Saturday, June 16, 2012

One Day

Get up. Do stuff. Go to bed.

It's what we all do but somehow, we all manage to do it differently. And how we do it differently is extremely fascinating - at least to me.

I have devoured bloggers' posts about their lives but never felt overly compelled to share. Of course, that was until Lee did it. And now I must copy.

I now present a day in the life of me - Friday, June 15.

2:45 a.m. Miles is up ... for the second time. After sleeping through the night five out of six nights, Mr. Man is having a rough go of it. I try to quiet him and give him the paci but it's a scene out of "The Exorcist." I ask Mark to make a bottle, which Miles happily takes.

3:10 a.m. Back in bed. Face. Plant.

5:45 a.m. Hear Miles. He's awake but not cranky so I lie there for a few minutes and tell Mark about my dream that involved crazed ostriches attacking people and how there were dead ostriches everywhere as people tried to fend them off.

5:53 a.m. Grab Miles from the crib and head downstairs.

6:05 a.m. Give Miles the last carrot-zucchini muffin and formula in his sippie cup. Realize that I am in the kitchen, which has no curtains, and I am not wearing pants. Continue to get Miles his breakfast, which, incidentally, he does not eat.

6:15 a.m. Sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and a Cran-Bran Vitatop. I'm out of nimble bars so it's onto my old WW standby.

6:30 a.m. Discover that I have completely zoned for 15 minutes and should probably consider putting pants on if I intend to run.

7 a.m. Leave the house with Mark, Miles and Denali for an "easy" 4-mile run. My legs are dead weight after BODYPUMP and the additional squats I did at home after sucking it up on that track in class. Get it done.

7:45 a.m. Home, sweaty, home. Get Denali off the leash, Miles out of the stroller and attempt to stretch.

8:05 a.m. Grab a new cup of coffee and head up to shower.

8:20 a.m. Return downstairs, and Mark hands off Miles duty so he can shower. I get Miles back in the high chair for a second attempt at breakfast as I make center cut bacon and french toast for Mark and me. In between bites and bacon flipping, I prepare and pack snacks for work: sliced cucumber and carrot sticks, frozen green beans, pluots and orange Jell-O.

8:45 a.m. Realize that I had intended to leave for work at 9 a.m. and I have a clingy child underneath my dress as I attempt to pour sugar-free syrup on my french toast.

8:55 a.m. Miles is in a fit, and I am not even half-way finished eating. Grab him and try to put him down for a nap in his crib.

8:57 a.m. It's eerily quiet, and I shovel food as I wonder whether my frustrated attempt at nap succeeded.

9 a.m. Nope.

9:01 a.m. Head upstairs with half a bottle, and rock Miles to sleep. Put him down, grab shoes, a sweater and a pair of earrings.

9:15 a.m. Leave the house and head to Fresh Market.

9:30 a.m. Rush in to Fresh Market to pick up the last of Mark's Father's Day gift and a wrap for lunch.

10 a.m. Get to work and do work stuff.

11:30 a.m. Eat the Turkey Brie Apple wrap and Siggi's yogurt that I picked up from Fresh Market while I work. I am impressed by neither and I thank the wonders of modern chemicals for Diet Coke.

2:30 p.m. Take a bathroom break and practice the BODYPUMP 81 while I'm there (the bathroom is empty). I royally effed it up Thursday, and I am seeking redemption.

4 p.m. Attend the daily news meeting. Do my best to be a productive staff member.

5:10 p.m. Leave the office, spend 10 minutes waiting to cross the street to the parking lot and head home.

5:20 p.m. Arrive. Change clothes. Pick up Mark. Leave. My in-laws are watching Miles so that Mark and I can have dinner - wait for it - alone and go to a movie.

5:40 p.m. Pray. I've just violated a series of traffic laws to get to the new-to-us restaurant Naked Tchopstix. It's a Pan-Asian restaurant that I had heard was good but overpriced - my favorite kind. I have the Bulgoki Bento Box and Mark has the Spicy Pork.

6:40 p.m. Box most of the Bulgoki (I guess I just wanted soup, salad and California roll) and down the last of my Diet Coke.

6:50 p.m. Arrive at the "dollar" theater that is technically across the street but apparently a 10-minute drive. Purchase tickets to see "Cabin in the Woods." Another prayer is said that I don't have nightmares. Crazed ostriches were enough for one week.

8;55 p.m. Leave the theater glad that we only spent $3 a ticket even if it meant hanging out in a dated cinema where you are forced to question what is living on the floor and in the seats.

