Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekly review

I had an interesting week and all the workouts were concentrated toward the end.  I unfortunately ended up skipping a run so only got two in this week.

Both Monday and Tuesday ended up being rest days because I was super exhausted at the beginning of the week for some reason.  I was still exhausted on Wednesday and ended up skipping my track run with the group for just doing some DDP yoga at home.

Thursday was another rest day since I left early to drive up to New Jersey.

Friday morning I woke up early and ran arpund the neighborhood by my uncle's house.  I only had a certain amount of time since I was on kid watching duty starting at 7:30 so I only got in 2.8 miles instead of the planned 3.  But overall it was a good run.

Friday afternoon, I took the kids rock climbing and boy, was that a workout!  It was much harder than I expected but it was really enjoyable. The kids had a great time too and got a chance to work off some energy.  I don't have any photos since I forgot to take my phone.  Blogger fail.

Saturday, I did my long run at a park near my uncle's house with some great trails. I was doing a virtual 10k this week and the training plan called for 6-7 miles, so they worked well together.  The trails were super tough though. My first 10k was around 1 hour and 19 minutes while this one was 1 hour and 32 minutes!  There were a lot of elevation changes plus the fact that the terrain was really varied.  There was gravel, sand, and dirt as well as asphalt.  After about 4 miles on the trails, I ended up doing the rest on a paved loop and you can see the variance in my pace.  Going around in circles wasn't as interesting as the trail but much easier!

Saturday afternoon I took the kids bowling so that was some more activity there as well.

I ended the week on Sunday with some Jillian Michael's yoga and then drove back home.  It was a fun but exhausting week but I had a great time hanging out with my niece and nephew (my cousin's kids).  I can't believe how old they've gotten.  He's definitely getting to be a teenager!

I hope you all had a great weekend :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday five goals update

It's time for the Friday Five with Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney.

I'm writing from my uncle's house in between time hanging out with my niece and nephew and helping out my cousin since she just got out of the hospital. I thought I'd take the time for a quick blog post and since this week's theme is goals, I wanted to update you on my progress with my goals.

1.  Run my first 10k, done!  I ran the Lawyer's Have Heart 10k in June and felt good doing it :)

Post 10k brunch

2.  Run my first 10 miler and half marathon, on the way.  I'm signed up for both these races and participating in the PRR Distance Training Program so I'm feeling good about my progress on these goals.

3. 14 in 2014, more than halfway done. I've done 10 races so far this year and I'm already signed up for 3 more. I also have 2 virtual races planned so I think I'm good on this one too :)

4. 10 full push ups, this one is going ok.  I'm still doing knee push-ups but throwing in full push-ups as I can.  I haven't gotten that far on this one and can only do 3-4 full push-ups in a row.

5. Do an unassisted head stand.  I'm working on headstands in yoga and still need help, but I'm getting closer!

So there's progress being made on all my goals and they're at a good place for July :) I hope everyone has a good weekend planned ahead of them!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rockville Twilight 8k

If there is one work I can think of to describe this race, it would be "fun!" It was just a really fun experience from start to finish and very well organized. The organization makes sense since it seems to be a joint effort between Potomac Rive Running and Montgomery County Road Runners Club.

Packet pick up was at the PRR store in Rockville and it was very easy. They had hours on Friday, Saturday during the day, and right before the race. We went on Friday night and it was quick. We returned on Saturday at 7pm though the race didn't start until 8:45pm.  A friend of ours has an apartment a block from the start line so we hung out there for a while.  We walked over to the start line around 8:15 and it was a very lively atmosphere. There was a band playing and a lot of festival booths set up with various products.

The beginning was my only negative for this race.  It just seemed like a mass of people and I couldn't see any signs indicating where to start for different paces.  We also had a difficult time telling whether we were in the right place for the 8k or whether we were in the section for the fun run.  They both started at the same place but I think the fun run started after the 8k. We couldn't hear the an nicer very well so it was just confusing at the beginning. But everyone around us started moving and so did we :)

The race had 4-5 water stops, which is awesome for a 4.9 mile race!  There were also at least three places where they had set up a hose to mist water that the runners could go through.  This makes a lot of sense for a July race as it would usually be hot.  The weather here was an anomaly last week so it wasn't hot at all but it was nice to see they were well prepared. And they had on course entertainment in the form of bands set up at various places along the route.  This goes from amateur rock bands to a guy with a saxaphone.  The variety of music was cool.  A lot of the course was through neighborhoods behind the Rockville town center and people in the neighborhood were hanging out with lawn chairs, kids were out there giving five, and people were cheering.  It was such a great atmosphere!  And the volunteers were spectacular, as always.

