Back to Running business

As my holiday came to an end I wasted no time in getting back to (running) business.

Tuesday 10.5 miles broken up with 6 for lunch and 4.5 after my slow stretch and strength class.

Today was the same 6 during lunch that felt difficult and draining with the humidity on full blast in the gym. B I went in the late afternoon after everyone worked out so the sweat of all others was fully in the air!

I’m excited for the half marathon in Providence at the end of August and wish it was sooner as I get a little depressed without racing. B I would race Tony but he just gives me a dirty look and says no.

Since I have nothing introspective to write, I’ll entertain you with pictures of what I ate (last) Wednesday since this Wednesday its less picturesque.

Arugula, shrimp and weird coleslaw from the cafe!

My favorite “cooking” creation as of late – quinoaB . rainbow of chopped peppers, sprouted tofu with sesame oil and lots of red pepper

Mango and spinach coconut milk protein shake; try not to like it, I dare you!

And yes I have to confess, Georgetown cupcakes is as amazing as everyone says it is. I’m not a cupcake type of gal (cookies are my true love) but this pumpkin baby held my heart for the hour. B It just opened up on Newbury so feel free to check it out!

Celebrating my 2 year anniversary with Tony at Salts

July 4th is a special day… not only is it America’s birthday but it’s also Tony and my anniversary and we all know what’s more important!

This year Tony took me out to Salts, aB French influenced contemporary AmericanB restaurant. B Their own organic farm is located in Canterbury, New Hampshire and I’ve been salivating over photos of their food since I read about it a few weeks ago in a foodie mag.

We started with the highlight of the meal!

Just kidding! B While we waited for our app, the waitress brought over this soup that was a mix of roasted peppers and mushrooms! B So good. B The plate is so big and crazy though.

Next came our appetizer!

Bergamot Cured Ocean Trout that theyB splitB between two plate so Tony and I didn’t have to fork it out on who can eat faster so we could eat more.

All for the main course?

All mine! B Just kidding, this was the roasted duck for TWO… or just me on a long run day. Luckily for Tony I only ran a 3 miles that day. B It was perfect, crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside! B I ate the apple herb stuffing and turnips in seconds and then I progressed to the beast.

They carved the duck for us and this is what the plate looked like for each of us. B We almost cleaned it and I thought we did a great job on the duck… that is until I turned around and saw there was still more than half of it left. B We did call it quits and took it to go. B A perfect dinner for later in the weekend.

Tony is hard at work there.

We were too full for dessert but the waitress brought these over with our check and how could we say no to free cookies

Yup, I guess we weren’t as full as I thought we were.

Quality price I pay for alwaysB forgettingB my camera but I guess memories are memories even in all blurry forms.

One of my favorite dinners with my favorite guy!

Being not cool… What I ate Friday…

So I didn’t get theB covetedB Reebok invitation for a fitblog conference in their Boston headquarters.

I guess writing about your undying love for salsa isn’t exactly fit or blog worthy. B So before I take my sorrow out into a bag of Tosititos and a jar of Chichis, I had my own conference to go to. B A tax conference!

I won’t get into the specifications of the exciting world of state nexus, and income repatriation but, I’ll share the eats.

The conference was hosted at the Sheraton in Needham, MA. B Aside from being in the middle of nowhere west of Boston, it was a nice hotel.

Breakfast was fruit, cereals, pastries, and these awesome egg whites with cheese and spinach whole-wheat wraps.

Lunch was a salad, some white fish, and I don’t know what the stuffing in the chicken is but I want more. B Please?

They gave us too many options for dessert so of course I had to test taste them all

B

It was an all day conference so I had to stay focused somehow

I know you’re jealous, don’t lie.

Upon reviewing my food options, I guess I can see why I’m not invited to health conferences. B No worries, I got a half marathon tomorrow! B It’s all about the carbo loading.. Sugar is carbs, I’m good.

What was also cool was that one of the presenters managed to use this picture in a slide… and they say tax accountants have no sense of humor.

And the best part, the swag!!!

You always need the duckie! B As for the golf ball… that will have fitness use. B I intend to massage my pain in the butt sciatic nerve with it.

Hope you all had a great Friday!

