Friday, June 22, 2012

Food Friday: Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

I would like to think that it's all about me. Me, me, me. But the truth is, it's not. Not even a little bit.

And not at all this past weekend. It was Father's Day weekend, and I wanted to do my best to make it all about Mark. Or at least 75 percent about him. I took him out on a date Friday night. Dinner! In a restaurant! Without a baby! I made him a Spanish-inspired menu on Saturday night, complete with Sangria.

When Sunday arrived, I knew I had to do it right. Even though I was sweaty and tired after my first long run, I asked Mark what he wanted for breakfast. Anything he wanted, I told him (secretly hoping that he'd pick the Greek diner down the road).

Wait it wasn't about me. It was about him. And him wanted some Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes.

When I've made these for him in the past, it was because I had leftover peanut butter chips from a recipe. I would make a basic pancake recipe, add chopped bananas and the chips and voila! - peanut butter banana pancakes.

I had no such chips this weekend but I wasn't going to be the one to let down Mark on Father's Day. He deserved those Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes (especially because he baby wrangled while I finished my long run).

With the help of my BFF Google and a fair share of tweaking, I think we did OK. Actually, more than OK. Those pancakes have been requested more than once and a big batch were put in the freezer for easy thawing/quick breakfasts.

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or less depending on taste)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, banana and 1/2 cup milk until smooth. You might need to slightly warm the peanut butter to get a smooth consistency (though I did not). Add peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients, mixing gently until crumbly. Add remaining milk and vanilla, whisking until just combined. Set aside. (Don't skip this step! I've found it's important for the batter to rest a few minutes. It helps the pancakes rise.)

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat. Add canola oil and/or butter. Wait until the oil is hot before adding batter. Spoon batter onto skillet or use a small scoop - about 1/4 cup per pancake. Wait until the edges of the pancake are dry and there are bubbles in the middle before flipping, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip gently and cook another 2-3 pancakes. Makes 15 pancakes.

To freeze: Place cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer for an hour. Transfer from sheet to zip bags.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kicking it into gear

Nothing like having a bar delivered to your house.

Well, a bar of the 15-pound variety.

For two months, I've been training and practicing BODYPUMP without the aid of a bar. Seeing as BODYPUMP is the original barbell class, it's kind of a necessity. I've made do with hand weights (not recommended for class because the weight distribution is not even) and a rolling pin.

Yes, you read that correctly. I've been practicing with a rolling pin. A wooden one if you are interested. And let me tell you, it's not easy to get the timing down on a bicep track when you are trying to lift a too short and very light rolling pin. You also can't practice shoulders, back or warmup either. It's probably why I've spent almost two months learning just six tracks.

Well no more.

Why yes, that is an iPod stuffed down my shirt.

I ordered the bar from Dick's Sporting Goods and after the bar arrived last night, I got to work. I went through warmup, back and biceps and then I taught the warmup, squat, back, bicep, lunge and shoulder tracks to Mark. It was amazing the difference the bar made. It helped with my timing and coaching - my two areas of focus. Even though I've made big strides, there's still room for improvements. (Coaching wise, I am really focusing on just explaining what I'm doing as opposed to being overly scripted or cute.)

The time is ticking to make those improvements, too. The deadline to have my video submitted is rapidly approaching, and Cory and I have been planning on me leading the July 7 and July 14 classes for that purpose. I'll be able to get used to be by myself and workout any glitches the first week and nail it the second.

Lucky for me, though, I'll have a trial run for the trial run this Saturday. Cory has some family obligations so I'll be leading BODYPUMP by myself. Just me!

It's a bit nerve-wracking but this is what I've been working toward so there's no reason not to be excited. Plus, I got a new outfit and we all know a new outfit brings good ju-ju.

If you are not one of the 5 million people running RnR Seattle and live in the area, feel free to get your PUMP on with me. Just leave a comment or email me and I'll give you the details. I promise it will be a good workout. Or at least I'll look sassy.

Munchkin Munchies

Miles has a voracious appetite.

He'll eat nearly anything and everything - beets, broccoli, lamb, yogurt, apples and anything remotely resembling a carb. (Yes, he is my child.) So when Brittany at Healthy Slice of Life put out a call for posts showcasing what her readers' kids eat, I knew I was game.

When we first started feeding Miles solids, I went the conventional route - rice cereal and purees - but quickly transitioned to what I assume is a baby-led weaning approach as Miles sprouted tooth after tooth (we're up to seven) and spoon-fed methods became cumbersome.

