Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sweet sixteen

Pre-workout fuel: Peanut butter toast, banana and S'mores Luna Bar
Workout: Ran 16.61 miles in 2 hours, 30 minutes and 35 seconds; average pace, 9:03.

The W.O.O.F.

It was wild. It was outrageous. It was Ouabache State Park. It certainly wasn't 15 miles, though.

But I ran it. The entire "Wow, these miles seem long" thing. And I won first in my age group.

Just don't tell anyone that, after the overall winners, there were only two people in my age group.

Stories and more (less craptastic) photos to come ...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday love

Pre-workout fuel breakfast: Banana oats with ground flax, Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and, err, marshmallows
Workout: 2-ish mile walk with Denali

Hello, taper. It's nice to see you again.

I kept it light this morning ahead of tomorrow's race - just a casual jaunt with Denali. I might have skipped a walk but he can get a little sassy if he doesn't get some exercise in the morning. And there's just no need for that.

It was a bit brisk - we even have a chance of SNOW today - but I'm not going to worry about that. No way. Friday is all about the love.

So let's show it!

Food. I am sure the healthy living bloggers would scoff and roll their eyes but I might have the best ever pumpkin recipe. Sure, it has artificial sweeteners and processed ingredients but when push comes to heading to the diner for a slice of pie, Pumpkin Fluff will win.

What you'll need:
  • 1 small box sugar-free, fat-free instant pudding (Try vanilla, butterscotch or cheesecake. Heck, banana might even work)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 cup light Cool Whip
Using a mixer, beat together milk and pudding until it starts to get thick. Add pumpkin and pumpkin spice; beat until combined. Fold in Cool Whip and refrigerate.

This stuff tastes like pumpkin pie filling except it's totally guilt free. Try it with some crushed graham cracker for more of a pie flavor.

Fitness. Tiffany jewelry, diamond earrings, sweaters from Banana Republic - those items filled my Christmas list last year. This year? Running skirts, long-sleeve running tops, sweats. Heck, I almost considered asking for more sports bras. I tried to avoid asking for running stuff, thinking I had to ask for more "fun" stuff. Then I realized something: The running stuff is the fun stuff. Seriously. What's not fun about an argyle running skirt from

Life. I have been a lucky girl. I've won Lucy gear from Fit Bottomed Girls. Tons of Gu. A CSN gift card from Rust Belt Runner. Yesterday, though, I won a sweepstakes of sorts. I won a T-shirt dress from American Apparel. I had filled out a million and one giveaways at Lucky Magazine, and I actually got something. I am not sure it's the first thing I'd pick but free clothes are free clothes!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! What are you doing exciting?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. In 48 hours (I hope) I should be finishing my longest race to date: the W.O.O.F. 15.9-mile trail race. And you know what that means? Carb loading! I like to start working on the carbs a couple days ahead rather than just the night before. Think oats, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, ice cream. Wait. Ice cream isn't a carb. Damn!

2. I haven't really trained for Saturday's race. Sure, I worked on getting some mileage with long runs the past two Sundays but I haven't been on a trail. Ever. I decided, though, that running on the sidewalks in my 'hood, distorted and raised from old trees is sort of like running on a trail - especially in fall. Lots of acorns and leaves and stepping up and making sure you don't fall on your face.

3. I have no real expectations for this race (see No. 2). I registered on a whim with little time to train and have never ran a trail. It's a small race, and I'm not sure if I'll feel that "competitive spirit." I'd be lying, though, if I said I hadn't been running numbers in my head.

Primary goal: Finish. Plain and simple.
Secondary goal: Finish in less than three hours, just shy of a 12-minute pace.
"Can I dream?" goal: Finish in 2.5 hours, about an 8:55 pace.

Any which way I think about it, what's important is my commitment to finish and have a good time. And to be adventurous. After all, there will be bison burgers awaiting me at the finish!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Olympus trials

Take this Red Robin:

My very own Mount Olympus Burger.

