Monday, February 29, 2016

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon training - week 12

Well, this week did not go as planned.  It started out ok but I'm a bit worried about the state of my foot.  The same place where I injured myself training for the Richmond Half in November of 2014 is hurting again.  That turned out to be a sprain of a muscle on the bottom of my foot and it took around 4-6 weeks to fully heal.  And we're so close to RnR DC, I think discretion is the better part of valor so I'm going to concentrate on icing and resting, and see how my foot feels as far as running goes.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - 40 minutes on the elliptical at the gym.  I meant to use the treadmill but all the good treadmills were taken.

Wednesday - Strength training at home

Thursday - This is the day my foot began to hurt so I took it as an unplanned rest day.

Friday - rest day

Saturday - we were in Atlanta visiting family.  I had asked online for advice on a place to run and was told about this 5 mile loop around a golf community.  My initial plan was to do 2 loops but my foot started hurting around mile 3 or so so I just did one lap and called it a day.  It was also a fairly hilly course and that didn't feel good on my foot either.

It was a beautiful area and there were just enough people around that I always felt safe but it never felt too crowded.  And it was a gorgeous morning.  Though there were some sections where the route was a bit unclear so I had to stop a couple times in mile 1 to figure out where I was going.  And mile 4 (average pace of 17:26!) had a grass surface instead of pavement in parts, plus a giant hill that I ended up walking after the halfway point.

Sunday - Yoga with Adriene (strengthening and lengthening) which was about a 40 minute video.  I also took a couple walks through the day.

Sadly, my foot is not feeling better.  It feels a bit worse today.  I'm planning on resting it today and tomorrow with lots of icing.  I'm going to see how it feels Wednesday and try for a short run in the neighborhood if it's feeling better.  The Pacer's St. Patrick's Day 10k is this Sunday and I was planning to run it because 6 miles seemed like a good distance the weekend before the half.  Also, I had deferred this race due to the freezing rain last year so I'm already registered without paying anything extra.  But we'll see how the rest of this week goes.

I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday 5 - Anniversary plans

It is Friday and it's been a long week with a busy weekend ahead.  But I'm taking a quick break this morning to link up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for the Friday Five.  This is a great link up with a bunch of fun bloggers so please check it out!

This week's theme is a Free Friday so we're all writing about whatever is on our mind.  And since the Rock and Roll DC half is so close, that is definitely on my mind!  But in addition to that, Mike and I have our 11th anniversary of dating coming up the weekend after the race.  So I think I'll take today to talk about 5 things we're planning for our anniversary.

 One of our engagement photos

1.  Food - Mike loves to bake and so he's going to take this as an excuse to taste his baking skills and make me some treats.  The plan is currently homemade pop-tarts for breakfast and a lemon cake for a post-dinner dessert.  I'm also trying to decide on some special dinner recipes to make.  Mike reads the blog so I'm going to keep my thoughts on this secret for now but I'll share some recipes and photos later.

2. Movies - When Mike and I started dating, he lived in Atlanta and I lived in DC.  So it was long distance for about a year.  And the first time he came to DC, one of the things we did was go on a date to see a Miyazaki movie in Bethesda.  And it turns out that the Landmark theater is currently having a Miyazaki film fest.  So we're going back to the movies in Bethesda again for our anniversary to see Princess Mononoke, another Miyazaki film.

 Image result for Princess mononoke

Here's part of the description from the theater website.  "Based on Japanese folklore, Princess Mononoke is a landmark of animation and a film of unsurpassed power and beauty. An epic story of conflict between humans, gods, and nature by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle), the film has been universally acclaimed by critics and broke the box office record on its original release in Japan."

 3.  Running - Training doesn't necessarily stop for special occasions.  I have another half planned in early April so I'm still planning on a long run of 10 miles the weekend after RnR DC. The April race is apparently on a crushed gravel trail so I'm going to practice on similar surface for this long run.

Scenery from a previous time I did a training run on the crushed gravel trail

4. Massages - Since this is the weekend after a half and I'm planning on a 10 miler, Mike suggested we go get massages as part of the anniversary weekend.  He definitely didn't have to twist my arm on that one!

