Friday, October 15, 2010

Some more Friday love

Pre-workout fuel: Cinnabon Cream of Wheat
Workout: Ran 4.39 miles in 38 minutes, 46 seconds; average pace, 8:49.

A night with somewhat improved sleep, a weekday run with my husband, an imminent trip to Starbucks. What a Friday - and it's not even 7:30 a.m.! Come on, let's show Friday some love.

Food: Dunkin' Donuts Mocha Mint roast coffee. A good bag of coffee was part of Mark's consolation gift for breaking my coffee pot. I had planned on getting a decaf roast from my fave coffee shop but I couldn't resist this little guy, sittin' on the shelf at Target. It smells AMAZING while it's brewing, and the flavor has just a hint of mint. It's not something I'd drink all day, every day for the rest of my life but it's a nice little treat.

Fitness: I am half-way into my October challenge, which includes running 83 miles and incorporating strength training three times a week. I'm well on my way to hitting my mileage - nearly 50 miles so far. And the strength training? It's fantastic. I definitely feel myself getting stronger. I did chaturanga push-ups yesterday, during "Power Sculpt," and I didn't struggle that much when holding myself an inch off the ground. I can also hold this scoop move in "Boot Camp" without dropping the weights for a break.

Fun: My Snow Patrol station on Pandora. Snow Patrol, The Fray, a little Keane - you can't go wrong with that in my book. Of course, I wish I could take them along for the drive to Louisville. I know "where there's a will, there's a way" but I spent too much time packing to worry about that. I'll take "Wicked" (the audiobook) instead.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Any great plans?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Food for thought

Do you know what the problem is with not getting any sleep and saying $%@# it, and getting up at 5:15? I mean, besides being tired and all that jazz.

It's eating a pre-run breakfast at 5:30 a.m. It's being finished with your workout, shower and get-ready rituals in time to eat a real breakfast at 8:30 a.m. It's being hungry for lunch at 11 a.m. It's finding yourself eating a delightful bowl of broccoli at 3 p.m. and wondering just when the heck dinner will be.

Of course, there are distractions to be had. Like work. And clothes.

I know you were worried that I would end up in Louisville naked because two hours in the dark of night is not enough time to plan three weekend looks. It's OK. I got it covered.

Day 1: Lunch, shopping, Kentucky Hot Browns and Bourbon Ball milkshakes

(Note: Not my actual abs)

Day 2: Bourbon tours and my first meal at P.F. Changs. (Thank you, RnR Chicago, for the coupon.)

Day 3: Breakfast, Louisville Slugger tour and drive home

Three Things Thursday

Pre-workout fuel: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with peanut butter and half of a banana
Workout: Ran 4.28 miles in 37 minutes, 37 seconds; average pace, 8:47. The run was followed by 40 minutes of "The Biggest Loser: Power Sculpt."

1. I could not sleep last night. At all. My mind was just non-stop about things of little importance - seriously, I think I spent two hours planning outfits for our upcoming mini vacation. I usually try to turn things off by counting but every time I tried, my mind flashed to "The Exorcism of Emily Rose."

Needless to say, I was too scared to close my eyes much less sleep. I eventually got up at 5:15 a.m. and was out for my run by 6 - about an hour earlier than normal.

2. I know I talked about running in the dark in my last post but this was the first time it was DARK for my entire run. It was a bit unsettling at times. Not because I was scared I was going to be attacked but because it was just eerie. The river, black. Trees, rustling. Denali even seemed to sense something different, as he was way more spaz/ADD than normal. I would like to think that he was on the lookout for any potential danger as a protector. Knowing him, he was probably trying to find a squirrel he heard.

3. I came back from my run to find "The Biggest Loser: Power Sculpt" awaiting me. We leave for Louisville tomorrow morning, and I was worried about getting a run in - much less the typical Friday double workout. Hence, the strength training today. I didn't want to do "Boot Camp" two days in a row, though, and I was lucky enough to find this workout at the library. It's a bit similar to "Boot Camp," with three levels and the use of upper body and lower body moves. However, "Power Sculpt" doesn't have the burst of cardio, I didn't sweat nearly as much and I didn't feel nearly as fatigued as I do with "Boot Camp." Nevertheless, it might be a good alternative if I get tired of listening to Bob's lame "BC" jokes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Still of the night

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of peanut butter bread with drizzle of honey and cinnamon
Workout: Ran 5.75 miles in 49 minutes, 29 seconds; average pace, 8:36.

Anyone remember that scene in "Pretty Woman" when Vivienne (aka Julia Roberts) pulls out a rainbow of, umm, barriers and declares herself a safety girl?

