Friday, May 18, 2012

Food Friday: Lunch, lately

Tuna + Olives.

I had never really thought of the classic Nicoise salad combination in the "Mmm, must eat" sort of way until a fellow BODYPUMP trainee was chowing on it at lunch that weekend. She said she was obsessed with it.

And, now, so am I.

Instead of going the traditional French route, I've taken the tuna to the Mediterranean for a Greek-inspired salad with tuna. I call it such because saying it's tuna salad makes me think of mayonnaise and tuna melts and things that are not this salad.

In the bowl, which, by the way, was a serving bowl:

Butter lettuce mix (my new "all my own" obsession)
Spring greens
Sliced cucumbers
Grape tomatoes
Shaved red onions
Crumbled feta
Kalamata olives
Flaked tuna (let's be real - from the can)
Sunflower seeds (for that proverbial crunch)

The salad, for me, clocked in at 270 calories, 13 grams fat, 15 grams carbohydrates and 22 grams of protein. Well, before the light ranch dressing. Sure, a Greek vinaigrette might be more appropriate but I'm a ranch girl, what can I say.

I've enjoyed the salad several times this week and thus far, I have yet to tire of it. I would have brought it to work today had I not run out of lettuce ... and ranch. Guess I know what to put on the grocery list.

What have you been enjoying for lunch? And I really want you to answer because I'm in need of an idea for next week. Pretty please, with granola on top :)

A plan ... sort of

I was ready to run this morning. I had on my capris and shirt. My socks and shoes were downstairs. I had a cup of coffee and an oatmeal jam bar.

I was all ready.

Almost all ready. It seemed my stomach wasn't on board. When I was within 10 minutes of my must-leave time frame and still not feeling better, I knew I had to cancel. It's a bummer, too, because I was really looking forward to it - especially after spending all day home with a sick Miles yesterday.

Normally, I'd be in a shit for missing a run but I'm still operating on the no plan plan. I have for the most part decided to do a half marathon Labor Day weekend (either the Indy Women's half or the local Parlor City Trot), which will really be incorporated into my marathon plan. So I have time to do what I want.

Sort of.

Mark has determined that he's going to push me this summer so we can rock the Fort-4-Fitness 4-miler. And if I'm going to be coerced into speedwork (after swearing it off), I at least want to do it systematically. I looked around at a few plans - the "Train Like a Mother" own it 5K, a few of Hal Higdon's schedules - but in the end I decided on the Women's Running Magazine Perfect 5K plan.

"A 5K plan?" you say.

I know. I know. However, what drew me to this plan was a decent long run (the longest at 8 miles), manageable speedwork and my ability to tweak the plan to still keep my weekly mileage at 20+. It also allows me to focus on BODYPUMP instructor training as I work toward my video.

The run I  missed today was a 2-mile tempo run with a 10-15 minute warmup and cooldown. While this would be considered a key workout, I am running a 5K on Sunday afternoon. The only thing I'll have to do is tweak my long run Sunday morning so I still have some energy for the race.

Ah, the beauty of the no plan plan.

What do you during down time?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Third times the charm

Three down, five to go.

As part of my journey to become a Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor, I have to team teach eight classes. Well, at least eight classes. I have a feeling I might need to do more but that's neither here nor there.

Three of those classes are in the books - I team-taught my first class Thursday, another Saturday and my third last night. And, I'm happy to report, that with Cory's help, things are getting better and better.

I no longer feel like crying when it's over (totally did this during training). I am not losing myself during the chest track and left to feel like a tool when I correct myself. And the deflated feeling I had when leaving training? It's all but gone.

It's not to say that this teaching thing is easy. I still feel my body tremble a bit when the microphone comes my way and the words in my head do a rehearsal but fail to make it to the party. Oh, and then there's the singing. Some of my favorite aspects of class, as a participant, is when instructors tie in lyrics to the workout or belt out a few notes. One problem: I can't carry a tune and it would be really nice if people to come back to class.

The hardest part, though, is stepping out of the role as participant and into the role as teacher. I got tripped up on my timing Saturday when I kept seeing an attendee doing something else. I found myself wondering whether I should be doing what she was doing. No, Kim. Just no. And when it comes to some of the more difficult moves, I have to challenge myself not to do the modification. Who wants to take class from someone who can't do mountain climbers?

All of this should - and will - get better with time. The moves will get easier and I'll get stronger, enabling me to lift more "inspirational" weight. I'm learning what works for me - scripting sheets and watching old releases to "borrow" cues from the master trainers - and I feel more confident after each class. 

