Monday, January 31, 2011

Water Bobble

For Christmas, my sister S got me a Water Bobble. These BPA-free bottles intrigued me due to the fact that it has a built-in filter. They are normally $10 and are cute to boot.


Look at the pet food in the back! Also, I'm wearing a running hoodie that I got from "The Ukrainian" for Christmas!

(photo credit to Tea Time)

Here's an example of a replacement filter that sister K got me... near an old photo! Replacements cost about $7 and last about 2 months. Certainly cheap considering the cost of clean water sometimes!

Overall, these are great for those on the go and drink from lots of water fountains. Being one of those people myself, I always worry about what I'm doing to my kidneys. I am usually having issues with my kidney health tests and am trying to keep my water intake as clean as possible (especially if I ever decide to have kids -- a must).

The only con is that the water comes out a bit slow from the top, so I can't guzzle as quickly as I'd like. Also, it's a bit too fat for most of my cup-holders, but it makes up for that in cuteness.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekly Workouts: 1/29 - 2/4

Must resist temptation to start going for "speed" and wind up injuring myself.  I pulled my right hamstring last May, and I'm finally at a point where I don't feel it while running anymore.  Very seldomly do I feel it while sitting (which actually happened more often than during running).

I only have three really huge long runs left, this week containing one of them.  I have an 18 and 22 (or at least 20) left, and a 12 somewhere in that mix.  However, I consider any run longer than a half-marathon to be important enough to not snuff.  And what these runs have in common is a need for gels.  I'll start pumping the gels during runs of 15+.  And no, I don't drink sports drinks very often... except sometimes after running for headache prevention.

I've been inconsistent with stretching.  I'm calling myself out on this in this public forum so that I commit to it more often.  I blame it on the fact that when I come back home from a run, I have to 1) shower, 2) pick up some sort of mess the dog made/play with dog who won't leave me alone, 3) fold laundry, 4) clean floors... which puts my eating/stretching on the sidelines.  I hardly get any true downtime anymore.

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This Week's Workouts:

Saturday - 16 mi
Went really well, 9:59 pace overall.  Not sure why, but my Garmin lopped off exactly a mile off my run.  I SWEAR I did it all, though.

Sunday - rest; stretching/"The Stick"

Monday - 30 min strength; 20 min elliptical/stepper hybrid & 10 min Jacob's ladder

Tuesday - 5 mi
HAD to go to the restroom during last mile.  Now you know how this blog got its name!

Wednesday - 30 min strength; 10 min Jacob's ladder, 10 min stairclimber, 10 min elliptical/stepper hybrid

Thursday - 6.5 mi
Went to a rubber track and froze my face off as I was doing a fast lap around.  Decided to bail and run a trail run instead near my workplace.  It was 35 this morning.  I thought I was gonna lose my thumbs.  Had to take some breaks because my head hurt from cold and running in those conditions are just darn uncomfortable.

Friday - 30 min strength/circuit-type workout, 20 min upright bike, 5 min stretch/roll

Weekly Mileage: 27.5

Friday, January 28, 2011

Peanut Butter & Co. - Dark Chocolate Dreams

All I can say about this peanut butter is that its addiction capability is extremely high. If you have any inkling of liking for peanut butter and/or chocolate, I'd suggest steering clear of this jar.

Its texture is lighter than peanut butter but has a fulfilling peanut-y taste with an extra chocolate richness.

Best of all, this peanut butter is vegan, natural, and not nutritionally unsound (when it comes to peanut butter, anyway!).

I heard they make a white chocolate version, but I have not seen it in stores. Being a white chocolate LOVER, I fear the potential overdose finding it could cause.


The untouched jar... didn't remain as such for long! It's now sitting in "The Ukrainian"'s fridge so that I can't get my hands on it very often.

These retail between $5-6 a jar, giving me another incentive not to indulge too often. Totally worth it, though!
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Link: http://www.ilovepeanutbutter.com/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roasted

I've been seeing a lot of vegetables become trendy.

While I normally think that "trendy" things are not worth following most of the time, I am glad that the focus is on vegetables.  Why?  Well, it means that they become widely available!

