Saturday, August 28, 2010

Roll with it

Thirty-six minutes. Just 36 minutes - that's all that stands between me and a rescheduled "Eat Pray Love Date." Indian buffet, the movie, a little gelato frozen yogurt. It's going to be fabulous.

And I can't wait. Or at least I'm having a hard time doing so.

To keep my mind off the Indian buffet and on something productive, I decided to give the dining room table a fresh coat of paint.

I picked up the bad boy at a garage sale three years ago for $20, and it has since been brown then white and now a robin's egg blue color, which made it's debut last summer. Shortly after the paint went on, my mother-in-law so graciously spilled her red wine on the table. Nice little stain ... and a nice little reminder as to why I should have sealed the dern thing.

It's been covered with a tablecloth ever since. Just waiting for the day when I could give it a fresh coat. Today seemed as good a day as any so I got the can of paint and roller kit out of the closet and I got to work.

I swear this is not a snuggie. It's an old fleece that I wore backward as to protect my shirt. By the way, my mom would surely be upset with me if she knew I used her Christmas gift as a paint smock.

It took me all of about 5 minutes to give the table a fresh coat and go over it again to make sure I didn't miss any spots. It was such an easy project that it made me wonder why I've waited so long to do it.

Unfortunately, it was such an easy project that I'm now back to thinking of Indian food and frozen yogurt.

Do you like Indian food? What's your favorite dish?

Friday, August 27, 2010

The weight is over

Hold the phone, people. I have an announcement:

Sara Rue is done losing weight!

It's a shocking revelation but the C-list actress has announced that she is now on the Jenny Craig maintenance plan. She likes her curves. She likes her boobs.

Lucky wench. I lost mine.

But it's not just that with which I take issue. She didn't mention that she feels healthy at this weight or that she feels confident at this weight. The mental, emotional and physical benefits of weight loss? She didn't discuss those either. It was all about being a size 6 and rejecting the Hollywood notion of being a size zero. It was about feeling hotter with boobs and curves.

Isn't it hot, though, to run a 5K or to be proud of yourself or to look at a photo of yourself with admiration? Isn't it hot to not issue a disclaimer and say that I feel like the best me in this body?

Oh well. Maybe that's just me.

Rants and, well, rants

Pre-workout fuel: Whole-wheat toast with apple butter
Workout: Ran 5.03 miles in 43 minutes, 48 seconds; average pace, 8:42.

Rant No. 1: The Garmin said I ran 4.97 miles and good ole MapMyRun said I ran 5.18. Something's not right there.
Of course I knew something wasn't right that last mile or so when my effort wasn't being reflected in the pace on my Garmin. I also knew something wasn't right when what should have been 1.1 miles, give or take, was more like .97.

Dang it, technology! How am I supposed to know whether I'm really super awesome if you don't work? Grrr. At least the Garmin wasn't effed up the whole time, and it's only the last mile where things weren't working right.

Rant No. 2: I thought old ladies were supposed to be good drivers. OK, at least cautious drivers. Not so much. At least once during each of my past two runs, an old lady has totally rolled past a stop sign and nearly hit me as I crossed the street. I try to look meanly at them as they fail to abide by traffic laws but then I feel guilty for looking at old ladies with such disdain.

Rant No. 3: There is no Rant No. 3. I just prefer to have things in threes. I'm weird like that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Pre-workout fuel: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-wheat and decaf coffee
Workout: Bicycled 10.69 miles in 57 minutes, 6 seconds; average speed, 11.2 mph. Also took The Boy (aka Denali) on a short walk and did 15 minutes of upper body with weights.

1. I woke up this morning in not the greatest of moods. Mark is getting up earlier than ever for school this year, and the alarm went off at 5:20 a.m. today. Sheesh. Sleep much? After lying in bed for another 25 minutes, I woke up and made myself some decaf coffee. I might as well get an early start to my bike ride (as opposed to lying in bed and wondering why I can't go back to sleep). I think I was off by 6:15. Let me tell you, it was dark and CHILLY. I think the weather dude said it was 55 degrees, and it felt like 45 on the bike. It made me wish I was running.

2. I don't have a light for my bike, which made me feel a bit precarious about going out so early. However, I slyly stole the fugliest jacket on the planet from Mark's days on the cycling team. It's one of those night jackets from Pearl Izumi in electric yellow. Let me tell you, I looked something fierce in it. Such a shame my SD card was left at work, and I couldn't snap a photo.