9:15 p.m. Pick up Miles from the ILs. I somehow manage to pick him up from the crib, get him the car seat, drive him home, take him out of the car seat and put him in his crib without waking him up. Yes, I rock as a mother.

9:35 p.m. Practice the squat track again and pray I can walk for BODYPUMP the next day.

9:45 p.m. Play a move in Words with Friends before closing the Kindle ... and my eyes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Food Friday: The rule of Caesar

It was the summer I was 21. I had hoped to have an internship at a fantastic newspaper but instead I found myself shacking up with Grandma and working at a (relatively) nearby country club. I bused tables and poured water. I made chicken salad and scooped Graeter's ice cream. On a rare occasion, I even made a Bloody Mary or two.

But it was a night in the kitchen, preparing salads, that scarred me. A server (and drinking buddy) came back with a dry vodka martini.

"Not time to start," I told her.

"It's not for you," she said with a laugh. "I need you to put a couple anchovies in it."

Anchovies? In a martini?

I could barely stomach the idea of anchovies as a garnish on the club's Caesar salad but putting them in a martini made my stomach turn. From that day on, I had to look away as a gloved hand adorned an otherwise tasty salad with the slivers of salty fish.

I also had to turn off my brain when I found myself eating the occasional Caesar salad or making pulled chicken Caesar salad sandwiches. The dressing is defined by the inclusion of anchovies but in my mind, I was eating "special" ranch.

However, I was going to have to (wo)man up if I was going to make a dish I knew Mark and I would love: Clean Salmon Caesar Pita Pockets.

The recipe, in the "The Eat-Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook" by the clean-eating maven Tosca Reno, starts off innocently enough. You have plain low-fat yogurt and then there's a clove of garlic. But, listed third, is anchovy paste. Anchovy paste.

Not only was it the fish I so despised but it was in a tube, all ground up and stuff.

But I was committed. I was going to get over my fear and I bravely added a 1/4 teaspoon to the food processor along with the other ingredients and gave it a whirl. I bent down, took a whiff and was overwhelmed with goodness. The local basil that I had gotten in my Green BEAN delivery smelled so sweet and so good that I no longer cared that there was ground up fishies in the dressing.

Feeling satisfied, I went ahead with the dish. I chopped lettuce and vine ripe tomatoes (again from Green BEAN), sliced wheat pitas and grilled the ever gourmet Aldi salmon on the Weber.

 In less than 15 minutes, the meal was ready. I barely had time to roast the broccoli that I planned on serving with it!

Note: Also served with sea salt and black pepper kettle chips - for color, of course.

Mark and I really enjoyed this dish. The dressing definitely felt more basil than Caesar but, as my husband loves to say, the flavors really complemented each other. The best part, though, was this is a meal you can feel good about eating. I don't think the entire plate hit 500 calories (even with the chips), and it was full of fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and omega 3s!

Clean Salmon Caesar Pita Pockets

For the dressing:
½ cup plain, low-fat yogurt (<---- don't use non-fat; I did and it was a bit runny)
1 large clove garlic
¼ teaspoon anchovy paste or minced anchovy
1 handful basil leaves
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Dash hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Pinch each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 (4-ounce) wild salmon filets, skin and pin bones removed
Pinch each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole wheat pitas, halved to create “pockets”
4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 to 3 tomatoes, sliced

Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and whirl until thoroughly blended. Transfer toa a bowl or container and set aside. You will have extra dressing, which will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium high. Season salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper and place in skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare to medium, or longer for more well done. Salmon that is left a little pink in the center (medium-rare to medium) will be more moist and tender and is safe to eat, but cook to your desired doneness. When salmon is finished cooking, remove and transfer to a cutting board.

Stuff pita pockets with romaine and tomato slices. Cut salmon filets in half, and nestle them into pitas. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons dressing into each pita pocket. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Things Thursday: This and that (+ a giveaway winner)

1. First things first, the winner of the nimble giveaway is Michigan Fit Mom! Congratulations, pretty lady. Email your contact information to hlthystrides at gmail dot com so I can hook you up.

2. Speaking of the nimble giveaway ... I noticed something when I took those so-not-posed photos: I look tired. All. The. Time.

I have permanent bags under my eyes and lines in places that where there were once none. It can make finding a picture to put on Facebook or this blog here a real drag. So I decided enough was enough. I can't magically make Miles sleep past 5:15 a.m. but I can scrounge up 5 minutes a day to put my face on - even if those 5 minutes have to be as I sit in my car in the parking lot at work.

Like I did this morning.

