Sunday, September 30, 2012

What's for dinner?

I used to be in such a good habit f planning meals and getting things ready over the weekend, but have gotten away from that leading to those last minute "what's for dinner" complaints. Laura and Jill and hosting a weekly menu planning link up every Sunday so I decided this would be a great way to get back in the habit. I am starting small with only dinner (breakfast tends to be the same and lunch is usually leftovers) and add in snack planning as I go. 


Pizza: HM brown rice crust with veggies



Almond Butter on Spelt bread (quick dinner before running)

Blueberry Pancakes (GF)
Applesauce (O’s request)

Chickpea/ spinach curry
Roasted cauliflower

Black Bean Burgers and roasted sweet potatoes

Spinach salad


Snack Ideas: Homemade pumpkin granola, almond milk yogurt, veggies & hummus, ProBar, fruit

I am excited to see what others are cooking and discover new recipes and ideas. Do you menu plan? Any go to recipes?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fitting it all in

Another week of marathon training almost done and here I sit 10 days from race day and the weather obsession is beginning (right now it looks decent but could be a little warmer to start the race).

With my crazy start to the week the taper fits perfect, no matter how hard I try after waking up at 3:30a and spending nearly 10 hours working I just can't convince myself a hard workout is a good idea, but anything is better then nothing.

How to fit it in
  • Make it a priority: Schedule workouts into your day and write in down.
  • Decide what you are willing to skip: An extra hour of sleep, drinks with friends, relaxing during lunch break. What is more important then workouts? This may be different each day.
  • Fit it in: I often run during my daughter's dance class or during naptime.
  • Multitask: Read/study on the bike trainer, watch TV on the treadmill, run to the store for groceries.
  • Find short workouts: I used to routinely do 30 Day Shred in the morning (only 20 minutes) or a 30 minute pilates or yoga DVD.
  • Be ready: Set out workout clothes at night, have a bag ready to bring with to work, have the DVD in and ready to go. It is much harder to skip when you don't have time to think about it.
  • Find a workout you enjoy: I love the 530am spin class, so I have no problem getting up early on my late start day.
  • Set a goal and reward yourself when you reach it: Train for a race, workout 5 days a week, run X miles. Figure out what motivates you and do it. This also makes you track your workouts to see progress.
Any quick workouts? Or how do you convince yourself to workout after a long day?

Overall I can't say my week is bad, just back loaded but it does make me take  Monday as an easy/rest day. Ironically Jill also talks about fitting in workouts on Fitness Friday, check out her tips.

My little helper
We also spent Thursday baking, first another batch of pumpkin muffins and then some granola. Thanks to my little helper I learned an interesting addition of coriander! With 2 more pie pumpkins sitting in the kitchen the pumpkin cooking is only going to continue, what next?

Pumpkin Almond Granola
4 cups oats
1/4 cup protein powder
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2-1 cup chopped almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp each ginger, nutmeg, all spice
1/4 tsp coriander (this was truly a mistake but it tasted great!)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup almond butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dates soaked
1 cup raisins

Puree almond butter, dates, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix remaining ingredients (except raisins). Combine wet and dry. Pour on to parchment line baking sheet and bake 40-45 min at 300F. Turn oven off and let sit in oven (this helped to make crisp without overcooking). Once cooled add raisins.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How do taper (physical, mental and food)

As important as tapering for a marathon (or any big race) is for your body to recover and rebuild physically it is such a mental game too. I think I right this post every marathon training cycle, the taper madness kicks in and my mind goes crazy with "what ifs" and "should haves". Time to push these thoughts away and remember I have already done what I could, nothing can be gained at this point, it can only be lost.

So how do we as runners who have just spent the last 4+ months training hard cut down on the quantity and intensity? The key is still working hard enough and getting in those quality workouts but easing back on the workouts and taking easy days to balance. Pete Pfitzinger has a great 3 week taper plan integrating the important workouts with easy days. This plan also advises an easy run the day before the race.


