Monday, February 26, 2018

Nat'l Women's Half Training - week 3

This week was more resting but I still got in some short runs.  And my foot was ok at the beginning of the week but the pain started to come back at the end of the week so I eased off a bit then.  But, I took a look at my work shoes and I think they may be the problem causing the foot pain!  The right shoe, which is the foot that's been hurt, is worn on the outside to the point that the shoes are a bit uneven.  I'm not a shoe person and pretty much wear the same shoes almost every day to work, loafers in the Winter and sandals in the Summer.  I checked my buying history and I bought these particular shoes in 2016 (and in 2014), so two seasons seems to be about the limit.  I guess that's about all I can expect from them and will have to buy new shoes to get through the rest of the Winter. 

In the mean time, here's my summary for the week.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Rest day with a 20 minute walk during lunch

Wednesday - 3 easy miles after work


I tried really hard to make sure I kept these easy and paid attention to my heart rate, but it was so slow!  It was at least a beautiful evening and I was able to wear a skirt fur running in February.  I also saw some deer in the neighborhood.

Thursday - Speed work at the gym.  My foot began to hurt after this workout.  I thought it was the speed work that made it hurt again but now I'm wondering if maybe it was a couple days of wearing the work shoes.

Friday - Rest day

We went to the Wizards game in the evening for date night.  It was a lot of fun but sadly, they did not play well and they lost by a lot.

Saturday - Body pump followed by time on the elliptical

Sunday - Rest day. This was supposed to be a 8 mile long run but after a lot of dithering, I ended up deciding to rest again since my foot still hurt when I tilted it a certain way.  But there's no swelling and the pain is less than last week so definitely progress.  And still no knee pain so yay!

Most of Sunday was spent being pretty lazy for me.  There were multiple naps (I have no idea why I was so tired) and lots of cuddling with cats.  I also spent some time writing more get out the vote post cards.

I'm a little nervous about this coming weekend.  I have a 5k/10k double.  I did 6 miles a couple weeks ago and think it should be fine but we'll see how the week goes.  Worse come to worse, I can decide to just do the 10k.  The good news is that it's a relatively flat course so that should help.  Uphills have definitely been harder on the foot.

Here's the plan for this week from Coach Laura and we'll see how it goes with my foot.  I'm hoping it will keep getting better with changing work shoes.  And I may take it easy on Thursday's tempo run.

Monday - Rest day
Tuesday - Body pump after work
Wednesday - 3 miles easy after work
Thursday - Tempo run (15 minutes easy, 20 minutes tempo, 15 minutes easy)
Friday - Body Pump lunchtime class
Saturday - 3 miles easy
Sunday - St. Patrick's Day 5k/10k double (total of 9.3 miles)

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hungry Harvest

A friend told me about a new produce box she'd been getting and let me know I could get $5 off the first delivery if I used a code she gave me.  (She got $5 off too).  She raved about the box so I was pretty excited to try it!

It's called Hungry Harvest and I really love their model.  From their website:  "Every year, 40% of food goes to waste in this country. 20 billion pounds of  that is produce that's lost on farms.  The injustice of wasting this much edible food when 20% in the US lack access to a nutritious diet is plenty reason to rescue this produce & mend a broken food system....Cutting food waste in half globally could reduce our ecological footprint by 16% & ensure a more sustainable future.  That's why we work every day to rescue this fresh & delicious produce whose only crime is being a little off-size, off-color, a little ugly or a little overproduced. Packing this into our weekly variety boxes & delivering it to your doorstep not only helps eliminate unnecessary & avoidable food waste, but it also supports efforts to eradicate hunger in this country. So far, with the help of our Harvest Heroes, we've rescued over 5 million pounds of food from going to waste & provided access to over 700,000 pounds of fruits & veggies to those who are food insecure."

I also love the variety of options they have!  There are three sizes for the boxes, mini, full and super and they range in price from $15 to $50.  We're just a household of 2 so we're going with the $15 box every 2 weeks.  And it's easy to cancel a week if you need to so no worries there.  Within each size, they have options for organic, all fruit, all veggie, or mixed.  We're going with the mixed options since we've got plenty of use for both fruits and veggies.

