Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

On April 6, I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K race. I wasn’t super ready for the race, but I was as ready as I was going to be! My only goals were to have fun and enjoy the run. I figured I’d run a 10:30-10:50 mile pace since that was a little faster than my long run pace had been. I had struggled even on short runs at less than a 10:15 pace, so I wasn’t expecting too much.

I took a short 2.5 mile run on Friday before happy hour. Then on Saturday, I took a rest day. Saturday night, a few friends got together to make homemade pizza. I took a couple of beers with me (just 2!), and we chowed down and hung out. I went home about 10PM, and I was up early at 6:30AM.

I walked to my meet friend Rob, and we walked to the art museum just in time to see the 5K race start at 7:15. It was CHILLY – like 38 degrees, but it was sunny. It took me a little while to figure out what to wear, since it was over 50 when we finished. I ended up checking my coat and wearing an old sweatshirt to throw away right before we started. Otherwise, I wore my super cute new Ellie leggings, a tank top, and one of my trust black Under Armor long sleeve tops. I was warm at the end, but otherwise – I was okay. Rob and I waited around for the race to start, trying to stand in any sliver of sun light we could get.

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We started running down the Parkway towards Logan Square, around the circle and back to the museum. Then, it was an out and back on West River Drive.  I’m not sure what I did when I registered, but I was corralled almost at the back. I ended up starting up several corals with Rob, which was a little fast for me,  but I think it was a really good idea. I was certainly passed by people at the beginning, but I wasn’t running that much slower than them, and quickly fell into pace with people around me. I even passed quite a few people in the last few miles.

At mile 4, I paid attention to the mile clock for the first time, and I checked my RunKeeper. I was running slightly over a 10 minute mile pace! I felt good, so I made my goal at that point to finish under 95 minutes. It was a little ambitious, but I thought that I could do it. I only let myself look at RunKeeper every 2 miles, but was able to keep my pace on track with the mile clocks.. I thought I’d hate the out and back thing, but turn around was actually about mile 5.5, so well over half way. Mile 5 was actually my slowest mile, but I picked up the pace and mile 6 was my fastest!  My pace for the whole race was pretty consistent, and the last 3 miles were all right around 10:05.

During mile 7, I was so tired. I wanted to slow down, but I pushed through. That’s the point where I really think that my Sgt Nate training really started to help. I kept telling myself that I had pushed through the last 20 minutes of class so many times. By then, I was pretty warm and was getting sun burnt, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through and not slowing down at all.

When I was in sight of the finish line, I heard Megan cheering, which helped me get across that finish line! My official finish time was 1:34:13, a 10:08 pace, though my RunKeeper had my a little faster than that.

Rob also did an awesome job – he finished in 1:26:31 at a 9:18 pace! I’m so proud of us both! Megan met us at the finish line with some Fireball for our hot chocolate (stellar idea by the way. Mummers, anyone?), and then we trekked over to Silk City for some delicious and well earned brunch.  I’d definitely run this race again next year!

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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?

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Looking Back

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days. I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of year 2013 was, and I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a fine year. Nothing life changing, just a good, solid year.

Highlights:

  • Travel: In the spring, I went to Savannah with my sister to visit Ingela. I had the pleasure of doing a road trip with Ingela a few months later from Savannah through Atlanta, camping and white water rafting in Tennessee, to Nashville (LOVED), and ending in Asheville, NC. Then in July, I traveled to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State with my friend Elisa to go to Emily and Aaron’s wedding. It is truly an amazing place. You should all go there.
  • Fitness: Still was trucking along with Sgt Nate, and I started regularly taking classes at Lithe Method when I got a part time job there in JuneI ran 3 5Ks (Cupid 5K, Manayunk 5K, Turkey Trot 5K), a 4 mile race, a 10K, a 6.55 mile trail race, and a half marathon. I got a PR on the 10K (1:00:11!), and I got 4th place in my division in the trail race! Started incorporating a little hill and speed work into my runs with Matt, and I got back to some regular-ish yoga classes after I injured my IT band. And I almost forgot that I joined an ultimate frisbee team!
  • Food: I did a 10 day real food challenge in September with no wheat, dairy, or alcohol and felt great. I have cut back on dairy, since I feel a lot better without it. Started “eating normally” and not obsessing about the scale. I am so much happier this way, let me tell you!
  • Personal: One of the biggest things I tried to work on since the summer of 2013 was to focus on building more meaningful relationships with my friends. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, wide friend circle in Philly. In the past, I had been focusing a lot of attention on “being friends with everyone” and not enough attention on actually trying to build deeper relationships with people. I haven’t stopped being friends with people, just have refocused my energies a bit. It’s always a balance, but determining when to give a little more and when to let go is an important skill in life, especially pertaining to relationships.
  • Resolutions Revisit: 
    • 1.) Do something new every month: I kept up with this for the most part, but I did miss a month or two. Some things I did: tried new restaurants and new fitness studios, made pad thai, took a swim class,  Savannah Slow Ride, Burlesque class, trussed a chicken, sea kayaked, rode a Scoute Coup, went to Nashville and the San Juan Islands (and lot of other new places), hiked the Rickett’s Glen loop, played on an ultimate frisbee team with PSN, volunteered at Blocktoberfest, and sang live band karaoke.
    • 2.) Stop weighing myself so much: Took me almost all year, but I was eventually successful with just a couple of hiccups (when my scale broke!)
    • 3.) Drink less!: Okay, so I didn’t *really* manage to do this one, but I have at least made peace with it.

 

Looking Forward 

  • Resolutions:
    • When I eat meals at restaurants, try to always include a fruit or vegetable with the meal.
    • Include a mentally/physically restorative workout into my routine at least once a week (yoga, tai-chi, etc) – even if I do this at home.
    • Keep in better touch with my friends who live outside of Philly. This means that I will email/call them once a month.
  • Goals: [not really resolutions, but things I’d like to accomplish]
    • Run a half marathon trail race
    • Run a the 15K Hot Chocolate Run in April
    • Save money for my trip to SE Asia this summer
    • Sgt Nate’s 2 week nutrition challenge in January with no cheats!
    • Take more trips to Baltimore to visit college friends.

 

I may update and add to my goals list, but I think this is a solid start.

What are your resolutions/goals for 2014?

Oktoberfest Half Recap

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Ready to run!

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And we’re off!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, another half marathon is in the books. I ran it with my running partner, Matt. Even though he didn’t PR , we had a great race and it was a perfect day. Better yet, my knee help up!

For those of you that aren’t up to date – I ran the Oktoberfest Half in Pennypack Park in the Northeast. If you live in Philly and have a car, you should go to Pennypack Park immediately.

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The course looped around the entire park. We ran up the main bike path for about 6.5 miles, and then onto a flat trail for 2.5 miles which looped back to the bike path at mile 9 and we retraced our steps (and hills) for the last 4 miles.

 

The first 6.5 miles were super smooth sailing. We kept between an 11:00 and 11:30 pace, trying to be pretty conservative and tackling the hills in the first 3 miles without any major difficulty. My sister came to see us at mile 6 also, since that was the only other place you could drive to besides the beginning. It was good to see her there, and she took a couple great shots!!

 

 

 

Half way point!

Half way point!

At mile 6.5, we got onto a trail section that lasted 2.5 miles. It was flat and relatively easy to run. Not a ton of rocks of branches. There was one big tree down in the middle of the path at one point, but nothing crazy. It was absolutely gorgeous! I lost Matt a bit on this part. It was hard to run together, so I went ahead and then stopped to stretch to my knee while he caught up.

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The trail portion

 

 

At mile 9, we reached the trail back where we had started. We managed to make it back up and down all of the hills (those hills from the beginning seemed a lot harder the second time around.) We ended up walking a good portion of the last 2 miles. Matt was flagging and having some weird numbness stuff. I think he felt bad, but I set out to run the whole thing with him, and I didn’t really mind. At this point, my knee hurt. Not unbearably, but it hurt. So walking wasn’t so bad.

Most of the race, there was a couple from Virginia doing a run 3, walk 1 method right in front or behind us. When we rounded the last corner, the guy from that couple had come back (after he finished) to finish running the race with us! It was something that would never have happened in a large race – but when there’s only 450 people racing 13.1 miles with you, the atmosphere and camaraderie is different. His energy certainly helped get Matt across that finish line looking strong.

Of course, after the race you get german potato salad, brats, and sauerkraut. And we had plenty of Oktoberfest beers back at Matt’s to celebrate.

 

This week I have taken off from all intense exercise. I went to yoga on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and will go to a yoga class this evening. Next week, I’m going to attempt to get back to Ranger Training and do a run or two, but I want to be sure to give my knee/IT Band enough time to heal. I am trying to be kind to my body, and to give it time to heal and rest when necessary. It’s sort of a new thing for me.

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Finishers with our cheerleaders – Morgan and Jess\

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This Week’s Reasons Why Life Good

I am acutely aware that I am long overdue for a good “Life is Good” post. This week seems particularly good timing for one since I’ve been feeling a little stressed about my cat’s urinary problems, and overall just a little worn out.  However – without further ado:

Did I use “ado” correctly? Is that actually a thing?

 

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1.  I have been making some *AWESOME* smoothies lately. My lovely roommate, Natalie, has a Vitamix. It finally came home to live with us, and I’m ecstatic. This picture was of my first attempt, but I’m very pleased with my daily smoothies each and every day. For my green smoothies, I’ve been doing a bag of spinach,  a cucumber, water or almond milk or a combo, an apple, maybe a pear or banana or both. I often add an avocado, maybe some peanut butter. We have chia seeds that I haven’t tried. I made an amazing pumpkin, banana, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond milk smoothie last night. I could drink that every day of my life. I make a lot, and it’s enough for Natalie and I or for me for 2 days if she’s not around . Love them.

2. I have *officially* decided to stop trying to lose 10 more pounds. My body is protesting, and who says I need to lose 10 more pounds? I have been at this weight for a year and a half, and I’m happy at it. I can easily maintain it, and can focus on being fit and happy and not skinny and hungry. Sounds like a good trade to me. So, I have *NO* idea how many calories are in the smoothies, and I don’t care. They are good for me, and that’s enough. That said – I’ve been eating sort of crappy these past few days (but really, not that bad. Though I am craving a burger or hoagie right now something fierce). I’m chalking it up to PMS and will be back on the no carbs/dairy during the week train again next week.

3. My 34, yes – count them, 34 – fifth graders have pretty much fallen in line at school. Sure, it’s a ton of kids, and sure – they would certainly get more attention if there were less of them, but there is definite teaching and learning going on, and that’s all I’m going to ask for right now.

4. I rejoined OkCupid, and even though I think dating is a pain, I realize it’s something I probably should do. So, yeah. that’s happening. I’ll keep you updated.

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5. I went to the King of Prussia Beer Fest for free last Saturday with some friends thanks to Yelp! It was a good selection of craft beers and a pretty fun band. Good times were had by all. And get this – a guy came up to my friends and I saying that I looked really familiar. My friend, Greta, went into high gear, suggesting that we become Facebook friends to see if we have mutual friends in common.  Nope. Want to guess how he recognized me? We had been talking on OkCupid. As soon as I saw his profile picture I knew, but it took him until the next morning when he messaged me. Funny how these things happen, isn’t it?

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6. My most recent long run, on Sunday, was 8.6 miles. I ran with Carey and Matt late Sunday morning on the Kelly Dr/West River Drive Loop, ending with running up the Steps! Because, why not? Carey and I stayed together the whole time, stopping here and there to wait for Matt and what not. It was not such a great run for him, but he still pushed it out and that is all that matters. Read about his run here.

Carey and I kept a really solid pace the whole time, and even though it was crazy humid, I thought it went well. I’ve been having some IT Band issues, and my knee hurt a little in the last mile, but I’m doing some foam rolling and all is well.

7. I did two awesome running club runs last week. Tuesday, I ran with the running club portion of Young Involved Philadelphia.  (Run with us! Info here.) It was my first outing with this group, which meets the first Tuesday of every month. You run, and then explore some cool place in Philly. This past week was the Reading Viaduct, that is in the process of raising money to turn it into a park. It was super cool to be up there. They are basically elevated, abandoned railroad tracks. Then, we went to Prohibition Taproom for some food and drinks.  On Thursday, I ran with the infamous Fishtown Beer Runners. They are super nice, and super fun, and like to run and drink beer. How can you go wrong? There’s a group that leaves from 7 and Bainbridge, so we ran 4 miles and ended at LLama Tooth for some beer. The first was free! I had an awesome time and an awesome run. I’m trying to go tomorrow, but the rain might just get in the way! I sure hope not.

8. I got up yesterday at 6am to run with Pam, and I got up today at 6am to go to yoga with Natalie! If not for the rain, Pam and I would be running tomorrow at 6am. I’m positive that these 6am workouts are the only things that got me through my days the past 2 days!  I did end up going to Sgt Nate- Ranger Cross Training tonight, but now I’m completely wiped and not going to my frisbee game. Ah well. I need some rest, and it’s damp and chilly outside.

 

What are some reasons why your life is good this week?

 

Race Recap: Sloppy Cuckoo

 

Sisters Pre-RaceI ran the Sloppy Cuckoo trail race a couple of weeks ago and haven’t posted about it! It was on September 22 and was a 6.55 mille trail race in Pennypack Park. It was a perfect day, couldn’t have asked for better weather. Jess and I ran it along with my running partner, Matt, and “The Captain” from Ranger Training. There was a half marathon at the same time (2 loops of the course I ran), as well as a 12 hour race going on (intense- as many loops as possibly in 12 hours).

The first couple of miles were quick and painless, and then it got REALLY MUDDY. It ended up going straight through the puddles, because it was too tricky to try to go around them.

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Also, it’s just A LOT harder running on a trail! It was absolutely gorgeous though! Right about mile 4, I slowed down a lot. It was a tough mile. I walked down a super steep incline and walked through the water station. After that, it was flatter, but with this crazy switch back path that lasted well over a quarter mile, I think. Maybe a half mile. It just went on forever.

Around mile 5, I sped up, but then I fell on rocks, which hurt, but I was okay. I had some pretty impressive bruises on my shins for a week or two.  The last mile and a half, I chatted with a 12 hour runner behind me, and she really kept me going. I felt WAY better finishing the race than I did at mile 4.

My time wasn’t amazing, but good enough for a trail race, and GET THIS! I won 4th place in my age division (of 11, but still!). And I won a little German weather house! Read Matt’s Recap here.

After the race, we  got to eat brats, sauerkraut, and german potato salad. YUM! Then, we did a pumpkin beer tasting (of 17 beers!) at Matt’s House which was amazing.

I’m running the Oktoberfest Half with these people in a couple of weeks. I did it least year, and it was great! Looking forward to it! This race was definitely a good training race.

10 Day Challenge: Recap

I made it through the 10 days with no dairy, no wheat, and no alcohol!! Overall, it wasn’t that hard, and I feel super positive about how it went. I did cheat a tad by putting half and half in my coffee if soy milk wasn’t available, but other than that – I was super good about sticking to the plan.

Food: 

Breakfast:

The first half of the challenge, I ate egg muffins.  I had 2-3 of them plus a banana.  I basically just made mini omelets in a muffin tin. They only came out to about 50 calories each, so next time I make them, I’m going to add in some turkey sausage and maybe even some quinoa to make them more filling.

Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins

The second half, I ate Overnight Oats – which I am going to write a separate post about. They are amazing.

Lunch

The first half of the challenge, I ate Mediterranean  Quinoa Salad and a hard boiled egg for lunch, and some strawberries. I cooked quinoa and added wilted greens (that I roasted for a bit in the oven), a can of chopped up artichoke hearts, chopped up cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, basil leaves, and some lemon juice. It was super delicious and came out to 314 calories per serving. I cooked 1.5 cups of dry quinoa, and it made 4 servings. It was really good.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

For the second half of the challenge, I ate two different things for lunch. First, I made curried chicken salad with mini roasted red and purple potatoes. I cooked two chicken breasts, let them cool, and ripped them into tiny pieces. Then I added eggless mayo, curry powder, and shredded cabbage and carrots. This, along with the potatoes, was my favorite. I’m making it for lunch next week too. Came out to about 500 calories for both.

I also made Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables, that I posted about already. It was absolutely delicious. Made 5 servings. When I ate it for lunch, I took a half cup of brown rice with me. When I ate it for dinner, I had a full cup of brown rice.

Dinner

I ate some different things for dinner. I ate the Red Curry Tofu and the Curried Chicken Salad with Potatoes for dinner. I had sushi a couple of times (with brown rice). I made brown rice with vegetables and black beans one night for my sister and I. I had Vietnamese one night. Sausages and veggies another night.  The key was already knowing what I was going to eat. Most of the time, it was already made ahead of time, which is also key for me. After my workout, I do *not* want to spend 30+ minutes making dinner. A major thing for me is having the brown rice already made and frozen. Smartest little trick I’ve ever come up with. Takes 2 minutes to heat up in the microwave and tastes fresh!

Snacks

I ate too many chips and salsa the Saturday of the challenge. While this is technically on the plan, it is not the best choice. Most of my snacks were better planned. I had fruit, hard boiled eggs, trail mix, and peanut butter. I also bought a few “Paleo” snack bars to have on hand. I bought a couple Lara bars and Steve’s Original Paleo Crunch from Whole Foods.  Again, you just have to be prepared and have snacks that are dairy/wheat free easily available for you. I’m going to try and make my own granola bars soon!

On the Saturday night that I was following this plan, we were out of town having a campfire. We decided to make these banana boats, which are the cutest little things and can be made wheat free/dairy free.

Exercise:

It isn’t a secret that I exercise a lot.  I felt pretty awesome on this plan, and my running speeds were faster! I did 2 long runs of 8 miles around this time and both were fantastic. 

Day 1 (Tues): 3 mile run, 60 min Lithe Method class (Hot Legs)

Day 2 (Wed): 60 min Ranger Cross Training (with Professional Touch Fitness), ultimate frisbee game

Day 3 (Thurs): 3 mile run

Day 4 (Fri): 60 min Lithe Method class, 75 minute yoga class @ the Yoga Garden

Day 5 (Sat): 8 mile run

Day 6 (Sun): Rest

Day 7 (Mon): 60 min Ranger Cross Training

Day 8 (Tues): 2 mile run, 60 min Ranger Training Bootcamp

Day 9 (Wed): 60 min Ranger Cross Training, ultimate frisbee game

Day 10 (Thurs): Rest

Results:

Seriously, I felt awesome. My runs were stronger. I wasn’t bloated. Super regular bathroom things happening. 

I only lost 1 pound on the scale (according to the scale at the gym from 5:00 Wed 9/4 to 5:00 Wed 9/11. Mine broke, remember?).

However!! I did my measurements on 9/2 and then again on 9/12. I lost 1.25 inches from my belly button, 0.75 inches from my natural waist, 0.5 inches from my hips, 0.5 inches from my bicep. 

In 10 days! All of the bloating and grossness gone!

Some thoughts/suggestions:

1. This would be very difficult if you don’t plan ahead. I made all of my meals ahead of time, and I had little to think about it when it came time to eat them. I did eat out a few times – sushi is an easy choice (brown rice is a better option, always), and the Whole Foods bar is pretty legit if one is available to you. Make sure you have snack and meal options that are dairy and wheat free available, and the choice to eat them is a lot easier. I suggest having them in containers in your fridge already made.

2. Snacks = 1/3 cup trail mix, hard boiled eggs, dairy free smoothies, fruit (I like cutting up some different ones and making a type of fruit salad), little mini muffin type recipes that are lower in calories

3. I used My Fitness Pal to track things, but you wouldn’t really need to if you are following no wheat/no dairy I don’t think. You will have to basically eat unprocessed food, which makes it harder to rack up the calories.

4. I’m not sure if this works, because the food isn’t processed – or because it’s actually the wheat and dairy doing the damage. Either way, it works.

 

Going Forward

I realized how great I felt during the challenge after I ate wheat and dairy over the weekend following (a tuna wrap with cheese, some cheese and crackers, etc) and drank a decent amount – I felt pretty crappy after all of that. I was bloated and tired on Monday. So, I’ve decided to stick to the no wheat/no dairy during the week. I will *moderate* over the weekend, so that I don’t over do it and feel gross. I’m going to avoid alcohol for the most part during the week, though a couple beers here and there won’t hurt. This weekend, I’m going to Garces Trading Company on Friday for Restaurant Week. I’m sure I will eat copious amounts of wheat and dairy, so I am going to avoid it on Saturday. Plus, I’m running a race (Sloppy Cuckoo 6.55 mile trail race) on Sunday, so I want to ensure that I am properly fueled!

 

Final Thoughts:

Those “crazy” people who I thought were being overly diet conscious? (Looking at you Jason, Thai, and Len). Oh – they most definitely know what they are talking about!!  Especially the cross-fit ones. No, I’m not giving up grains in general. No, I’m not going 100% in – but I definitely feel better and perform better without the stuff. I can save my wheat and dairy for the weekends.  I’m super glad I tried this, and I encourage and challenge you to cut out wheat and dairy (and alcohol if you choose) for 10 days and see how you feel.