Hartford Marathon Training: Week Four

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Week Four: Week of 7/24

This week I learned that if I try to do too many things, I feel like shit. Why do I keep having to learn this lesson over and over? I told Pete that from now on we need to take a complete day of rest on Sunday. Not just a day off from running, I mean a day to do absolutely nothing except whatever we want to do. If that means laying around watching movies and eating pizza, then fine. Or it might mean going to a concert, or a movie, or whatever. Actually have fun. It’s a tough thing when you have kids, you get into this mode of work, work, work, errands, and you end up passing out in front of the TV with your dinner half-eaten. Or sometimes not at all.

Base Week #4:

M 10 miles treadmill (7:15/mile)

T Pilates mat class + 6.5 miles hilly (7:28/mile)

W 7 miles easy treadmill (8:12/mile)

Th 4 miles easy (8:06/mile) + Pilates 

F 8 miles treadmill am (7:39/mile)/ 7.6 miles pm (8:24/mile) pushing double stroller

Sat 14 miles (7:18/mile)

Sunday REST

(57.1 miles) 

Fave pizza toppings? I’m into pizza piled with all kinds of veggies. I’m also a fan of the classic cheese.

 love pizza heart i love you flirting GIF

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Winter running, part two.

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In case you want to read about what a dumbass I was at the beginning of this winter (when I thought 32 degrees was cold), part one is here.

I laugh at how naive I was (or maybe forgetful) a few months ago. Why did I think low 30s was so cold? Yesterday I ran outside for the first time in a long time and it felt HOT at 29 degrees. But first, there was a trip to Target, of course, because I’m a Basic SAHM.

Poor Emma, she really wanted to take that minion home.

Poor Emma, she really wanted to take that minion home.

We only had to get a prescription refilled, but it takes 30 minutes, so we just played in the toy section and Emma didn’t want to let go of this guy (we’ve watched Despicable Me a few times when I haven’t been feeling well, I admit). Afterwards we stopped at Bruegger’s and we got lucky that there were some hot bagels in our favorite variety (Honey Grain). I feel bad for people who don’t eat carbs because it doesn’t get much better than fresh bagels and cream cheese. I usually get Honey Walnut cream cheese and Emma prefers “pink” (Strawberry).

This is from a different bagel run, but you get the idea... pink cream cheese everywhere

This is from a different bagel run, but you get the idea… pink cream cheese everywhere

On the drive home I decided that it was way too nice for the treadmill, so I put Emma down for a nap and got some others things done. Then when she woke up we went running outside! Woof. It was hard pushing that stroller after a hiatus, but totally worth it.

Emmaline all bundled up after our run. She wanted to play outside. Her favorite word lately is "snow"...

Emmaline all bundled up after our run. She wanted to play outside. Her favorite word lately is “snow”…

I was going to write about what I wore in detail (I even took photos) but I realized it was basically the same thing as in part one, so I guess there’s no need. Hopefully this will be the last time I write about winter for awhile. February is coming to a close and I’m excited for the month of March for so many reasons, but the biggest one is that we are closing on our new house in a few days! More about that soon. Hope everyone is keeping warm and that my southern friends and family are enjoying their late winter snowfall from last night.

Some questions for y’all… What is your favorite bagel/cream cheese combo? What do you think about last year’s Boston jacket (or the 2015 version in purple)? You won’t offend me… I know it’s freaking bright. I mean, is there any possible shade of orange brighter than this?

Boston jacket that everyone thinks is hideous (but I like it for visibility on the roads)

Boston jacket that everyone thinks is hideous (but I like it for visibility on the roads)

30 Minute Turkey Chili

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I promised this a few weeks back, so here it is! The recipe originally came from a Food Network daily calendar I got for Christmas a few years ago. I made a few changes to the original recipe (I add more of the chipotle chiles and I use a 28 oz can of tomatoes), but you can adjust the spiciness to your own personal taste.

Our Trader Joes sells ground turkey in 1.5 lb packages so I tried adjusting the recipe by 1 1/2 and it was the perfect amount for two meals for both of us (I know the recipe says four servings, but let’s be real).

30-Minute Turkey Chili
(From Food Network Kitchens)

Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:30 min
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce
1 pound ground turkey
1 (12-ounce) Corona
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1 (15 1/2 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Sliced scallions, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, and/or tortilla chips, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes (along with the juice) and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice.