OK. Yeah. Maybe I'm the only one but it was all I could think about this morning when I got myself decked out for my run. It's been dark, like night-time dark, when I set out. It doesn't really bother me much except that I can't see the Garmin. Oh, and the fact that it increases my chances of getting hit by an irresponsible driver by, like, a billion. I know I should wear some totally sexy reflective gear but the closest thing I own is a green shirt with a silver reflective strip on the back. Yeah, that will save me.

Enter Mark's cycling jacket.

I used to make fun of him for wearing it because it is neon yellow and completely unattractive. Of course, I didn't understand that he probably wore it back in his cycling days to avoid getting hit by an irresponsible driver. Then again, I never saw him wearing it for night-time bike rides ...

Anyway. I totally "borrowed" it this morning.

I felt like a complete dork but I did feel safe and managed to keep it on for 2.5 miles (when it got to be too warm). I figured that it was "light" enough that drivers could see my white tank and, if not, they could see a yellow butt bouncing down the path.

Quite a look ... right? Right! As much as I would love to keep it up, some night gear for me may be in order.

Options: Brooks long-sleeve shirt; Brooks vest; Pearl Izumi half-zip; and Brooks hat.

I actually kind of like the Brooks top, mostly because it's green and not urine neon yellow.

Would you like to vote? And then convince Mark that I need yet more running gear?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Core work

Take a moment. Forget that it was 80 degrees today. Forget that I went to a haunted house in shorts and a tank top this weekend.

Take a moment and welcome fall.

"Baked" Apple Stuffed French Toast

1 apple, cored and sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 slices wheat bread
1/3 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg plus 1 white beaten)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
Ground nutmeg, to taste
Ground ginger, to taste
Ground cloves, to taste
Maple syrup

Preheat griddle over medium heat.

Put sliced apple in bowl with healthy dash of cinnamon and brown sugar. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for a minute or two, or until the apples are soft and juicy. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg substitute, vanilla and almond milk. Dip bread into egg mixture and put on griddle, which you of course "greased" with canola oil.

While the french toast is cooking, add cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves (a good dash of cinnamon and just a tiny dash of the others) and just a bit of sweetener in a mini food processor. Give it a whirl until it's combined.

Flip the french toast. When the bread is finished cooking, take one piece and spread with flavored cream cheese. Add some of the cooked apples and top with the other piece of bread. Top with remainder of apples, sprinkle of cinnamon if you are feeling spicy and maple syrup.


I exercise because ...

Pre-workout fuel: "Grilled" cinnamon raisin English muffin with peanut butter
Workout: 45 minutes "Biggest Loser Bootcamp" and 2.2-mile walk with Denali

My grandma ... you can't help but love. I was chatting with her as I walked to the library, and she was discussing the young ladies she sees at the fitness center where she takes water aerobics. There was one woman in particular who caught her eye.

"Skinny as a rail," she said. "I don't know why she goes to exercise."

"Maybe the exercise is the reason she's skinny," I told her.

Pfft. She has to work - she leaves the place wearing heels, Grandma says. "I don't get it."

I do.

I exercise because ...

I like the definition that I see in my arms.

I like feeling in control of my body.

I can't stand to watch "The Doctors" in the morning.

It makes me feel invincible.

It gives me a reason to wear Lucy yoga pants.

Denali never lets me sleep in.

A good sweat can cure 99% of life's problems.

If you don't have health, what do you have?

It brings out my inner competitor.

It's a way of life.

Why do you exercise?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

First for everything

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and Dunkin Donuts brewed Mocha Mint coffee
Workout: Ran 7.2 miles in 1 hour flat; average pace, 8:20.

You always remember the first time.

The first time you ran a race ... the first time you went sub-1o:00 on a mile ... the first time you kissed the boy you love.

But today. Oh, today. It was the mother of all firsts. Mark actually asked ME to slow down. Yep. The 1:34 half-marathoner wanted pokey ole me to take it down a notch.

A moment of silence, please.

Mark thought today's run would be like any other Sunday. He was going to hang with me for 5 miles and I had hoped to do 7. In the back of my head, though, I thought I might take the run up to tempo to help maintain the gains I made in the F4F training cycle.

I was feeling good on our walking warm-up so I decided to go for my plan. I set out at a pretty good clip, aided by the boundless energy of Denali. I kept going, holding on for 1.5 miles until my shoe came untied. A stop had to be made. And this is when one of the best moments in my running life came.

"Did you get bit by the speed bullet today?" Mark asked. "I'd like to slow it down a bit if you could."

I was happy to oblige his request and settled into a slower pace but one that would still be considered tempo. I am fairly certain that I beat my 5K PR (25:36) or came close to it if that gives you any indication of the effort.

Mark left me just after 4.5 miles, and I had to decide for myself whether to keep pushing or slow it down. It seemed to waiver between both as fatigue set in but I did my best. And that's all I ever ask of myself.

Splits: 8:48, 8:21, 8:05, 8:12, 8:18, 8:29, 8:08, 1:37 (8:04/mi pace)