Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Black bean taquitos

Hey guys.

Yesterday: 7 easy miles, treadmill progression run
Today: : 5 easy miles, treadmill progression run

Yesterday I was just trying to take it easy so I wouldn't regret my increased mileage. Most of my treadmill runs are progression runs, I start out slower and increase my speed gradually throughout the run. Usually I just increase the speed when I feel like I've adjusted to the last increase and the amount I increase by varies. I just kind of see how I feel. Generally once I hit a speed I don't go back down unless I'm done and need a cooldown.

Today I was going to do an interval run but once I got started my hips were a little tight and I didn't want to be hurting for the 7 I've got planned tomorrow. Maybe I'll throw some intervals in tomorrow.

I was feeling like I didn't give a rip today and went to the store right from the gym. No stopping at home to shower and change my clothes. Sorry other Kroger shoppers...I was as quick as I could be. We were in and out. Paul asked me to make food for him to take to a mexican themed potluck at work. I made some americanized mexican food. I guess I'd call them black bean taquitos. As with most things, I just made it up as I went along.

Here's what I used:
3 cans black beans-drained and rinsed
1 can corn-drained
8 oz cream cheese-room temp
1/2 to 3/4 cup salsa
about 1/4 cup fresh cilantro-coarsely chopped
1/2 pkg dry ranch seasoning
taco sized flour tortillas-about 20 of them
shredded mexican blend cheese-about 2 cups

I just mixed the cream cheese with the salsa, cilantro, and ranch seasoning then added the beans and corn. Then put a row of bean mixture on each tortilla, top with a pinch of cheese and roll it up. I found it was easier to roll them up if I put the beans off to one side rather than down the middle. Line them up on a baking sheet, they can be touching, and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. I baked them until the ends were golden brown. They were good! Sadly I sent them all with Paul so I have no idea what we're going to eat. I'm not cooking again today.

Quite the pile...

Then we played in the snow. I needed to shovel since it's snowing again. I knew if I let it pile up it would be really heavy. It was such a gross wet snow. We were soaked. My yard is a disgusting combination of snow, slush and mud. It's really great when 12 muddy dog feet come charging in the door. We made the best of it and had fun.

Anyone else get out and enjoy the snow today?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kombucha, a cat and cookies


Today was a rest day from running. It's looking like its going to be a rest day from any kind of workout. Lorelei and I have been busy today and I'm looking forward to plopping myself on the couch after she goes to bed.

My tentative running schedule for the week is looking like this:
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 7 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 3 miles
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 3 miles
35 miles total

I have no problem adjusting this if I feel like I need to.

While I'm talking about running, I read a good article in March 2013 issue of Running Times. It's written by Greg McMillan and he gives you tips for running with a GSP. I feel like almost all of us use these gadgets these days so I figured I'd share his tips with some commentary of my own.

1. Don't look at your GPS for the first 10 minutes of your run. You need to give your body time to settle into the pace not let your watch set the pace. I absolutely agree with this, it definitely takes me a few minutes to warm up and settle in.
2. Let your pace vary. You'll naturally run some sections of your route faster or slower. Generally I just like to know what my average pace is at the end of a run, I don't really care about mile splits so I don't check as I go unless I'm shooting for a certain number of miles and I need to check to see that I've hit it.
3. Don't question the race distance. It doesn't matter what your GPS says, they are very precise about measuring race distances. End of story.
4. Don't race the GPS. Use the GPS to help you stay in the correct training zone for the workout you're doing.
5. Leave it at home. The GPS is just a training tool. You should learn to run by feel and rely on that more than anything.

Today we went shopping for a few things including a jar to make kombucha in. I've been growing my SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) and it's been ready I just needed to get a jar. Not familiar with kombucha? I'd recommend you Google it but here is a link that will give you some info on what it is and how it's made. Basically, it's a fermented sweet tea. Lots of the crazy hippie, health food nuts :) that drink it say it has all sorts of health benefits but none of them have been proven in studies. I just think it tastes good. The whole bacteria and yeast thing sounds gross, but we still eat yogurt, right?  

Here's my SCOBY, growing in a glass. If you Google it you can see just how gross they really look.

