15K Training – Final Week!

imageLast Sunday morning, the weather was not ideal. It was a little cold and windy, but  I ran my 7 mile run anyway. I set off west through the city to the Schuylkill River Banks Trail, ran up about 1.5 miles and turned around at the end of Boat House Row. My splits were all between 10:50 and 11:08 (except for mile 6 which clocked in at 11:30). Overall pace was 11:02. Not fast, but after my other runs that week – this went well. I didn’t want to walk home, which was a good sign.

Then it got cold again. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it didn’t get above like 35 degrees. I did some killer indoor Lithe and Professional Touch Fitness workouts, but I didn’t get outside to run. Wednesday night, Lt. Eric almost killed me with some intense HIIT training. Thursday morning (bright and early at 6am), Sgt Nate tried to kill me again with endless gauntlets and kettle bell training.  Thursday afternoon, even though I had done 2 killer workouts in 12 hours, I had to run. I hadn’t run in almost a week! I had low expectations due to my super tired body, but it turned out to be one of the best runs I’ve had in my 15K training yet! I ran 3 miles at a 10:04 pace. And get this, IT DIDNT FEEL HARD. I could hardly believe it. It was the same route I had run the week before when I had wanted to die.

Friday, I was so sore from the previous 3 workouts in 36 hours, that I had to take a rest day. Then, the monsoon rains came all weekend and I didn’t run again until yesterday, though I did pull myself to a KILLER Skinny Mini with Meg on Sunday at Lithe.

Yesterday, I set out to run 6 miles. I ran the first 2.5 miles with my roommate, Natalie, and then I set off across the bridge. On the way up, a pretty attractive man was running down towards Philly. He took his earbuds out and said “You’re looking great! Keep it up!” That was just enough to power up the rest of the way! I made it down to the Camden side, passing a man of questionable character – and started back up. OH. MY. GOD. It’s always hard, but running head first into strong winds is almost enough to kill your spirit. I made it, and on my way back down towards the Philly side, I got a thumbs up and a “good job” from another runner. I love when you are running and you get some unexpected encouragement! My overall pace was 10:49, and it felt strong. Despite the winds and the hills on the bridge, I started and ended feeling strong. My last mile was a minute faster than my first! And the second uphill on the bridge, into the wind, was stronger and faster than the first uphill.  I followed up the run with some AWESOME Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar with a friend. Go there immediately.

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Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar

I’ll do a couple more short runs between now and Sunday – and I’ll go and run the 15K. I don’t have any expectations for myself other than to have some fun. I’m going to run at a pace that feels enjoyable, while still trying to challenge myself. So far, they are calling for good weather, so hopefully that holds true.

Race recap to come!  Anyone else running the 15K Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday in Philadelphia?

Food I’ve Been Eating (and workouts and mini-goal update)

Workouts 

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been absolutely killed by Sgt Nate –  boy, have I been sore! I did make it to yoga twice in the past two weeks, though! Mini goal achieved! I’ve also gone to a few Lithe classes, and I finally ran a few times. I’m running the 15K Hot Chocolate run in 4.5 weeks, but it’s been so cold that I haven’t really been running. Okay, so I’m a baby when it comes to the cold. But it snowed yesterday. In March. And it’s 24 degrees. Let’s just hope for my sake that the weather takes a turn for the better soon, and I’m able to get some good running in, since I’m approximately 35 miles behind schedule.

cupcakes

I took all last weekend off from working out, went to Maryland to visit some friends, and we spent Saturday in line at Georgetown Cupcake. We did some shopping and other things too, but the cupcakes – they are pretty delicious. I bought two – and definitely ate the second one Monday morning pre-snow-day-workout. (They don’t make good pre-workout fuel. Shocking, right?!)

I wanted a sweaty, hard workout that didn’t take forever, so I headed over to Sweat in my neighborhood  – I had to burn off that cupcake after all.