5.  Re-connecting - And of course, the best part of any anniversary celebration is just spending time together.  We decided to avoid any big, elaborate plans in favor of having some quiet time to spend at home over the weekend and just enjoy being being together and reconnecting. 

So those are some of our anniversary plans.  Of course, I have a race to get through between now and then!  Last long run tomorrow and then tapering for a couple weeks.  I'd love to hear about any big plans you have coming up!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baja inspired tofu tacos

We decided we were in the mood for tacos this week.  And I keep seeing all these yummy baja style fish tacos with tons of fresh veggies that look delicious.  So I tried to do something similar with tofu instead of fish, and they were delicious!  The main work was the tofu and that can definitely be made in advance.  Once the tofu is cooked, the rest is easy to throw together for a quick weeknight meal.  It makes 4 servings.

Ingredients for the tofu

1 block of firm tofu
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Your favorite chili sauce to taste

Ingredients for tacos

Bag of vegetable slaw (just veggies, no dressing)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
8 tortillas
optional toppings such as cilantro, salsa, sour cream, guacamole or avocado slices
lime wedges to garnish

I almost always bake tofu.  This is pretty much the only way I make it, unless it's Summer and I can throw it on the grill.  I have to admit I'm generally afraid of frying things.  But it works out because I love tofu cooked this way.  First things first, press the tofu to remove some of the excess water.  I have this tofu press but you can definitely put the tofu in a bowl or deep dish, put a plate on top, and weigh it down with a can or something.  You don't need the special equipment.

I press the tofu for at least an hour.  Then I slice it into thin slices (I get 12 slices out of a block of tofu).  Basically, I slice it into half, then into quarters.  Each quarter is sliced into three pieces.

Next, I mix up the rest of the tofu ingredients into a marinade.  I put the tofu slices into a gallon plastic bag, and pour the marinade over them.  This is an easy, no-mess way to marinade and it makes it easy to flip the slices as well, just flip the bag over when it's time.  So I marinated for an hour, and then flipped and let the tofu sit in the marinade for another hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Place the tofu on a baking sheet and slide into the oven once it's hot.  I baked them for 15 minutes, flipped, and baked for another 15 minutes.  The tofu should be golden brown and caramelized and the edges a bit crispy.  They are delicious!

While the tofu is baking, I also toss the slaw together.  I just use a pre-shredded bag of veggies from the store.  I mix it with vinegar, salt and honey.  The longer it site, the better it will taste.  But I feel like as long as it sits for at least 20 minutes before eating, it should be fine.

And that's it!  Then you put your taco together the way you want and enjoy :)  I went with guacamole, tofu, slaw, and sour cream on mine.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon training - week 11

It's time for the weekly wrap up again!  I had a decent week though it did include 1 unplanned rest day.  But I had some beautiful runs this weekend to make up for it :)

Monday  - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - strength training at home

Thursday - a bit more than 40 minutes on the treadmill at the gym

Friday - unplanned rest day due to work being super busy.  Though we did get a chance to watch Kung Fu Panda 3 in the evening :)

Saturday - 11 mile long run.  This was a great morning for a run.  It started out a bit chilly but warmed up nicely.  We were on the Capital Crescent Trail and tried out the side north of Bethesda as well.  I've never gone that way before and didn't realize it was unpaved.  I'll probably stick to the paved section in the future but it was fun to at least give it a try since it was something new. And then Mike met up with me and we went to have a yummy brunch.

Sunday - MCRRC County Road 5 miler.  Another beautiful morning for a run and we finished right before the rain started.  This was another hilly course but I just kept trying to remind myself that it was good practice for RnR DC since that is a hilly course as well.  It was interesting running on tired legs since I don't usually run the day after a long run.  But that was also probable good practice. I also got to break out my new shoes that I plan to transition into so I can wear them for the race.  They're the same model shoe that I'm currently wearing, just a new pair.

So that was my week.  A lot of running on the weekend but thankfully otherwise a relaxing and low key weekend so I got a lot of relaxation in too.  And this week will be my last long run before RnR DC and then I start my taper!  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Five - online favorites this week

Yay for it being Friday!  This week has seemed to drag by for some reason.  And that's in spite of Monday having been a holiday for me.  But it's finally Friday and the weekend is almost here.  But first, time to link up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for the Friday Five.