No extra packaging, just a jumble of produce

You're told what you're delivery day is, this was the only downside for me.  I wish there had been a way to choose our delivery day.  But we get our box delivered on Thursday and I get a text once it's been dropped off on our porch.  I also get an email the Tuesday before the delivery to let me know what's in the box for that week and asking if I want to customize or add in any extras.  You can also create a "never" list and none of your boxes will ever have that item.  For example, I've put avocados, iceberg lettuce and celery on my never list.  I love avocados but sadly Mike's allergic to them.

The fruit that was hiding under the veggies

This week, I'll be getting asparagus, spinach, heirloom tomatoes, purple eggplant, yellow corn, empire apples and lemon plums.  The other thing I love is that getting the produce is helping me be a bit more creative with meals too as I try to use up pantry ingredients in combination with the box produce.  The sweet and sour cauliflower I made a couple weeks ago was because I went hunting for a cauliflower recipe for the cauliflower that came in my hungry harvest box.
Orzo with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms

I also made an orzo recipe and a stir fry.  I've noticed that pastas and stir frys are great for using up veggies!  The plan for this week is probably a southwestern style frittata for the spinach, tomatoes and corn and a pasta for the eggplant and asparagus.

Stir fry of zucchini, peppers and baby bok choy over rice

If anyone is interested in giving Hungry Harvest a try, here's a link for $5 off your first order. It would also give me $5 off a box.  They're sadly not in all locations yet but you can put in your zip code to check if they're in your area.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Nat'l Women's Half Training - Week 2

Well, training didn't go so well this week.  I keep experiencing some pain in the top of my foot and a bit of swelling.  It seems to be Extensor Tendonitis just based on googling.  It seems to describe exactly the symptoms I have.  But here's the whole story for the week.

Monday and Tuesday - both rest days since I had post-work meetings.  I thought I'd be able to make the one run up later in the week.

Wednesday - strength training plus a 1 mile walk

Thursday - Speedwork.  This was a tempo run with a 10 minute warm up, 10 minute tempo interval, 5 minute recover, 10 minute interval, 15 minute cool down.  I thought this went well.  The second tempo interval was slower than the first but the second was mostly uphill and the first was mostly downhill.

Friday - body pump with a 1 mile warm up on the elliptical.

Saturday - Rest day - This is when I first noticed the swelling so I took another rest day.

Sunday - Went out for my long run of 7 miles but the sidewalks were still icy and slippery so made it an easy 3 miles instead.

I thought I could do the 7 miles on Monday since it was a holiday.  But my foot was swollen and painful again Monday morning!  According to the internet, this type of pain can be from overuse or too tight shoes.  It's exacerbated by uphills and can also be a sign that shoes need to be replaced.  I generally replace my running shoes in March and had already ordered a new pair which arrived today.  So I'm going to ice and rest for today and maybe tomorrow too.  We'll see once the pain is completely gone and then I'll try running again.

I did do my PT exercises Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.  And no knee pain this week so that helps.

So that means I'm not sure what this coming week will look like.  But here's the plan for this week from Coach Laura and we'll see when my foot feels better.

Monday - Rest day
Tuesday - strength training
Wednesday - 3 miles easy after work
Thursday - Speed work after work
Friday - Body Pump lunchtime class
Saturday - 3 miles easy
Sunday - 8 miles

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Five - Physical Therapy

This was another week that seemed to drag by.  I'm not sure why when it was also super busy.  I would have thought that it would have made it seem to go by faster.  But it may be because we've got a lot of fun plans for the weekend.  But before that, it's time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

I went to see a physical therapist on Monday so I figure I'd take the Friday Five to talk about that experience.

1.  So the paperwork says I have "Somatic Dysfunction."  But according to the internet, that's not really something specific and seems to just mean that things aren't working well together.  The main thing the PT commented on was how tight everything was on my right leg.  Much tighter then my left leg.  She touched my achilles on the right side and exclaimed about the tightness right away.  And it was the same problem the whole way up the knee with the calf and the hips.  The good news is that the meniscus and knee itself are fine.  She definitely said I have to warm up before running and isn't surprised that cold races without warming up resulted in everything just continuing to tighten until I couldn't bend my knee well.  She gave me some exercises to work on and I'm scheduled to go back in March.

2.  The first one deals with the achilles.  This one hurts!  I've done it every evening since Tuesday and it's still resulting in pain.  The PT did warn me about that and said it's part of the process.

