Tag Archives: running

Aesop’s fable lied to me.

20 Jun

Lately my weekends for the most part lately have been pretty laid-back. I suppose this is what happens when you get older and you start paying more attention to your bank account and your expenses, and realizing that one is bigger than the other when it shouldn’t be. I also felt burnt out by the middle of May when my spring semester of class was over. So it’s nice to be able to just sleep in, watch crappy movies on basic cable, experiment in the kitchen, or read. I’m not sure how long this feeling will last, however, because ultimately the part of me who thrives on being productive will kick in and I won’t be able to stay in my apartment for longer than an hour at a time during the weekend.

Case in point: I did manage to do a few fun things other than watch Star Wars for the 37th time in my life just because it was playing on Spike TV…

Go to Washington Nationals game on Friday. This was part of a secret santa gift I had given my friend Carolyn, who’s goal is to go to a game for every team that the DC area has. Nats: check. Now she’s got DC United, the Capitals, the Wizards, and the Redskins. Considering how cheap I got these seats for, I don’t think this’ll be a very difficult or expensive goal to accomplish.

I also…

Made mini peanut butter and chocolate bread puddings on Saturday night. My younger sister, Anna, and I had a stale croissant that I kept saying I’d make into a bread pudding. My initial thought was that I’d buy more croissants at the grocery store and make a big pudding, but the thought of having that around and the subsequent poundage I’d gain freaked me out. So I researched single-serving bread puddings, came across a very easy and tweak-able recipe, and attempted. And then I succeeded. These turned out very delicious AND the perfect portion size, without any leftovers to be tempted with. And yes, I will post the recipe for this soon.

Then on Sunday…

I finished Kara Goucher’s Runing for Women: From First Steps to Marathons, and while it was an easy read, I still learned quite a bit about training properly for any distance race, keeping motivated and staying fit as a runner. Plus, it provided a lot of inspiration: through the quotes she has inserted throughout the book from other world-class runners, as well as from her personal feelings about the sport. It made me even more excited to go out for my 6am runs and it reminded me to take training slow and steady.

This is photo is misleading but I swear I didn't finish last! In a related note, please ignore the massive sweat stains.

But then I did the Georgetown Running Company’s Father’s Day 8k. This didn’t go as well for me as I had hoped. But at least I did it, right? 🙂 I thought about my dad while running – he got me started on running in the first place – and I knew he’d be proud of me even if I finished first or last. Granted, I finished in about the same time as I did with my first 8k, which I guess is ok. At least I wasn’t slower than last time. I tried really hard to pace myself but also have negative splits after the first half of the race, which wasn’t totally successful. The few times I’d glance at my Garmin to check my pace, I seemed to be going the same rate throughout. Oh well. I’ll continue to deal with the fact that I am still insanely slow (not yet at 10-minute mile average pace). My slowness kind of annoys me, but I’m also really determined to get to that 10-minute mile pace by the time the fall season comes around. So I’m really looking forward to more tempo runs and speedwork in my training for the next couple of weeks. Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race, but I will continue to cross more finish lines as fast as I possibly can!

Any fun things you did over the weekend? Any good eats or recipes you found?

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Look out, weekend

7 Jun

I definitely ate my way through the weekend. With Mama Nosher in town till yesterday, I ended up not cooking in my kitchen at all for the past week, unless you count blending smoothies and heating up frozen waffles for breakfast. It was seriously nice to have her around. I mean, how awesome is it to come home after work and find that dinner is already made? And they were delicious dinners at that. I have a recipe or two to share that I finally managed to get Mom to explain, and I’ll share those to you guys later this week.

For now, I’ll be living off leftovers for another day or two. I probably ate out more than I should’ve in the past weekend, but I just love trying new foods so much that I pushed any bubbling guilt out of my mind and enjoyed myself. Isn’t that what weekends are for anyways?

On Friday, straight after work, my friend Dorothy and I hit up the first Truckeroo, big food truck gathering held at the Bullpen near Nationals Park. Not all of DC’s foodtrucks were in attendance but there was certainly a good handful. By the time I had arrived, however, the dinner rush was at full swing and trucks were jammed with crowds. D and I split off to separate trucks and then regrouped – I grabbed grilled cheese sandwiches from The Big Cheese, while she got ribs and a BBQ platter from BBQ Bus. I tried The Big Cheese’s Mt. Fuji for the first time and enjoyed it; it reminded me a bit of the sandwich I had at Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux, with its apple-and-cheese combo. I’m starting to get really hooked on melted cheese with fruit on toasted bread.