Case in point: kale, which was a base for a small meal I had recently.



New vegetables are intimidating.  I usually stick to my favorites -- broccoli, cauliflower, etc. -- but I recently found that they sell frozen brussels sprouts.  Talk about accessibility!

NOTE: I've been experimenting with picture sizes lately on the blog. Is this size adequate?


Above: Rounding up ingredients for a dinner side-dish: sea salt, olive oil, frozen brussels sprouts, tomatoes, balsalmic vinegar. 

Above: ...Or is this size better???  I tossed the sprouts in 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  I also did a leftover potato we had lying around.  Using the leftover oil, I mixed in a little balsalmic vinegar and tossed sliced tomatoes in there.  I still had leftover oil afterwards, which I used to dress a salad.

I put these in the oven at 400 degrees for about half an hour, opening every 5-10 minutes to move the stuff around...


Above: The final product.  I had also used some of the same leftover oil mentioned above (yes, again... that 3 tbsp got very far) to make pita chips... with a little paprika.  They turned out so crispy and delicious that I will make them regularly.

The sprouts turned out flavorful, though I don't really like the tender middle much and would cut them in half next time.  Maybe at some point, I can try this with fresh sprouts, but this frozen version worked very well.  This was my first go at roasting veggies, and they turned out great!

The tomatoes are in there somewhere... they got WAY too shriveled in the oven.  I think I need more hearty tomatoes to do this in the future, but they had a wonderful deep flavor that would probably be great on pizza!

"The Ukrainian" made homemade guacamole, so that is on the top left of the plate.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Running on a Trip

This entry is supposed on be about running while on trips, and while it is, I am also including a lot of other miscellaneous details of my recent trip to Vegas to belatedly celebrate my sister's 21-dom (perhaps Tea Time will document the trip better than I did... HERE).

I was not planning on doing any real exercise while gone. After all, it's vacation... duh! But "The Ukrainian" was set on committing to his fitness goals this week and told me to pack some running clothes with me.

We got into Sin City late Friday afternoon and proceeded to have dinner with my sisters and company. We went to the buffet at the Monte Carlo hotel. My eyes were bigger than my (hungry) stomach, and I filled my large plate! In fact, I was so hungry that I didn't capture photos of anyone else's plates. :$


Any buffet that serves brussel sprouts is a winner in my book! I wasn't purposely trying to to eat so many veggies, but those were the main items that appetized me. I finished most (2/3+) of the plate. :)


Plus sampled desserts like these. I mainly liked that pumpkin cheesecake/bar(?) at the bottom.

After some gambling (I was up ~$50 for the weekend, and "The Ukrainian" won a small load ~$250, both from slot machines), we turned in early. Like at 11 PM-ish, which in Vegas, is early.

The next morning, at around 7 AM, we got up to do this:


We did a 3-mile run around some of the hotels. "The Ukrainian" had his Garmin and told me we ran the first half at 9:30 pace and the second at under 9:00 pace. The headwind was pretty bad in the first half.

Then, it was time to explore the free gym. It was rather crowded... props to those people who are willing to commit to exercising while in Sin City!




For brunch with the sisters, I had an omelet similar to this one that "The Ukrainian" ordered, but this photo turned out better. His also came with that square of nice polenta. My omelet had fresh veggies inside (asparagus, zucchini, tomato). It tasted healthy and was perfect for a post-workout meal!

And guess where we had this lovely meal? Il Fornaio! I didn't know they had a breakfast menu, but they had several healthy/wholesome choices.


We walked around the strip for a few hours, which added to my exercise for the day:



After some hours of walking around, I needed an energy boost from a cafe called Va Bene at The Cosmopolitan. I needed (decaf) coffee and got this pine nut cookie (right) to go with it. Yes, you read that right: pine nut cookie. It had a delicate almond flavor with toasty pine nuts on top. Certainly unique!

"The Ukrainian" wanted to try the custard-filled pannetone (left). It was a mini-version of those pannetones that are found in markets around the holidays.


Dinner that night was at D.Vino, a lounge/restaurant. This was our "fancy" meal of the trip.


Foccacia bits with roaster garlic and pesto.


With a small goat cheese, frizze, pecan, and roasted beet salad with raspberry vinaigrette. The lighting made it tough to get a clear photo.

I ordered potato gnocchi with tomato pomodoro. Best gnocchi I've ever had -- tender and flavorful, probably because it absorbed the sauce well. My portion looked small compared to everyone's meals, which was sad because I was very hungry. Still... good gnocchi.


A couple of people at the table ordered seafood linguine. I sampled the pasta and found it tender with a light sauce. Overall, D.Vino had great-tasting food, though service was a bit slow considering the relatively light volume that night. Also, I am still disappointed by small gnocchi portion, even though it was not cheap.


We saw the Jabbawockeez that night. I had been skeptical since I saw them dancing on TV and didn't see how a Vegas show could come out of that, but it was full of GREAT music and sequences!



I am greatly satisfied with being able to work out while on vacation. It takes discipline (sleeping early, packing the right gear, and committing to wake up on time), but it was SO worth it. I had more energy that day than if I had stayed up late and slept in. Of course, sleeping in is nice, too, sometimes. :P

Lastly, here's what we saw at the Bellagio hotel, a garden display for the upcoming Lunar New Year. I'm sure this topic will be mentioned in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!


Thanks to Tea Time for arranging such a nice and fun trip!

Weekly Workouts: 1/22 - 1/28

This Week's Workouts:

Saturday - 3 mi; 20 min weights
In Vegas... so not bad!

Sunday - rest; stretching/"The Stick"

Monday - 30 min strength; 1 mi intervals; 25 min various cardio (bike, Jacob's ladder, elliptical)

Tuesday - 5 mi

Wednesday - 30 min strength; 30 min Jacob's ladder w/lunges
The ladder is tiring, so had to take brief breaks where I did twisting lunges and incline push-ups.

Thursday - 6 mi

Friday - 10 min strength, 20 min upright bike

Weekly Mileage: 15

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random Photo Entry 24: Why I Quit Salsa

Since my last Random Photo Entry was long, I thought this next one can be short.

One year ago, I started taking salsa.



Not THIS kind of salsa. I'd never quit eating that unless I develop a severe tomato allergy!

Anyway....

I had always wanted to learn to dance, and since I no longer had to coummute 35+ miles to get to work everyday, it seemed to suddenly fit into my schedule.

So I went, almost every Wednesday evening and most Saturday afternoons (even after long runs). I was taking classes during this time period, yet somehow it worked. This lasted for 8 months. In fact, it pretty much went up until I did my first dissertation defense.

Then, as the temperatures climbed, I backed out of my new fun hobby. I hated myself for this, because "The Ukrainian" attended a couple of classes after that and decided it was no fun without me.


Yes, because we're partners in crime. And I hated having to switch partners all the time -- sweaty old men, old men who touched inappropriately, and men who were just sort of creepy. And then there was watching my "Ukrainian" dancing with other ladies -- some were old, but there were also a few young ones (unlike the men). It was not a sight for me to see, although he'd always "Save the Last Dance for Me."

I thought about picking it up again this year, given the cold weather we've been having. But lately, I've been cooking moreso than jonesing to do another 1.5 hours of cardio at 8 PM after having already run at 5:30 AM.

And, of course, I have another small responsibility...


He's super cute, isn't he? Although he is not *my* dog, per se (my dad bought him), I AM trying to spend as much time as I can with him in these early months in attempt to show him good habits. So pretty much, I feel like I haven't had much of a life and have cut down on my time out of the house since he got here. This sucks, especially since I KNEW it was not within my lifestyle to get a dog right now, but stuff happens, and I can only make the best of the situation.

But that just means, I don't see myself going back to salsa class anytime soon. I have thought about randomly dropping in on some days, but the lessons are progressive, and unless I catch the first few weeks each "quarter," I will be dreadfully behind.

I am starting to forget all the awesome combos we learned, which makes me sad. :(

I can wait 6 months, but then it will be 100+ degrees again. I can wait until next winter, when I will have hopefully graduated. Or I can wait until I've moved out of the house and have no obligations to be anywhere at anytime (an invisible strain)... which could very well be the day I get married???.... and of course, well before kids, because at that point, I will have to wait another 18+ years.