I put on the stila one-step bronze from my Birchbox this month, Stainiac on the lips and cheeks, mascara and a dab of highlighter underneath the brows and the corners of the eye.

I'm not going to win any beauty contests, especially with my "they gave me vanilla not strawberry cheesecake ice cream" face, but at least I look like I didn't get up before the crack of dawn.

3. I'm feeling a bit commercial with the giveaways and a shoutout to Birchbox so I feel like I should give you a bit of substance.

That photo, the one of me eating ice cream, was snapped by Mark after we enjoyed lunch at Jimmy Johns and perused the Lunch on the Square event downtown. When I ask Mark to grab a photo for the blog, I usually request to see it before approving it. Today, though, I was in the moment and in love with my "it's not strawberry cheesecake" vanilla ice cream that I didn't think of it.

And I wish I would have.

The pose is less than flattering and my belly is quite clearly hanging over my waist band. My arms look big and my @ss sizeable. You can reject said observations as ridiculous or call them a cry for validation but they are neither. It is my truth.

I thoroughly debated not putting the photo on the blog and initially opted to crop it (as I did above) before getting real and putting it out there. I work hard, eat OK and have achieved a body that I have accepted (most of the time). But it's not perfect. It will never be perfect. And that's OK - because it has to be.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stripped down

Bacon makes everything better or so they say.

But on a sundae? I'm not so sure.

Burger King is banking on it, though. The struggling fast food chain is working to reclaim its No. 2 spot with a revamped menu and a lineup of summer specials, which includes a bacon sundae. The ice cream treat is topped with hot fudge, caramel, bacon pieces and a bacon strip.

The sweet-and-salty treat is all I've heard about for days - from excited friends to NPR to news meetings at work to the morning news. And after everyone gets over the "Bacon! On a sundae!" exclamations, they are quick to point out that the treat has 510 calories. 510! Calories! For a bacon sundae!

At which point, I roll my eyes and return my ear buds to their proper place so I can listen to BODYPUMP tracks.

It's not that I don't think there' something a bit off-putting about the sundae - I've tried chocolate-covered bacon and about gagged. It's also not that I don't think it's a bit ridiculous that the happy ending of  a meal is the same amount of calories as my typical dinner.

Oh, no. My eye rolling stems from many a hour spent perusing the nutritional information restaurants. A 510-calorie dessert, people, is not that shocking.

A small Strawberry Cheesequake Blizzard from Dairy Queen has 510 calories.

A Chick-Fil-A Fudge Brownie Sundae clocks in at 590 calories.

McDonald's 12 ounce vanilla shake has 530 calories.

And then there's sit-down restaurant desserts ...

Olive Garden's White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is 890 calories.

The Maple Pecan Blondie at Applebee's will set you back 1,020 calories.

Sort of makes you think that a 510-calorie sundae isn't all that bad. Well, except for the bacon.

What are your thoughts on BK's  bacon sundae?

WIAW: Getting ruff

I had a lovely dinner planned last night. I was going to make Salmon Caesar Pita Pockets, roast broccoli from our farm delivery and enjoy some strawberries with frozen whipped topping.

And then my mother-in-law invited us over for dinner.

While I had been looking forward to a healthful meal after a weekend of parties in Cincinnati, I'm not one to turn down an already prepared meal.

So we ate ziti.

We drank.

We laughed.

And then I ate a bowl of light caramel ice cream with a cup of caffeinated caramel-flavored coffee.

Yes, my friends, life is good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marathon Monday ... a day late

I did it. I made it through my first pace workout of my Columbus Marathon training plan.

[insert sweaty picture of me, keeled over]

Wait a minute. I found one from another day. No more using your imagination!

The plan for this morning was 4 miles, with 2 miles at race pace. I have no idea what my race should be or even what I want it to be, which can be a bit of a problem when the schedule says "race pace." I ended up taking it slow for a mile, running not-so-comfortably hard for 2 miles and then finishing off with a "take it down" a notch mile. It was hot, I was sweaty and the run felt more than challenging thanks to my companion, Mark.

My splits: 9:48, 8:34, 8:40, 9:18.

Not so bad ... except, I don't think I'll be running the marathon at an 8:40 pace. I just won't. There's underestimating yourself and there's being realistic. I'm not in shape to run a half at an 8:40 much less a full.

So what shape am I in and what shape is it reasonable to expect I'll be in in 19 weeks? I don't know - and that's the problem. I don't want to set a time goal, per se, on the marathon. It's a fickle beast and with it being my first, there's so much that can happen on race day. However, it is important to have goals and even more so when you are planning to incorporate speedwork into your plan (which #TLAM does).