Now, just shy of his 1 year birthday, he basically eats what we eats - with a few tweaks here and there.


This morning, we had a bottle at 5:15 a.m. and then a scrambled egg with cheese and half a Carrot-Zucchini Muffin at 6:15. After all, he needed to fuel for his 4-mile tempo run.


Lunch is up to daycare.The meals are always well-balanced and often feature fresh produce from our provider's garden. Yesterday, it was tuna macaroni salad with a side of cooked carrots and corn. One day this week, it was cheese, beans and whole wheat bread. A few weeks ago, it was ham and beet stew.

Afternoon Snack

Again, at daycare. I picked him up the other day and they were having peaches fresh from her tree and graham crackers. Miles wasn't into the peaches, which were awesome, but liked the graham cracker. He also has a decent sippy cup at this time.


I try to select dinner recipes that are Miles friendly or easily modified to be Miles friendly. I do not make two separate meals.

Last night, we had chicken enchilada stacks so I started Miles with corn tortilla, cheese, chicken and avocado. I also made a rollup with beans and a tortilla that I cut up for him. And he promptly pushed it onto the floor.

For whatever reason, he was quite unhappy last night. He didn't want to eat his dinner as evidenced by the pieces caught in Denali's hair but he didn't want to be down.

I refuse to hold him while I eat so I tried some leftover roast beef, which seemed to work. As he ate that, I warmed up some frozen broccoli.

Broccoli is his favorite, and I was glad to see him devour it.

Before bed, he gets another bottle and that's his day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Taking care of business

Remember when I said it would be worth your while to comment on my last post on sports bras?

Well, I have news for you: I wasn't lying. The lovely ladies at handful will offer one lucky Healthy Strides reader a bra of her choice (subject to color and size availability). So head on over to the post to see the updated rules and details.

Note: Those who already commented are automatically entered into the contest.


Two weeks ago, I posted about some recent (or not so recent in some cases) frustrations with my MOTOACTV.

Well, I have good news for you and I have bad news for you.

The bad news: I still haven't heard from customer support.

The good news: I have heard from the PR folks and the social media team, who offered some situations to fix the problem.

The easiest - and most immediate - was to do a system update. The MOTOACTV is all about the system update, and it pays to connect it to your computer on a regular basis to see if one is available. I am pretty good about this (with help from email reminders) and had tried to update the system a couple weeks before things had gotten out of hand. At that time, there were no updates available.

When the update was suggested, I was doubtful but begrudgingly tried it. You know, to have my bases covered. Lo and behold, one was available! And even more worthy of an exclamation mark, it seems to have helped. I won't say that it has fixed everything - I still see the satellite drop and at times the pace seems off - but it seems to catch up with itself if that makes sense.

I am also seeing some improved consistency with the distance. After more than a year in my neighborhood, I've finally figured out mile markers on certain routes and the MOTOACTV is once again lining up. Since the update, I've stopped comparing the distance with Map My Run - if that tells you anything.

And just one more note about the update: I listened to a playlist for the second half of my long run Sunday, and I was surprised to hear lap updates. "Beginning Lap 6," it told me. I got super excited that I had hit 6 miles but realized that I was beginning the 6th mile and had completed 5. Total bummer for me, great feature for the watch.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Support system

It was quite the unfortunate sight: My barely there breasts hanging lifelessly in the too-big sports bra underneath my compression shirt.

I hadn't thought much of my wardrobe choice for BODYPUMP on Saturday - I was too busy assembling good ju-ju (my "push" present from Mark and a necklace my dad always wore) to think about what I was wearing. However, as I was working on the squat track before class, I noticed that it looked like someone dropped two M&Ms down my shirt with little consideration.

Thank goodness, we only had two participants that class to witness my embarrassment but it didn't stop me from resolving to get new - and better - sport bras.

Here's what I have been wearing:

The handful

This is the one and only handful bra, with the original design that combines function, feel and fashion, and supports you from workout to weekend! The removable pads have you covered from warm-up to cool-down so you've got one - make that two - less things to worry about. It flatters without flattening as a sports bra and as a feminine layering piece. The handful bra supports you when you want to look, feel, and perform your best.

When they say designed to "flatter not flatten," they weren't kidding. This bra actually makes it look like I have something going on. And not just something - two things! It's for that reason that the handful has become my go-to bra for BODYPUMP. Call me vain but I feel much better standing up in front of a group of people when I feel good about the way I look. The padding also provides another benefit to such a situation - no need to worry about it being, umm, too chilly.