The ribs from BBQ Bus could’ve used a bit more sauce (I like my ribs saucy), but the platter was a good deal, considering it included chicken, pork, beans and slaw. We couldn’t even finish the whole thing. But after doing another walk-around, we decided to splurge on green tea popsicles from Pleasant Pops, which were creamy and refreshing.

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k. I unfortunately have no photos – I didn’t bring a camera because I don’t like running with stuff in my hands and I don’t have a fancy belt to carry things in (yet). The race went surprisingly well for me – I think I’ve been running enough to the point where 3 miles is now an easy run. I paced myself for this race, but I actually paced myself too slowly! By the time I could see the finish line ahead, I remember thinking “Wait, what? It’s almost over?” and I still had so much energy left in me. If I run it again next year, my new goal will be to beat my time by 5 minutes. I think I can do it. 🙂

On Sunday I did something that I don’t do enough of: go to the Dupont Farmer’s Market. There is a lot of great produce, baked goods, flowers, meats and cheeses available there. We’ve gotten products ranging from chocolate croissants made by expert French breadmakers to giant bags of crab claws for cheap to empanadas to wild mushrooms. Oh, and gorgeous flowers – I’m kind of lame because I tend to kill plants easily so I stick to simple blossoms that I put in an old Italian soda bottle.

Sadly I don’t even remember what these flowers are called…

I know it’s already Tuesday, but did you guys have any great eats over the weekend? Hit up any good farmer’s markets?

Kickin’ it.

19 Apr

I’m running an 8k on Saturday! I haven’t been in a race since I did the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure 5k last June, and that was…well I wish I’d done better. The race itself was great and well organized, but I think I too eager too quickly running with the crowd instead of pacing myself. I had to stop and walk at one point, I felt a little pitiful about that. I’m not really running this to place. I’m hoping to do races more often and get used to running in crowds and pacing properly. My ultimate goal is run a marathon so I’m starting small, using training programs, and working my way up. 🙂

Learning about the best foods to fuel myself has been fun too. (You know I’d manage to tie this all into eating somehow). Before a long run, or if I know I’m doing any sort of cardio longer than 45 minutes, I like to fuel up with some carbs. I’m a big fan of Van’s waffles. Even if I don’t have a big fitness sesh planned, I still love chowing on these in the morning.

Pre-run I just nosh on one, digest for a bit and then hit the pavement. Otherwise, after gym workouts or rest days I’ll have two for breakfast, and I spice it up with fruit and nuts. My favorite combo: 2 waffles, a sprinkle of chopped walnuts, sliced banana, a small scoop of fat free Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of maple syrup. It’s filling, but doesn’t weigh me down, so I feel ready for the day after having this, especially before work or class. Literally, one morning I had this and enjoyed it so much I was all, I’m going to kick today’s ass! Yeaaaahhh!”

I'm gonna eat this and I'm gonna take back the White House!

As for after those long training sessions and difficult runs where I’m somehow out of breath by mile 2, I recover afterward with protein shakes. Now, I swear I haven’t gone all beefcake on you guys. And I consulted with my doctor dad on this – If you’re interested in protein shakes, I’d also suggest doing your research and talking to a doctor or nutritionist to see if this fits with your fitness and diet regimen.

Only good things in there!

I would continually get hungry at around 10am after working out and I’d read a lot about the benefits of protein with helping muscle recovery. So I ordered some whey protein and started experimenting with milks (skim, soy, almond), fruits (bananas, berries) and other add-ins (fat free yogurt, cocoa powder). It’s an easy way to get a serving of fruit. I also like to do the whole Green Monster thing and add a big handful or two of spinach (you can’t taste it at all) which I would think counts as a serving of vegetables. Right? 😛 It looks like sludge but tastes like a chocolate-banana milkshake.

This is what I mixed this morning post-run:

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it

  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 sliced strawberries
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein powder

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend. If I don’t feel like adding the powder, I’ll put a scoop of yogurt and a tablespoon of cocoa powder instead and it still makes a tasty, healthy shake.

Have any favorite pre- or post- workout foods? Do you think I’m crazy for wanting to run a marathon??