We also went to the shelter and picked up a foster cat today. He's an old man, 12 years old, and I'm a sucker for the old animals. Puppies and kittens are cute, but they're a ton of work and kind of obnoxious. He's so cute and sweet and I feel so sad that he ended up at the shelter at his age. He has a bit of a cold now but when he's over that he can go back and find a new family. I absolutely love that MHS will put these old guys up for adoption and it hurts my heart that people don't seem to find as much value in the old ones as they do in the babies. Anyway, Lorelei decided to call him Bob even though he had a name. Oh well, Bob is better.

We're ending our night by making cookies. My favorite cookies. I know I've told you about them before, they're just chocolate chip cookies but you also add peanut butter chips and pretzel pieces. I don't measure how much of the chips or pretzels I use, I just eyeball it. Add as much or as little as you'd like. Don't be afraid of the pretzels, they are wonderful! I eat healthy most of the time so I don't mind having cookies occasionally when I'm PMSing. That's really the only time I feel like I need to have dessert.

What are your favorite cookies?
Do you always run with a watch or GPS?

Have a good night!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'm cold. And hungry.

And I need someone to rub my feet.

Yep, I just finished my long run. And by just finished I mean over an hour ago.

I did yesterday's 5 miles at an easy pace so I wouldn't struggle today. It was a good idea.

Paul did the first few miles with me and then I left him at home. He was tired and needed to sleep before he goes to work tonight, or he's just a whiny baby. I'm not sure. I really wasn't in the mood to run today, my stomach was a bit upset but I sucked it up and went. I was brainstorming with Paul about what pants would be best to wear if i had any "issues". I was joking, sort of. Hey, it happens, luckily its never happened to me. For the record, I was fine. Getting out the door was hard. It was even harder to leave my running buddies at home and set out again knowing I still had 5.5 miles to go. My good friends of Mumford and Sons got me through though. Nine miles done for a total of 30 this week. I'd like to do 35 next week but I haven't made a plan for that yet.

Random pics from the weekend:

Saturday morning coffee in the backyard.

Lorelei demonstrating her foam roller technique

Lorelei drew this picture of Paul and I. I'm the smaller head.

And this is one of her and I as cats. I think we look like veggies :)

Love that girl.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Intervals and Coffee

Well, I don't even know where to start today. It's almost Friday! Good news for those of you that have weekends off.

Yesterday: 4 easy treadmill miles at the gym
Today: I was going to do my long run, but my weekend plans have changed so I did 6 miles consisting of a 2 mile warm up, 2.5 miles of intervals, and a 1.5 mile cool down. I did 800m intervals (.5 miles) at 8:xx pace, I didn't keep precise tabs on the exact pace, and 400m (.25 miles) at 10 min pace to recover. Repeat for 2.5 miles. I didn't want to do anything too fast since I'm still kind of testing the waters since getting back to training so I kept the faster pace pretty comfortable. I'm going to try to make intervals a more regular part of my running and will be able to increase the pace when I'm confident that I'm not overdoing it. Running intervals felt good. I gave me a little taste of my old pace without leaving me feeling exhausted and sore.

There are only 7 weeks until my first race of the season. It's a half marathon and I'm not worried about being able to finish it, but I was hoping to be able to train well and see what I could do. I've yet to set a time goal, I think this has a lot to do with a) not having a previous half marathon time of my own to compare it to b) having a very rough start to training and not knowing where I will be by the time this race rolls around and c) its scary to tell you what my time goal is because then I have to tell you if I don't make it. I'm going to give it some thought in the next few days and see what I can come up with for a realistic goal. If I have to scrap those plans when race days rolls around then fine. Not really.

I haven't been telling you about many yummy things lately because I haven't been doing much cooking. When it's just Lorelei and I for dinner it seems silly to spend lots of time cooking, the two of us don't eat much. We've been eating lots of salads (well, I have), wraps, and sandwiches. Nothing too exciting about that.