In the meantime, my salsa shoes are hanging around, waiting for me!

On another note, I updated my About Me page.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Balance 1226

You can read more about these shoes here, but here's my opinion about these running shoes.

As I have said on this blog before, I have not yet found the "perfect" running shoe. Each one has its own quirks, which tend to injure me at some point or another. In fact, the last pair I got were so bad that I had to return them in a month. Fortunately, the place I get them from has a 60-day return period, regardless of wear.

I was matched with these New Balance shoes and was excited to try out a new brand. At first, when I started running in these, I felt soreness in my foot arch the way it did in the previous pair. However, I soon realized that this was more of me not recovering than the shoe itself.

So I've given this shoe another few months, including a marathon, and am finding that these will work for me. They aren't as cushiony as I'd hope, but perhaps cushioning isn't that critical to me, as I've been running pretty well lately. Most importantly, they are NOT heavy, which is characteristic of shoes that I need (motion control/stability).

Would I get New Balance again? Maybe, though there are some other contenders I'd like to try out first. I'm a couple of months from getting the next pair.

NOTE: I have stopped counting the mileage on my shoes, if for no other reason than laziness. I have a rough idea of time vs. miles run, so I just know I need to change my shoes periodically (approximately 2x/year -- I run about 1000 mi/year at best... see bottom of blog for those stats).


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dave & Buster's

This is generally a place for games (e.g., skee ball, arcade games) and sports-watching, so you can imagine that reviewing a place like Dave & Buster's is definitely weird.

But, to the few people who would consider eating a full-on meal here, this is some of what they have to offer:

Above: Grilled chicken with greens, blue cheese, apples, raspberry vinaigrette, and candied pecans. I'm not a fan of blue cheese, so really I just liked the pecans.


Above: Philly cheese-steak eggrolls. I didn't try these, so I don't know what it tastes like, but an interesting concept nonetheless.


Above: Chicken tenders and fries with a chipotle sauce. Fries with dipping of most kinds are favored by me!


Above: A cone of sweet potato fries with ranch/honey mustard/ketchup. I found these fries too sweet and not crispy enough. But anything dipped in ranch... = :$

I don't eat this type of food all that often, so it's nice once in a while!


P.S. Happy birthday to my mom & the yorkie that owns my sister!

P.P.S. The cat and puppy are still doing well. BUT this photo is a month old. The puppy (who is probably not any part labrador, after all) is already nearly as tall as the cat... I need to get a new photo, because he's growing quick!

Monday, January 17, 2011

La Creperie

I've only been to Las Vegas three times (one instance blogged about HERE and another HERE), but I already have lots of special memories of that place. While I've had buffet, done the pool and lounge thing, I'm sort of a more mellow person who prefers to walk around, browse in stores, play penny slots, and watch TV in my hotel room. (Since I've never had cable TV, one of my weaknesses when I am away from home is that I tend to lose sleep over the hotel cable!)

Still, one of those great memories is discovering La Creperie, which is located inside the Paris Hotel on the strip.

"The Ukrainian" and I must have had about four of these $10 crepes during our first stay in Vegas.


Above: One of these (from memory) an anjou pear with caramel and walnut crepe. The other one was savory (marinana-type)... and look at all that creamy sauce!

And we made sure to pick up two more on our return trip:


Above: Deja vu??? I seriously think that this is the SAME combo as the top pic. Totally not intentional, since we don't really have *favorites*...

Although a bit pricey (though more filling for the buck considering where it is), these crepes are unmatched by any other that I've had. They come in sweet (e.g., peanut butter and nutella, anjou pear and caramel) and savory (e.g., marinara and cheese) and are NOT skimpy in size OR toppings. Seriously, even though my stomach reels at cream-based sauces and other forms of dairy, they are worth the horrid stomachache (though I've never gone that far).

In short, crepes are wonderful! I've even started making my own. Crepes will always be a special dish for us, and I think it was because "The Ukrainian" and I ate so many of them on our first trip away together.


Above: One of our first pictures together, 2008.

Above: The store front. Look at the crowd!

Above: The charming view as you wait in line for these crepes. And yes, it's a wait. And seating is a huge problem. You literally have to be "hawking" other tables and swoop down as soon as someone leaves. When staying at Paris, you can simply retreat to your room, but otherwise, this is a really annoying complication!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekly Workouts: 1/15 - 1/21

Thinking about LA Marathon and my past experiences with that race, I increasingly fixate on the following goals that I have for this race:

1. 4:30 or better (my PR is 4:19)
2. No injuries.
3. "The Ukrainian" getting 3:30 or better (he says he'll ideally hit 3:20, which is his PR) -- and yes, his goal has become my goal, because if he does not achieve it, I'll be hearing about it again

My training has been admittedly less than it should be, but I have come to realize that "less is [probably] more."

And frankly, I don't think I can handle any more than this. Last week, I fell victim to a mysterious case of extreme fatigue and lack of appetite toward the end of the week. Given that I HAVE been eating/sleeping better than usual and had no other symptoms, I figure I just ate something and got a bug of some sort. Combined with work/finding a job stress, begging people to participate in my dissertation research, vamping up for classes again (YUCK), and spending my downtime caring for a rambunctious puppy... I can't do-s no more.
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This Week's Workouts:

Saturday - 15 mi
Was way in over of my head... did it anyway.

Sunday - rest; stretching/"The Stick"

Monday - 30 min strength; 30 min Jacob's Ladder
Tired today... seems like I'm tired all the time lately no matter what I do/don't do/eat/supplement. =/

Tuesday - 8 mi (out of the 5 that were planned!)
Started slow but ended strong... it felt so "easy" that I kept running. That came out of nowhere!

Wednesday - 30 min strength; 30 min elliptical w/arms @10r ]

Thursday - 7 mi
Legs tired... bleh


Friday - none

Weekly Mileage: 30

Friday, January 14, 2011

Changed Tagline

Just dropping in really quick to say that I decided to change the tagline of my blog. It seems as though nobody cares about taglines, but I do!

"it causes painful cramps... and once it starts, you can't hold it in"

is just a little bit, er, graphic. This new one is a little more light-hearted.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vegan Bars

One area I haven't explored much is raw food. I did a review on a raw bar previously, but with all the "food in bar form" reviews that I do, I should dedicate some time trying these versions as well.

And where to go for those? Whole Foods, of course.

***Rant Alert -- in this paragraph!***
Here's a picture of the actions of some self-indulgent person who thought that parking laws do not apply to them. Yes, I know you're at Whole Foods, shopping just like the rest of us. No, having a nice car does not exclude you from the law. If there's no more parking on the street, go into the parking structure like everyone else and don't squeeze in those who DID find street parking (i.e., me!). Sorry, this kind of entitlement enrages me.

Anyway...

First up in this "bar brigade" is NOT raw (though I thought it was when I picked it up)... this NuGo Go Free carrot-cake flavored bar. I found this disappointing. The bar was not that dense/filling and had a syrupy flavor that was supposed to remind me of carrot cake. I know this bar is noble, but I would only eat it again because it has 160 calories and 9 grams of protein:

Next up... GoRaw. I really liked this seedy bar. It didn't fall apart, and the taste was addictive. I liked the mouth-feel of this bar with the little perfect seeds. It was so flavorful that I would not think it was raw...

These Raw Revolution bars are quite popular. They remind me much of Larabars. They are moist and sweet. For the price, I would rather eat Larabars, but these are good as well.

Finally, here is this Macrobar in Sesame Berry. I also liked this bar with all the little seeds. I think this is the second best of the lot on this page. I must like chewy bars! But anyway, Macrobar was the raw bar with the most choices available. I'd like to try the other flavors!

I think at some point this year, I will try doing a raw food thing for some period of time. It's hard enough doing "vegan," but raw vegan... hmmm. With foods like this, though, it shouldn't be THAT bad.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Green Gold - Vegan Pesto

You don't need to use dairy to make a good pesto.

Although I'm starting to tolerate my dairy better (I will probably blog about my new strategy soon... but it started from THIS post), I still try to avoid dairy that I think is "unnecessary." After all, I'm training for a couple of marathons in the first part of this year (this one being the first), and I definitely want to try to eat right to help avoid the injuries I struggled with through MOST of last year.

One "unnecessary" place I often find dairy is pesto. Pesto sneaks into pasta salads and sandwiches, and since I'm not as meticulous about the contents of my food as I should be, I often wind up "cheezed" (no pun intended; a phrase my brother-in-law likes to use).

I was watching TV one day and saw this recipe that was thankfully also published on this website.

Note that I subbed a few ingredients: chives for green onions and almonds for pumpkin seeds. The results were still great, though!


Above: Toasting the almonds for flavor... I used a Magic Bullet (mentioned in passing a few times here) for this, though "The Ukrainian" recently got a food processor. That means... more food experiments to come!!


Above: Everything after the blending. Green is obviously my favorite color (have you noticed?), so I think this is beautiful! I had to stop myself from licking off the blade and cup!


Above: I had about half a cup of this stuff to save for next time!


Above: I put it in "The Ukrainian"'s sandwich. This was inspired by a sandwich I had during the holidays. My sandwich was similar but didn't have the swiss cheese.


Above: And for good measure, I served the sandwich was some romaine in homemade Japanese-inspired dressing consisting of toasted seasame, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekly Workouts: 1/8 - 1/14

This marks the return of the "Weekly Workouts" series of posts that I was using to log my marathon training last year. Now that the Holiday Bootie-Buster Challenge (HBBC) is over, I decided to continue these posts if for no other reason than tracking mileage (you can see this at the BOTTOM/footer of this blog).

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I started off last marathon's cycle with a mindset of desperation. I was coming back from a bad race and wanted to do everything I could to make the next one better. I did not implement everything I said I would try long-term, as I will outline here:

- I totally didn't last with Pilates very long, and my yoga stint lasted maybe a few months. I will still do some of the moves or even the whole DVD once in a while, so I guess not all was lost.

- And then there was ChiRunning, which did not work for me except to bring more awareness to myself when I was running blatantly in poor form. I figured out that my own stride (with awareness) worked best for me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the other hand, I HAVE been doing things to help myself out this cycle:

- Healthier eating: Been mainly doing this since the new year. Basically, this entails me making SURE I get more veggies in my diet and eating fewer decadent desserts. Haven't been perfect, but working on it!

- More regular vitamin consumption. Currently taking: 1 iron, 2 glucosamine, 1 women's multi-vitamin. Yes, I just told the entire blog world about my personal vitamin consumption.

- Increased strength training, particularly of the arms, legs, abs. I have a separate post (or maybe more than one) coming at some point. Hopefully sooner than later. It will be a good one... promise!

- Wii Fit: Okay, so this hasn't apparently helped me any, but it's SUPPOSED to help me improve my balance. I am definitely going to do a write-up about this once I use it long enough to say something useful.

- Regular stretching/rolling. I have been ensuring that I stretch each day, especially those that involve me running. Thanks to Sister K, I got a mini "The Stick" for Christmas and am using it with increased frequency. I am also using the gym foam roller, as well as "The Ukrainian"'s.

Okay, enough of these details. You'll see enough of them week-by-week as I log my training for LA Marathon. Note that I am NOT following a training program this time around. I won't spend a lot of time entertaining the reason for this; basically, I didn't see the desired results with it last time, and it was not worth all the additional strain.

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This Week's Workouts:

Note: I am using Saturday as the beginning of the week this time since HBBC ended on a Friday.

Saturday - 10 mi @ 10:10 pace (recap here)

Sunday - rest; stretching/"The Stick"

Monday - 25 minutes of strength training; 20 minutes vigorous Jacob's Ladder; 1.5 mi run (.25 @5.8mph; 5 min @7.2mph, 2.5 min @7.4mph, 2.5 min @7.6 mph); 15 min Wii Fit, stretching/rolling

Tuesday - 5 mi (maybe a bit more) -- not planning on using my Garmin for any weekday runs
Stomach issues but ran it solidly (without stopping). Note for next time: have a more easily digested lunch.

Wednesday - 30 min strength training; 30 min Versa-climber/Jacob's Ladder
No running due to sore knee. Low-impact to the rescue!

