Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nine Mile Run

Yesterday, Amy and I got up bright and early to run nine miles. I was excited (and a little nervous) for two reasons. First, we planned to run past the National Marathon runners, the gorgeous cherry blossoms and the monuments. I knew lot of distractions would make the time pass quickly. Second, I was excited because it was the first time to ever run nine miles!

It was cold  when we started out, but we were in good spirits anyway!

We started out strong and ran across the 14th Street Bridge into the city.

Once we got into the city, we ran along the along the water, picked our way through tourists and passed the Lincoln.

We ran up Constitution Ave and passed all of the amazing marathon runners. They were on their 16th and 17th mile! Once we ran passed the Capitol, we ran back past the Jefferson.
And then we got lost! We didn't know how to get back to the 14th Street Bridge. Desperate to finish our run, we took some desperate measures...

We climbed up a rickety step ladder, hopped over the guard rail and found ourselves on the 14th Street Bridge! We ran in the pedestrian lane as the cars whizzed by and finally made it back down to the GW Parkway. After just a few more minutes, we reached mile nine! 

Due to all the confusion, it hardly even registered that we had just for a long time! Unfortunately, a few hours later, it registered with my body. I actually think I pulled my left groin muscle :( With a bit of rest, I'm hoping to repair any damage I might have done this weekend. Here's to hoping I heal! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The things I'm learning...

Two weeks from this Sunday, I will be running 10 consecutive miles for the first time in my life. For many people, this isn't a big deal. For me, it's major. What may be an even bigger deal is how much I'm learning about myself as a runner in the process of training for those 10 miles.

I'm learning that I'm a determined. There have been many barriers over the past few months that could have interfered with my scheduled runs, but no matter what, I've found ways to get the miles in. Last weekend, it took me an hour to get to the starting point of my long run; at 7am, I walked 1.25 miles to the metro, rode the metro, and walked another .5 mile to my destination. I've learned I will go to great lengths, to run great lengths. 

I'm learning that I'm not patient, but exercising a bit of it will pay off. It takes me a while to get into a run; sometimes its several minutes and sometimes its several miles. During those first few minutes or miles, I'm bored, my mind won't settle, I wish away the time, dread how long the run is going to take me... and then, suddenly just like that, I'm in it. My stride evens, my body relaxes and it actually feels good, sometimes amazing. I've learned that if I'm patient, that good feelings will appear before too long. 

I'm learning that one day, I might just be a good runner. I'm not the fastest runner and I certainly haven't pushed myself very far in the distance department. I don't own a Garmin, I didn't know what negative splits were until a few months ago, and without Amy, I would probably be clueless regarding most things having to do with running. But what I do know, is that my body naturally responds when I ask it to run further and faster. The more I run, the more I realize that some day, after many more training runs and many more races, I might just surprise myself by how far I can go and how fast I can get there. 

And I'm learning that running is something that is done most enjoyably with others, especially if those people are good friends or family. Yet, much of the time, I'm forced to run alone. Although running is tougher alone, it's something that just can't be avoided. Plus, I know it's important to learn how to do on my own. And in that regard, I think running is a lot like life. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

White Bean and Kale Soup

Although the weather is getting warmer, I'm still in the mood for soup. After my 4.5 mile run this morning and a trip to Costco, I made a big pot of white bean and kale soup. This soup is nutritious and really yummy. I bet it would be great with a big slice of warm bread and butter.

Ingredients

1 32 oz. box of low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
1 lb of chopped
1 small white onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
3 15 oz. cans of Great Northern Beans
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary finely diced
Olive Oil
3 ounces of shredded, mixed Italian cheese such as Parm, Asiago, Fontina, Provolone (I used Trader Joes Quattro Formaggi).

Directions 

Coat the bottom of a stock pot with olive oil. Saute the onion in the olive oil on medium heat for about three minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another two minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the chicken broth into the pot. Add the kale and let cook for about 3 minutes. Drain 2 cans of the beans and add those to the pot. Add the rest of the chicken broth, the shredded cheese and the rosemary. Drain the 3rd can of beans and puree them in a blender. Once pureed, add them to the soup and mix well. Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

While the husband is away...