Instead of food, lets talk coffee. In the March 2013 issue of Redbook there's an article called Is Caffeine the World's Best Drug? Obviously my answer is YES! If I could only have one thing to eat or drink all day I'd have to pick coffee. Unless it's gross coffee, then I'd pick wine.
Here is why caffeine (in it's natural form meaning coffee and tea, not soda and energy drinks) is good for you.
Regular (not decaf) coffee can cut your diabetes risk in half and reduce your odds of getting a certain kind of breast cancer by 57%, also drinking 3 to 5 cups daily can reduce your odds of getting dementia by 65%
A Harvard study found that women that drank 2 to 3 cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a lower risk of depression than non coffee drinkers. Caffeine triggers the release of dopamine, the "feel good" chemical.
They also said caffeine contributes to a smaller waistline and easier workouts. Obviously drinking soda or energy drinks will not lead to less weight gain, they're full of sugar. The fake sugars in the diet stuff have been linked to weight gain, as well as worse things, so leave that alone too.

That's no joke!

I know I told you I was going out of town this weekend, but that's not happening anymore. We were going to visit family in Wisconsin but a couple of them have the flu and we don't want any of that. It was a big bummer to hear that last night. Hopefully we can find another weekend soon that works. I did have some other things going on this weekend that weren't as fun so I was going to skip them, guess now I have no excuse. Also, Paul has time off this weekend so who knows what adventures we'll drag him along on. Luckily the weather here will be a bit warmer and I won't have to do 9 miles on the 'mill.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

6 miles and the Chicago Marathon registration is open!


I had 5 miles on the calendar this morning. I'm shooting for 30 miles this week with a 9 mile long run somewhere in there. Maybe Thursday. I'm going out of town, out of the state actually, this weekend so I'd like to do it before then. Since Friday's are usually a rest day, Thursday seems like a good choice.

This morning it was really cold and windy and I just wasn't up for freezing. Lorelei and I went to the gym. It's a good thing because we stepped out the door and both nearly fell because it was so slippery. I got a new pair of ear buds and today was the first day I used them. My old ones were shocking the inside of my ear. The new ones stink. I couldn't keep them on. I must have super small ears or something because the ones that wrap around never work for me. Lesson learned. I like the ones that came with my iPhone when I run outside, but for some reason they don't work with the treadmill. I felt thankful for closed captioning on the TV today even if that meant I had to listen to the terrible music they were playing at the gym.

I was only planning to do 5 miles today, but the run felt so good I just didn't want to stop. I did an extra mile and then forced myself to stop. I kept telling myself that I want tomorrows run to be good so I better not do too much today. And I had a full day planned for Lorelei and I.

Registration for the 2013 Chicago Marathon opened today! If you'd like to run it you better hurry and sign up. Last year it sold out in a record 6 days! I will not be running Chicago this year. I'm still planning on a marathon or two but not that one. I'm going to try a smaller race this time around. I didn't enjoy spending 99% of the race weaving my way through people. Until they fix that whole thing where the charity runners get to start in the front, I probably won't be there. It's very frustrating to have trained hard to run a marathon and then have to spend the entire thing trying to get around people that haven't and are already walking at the 5k mark. Also, my sister in law is getting married that weekend and I'm her maid of honor.

Lorelei and I are off to church to hang with some lovely ladies. See you tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rest day

Hey guys!

Yesterday I did a slow 3.1 mile run. Just a little shakeout run to get my miles in for the week. I ended up with 26.2 for the week, too perfect to plan! My legs felt tired and heavy but not sore.

Mondays are usually a planned rest day for me and I needed it today. I did do an at home workout though, mainly arms and core. Here's what I ended up doing. I just made it up as I went along.

This is what I mean by reverse tabletop extension, I got this from Women's Heath mag.

Plank up downs: get in push up position then lower (one arm at a time) onto your forearms and then raise back up to push up position. It says right arm or left arm depending on which one I started with.
Toe taps: lay on your back, raise legs and bend knees to 90 degrees. Keeping knees bent, tap toes to the floor and bring back up. I do both legs at the same time but you can alternate to make it easier.

Wild workout hair. Awesome.

The girl and I went shopping today. She needed new shoes before we go out of town this weekend. And she wanted to go to the bookstore.

Dinner was roasted parsnips, garlic green beans, a salmon burger (not to be confused with salmon patties), and Mac n cheese, for Lorelei, I'm still not feelin' pasta so I just had a taste.

If you've never roasted your root vegetables you're missing out. It's the best way to eat them.

Lorelei enjoyed the beans.

Hope you had a great day!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Making a comeback

Hello! This morning we went to the farmers market. My just for fun purchases were Cinnamon Whipped Honey (haven't tried it yet) and butter pecan caramel corn.

They aren't kidding, that stuff is addictive! Love it!

I was planning my longer run for today. I had no idea it was going to snow and once it started it accumulated quickly. I almost pushed the longer run to tomorrow but didn't want to run through a bunch of snow. Instead we just ran with it blowing right in our faces the entire time. It was crazy out there, there was a big accident and pileup on the freeway that we ran past, and later we saw a guy that had some serious road rage get out of his car and start yelling obscenities at the guy behind him. What's wrong with people? He obviously needs to go on a run, runners aren't that angry.

For me, the run was good, easy even with the snow. We did a 9:24 pace, I'll gladly take that for a long run pace these days. Great success.

Here's some pretty pics of us at about 4.5 miles in while we were getting a drink.

And just so you know how attractive I looked at the end...

My nice, snow free sidewalks have disappeared. Sad.

We came home, showered and passed out on the couch.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Let's talk numbers

Pace and mileage are the only numbers I care about at the moment so we'll stick to those. I had a good run today!

I didn't feel like going, especially by myself, but I checked my log for the week and saw that I only needed 3 more miles to make it to 15, leaving me only 10 to do this weekend. I really want to do 25 miles this week since I did 20 last week. Then if I continue to feel good I'll do 30 the week after that and so on. 5 miles a week seems like an appropriate increase for me. I definitely feel like a lot of my aches and pains and exhaustion I was feeling a few weeks ago was from trying to do too much too soon. I hadn't been doing 30 miles a week consistently for a couple of months so last month when I tried to just jump back in at that mileage my body had a hard time. I'm going to be smarter and increase my mileage gradually like I should have done before. Be smarter than I was. And listen to your body. I knew I was doing too much and I backed way off for a couple weeks and feel great now.

I did my 3 miles today and it felt good. I didn't plod along slowly like I have been. I put in a comfortably hard effort. I guess I'd call it a tempo run. Let me tell you what I mean by easy and tempo runs. I consider a run to be easy when I can run and have a conversation, a few sentences at a time, without difficulty. Tempo runs are faster than easy runs but not an all out race pace. You aren't going as fast as you can, you can still talk a little, not in sentences, but a few words. There are plenty of more technical definitions that take your heart rate or mile pace into account, but I prefer to run by feel for these runs and not wear all sorts of gadgets to monitor these things.

When I finished and realized I'd run it at a 9 minute pace I was happy. It's been awhile since I've seen those numbers on my watch. Unfortunately, I started to compare my time today with my times from months ago, pre marathon, when I was training consistently and running better than I am now. At that point 9 min pace was my "easy" pace not my "tempo" pace. And for a lot farther than 3 miles. Comparison really is the thief of joy. I'm hoping that when I get my mileage back up my speed will return too.

For this weekend, I'm planning a longer run tomorrow. Probably 7 miles, and then a 3 miler the next day. Here's hoping they go well. Happy running!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Ok, let's start with yesterday.

Lorelei, the dogs and I made it home. Before we left I decided to get one last run in while I had a babysitter.

The roads were still really icy but now they had a layer of snow on them. That helps with driving but not really with running. I almost fell twice. Here's my first slip...

I kind of just wanted to call it quits and not risk killing myself on the ice. Instead I just took it slow and was careful. 3 miles done! The entire time I was running I was thinking about how hard running has been for me lately and how I feel so out of shape and just slow. I really hope a lot of that slowness has to do with the ice and snow. Those of us that tough it out all winter really have to fight for a lot of those miles. They aren't easy.

I'm really hoping that when spring gets here I have something to show for all these hard winter miles. Keep toughing it out friends, winter will be over soon! I was actually surprised to get home yesterday and find no snow, the sun shining and it was almost 40*.

We had no food so I was forced to go shopping last night. By the time I got home it was late so I just threw something together quickly for dinner. Here's a great example of something that was quick to make and super healthy. A spinach, mushroom and tofu wrap.

I sautéed a red pepper with some mushrooms in olive oil and a little (ok, maybe a lot) of balsamic vinegar. What can I say, I love that stuff. Garlic, salt, pepper and oregano to season. I added some cubed tofu at the end. I was going to sauté the spinach too, but warm, soggy spinach didn't sound good at the time. Instead, I made a bed of fresh spinach on a tomato and basil wrap and topped it with the tofu, mushrooms and red pepper. So, so good! I added some shredded italian cheeses to mine.

This morning Paul woke us up with my favorite breakfast, banana french toast. He stopped on his way home from work this morning to shop. Lorelei was VERY excited about Valentines Day and he didn't disappoint her.

This afternoon we made cupcakes to send to work with Paul tonight. I don't want those things around the house. We kept a few of them and sent the rest with him.

Just as we were heading out the door to run I realized it was raining. I told Lorelei we weren't going after all. I didn't think we'd get very far because of the weather. For some reason I always feel like if I can't run as far as I was planning then there's no reason to go at all. That's obviously stupid. Any number of miles is better than none at all, right? I decided not to be a wimp and we went anyway. No, I'm not a terrible parent, I have a plastic stroller cover. She was dry and happy watching a movie.

It was a real kick in the pants to have to push that thing in the wind for 3 miles though. I'm glad we didn't do more than that. The wind really catches that plastic and it's like trying to push a sail boat. Ok, maybe I'm a tad dramatic, but it's hard.

I'm going to spend the rest of the night with my little Valentine. Go love someone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not a Fat Tuesday

I started my day off right! I had leftovers for breakfast, a bean burrito covered with cheese and rice on the side. Lorelei ate most of my rice.

And some kombucha.

We were supposed to go home today but the roads weren't very good so we didn't. We'll try again tomorrow.

I did manage to get to my moms and do 6.5 miles on the treadmill. It was slow. At one point I realized I wasn't even breathing hard and made an effort to speed it up after that. It felt good to run for an extended period of time again, even if it was inside. And slow.

I know it's Fat Tuesday, and i married into a Polish family, but there was no way I was going to eat an extra fattening doughnut that had as many calories as I burned on my run. I burn just under 100 calories a mile so, I'd literally be eating all those calories back. You can all go and get fat without me. I did eat 2 Birthday Cake Oreos for dessert.

If you're curious to know what you burn per mile of running you can find lots of calculators online that you just plug your info into. The number it spits out on the treadmill is not accurate so don't go by that. Here is a link to one of those handy calculators. Also, here is an article about calories burned while running versus calories burned while walking. It's not the same number.

Lorelei made me an adorable Valentine today with Aunt Erynn's help.

She also picked on Jack.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekend photo dump

Instead of recapping my entire weekend I'll just give you the pics and you can fill in the blanks.

There was lots of eating, mainly with my sister in law Heather and her fiancée Obi. And some running with my mom and then Heather. I managed 20 miles this week which is about 10 less than I'd like, but at least I'm running relatively pain free.

We ate at this bar. I like that they still had lights up. I liked the portobello mushroom burger I had even better.

The mushroom was marinated in balsamic vinegar and came with pesto to put on top. Amazing!

There was some hair doing. A fire in a snow fort, a bottle of wine and old episodes from Shark Week. Perfect Saturday night.

Yep, I was outside with a towel on my wet hair.

There were also lots of Castor snuggles.

And since I know you all come here to look at the super awesome pics I took on my phone, here are some more.

This was Spongebob French toast.

Grandpa Jim

Gravy fries. It's hard to tell, but they had some sort of gravy (that tasted nothing like gravy), cheese, and sour cream on them.

Then there was a super fun drive back from Muskegon on icy roads. Luckily they weren't really, really bad until I was close-ish to my destination. It's also nice that the really slippery roads weren't busy. Bouncing off snowbanks is better if there aren't lots of other cars around to get in the way. No, I wasn't going too fast. My foot wasn't even on the gas a lot of the time. The roads were just soooo slippery. At the moment, I'm watching cars slide backwards down the hill by my in laws house.