3.  Then calf stretches.  I've done calf stretches after running but they're always kind of perfunctory.  And I foam roll but apparently that's not enough.  I was surprised at how long I'm supposed to hold these stretches for!

4.  Hip rotator stretch.And this is the last one I'm supposed to work on for now.  I'm surprised at how tough this one is too since it doesn't actually look like I'm doing anything.  But it's an isometric and I'm always breathing heavy by the time I'm done with this one.  I set a timer so I do it for the full amount of time and it seems like forever.

You can see that left foot is turned out but it's always been like that as far as I can remember.

5.  Weirdly, before she actually started the examination and when she had just looked at my legs, she thought it would have been the left side giving me problems.  But no, that side is fine.  That foot and leg have always turned out, I'm not sure why.  It just feels natural but she said the knee doesn't track properly over the foot, it goes toward the inside and that we'll probably have to work on that later too or it could cause me problems in the future.

So that was my experience with the PT.  Overall it was a good experience and hopefully the exercises help.  She said they'll probably get me on the treadmill at the next appointment so we'll see how that goes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Nat'l Women's Half Training - Week 1

I hope everyone's doing well!  The weekend seemed to fly by.  And now it's already Sunday afternoon and almost time for a new week to start.  I'm happy to say my first week of training went pretty well.  I had to move things around a little bit but all my planned work outs got done.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. I didn't make it home from work in time to get to Body Pump so I pulled out Jillian Michaels again.  I really like this work out and feel like it gets me a pretty good strength training time in a short period of time.

Wednesday - Speed work on the treadmill.  It was a 10 minute warm up, 10 x 1 minute running, 2 minutes recovery, 10 minute cool down.  This was a tough workout but I really enjoyed it.

Thursday - 45 minutes on the elliptical.  My knee hurt a bit from the speed work so I did my 3 easy miles on the elliptical.

Friday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred

Saturday - 6 mile long run. It was supposed to rain most of the weekend but it was still dry Saturday morning so I went out for my long run around the neighborhood.  The timing worked out well as it started to rain just as I was finishing.  And no knee pain after the run!

Sunday - 3 mile easy run. I met up with a friend at her house and we caught up during our run.  It ended up being a progression run by chance but that was generally because it was uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back. No knee pain this day either.

She also made us a delicious breakfast once we got back to her house and we had another friend over to catch up.  It was breakfast tacos with lots of veggies plus honey sriracha brussel sprouts.

So that was my week!  This coming week is a little complicated since I have evening meetings Monday and Tuesday and post-work social stuff on Friday, but that's why planning out my workouts in advance is so helpful!   Here's the plan for this week from Coach Laura.

Monday - rest with the PT appointment before work
Tuesday - Jillian Michaels before work
Wednesday - 3 miles easy after work
Thursday - Speed work after work
Friday - Body Pump lunchtime class
Saturday - 3 miles easy
Sunday - 7 miles

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Five - random things

This week seemed to drag by.  I'm not sure why but I'm glad that it's finally Friday.  I'm looking forward to the weekend and some time to recover and rest up from the week.  But before that, it's also time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

 I'm going to take this Friday 5 to talk about random things that are going on in my life this week :)

1.  Knee update - I'm back in training this week and my knee definitely made itself known after Wednesday's speed work.  Thankfully, I finally got a referral from my doctor to see a physical therapist and I have an appointment for Monday morning!  I'm hopeful that will help me get a grasp on this knee problem and some guidance on how to deal with it.

2.  More medical stuff - Sadly it wasn't all good news from the doctor this week.  I have really high cholesterol.  That's generally been the case and my "good cholesterol" is also really high.  But it's gotten to the point the doctor is pretty concerned and want's me to start statins.  But that's a class of medicine with a lot of side effects (including muscle pain) and I'm really hoping to avoid it.  I'm going to look into alternatives but I'm not sure what else it out there.  I'm already a vegetarian but I'm planning to cut down my cheese intake.

3.  Food - I have been really good this week about taking my breakfast and lunches to work.  I made a chickpea salad to put on an english muffin for lunch and it's so good!  I made it on Sunday and pre-packaged it into separate tupperware containers so it was easy to grab and go in the morning before work.  I think that's what made it so much easier to take lunch.  I'm going to have to keep up that model.  The chickpea salad was pretty easy, just mashed up chickpeas, diced peppers and shredded veggies with non-fat plan yogurt, dill, salt, and a bit of mustard.