I've also worn this bra for short to medium runs, and there are no complaints to be had.  This criss-cross straps provide just enough support for me and don't peek out from underneath a racerback tank. I had no problems with chafing or digging, even with the unseasonably warm temperatures of May.

If I had to lodge a complaint about this bra, it's that it definitely feels like underwear to me. I was compelled to go sans tank on one particular morning and felt self-conscious that I was too bare.

Note: I received the handful bra for free to review on this blog but all opinions are my own.

Lucy bra

As I've had this gal for nearly two years, I didn't see one like it on lucy's site but I have to say, she's looking good at her age. I have had no issues with fraying seams or worn fabric. It's a size small and feels small for a small but (almost) in a good sort of way. When I had more on top, I didn't feel like I had to worry about things bouncing too much or flying loose. It's compression that does that but when I'm running 12 miles, I'm not going for looks like I am during BODYPUMP.

The one lesson I've learned with this bra is that having a colored sports bra (it's blue) can pose a challenge when getting dressed hurried at 5 a.m. to squeeze in a run before Miles gets up.

Asics Cross Back Bra

Support, breathability & stunning good looks are created through encapsulation cups, cross-back straps, light fabric, and a stay-put chest band.

I loved this bra. I really did. It didn't chafe. It didn't smell immediately after a run. It had a snug fit without digging in.

 The problem is that I picked it up at ladies' night at the running company when I was at least seven months pregnant. I had bigger boobs then and even bigger boobs when I was nursing. Now, as I've repeatedly mentioned, I am not so gifted and I have quite a bit of space leftover. I wear it every now and again in a pinch but only when I can't find my  handful or lucy bras.

The cheapos

We all have these - the bras you pick up at Target or a department store on sale. The bras are mostly nylon but have great stretch and come in a million different colors. They are a lot of fun to buy, especially when you are new to working out and new gear offers a fantastic incentive to keep going.

After a while, though, they start to smell and lose their color and their shape. They don't hold the motivation they once did. And if they ever offered support, they give out.

The two I have are definitely on their last straps, so to speak, and when I finally get the guts to toss them, I'll be down to two bras. TWO. Two to get me through 6 workouts each week. If I was any good at math, I would say that would equal a lot of laundry for someone in my house. And Mark does enough loads each week to provide clean clothes for a soccer team.

I started browsing/pricing bras but feel a bit overwhelmed - especially when many of the so-called good ones cost upwards of $40 or $50. Why don't you make it easier on me? Tell me what kind of sports bra you wear and whether you'd suggest it.

And to make it worth your while, the fabulous ladies at handful are offering one Healthy Strides reader a bra of her choice (subject to color and size availability). Simply comment on what kind of bra you wear.

One additional entry may be received for doing one of the following:

Following me on twitter. Please leave a comment telling me that you have done so.
Following handful on twitter. Please leave a comment telling me that you have done so.
Liking handful on Facebook. Please leave a comment telling me that you have done so.

Giveaway runs from June 19 to June 26, ending at midnight EST.   Entries after that will be considered null. The winner will be chosen via and will be announced Wednesday, June 27. Winner is responsible for contacting me hlthystrides at gmail dot com by Monday, July 1, or a new winner will be chosen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Marathon Monday: Week 1

I did it. I completed my first week of marathon training, and I did it to the "T." Or should I say to the #TLAM.

Oh, geez. Sometimes my wittiness kills me. Or you. Whatevs.

Here's what the week looked like, anyway:

Monday: Easy 3 miles
Tuesday: 4-mile pace run
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 6 miles, negative split (3,3) + BODYPUMP
Friday: Easy 4 miles
Saturday: BODYPUMP
Sunday: 8.18-mile long run

If you want to add that up, it's 25 miles. TWENTY FIVE. For one week. And to think - that's just the start. My half-marathon plans used to top out at 25 miles.

Needless to say, there were a few times this week when I felt a bit overwhelmed. I clearly remember at the beginning of Thursday's negative split run, "What the hell was I thinking? My cousin was right. You have to be crazy to register for a marathon." I doubted my ability. My desire. My time. I wondered if I made a mistake. I wondered whether I should have picked a half-marathon as an "A" race.

And then I remembered why I chose the marathon. I chose it because it was my beacon during pregnancy and early post-partum days. It was my hope. It was my savior, if you will.

Thankfully, my body held up better than my mind. My legs felt tired but operational with the increased mileage and harder workouts. My lungs did not explode. I did not collapse in the grass.

I survived. And that's all I have to say about that.