Category Archives: Running

Swimming lessons and some other random things

Just popping in with a quick and extremely random post. Guilt made me do it. So guess what I had yesterday?

The good/bad stuff.
The good/bad stuff.

It was barely my fault. I hadn’t had one since my July post, and have gotten used to not having Powerade in my life. I’ve replaced it with more water (goal #1), coconut water, matcha green tea latte, and an occasional Vitamin Water and bai. However, we were at One’s looong afternoon softball game, and it was warm and I was thirsty. I also wanted to be hydrated for my race today, and Bill bought it for me. Who am I to waste money and generous actions?

It just made me laugh. I don’t like being extreme about any type of food. And just like Coke Zero, a couple Powerades during the year won’t kill me. I am super proud of myself for breaking the addiction though. I’m in a good position to moderate now.

I also had coffee for the first time in two months this week. I wasn't trying to refrain because #coffeeislife, my stomach just hadn't been cooperating. Tall soy mistos for life!
I also had coffee for the first time in two months this week. I wasn’t trying to abstain because #coffeeislife; my stomach just hadn’t been cooperating. Soy mistos forever!

Moving on to other amazing things:

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For posterity. True that it was Bill’s easy run and my tempo run, but still, will there ever be a run again where I log in a faster time than him? Answer: no.

Finally, did I tell you guys that Bill got me swimming lessons for my birthday? I’d been mentioning that I would love to have a coach watch me swim, work on my stroke efficiency, and just generally correct any of my self taught improper swimming techniques. I guess he was listening because he got me six 30 minute private swimming lessons with the head of swimming/masters swimming coach at the Y. What an awesome gift!

Also an awesome gift: the start of fall weather. Barely there but I know it's coming.
Also an awesome gift: the start of fall weather. Barely there but I know it’s coming.

I had my first lesson on Friday. I can already tell that I’m going to love these lessons and get so much out of them. The coach watched me swim a couple of laps and basically told me that I was working way too hard. We worked on my technique from the beginning by focusing on body position in the pool and body/core position during the freestyle stroke. It was so amazingly helpful. I LOVE how he is breaking the stroke down into basic basics. It is exactly what I wanted out of a class.

I only swim once a week, but it is an important part of my cross training routine. It is so nice to give my legs, hips, knees and feet a break from pounding the pavement. Swimming can be relaxing (and that is usually how I choose to spend my swimming day – nice and easy), but it can also be a great workout for your upper body and core, which I love. If you want to work the legs too, throw in some kick board drills and feel the burn. It is shocking how hard my legs work without my shoulders and arms “working way too hard.” Ha.

Have you ever taken a lesson as an adult for swimming or other sport?

How do you feel about food rules? Are you an abstainer or a moderator? Definitely a moderator here (unless kettle corn is involved), but Bill is an abstainer.

 

 

 

To Marathon or Not To Marathon

Who followed the Chicago Marathon on Sunday? I didn’t watch the whole thing, but we caught parts of it on TV and followed my cousin’s husband on the Marathon app. We had the BEST time at the Chicago Marathon last year and the whole family was sad not to be there this year. Especially since the weather was perfect fall running weather again. Maybe next year.

Early morning pre-Chicago marathon spectating walk. Loved the energy in the air.
Early morning pre-Chicago marathon spectating walk. Loved the energy in the air.

Maybe next year…I run it? I’ve always said I would never run a marathon. Before I was running focused, I’ve always been health focused and, frankly, I don’t think running marathons is very good for your body or good for your overall health.* Plus, while I enjoy 14 mile training runs for the half marathon, I don’t know that I’d enjoy running an extra 8 miles for my long run. I’m also quite certain my feet would not love it. Buuuut, cheering Bill and my cousin’s husband (can I just say cousin-in-law?) last year with the whole family was so fun, and it looked so beautiful (and flat!), and I’ve kind of come around on the marathon running community (just fyi, you are STILL a runner even if you don’t run marathons:)…plus it’s my hometown….Maybe next year. Maybe someday.

See you someday. Maybe.
See you someday. Maybe.