Now to find a voice coach ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Powder-coated truth

I am not sure who thought of powdered peanut butter.

Actually, I'm not sure who thought of powdered peanut butter as a profitable enterprise.

Wait. Yes, I do.

It's the person - company, really - who knew there would be loads of calorie-conscious women salivating for a way to enjoy their favorite nut butter without the guilt. Women who, apparently, include me.

Yes, folks. I am guilty of procuring a jar of PB2. And guilty I should be. Why? Because I used $7 of an Amazon gift card on a plastic jar of powdered peanuts that will never ever be peanut butter. Not in a million years.

I'll admit that I've been interested in trying PB2 for years - years, I tell you - when I first joined Weight Watchers. PB2 is WW friendly and it would have been great for this gal, who ate PB every morning pre-workout. However, it wasn't easily accessible and I had no interest in spending Internet dollars on PB2. Those were, after all, devoted to VitaTops.

I had almost forgotten about the stuff until a co-worker, who is participating in a weight loss competition, mentioned that the product was suggested by his nutritionist. I had just happened to have a $35 Amazon gift card from Crowdtap that was burning a hole in my email so I decided to take the plunge and try it.

I thought I'd ease into the waters a bit by adding it to a packet of oatmeal. In a time crunch, I bought over-sugared packets at Aldi and, I will say, the PB2 helped mellow the sweetness by adding a slight - and I mean slight - peanut flavor.

Next up, subbing the PB2 for PB in my favorite "let's pretend it's healthy" sandwich, the Adult PB&J. Peanut butter, berry all-fruit spread and ... wait for it ... NUTELLA! Yeah, my once favorite sandwich was a favorite no more. The PB2 has to be mixed to just the right consistency to make it spreadable but not watery, which, despite the instructions, I failed to do. Let's just say there was a bit extra as I fine-tuned the consistency. As with the oatmeal, it did balance the sweetness of the sandwich but failed to complement the flavors (if that makes any sense).

Other experiments:

  • Spread on homemade oatmeal jam bars. This was meh. The bars already tasted too healthy (if you know what I mean) and the PB2 enhanced that feeling.
  • In pancake batter. I had high hopes for this one but the flavor was so mild that Mark didn't even know he was eating peanut butter and banana pancakes. He thought they were just banana.
  • With cinnamon. Now this was a winner. For all my failed sandwiches, the cinnamon gave the PB2 a bit more depth without adding to the calorie content.
  • Cold water vs. warm water. Cold wins. While I like a warm, drizzly peanut butter, the PB2 made with warm water is just gross.
While I've started to find more winners, I am not sure that I'd buy PB2 again. It's expensive and, after a week, I'm finding that a jar doesn't go very far. Like, I'm almost out. After a week. Boo!

Have you tried PB2? What are your thoughts?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother of a run

Mark and I were sitting on the couch last night when he turned to me and asked:

"What would you like to do tomorrow for Mothers Day?"

My answer was simple and monosyllabic: Run.

"Besides run," he said.

"Just run," I replied.

Now, before you chastise me before not milking the heck out of my first Mothers Day, I will tell you this: I had already made brunch reservations at Granite City where caramel rolls, mojitos and parmesan hashbrowns would await me. The only thing I wanted was to fit in a run before that.

And a run I got. A very special run.

Not because of the crazy hair, either.

This morning, I had the opportunity to run solo. No dog. No stroller. Not even a husband. It was just me, my Nikes, RoadID, MOTOACTV and the road. (Not as romantic sounding when you put it that way ...)

It was a bit weird that the one thing I wanted for Mothers Day was to be nowhere near the things that define that role but it was exactly what I needed. For 6.12 miles, I thought about nothing but what I was doing and how I was feeling - not whether the dog was going to lunge for the goslings or whether Miles finally fell asleep. I took my time exploring a new-to-me part of the trail, taking note of the shape of the tree trunks and the bends in the river. I took deep breaths and slow steps and enjoyed every step of me time.

I would have liked to go a bit farther - especially as I haven't run more than 6 miles since the Martian Invasion half-marathon - but brunch reservations and a day of family awaited. And that was OK. Mostly because there were raspberry mojitos involved but also because as much as I resist the traditional heartfelt sayings about motherhood, I do enjoy that little bugger and the surprises he brings each day.

I hope everyone had a Mothers Day rich with celebration and love.