Enjoy!

Guac-a-Mollie

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Avocadoes are one of my favorite foods. I’ve been working on a guac recipe for awhile and finally came up with one that I love. Enjoy!

Guac-a-Mollie

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I use a rounded 1/2 tsp)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 Serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I like a lot of garlic so I added more)
1-2 tomatoes, diced

In large bowl place scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Add salt and cumin, mash with a fork or potato masher. Carefully stir in Serrano chiles, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or Mexican-ish meal!

Note: I would have included a pic but we ate it all already. You don’t have to use Serrano chiles, any spicy pepper would probably work (although I would stay away from habaneros and ghost peppers). Also, you can add more or less tomatoes depending on your taste preference.

Next up: 30-Minute Turkey Chili

I heart Picky Bars (and other musings)

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Endurance athletes have a serious need for calories, and many of us turn to nutrition bars for quick energy. Well, here’s the problem: most of them taste disgusting. Some people don’t really care about what they eat as long as it quiets the roar of their stomach. However, many of us reach a point where we have to start paying better attention to the quality of our foods– for performance, weight loss, and many other reasons.

This past summer I started to feel like crap for no apparent reason. I was training for my first marathon and was about halfway through the training, when suddenly my long run took a horrible turn. I started off at 7:30 pace for about half of the run, and then suddenly I couldn’t hold a ten minute mile. After a few days, it all came screaming back to me: anemia. This dreaded nutritional deficiency had plagued me once before (and probably more than that but had gone undiagnosed) and I had not dealt with it properly the first time. The doctor’s recommendation to 1)give up my vegetarianism and 2)take these awful iron supplements which make you constipated 3)stop drinking coffee and tea because they block iron absorption and 4)take a break from running sent me into a frenzy. I was worried about gaining weight from eating red meat (which contains the most readily-absorbed form of iron), cranky from the lack of coffee and forced cross-training, and sick from the supplements. By the time I got my ferritin back to normal, I was injured and couldn’t run anyway. What a mess.

This time I was determined to handle this problem like a normal human being. I reduced my training volume temporarily, but also started to research nutritional interventions and training adaptations that I could live with. Here’s what I came up with:

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this should not substitute for medical advice. The information below is from my own research and personal experience. If you think you might be anemic, you should seek medical care.

1. Training on soft surfaces as much as possible. I do many of my runs on the roads and sidewalks because it’s convenient. I try to get most or all of long runs on soft surfaces, and do some of my workouts on the track or on trails. This cuts down on the hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) that occurs with every running step.

2. Train in shoes with more cushioning. Again, this is supposed to cut down on hemolysis. I still do a lot of my training in minimalist shoes, but I alternate cushioned shoes 2-3 times per week.

3. Take supplements. I take a multivitamin with iron every day and a “Slow Fe” supplement every other day. I take them in the afternoon with lunch because I can’t give up my morning coffee (coffee and tea contain tanins which block the absorption of iron).

4. Eat red meat once per week. This one was tough for me because I have been a vegetarian in varying degrees since the sixth grade. My husband is pretty happy that we started eating steaks since he likes to grill, and we’ve both started ordering burgers when we got out. I didn’t like them at first, but now I actually crave them!

5. Eat other whole foods that naturally contain iron and other important vitamins and minerals. This gets a little tricky because not all iron is created equally. This is where Picky Bars come in! I had been hearing all about these tasty nuggets and decided to read up on them. Well, lo and behold, the fine people at Picky Bars really know what they’re doing. They have a whole section on nutrition science for science nerds like me!
(you can read more details here http://www.pickybars.com/ingredient-science)

My favorite flavor, yum! (until that rumored coffee one comes out)

I actually took some of the ideas from the Picky Bars website and added those ingredients to my diet. For example, now I put pepitas and raisins in my salads. I also started eating more almond butter and cashew butter for variety (instead of plain old PBJs). Since then I haven’t had any problems with anemia. It took a few weeks to feel normal again, but the interventions worked!

The moral of this story (for me anyway) is just to keep things simple and not freak out when a problem arises. I’ve tried to stay away from being one of those people with fifty bottles of vitamins on their nightstand, because I know logically that real food is better for you. But I take those two supplements as “insurance” in case I miss something in my diet 🙂