Recovering and rebounding

24 Feb

Just as I feel that I’m finally catching up on handfuls of tasks and errands to complete after being away for the long weekend, I get a minor but significant blow: a cold. This wouldn’t faze most people, but I can tell you with pride that I remained illness-free for what I remember was at least a year, if not a little more. I think I had a cold at around Snowpocalypse time last February, but other than that, I remained quite healthy.  So I had kind of forgotten what it’s like to be under the weather.

It’s ironic that I get sick, now that I’ve recovered from the nutritional blip I let myself go through earlier this month. With my birthday and Valentine’s Day, and a general “devil-may-care” attitude about what I was eating, I ended up packing in too much sugar and packing on a few extra pounds. It left me sluggish and lazy, unable to get up like normal for my 6am workouts. It’s already difficult for me to get up that early because I’m not naturally a morning person. Add to that a general feeling of “blah” and I was starting to inch toward a downward spiral.

I’m glad I realized I was going back to bad habits and I stopped myself. So I’ve made some goals that I’m really adamant on sticking to, for, well, the rest of my life. I’m a believer in making big, important lifestyle changes when it comes to health and wellness. I don’t follow diets, I don’t believe in quick-fixes, I don’t even like the idea of juice fasts or meal replacements. It’s all about eating wholesome foods, lots of vegetables and fruits, and getting at least the recommended amount of exercise.

I have three big goals:

1)   Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day. The fruit part is actually really easy to me now – I’ve managed to fit in fruit somewhere in my breakfast each morning and then eat fruit for my afternoon snack. The vegetable part, however, is not so easy, especially since I didn’t grow up eating meals that emphasized vegetables and because my roster of vegetable-based recipes is lower than protein- or grain-based ones.

2)   Eat sweets or baked goods at a minimum each week. I used to think it was okay to eat dessert every single day. Now I know that eating that much sugar can lead to unhealthy consequences, plus it just adds unnecessary calories and it doesn’t really help my energy levels. Sweets are treats, and treats should be for special occasions. Or when I just really, really have a sweet tooth attack and have been thinking about a cupcake or a whoopee pie for days on end. Otherwise, a piece or two of dark chocolate or a few spoonfuls of rice pudding have actually satisfied my cravings. And even though I want to become an excellent baker, it’s not doing my health any good to be making cookies and cakes and pies every week. Again, if there’s a birthday or some special occasion, I’m happy to whip out the mixer and bake away.

3) Run a 10-minute mile by the end of the year. Friends, I am SLOW. Like, the fastest I can run right now is probably a 12-minute mile, maybe 11.5 on a good day. But for the most part, it takes me somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes just to run 3 miles. I think this is partly because I’ve never had any formal training (I never ran regularly until I reached my 20s). And I have short legs. I’m 5’3 but I’m a long-torso-short-legs 5’3. I’m doing interval training weekly, but if you guys have other suggestions on this, throw ‘em at me! Once I’ve achieved that, half-marathons and marathons will be in the horizon…I’ve already signed up to run the Susan G. Komen Global Race, which I did last year. I’m not looking to run within a certain time, but it’s good prep for racing in crowds and it’s for a great cause.

Goals in mind, and considering my current state of illness (it’s really not that bad, but my nose is like freaking NIAGRA FALLS), I’ve been trying recipes that are veggie-packed, healthy (or as healthy as I can make ’em), filling, and most of all, delicious. This kale, chicken and white bean soup was a good start toward better eating. It was actually inspired by a friend and former coworker of mine, who brought it for lunch one day and let me try a bite. I liked it so much I decided to try it myself. I had leftover rotisserie chicken on hand when I made it, so I threw that in, and I used my friend’s idea of adding tomatoes. I also adjusted the amounts of water and stock to see how the flavor would turn out. It was great! And it was a darn good replacement for your regular ol’ chicken noodle soup.

Kale, Chicken and White Bean Soup

(adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound kale, stems (and veins, if desired) removed and leaves washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, (14.5 ounces each), drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium canned broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, (optional)

Directions

Roughly chop or tear the kale into ½ inch strips. In a heavy pot or saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 can of beans and lightly mash with a fork. Add the water and stock, and bring to a boil. Stir in kale, the other can of beans, the chicken and the tomato. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Partially cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the kale soft. Serve with grated parmesan cheese on top.