3. For some reason, when I'm cycling, I'm crazy hungry. I ate a PB&J before I left yet all I could think about on the ride was how hungry I was. I was even hungrier when I came home. And I nearly inhaled my Orange and Raisin oatmeal after my walk with Denali. By the way, those oats were GOOD. I don't know what the issue is because I rarely feel hungry when I run. What gives?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brakes ... what brakes?

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with reduced-fat peanut butter and half-caff coffee
Workout: Ran 6.02 miles in 52 minutes, 9 seconds; average pace, 8:39.

The glow of the street lights offset the black sky. A breeze nearly chilled my ears. And the sidewalks were vacant as I set off on my run at 6:30 a.m.

For all that is said about running with a buddy, and I do enjoy the company of Denali and Mark on a run, there is also something to be said about running alone. In the darkness of morning, I could listen to my feet. Hear my breathing. I could settle into my thoughts - no matter how scattered they seem to be in these moments.

What should be my strategy for Fort-4-Fitness?

Will the tiny grocer across the street have Morningstar "sausage" links?

Should I try to rein in the pace?

I really want pancakes.

And when it all gets to be too much, you can turn your focus to your form. Melt the shoulders. Control the breathing. Land on the mid-foot. Rolls off the toes.

I looked for the sun over the river as I navigated the trail but I could not find it. The sky was overcast and, later, I'd find a bit of relief in a light drizzle as I tackled the last of my tempo miles.

But though the morning brought out a sort of peace, this run was not the "let's run forever because it feels so good" kind. It was a good, hard workout. Comfortably uncomfortable, if that makes any sense. Six miles, 4 at tempo. My splits were ridiculous: 8:24, 8:14, 8:11, 8:05. It's a far cry from the 8:54 Runner's World prescribed. I'd complain but it's hard to when the day is just so beautiful.

Do you like to run with a partner or alone?

Oatmeal wishes, blackberry dreams

Oatmeal plus skim milk plus blackberries plus a smidge of sugar. Simple and yet it might have been the best bowl of oats ever.

My awesome oats came courtesy of the breakfast buffet at the Marriott, where Mark and I stayed for the wedding last weekend. While I was mildly tempted by the biscuits and gravy, I opted for an egg white-veggie omelet, fresh fruit and, in place of toast, a cup of oats splashed with milk and fresh blackberries.

The omelet would normally be the star of the show, especially after watching the chef make it, but there was something about the oats. The texture. The flavor. The combo of the milk and berries. I was in love. So in love, in fact, that I tried to re-create the oats (subbing bananas for blackberries) yesterday morning.

My new concoction can be summed up in one word: Fail.

I totally missed the mark on the texture. They seemed undercooked and soupy, even though I followed the directions. Ugh. I've since tried to Google my way to the secret but all I can come up with is make a big batch and let it sit around. My years of restaurant work clued me into that.

In my search, though, I did find one thing: a recipe for oats that sounds sort of delightful. I might even have to try it ... sooner rather than later.

Orange Banana Date Oatmeal

2 cups orange juice
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
3/4 cup chopped dates or raisins
1 medium-size ripe banana, mashed

In a medium saucepan, bring juice, water, salt and nutmeg to a boil. Stir in oats and dates.

Return to a boil; reduce heat. Cook 1 minute for quick oats or 5 minutes for old-fashioned oats, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Stir in banana. Let stand until of desired consistency.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just beet it

Look at that beet. Doesn't it look good? Don't you just want to reach through your computer, take the root vegetable and eat it? Come on, you know you do.

And I'd appreciate it, too, because as much as I want to like beets, I'm not so sure I do.

After receiving a plethora of beets two weeks ago, courtesy of my CSA, I popped a dozen or so in a baking dish and roasted them per directions I found on the internet. I could smell them baking, and I couldn't wait to taste them. As soon as they were ready to handle, I easily peeled off the skin, cut a wedge and ate it.

"Good," I thought. "Sort of like a carrot ... except not."

I cut the beets into slices, portioned them in plastic storage bags and froze them. Any time I wanted a beet, I could reach in the freezer and defrost some.

Yesterday was that time. I grabbed some beets, added some orange slices (ala "5-ingredient Fix") and some goat cheese (as recommended by a co-worker). I put it in a plastic container and took it to work for lunch. I was so excited. Beets! Oranges! Goat cheese!