4.  Free lunch - The one day I didn't take lunch to week this week was because we had a team lunch.  In fact, I think I've had lunch provided by work every Wednesday so far in 2018!  I'm sure that will stop soon but I've been enjoying it while it lasts.  I thought this week would be the last one but my boss just let us know that she's planning on ordering pizza in for our team meeting next week.  So at least one more week of free lunch :)

5.  Winter Olympics - We're planning to stay in tonight, make dinner, and watch the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics.  I'm pretty excited for the Olympics.  I love watching the ice skating events and the skiing events.  I'm not a huge follower of hockey any more though.

Perry is wondering why I stopped petting him to type- clearly he questions my priorities!

So that's it for me for now.  What's going on with you?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower

I saw this original recipe on the Washington Post's website, and knew I wanted to try it.  It also worked out that I had a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator and most of the other ingredients were pantry ingredients I already had on hand.  Score!  I made some small changes so that I didn't need to buy other ingredients and also adjusted the amounts/times on a couple other things.  Here's my version of the recipe with the changes in italics.

Makes 4 Servings
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more as needed (I would reduce the amount of sugar the next time)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (I used soy sauce instead)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup cornstarch (I would just use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch)
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I would reduce to 2 tablespoons)
  • One 15-ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  • 4 small red radishes, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

I put the rice to cook in my instant pot first.  Then I started on the cauliflower, trimming it down to florets.

Afterward, I tossed the florets with the oil in a mixing bowl. The original recipe also called for adding in 1/3 cup of cornstarch here but I didn't feel like that was needed at all. I would leave it out and reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons. Transfer the cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until the cauliflower starts to brown. I did it for 20 minutes instead of the 15 minutes in the original recipe.


While the cauliflower cooks, make the sauce.  Whisk together the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth. Taste, and adjust the sweet/sour balance as desired by adding more sugar or vinegar, 1 teaspoon at a time. (I would start with half the sugar next time and add more only as needed.)

Once the cauliflower has been cooking for 20 minutes, take it out to stir.  Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and put back in the oven to cook for another 5 minutes.

After the five minutes is over, take the pan back out of the oven and pour the sauce over top, stirring to coat. Put it back in the oven to cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Spoon over the rice and add the garnishes. 

I sadly didn't use any of the garnishes since I was trying to avoid buying additional items.  But it was still delicious!  We ate this for two meals in a row and did not mind the repetition one bit.  I'm sure it would be even better (and more colorful) with the garnishes.  In addition to being tasty, it was easy to make and easy cleanup since it was all cooked on the one baking dish.  I am definitely adding this to our rotation.  Even just the sweet and sour sauce seems pretty versatile and I would think it could be used in any stir-fry.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Weekly Review

I hope everyone had a good week!  It was a bit of a mixed bag here since the weekend was a little marred due to early allergy symptoms.  Not sure why they're starting now in January when they usually don't hit until March.  But here's how the week went.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Rest day

Wednesday - I didn't get home in time for body pump but I did strength training at home with a random You Tube video.  The video was only ok, but I got a pretty good work out with lots of abs.

Thursday - 45 minutes on the elliptical.

Friday - Body pump with a 10 minute warm up on the elliptical.

Saturday - Cardio with So You Think You Can Dance workout video.  I forgot how much fun this one is!

We also went out Saturday night to have dinner out and catch a local play.

Sunday - Rest day.  This is the day the allergies were the worst.  I ended up getting some flonase and started it early.  I wouldn't need to use it usually until March but maybe the recent warm weather we had last week is the reason.  I checked my resting heart rate and it was up to 82 when it's usually in the low 70s.  So clearly something was up.

I did take some time to meal prep for the week and make a new dinner, sweet and sour cauliflower.  I'll be sharing the recipe later this week.

This week will be my first week back in training!  I'm glad I took the opportunity this past month to rest and try out different types of workouts.  But now, back to running.  Here's the plan for this week from Coach Laura.

Monday - rest
Tuesday - Body Pump
Wednesday - 3 miles easy
Thursday - Speed work
Friday - Body Pump
Saturday - 3 miles easy
Sunday - 6 miles

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap.