Archive | March, 2013

Just Signed Up: 15K!

29 Mar

Well folks, I just signed up for another race!  I’m thrilled about this one as it is a part of the same training series as my 10K.  Most conveniently, it is only 1 mile from my apartment – score!  Also, the race itself is only 1 mile shorter than my long run for the day.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Originally I thought I’d be out of town, but plans changed, so I am all signed up and ready go.  I’m a little nervous, as I want to be careful with my expectations, specifically with speed.  Of course I’d like to go fast, but I don’t want to get injured before the real race in May (the mini marathon).  I also don’t want to get discouraged if I’m slower than my 10K a few weeks ago- yeah remember that lightning-fast-for-Kelly-unheard-of-pace of 8:09 (I still don’t believe it)?  I keep going back and forth between wanting a repeat and not wanting to do something quite that crazy.  I think my goal is somewhere between 8:30-9:00.  I’d walk away feeling really happy with times in that range.

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The race is next Saturday and is in place of my long run – so no real extra prep needed (that’s easy).  I’m hoping this race will help with the race day anxiety I usually experience.  To me this race is another opportunity to practice my eating, breathing, fueling, and waking up, to feel extra prepared for the mini.  This is my first half-marathon (or full) where I have done shorter races as a part of training, and I must say I really like it.  The little milestones along the way really keep me energized and motivated.  It’s a strategy I will definitely try to continue in future training plans.

race registration

All signed up and ready to go!

Looking forward to the race and here’s to hoping the weather will be half-way decent. :)

Happy Friday!

-Kelly

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Cold Weather Running

28 Mar

Okay I’m sick of it.  I’ll say it.  I’ll admit it.  I’m really tired of the cold weather.  It’s just, ugh… draining.  This winter in particular, the weather seems to just be colder than usual and sticking around longer than usual.  So cruel.  I’ve always been an outdoor runner – I don’t switch to treadmills in the winter (I have treadmill issues, another topic for another post).  I’ve always managed to make it happen, but this year I’m super ready and excited for spring runs.  I hope they will be here soon.  This past weekend I did my 9.5 mile long run and the whole time I motivated myself saying “This should be the last cold one for a while.”  I hope I’m right!

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All geared up for my 9.5 miler. This isn’t even my warmest outfit! Ready for hot runs.

Here are my tips for enduring winter running:

  1. Dress appropriately! Clothing choice is crucial.
    • Shirt/Head: I have what I call a spidey suit – a hooded shirt that goes up to my eyes.  I bought it a couple years ago, and it has been a game changer.  Remember – I used to live in Wisconsin :)  This allows me to breathe through fabric for part of the run to warm up, or the whole thing if it’s really cold.  It also covers my ears and is seamless.  It has the added benefit of looking really cool.  I mean, come on!IMG_0851
    • Gloves: I have used a variety of gloves but my favorite might be the little cheapies from Walmart or Target.  Just the cloth, normal gloves.  They are cheap, easy to wash, and about the right level of thickness for me.  They keep me warm but I’m not sweating to death.  I got a fancy pair for Christmas with touch pads which are great for adjusting my music or phone – I love them too.  But cheapies do the trick.gloves
    • Hat/Head: I normally wear a headband style ear-warmer and this is great.  In combination with my hood it allows for versatility.  Hood up and ear-warmer on for super cold, and hood down ear-warmer on for just pretty cold.  This combo has been great for me.ear warmer
    • Legs: Tights and pants.  Yep – I double layer.  I hate being cold and this coverage works great for me.  I have some Reebok tights I just bought that I’m loving!running tights
    • Feet:  So this one might be a bit strange – but I wear snowboarding socks for all my winter running.  I’ve been doing it for years and it’s terrific.  They are thin but meant to keep you warm, and they go up well over my calf – maybe to my knee?  This extra coverage is awesome.  I’d highly recommend this.  I can’t imagine running in short socks now that I’ve switched over.socks
  2. Sign up for a race!
    • Having a goal to work towards is extremely helpful in getting out running every week.  Knowing that you are running for a specific purpose in unsavory weather is encouraging!
  3. Run with friends or coworkers
    • Accountability is huge.  I run weekly with co-workers.  Although we may not all run together every day, knowing that I’m going to the get the question, “Running today?” is extremely helpful.

For me though, the most important thing about winter running is gear.  The right clothes can make all the difference.  You don’t need much and you don’t need anything fancy – I’m usually a mismatched mess, but I’m warm!  Additionally, now that it is spring, it’s a great time to check out winter clearances at running/fitness stores.  You might be able to find the perfect gear for next season.  Saving moolah is a favorite hobby of mine.

Keep warm out there and fingers crossed for warmer runs soon!

-Kelly

What tips do you have for keeping warm while running in cold weather?

Recipe: Simple Arugula Salad!

28 Mar

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Another super simple recipe.  This is one that I don’t even need Adam’s help for :)  I am obsessed with this salad.  It’s easy, fast, delicious, and healthy!  What’s not to love? (really there is nothing not lovable about this addicting salad)

What is Arugula?

The major ingredient in this salad is arugula.  This is the only leafy green in it.  For those of you that don’t know about arugula, I have to say you must try it! I’m not a huge salad girl – normally I eat them out of health and not really for taste (though sometimes I have been surprised).  Arugula is different.  There is something about it I find so tasty.

For those folks that aren’t foodies and may not have heard of it before, arugula is, per wikipedia’s guide, a form of cabbage  that is also known as salad rocket (fabulous name right?).  It is most often eaten raw or cooked as a leafy green veggie.  It’s got great stats too as it is rich in potassium (great for runners) and vitamin C.  It’s known for its rich, peppery flavor and an exceptionally pungent flavor for a leafy green.  That description is so apt – arugula has a fantastic flavor.

Enough about the green itself, onto the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Arugula (enough to fill a salad bowl)
  • Olive oil (I usually use about 1/2 tsp.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Freshly grated parmesan

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Directions

  1. Combine arugula and olive oil in a medium bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.  A couple shakes will do.
  3. Squeeze half a lemon over the greens.
  4. Grate a few swipes of parmesan.  Just a pinch.
  5. Use a fork to thoroughly mix everything together.
  6. Eat it like it’s candy!

Okay that last one might be a stretch, but lately it’s been such a treat.  This simple salad is almost nothing on the P90X nutrition plan and delicious to boot.  I normally count it as 1/2 veggie, 1/4 fat, and 1/4 dairy with my portions.  A little goes a long way with the olive oil and cheese – you really don’t need much.

Enjoy!

-Kelly

Do you have any great arugula recipes to share?

Phase 2 Hunger Pains

26 Mar

For all my control and food satisfaction in Phase 1…Phase 2 is a different story.  I’m hungry.  Like grumpy hungry.  The change I feel from one phase to another with just slight modifications is very interesting.  The biggest difference in the plan was a drop of a protein and a gain of a carb.  I’m not sure if it is my increased workouts or the introduction of carbs like bagels (whole grain) and English muffins (whole grain).  Either way – I’m in great anticipation of the next phase.  I’m really hoping that my hunger pains will disappear.  I am quite concerned though about dropping to just 2 protein and 1 dairy.  Phase 3 will bring a big switch.  The variety in food will be a nice thing though, as it is quite easy to get in a rut.  It’s funny, as I progress through the phases I find myself thinking ‘Can I just add more portions and not take any away??’  I get quite sad to see my portions go.  The trade-off for an extra carb and fruit will be a great one and probably more similar to what I would normally consider ‘healthy-eating’ pre-P90X.  I’ll be curious to report back.

Overall feelings about Phase 2 meals:

I really wish that I had either an extra snack or fruit in this phase.  Some days I just end up taking it because I’m so hungry.  I have found it’s better to take the extra fruit than get home and be in starvation mode.  Adam and I still have some unhealthy snacks left over from preP90X in the pantry and in Phase 1 I didn’t dream of touching them.  They are in their own place, out of sight out of mind.  Well now in Phase 2 I have “cheated” on Adam, sneaking a couple gummy bears here and there and sometimes a little chocolate.  Oh my!  I actually had to have him take a few things out and hide them in his car.  In Phase 1 I wasn’t even close to this!  Part of me thinks it could be the introduction of different carbs.   Without them (bagels, grainy breads) I didn’t crave them much, and now that I can have more I’ve turned into a carb monster.  The other idea is that my mileage has increased and I’m working out more – so naturally I’m hungrier.  I’m not quite certain which is the culprit, perhaps a little of both.

Is this the problem?

Or is it my extra running?

I have tried to keep my cheats only to special occasions: Adam’s birthday, Match day, family visiting, etc.  And even then keep it to something small.  But this week we had a cast party after the close of our musical and man alive – it’s like I never saw food before (I did run 9 miles in the morning)!  I had no control and ended up eating waaayyyy too many m+m’s and popcorn and wound up feeling pretty terrible.  I felt like I had a food hangover.  This experience got me thinking a lot about sustainability of the portions of this phase and supplementing with healthy alternatives to not enter into the dangers of unhealthy eating that come along with hunger.  Phase 1 of P90X never really felt like dieting; it felt like making better choices.  Phase 2 has brought back memories of days when I dieted and the grumpy feelings that go along with it.  Hopefully Phase 3 will bring a return of both energy and self-control.

Some ideas to help control my hunger

  • Plan more fake cheats (see below)
  • Introduce grainier carbs – oatmeal everyday instead of a few times a week.  Less bread based carbs.
  • On long run days, make sure I make up at least half the calories I’ve burned.
  • Spread my food out more throughout the day.  I’m already doing this, but perhaps a different mix-up might be helpful
  • Introduce more variety so I don’t feel stagnant.

Fake Cheats

Adam and I have also started doing “fake cheats” – or rather healthy cheats.  We pick food that we otherwise wouldn’t eat on a daily basis and turn it into a cheat.  This has been a helpful mental technique to stay away from feeling like we’re restricted.

Favorite fake cheats:
  • sushi
  • frozen yogurt (this one is on the nutrition guide – huge smile)
  • extra fruit
  • cake batter protein shake (I’ll share the recipe in a future post – it’s amazing!)

 Here’s to hoping Phase 3 brings positive changes in the hunger department!

-Kelly

What ideas do you have for controlling hunger pains?  Did you experience more hunger in Phase 2?

First Pull-up!

24 Mar

The moment has arrived!  Fellow P90X-ers will appreciate this bit of news.  This week I finally got my first pull-up!  And not only that… I got six pull-ups in.  Not in a row (I’m not quite that buff), but all in one workout!  I was feeling pretty thrilled.  Right after the pull-up success I managed to do every single move in Ab Ripper X.  Woah.  Now that is an accomplishment! I remember just months ago yelling at Adam, “I will NEVER be able to do even half of the mason twists!” and,  “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do a pull-up – I’m just not built that way.”

Oops.. in this case, I’m glad I was wrong!

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I even managed to hold it for a picture!

So our P90X progress is going pretty well!  This week will be our Phase 2 recovery week.  Adam and I are both looking forward to it – we’ve been pushing it pretty hard lately.  It’s hard to believe the end of phase 2 is almost here.  We’ll be taking our pictures and measurements next weekend, something we are both anticipating for sure.  Until then, we’ll just keep bringing it!

-Kelly

22 Mar

Wow what a great list! Thanks Iron Cheftress for the ideas. This is great news for you dessert lovers like me! :)

P90X: General Tips Part 1

22 Mar

For those of you getting ready jump on the P90x bandwagon, here is my list of things I wish I had known before getting started.  I’ve also included some other tips I’ve picked up along the way that have been very helpful.

  1. You really need to do the Nutrition Plan if you want great results.  
    • See here for my thoughts.
  2. Workout with a partner if you can.
    • It’s much easier if you’re accountable to someone.  Even if that person is far from you (i.e. you’re not doing the workouts together, just the program) it still helps to have someone to check-in with.  Use the message boards for more support, especially if you don’t have someone willing to join you!
  3. Weigh/Measure/Fit Test at the Beginning
    • Adam and I didn’t initially do the fit test or measure ourselves (back at round 1).  We only took pictures and our weight, thinking it was enough.  Now that we have made huge strides, we are kicking ourselves for not taking the time to do it right from the start. It may be embarrassing (the picture part was mortifying I can attest), it may be unpleasant, and it may take some time, but it is SO worth it at the end.  This is a big regret for me.
  4. Start out with some basic equipment.
    • It’s difficult to progress if you don’t have the right equipment.  You don’t need everything, but make sure you have the required equipment.  See here for more thoughts on this.
  5. Plan ahead with food!
    • Prepping our food for the week in advance has been a game-changer for us.  Our lives are then allowed to be more “normal” and less hectic.  Adam and I take the time to portion out our veggies, fruit, snacks, and some meat in advance in tupperware or plastic baggies.  Making lunches or snacks is a breeze with everything grab and go.  We usually do this once a week (Sunday evening normally).
  6. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything.
    • Tony’s saying is really true: Do your best and forget the rest!  There are many moves that I still can’t do 100% after months of doing P90X.  Every time I work out I just try to push myself a little bit harder.  It isn’t about perfection – it’s just about making it happen.  Some mornings, just pressing play is the victory and that’s okay!
  7. Find weekly inspiration.
    • P90X is hard, and at times it can be challenging to stay motivated.  At least once a week, google before/after pictures, look up resources/articles online, look up some fitness pinterest boards, or find a blog detailing someone’s progress.  Do something that reminds you why you started this journey. It’s rejuvenating and reminds you to keep bringing it.
  8. Mix up your diet.
    • It’s easy to get in a rut on the nutrition plan by sticking with what you know.  Keep trying new fruits and veggies or different recipes.  The new additions stop you from getting bored and remind you that there are plenty of P90X friendly options.  Prior to P90X, Adam refused to eat yogurt (he thought he didn’t like it) – now he is addicted.  You might discover you like more things than you thought!
  9. Hydrate (with water)!
    • This is the obvious one found everywhere, but it is so important!  Drinking enough water is crucial to success. Not only does it keep you from getting dehydrated, but it keeps you full.  Your body can often confuse hunger with thirst.  I bought a water bottle and set a certain number of refills per day.  This also helps me cut down on soda or sugary drinks.
  10. Before you start, make sure you’re ready.
    • Take the time to plan appropriately and begin P90X when you’re truly ready. I mean this in several ways.  Make sure you have your kitchen stocked.  Make sure you have the basic equipment (including measuring devices like a food scale, measuring tape, and fat caliper).  Make sure you did the fit test and took pictures.  It is better to postpone one week and have everything ready.  Adam and I sort of rushed to just get started for the first round and didn’t have our act together.  For round 2 we made sure everything was set (and even pushed back starting a week), and we’ve been so much more successful.  Set yourself up for success from the beginning!

Keep pressing play!

-Kelly

What tips do you have for getting started with P90X?

Awesome Article: Aurora Ortiz

21 Mar

If you’re looking for an inspirational runner, look no further than Aurora Ortiz.  Runner’s World shared this empowering story of a 70 year-old woman who didn’t let adversity stop her from doing what she loved.

OV Aurora

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

-Kelly

Working Out When You’re Sick

21 Mar

The sniffles have hit me, and I’ve been a little bummed this week.  I was feeling like things were really moving great with my running and P90X.  Although I’m not terribly sick, it does leave me a little weaker and whinier than usual (as Adam will attest).  This morning I woke up knowing that plyometrics was waiting for me, and I considered postponing it due to my little cold.  Though I soon realized if I start shuffling things around, workouts will get complicated (see tip #2, don’t postpone when training for a half and doing P90X).  I also realized that I’m in the ‘sick zone’ where I can still workout.  I’m also still in the zone where working out would probably do me some good.

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How I Decide

It’s tricky to know when you’re too sick to work out.  These are a couple questions I ask myself when I’m thinking I might be too sick:

  1. Do I have a fever?  
    • Usually this is a huge red flag for me not to work out.  If I even have a high temperature I am leery.  A fever indicates to me that my body is really fighting something. If my body is working that hard to overcome something I probably shouldn’t be spending energy on a workout.
  2. Am I going to work?
    • If I’m so sick that I’m willing to trade in a vacation day for a sick day (all my PTO is combined), then I’m probably not well enough to workout.
  3. Am I in a lot of pain?
    • If I’m in so much pain that I’m souped up on meds…working out is probably not on my to-do list.
  4. Am I contemplating going to the doctor?
    • If I’m willing to spend the money and time to go to the doctor, I probably shouldn’t be working out.

If I pass all of those questions but am still feeling a little under the weather, I probably am okay to try and workout.  Getting more blood pumping through your body’s veins allows you to get rid of more toxins more quickly.  Often when I’m feeling a little lethargic, my first thought is to go for a light jog.  Sweating and getting my body moving tends to make me feel a lot better.  Additionally, being able to say, “You’re not too sick to workout – you survived that run,” is a huge boost for me.  It stops me from going into whiny “I’m sick” mode.

So far I’m just a little sick, so I will keep pushing through this cold.  If it gets worse I will have to reevaluate my game plan.

Exertion When Sick

One major difference when I’m sick is my exertion level.  If I’m sick, the workout is the goal.  Just get it in. This is a major change from my usual mentality of pushing it.  In P90X I’m trying to push my reps and weight, and while running I’m pushing my pace.  Today I was just happy to complete my workouts.  When sick, getting them done is a huge success.

Articles and Resources to Help You Decide

Because I’m not an MD or health professional, here are a couple articles to help you decide when to push it and when to take a nap!

To Sum it Up:

Working out can make you feel better if you’ve got a mild cold.  Intense workouts or working out when sick from the neck down can cause more harm than good.  Consult your doctor when considering working out while sick.

Here’s to hoping this cold clears up soon!

-Kelly

Note: I am not an MD or healthcare professional. The opinions above are mine only and should not be used as professional advice or council.

Recipes: Best Asparagus Ever!

20 Mar

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I’m not a big foodie… maybe someday!  I’ve always wished I had the patience and dedication to become a great chef.  I think I still have time, right?   Truthfully, I’m really lazy when it comes to cooking.  I’d rather eat cheese and crackers than a proper dinner.  Yeah, it’s a challenge.  I’m still working on being a better eater!

This recipe is a winner in all aspects: healthy, fast, and delicious!  Adam and I make this at least once a week (okay- usually Adam does it).  When we first found the recipe, we made it 2 or 3 times that week!  So it’s definitely recipe true love.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh asparagus 
    • We use bulk fresh asparagus or the smaller bunches at Marsh/Kroger.
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • It’s worth it to buy the block of parmesan and grate it.
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Yeah – seriously… that’s it!

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the asparagus into smaller pieces.  These pieces can be anywhere from 1.5-2 inches to 3-4 inches.  We’ve made the recipe with all sizes of asparagus pieces – even full…so the size is up to your creative discretion.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix asparagus and about 1 tablespoon olive oil (this depends on the amount of asparagus you have).  Essentially you need just enough to lightly coat the asparagus.  A little olive oil goes a long way!
  4. Add a couple shakes of salt and pepper.  You really don’t need much – just a bit for taste.  The first time we made it we used wayyy too much salt, so keep in mind that only a little is needed.
  5. Mix together to coat evenly.
  6. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Grate parmesan cheese onto asparagus and return to oven for 1 minute.  Again, just a little bit of cheese.  When we do this step it isn’t even enough to count as one portion of dairy.  Maybe around .5 to 1 oz of cheese.
  8. Enjoy!

Even someone pretty inept in the kitchen like me can do it!  :)  Also, originally the recipe called for cauliflower, but we substituted asparagus.  You can try this with many different veggies.  (Note: we did it with broccoli, and it wasn’t too great.)

Give it a try and enjoy – I guarantee you will be glad you did!

Happy eating!

-Kelly