Sure, it doesn't have 900+ calories (which I estimate for yours). It doesn't have a real Ciabatta bun. And it doesn't come with an endless basket of fries.

But it does have something you don't: a guilt-free conscious.

I spotted the Mount Olympus Burger on the burger chain's website after Mark suggested the joint for a lunch outing. He was in the mood for a burger. (He's always in the mood for a burger, if you ask me.) I went on the website to check out the menu, which surprisingly (not) failed the Healthy Strides test, and was drooling on first sight.

Feta cheese.

Spinach dip.

Garlic mayonnaise.

Come. To. Momma.

Then I suggested to Mark that we go to Chipotle where I could get a veggie fajita bowl. As I savored the guacamole, I couldn't get the burger out of my mind and vowed to make my own version.

Healthy Strides Conquers Mount Olympus Burger

1/4 pound ground turkey breast or lean ground beef
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Garlic powder
Dash Worcestershire sauce
One serving from Hungry Girl's Rockin' Restaurant Spinach Dip (I made this with LOW-FAT ingredients - not fat-free - because FF items taste like doody)
Sandwich toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, red onion)
Whole-wheat bun

Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Gently mix the meat - but not too much - and form into a patty. Cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on a side ... or however you like to cook your burger. In a separate skillet, toast bun. Spread bottom of bun with spinach dip, top with cooked patty and add any fixins you like. Sit down and chow.

You could, of course, add feta as Red Robin does but I'd definitely forget the mayo. The spinach dip definitely acts as a sauce.

Fast track

Pre-workout fuel: Quaker True Delights Hazelnut Latte Oatmeal and a banana
Workout: Ran 5.52 miles in 46 minutes, 34 seconds; average pace, 8:25.

It's been a long time since I ran this fast. About a month if you want to get specific. And, dang, it felt GOOD.

I'll tell you one thing, though: I didn't intend to go fast. I think I was just cold. I figured the faster I ran, the more quickly I would warm up and (more importantly) the sooner I'd be back in my heated home. My first mile was 8:46 and the others were in the 8:20-8:28 range. If you want to count that last .52, the pace range changes to 7:50-8:28.


I'll even go out on a limb and say that I could have gone farther had I actually been able to see the greenway ... but coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Note to self: Buy headlamp.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1 ... 2 ... 3 ... SMILE

Pre-workout fuel: Sliced banana on whole-wheat peanut butter toast
Workout: Ran 4.55 miles; average pace, 8:43.

I sometimes like to play games with myself at night.

It's OK to skip my run tomorrow because ...
I don't need to run tomorrow because ...
It's a taper week (of sorts) so ...

As you can guess, I had one of those nights last night. I was unhappy with the idea that I'd have to get up BY 5:30 a.m. to squeeze in some miles before my 8 am. dentist appointment. I could maybe sleep till 5:45 but that would require sub-par hygiene practices ... though I'd like to argue that it would be their fault for having no Saturday or evening hours.

Somewhere amid my struggle and deciding that yes, I did want popcorn, I realized that there are people who do this all the time. They get up at 5 a.m. so they can run before an 8 a.m. clock-in time. One morning wouldn't kill me.

So I ran. Out the door by 6:05, home before 7. Blogging and drinking coffee at 7:10. Shower at 7:15 ... one can only hope.

♦ ♦ ♦

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that maybe I didn't get the desired results from my October challenge because I chose the wrong DVDs. Guess what? I was right.

Jackie Warner's "Power Circuit" (found OnDemand), which I followed yesterday, left my quads, hamstrings, triceps, back and abs sore. Not "I can't sit down on the toilet" sore but "Damn. I can feel my legs as I walk to the bathroom at 2 a.m." sore. I'd complain but I kind of like it. And it gives me some reassurance that I made a good purchase in "Personal Training with Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training" (due to arrive Thursday).