This week's theme is favorites so I thought I'd go ahead and share five of my favorite things I've seen on the internet this week.

1. Real Runners from Fleet Feet - This has been on my mind since one of my friends had commented she didn't feel like a real runner because of how slow she was.  But she gets out there and she's consistent, so in my mind she's totally a runner!  This was a great blog post on the topic from Fleet Feet.  And I love their last line. "But what unites all of us as real runners is a desire to participate in this process of bettering ourselves; this journey of being better today than we were yesterday. Whether you run a half mile at a time or 10 miles at a time, what matters is that you are out there."

2. 3 things to run faster - But having said that, I am still trying to get faster.  This list from Sublimely Fit provided some really good tips.

3.  Running too fast - Cowgirl Runs is a new blog I stumbled onto this week.  I love her blog and I really love this post.  I am absolutely guilty of running at kind of just one pace.  Well, I run faster during speed work on the track but I don't really have a slower than race goal pace that I deliberately use.  I think I ultimately need to get into heart rate training, maybe for my next training cycle.

Perry's version of kitty yoga

4.  Lessons runners can take from yoga - Great article from Runner's World about things that runners can learn from yoga.  I have been trying to make sure to incorporate more yoga into my routine this training cycle and I feel like it's been helpful. They talk a lot about mental things, all of which have been useful, but the breathing has definitely been the biggest thing for me.  It's weird to think we don't necessarily know how to breathe properly but I feel like concentrating on my breath in a purposeful way in yoga has helped with my running (and with stressful situations in general).

5.  Ways to give back to the running community - This was a great article on Runner's World, and even though it's from 2014 I didn't see it until this week.  I have done a couple things from this list but I really want to go through and do all of them.  I've volunteered at several races and keep planning to do that a couple times a year.  It really is a great experience, as is cheering at a race.  I enjoy both of those things and have to try the others at some point.

So those are some things I've learned from the internet this week!  Anyone else want to share ways you like to contribute to the running community or things you've been able to apply to running that you've learned from other activities?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BlogHop spotlight and parmesan roasted chickpeas

Hello!  This is my day in the spotlight for Run Away Bridal Planner's blog hop.  I thought I'd start out with a little glimpse into my blog and what I'm about for those of you that may be new around here.


I'm in my late 30s and live in the Maryland suburbs of DC with my husband, Mike, and our 2 cats, Perry and Shelby.  Mike is super supportive of my running, though the cats couldn't care less :)

Mike cheering at my first 10k

I started blogging in 2014 and that's when I started running with intention as well.  What do I mean by running with intention?  Well, I had done a couple 5ks before that but I mostly walked them and my training pretty much just consisted of randomly hopping on the elliptical at times.  January of 2014 is the first time I joined a training group and began training for a 5k.

Goal race from that 5k training program

My main purpose in blogging was some accountability, and also to keep a record of my training.  A wonderful side benefit has been meeting so many other fitness bloggers and beginning to create a community where I can talk about running without boring people to death.  I tend to post about 2-3 times a week.  Monday I link up with the Weekly Wrap to review my week and my work outs, Friday I tend to link up for the Friday Five, and at some point in the middle of the week I try to have a post with a race review, vegetarian cooking experiments, travel adventures, or just random thoughts.

And cat photos.  Lots of cat photos.

Since January of 2014, I've run 2 half marathons (Richmond in 2014 and Rock and Roll DC in 2015) and my third (Rock and Roll DC again) is coming up in a month.  I've also done a bunch of shorter races.  Races keep me engaged and motivated so I try to have at least one on my schedule each month.  I posted my 2016 race plans last month.  I am slow and I use run/walk intervals but I'm happy with that!  While I'm always happy to see progress in my speed, my main goal with running is to keep enjoying it so that it is sustainable for the long haul.

Crossing the finish line at my first half marathon

I mentioned cooking above and I wanted to finish this post with sharing a recipe for the Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas I made to take to a super bowl party.

2 cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

The key is rinsing the chickpeas and drying them really well.  If they're not dry, they'll steam instead of roast.  I drained the chickpeas in a colander and then lay them all out in a single layer on paper towels. I lay another paper towel on top to fully dry.

This next step is optional.  I skip it if I'm just making roasted chickpeas for myself but since I was taking these to a party, I removed the skins.  It isn't vital but I do like the texture better when I take the time to remove the skins.

Toss the chickpeas with all the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Then place them on a baking sheet, making sure there is enough room that they're in a single layer.  Bake for 40 minutes, mixing them up at the halfway mark.  My oven isn't even so I also rotated the pan at the halfway mark.  Take them out, sprinkle a bit more salt if needed, and let them cool before eating.  I skipped the cooling step and burned my mouth, so learn from my mistakes.

They were salty, cheesy, smoky, crunchy, and so delicious!

So that's me in a nut shell.  If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to keep in touch!  Here are some ways you can hear more from me. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon training - week 10

This week has been all about adapting for me.  There was a lot of cold weather and some snow so I pretty much took everything indoors.  I also had some friends visiting from out of town and got a hotel room downtown to spend time with them for the weekend.  We had a great time but definitely looked for more indoor fun.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - elliptical

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - around 3miles on the treadmill

Friday - 15 minute warm up on the elliptical plus 45 minutes of weight training at the hotel gym with one of my friends.

Saturday - I was going to run around the mall for my long run but given the sub-freezing temperatures and high wind advisory, I decided to keep it indoors again.  The hotel gym equipment was sadly kind of rickety and I didn't really want to try doing 10 miles on their treadmill.  So I just did a variety of things and ended up with 45 minutes on the treadmill, 45 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minutes on the bike. A friend and I also took a belly dance class in the afternoon.  I definitely felt that in my abs the next morning.

Sunday - I tried out a yoga class with a new instructor and really enjoyed it.

It's snowing again today but I think that it should be warmer by tomorrow and I'm looking forward to getting outside again :)  So that was my week. I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Being frugal and workout clothes

This issue has been on my mind recently because I've noticed my sports bras haven't been doing their job as well as they used to.  And when I began to think about it, I realized that I've been using a bunch of then since I started running more than 2 years ago.  And I started thinking about my active wear and realized that I have workout pants I've had for more than 10 years.  Though I promise I don't go out in those, I still use them for at home work outs. And my workout tops tend to be mostly race shirts since they're free and I might as well use them anyway.

Old work out pants from when I was in school - they're even cotton!

Sigh.  I think in the back of my mind I still feel like clothes I'm going to sweat in aren't really worth paying much for.  I'm working on changing that mind set.  And also working on ways to still be frugal about buying workout clothes.  I've been keeping an eye out on sales.  Earlier this year, there was a great sale at Under Armour and I got a pair of cold weather leggings that I love.  I've also gotten some great deals at Fabletics on gym clothes.  Yesterday, I was able to use some Old Navy coupons I had on new sports bras and a pair of running capris.

Shelby inspecting my new clothes from Old Navy

But I'm still figuring out the right balance there.  I bought another pair of Under Armour leggings on sale through Amazon and wore them out on a run for the first time this past weekend.  And I could tell that they would cause chafing on any runs longer than 3-4 miles.  So I guess they'll be reserved for short runs.  And maybe not so much with the online purchases for things like that.  I might just have to keep an eye out for sales/coupons for physical stores where I can try things on.

I'd love to hear any tips for saving money and still changing out workout clothes as needed.  I've read that sports bras should be switched out approximately every 6 months but that seems so wasteful.  What do you think?  How about things like leggings and tops?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon training - week 9

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was a good mix of relaxing and being productive.  Plus, I was participating in Mar's 14 days of self care so I remembered to engage in a bit of self care every day.  It's amazing how much of a difference that makes.  So here's a summary of my training this week.  I got my runs in but still didn't get all the strength training in that I wanted.

Monday - rest day, with plenty of foam rolling and stretching

Tuesday - unplanned rest day since my stomach wasn't feeling well

Wednesday- Yoga for strength training from Yoga with Adriene

Thursday - Running on the treadmill after work

Friday - rest day and a fun dinner in the evening catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time.

Saturday - A short run in my neighborhood in the morning.  It was a cold morning but beautiful.  Sadly, there were still some icy patches and places where people hadn't shoveled the snow from the sidewalks.  It's not that big a deal for me, I could step over or go around.  But I know there are people with mobility devices in the neighborhood as well as people with strollers.

Sunday - Long run with friends on Beach Drive.  This was a beautiful run and I even saw some horses along the way!  Though we made a bad decision at the end and ended up wading in ankle high icy water for a bit.  Thankfully that was when we were almost done so I ended up walking from mile 8.8 to mile 9.  My feet were so frozen it was more of a shuffle than a walk.  That 15.24 pace at the end was because of the time we were wading in the water.

And the evening ended with a super bowl party at a friend's house.  We had a great time with lots of yummy food.  Our contribution ended up being a mix of healthy and decadent :)  I made parmesan roasted chick peas and Mike baked brownies.

So that was my week. I'm linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday 5 - Self Care

It's been a super busy week at work but it's finally Friday!  Almost time for the weekend and time for some relaxation.  Friday also means it's time for the Friday 5 link up with Courtney, Mar and Cynthia.

Speaking of relaxing, I've been participating in Mar's 14 days of self care that started February 1st.  Given how busy work has been, it has been a much needed reminder to do something for myself every day, no matter how little it is.  Just taking that time to even think about self care every day has really helped keep it a priority!  And I've noticed that there are some forms of self care that are easy to do but there are other forms that are more difficult to motivate myself to do, even though I know that I will get an immense amount of satisfaction at having done it when it's over.

So here are 5 things that count as self-care for me.

1.  Kitty cuddles! This needs no explanation and it's one of those things that are easy to do and that I look forward to every evening.

2.  Working out - This is one of the ones that I sometimes have a hard time motivating myself to do.  I know that there has never been a time I regretted getting a work out in, but I still have a hard time motivating myself to get up and moving.  Inertia is definitely a thing. 

3.  Family and friend time - Another easy one that I'm always motivated to do and that always leaves me feeling good afterward.  Now scheduling may be a difficulty, but not the motivation.

4. Cooking nourishing and tasty food - This is one that I have a hard time with on busy weekdays.  This week, I've been starving in the evenings after work and that makes it hard to take the time to go home and cook a healthy meal.  I really needed to do more meal prep over the weekend.  But I actually enjoy cooking, it relaxes me, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of feeding other people nourishing food that I've created.

Tortellini soup we made during the blizzard

5.  Spa time - This last one is something I love, and not even necessarily going to the spa.  At home facials and manicures can also be incredibly relaxing.  But this is something else that I have a hard time finding the time for.  One of the things I'm committing to this weekend is taking the time to do my nails and a hot bath after my long run.  Mar shared a great recipe for an Epsom Salt bath that I'm hoping to try out and enjoy.

My last jamberry experiment

So those are some of my favorite ways to take care of myself, though I do some more easily than others.  What are your favorite ways to relax and take care of yourself?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon training - week 8

Week 8 of training went ok.  I got in 2 runs and 1 elliptical session as well as 1 yoga session but did not manage to get in any strength training.  Which ended up being a good thing because I have some weird pain in the inside of my elbow.  I think perhaps from shoveling?  It's getting better though so hopefully back to body pump this week.

Monday - Yoga by Adrienne

Tuesday - About 40 minutes on the elliptical since our street still wasn't plowed and I couldn't get out

Wednesday - Rest day and flying to Toronto.  I woke up to a plowed street, which was great news.

Thursday - Unplanned rest day. I meant to run on the hotel treadmill in the morning but I just could not get up in time.  I did have a lot of walking around Toronto since all of my meetings were downtown within a mile or so of each other.  And yes, the snow did follow me to Toronto.

Friday - Rest day

Saturday - Ran on Beach Drive with the 5k training group.  The blanket of snow really made it beautiful, but it was icy in spots.

Sunday - Ran 8 miles with friends on the Capital Crescent Trail. This time, I remembered in advance that the way back was all uphill so I didn't let it discourage me when the return was so much harder than the first 4 miles.  And I was happy that the trail was plowed so I didn't have to run in the same place as the day before :)

So that was it for last week.  I think the plan for this week is yoga today, running on the track tomorrow, body pump on Wednesday (if my arm feels better), the treadmill on Thursday, body pump on Friday and 9 miles on Sunday.

I hope you all have a great week too!  Also, I'm linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.