Too bad that excitement didn't last long. The first few bites went down OK and then I felt like I was eating, well, dirt. Makes sense, too, as beets grow in the ground. Then again, sweet potatoes grow in the ground and I lurve sweet potatoes. Anyway, I tried to eat just the oranges and the goat cheese - things I really do love - but I had had enough. I threw a good half of the salad away and went to the vending machine for some popcorn.

(Disclaimer: I did have more for lunch than half a salad and popcorn.)

I'm still holding out hope that I can at least like beets in small portions and might try them with roasted potatoes, onions and some butter because butter, well, makes everything better.

Path least taken

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with Amish cherry jam and cup of half-caff coffee.
Workout: Ran 4.01 miles in 37 minutes, 4 seconds; average pace, 9:14. Fifteen minutes of "Incredible Abs 7" with Cindy Whitmarsh, courtesy of Exercise TV.

I woke up this morning with the urge to do something different. Something exciting. Something new. Or make something old new again.

I leashed up Denali for our 4-mile run and instead of hopping on the Greenway, I took us on a tour of a residential area that we haven't seen in awhile. I like the Greenway because it's easier to avoid traffic lights/crosswalks, and I know which way to go depending on how far I am scheduled to run. However, the same stretch, especially after seeing it for 9 miles on Sunday, didn't appeal to me. Crosswalks, I welcome you!

We set out a slow pace as I was still a smidge sore from my long run. About a quarter-mile in, though, I remembered why we avoided residential areas. At least on Tuesday. Garbage day! I felt like I was on an obstacle course as we tried to navigate the sidewalks and grassy areas to avoid the big cans. I ended up going through a lot of yards in that first half-mile as to avoid Denali leading me straight into a can or getting scared by the garbage truck's noise and pushing me into it.

Once we got into an addition, the run seemed to get better. I didn't have to dodge garbage cans (ran in the street), I got to look at some cute houses and I found my legs! I still let comfort dictate my pace and kept my eyes off the Garmin (for the most part). I was even surprised that we didn't have to stop for a crosswalk until 2.5 miles in and only stopped once more at 2.85 miles.

We didn't see many runners along this route but we did see plenty of kids walking to school. Fall is just around the corner, folks! Hip ... hip ... HOORAY!

In store for tomorrow: Tempo ... yay ... I think!

Monday, August 23, 2010

If the shoe fits

Pre-workout fuel: Half-slice of whole-wheat toast and half-caff coffee pre-yoga. Bowl of Kashi Island Vanilla biscuits with milk and a banana.
Workout: 30 minutes yoga, 2-ish mile walk with Denali and 20 minutes upper body with weights.

Brooks ... Mizuno ... Saucony ... Asics ... Puma. Oh, the shoe wall at Three Rivers Running Co. How it tempts me!

Mark and I stopped at my fave running shop in FW (OK, it's the only one but whatev) so that he could get a pair of shoes. He's been running in 2-year-old Nikes that he got at Kohl's and with him signing up for Fort-4-Fitness, an upgrade was beyond necessary.

We walked in, and Mark made a bee line for the shoes. Silly boy! He knew he had to be fitted first. I directed the salesgirl to him and she got him on the treadmill in a pair of neutral-fitting Brooks. It was quite the feat, he said later, given the fatigue of our 11-miler. His gait analysis showed that his right ankle flopped in a bit, and he'd need a stability shoe.

The first shoe he tried was an Asics pair. He found it to be quite heavy, not surprising as he calls his other pair of sneakers (Asics) "clodhoppers." The salesgirl said he wouldn't like the other shoes she grabbed for him and went to the back to get a pair of Brooks Adrenaline and some Mizunos. He tried them both on but it was love at first step with the Brooks.

While he was doing all of that, I couldn't help but want to look for me. My shoes have about 325 miles on them so they should be good through the half marathon. But that's not the point. I want new ones! Namely, the Brooks Ghost 3, which received the Editor's Choice Award from Runner's World. I have never worn this shoe so my desire is completely arbitrary. It's just me, being a girl. A girl who LOVES shoes.

How often do you replace your shoes?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

District Nine

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and half-caff coffee
Mid-workout fuel: Mandarin Orange Gu
Workout: Ran 9.01 miles in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 45 seconds; average pace, 9:04.