In the meantime I’m training for one of my favorite races, the OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission) Half Marathon which is in early December. I love the race because it is local, and I have run almost every part of the race course during my typical weekly runs. Familiarity is good. I also love that it starts near Bill’s office so real bathrooms. Yes!!! It’s also such a great time of year. It’s usually a little cooler and so pretty outside. This is a big race for Orlando, and Track Shack (the race organizer) has a great post race event around Lake Eola. The only downside of the race: brick roads. Not my favorite, especially around miles 8 and 9.

Bill has been transitioning my workouts with an eye towards the upcoming half marathon. My tempo runs are now four miles at a slightly slower pace than my typical three mile workouts. He also had me do a new-to-me workout last week at the track. I knew I was either going to love it or hate it…I ended up really liking it! I did 16 x 400, alternating 5k pace (6:56ish) and marathon pace (7:53ish). My 5k splits were all between 6:43 and 6:55 and my marathon splits were all between 7:50-7:59. It was a tough workout because I never felt like I could fully recover from the faster lap, but it was great for honing in on different paces and learning to recover without settling in to an easy pace. I’d definitely recommend it! I initially thought that 16 laps sounded like torture, but they flew by.

Just one more. I love this city!
Just one more. I love this city!

Completely unrelated: I’m still in love with my new cookbook, Run Fast Eat Slow. Since my last post, I made the Moroccan Lentil Salad with Couscous, Swiss Muesli Bowl, Wild West Rice Salad, Noodle Salad with Runner’s High Peanut Sauce, and Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos (confirmed that they are every bit as delicious after being frozen and reheated). I liked every recipe I have made from this book, but my absolute favorite is the Moroccan Salad. The different textures combined with the cinnamon, turmeric and cumin spice mix = absolutely addicting. I ate it straight out of the bowl for five days straight. I love that this cookbook is all about real food that is really good for real appetites.

Noodle Salad with Runner's High Peanut Sauce
Noodle Salad with Runner’s High Peanut Sauce with a side of marinated and baked tempeh
Moroccan Lentil Salad with Couscous
Moroccan Lentil Salad with Couscous

What are your thoughts on the marathon? 

Favorite genre of food? 

* A quick internet search led me to  this , this, and this. I’m not saying marathons are the worst thing for your health, but articles, posts and research studies make me at least question whether marathon training and running is good for your overall heath.

Trying to Run Fast and Eat Slow

The goodness that came in the mail today:

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I’ve already made and tried the Superhero Muffins (delicious!), and the Banana Spelt Bread is cooling and ready for breakfast tomorrow.  I’ve wanted this cookbook since before it was released this summer, but made myself wait until my birthday to get it. I highly recommend Run Fast Eat Slow if you like good food that also happens to be healthy and nourishing. There is a good mix of drinks (smoothies, tea lattes, etc.), snacks, salads and light meals, main entrees, and treats. And that’s not all! I sound like an infomercial. Seriously though, every recipe looks awesome.

On the workout front, I’ve been keeping up with my normal running routine, although I’ve subbed in a track workout every other week in place of my tempo run. I think it’s super important to have one faster or challenging workout per week.  Although I take some time off a couple times of year from all speed work (usually after my December half marathon and after the end of the local racing season), for most of the year I include a tempo run in my weekly schedule. My 5k times have improved with just a weekly tempo run, and I think tempo workouts have an even greater impact on longer races – the 5 mile, 10k and half marathon.

During and just before my racing season, I will substitute a track workout for a tempo run every other week. I like doing 5k paced track workouts because my coach makes makes me do them they help me to lock in my pace during a 5k race, give me confidence that I can run fast, and also help me to get faster. However, as Bill likes to say, “the track giveth and the track taketh away.” My body (especially my feet) take a beating from the combination of regular track workouts and races. So I try to limit my time on the track to key times during the year.

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“The track giveth and the track taketh away.”

Racing! Although I missed the first race in the local series this year (we were in Chicago in August), I was able to run the September race which was the Rock N Run 5k in Casselberry. I’ve always liked this race, mostly because there are no brick streets. I ran a 21:37 (6:57 pace) which I was very happy with. Four seconds faster than last year’s race, and my new PR for chipped races. I am also now fairly convinced that I did not run a 21:29 at the July race, as I used the mile marker clocks during the Rock N Run to estimate the distance I ran before I started my watch at the July race. I’m pretty sure it was a bit longer than the two seconds I previously estimated. Obsess much?

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The splits for miles 1-3 are  actually slightly faster than each of those splits during the July race. That’s something!

My last bit of workout news is that I’m back on the strengthening train again. Twice a week for the past month. For real. I’ve started doing the workouts at the gym instead of at home and it’s made a big difference for me in terms of convenience, liking it more, and making it a more challenging workout. There is a lot more space, and all of the equipment I need is there – a better variety of weights for different exercises, a step to elevate my legs for some of the abdominal work and an exercise ball that is not half deflated (or my kids’ hopping ball with a handle on the top of it, also half deflated). The best part is, I discovered that I actually kind of like going to the gym. So that’s been kind of fun to discover. Oh, and I’m getting stronger. My planks have gotten longer and my single leg squats are so much easier than they used to be. I need to figure out how to go lower without hurting my knees or add some weights next time. Progress! I guess some consistency in strength training actually makes you stronger. Weird.

Ok, that’s enough for now. Bill’s sofrito chicken and arroz con gandules have been simmering for the last 90 minutes and everything smells so good. I can’t wait to scrape the overcooked rice from the bottom of the pot. Does anyone else do that? It’s the best part!

Which do you prefer, track workouts or tempo workouts?

Favorite strengthening exercise?

Favorite cookbook or recipe source?

Rounding out the summer

Greetings! Is it fall yet? I dream of jeans and sweaters and manageable hair. Meanwhile, some of us take this heat in stride.

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This last part of summer was busy but good. One went to a five night sleep away camp for the first time. I was supportive of her signing up, but when it came time for her to go, I surprised myself with how anxious I was about letting her go. For so many reasons that I won’t share lest you think I’m a complete crazy lady.

All I can think of is The Parent Trap. They also had an Arapahoe cabin.
All I can think of is The Parent Trap. They also had an Arapahoe cabin.

One day when we were all home, I took the girls to a community yoga class early one morning at the lovely East End Market. I loved this morning – sharing my love of yoga with my girls. Also, Two is totally down with crow pose. Like it’s no big deal.

yogis
yogis

I’m a little obsessed with strawberry rhubarb, oh, EVERYTHING. I made a crumble and we devoured it in less than 24 hours. So the girls made another one. On their own. Completely impressed.

the making
the making
ta-da!
ta-da!

One of our most favorite things to do over the summer is to visit my family in Illinois. My parents live about 30 minutes outside of Chicago. We love relaxing at my parents’ house and hanging out with family and friends. I really enjoy not thinking about what to make for dinner every night and taking a cooking break. There is something about Midwest summers that will always make me happy.

The big girls headed up there with my dad a week early, and had the best time getting spoiled by my parents. They loved picking veggies from my mom’s garden, watering pots and pots of flowers, running around their basement (a novel thing for Floridians), swimming and checking out the Lincoln Park Zoo. It really is the little things.

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Love that background!

Meanwhile, Three and I chilled on the porch here at home.

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doll baby

Seriously though, having one child = way harder than having more than one child. I really underestimated how much the girls play together and entertain each other. I’m so grateful for the girls that they have each other, and will have each other for life. I’m also thankful that they have each other for me. Just sayin.’

Bill, Three and I eventually met the rest of the crew for a couple of days with my parents. I loved catching up with family and old friends, and also attending my twentieth high school reunion. I had the best time and I think Bill had a pretty good time too. There is something really cool about reconnecting with friends from high school, middle school and even elementary school. People that knew you before you really even knew yourself. I’ll always feel a special closeness with them.

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Goooooooo Hornets!

The running was also amazing up there. Although it was not as cool as I’d hoped, it felt so nice running without that humidity. Vacation running is one of my favorites. I know that some people look forward to taking time off from running and exercise during vacation, and that is great for them because vacation should be about what you truly find enjoyable and want to do. But I am the opposite. I can’t wait to get out there and run new routes and see new things. Experience different weather and terrain. Explore new areas. I always look forward to running when we travel. It was extra awesome on this trip because I could jump in my parents’ pool after my run. Best cool down ever.

Seen on my run
Seen on my run

A couple things about some of our travel eats. First, the corn on the cob. Fresh from The Farm. I mean, I can’t even. It tastes significantly different than the corn here in Florida. Juicier and way less corny, if that makes sense. Second, Portillo’s chopped salad every day for lunch? Don’t mind if I do. Can we also discuss why Orlando does not have a Standard Market? Overpriced (but so super cute) grocery store, maybe. But the Grill? Just plain good, simple food with tons of healthy options (and amazing pizza). Great place to eat a casual dinner with the whole family or pick up a quick meal. Please. Someone open one soon. I’ll be your best customer.

The day after we arrived back home in Orlando (yes, I realize that home is two places) One and Two started school. Yikes! Three started 4 Day preschool this past week. Back to the old grind here. Yay?

sisters
sisters
celebrating/crying on her last first day of preschool
celebrating/crying on her last first day of preschool

Hope your school year is off to a great start!

What was the best part of your summer?

 

Give me a drink

The bad news about racing faster is that it means your workouts get harder. It’s really unfair when you think about it. You push yourself and persevere while simultaneously wondering why you find racing even remotely fun. Then you get a PR. Yay! You ride the high for a day or two. Before you know it your next workout day is up, which isn’t great to begin with, and then you realize you have to go even faster now to keep up with your training. So that’s awesome.

But what's really awesome? This view on a recent run at the beach.
But what’s really awesome? This view on a recent run at the beach.

So my tempo run yesterday. It wasn’t even that my three miles were  much faster than they had been, if at all. It’s that they were supposed to be faster which tricked me mentally into thinking that it felt much harder. Let’s not even discuss the two cool down miles afterward that lasted at least forty minutes.

Tempo Wednesday
Tempo Wednesday

But I digress. The main point of my post today is to declare to the world I mean my two readers that I’m going to work very hard to give up Powerade Zero. It’s embarrassing that I even drink it at all. For the most part, I eat whole foods. Bill and I cook a lot at home. I don’t buy much packaged processed food. Our favorite friends are the ones who like to hang out at each other’s houses and cook and eat good food. I gave up pop (Midwest strong!) two years ago. I stopped chewing gum this year. I care about things like soy protein isolate and BPA in canned beans. Why the heck am I still drinking Powerade Zero nearly every day?

Stir fried veggies with rice and peanut sauce? Yes please. Even if it's on a bench at a softball game.
Stir fried veggies with rice and peanut sauce? Yes please. Even if it’s on a bench at a softball game.

 

I think I originally got into electrolyte drinks after an annual physical with my doctor a few years ago. He expressed some concern that with my naturally low blood pressure, getting even minimally dehydrated during my summer runs could put me at risk for fainting and other negative side effects of low blood pressure (nausea, dizziness, weakness, fatigue). He encouraged me to drink daily electrolyte drinks to help prevent dehydration and keep everything running smoothly.

Know what else helps you to run smoothly? This view.
Know what else helps you to run smoothly? This view.

That made sense to me, especially since I had experienced all of the symptoms of low blood pressure and dehydration after my summer runs. Since I needed only electrolytes and not fuel, I wanted to avoid sugar water based drinks. I tried the drinks advertised as more “natural” without sugar, chemicals, artificial colors and flavors, and drank them almost exclusively for a year. The taste of stevia doesn’t bother me, but my stomach doesn’t love it. Plus, the more I read about it, the more I became convinced that stevia is not nearly as well researched as other artificial sweeteners, and while it enjoys a campaign involving words like “clean” and “natural” there is not much long term research regarding its long term health effects.

Long term health right here.
Long term health right here.

So last summer while we were at the beach (the day before the first Track Shack series race) I picked up some Powerade Zero at Publix because it was convenient and I wanted to make sure I was fully hydrated for the race. It was delicious. And easy. I ran a great race and I logically concluded it was because of the Powerade.

I mean really
I mean really

Over the last year, I’ve been drinking way more Powerade than I need, and I’ve realized that my water consumption has drastically decreased because of it. Sadly, water just doesn’t taste as good to me as it did before. I find myself craving something more flavored and sweeter. Not cool at all. Plus, while Powerade is easy on my stomach, I hate that it has artificial coloring in it and other questionable ingredients. Good thing I gave up Coke Zero.

So here I am ready to be done with it for good. It turns out that there are a lot of foods that are naturally high in electrolytes and I eat them already. Bananas, dates, peanut butter, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges, melons, raisins, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, beans, avocado. The list goes on.

Toasted Ezekiel English Muffin. Cashew butter on one side, avocado on the other. Sautéed kale in the middle. File under sounds gross tastes awesome.
Toasted Ezekiel English Muffin. Cashew butter on one side, avocado on the other. Sautéed kale in the middle. File under sounds gross tastes awesome.

I’m also planning to try some coconut water again once I consult with the Food Babe to determine which ones are legit. We live in a strange world.

If I start experiencing the nausea and lethargy I used to feel after running, then I will stick to my nuun tablets (strawberry lemonade without the stevia). Imperfect, but at least it doesn’t have all of the junk that gives my Powerade that mystical blue color.

My primary goal is to drink more water, but I plan to have this on hand (made with regular old Earl Gray or my beloved Lemon Ginger) for days when I’m simply bored and want a non-water drink. I might give my Tazo iced herbal teas another whirl. Maybe mix in some watermelon juice or pureed fruit to make it interesting? Plus there is always LaCroix, which I love but BPA, and the sparkling waters from Whole Foods are really good too.

I'm saving my absolute love of homemade cold brew coffee for another post. I'll be drinking that too.
I’m saving my absolute love of homemade cold brew coffee for another post. I’ll be drinking that too.

I think I can do it – I’ll keep you posted!

Do you regularly drink electrolyte drinks?

Do you like coconut water? 

What is your favorite flavor of tea? 

A new PR!

Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July tie for my favorite holidays. They come with all of the positives and none of the obligations of other holidays. Thanksgiving is simply food, family and friends, and relaxation. The Fourth is all about summer fun, BBQs, celebrating, and generally being happy to be an American. There are no presents to be bought, events you are *supposed* to take the kids to, lines you have to wait in, eggs to hide, Valentines to make, etc., etc. I’m truly a lazy person at heart.

So the Fourth! For the past few years we have been in Chicago for the holiday, but this year we were home. I missed seeing my parents and cousins, but it was fun being home and hanging out with my sister and our good friends.

Saturday and Sunday were all about relaxation and fabulous lunch eats at the Foodies’ house. Smoked chicken, lima bean salad (changed my opinion on lima beans), homemade cornbread, watermelon, margaritas with fresh lime juice and Mrs. Foodie’s ah-maz-ing cookies. The best I’ve ever had. All of the girls had a blast outside in the pool and on the trampoline. These little gymnasts are too cute.

On Monday, I was up bright and early for the Watermelon 5k in Winter Park. A big thank you to Track Shack for my bib! As always, Track Shack put on a well organized and fun race.

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How cute are these bibs?

I planned to put forth a full effort, but I wasn’t expecting much given the brutal humidity and not having been on the track since March. I looked at my watch shortly after the race started and saw that I was running a 6:40 pace. I felt okay, but knew I couldn’t keep that pace up. I figured I’d just go with what felt good and if I crashed and burned at mile 2 or 3 – no big deal. This was just a fun race, after all – who cares? Which then got me thinking about why it was a “fun” race – because there was no chip time? Because there were no awards? Because there was no official record of your running time? All things I’ll be pondering over the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, by the time I got to mile 3 I was done. I spent the first half of that mile wondering if I should just phone it in or keep going as best I could, even though I knew I had slowed down. I saw a couple of friends during the third mile which distracted me from the discomfort. Right around mile 2.6 I saw a friend and fellow runner who cheered me on and gave me the push I needed to pick it up a notch and finish the last half mile. (Only two laps around the track – that’s nothing! The things we tell ourselves.) If you’ve ever doubted how much of an impact you make cheering for runners during a race- don’t. People who take the time to be out there and cheer on racers are THE BEST and they get me through every time.

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Rounding the corner and seeing the finish line = glorious.

Part of my third mile was slower than seven minutes but I was able to pick it up during the last portion of it and for the last .1 stretch:

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I was shocked when I got to the finish and saw that I was going to beat my best 5k time. I was so happy and proud of myself!

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Despite the time and full 3.1 plus distance on my watch, I’m calling my time 21:29 because I think I might have started my watch a second or two late. I typically press the start button when I cross over the starting mat, but because it was not a chipped race there was no starting mat which threw me off a little bit. Plus, my watch lost the signal during the national anthem (which gave me goosebumps, I might add) and I may have hit the button right after I passed the starting flag. Only runners would obsess about that second and potentially imperfect data.

Still, even a 21:29 is 12 seconds faster than my pervious PR from last September. When I started racing three years ago, I never thought I’d run much faster than an 8 minute per mile pace, especially for more than one mile. It’s crazy what a little work, some early mornings and great coaching (thanks, Bill!) can do.

After the race I dripped around Central Park, caught up with some friends and saw my sister, nieces and brother-in-law (who pulled his hamstring during the race…ouch). I did a mile cool down run and then came home to get ready for a day of fun (after the cleaning and cooking).

I spent the rest of the holiday with a house full of little girls, one baby boy, friends and family. Perfection.

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This table is what holidays are all about.

We ended the night at Lake Eola watching the fireworks.

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Three got the best seat in the house for fireworks.

What a fantastic day!

What is your favorite holiday?

Anyone else race? 

 

Junk Miles?

Since my last post I have gone from feeling the need for speed to quite the opposite. I have enjoyed a break from speed workouts and I think I will find it hard to get back into the groove when it’s time to start training again.

Last week, I had planned on my normal six easy mile loop but woke up to find a serious lightning storm outside. I draw the line at lightning. I think Orlando is the lightning capital of the world or something like that so, although I really despise running inside, I hopped on a dreadmill for my workout.

Since I had to add in driving time to and from the gym, my six mile run was immediately cut down to five miles. Ugh. But then once I got on the treadmill I wondered how I would make it through those five miles. So boring. Five miles seemed way too long all of a sudden.

So I decided to mix it up a bit with some hills. I don’t get much practice running hills since it’s so flat here, plus I figured changing it up would make the run more interesting. It worked! It made the time go by so fast and it felt good to engage different running muscles. I was sore (!!) the next day which made me feel like I did a strength workout as well as an aerobic one. And then I promptly excused myself from doing an actual strength workout for the week. #runners

I kept the same pace for the entire run (8:41 on a .5% incline) and added in 6 x 400 at different inclines, returning to the .5% incline for 400 meters as my rest in between each repetition. I have never done any hill work on a treadmill (or ever for that matter) so I wasn’t sure where to start or how much would be enough. These were the inclines I used for each of the 400 meters of work: 3.0%; 3.5%; 4%; 4.5%; 4.5%; 4%. I felt like I was working hard at the 4 and 4.5% incline, so I think this workout was about right. I would probably try to add in two more repetitions next time, but would stay in the same range of inclines.

This week, Bill suggested that I mix it up by running a new, unplanned route and/or throwing in short bursts speed when I felt like it during one of my runs. This sounded suspiciously like a fartlek run which are not my favorite, but I do tend to get bored when I run the same route over and over again at the same pace. So today I headed out and ran a new six mile loop. It was mostly an easy run, but I did add in a brief touch of speed (about the distance of one block:) mostly so I could get a picture of the sunrise from a good vantage point. Priorities. Here are the splits from my run:

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This is the type of run I would typically characterize as “junk miles.” Based on what I’ve read and what my coach tells me, all runs should have a purpose. Easy runs are supposed to be at an easy pace, and their purpose is to build your base mileage and fitness while allowing you to recover from workouts and without being too taxing on your body.

Your easy run pace can be calculated here. I plugged in my last 5k time (21:52) and found that my easy pace should be around a 9:27 minute per mile pace. Yikes! Most of my easy runs are easily a full minute faster than that.

When that harder-than-easy-pace is slower than your tempo or speed workout pace, not only are you putting yourself at a higher risk for injury, but you are also not achieving the benefits of either an easy run or a workout. According to Jack Daniels:

Training intensities that fall into ‘No man’s land,” are either too easy or too hard to reap the benefits you want. You are not, as may sometimes be assumed, achieving the purpose of training the two systems on either side of the chosen intensity. What you are doing might be termed, “Quality-junk” training. At the least, it is training aimed at accomplishing an unidentifiable purpose. Always have a purpose for every training session; ask yourself the following questions: “What system do I hope to improve by doing this workout,’ and ‘What am I really trying to accomplish?”

Read the full article about the importance of planning your runs with a purpose in mind here.

I generally adhere to Jack Daniels’ training philosophy even if I don’t follow it perfectly all the time. Most of the time, my easy runs feel easy, and I think it’s important to pay attention to how a pace feels on your own body. And, after talking with Bill about this last night, I think that sometimes you just need to mix up your runs and paces to avoid boredom. I’m not training for anything right now, so I’m going to (try) to go with that. Plus, how can a run that yields this view of the sunrise be described as a junk run?

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Do you like a structured running plan that involves predetermined paces or do you just run depending on how you feel that day?

Do you run your easy pace runs faster than you need to?

 

 

 

 

 

Winning

This week I made chicken nuggets that my kids told me were even better than Chik-Fil-A nuggets. Winning.

I’m not going to say Bill and I were in complete agreement with them, but these were pretty good and much healthier. The recipe is heavily adopted from the Chia-Crusted Chicken recipe in Self magazine.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs into strips.
  3. In resealable bag mix 2 TBSP almond meal tossed with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the bag and shake to coat.
  4.  In pie dish mix 2 eggs with 2 tsp Dijon mustard.
  5. In another pie dish mix 4 TBSP chia seeds with 4 TBSP panko bread crumbs.
  6. Coat a jelly roll plan with avocado oil or other high heat oil.
  7. Dip each chicken strip into the egg mixture followed by the chia mixture. Place on jelly roll plan.
  8. Bake until chicken is fully cooked. It took mine 15-18 minutes to cook.

We rounded out the meal with this yummy side dish. I made a few alterations (more quinoa; honey instead of agave; raspberries instead of blueberries in the salad). I will definitely make it again.

On the running front, I got antsy with my easy running plan and added in a tempo run last week. I’m in this weird place of knowing I should take a break now because I have no races on the schedule and it’s just the smart thing to do, but feeling pretty good and healthy and not really wanting to. I think the other part is that fitting in a run is so much easier than any other kind of exercise. Classes are limited by schedules which don’t always work with mine, and swimming takes a longer time (driving time, locker room time, shower time) when I want to maximize my sleeping time. It’s not that I have anything against cross training. I actually really like it. In the last two weeks I have taken spin classes, extra yoga classes, and even a boot camp class. I’ve enjoyed all of them. But there is some efficiency lost with not being able to wake up and knock it out first thing in the morning, or having to add in extra steps that running from my front door does not require. I’m definitely a maximizer when it comes to time.

Anyway, this includes my warm up and tempo portion of my workout. Bill suggested I not look at my watch at all and just go by how I felt. I started off too fast and it was hard to slow it down once I got going. I’m going to try the same thing again next week (?) to see if I can get a better handle on my pace without relying on my watch.

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I’ve gotten back on the strength training bandwagon (again). My little buddy loves to try to copy my every move. I use wine bottles laying around as weights; she uses bean boxes. Whatever works.

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What? You don’t exercise in your jammies?

Keeping up with our stretching too.

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And my post would not be complete without a few on the run pictures from the last week.

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That morning sky.
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Swan in the morning sun.
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Jasmine for days

Do you plan your running breaks or just take time off when you are injured or feeling run down?

Favorite ways to cross train?