5 Mile Tempo
15-17 Miles
VO2 Max Session
11-13 Miles
Dress Rehearsal
 Source: Pete Pfitzinger

The mental aspect is the toughest, I have such a tough time convincing myself that an extra rest day is fine at this point. I want to go and run and train! My body is in the push mode and ready to go. So what to do with this energy? Luckily (or not so) this week I have 2 papers to write to consume my time that I typically spend working out. What do you do to distract yourself during taper?

The other big taper issue is eating. With the decrease in mileage it is tough to remember not to eat like I was when my mileage and intensity was much higher, the last thing a runner needs is heading into race day with an extra few pounds. I am such a snacker that this is tough for me. Good planning and healthy options can balance this out. How do you deal with eating during taper?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Women Run the Cities (10 Mile) and get chased by dogs

Remember a few days ago when I said I loved fall, well I changed my mind! So far we've had two days in a row of overnight frost and cold mornings. I have forgotten all about this after the extreme heat all summer. It was such a shock to be preparing for a race when it was expected to be 34F at the start. After multiple times of rethinking my outfit, I finally decided on capris, wool socks, short sleeve shirt, arm warmers, jacket, mittens and headband. Was it a good choice? Yes and no. As per my usual cold weather runs my fingers were numb, ugh. My legs were fine but I overdid the top half.

I met up with a couple friends before the start and did my share of complaining about the weather, but this was short lived as we were off and running. My goal was for a negative split and ideally a sub 1:10 race. The short version: neither happened, instead things I had never planned on occurred..

The race began fine, I pushed through the early hills focusing on keeping a comfortable pace and not going out too fast. I hit Mile 5 at 35:30 so not too much time to make up, I could do this. About this time there was a turn around and much to my surprise I see a car coming straight towards me (on a closed course!), I guess people can't read the signs or see the road blocks. Luckily a volunteer jumped in the way and stopped it.

The next couple miles brought the hills I was dreading and some strange racing. My hamstring is great on flat ground or taking it easy up hills, but racing up hills tends to piss it off big time, so a hilly course like this was not doing good for me.

I kept pushing as much as I could and then it started Mile 6 a spectator's dog ran out on the course and started chasing me! Well that has never happened in a race. I was caught off guard and trying not to trip or step on the little dog which was quickly gathered up and removed by it's owner. But this was not the only dog instance. After a stop at Mile 7 to tie my shoe (that has never happened in a race either), what a waste of time it takes forever to tie with numb fingers, it happened again. Mile 8 and another dog chasing a ball ran right into me. Seriously, what is happening?!

Now with about 1.5 miles to go I am in with the 5K runners and try to push through the rest, I get cheers from other runners including a friend and my mom. 

Go Mom! Look what she can do at 62 years old.
At this point another runner catches to tell me she has been chasing me most of the race, this only makes me run harder. I know my goals are out of reach, somewhat out of my control) and I finish 1:13:19 with disappointment in the race I just had and my overall racing this year so far. I was so cold after the post-run sweat took over so we headed for coffee and left. I never even stopped to look at results so I was shocked when a friend posted on Facebook the I had gotten 2nd in my age group, what?! Sure enough even with everything I was second.
Now to focus on getting this hamstring good in 2 weeks and relaxing while I taper. After Twin Cities Marathon I need to refocus my training, cut back on running and work on strength, stability and flexibility. This will also begin my new schedule where I will add in much more swimming, biking and anything else. How do you deal with a bad race(s)? What are you favorite non-running cardio activities?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mud Factor 5K

This will be short and sweet, so much that I honestly debated even writing about it. When I registered I had all intentions of fully participating but today that changed, I have two big races soon (including one Sunday) and didn't want to risk injury. This weekend also marked the start of fall and the coldest day we've had in over 6 months. I was not happy about running through cold mud in 40 degree air!

After running 5 miles with my group and a strong internal debate I decide to stop wimping out and go. I can always just run, right? Matt and I somehow managed to get up to the front of our wave which was wonderful since at least 3/4 of the people weren't even running. We were lucky enough to be able to run, I realized this about 1 mile in when I looked back and saw the crowd of walkers and back up at obstacle 1.

Yes, I wimped out of many of the obstacles, many since I knew my numb, gloved hands wouldn't work well to support me and there was no need to risk a fall. Matt on the other hand completed every obstacle and ended mud covered.

Looking back it probably wasn't the smartest idea to plan this the day before a big race and 2 weeks before a marathon, as I climbed the final rope wall I kept thinking what happens if I fall? Maybe next year I'll plan a race like this when I know the weather will be warm and I don't need to worry about  big race following. Don't get me wrong, it was fun, just not the best timing and weather.

Someone else wanted to play in the mud too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mail suprises

Skirt Sports Women's Wonder Girl Dress

This past week I have gotten many great things in the mail...

Skirt Sports Wonder Girl Dress
 I entered an online contest through Skirt Sports and was very surprised to find out I won! Not only did I get the dress, but also a new Fuel Belt. Love the dress, it fits great, but not sure about running in a dress. Anyone ever run in a dress, what did you think? I have a couple skirts but somehow this just seems different. If nothing else it will be great on hot days and thanks to the nice little pocket inside it will be perfect for vacation in Costa Rica with somewhere to stash my room key without needing pockets.

A few weeks back I was contacted by Pro Bar to be an ambassador for their product, of course! Who wouldn't want to be associated with a healthy snack bar that tastes great. I received my first box along with a t-shirt and cute coffee mug. I got the Fruition Bars: Blueberry, Lemon and Peach plus a few Nutty Marshmallow (vegan!). I have tried them all and love them (more to come). They were nice enough to give me a second box, so watch for a giveaway soon! Grabbing a Nutty Marshmallow for my post-run snack today, can't wait!

Skechers GoRun Shoes
The gym I work for has a connection with Skechers and all the run coordinators were provided with a pair of the new GoRun shoes to try. Love free shoes! Unfortunately they aren't working to run in, but are great for just wearing around. I am so picky on my run shoes and these seem to be too wide and not much arch. Oh well, they are fun and have worked well for other activities. Check out the bright color!

And finally my new iPhone 5 was delivered yesterday! Making the transition from Droid and I can't wait. Anything fun in the mail lately?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall is in the air

I love fall, okay most of it except the fact that it means winter is on the way which I can do without. But fall is wonderful: pumpkins, squash, apples, cooler running weather and marathons. Besides the joy of drinking coffee and eating pumpkin anything to refuel after a run there are so many reasons to love fall running...
Cooler temperatures: No more (or much less) extreme heat allowing for pushing through runs much easier and speeding up.
  • Let the cooler weather guide you and after a short warm up add short intervals of speed or increase overall pace
  • Enjoy not always needing to carry water
  • Add distance slowly as you feel it, likely being able to cover a longer run in the same time as the summer heat
  • Crisp morning air is the perfect way to wake up
  • No more waking up super early to avoid the heat
  • Time to pull out the cute long sleeve running clothes that have been packed away all summer
  • Enjoy the changing leaves
  • No ice or snow yet instead the sound of crunching leaves under your feet are the soundtrack of the season
  • Fall means marathon season is here! 2 weeks to go...
What is your favorite part of fall?

To take advantage of pumpkin season I decided it was time to change my pumpkin bread recipe to a gluten free version. The result was great, love the addition of fresh ginger adding a little kick.

Pumpkin Spice Bread
1 c oat flour
½ cup pecans ground fine
1/2 c oats
½ c brown rice flour
1/2 c dates, packed (soak for a few mins in warm water if dry)
1/2 c non-dairy milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger (I used fresh and pureed with dates, added a great flavor)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c raisins or chopped dates
½ c pumpkin seeds

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Mix dry ingredients (flour, ground nuts, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices). Sift or stir with a fork to combine.
Puree dates and pumpkin in a high-powered blender. Add remaining wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, vanilla and non-dairy milk), combine. Add to dry ingredients, stir to combine. Add in raisins and nuts.
Pour into nonstick or sprayed bread pan. I used 4 small and baked 28 minutes