Thursday - 6 mi - street route w/big hill toward the end
Getting through this run without stopped (besides lights) was a miracle. Was extremely fatigued last night all of a sudden in spite of eating/sleeping well. No other symptoms but body was definitely weak during this run (and especially afterward!!).

Friday - 30 min strength, 20 min upright bike

Weekly Mileage: 22.5

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns Off

DATE: Saturday, January 8, 2011
LOCATION: streets & park near home
RACE BEGAN: 06:50 am (approximately)
FINISH TIME: 01:41:41

The Boring Runner hosted a virtual 5k that I thought I'd take part in since I have not done any of these virtual races in a while.

I am currently training for LA Marathon on March 20. It will be my 8th marathon, but after my last race in November, I decided I needed to lay off the running for a little while. It was getting tiresome (beyond normal) and dreadful. But once the new year kicked into year, I ran 26 miles in the first week and felt a LOT better about running.

Part of this week's mileage went into this 5k, except that I added another, oh, 6.9 miles to that distance. I had a training run of 10 miles to get done (I had 8 scheduled for New Years' weekend but did not end up doing it), so I finally dusted off my Garmin, woke up early on a Saturday, drank half a cup of water, did the whole sunscreen thing, and braved the cold for this run. I am not sure how cold it was, but I could see my breath. I had my MP3 player (the Sony W Series one) on and didn't turn it on for the first while.

Nothing too eventful about this run. Left my house, ran to the regional park about 4 miles away, ran the 2-ish mile loop there, and ran home. On the way, there are steady inclines, varied terrain, and some traffic lights (I stopped my watch for these, unlike usual). I felt myself going slow, but for the first time in a LONG time, I didn't make any unnecessary stops during my run. All my injuries last year forced me to take walk breaks, but no more.

The last couple of miles were tough -- I mean, duh... I am outta shape apparently. But I felt good otherwise and pushed on toward home.

Final pace: 10:10/mi. Is that supposed to be OK for a long run? My "race pace" falls in between 8:40-9:00/mi for half-marathons. Oh well. I have about a month and a half to build up to the inevitable 20-miler... in the meantime, it's kind of refreshing to blog about an uneventful training run. :D

And as for my initial 5k time, I didn't record a 3.1 split, but here's miles 1-3: 10:16, 10:24, 10:12. That doesn't make for a very good time... but at least that means negative splits.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Vegan Convenience Meals

Well, it's a new year, and with that comes more crowded gyms and diet ads everywhere.

While I'm not a fan of this, I do hope that this means I get more coupons on things I like eating, like yogurt and vegan foods.

Convenience foods are nice when you're lazy/busy, even though they aren't nearly as good as full-on cooking. With my dairy issues, I have long gone without them until realizing that Whole Foods sells them significantly cheaper than other mainstream markets.

The first exhibit is this vegan mushroom soup. It is creamy and would probably be GREAT with potatoes and other veggies. I expect to use this as a casserole or soup base at some point. These retail for about $2.39 a box, which serves 2:

Amy's is a brand I've reviewed before, and here they are again:


Above: I didn't like this tamale pie at all. With only 150 calories, though, it is pretty filling and supplies protein. I just didn't think it tasted like tamale at all. Yes, I write my name on everything I store in my work freezer to prevent theft. Ya' gotta do what ya' gotta do. ;)


Above: I've had this before and thought it was the closest thing to those calorie-bomb meat versions of these. This thing has under 400 calories, perfect for a lunch. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be cooked in an oven, and here I went microwaving it. The shell obviously didn't like me too much for that.


Above: Finally, a brand I've never seen before. Anything that's pesto and vegan catches my attention. While this was creamy, it was too herby for my taste. It is just a bit over 300 calories and chock full of protein and priced reasonably (I think around $4).

Obviously, these things aren't cheap, but better than going out! Yes, I had a long busy period at work last year and accumulated these meals for your viewing pleasure. Many of these lunches were consumed after 2 PM. *blah*

In my case, I actually plan on avoiding these for a while and going for home-cooked or whole food instead. I definitely did not cook much toward the end of 2010 and hope to end that trend now.