Weekend Update

Today’s Happy Note:

Hello hello hello!  I have to blog and run because I have more work to do before tomorrow’s (procrastinator much?) early morning long run.  Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I reaallllllyyyyy suck at time management.

Marathon Training:

Yesterday I had five easy miles on the schedule.  I did that along with about 40 minutes of arms and abs.  My leg strength training falls by the wayside whenever I am training for a race.  My legs are tired enough from running so many miles, I can’t bear the thought of putting them through sets of lunges and hamstring curls and calf raises.  I have decided that I officially love lifting weights.  It is almost as fun as running and yoga for me.  Makes me feel strong, powerful, confident, and sexy, in a weird way.  I ended my run at the Union Square Farmer’s market.  That is the absolute best way to do a Saturday morning run — then you can have a little snack when you get there and sit in the sunshine in the park and think about sunflowers and sunshine and other sunny Saturday morning things.

There was a chocolate chip coconut scone (yes, you heard that correctly) with my name on it at the FM!  With a side of honey-vanilla yogurt.

This was the best scone I have ever had.  I am normally totally a muffin person, but I think I am becoming a scone convert.

So.  Something really good and awesome and happy happened at the farmer’s market after I ate my scone but I don’t want to tell you all about it because I don’t want to jinx it.  So I kind of just told you, without really telling you.  So there.

If you’re a blogger, are you ever afraid of jinxing something by “saying it aloud” on the blog?

Today was supposed to be a Sunday long run day, but I didn’t want to wake up super early, then it ended up raining the whole day anyway.  I moved around my scheduled runs for the week so that I can do it tomorrow (hello 6 AM).  I love Google calendar because it lets you drag and drop events from one day to another.  I ended up doing a 30 minute abs class at the gym today followed by a six mile run that included 4 fast 800s (half-miles).  The 800s were hard but not killer hard.  I used to flat-out hate speedwork but now I think I have more of a love-hate relationship with it.  It feels so goooooood afterwards but during it I just wanna die (usually).  Regular running never gets my heart rate up or makes my face red or anything.  Today’s speedy 800s sure did though!

It ended up pouring for the whole second half of my run.  Somehow I don’t have a problem running less than an hour in the rain.  I just couldn’t face two hours.  Not sure why.

Enough running!

Eats hodgepodge:

Yogurt with a warmed peach and honey and granola.  Afternoon snackage perfection.

I’m pretty sure I ate an entire half of a big cantaloupe over the last two days.

Dates, carrots, PB, and more PB plate.  I am loving dates lately!

Pasta, lots of veggies, and tofu.  With a side of more veggies with guac.  One of the smartest things my mother ever taught me: you can never have too many vegetables.

Good eats (although maybe a little too much last night?  It’s so hard to tell with marathon training!).  Good running.  Good friends.  Good adventures.

Good weekend.

Update me on your lives my friends!  What’s going on where you are?

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Adventure Saturday: Yoga/Farmer’s Market and Fava Bean Pasta Salad

Today’s Happy Note: Everything!  It was just a very pleasant Saturday.  I need a list.

1. Turtles.  I found this little pond in CP with a small dock.  I ran down the dock and discovered that the pond was swarming with turtles — hundreds of them!  My favorites are the big old ones.  They’re such serene and graceful creatures.

2. Buying myself sunflowers!  See farmer’s market pictures below.  They are brightening up my dining room table.

3. Getting things done: lots of errands and tasks (calling grandparents, buying paper towels, letter writing, etc.).

4. One of my best random dinner creations ever.

5. Spectacular batch of protein ice cream (that I am currently eating).

6. Chatting with friends, even if only briefly.  Always makes my day so much better.

7. Catching up on Bethenny Getting Married, which is the best reality show ever.  I think Bethenny is really sassy and clever.  She is totally someone who I would want as my friend!

I had a spectacular Adventure this morning to a yoga class with live music.  I have never had a class with live musicians and it was fun, especially since the players were kinda cute.  I don’t think it really changed my experience but I did notice I felt a little more relaxed.  Like there was less stuff floating around in my head interfering with my practice.

I have been thinking a lot about compassion lately.  Yoga always reminds me to be kind: towards myself and others.  This is one of my favorite things about it, besides the obvious physical benefits.  After yoga, the Adventure continued to the Farmer’s Market.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera since I only had my running waist pack.  There was such a wide variety of vendors there today.  I wanted to try so many things — fresh goat cheese, blueberry jam, sprouts, lamb, herb teas, squashes.  I didn’t think I should spend my life savings at the FM though, so I had to drag myself away eventually.  My little trip reminded me of Averie!  I wish she could shop at the farmer’s market in NYC with me.  I know she would love it and we would be buddies!

When I was done shopping, I munched on a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from Stone Arch Farms (my favorite baked goods vendor by far) dipped in my newly acquired cashew butter!  I had gotten a few things at WF beforehand. Sadly, the cashew butter was a bit disappointing.  It was sort of thick and goopy and slimy.  Cashews are my favorite nut too.  I don’t know where things went wrong.

Loot:

Peaches, cookies, banana chip bread, eggs, fava beans, sunflowers, cucumbers, sweet corn!  WF loot:

Basil, spring greens, almond milk, frozen mahi mahi burgers (!!!), raspberries, cashew butter.  Can you tell what I was thinking of making for dinner? Probably not.  Because only a few of the ingredients are here.  And only my crazy brain would think up the bizarre concoction that it turned into.

So what did dinner turn into?

Summer Pasta Salad (this is for one)

1 serving whole wheat noodles

1/2 pound fava beans (once shelled, you’ll have about 1/2 – 3/4 cups)

2 C spinach, washed

1 C fresh basil, washed

2 Tbsp EVOO

2 Tbsp hummus

Lemon pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Boil a pot of water and add a teaspoon or two of salt.  While it boils, remove fava beans from pods.  Add them into the boiling water for three or four minutes; meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water.  Remove fava beans from pot and submerge in ice water.  Add pasta to water and cook for ten to twelve minutes.  The fava beans actually have another shell that must now be removed.  I took them out of the ice water and, using a dull-ish knife (I didn’t want to slice my hand open), make a slice along one edge, then squeeze the bean out.  Once all of the beans have been shelled, toss into a frying pan with a little EVOO, lemon pepper, and salt.  Into a blender goes the hummus, the other tablespoon of EVOO, more salt and lemon pepper, and the basil.  Blend until creamy.  Beans should be sauteed for about five minutes, while pasta is finishing up.  When everything is complete, add pasta, beans, and sauce to a bowl.  Toss together thoroughly, then add the spinach and toss again.  Serve with cheese, sunny side up egg, more basil, or other fresh herbs.

The Bean.

This was such a fun dinner!  I was  *this close* to not cooking but decided I wanted to do a little kitchen experimentation.  So glad I did!  It’s creamy yet tangy yet not overpowering.  I will probably make a version of this again.  I need to buy more favas next time!

Do you have a favorite easy summer recipe?

Outside of my yoga/farmer’s market adventure, I also ran and lifted today.  I did about seven and a half miles then twenty-ish minutes of arm strength.  I was proud of myself for that distance.  It felt surprisingly easy, considering that I have run all of five miles in the last two weeks.  I think I should be back up to my regular weekend long runs in no time at all.

Tomorrow will, hopefully, include more Adventures.  I think that’s what weekend are all about

What Adventures are you having on this lovely (albeit sticky) July weekend?

Adventures In Carb Lovin’ And Clean Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Got my blood work back and everything is roughly normal!  My iron and blood cell levels are all a bit low but that is to be expected at this point.  Nothing that requires hospitalization=a good thing.  I kept having nightmares last night that I had to go in and get a blood transfusion.

They are still doing tests to figure out what I actually have.  Probably some sort of creepy bacteria.  Yuck yuck yuck.

But wait.  There is more good news.  I can now eat things besides bread and plain noodles!

Exhibit A:

That, my friends, is melted dark chocolate.  Which may or may not have been on the list of approved foods.  But screw it.

Exhibit B:

Scone.  It had a weird texture (a bit dry) but a great flavor.  Tomorrow, I might venture into muffin territory.

Exhibit C:

This is pasta with a little EVOO and a lotta salt.  An inappropriate amount of salt.  And basil.  I’m supposed to be consuming salt like it’s my job, don’t hate.

Other things on the safe food list: bagels, toast, gatorade, vitamin water, dry cereal, and rice.  I can’t actually remember the last time I had a vegetable, which is scary.  I have been eating little bits of frozen fruit here and there.

I want meat.  Bad.  I want some ribs and some fish and some chicken.  And eggs.  And meatballs.  And cheese.  And hummus and sandwiches and peanut butter and waffles and tofu.  And protein ice cream and smoothies.  Not all at once though.  That would be weird.

I actually have no interest in dairy right now.  To be honest, I am a little grossed out by the idea of it.  I know it is hard to digest and supposedly mucus-producing; normally I don’t have a problem with 1-2 servings a day, but I think I’m going to skip out on it for a little while.  I read that sometimes even after a bad GI issue like this clears up, people can’t eat dairy products.

I have felt simultaneously very alienated from and intimate with my body these past few days.  A strange feeling.  I trust in my body and love it’s ability to recover but it is scary to think how sensitive we are; one tiny strand of bacteria can knock us out for days, or even kill us.  I already know how “dirty” the American food system is, but this just made me even more afraid.  How do I know that my lettuce in a bag from California never encountered bacteria, or that my milk is completely clean?

I guess we don’t really know.  Part of me wants to say “that’s why we should choose local, seasonal, and organic.”  Okay, but I already do that.  Literally half of the stuff in my fridge right now is from the farmer’s market.  In fact, I have a suspicion that that might be where the contaminated food came from.  I always wash my produce, but I suppose I could be better at it.  The frustrating thing is that there aren’t many answers here.  Short of growing everything I eat, it’s impossible to ensure my diet is perfectly clean.

I am honestly a bit afraid of food right now.  I hope this doesn’t persist; I like food too much to be afraid of it!

But what can we do?  How do we keep a food supply clean when we don’t know where most of it is coming from?  How do we ensure that bacteria or diseases don’t have a chance to enter our tummies?

Sad Bad Mood

Today’s Happy Note: Feeling better about therapy.  My therapist sent me a very comforting and calming response to my somewhat frantic letter to her yesterday.  That’s one thing, at the very least, that I don’t have to have in my mind right now.

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments yesterday.  Whenever I’m in a bad mood or sad or had a bad therapy day you never fail to make me feel better!  I am a lucky blogger indeed!

Unfortunately, while I am feeling a bit better about therapy, I’m still in a terrible mood.  Damn hormones.  I don’t really think there’s anything else to blame it on at this point.  I did have a good, lonely cry this evening which made me feel a bit better.  Although now I have a headache and about ten pimples.

I have felt terribly lonely over the last few days.  I sort of had an epiphany last night that friends make our lives worth living.  Even if I am only spending a few moments with someone, if that person is meaningful to me, they can make me feel so happy inside.  Friends make me feel radiant in a way that no amount of food or exercise or even positive self-talk can.  It’s another dimension of the health equation that I feel like I am just discovering — I have always had friends and have friends now, but hadn’t considered their importance to my own well-being before.  Sometimes the only thing in the world that can make me feel better is to have someone to snuggle with or someone to braid my hair or someone to just sit with.

Does this make sense? I often think of myself as a loner, but really, I’m not.  I am most definitely not a social butterfly with twenty best friends (and I never will be), but the relationships I do have with people mean everything to me.

Exercise: I came home from work tired and cranky (again!) and took a little nap.  I wanted to watch the Biggest Loser because (a) I like the show and (b) I knew I would feel motivated to do some moves while watching.  Success!  I spent the first hour of the show doing a circuit where I did 3-4 minutes cardio (mostly jumping moves a la Janetha) followed by 25 reps of a leg move, 25 reps of an ab move, and 25 reps of an arm move, then I did 3-4 minutes of yoga.  I probably went through the whole circuit 6 or 7 times.  It was a nice way to switch things up a bit.  Now that I’m not training for a half-marathon — or any running event for that matter — it’s nice to do some fun, non-running exercise.  In the next few weeks I’d like to do some swimming, bike riding, and maybe exercise classes!

Do you ever make up your own workout circuits?  What moves do you include?

Eats: Somewhat fun today!  I’m having to get creative, especially with protein and dessert options, but I’m managing.  I might have to buy some cottage cheese or black beans or sliced turkey to get me through the end of the week, but I’m really trying to hold out — I’m going home Saturday morning.  I hate wasting food.

Melty almond butter and blackberry oats=perfect way to start the morning!

Packed lunch for work!  Trader Joe’s chicken sausage ravioli with BBQ tempeh, green grapes, and carrots.

I have trouble packing lunches that will keep me satisfied all afternoon (through three or four hours), but this did the trick!  I am often afraid to include carbs in my lunch (silly, I know), but the pasta with the tempeh was a great choice for a main course, I think.

What are your go to lunches to bring when you’ll be at work all day?

Afternoon snack: clif mojo peanut butter and jelly flavor.  This tastes like real pb and j, actually.  It’s amazing!  I like all the clif mojo bars.

Dinner Part I: looks like weird pink soup.  It’s actually just watery kashi oatmeal (I love watery oats — they last longer!) mixed with cranberry-pommegranate tera’s whey protein powder.  I have to say, this was the most disgusting protein powder I have ever had in my entire life.  It tasted very fake and was way too sweet and cloying.  I should have just stuck with my regular WF vanilla whey!  Yuck.

Dinner part II: A semi-random but highly delicious combination!  I topped a base of plain spinach with a two egg puff, refried pinto beans, and a sliced pear.  The flavors worked really well together; smooth, creamy, sweet, savory.  I want to have the exact same thing for dinner tomorrow!  I think having two dinners wokred really well for me.  I am always afraid to do this because I fear that I’ll end up eating more calories, but instead of feeling ravenous after work and then ravenous again around ten or eleven, I spread everything out and felt satiated all evening long.  I might do this more often!

I just munched on a chocolate coconut chew lara bar for dessert.  It’s one of the best flavors in my opinion.  If you like laras, do you have a favorite flavor?

Definitely time for me to crawl into my bed now.  I’m hoping to squeeze in a run before work tomorrow morning so that I can relax in the evening.

Happy Wednesday friends!

Running, Protein, And Fat!

Daily Creativity: I won’t lie, nothing much creative has happened yet.  Maybe some sketching?  I’m so mad at myself for forgetting to bring my pastels back with me when I was home last week!  Well, my dinner salad was kind of creative I guess.

Cook’s Mission: Go vote for my cook’s mission entry (you have to scroll down quite a bit) here.  Or vote for whatever one you like the best!  I personally thought Mae’s muffins and Health-Foodies apricot and rosemary filled pretzels rocked.  To vote, just leave a comment on the recipe you like the best!

Run: Today was my first run since the race.  Perhaps I should have started out low and slow, but for some reason I really wanted to do eight miles.  When I get an idea for a route or distance in my head, I tend to stick to that plan no matter what, even if I’m not really feeling it.  Not the greatest habit, but today turned out alright.  Very slow though; I think I did about 8, or perhaps a little bit less, in 85 minutes.  I was doing a lot of hilly trails in CP though, so that was part of the slowness.  My legs just felt generally tired too.  If I still feel sluggish in five days I’ll be annoyed, but right now I’m just accepting that they might have a little residual exhaustion 🙂

Tomorrow I’m going to take my friend J outside for his first ever outdoor run!!!!  He can do 3.25 on a treadmill, but I know I can get him up to 5 outside.  He’s a trooper. I’m SO proud of him; three years ago when we started college, he was overweight and really out of shape.  He started making simple changes like eating whole wheat bread and low fat milk and having more fruits and veggies and now he is strong, powerful, and way healthier.  Go J go!

How long does it take you to recover from a hard race?

Announcements, Announcements, Annouuuuunnnnncements: Okay, sorry, that probably seems really random to you.  We used to have to sing that phrase every morning at the camp I went to for nine years.  It will forever be stuck in my head.

1. Thanks for everyone’s sweet comments yesterday

2. I really want a blog header/fun layout, but I’m very poor and can’t really justify spending money on the blog.  Anyone have any suggestions/know-how/friends who design websites?

3. I’m going to be running another race soon.  A really awesome but very difficult and painful race.  One that I have run once before (hint: it was in December and you can learn more about it on one of my pages from the sidebar).  Drumroll…

Run around the island 33 mile ultramarathon!!!!!!!!  I AM REALLY EXCITED this time around: I have no tibia issues and my microfractures are long gone.  I know I’m strong and I have the endurance.  And it’s in two weeks.  Gah!  This isn’t really something that I would train for outside of my normal running, and since it’s so soon I don’t know that I’ll want to do any 18-22 milers before it.  I’ll probably do a 12-14 miler during the middle of this week, and I should be fine.  Last time we did 33.4 miles in 6 hours 8 minutes.  I guess it’d be cool if we could beat that time; I ran it with two guys and they were both so supportive and encouraging.  Not sure if we’ll have more people this time, but it’d be cool if we did.  More people=more fun!

Random eats  from the day (forgot to charge my camera so I don’t have everything):

Whole wheat pasta with lots of veggies, chicken, a little alfredo sauce and too much cheese.

Luna protein bar: OMG this was wonderful.  I have high bar standards, and although this may not be super “clean”, it was super tasty.  Most chocolate peanut butter flavored things fail, but this one was downright impressive.  It tasted like the girl scout peanut butter patties cookies (which, in my opinion, are way better than thin mints)!

Grocery heap!  Things I’m excited about: Tera’s whey protein powders, chocolate almond milk, black cherry steaz, and justin’s maple almond butter (ON SALE!).

Dinner: lentil soup, giant salad with romaine, spinach, carrots, bell peppers, blackberry, and half of an apple chicken sausage.  Dinnertime perfection.

Emotional Eating (warning: wordiness ahead):

I think one of the first things I need to do in evaluating my emotional eating/over eating, after examining what my feelings really are (which is a lot of what therapy is about, so this is already covered mostly), is examine the ways in which my diet is and is not working for me.  There are a few things I have noticed so far:

1. I am someone who needs a lot of vegetables, protein and fat.  I know it’s cliche to say that “carbs are not your friend” but for me they pose one major problem: if I have a carb-based meal at any point in the day after breakfast, I will only want carbs for the rest of the day.  If I have cereal or granola at lunch, I cannot resist having it for snack and dinner too.  I think that for my body chemistry (insulin-resistant), carbs actually have an addictive property.  I am one of those people for whom sugar necessitates more sugar.  I have noticed a few things that help with this: small servings of whole grain bread, pasta, or actual grains with lunch or dinner seem to help keep me full and satisfied, include lots of plant based volume at most meals, and eat more protein or fat.  Sounds simple, and really, it is.  So this is something I have observed (non-judgmentally) and plan to work on!

2.  If I get too hungry or wait too long between meals, I will dive into the sugar (ice cream, cereal, chocolate,whatever’s around).  I think the solution to this is as simple as making sure I’m eating every 3-4 hours, and when I do get into a hunger state, respond by having some fat and protein immediately.

3.  After-dinner snacking: if I occupy myself after dinner with blogging/reading/homework/cleaning etc., I tend to not have the snacky feeling!  I am not sure why, but I get really intense sugar cravings after most meals, regardless of what the meal consists of.  If I wait a half an hour or so though, these cravings typically go away!  I need to practice mindfulness and consciousness in the evenings.  I think this is a good first step.

I really wanted to do a Flashback Friday (Janetha makes them look so fun) but this post is already way too talky.  Maybe I’ll do one tomorrow?  Is this allowed?

Alright bloggettes, what are you up to this weekend?  Any fun exercise classes or adventures planned or delicious new meals waiting to be consumed?

Pre-Race Prep and Pasta

Daily Creativity: Recipe invention!

Definitely feeling the pre-race nerves.  I actually really don’t like races.  Some people can do 15-20 a year easily.  I feel overwhelmed by two!  My  last real race was last May.  I think that part of the problem is that my endurance is so good and my speed so bad that I don’t usually race very fast.  I could probably beat most of the people in the half-marathon if we had to run 30 or 40 miles.    But at least it’s a half-marathon and not a 5k.  Those are the worst.

When I was a swimmer in high school and we would do fast sets,  I would always go faster in practice than in a meet.  For example, if we had to do 10×100’s all out, almost every single one of those 100s would be faster than a single 100 in a meet.  Is that weird?  I think so.  But at the same time, I know that my body thrives off of endurance.  Ultimately, I am an endurance athlete.  I actually have a secret dream of doing an ironman some day.  Well it’s not a secret anymore, I guess.

My plan of attack for tomorrow: DO NOT GO OUT FAST.  I think my first mile or two should be in the mid-nines, and by mile four and five, I’s like to be hitting consistent nines.  By nine and ten, I’d like to be mid-eights.  Hopefully, this will allow me to beat my current PR of 1:58.44.  But I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t beat this time; that will just make me feel anxious and sad and we all know I don’t need any more of that in my life!

This is really random, but I am so excited to eat chia seeds tomorrow morning.  After reading Born To Run, I’m hoping they’ll give me a little extra kick 🙂

Supplies:

In case you can’t see, I’m number 7366 (this sounds lucky, right??) and will be wearing blue shorts and a blue-green top.  It’s supposed to be in the 50s and 60s, so I should be okay, I hope.  If you will be at the race and you see me running, feel free to say hello or cheer or whatever 🙂

The course makes a full loop of CP and then some, then heads South and West and finishes near Battery Park.  My first half was hillier than CP, but I am still a bit nervous about tackling the hills at speed.  Although we will be going down my least favorite hill, in the middle of the East Side of the main loop (anyone know what I’m talking about?  With the crazy panther statue on top of the rock wall on the side?), so this is nice.

I made an awesome pre-race dinner for myself tonight.  Would have been nice to have someone to share it with, but oh well.  More veggies for me I suppose.  This dish would actually just be a great family-friendly healthy dinner.  It only took about half an hour and is full of healthy things.

Perfect Pre-Race Pasta (alliteration anyone?):

Note: This recipe is written for one person; simply double it for two, etc.

1 serving whole wheat pasta (I used WF shells)

1 tbsp EVOO

1-2 apple chicken sausages, depending on how much meat you want (I had 1.5)

2 C washed and sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 C washed and chopped broccoli

2 big handfuls washed spinach

2 tbsp favorite hummus

Boil water for the pasta.  Pour EVOO into a non stick skillet and add sausages; I like to cut mine in half lengthwise first so they cook faster.  While sausage cooks and water boils, wash and cut up veggies. When sausages are a bit browned on the outside, add mushrooms.  Break up the sausages into bite-sized pieces with a spatula.  Water should be boiling at this point; add serving of pasta (about 3/4 of a cup).  Add rest of veggies to pan and sautee everything.  Toss in hummus and make sure it evenly coats the entire mixture.  When done, put into a large-ish bowl and set aside.  Let pasta finish cooking, mine took about twelve minutes, and drain.  Mix with veggies/sausage.  Enjoy!

This is an ideal pre-race dinner for runners who want to get some carb action, but don’t want to miss out on micro or macro nutrients or consume a ton of refined carbs.  Simply scrummy!

Alright, time for me to get ready for bed.  Good luck to anyone else running the half!

Have you ever done a race?  Do you love racing, or are you totally non-competitive?