I decided to call on my old pal, the McMillan Running Calculator, and put myself through the paces - literally - to see what I could come up with.

I first started with my most recent half - the Martian Invasion in April - where I finished in 2 hours, 27 seconds. According McM, I should be able to finish 26.2 in 4:14, an average pace of 9:42. I'd be pretty happy with a 4:14 but even my crappiest of runs are in the 9:40-9:50 range. I can't imagine completing a pace run like today's at that rate.


I got a little optimistic (or a lot) and decided to try my half-marathon PR - 1:54:12. McM predicted a marathon time of 4:00:51, average pace of 9:12. It seems a bit insane to train for that kind of time the first go but running my middle miles at 9:12 seems a bit more manageable than keeping to a 9:42. However, tempo intervals would be challenging with splits between 8:15 and 8:32.

And then there's the arbitrary - somewhere in the middle. I gave my best time for the marathon as 4:07, which would be an average pace of 9:26. Tempo intervals would be in the 8:27-8:45 range, doable considering today's run.

I have to say, after all that number nonsense, I am still a bit inclined to go by feel. I think there's so many variables that McM can't include, i.e. the fact that any best time I have is nearly 2 years old; that I run with a stroller 90 percent of the time; and I'll have the aid of my super speedy husband for part of this training cycle. I plan to comb through "Train Like a Mother" tonight, after BODYPUMP practice, to see if it offers any insight.

So, in sum, I basically just worked out a bunch of stuff in my head and subjected you to my word vomit. Quite kind of me, don't you think?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let the fun begin

Monday ... the start of training for a small race called the Columbus Marathon.

And by Monday, I mean the six days ago Monday.

It's a little fact I realized on Thursday when I realized the big star next to June 18 on my calendar to indicate the beginning of training was based on an 18-week plan and the schedules I had most recently considered were 20 weeks.

No biggie. Just my first marathon. It's sort of like missing homeroom on the first day of school.

Much of Thursday was spent in a panic trying to decide on an actual training plan as opposed to the passive web browsing I had done a couple weeks ago.

The options:
  • Hal Higdon Novice 2. I have used Hal Higdon plans in the past, and I have found them to be sufficient in getting me across the finish line. I liked the Novice 2 plan because it started out with an 8-mile long run and did include 1 20-miler. However, I was a bit taken aback by just how much you go up and down with long runs. This plan is 18 weeks, which is nice because it would mean I wasn't late starting it.
  • "Train Like a Mother." Finish It. I've had the "Train Like a Mother" book on my desk for ages (it was sent to the newspaper) and I keep meaning to put it in the charity sale pile. I picked it up and flipped through it, and I was drawn to the plans higher mileage and variety of workouts. This plan is 20 weeks and does assume a base fitness, making it a poor choice for beginners. It also has long runs on Saturdays, which really throws me off as I'd have to rearrange the plan to accommodate BODYPUMP and Sunday long runs.
  • Runner's World. You have to pay for those found online. Eff no. I did briefly consider grabbing my back issues but that's time consuming, and I am lucky if I get through one before the new one arrives.
  • Marathon Rookie. I liked that this plan has just four days of running, my sweet spot, but it's only 16 weeks and there are no cut back weeks. I'm thinking I might like those.
  • Marathon Training Schedule II. A Daily Mile pal suggested this 18-week plan but I think it's a bit too advanced for me. It relies on a buildup schedule, and there's a 20-miler in week 8. Yikes!
  • Cool Running. I found this beginner plan to be quite interesting. It starts off with relatively low mileage but the long runs ramp up to include four 20+ mile runs, including a 26-miler. I always feel better at the half distance knowing I've ran 12 or 13 miles so the heavy mileage was something to consider.
And, the winner is ... drum roll please ...

"Train Like a Mother" (#TLAM from here on out). The plan is one that is going to challenge me. In fact, I felt my stomach drop as I made my own spreadsheet to tweak the long runs and make it fridge friendly. However, I think the mileage buildup is manageable and there are easy runs that will be good for a break.

I am curious how BODYPUMP will fit into all of this. None of the beginning marathon plans really address strength training though #TLAM does have cross training and fun workouts included. I think there are just going to be days where I do both and if I get my body used to it, I should be fine.

Physically, that is.

Note: I don't want to post the training schedule as it's in a book that people pay for. However, I could designate a day where I update you on training. Marathon Monday sounds nice ... anyway, is this something y'all would be interested in. Let me know in the comments.