The race was a little hilly through the neighborhood, but not too bad.  And it was mostly flat or downhill toward the end.

As far as my personal race experience, my goal was just to have fun.  I was using this to replace my long run which was supposed to be at an easy pace so I didn't have a time goal.  And I wanted to help out one of my friends that I was running with as she was struggling a bit.  So I stayed with her most of the time but at mile 4 she sent me on my way so I could finish strong.  You can see the variance in my pace here.

Another perk of the race are free race photos, which I love, even though they're not flattering. But maybe flattering is too much to ask of photos taken while you're running!

My official time was 1:10:26, or a pace of 14:11. Here is the info from Garmin which gives me a pace of 13:53.

The fun continued after the race was over with free beer for runners, snacks, more musicians, and random prizes.  It was really crowded so we opted out of staying there too long and met up with some more friends to go to a nearby restaurant for tapas and sangria.  Yum!  

This was a great race and I would definitely recommend it. It might become one I do every year because it was a fun distance, a fun event, and cool running at night.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekly review

Time for another review of my weekly works.  I started out the week with a rest day on Monday and Tuesday was yoga at work.

Wednesday was supposed to be speed work on the track with my training group but I had a meeting and couldn't make it.  I used the elliptical at home after the meeting instead.

Thursday I tried to do the speed work on my own on the treadmill at the gym at work. It went pretty well.  It was 800 meters fast, 400 meters slow, and then another 400 meters even faster than the 800m pace.  There was a 2 minute walk and then repeat the above cycle 2 more times.

Friday was a rest day and Saturday was the Rockville Twilight 8k race.  I ran it with a couple friends and we had a great time! My review of the race will hopefully be up later this week.

I ended the week with yoga at home on Sunday afternoon since I was feeling a bit sore from the race. The yoga really helped my muscles feel a bit better.

I'm not sure of the plan for this week.  I have a family member in New Jersey dealing with some medical problems so I'm going to take a couple days off work to go help out at the end of the week.  The plan is to run on Monday, yoga on Tuesday, and running on the track with the group on Wednesday. Thursday is the day I'm driving up to Jersey so it will probably be a rest day.  I thinking going to try to do yoga on Friday and run on Saturday since Sunday will be the drive back.

I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Five Favorites

It's time for another Friday Five with the DC Trifecta - Mar, Cynthia and Courtney. I love this link up and the incredible bloggers that participate.  There's more than 40 people most weeks!

This week's theme is Favorites and I thought I'd take this as an opportunity to talk about my current favorite running accessories since I received some things for my birthday that I haven't had a chance to talk about.

1.  My Garmin Forerunner 220 was a birthday gift from my parents.  I've been using it for about a month at this point and I love it so far. I had been using runkeeper on my phone before that and it was fine at first.  But for some reason the accuracy really began to decline starting in the spring.  It told me my last 10 k race was more than 8 miles! The Garmin seems much more accurate.  I also love that it's on my wrist and therefore easy to glance down and check pace, time, etc.  I just learned how to set the intervals on the watch as well.  I definitely have to keep learning how to use it so I can figure out all the options.  The only thing I like better about run keeper is that the online interface is more appealing, but that's subjective anyway.

2.  Mike got me a flipbelt for my birthday and it's awesome!  I know you're not supposed to try something new on race day but the first time I tried it was for the 10k race I did in June. Before that I had been using an arm band but it starts to be uncomfortable around 4 miles.  Plus, the flipbelt holds so much more. For those that aren't familiar with the flipbelt, it's essentially a long tube you wear around your waist or hips.  It doesn't have any separation so you just pull is on like a pair of pants.  There are four access points to the inside of the tube around the outside of the belt.  The inside of the tube is just one long pocket. I put my phone in there, as well as raisins for fuel, ID, money, and keys.  It all fit with no problem and I didn't feel any uncomfortable bouncing at all. I was worried about things falling out but it's all very secure.  The only downside I've noticed is that it can ride up from my hips to my waist and can shift around a bit.  For example, my I'd started out towards my back and was more at my side when I finished my last run.

3.  I wore two new things for that 10k race to compound my don'ts.  But thankfully both were awesome!  My in-laws gave me an amazon gift certificate for my birthday and I used it to purchase a pair of running sunglasses.  I really needed a pair that wouldn't fall of while running but I had been hesitant to spend a lot of money and they all seemed to cost a lot.  Yay for gift cards!  I had read a couple reviews for the Under Armour Marbella sunglasses so I decided on those.  They are so comfortable, lightweight, and fit so well.  I love them and they definitely help out on these hot and sunny summer runs.

4.  Speaking of hot summer runs, I've needed to have something for electrolyte replacement.  I've visibly noticed salt on my skin after my long runs, which is kind of gross.  I knew water alone wouldn't cut it any more.  I had gotten a few Nuun samples in April and they worked well so I bought a nuun sample pack from Amazon.  I love them!  They have very few calories but provide the needed electrolytes and taste pretty good.  I definitely feel better with them than just drinking water.

5. Does the treadmill count?  I don't enjoy the treadmill as much as running outside and I run slower on it but I have to admit it's a refreshing change to running outside when the heat and humidity are high.

As an added bonus have you seen this video about things cats do that would be creepy if we did them?  It's pretty hilarious :) 


I hope you all have a great weekend! I'm running an evening race tomorrow with some friends and it's my first 8k to boot. Anyone else racing this weekend?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Grilled Ratatouille

I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday. She has a great blog and this is definitely a cool link up to check out since it is a fun way to see new healthy recipes every week.

I can't believe it's July and I've just had my first trip of the year to the farmer's market.  I usually try to go as often as possible but it's just been a busy summer.  But better late than never! We got a great haul of fruits and veggies this weekend and here's some of the bounty.

We're trying to use the grill as much as possible so Mike grilled up the vegetables.  I cut the cherry tomatoes in half and wrapped them up in foil and we stuck them on the grill too. The other veggies were cut into large pieces, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  They were grilled on one side for 5 minutes, flipped, and then grilled on the other side for 3-5 minutes until they were easily pierced by a fork. Mike put the vegetables in a mixing bowl as they finished grilling and then brought the whole thing back to me.

I chopped up the grilled vegetables into bite size pieces and put them back into the mixing bowl.  I unwrapped the cherry tomatoes from the foil and threw them in with the rest of the veggies. I added some extra salt and pepper to taste as well as garlic powder, smoked paprika and thyme.  I finished it off with a small splash of apple cider vinegar.

And voila... Grilled ratatouille! I have to be honest and say that's not necessarily what I was going for when I started cooking but that's what the final product ended up looking and tasting like.  I had mine with some grilled garlic toast while Mike had his as a side to a burger.

It was a delicious and light meal, perfect for a hot summer evening. We also grilled up some peaches and had them with a dollop of greek yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some slivered almonds on top.

The ratatouille was even better as leftovers the second evening.  The flavors benefitted from having some time to blend together.

Do you have any favorite summertime meals?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekly review

Another weekend has come to an end and it's time for a weekly review.  My workouts went pretty well this week.  I ended up having my rest days early in the week on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was supposed to be a track workout but it looked like rain so I bailed and did strength training at home.  It didn't end up raining until later so I should have just gone.  Oh well.

I tried to make up for it by doing speed work on the treadmill on Thursday.  It was 2400 meters and then four 200 meters at a fast pace with 200 meters at a slow pace in between.  I tried to really push myself on the 200 meters and felt it. Though it doesn't look like it based on the pace below.  I always go slower on the treadmill then when I'm outside and I'm not sure why.

I did a yoga video from You Tube on Friday.  I chose a random one I hadn't done before and suffice it to say it wasn't very good.  I should stick with ones I know or have heard good reviews for.  You Tube can  be a bit hit and miss.

Saturday was 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Sunday was a long run with the training group.  This week was supposed to be a "recovery" week (hence the elliptical instead of running on Saturday) and I did the same amount of miles on my run as the previous Sunday.  We ran at Beach Drive, which was beautiful.  I didn't quite realize that it's closed to vehicular traffic in certain areas on the weekend so that runners and cyclists can use the road. I loved having all that space!

I found someone else who went at a similar speed to me and she was doing 3/1 intervals so I ran with her for the first half of the run. She was planning to run a bit longer than I was so I turned back when I was ready and did the return on my own. I had some garmin issues and it didn't start right away on the first half so it's short by about 5 minutes.  Overall it was a bit more than an hour and a bit less than 5 miles.  It felt good but the humidity was challenging.  According to the garmin when I checked later, it was over 80% humidity!

So that was my week.  I hope everyone else had a good week too!  The plan for this week is yoga on Tuesday, track work on Wednesday with the group, running on the treadmill on Thursday, rest on Saturday, the Rockville Twilight 8k on Saturday, and some yoga at home on Sunday.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Five - places I work out

Happy Friday!  I missed the Friday Five with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia last week since I was traveling but I'm happy to be back at it this week!  The theme for the week is snapshots so I thought I'd share some photos of places where I regularly workout.

First, I run on various trails, whether in the area or while traveling.  They're usually paved trails but I have ventured off the pavement a couple times recently.

I also workout at the gym at work for yoga classes and the treadmill.

I use the track at a local high school for speed work with my training group.

When I'm running solo runs, I often go to a local neighborhood park that has an approximately half mile loop since there are always people around.  It feels safe and is interesting since the people scape is always changing.  There are tennis courts, basketball courts, play grounds and a dog park.

And of course, I workout at home.  I do yoga videos and strength training in our messy living room or use the elliptical machine in our basement.

I'm really lucky that I live in an area with so many beautiful places to run outdoors and that I have access to a gym at work as well as room to work out at home.  The paved trails are my favorites.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream and stone fruit topping

It's time for Tasty Tuesday with Lean Lena.  When my brother asked if there was anything specific we wanted to do in Columbus, I said try Jeni's Ice Cream! It's a local ice cream chain in Columbus that's supposed to be amazing. I've heard about it from several people and even seen it on the Food Network.  My brother, of course, agreed.

We went and Mike and I both decided to try an ice cream sandwich. He had the oatmeal cream pie and I had the salted caramel with smoked almonds.  My brother had the chocolate truffle with backyard mint.

All of them were delicious so we decided to get a pint to eat at home after dinner. We debated over a couple samples and settled on the Riesling poached pear sorbet. It had a light and refreshing flavor with an intense pear taste. My brother also had some peaches, apricots, and plums that needed to be eaten so I decided to make a stone fruit topping for the sorbet.

I halved all the fruit and cut them into slices.

Next, I melted two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.  Once it was melted, I added two tablespoons of sugar and let it cook with the butter until it began to brown.  I added in the fruit, some cinnamon and some nutmeg.  I covered the pot and let it all cook together for 5 minutes. When done, the fruit had softened and there was a delicious sauce in the bottom of the pot.

We spooned the hot fruit into the bottom of the bowl, covered with the sorbet, and then drizzled the sauce over top if the ice cream. It made a total of 4 servings.

Everyone agreed that this was delicious! This was by no means low calorie but it wasn't bad as far as desserts go. And it was all natural ingredients and really tasted like a perfect summer dessert.  I bet the topping would also be good over greek yogurt or oatmeal as a slightly healthier option.

I love finding local food finds while traveling.  Have you come across any great local food finds?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekly review

I'm back from celebrating the 4th of July in Ohio.  We had a great weekend but it's always great to come home as well. It was a pretty good workout week as well. Monday was a rest day.  I didn't get a chance to go to yoga on Tuesday because work was busy but I did some strength training in the evening.  Wednesday was supposed to be a track workout with my training group but there was lightning on the way home so I skipped it for yoga. This meant my runs were concentrated toward the end of the week.

Thursday was a run on the treadmill at work.  I rushed a but since that was the night we were flying out. However, our flight ended up cancelled about at least we were able to reschedule for the first flight the next morning and we found out before we left for the airport.

Friday was another rest day.  However, we did go with my brother to take his dog for a walk.  We came across a strange little playground with a mini rockclimbing wall for kids and we played around there for a while.

Saturday morning I went to a park by my parents house with my dad and brother. There was a paved 1 mile path where I ran.  It was a lovely area with plenty of people, bathrooms and water fountains.  There was also half mile off shoot loops by the river and in the forest which added some interest to the run.

Sunday, my dad and I returned to the park to try a different trail.  This one was labeled as "moderate difficulty" and it was grass and dirt.  It was definitely more challenging than the paved path from the day before and had uneven surfaces. But it was beautiful.

I had forgotten my garmin so I used runkeeper.  I think it was a little off but I probably ended up doing 4.7 or 4.8 miles.  If so, that's more like 14.25 minutes per mile.  That makes sense as it was definitely slower on this trail than on the paved path the day before.

I loved exploring this park.  My dad and brother hadn't been there before but both said that they're going to go there more often now.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

MCRRC Stride Clinic

One of the benefits of membership with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club is that they have a monthly stride clinic. It is only $30 for members and I think this was a great price!  The stride clinic provided the opportunity to meet with a running coach, podiatrist, physical therapist, and specialist from a running store. I took advantage of this in June and felt like it was a great experience for the most part.  One of the few downsides is that they were so busy that I didn't really get an introduction or explanation of what was going on and I was a bit confused at first.

The confirmation email indicated we should come in dressed to run on the treadmill and with a form filled out with some biographic information, details about our running history and goals, and the reasons we came into the stride clinic. So I came in with the form and ready to run.  The woman at the front desk took the form, put it on a clipboard, and then just showed me to a guy in another room.  
He barely talked to me, had me get on the treadmill, and then started it and just told me to keep running.  No information on how long, no information on what he was doing, no questions to ask about my concerns.  I could see him in the mirror as I ran and he barely seemed to look at me and was chatting to someone else for a lot of the time.  He was the only other negative about the experience.  When he finally stopped chatting and got me off the treadmill, his attitude seemed like I wasn't a serious enough runner to be here. It turned out he was the running coach (though he never introduced himself) and at least he gave me a few good pointers on form.  But his attitude was really disappointing.

Next I met with the podiatrist who was really nice.  We talked about my flat feet.  He had also watched me run and said that me shoes compensated for the flat feet pretty well and he couldn't really tell when I was in my running shoes.  But it was pretty evident when I was walking barefoot.  He recommended some orthotics, not necessarily for the running shoes (though that could help too) but for my normal shoes throughout the day.  I hadn't really thought about my shoes and feet at other times of day but it makes sense that wearing heels all day can't be compensated for by putting on good running shoes when I run. I also got some feet exercises from him to help strengthen my feet.

I love my Saucony Guides! So much so that I went ahead and bought a second pair of the same models because I wanted to make sure I had them before they were replaced by the new model.

They then sent me back to the receptionist and I actually thought I was done at this point because I had never received an overview or introductions.  Instead, she sent me to a massage therapist.  I didn't even know that was part of it! He gave me a nice massage on my left leg to loosen the muscles which lead to the knee.  He was super nice and we discussed stretches that could specifically help with the tight muscles in that area.

Next the receptionist took me to a physical therapist.  She was great as well! She gave me several exercises to strengthen my hips and core and explained that weak muscles in those areas cause my knee to have to compensate for them and that leads to unnecessary pain in my knee.  I've been doing those exercises religiously and I think it's been helping.  I just have to make sure to continue with it.

The receptionist was going to take me to the representative from the running store next but I declined because I'm happy with my current shoes.  And he was from the store which recommended the shoes to me in the first place.

So overall, this was a good experience for the $30.  I felt like I got a lot out of it and I would definitely recommend it if you have something similar.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - minestrone soup

I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday.

I have to confess that we haven't been cooking enough at home in the past couple weeks. Part of that has been the preparing for the camping trip and then recovering from the camping trip! We're heading out of town again this weekend and therefore I decided to try to stick with easy things to cook that I can just throw together and don't need a recipe for.  So here's my version of minestrone soup that I put together this week.  It is in no way authentic and different every time I make it.

Another confession, I forgot to take photos until we were about to eat! So no in progress photos. Blogger fail.  But this is so easy to put together that it really doesn't need in progress photos.

So I started out dicing half an onion. I warmed up about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot with red chili flakes, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds (chili to taste and maybe half a teaspoon each of the seeds).  Once the oil was hot I threw in the diced onion and sautéed for a couple minutes. Next, I put in a 28 ounce can of tomatoes, a can of chickpeas, and 4 cups of vegetable broth.  I added garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried basil and dried thyme. I had some frozen vegetables (green beans, carrots, and corn) so I put in about a cup of those.  I let the soup simmer together until it came back to a boil and then out in 4 ounces of whole grain macaroni.  I let it cook for 8 minutes and voila, the soup was ready! This made 4 servings if you're using it as a main dish and more like 8 servings if you're using it as a starter.  We topped it with parmesan right before eating and it was delicious.  Here's a photo of the finished dish.

I know it's not exactly a recipe, but this is often how I like to cook, just throwing things together and tasting as I go.  For some reason, it's less stressful for me this way instead of having to follow a recipe exactly.