when its cold.

It was actually a bit easier to get up this morning thanks to the daylight savings time.  My body felt like it was 6am even though my alarm was blaring at 5am. 

Oh yeah and I ran a 5k race on Saturday.  It was quite miserable.  It was cold and rainy and just gross outside. And to be honest, I don't think my heart was in it.  My legs didn't have as much pep as I thought they should have.  My original goal was to try and run all three fall 5k races under 20 minutes but that was  just not meant to happen.  I ran my race Saturday in 20:03 which was still good enough for 4th place woman and first in my age group.  I am pretty sure that will be my last race of 2012.  I have thought about running a Turkey Trot but seeing as I am hosting my family for Thanksgiving, I am not sure if that will actually workout.

Now I am not sure what lies ahead for me and running. Of course I will not stop running.  I just don't know what's next. I don't really have any desire to start training again for anything right now.  I have even contemplated not racing at all in 2013. So for now I will continue to log good base mileage each week and hopefully make it through the holidays without gaining weight!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Food Comparisions

When it comes to food, I can be pretty boring. I usually buy the same thing every week at the grocery store and I often eat the same thing for lunch throughout the week.  But recently, something has come over me and I have had the urge to try new things.  I have been on a mission to find new favorite things that I can enjoy each week! 

Pumpkin Spice Latte: Starbucks vs. Tim Hortons.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try the Tim Horton's PSL.  I made a special trip to Tim Horton's before work and picked on up.  And it was gross.  Ugg.  Disgusting.  I guess nothing beats the Starbucks PSL.

Granola Bar: Larabar vs. Odwalla.  I have tried a few Odwalla bars and I love them.  LOVE. They are delicious.  But I wanted to give Larabar a chance.  I can actually read and understand all the ingredients listed on the package and so I thought it might be a good idea.  Well turns out, I don't really like dates that much.  And the bars kind of look like poop.  The only one I can stand is the Chocolate Chip brownie, maybe because it has lots and lots of chocolate it in it cover up the taste of the dates.

Oatmeal: Instant vs. Homemade oatmeal.  I have long been a lover of instant oatmeal especially the brown sugar kind! Yum! But my running buddy said its not really that healthy for me since it seems to be packed with sugar. So I decided to try making my own oatmeal from scratch.  And although it takes about 5x longer than the instant, it actually turns out to be pretty good and pretty filling. 

Coffee Creamer: Regular vs. S'mores.  I have always been afraid to grab a new and different coffee creamer because what if I don't like the flavor? Then I am stuck with this giant thing of creamer I wont use.  Well I decided to try the S'mores flavor in hopes that I couldn't go wrong with that?! Well it turned out to be a win because I LOVE THIS STUFF. LOVE. It is almost like putting a hot chocolate packet in my coffee. Almost. So good. 

Have you tried any new foods lately? Love or Hate??