Hope you had a good weekend. Stay safe out there.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow day!

Yesterday I decided to start our weekend early and we headed north. They were supposed to get lots of snow and I wanted to get there before that happened. The roads were already quite snowy when we arrived but not too bad.

It snowed the rest of the day and all night.

Olive wasn't a fan.

Once the road was plowed I headed out for a run. There was still enough snow on the road to make running a lot of work. I kept it short, 3 miles. That wore me out. Running hills in loose snow does that to you I guess.

It was so sunny and beautiful out!

Also, today is my grandparents 49th wedding anniversary! They are two of the most wonderful people I know. Many of my best childhood memories involve them.

Love you guys! Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jack is a distance runner.


Today Paul was tired and wanted to stay in bed instead of go for a run. Something about 14 hour shifts catching up with him. He agreed to let Lorelei snuggle in bed with him and watch a movie so I could run though. Deal!

I was just about to leave and my sweet boy Jack decided he REALLY wanted to come with me.

I couldn't say no to that face so I snuck him out before the other two dogs caught on.

I occasionally take Jack on runs, but he's never done more than 3 miles. I don't take Brown because he's old and has to stop to lift his leg on everything and I don't take Olive because it's like trying to run behind a charging rhino. Especially when she sees a squirrel. Jack is kind of perfect though. He never stops to go to the bathroom, even on walks, and he doesn't pull me around. He also isn't a freak around strange people or dogs we meet.

Today I wanted to run 5 miles. Just to see how it felt. The last time I did it wasn't so great but yesterday's run felt good and I wanted to see how today felt. I figured if he got too tired we'd just stop and walk. I'm happy to tell you that I felt good and Jack seemed to enjoy himself too. We went slow, I don't want to push it just yet. He was so good. Of course my expectations aren't that high. I don't insist on him staying by my side. As long as he's not pulling on the leash we're good. And he was polite when we had to share the sidewalk.

Here he is waiting patiently to cross the street.

I love this dog. Hard.

Everything was wonderful and we were about 5 blocks from home when I saw a big white blur come running at us out of the corner of my eye. This is pretty much one of my worst nightmares, coming across a loose dog when I have one of my dogs. I don't worry about me, I worry about them. Of course, because I live in metro Detroit, the stray dog was a pit bull. Now let me clear something up, I'm not anti pit, or pit bull paranoid. I like them as much as I like any other dog. But, (you knew there was a but) since I live in metro Detroit and worked in animal welfare for years, I'm a bit cautious when I see them running the streets. It seems like around here, the only kind of people that own these dogs are really responsible or really irresponsible. Obviously, we know what kind of owners this intact male with no collar has. Certainly they don't bother to familiarize themselves with the stereotypes surrounding the breed or to make sure the dog is properly socialized. But really, seeing any kind of stray dog charging at me is scary. This one just happened to be a pit.

I grabbed Jacks head, because he gets a bit protective of me and I didn't want him to growl or start a fight. This dog had no interest in me though. It went right for Jack. First just really intense sniffing, then it was pushing Jack around with his head like a bulldozer. It was a bit unsettling to say the least. I didn't enjoy the sound of his head thudding against poor Jack.

I saw a guy sitting outside on his phone. He told me the dog wasn't his, it just followed him home when he was walking. He offered to come get it but assured me the dog was just a big baby. Of course since it didn't have a collar he had a hard time getting ahold of it and was complaining about how strong it was. I was contemplating trying to pick up my 80 some pound dog, I was getting panicky. He finally grabbed ahold of random dogs back legs and we took off. I don't think I've ever run so fast in my life. I didn't even look behind me until we were almost home. I guess I'm going to have to get more pepper spray, if not for me, for Jack.

Our lovely city no longer has animal control, they can't afford it, but the nice dispatcher at the police department said she'd send someone out to look for Mr. Stray Pit.

On another note. I've found the best way to eat bananas that are too ripe. Slice them, freeze them, and top with nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter the last couple times). So so good. They taste like ice cream when they're frozen.