What's a girl to do when her husband is away all weekend for a soccer tournament?  Get up at 6am, run 8 miles, play the role of the crazy cat lady, bake and watch Sex and the City. Did you expect anything less?

Amy and I had a great run this morning! Amy brought me a Triple Berry Gu. We're trying to figure out what little "snack" we want after the first 60 minutes of our 10 mile run. The Gu tasted like jelly. I could only stomach about half. I will not be buying or eating Gu any time in the near future. Next weekend, we're running 9 miles and then it's time to taper!

I came home to this little guy sunning himself. Gilly was enjoying the beautiful weather too.




While Gilly napped, I worked on a paper for grad school and baked. We had quite a few brown bananas, so I made Brown Butter Roasted Banana Bread.

I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of white flour and 1/2 cup of almond meal. 

I found the recipe for the banana bread here: http://guiltykitchen.com/2009/10/31/brown-butter-roasted-banana-bread/.



If you like banana bread, you need to make this NOW. It was amazing. The top was crunchy (I sprinkled sugar on top), the center was incredibly moist and there were big chunks of bananas throughout.  I've already had two pieces, which I've justified by telling myself I ran 8 miles this morning.

I'm now switching between Sex and the City and writing a paper. I might get a little crazy and grab a beer. Enjoy your Saturday evenings!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Treadmill Thoughts

The five things I thought about when I ran intervals today:
  1. I am not one of those people who slims down when they begin running regularly. My legs have gotten thick over the past few weeks and I'm 99.9% sure it's not due to what I'm eating.
  2. I'm also not a woman that "glows" when I work out. I sweat and I sweat a lot. Today on the treadmill it took approximately two minutes for the sweat to start dripping. I watched like 18 women my age prance by me at the gym in their cute little outfits, makeup still fresh, cheeks ever so slightly flushed while I huffed and puffed on the treadmill, looking like I just got out of a sauna.
  3. I dare say that I'm ready for my upcoming 10 mile race. Mentally and physically. I'll check back with you on this after my 8 mile run this weekend and let you know if I still feel this way. Do you think I just jinxed myself?
  4. I also am going to go on a limb and say I might be ready for a half marathon. Not physically ready, yet. But mentally I think I'm ready.
  5. I've said this before, but I'll say it again. I really enjoy the feeling of being well prepared and working towards a goal. As soon as the 10 mile race is over I need to find something else to focus my physical and mental energy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Training Update

Since I only ran four miles yesterday, today I did my long run. I woke up pretty unmotivated, so instead of running right away, I did some errands. Just before 9 am, I set out. My body felt good and I settled into the run quicker than usual- normally it takes me about 3 miles to really get going. I ran for 59 minutes and covered 6.89 miles. Why the strange time and distance? I had an hour to run before I was set to meet Ryan at Costco. All in all, I'm really pleased with the ways things are going with training. I'm getting the miles in, and for the most part, it feels great!

As I ran today I was reminiscing about how nearly two years ago I couldn't even run .25 miles without stopping. Now I'm running for 7 miles at a time at a pretty respectable pace. I absolutely love the feeling of  progress! If all goes well with the 10 mile race next month, who knows what new goals I will set for myself. A half marathon maybe?

Here is a recap of this week's training schedule:


Week: 3/7-3/13
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Planned
Nothing
Zumba w/ Brenna
5 miles + PowerFlex
Elliptical
Nothing
Four Courts Four Miler :)
5 miles
Actual
Nothing
Zumba w/ Brenna 
Intervals for 40 minutes + PowerFlex
Nothing
4 miles run/walk
4 miles
6.89 Miles


Here is next week's schedule:


Week: 3/14-3/20
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Planned
PowerFlex (Spring break- No grad school)
5 miles
Intervals + PowerFlex
Zumba
Nothing
8 miles
Easy 40 minutes








Saturday, March 12, 2011

Four Courts Four Miler

Today I woke up bright and early for the Four Courts Four Miler! 

To prepare, I had my routine pre-run breakfast: A cup of coffee with skim milk and a Cherry Pie Larabar.

I was nervous because I had a terrible run yesterday morning; my legs felt like sandbags, I felt slow as molasses and I just couldn't get into a groove. I hoped my run would be better today! 

Ryan and I got to the starting line nice and early and were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by our furry friends, Milo and Morey. Milo and Morey are Brenna and Jake's pugs. These little guys come and stay with us when their parents go on vacation.  

Brenna, Amy, Amy's two friends Michelle and Rachel, and I lined up together to start the race. (The picture of all of us didn't come out. Bummer!) 

The race started and we were off! I put in my earphones and decided to push myself as much as possible for the ensuing four miles. I reached mile 1 at 7:57, mile 2 around 18:00, mile 3 around 24:00. The last mile was entirely uphill. This slowed me down a ton. I finished in 33 minutes and 51 seconds. My overall pace was 8:28 per mile. I'm pretty happy about that! :)

Since I usually do my long runs on Saturday, I will be doing my long run tomorrow morning.  I'm shooting for 6 or 7 miles. Next Saturday, Amy and I are running 8 miles. We're getting closer and closer  to our ten-miler- it's only a few weeks away! 




Thursday, March 10, 2011

Banana Pudding!

It's a good thing I did intervals last night and took PowerFlex because tonight I made banana pudding for the very first time! One word: Ridiculous.

I used Paula Dean's recipe, which had 1,746 reviews. Almost every single review gushed about how amazing it was. Clearly, I had to try it.

The recipe had just a few simple ingredients...

Bananas, vanilla wafers, whipped cream, cream cheese,
sweetened condensed milk (my favorite thing ever!),
vanilla pudding and bananas. (Not pictured: Skim milk, sugar, vanilla extract)

After following the directions carefully and lots of licks of whipped cream, I assembled this:


I will be bringing the beauty above to a dinner party tomorrow evening. I guarantee everyone is going to love it- I certainly enjoyed the two bowls I had tonight ;) I can't believe I've made it 26 years without banana pudding!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rainy Sunday

I have a lot to report on this rainy Sunday evening. Let's start with Friday evening...

Friday evening was super low key and set the tone for the entire weekend. Ryan got Chipotle for dinner, so I was on my own for dinner. I made a salad with some baked chicken. Ryan and I split a pint of Ben & Jerry's for dessert and watched Inside Man. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you do! It was entertaining and just the kind of movie I wanted to watch after a crazy week. After the movie, we turned in early. 

I got up at 6:15 on Saturday morning, did some studying, and got ready for my run. Usually, I drink a cup of coffee and eat a cherry pie Lara bar before I run. Since I was out of Lara bars, I defrosted some frozen berries and ate them along with a cup of coffee yogurt. I also drank about two cups of coffee. Anyone who runs knows how important their pre-run fuel is and most runners seem to find a pre-run food that works for them and stick with it. Cherry pie Lara bars are my pre-run food of choice, but I have to say, the berries and yogurt were pretty good too! (Btw, I'm now calling myself a runner! Weird!)

Amy and I met up at Roosevelt Island at 7:45am and ran a really nice and comfortable 7-miles. We chatted the entire time and honestly, it felt great. Both of us started out feeling were nervous about the distance, but we felt confident when we finished. You really can't ask for more than that! After yesterday's run, I can actually say I'm excited for our upcoming 8-miler in two weekends because I know I'll be able to get through it and I may even enjoy it. 

The rest of my Saturday was filled with studying. I also conducted a focus group for my final grad school project. Late afternoon, Ryan and I had a movie date to see The Adjustment Bureau. I really liked it! It was actually kind of funny at parts, which was surprising. I definitely recommend that you go out and see it! 

Although, I planned to run this morning it was pouring out when I got up. Since I'm trying to save my knees by avoiding the treadmill, I skipped heading the gym and decided to study instead. While I studied, Ryan slept and Gilly pondered life while he sat on the windowsill and watched the rain. 

Now, onto my grocery shopping report. I made a trip to Trader Joes early this morning and Ryan and I went to Costco shortly after. We really stuck to the list I made and wound up staying on budget. Here was the breakdown of what we bought:







Here's a picture of the loot from Trader Joes, with a hint of Gilligan: 

Trader Joes
Costco
1 can of organic kidney beans
1 gallon of skim milk
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
2 tubs of cottage cheese
1 can of black beans
1 quart of heavy cream
1 can of cannellini beans
1 package of brussel sprouts
2 boxes of masala veggie burgers
Six avocados
1 package of extra lean ground beef
1 package of string cheese
3 Lara bars
Sliced apples
1 package of baby spinach
1 pineapple
2 chocolate yogurts
Baby spinach
2 yogurts with granola
3 cucumbers
1 package of shredded cheese
Laundry detergent
1 tub of light butter

1 liter of balsamic vinegar

Fresh rosemary

1 ball of whole wheat pizza dough


Total: $38.13

Total: $66.35


In terms of exercise, here's how I did last week and what's on tap for this week.


Week: 2/28
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Planned
Rest
Run Outside 3-5 miles
Elliptical and PoweFlex
Zumba
Rest
7 miles
Easy Run
Actual
Nothing
 Ran for 30-minutes outside with Ryan
PowerFlex 
 Nothing
 Nothing
Ran 7 miles
Easy run for 30-minutes and weights



Next Week

Week: 3/7-3/13
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Planned
Nothing
Zumba w/ Brenna
5 miles + PowerFlex
Elliptical
Nothing
Four Courts Four Miler :)
5 miles







Thursday, March 3, 2011

Groceries Galore

I interrupt this regularly scheduled study session to bring you a blog post all about groceries. Warning: this is super nerdy post written in the midst of learning all about randomized study design, process evaluation and ways to decrease threats to validity.

It's that time of week again... the time when I eagerly begin to think about going grocery shopping. Yup, you read that right, I said eagerly. Unlike many people I know, I love grocery shopping. There are just so many possibilities when you go into a grocery store, possibilities that make life very, very delicious. If I'm honest, I'll admit that I also love grocery shopping because it provides a sense of control; when I'm picking out things to eat, I am the one in control and no one else (unlike many other things in my life!).

Those who know me well are aware of my obession with Costco. I get this from my father, by the way. There is such an array of treats inside Costco that its often hard to stay focused and adhere to the grocery lists that I create and re-create all week long. Also, I love the surprises in Costco, you just never know what's going to show up...Michael Kors trenches, NYTimes best selling novels, Russians on pre-paid cell phones, screaming babies in Mozart wigs (those were Stefan references for all those out there who watch SNL). I'm beginning to feel similarly about Trader Joes. The only problem with these two stores is that you often can't get everything you need from them, which in turn means a trip to a third grocery store. That I do not love.

Because I love reading other people's blogs about what's on their grocery lists, what their meal plans are, and how much they spend, I'm going to share these three things with you! Here is part one: the list and the meal plan. Let's see if I can stick to both when I venture into Costco and TJ's this weekend!



Fri
Sat
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Breakfast
Coffee yogurt with a side of berries

Berry pancakes
Lara bar (pre-run)
Protein shake (post-run)
Cottage cheese with pineapple
Cottage cheese w/ pineapple
Cottage cheese w/ pineapple
Cottage cheese w/ pineapple
Cottage cheese w/ pineapple
Lunch
Salad with avocado and tuna
Grilled cheese with avocado
Salad with a veggie burger
Salad & soup
Salad & soup
Salad & soup
Salad & soup
Salad & soup
Dinner
Baked chicken with sweet potato fries and salad
Flank steak with mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts and salad


Homemade white pizza w/ baby broccoli, garlic & sun dried tomatoes
Leftover pizza
I’m going to let the stores inspire me!
Lara bar, yogurt and protein shake
I’m going to let the stores inspire me!
Dinner party! J
Snack



Apple slices & string cheese
Apple slices & string cheese
Apple slices & string cheese
Apple slices & string cheese
Apple slices & string cheese


Costco
Milk
Brussel sprouts
Lettuce
Cucumbers
Avacados
Pineapples
Apple slices
Cottage cheese
Feta cheese
String cheese
Heavy cream (I'm making an ice box cake to bring ot a dinner party)

Trader Joes
Veggie burgers
Balsamic vinegar
Mozz cheese
Whole wheat pizza dough
Mushrooms
Baby brocolli
Bananas
Lara Bars
Hot chocolate
Low-fat butter
Yogurt
Chocolate wafers (for the ice box cake- I may need to get these at a regular grocery store)

I'll be sure to let you know how well I stuck to the plan and how much it all cost this weekend! Now back to process evaluation...