Monday, November 1, 2010

October recap

Pre-workout fuel: 1/3 banana and Cinnabon Cream of Wheat
Workout: 40 minutes Jackie Warner OnDemand selection, 10 minutes stretch and 2+ mile walk with Denali

Sweet November. I'm not sure whether to be excited or, umm, unexcited(?).

Reasons to be excited:
  • W.O.O.F.
  • Bison burgers after the W.O.O.F.
  • Seeing my grandma(!)
  • Thanksgiving
  • Bruegger's Bagels at the end of the 101st annual Thanksgiving Day Race
  • "Falling back" with Daylight Savings Time
  • First run in the snow
Reasons to be unexcited:
  • Two days of post-run hunger after the W.O.O.F.
  • Cooler temperatures
  • Renewing the registration on my car
  • Holiday deadlines at work
  • Being forced to wear gloves during runs

Before I get too ahead of myself, let's take a brief moment to look back at October. If you remember correctly, I challenged myself to strength train three times a week and not shy away from lunges, squats and all things legs. I also signed up for Tall Mom's 83 miles in October challenge.

How did I do?

Good, I'd say. I didn't notice the results I had hoped for (i.e. changes in measurements) but I did follow the "Biggest Loser" DVDs three times a week - even going back-to-back for some sessions (Wednesday and Thursday) when a MWF schedule posed a challenge. That's a big deal for me! I think I would have gotten more out of it had I used a DVD program geared toward someone who had a higher base of fitness.

As far as the miles ... we'll let them speak for themselves.

Total number of runs

Number of races registered for (both in November)

Average distance per run

Farthest distance ran

Pace for fastest run

Pace for slowest run

Total miles ran in October

Consecutive 100+ mile months

Total miles ran in 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A tisket, a tasket, a basket full of groceries

Let's go Krogering ...

Fresh produce ... bananas, celery for Chicken and Basil Dumplings, apples and carrots for snacking, a bell pepper for egg white omelets and lettuce for Asian Lettuce Wraps. There might be some turnips in there for "fries" and cauliflower to roast, as well.

My Kroger was remodeled recently, adding sushi, an olive/Mediterranean bar and a milkshake machine. After all, everyone wants a milkshake while grocery shopping. F'real.

I saw these in the cereal aisle when I was looking for snack bars for Mark. Mean. Just mean.

Some chicken (for the Chicken and Basil Dumplings), turkey pepperoni (for Pizza Spaghetti), raisins and peanuts (snacks for tutoring) and generic yogurt fell into my cart.

And then I went to get Mark's food ... frozen pizza, frozen dinners and frozen breakfast. A couple bags of frozen broccoli - a staple in the Healthy Strides house - also joined the party.

All told, it was about $75 for the week - the lowest bill in MONTHS - for me to eat how I eat and Mark to eat how he eats.

What are your grocery essentials? Do you buy food for others in the household that you don't eat?

Can I get a W.O.O.F., W.O.O.F.?

Pre-workout fuel: Too Healthy Pumpkin Muffin with peanut butter and half a banana
Workout: Ran 13.26 miles in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 38 seconds; average pace, 8:47.

Epic long run. Epic. Like a pair of Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes.

My mind was in it. Actually, it wasn't - my mind wasn't anywhere, which was perfect. I didn't fret about pace or distance. I didn't even freak out when we took a break for Denali to meet two other huskies. I had set my mind on getting in the distance and nothing else mattered.

And I was all the better for it. Being relaxed allowed the miles to just tick away; it was as if I didn't even notice going from 7 to 9 to 11 to 13 to finished. Stretching by the car, I even told Mark that this run was the best I've had - including shorter weekday runs - in a long while.

The Wild Outrageous Oubache Fifteen ... BRING IT.

♦ ♦ ♦

I always tell you what I eat before a run but here is Mark's pre-run "fuel":
the other half of the banana, orange juice and a chocolate-glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut.