What’s Next?

Marathon, DONE. Now what?

It’s time to get stronger and faster. I’ve gone to a couple of bootcamp sessions and one thing is for sure, I spent a whole lot of time at distance running and very little time at strength training. I thought I was doing so well with my here and there workout videos and mini strength circuits, but as soon as I put those non typical running muscles to work….OUCH. Do you know how hard it is to climb a tree or even just hang from the monkey bars when you have little to no upper body or ab strength? The most surprising, even my legs get sore from bootcamp, ummm, I just trained for and ran a marathon, what is up legs?

Don’t get me wrong, running is still my number one exercise love. It’s my mind clearing, attitude adjusting, depression smashing go to. And I would like to run for a very long time, but I know my body is better off with some strength training too. I’m probably a bit “unbalanced”? (such a technical term) when I only run. So goal #1 – GET STRONGER!

#2 GET FASTER – Each half-marathon I have run has gotten progressively slower, over a pretty short period of time. That needs to stop. Next up, Hyannis Half Marathon. And this time, maybe I will actually do the speed work in my training plan. Funny thing speed work = faster runner? Who knew?

So what’s the plan this week? (and here’s last week in case you wanted to check it out).

Oh, not sure if you forgot? But this is also a food blog. Sometimes you only have time to work out and cook, and not so much time to write about it, so here’s the quick version…

Oh She Glows Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

Ben said this picture looks gross, but you are getting it anyway. It was declious. Mark Bittman’s Lentil Soup (with lemon and dill).

For Ben’s lunch – Baked Pasta with Sausage & Spinach

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers

And finally! My fall favorite combo, had to make it twice in one week……

Eat Live Run’s Roasted Root Vegetable Bisque and Ruth Reichl’s Stuffed Pumpkins!

AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Motivation Needed

So why is it that when I’m making some strides towards healthier eating that I end up sabotaging my efforts. Two weeks in a row I lost some (minimal) weight. It is often around this time that I start feeling really positive, but then end up making one poor choice that leads to another poor choice and so on. And once again here we are today. I know, tomorrow is a new day, but still SO incredibly frustrating when I do this! Let’s just say, really only one slice of pizza at lunch was enough, wasn’t necessary to have two and the ice cream after dinner, also unnecessary. Does anyone else find that they take two steps forward and three steps back when it comes to eating healthier? How do you break through this cycle?

Okay, enough venting. New day tomorrow. Not a big deal. The end.

Now, let’s look at some puppies. This one is Basil the Golden

From my favorite way to start my day, Daily Puppy. I’m gearing up for renewing our lease time with the landlord and BEGGING to allow us a dog. I’m sure my husband isn’t tired at all of hearing about my dog obsession, not…at….all.

So the rainy days here in Boston definitely have me slightly brain-dead and cranky, but I’m finding I kind of love running in the rain. Is that weird? I mean, if it was rainy and 35 degrees out I would disagree with that statement (a la Maine Half-Marathon conditions), but give me a rainy spring temp day and I love it. Had an awesome run on Monday, I think it was the first time in a while that I didn’t glance down at my watch to see how much longer I had to go or how my pace was looking, I just really enjoyed it and even ran slightly more than I had planned to. I think my latest playlist was helpful too, check out some of my favorites right now:

  • Jai Ho – AR Rahman
  • Forever – Chris Brown
  • Wild Ones – Flo Rida
  • Pumped up Kicks – Foster the People
  • We are Young – Fun
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee Cast
  • Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye
  • Starships – Nicki Minaj
  • Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  • Back in Time – Pitbull
  • DLZ – TV on the Radio

I’ve been all about fish tacos lately and including this week have made them once per week for three straight ones. For this week’s recipe I had a simple and fast recipe from the latest Bon Appetit for Pickled Red Onions. All you need is the onion, obviously, apple cider vinegar, sugar and kosher salt.

I try to change up what’s in the tacos every week, in addition to the red onions, chopped avocado sprinkled with lime juice and my wimpy version of Edgar’s Salsa Verde.

 Definitely make this salsa if you haven’t already! Some other options I’ve made include shredded cabbage with cilantro, lime juice and olive oil along  with Cotija cheese. What do you like with your fish tacos? Any ideas I should try out for next week’s version?

What Have I Been Up To?

Cherry Tree Festival – Blackstone Valley Half Marathon – my two second review, super organized race, pretty trails, some hills, would have done better had I listened to my own advice and been careful of my food consumption the day before. Had lots of fun running with friends though!

Fish tacos for summer!

Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day – Orzo Salad with Broccoli Pesto

Hanging with the geese on the Charles…

AND…

Chasing chickens with Kristina!!!

Get over here NOW chickens!

Got one!

Get on my arm!

Or not.

Here Kristina, I’ll help you.

Kristina, you look so happy!

You dropped your chicken!

Alright, that’s probably enough chickens.

Let’s talk about my plan.

  • Mon – Run 5m
  • Tues – Strength
  • Wed – Run 3m
  • Thurs – Run 3m & strength
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Run 6m
  • Sun – Some type of cross training

I’m having a bit of a hard time with this succeeding then failing healthy eating thing and not getting down on myself. Don’t feel like dwelling on it now, but feel free to share some words of motivation/encouragement. Just in a rut. The end.

 

Twin Lights Half Marathon

It was beautiful weather in Gloucester yesterday. The earlier morning temps were perfect racing weather, as it warmed up it was a tad warm for running, but still gorgeous. Part of the reason I chose to run the Twin Lights Half Marathon before the one planned for next weekend was to see the ocean views in Gloucester and Rockport during the run.

We started out at one of my favorite North Shore beaches, Good Harbor. I didn’t really want to walk around in the sand with my running shoes (sandy shoes for 13 miles, no thank you), so the picture is not great, but still pretty.

Earlier this week I was looking at some reviews of the Twin Lights Half Marathon and was realizing that this was not going to be a flat race. I was still holding out hope that perhaps it was not quite as hilly as “constant rolling hills”, but I learned that was correct on race day.

I was nervous as I really was not properly trained this time around, I could sit here and make excuses, but the majority of the time it was an accumulation of poor choices and too many ignored alarm clocks. On top of this, I never train for hills. I know that sounds like not the brightest choice, but I just don’t. Most of the places to run around me just don’t have hills, like running around the Charles. Honestly I’ve also found that by walking most hills in races (speed walking, not just leisurely walking) I am only going slightly slower than I would be at my struggling running pace uphill. And then I have saved the energy it took to make it up that hill. I know, I know, I should probably just train for it, but just doesn’t seem worth it to me right now.

Anyway, this is a seriously hilly course. It was an out and back course and I handled the hills fairly well on the way out, running some of the smaller ones, walking the large ones. I was actually pretty hopeful that I could beat my PR at this point. And then about halfway through I realized that was not happening. The hills were rough, the heat was on and the race was lacking in water stations. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the extra weight of running with my fuel belt in a race, but I was thankful I did during this one. And I actually did need more liquid than I ran with, it must have been super tough for those that did not have anything.

To be clear, there were water/gatorade stations, but on the second half most of the stations seemed to be out of liquids or out of cups. They were trying their best by portioning out small amounts or holding up the containers so runners could drink below, but as you can imagine this is not ideal on a hot day. I was also a little confused that the stations were often on the opposite side of the road, there really should have been enough to have stations on both sides. I guess this would be less of an issue if the roads were completely closed, but they weren’t so if you really wanted to stop you had to cross the street with cars coming by.

Sadly I had my worst half marathon time at this race, but when you don’t train well with a challenging course that is what happens. On the second half of the course I did quite a bit of walking. At least I can be proud of the last 0.1 miles, I always like to finish strong as possible, Ben caught me right before the finish line.

At mile 10 all I could think about was having a large cold beer and a maybe a dip in the ocean. Anyone else crave beer during their long runs or races?

So I skipped the cold dip in the ocean, but beers we had! We paid a visit to Cala’s in Manchester and spent time with my friend Jaime. And seriously, I love all the food here, but these lobster rolls are always amazing (and not to mention the hand-cut fries). Plates were definitely cleaned.

And then back to Boston, desperately in need of a shower!

All in all, if you want a challenging course with beautiful views you should run this race. I know I mentioned some issues, but to be fair I’m pretty sure this race is in its second or third year and it takes some time and money to get everything to go along smoothly.

One plus, free race photo downloads, you don’t see that very often. I’ll share what I am guessing will be super flattering pictures as soon as I have them!

Wouldn’t Blame You

If you stopped checking out my blog. I have become very inconsistent, if not, non-existent. I wish I had better excuses, but life has just been BUSY and work has still been enjoyable, but definitely long and tiring at times. That said, I really need to try to be a better blogger, because I really DO enjoy this part of my life. Even if no one reads my blog, I still love it. (although so much better when people do and make comments : )

Anyway, Ben and I just returned from a lovely vacation down in South Florida to visit my aunt, uncle and sister. (yes, I know I could have blogged on vacation, but I just wasn’t into using the computer, can you blame me?). We hadn’t been down there in a couple of years so it was so nice to spend time with family and catch up while also obviously enjoying the sun!

As usual, I’m not the best at taking pictures. The first set is some very nice family ones that my sister, Jean took, thank you Jean! (PS once again did not get a picture of the two of us!)

Happy Birthday Uncle Gary!

Me & Aunt Annie

Onto some wildlife, well, and other things.

I just thought this little owl was adorable. Visit at the nature center.

Further proof of my klutziness – bet you didn’t think it was possible to injure yourself on a stationary escalator.

Well, you would be wrong! On the next set, my aunt and uncle live in a neighborhood that uniquely has its own set of peacocks. It’s pretty cool!

Hello there

Uh oh, watch out Jean!

Mating time?

And to end, a pretty cool butterfly, don’t you think?

Sadly I am entering a state of depression knowing that my vacation time is over. I guess I should post some workouts and get motivated. Twin Lights Half Marathon this Saturday! Anyone else running that one? I’m a little on the nervous side, didn’t exactly do my best training. I would love to PR, but I would also be just as happy with finishing. Please send some PR positivity my way!

The remainder of the week…

And this week’s motivation…

 

Getting Back

Well, that was a bit of a hiatus. When you are sick for two weeks and the limited energy available needs to go into work; cooking and working out are not very high priorities. Hence, my lack of blog posts. Not a whole lot to share when all you do is go to work and sleep. Although, on second thought I could have posted some really attractive pictures, let’s see how red can Jess’ nose can get?

I have a little concern in the back of my mind that I missed two weeks of half marathon training and more importantly two long runs. Yikes. I’m trying not to get too freaked, I mean breathing has kind of been an issue for two weeks so there’s not much I could have done. Breathing is fairly essential to running.

Per doctor’s orders, I was unable to run my 5k on Saturday, but my awesome sister-in-law, Bethany was talked into walking the course with me. Thank you Bethany!

If I had been smart, I would have taken a picture of us at the race. But I’m not. So instead, here is one from November.

We walked the 5k  and finished in an unbelievably fast time of 49 minutes. Amazing isn’t it? Olympic speed walking team here we come. It was a very nice walking time on a sunny, cool day catching up. Ben might have gone just a bit faster. He has now completed his one run for 2012. Check.

So here’s the plan for this week. My first workout back will be tomorrow morning. I’m hoping my running capabilities have not totally disappeared, starting to run again at the beginning is always the worst!

  • Mon – one more rest day
  • Tues – Run 3m
  • Wed – 8×400 & Strength
  • Thurs – Rest if needed
  • Fri – Run 5m
  • Sat – Run 10m
  • Sun – Strength

AND I ALSO have a recipe for you. Not my recipe mind you, but yet another from my dear friend, Amanda. I could have sworn I already shared this one here so glad I made it tonight to share with you now. It is fabulous and very quick and easy to throw together for a nice light dinner.

Amanda’s Kalamata-Lemon Chicken with a side of grilled asparagus.

 

Amanda’s Kalamata-Lemon Chicken

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I also will use chicken breast too)
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 of a lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp Greek seasoning
  • 2/3 cup dried orzo
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a casserole dish, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Stir, cover, bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

 

Well Hello There

Meet my new friends.

I met with friends from my church for our group half-marathon training run on Saturday. Two of us were waiting for the others to arrive and as my friend took her backpack out apparently these ducks decided there must be food involved. They were pretty cute and I was really surprised how close they came up to me (about a foot away) without even a hint of food around. They stared at us for a minute or so and then gave up and returned to the Charles. Silly ducks.

Since we are talking about animals, let’s continue discussing my dog obsession. Well, remember my crazy dog lady post and the pug I met that morning. Well, I’m so ridiculous that while I was waiting on the Charles, I once again stopped to ask to pet this adorable little pug that was walking by. Then I asked the name, um yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the same exact pug I met that early morning. If the owner didn’t think I was crazy the first time, she most certainly does now. Oops.

I meant to post more this week, but the days just got away from me. I cooked less than expected, these allergies are seriously kicking my butt this week. Anyone else having the same? Claritin is a lifesaver right now.

Alright, how did we do…one note before I begin, the Achilles pain was a bit worse this week. Not to say this is as an excuse, because clearly I could have done something other than run, but I did have to back off on the runs during the week.

  • Mon – Run 4m Yes!
  • Tues – HILLS No
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength No
  • Thurs – Rest Strength
  • Fri – Run 3m pace No
  • Sat – Run 8m Done
  • Sun – Strength No

I’m hoping the Achilles calms down this week, but we will see for tomorrow’s run. I always get a little panicky when I start having pain. I know I’m not the only runner to go through this, but it is so, so frustrating to be injured. But this is also a reason why I should run when I can. I’m lucky enough to be able to, so I need to do it! The end!
This week…
  • Mon – Run 4m
  • Tues – 7×400
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength
  • Thurs – Rest
  • Fri – Run 3m pace
  • Sat – Run 8m
  • Sun – Strength

Looks similar I know, but technically with my training plan I’m supposed to run a 10k race this weekend, but it’s not going to work with our weekend plans so 8m repeat for me. I’m glad to have one more week with 8 miles anyway, the run on Saturday went well, but I was definitely feeling like my legs were like lead.

I’m starting to get in a salad rut. I really would like to continue keeping my lunch salads vegan, anyone have some magical vegan salad combos I should try out? This week, I’m having salad with one of these black bean burgers on top. Need ideas, please!

Also, can someone tell me why I cannot help, but rub my eye every time after I chop a jalapeno! Make the burn stop!

Gluten Free, Not For Me

About a month ago I had a regular physical with my doctor and casually mentioned that I was finding weight loss not so easy. I know I don’t have a ton to lose, but I would like to be in a healthier range for sure. What I didn’t mention was that perhaps my lack of loss was due to my ridiculous sweet tooth (for example, cupcakes were brought in for my birthday, let’s not get into the details though). I’m sure my current status has absolutely nothing to do with Cadbury eggs showing up in stores again either. Just no way.

On that note, seriously, how can you not LOVE Cadbury eggs??? I find that people love them or hate them, but I don’t understand you haters.

They are delicious and nutritious! Okay, maybe I lied about that last part.

Anyway, back on topic. I casually mentioned this to my doctor, who is awesome, by the way. And she suggested giving a gluten-free diet a try for about 6 weeks time and see how things went. She also asked me to provide her with a list of the last three days of food I had consumed. Since this was one of the first weeks that I noticed the Cadbury eggs out and about, guess who did not do her homework?

So I thought, I’m not a big fan of eliminating entire food groups, but I figured why not give it a try. Now, I didn’t exactly go with what I will so technically refer to as “hard-core” gluten-free for one reason. I have a few friends that are actually allergic to gluten and it makes them sick to consume any amount. I know that they have a difficult time as it is going to restaurants and specifying gluten-free when so many people are doing a gluten-free diet for one of the more recent trends in weight loss. Because of that I think that some restaurants might be a little less reactive when someone states a gluten allergy. I don’t want to make that worse, so I tried my best to order gluten-free during this “trial period”, but with minimal disruption to others around me.

So for two and a half weeks I was totally gluten-free, would have probably gone for longer if not due to the weirdo power outages in the Back Bay. All my healthy prepared foods didn’t really make it through. Now, if I’m to be totally honest, did I actually feel good while I was eating gluten-free? No, I did not. I think my digestive system actually did not appreciate it, I also didn’t feel like my eating had  changed all that much. I was reminded again. I really don’t eat a lot of processed foods. I don’t even eat a ton of “gluten heavy” foods. Most of the foods I consume are also organic and not genetically modified as are some of the concerns that people have with wheat (I think this is right, but feel free to comment if I’m incorrect?). My problem is all portion control (okay and sweets, but biggest challenge, portions and self-control).

So my conclusion, gluten free is not for me! I think it would be helpful for someone who needs to start with cutting down on processed foods first as gluten seems to be in everything processed and might make some of your food decisions easier. Unless you have an allergy, I say maybe it’s best not to cut out total sections of food, makes it really hard to maintain and feel successful. Anyway, that is my two cents and simply my opinion. I am by no means qualified to give any medical or nutrition advice 🙂

Now, what is the opposite of gluten-free?

Pasta! Want to make me happy? Just make me pesto sauce. That’s it.

I am loving running in this weather. I almost got a little carried away and signed up for a third half-marathon in the month of May, but thought that might be a little much. Don’t forget to join me on Daily Mile. The more friends the merrier, I find it so motivating!

 

 

 

It’s a Beautiful, Sunny Day

And I am sitting on the couch. Unapologetically. Yes, and last week you might remember I sat on my couch too. But I am taking another lazy afternoon, on the couch. Sorry, I’m not sorry 🙂

So I didn’t sit on my couch all week, don’t worry. I did go out to eat A LOT. Part of that was due to fun plans for my birthday and partly unexpected due to a weird power outage in the Back Bay. Since I neglected to cook very much (or perhaps my now empty fridge is to blame) maybe you would like to know where I dined this week.

Douzo

Tuesday night I grabbed sushi with a friend at Douzo in the Back Bay. We split some edamame and a few rolls, Boston roll, Spider roll, Volcano roll and Spicy Tuna. All delicious and I have to say, one of the best Spicy Tuna rolls I have ever had. This happened to be the evening of the power outage, thankfully we had just finished eating once the power went out.

Russell House Tavern

Our go to, favorite restaurant. Everything we’ve had here is excellent. I was pretty boring and went for a Cheeseburger and French Fries, but I was feeling some comfort food. Amazing as usual.

The Beehive

It’s been forever since we’ve been here, such a fun place to go. I enjoyed a Pink Flamingo, split an order of the Steamed Mussels with Lager, Tomato & Old Bay and then had one of the specials for the main event. The meal was as tasty as I remember from my last visit, service left something to be desired, but was a fun night overall.

Elephant Walk

If you haven’t tried this place before you really should. Don’t be scared off by the unusual cuisine (French-Cambodian). It is a winner. Another plus, if you are looking for a number of vegan and/or a number of gluten-free dishes there is a sizable menu for both (and also for the carnivorous gluten-eating individuals).

So clearly this needs to be food detox week. Goodness. Blegh.

Unfortunately, where the food choices are poor, the activity level is poor as well. I am proud of completing my long run though. I was able to run with friends and although I love my alone time while running too, I forgot how fun it is to run with friends and how quickly the miles go by. Although not as sunny or warm as today, it was a great temperature for a run yesterday. Here’s my full recap:

  • Mon – Run 3.5m Rest Day #1
  • Tues – 6×400 @ 5k pace Done and done
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength Ran the 3m, skipped out on the strength
  • Thurs – Rest Rest Day #2
  • Fri – Run 3m Rest Day #3
  • Sat – Run 7m Check!
  • Sun – Strength And that would be Rest Day #4
And for this week…I’m supposed to be alternating speedwork and tempo runs every other Tuesday, but I know my upcoming 5k is for sure hilly and I’m thinking one of the half-marathons might be too so I’ve decided to replace the tempo runs with some hill work. First, I should probably find myself a lengthy hill, but I’m thinking some hills on the treadmill would also suffice, what do you think?
  • Mon – Run 4m
  • Tues – HILLS
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength
  • Thurs – Rest
  • Fri – Run 3m pace
  • Sat – Run 8m
  • Sun – Strength
Don’t worry, I’ll be back cooking this week. The goal will be to eat at home as much as possible!

Sunday Routines

Here we go…eight breakfasts and eight lunches done again, along with one Sunday night dinner. So what are we having this week?

For Ben, breakfast yet again, Creamy Farro with Honey-Roasted Grapes. I’m so happy I’ve finally found something successful for his breakfast! And for lunch, romaine, shredded rotisserie chicken, cucumber, bell pepper and a scoop of hummus and tabouli.

This week I’m having steel-cut oats with chia seeds, and peanut butter, something new. And my salad of the week…romaine, olives, chickpeas and avocado. Fascinating, I know. 🙂

I think I’m putting quite a dent in trying out all the recipes in this cookbook. Check out my favorite cookbooks and recipes here.

This recipe was very tasty, easy and quick to throw together, Dahlia’s Fragrant Chicken Fingers (although I used turkey, either works fine). Served with a side of baked sweet potato fries.

So I didn’t hit every single half-marathon training week 1 target, but I feel pretty good about what I did accomplish and hoping next week is even better. Now, if only my eating was better. Let’s not go there.

Recap

  • Mon – Yoga – Done
  • Tues – 5 x 400 @5k pace – Rest
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength – Rest
  • Thurs – Rest – 3m total including 5 x 400 @5k pace
  • Fri – Run 3m Ran 2m
  • Sat – Run 5m Done, and against some major wind gusts!
  • Sun – Strength Done
So what’s next?
  • Mon – Run 3m
  • Tues – 30 min tempo
  • Wed – Run 3m & strength
  • Thurs – Rest
  • Fri – Run 3m pace
  • Sat – Run 6m
  • Sun – Strength

What’s your workout plan this week?