I had this bright idea last night: I thought Mark should try to pick me up. I was feeling good after receiving myriad compliments on my appearance at the wedding, and I wanted to see if Mark could lift up the new me. He put his arms around my waist, lifted and soon my feet were off the floor.


I moved my leg and the area just above my left knee smacked the underside of the kitchen counter. Let me tell you, it hurt like a mother. And it still hurt this morning when I woke up and got ready to do this week's long run of 9 miles. Now let me make this clear, the hurt wasn't a muscle hurt. It was a "Dang, I'm stupid" hurt. Regardless, I was hoping to blame what was sure to be a poor outing on my bruised leg.

Mark and I set out just after 7:30 a.m., and I think we would have been fine quitting at 7:40. The jam-packed weekend had taken its toll on our bodies. We both complained of fatigue and muscle pain as we plodded along the Greenway. It seemed like I had to work 10 times harder to move. Period.

I was thankful to be distracted about 4 miles in by the shirtless running brigade, the band of super-fast guys who work at the running company. After I offered Mark the chance to ditch me for them (he declined), I took my Gu and hoped for the best. Another mile or so later, we stopped to refill the water bottle and stretch. It was harder to move after that break but I did my best to push through and silence the mental bargaining.

We had one more short rest - about mile 7 - when I had to stop to adjust some garments. It seems I can no longer where certain items in a size large without them drooping. Funny as it is, there was a guy running by himself - FuelBelt and all - who asked if we were all right. "Sure thing, sir. Just pullin' up the briefs." Ha! I have to give this guy props, though. He was running at a surprisingly good clip and told us "Good job" as we passed him. I like nice runners.

Oh, and I like coming home, hooking up the Garmin and realizing that what felt so bad turned out to be so good. I did 9 miles with each mile faster than the one before; averaged a pace faster than goal for Fort-4-Fitness; and ran 5 miles at or below goal pace. I don't want to put the cart before the horse but let's just say I'm pleased.

How did your long run go this weekend?

I did

The weekend is over, and I have one thing to say: I survived. Actually, I did more than survive but the melodramatic girl in me likes to make things sound worse than they are/were.

So Friday ... the traveling, the wedding - those things I was worried about - actually turned out OK. I showed up to my in-law's house armed with my luggage, my copy of "Eat Pray Love," a serving of baby carrots, a 100-calorie pack of almonds and a mini larabar. I was ready to go.

We left about 11:30 to make our way toward Indianapolis, knowing we would stop on the way for lunch. This was Worry No. 1. My father-in-law is a notorious Whopper lover, and I feared we would stop at Burger King, where I'm less than familiar with the menu. No, no, no. Burger King was not the restaurant of choice. About an hour into the drive (and a bag of baby carrots later), the decision was made to go to Subway. I opted for a 6-inch turkey on wheat and packed it with veggies. Cheese and light mayo were musts, though I did get a smidge of mayo and tried the spicy mustard. YUM! I also had a yogurt on the side. (I wanted apples but they were frozen).

We were off again but just for a short bit. My mother-in-law wanted Starbucks. And really, who can say no to Starbucks?!?

I opted for a decaf non-fat latte and some dried apricots. I figured the apricots would be a good way to get in some fruit as I couldn't have my apples at Subway and I wasn't sure what the wedding had in store.

The latte was yum. The apricots? Meh. They weren't very sweet, and I like apricots - or any fruit, for that matter - to be sweet. I ate them anyway, and they kept me full until we got to the cocktail hour at the reception.

The cocktail hour was Worry No. 2. At so many receptions nowadays, there's all kinds of wontons and spring rolls and fried goodness. It could have been icky. For this wedding, the hors d'ouerves were pretty simple - toasted bread, bruschetta topping, cheese and crackers. I tried a bit of everything and found it all to be delightful. I drank plenty of water while we sat on the terrace, forgoing the open bar. I was saving my alcoholic beverage for the reception.

Yep, that's a cosmopolitan in my hands. A tasty, albeit weak, one. I grabbed it after a dinner of spinach salad, spinach and mushroom stuffed chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. Dinner was Worry No. 3. It was fairly healthful, very tasty and totally nothing to worry about.

As for dancing the night away to make up for my (lack of) indiscretions? Yeah, I did that. Even if the cake was such a tiny sliver that I could have sat out most of the night. A girl's gotta have fun!