My Workout: 

  • 25 minutes on the treadmill – working with speed intervals. Changed speed every 1/4 mile. (I think mine went something like this: 5.5 MPH, 6.0, 6.5, 6.0, 6.5, 6.0, 6.5, 6.0, 5.8, 6.2)
  • 15 minute circuit – 1 min each, repeat 3 times
    • Pushups
    • Situps with kettlebell overhead press
    • TRX squat jumps
    • Single Arm Kettebell Row- 30 sec L, 30 sec R
    • Rest

I was pretty wiped by the end and though I wanted to keep the 6.0-6.5 MPH going, I just couldn’t. I was having some asthma-like breathing problems, which is no fun when your chest hurts. (Don’t worry, I got my prescription refilled today. It’s all allergy related.)  I did a little over 2.5 miles on the treadmill when all said and done. My legs were even sore today! 

Food I’ve Eaten (and made myself!)

I have *not* been eating the best these days. But I have not been eating the worst, either. It’s all about balance, right? I am tracking my food on MyFitnessPal again, though. For the most part, it has been going all right. Here are some things I’ve been eating.

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Avocado, Tomato, Basil, Balsamic Bruschetta!

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Thai Red Curry with Chickpeas and Vegetables (I am eating it with quinoa!) Inspired by: http://pinchofyum.com/5-ingredient-coconut-curry

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Quinoa Flax Bread (from Whole Foods) with avocado, tomato, and egg, inspired by: http://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2014/03/03/make-open-face-breakfast-sandwich-hummus-tomato-poached-egg/

 

I also made my own hummus tonight, following this recipe! It is delicious – and I definitely cut my finger open while doing so, but seriously! Just like I’m never buying mayo again –  I’m now officially never buying hummus again.

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Mini Goal of the week: I. have. to. run.  (even if it’s 24 degrees, but hopefully it will be warmer.)

 

Chicken and Kale Enchiladas

This weather is the pits. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to cook. I want to eat pizza and drink beer. all. day. every. day. However, I managed to make some pretty yummy [and reasonably healthy] enchiladas last week! [Mexican is by far my favorite food, but it’s *not* particularly healthy, so I like to make it myself!]

What I used: Whole Foods corn tortillas (there are like 2 or 3 ingredients), Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce (you can also make your own. I would highly suggest doing that, actually. Do as I say, not as I do!), 2 chicken breasts, kale, 1/2 onion, cheese

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Step 1: I poached the chicken breasts and then shredded them by hand.

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Step 2: I warmed and softened the tortillas with some spray oil in an omelette pan. Next time, I would just stick them in the microwave as this method didn’t work wonderfully.

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Step 3: Cook the onions and kale.

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Step 4: Put about 1/3/-1/2 of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the enchilada baking dish. Put the rest in a wide bowl. Dip the tortillas in the wide bowl to get them coated in the sauce, then fill with a little of the kale/onion mixture, some chicken and roll them.

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Step 5: Cozy them into the baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Top with some shredded cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes. I ate two at a time with some refried black beans.

These would be awesome with mole sauce too. Mole is traditionally really hard to make with 2,302,938 ingredients, but here’s an easy recipe I found. You can do Enchiladas Verdes with a jar of green (or tomatillo) salsa. I haven’t tried these specific recipes, but I have made some similar ones.

Mole

Red Enchilada Sauce

 

 

What’s your favorite Mexican meal to make? Have you ever made enchiladas?

Completed: Nutrition Challenge!

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For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been doing a Nutrition Challenge. It went pretty well! I cheated a little (some wine, 1 small cup of icecream on the snow day, a salad with some fruit in it), but I didn’t have grains or dairy or beer. It was hard to eat out, but not that hard to stick to it at home. I missed fruit in my smoothies (CANNOT wait to make one with fruit), sushi, beer, and the occasional wheat and cheese goodness. BUT, it wasn’t that bad, and really did meet the goals of resetting my eating habits, breaking the bad habits, and losing the holiday pudge.  Most importantly, I feel so much better than I did 2 weeks ago!

Results:

This was successful.

  • lost 5 pounds (3 pounds were fat)
  • -1 inch from my shoulders
  • -0.25 from my bicep
  • -1 inch from my waist
  • -0.25 from my hips
  • -0.5 from my thigh
  • overall body fat percentage loss: -0.6%

As you can see from the pictures above, a little bit can make a pretty big difference! In the end, it’s all about balance. There’s no way I could stay on this diet long term and not go crazy, BUT I learned a lot about not needing the extra carbs or dairy, and the importance of healthy fats and nuts that will keep you full vs other crap that doesn’t. I experimented with some new recipes that make the no grain thing not so hard.

Moving forward, I’m going to continue to limit my wheat (and try to stick with rice based products, quinoa, etc) and dairy consumption (after I eat some pizza tonight!), as well as be more aware of the amount of alcohol I consume.

I’m also going to stop weighing myself again, except for weekly checkins. Because I’m so much happier without that number staring me in the face.

 

[sidenote: I continued to exercise as normal (5-6 days a week – combination of yoga/lithe/Sgt Nate). The frequency/intensity of my workout routine basically stayed the same.]

Anyone want to share any favorite wheat free/dairy free recipes?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

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TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF THE NUTRITION CHALLENGE.

(I’ll be sure to update with my progress/results this weekend.)

I made some exciting things the past two weeks, like the carrot fries, the mayo, etc. This week, I tried cauliflower pizza crust! Not amazing, but a pretty solid base to replace crust! (I missed the cheese though, not going to lie.) I used this recipe for the base. It’s pretty time consuming, but pretty worth it. I think that you could probably make a bunch of these and freeze them in freezer bags for future use. My little-food-processor-that-could was acting up, but hopefully yours will be better! I put on homemade pizza sauce (well Whole Foods homemade, hah!), pepperoni, some diced tomatoes, and basil. I want to try it with some pesto, or spinach and goat cheese next time!

I had a snow day on Wednesday. It started snowing around 10am on Tuesday. School let out at 12:30pm. That was way too late, in my opinion. I work about 30-40 minutes from my apartment, depending on traffic, but it took me 2.5 hours to get home! Woah now.  Anyway, on Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Heather at Sushi Planet. I decided to try out hand rolls sans rice, instead of getting the sashimi lunch special. The verdict? They were hard to eat, since the seaweed wrapper is difficult to bite through. Otherwise, they tasted great, and as you can see in the above picture – they look fantastic. But really. hard. to. eat.

I’m leaving you with a picture of the Roosevelt Blvd (a crazy like 8 lane non-highway, with crazy lights and turn lanes and lots of accidents.) Anyway, it looked like this on Tuesday around 1pm:

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Have any of you tried an alternative to pizza crust? How did it turn out?

2 Week Nutrition Challenge

On Sunday, I started a 2 week Nutrition Challenge with Sgt Nate and my fellow rangers over at Professional Touch Fitness. When I originally received the email, I was not very happy, but I was also feeling bloated and gross – so there ya go. I signed up, set a goal to not cheat during the 2 weeks, and off I went.

Here’s the break down!

Objective: To break the sugar habit, reset your metabolism, and help us prepare for healthier eating habits.

Details (from Sgt Nate):

  • no dairy, no breads, no sugars ( you can use stevia for sweetness), no fruit, no breaded fried foods, no potatoes, no rice, no alcohol
  • Sample meal plan: Oatmeal with crushed walnuts, almond milk, stevia, for breakfast. Remaining meals: lean meat/fish with assorted vegetables with nuts in between meals
  • assorted nuts between meals for healthy fats
  • 5 to 6 meals per day every 3-3 1/2 hours
  • water at every meal and in between meals
  • lean meats: fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites
  • assorted vegetables at every meal after breakfast

That means – BASICALLY: oatmeal in the morning, and meat/veggies/eggs the rest of the day.

I’m doing this from Sunday, January 5th through Saturday, January 25. Sarge took our measurements and weight on Sunday morning, and he’ll take mine again that Saturday morning. It’s about 1 day shy of 2 weeks.

SO FAR: 

I’ve been eating overnight oats for breakfast, minus the banana plus slivered almonds. I’ve been making my green smoothies without any fruit, which I’m not gonna lie, kind of suck. It’s like drinking a salad. Except, I don’t want to drink a salad. I want to drink a smoothie. Oh well, I’ve been drinking them anyway.

For lunches this week, I’ve eaten Chipotle Chicken Salad (with the homemade mayo! Separate post coming about the mayo, total life changer) with some butternut squash soup that I made and froze over my Christmas break.

Snacks, I’ve mostly had almonds and hard boiled eggs, some spoonfuls of hummus and a couple spoonfuls of natural PB here and then.

For dinners, I had this chicken/onions/peppers recipe that I topped with some jalapeño tomatoes and guacamole. Last night I also made some kale chips.  Tonight, I made black beans, spinach, and tomatoes with 2 eggs. It was totally delicious. Then, I made some carrot fries. Again, total. life. changer.  My friend, Candie, instagrammed some not too long ago, and I’ve been curious ever since. See, I don’t really like carrots. But carrot fries dipped in some of my homemade chipotle mayo? Yes, sir! I ate 3 carrots worth of carrot fries tonight.

[Disclaimer: Beans aren’t technically  in this plan since they are a carbohydrate – and we can only have morning oatmeal. However, they are a slow digesting carbohydrate and have protein in them too. Since I don’t really love meat, I decided to include some beans as well.]

How I feel: 

I definitely felt a little tired and run down the first few days. Felt kind of weak in the yoga classes I took Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday,  I went to Sarge. At one point, I said “This is hard today. I feel tired.”  I made it through. Today, I went to Sarge in the morning and then Lithe in the afternoon, and I’m feeling a lot less worn out. I did have a pretty massive dinner, but it was on the plan – so I’m going with it.

I weighed myself yesterday [I know, I know] since I was feeling much less bloated, and I was already down a couple of those extra pounds. So that’s good, because I started this about 8 pounds more than I want to be. [I know. I know. It’s a number, we’ve been through this. Put the damn scale away.]

So far. So good. Here are some pictures of food from this week.

 

Carrot Fries Spinach, beans, tomatoes, and eggs Chipotle Mayo Kale Chips Chicken Fajita Chipotle Mayo

 

 

Christmas Craziness

The holidays are a crazy time, aren’t they? I have barely thought about this blog recently. But man, have I been thinking about all of those cookies I have been eating!

I have a BIG confession to make: I made a colossal mistake last week and decided to buy a scale. WHICH WAS REALLY DUMB GUYS, because…

A) It was a New Year’s Resolution to stop weighing myself so much.

B) I hadn’t weighed myself hardly at all in 2 months, and I had been really crazy insanely happy about not weighing myself.

C) I hadn’t really felt fat at all. There was very little self fat talk!

and D) I have been eating a lot of cookies.

Of course, I stepped on the scale approximately 10 times in the past 6 days, and shockingly, I haven’t been super pleased with the result. I mean, it’s within 5 pounds of what it said last time I got on it before Thanksgiving (which was a couple pounds higher than I wanted it to be at that point, to be honest).  I knew I wanted to do a January reset anyway to make me feel healthy and happy after the holidays, but really, what was I thinking? I don’t need that stupid little number. My clothes fit. I’ve been working out a lot. I had been feeling [and looking] great. Shouldn’t that be enough?!

It’s AMAZING what a stupid little number on a scale can do for your mental health, and how a simple number can affect your body image.  [And it is really. just. a. number. I mean, step on and off and you may get a different #. or drink water. or go to the bathroom.] My friend posted a thing on instagram yesterday that read:

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THAT’S ALMOST AN ENTIRE YEAR WORRYING ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU WEIGH.

And that, my friends, is NOT okay. There are so many better things in life to think about and relish in. How can you enjoy the wonderful time you are having with friends and family if you are worried about how your stomach looks in your jeans when you sit down? Or how your arm will look in that picture? Or. Or. Or. We are literally missing out on some of the best moments of our lives, because we are so worried about the number the scale said that morning and whether or not you should really have that extra cookie or pita with hummus.

It’s a balancing act. Treat your body well. Feed it well. Most of the time, feed it with whole foods. [whole foods, like real foods, not the store]. Stay away from packaged products. Drink water. Eat food that is a variety of colors. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. [good for your body and your mind]. And make peace. With yourself. Your body.

… and put the damn scale away. 

[side note: as of today, my scale is currently living in a closet hidden away from view. where i will use it occasionally to keep myself honest.]