The “R” in rain is for rest…

I must confess, I plan my rest days around the weather.B I take a look at my dinky Iphone weather app and on the day the sun icon is the biggest, I schedule my long run.B Real science at work there.B Although with my work schedule, I only have two options: Saturday or Sunday.B Regards, its cold and rainy this morning and after 5 days of running it was time for a break.

Friday was the first sign of a rest required.B 6 Miles – 2incline – 52:30 – 6.9MPH.B

Too slow for a speed workout so I’ll write it off as an easy run even if it felt less than easy.B After my run, I came home and enjoyed someB Spaghetti Squash and some frosty adult beverages.

Also, is anyone else addicted to Temple Run?B It’s a silly Iphone game where you run and collect coins.B Pretty simple but addictive. Anyways I finally broke a million!B If you’re in the 5 million and up club, don’t laugh at me!

On Saturday I decided a rest day makes a great day for volunteering. Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Aside from hanging out with some awesome people while peeling potatoes I get to enjoy an awesome free lunch!

Roasted veggies, spicy taco meat, rice, black beans and a crispy quesadilla!B This is totally worth peeling some potatoes for!B But the real part I came for was the dessert!

Chocolate cake, Ice cream and a toffee bar.B It was a triple birthday party at CS so triple dessert.B I love my birthday but other people’s birthdays are pretty awesome too.B Especially when I get cake!

After some volunteering I put my apron and hair-net away and went to Trader Joe’s to load up on wine for my fundraising party I’m throwing next week.B You think this is a single serving?

And because I haven’t posted a cat picture in a while here’s Agent Meower ready for his bath:

Rest day for the cat

Jack Meower like me is also taking a rest day and is enjoying the comfort of sleeping on my butt behind my legs.

Did you get snow or rain this weekend?B Where are you?

We had 3 small snow storms before Friday and then rain today.B I’m in Boston =)

What did you do with your Saturday?

After volunteering I am now catching up on episodes of Fringe and my book “Girl who played with fire”

What are you favorite rainy day activities?

Mine include ice cream, books and tea!

What about Sunday?B Anything fun?

Hopefully my last longest run before DC.B I’m targeting 26.2 miles

Marathon Training Body Changes

I’ll start with some happy news. B Yesterday after work I ran 15 miles on a treadmill. B Total time 135 minutes 2 incline.

First 10 miles were run in 88 minutes while the other 5 in 47 minutes. B Also for the first time since I started doing greater than 7 miles on a treadmill runs, I didn’t feel like poop afterwards. B I was hungry yes, but my knees were happy, my stomach was okay enough, and my energy was not wiped out. B Practice may not always make things perfect, but it definitely makes them better! B I went from dying/wanting to throw up after a 14 mile TM run to actually feeling great in the span of 1,5 months!

Now was the less happy news. B I had a bit of a rude awakening this morning. B I did my Inbody analysis. B And lets just say that results since marathon training were not the ideal health type. B No I didn’t gain weight, but I lost muscle which was replaced by fat. B So no weight gain or loss; yay! B Switching muscle for fat; boo!

So first what is Inbody?B B The InBody uses bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) [try saying that aloud 5 times!] to analyze your body composition. B BIA is a technique that measures body impedance by sending an electrical current through the body. B B How futuristic! Its quick and you feel nothing at all as the current only passes through the water fluids inside the body, and based on the impedance values collected, the body water volume is calculated. B Since water fluids are usually inside muscle tissues, by using the water volume, the fat-free mass can be calculated. B Body fat calipers measure skinfolds to calculate how muchB subcutaneous fat(fat under the skin) a person has. B According to research itbs highly accurate and not subject to human error (me pinching in different places). B However, water fluctuates and to avoid that its recommended to not eat or drink 2 hours before your test.

Now in summary this shows I’m a healthy, average person who could use a few or many core workouts. B My trunk muscles are non-existent. B This can lead to back problems,B bad posture and all sorts unpleasant stuff from working at a desk job all day. B That was already known to me. B Also, between the 6 weeks I did not gain any weight which is awesome being that its winter and all. B I didn’t lose any weight, which is fine since that was not my intention with running. B However, my overall fitness level went down.

I lost two pounds of muscle and traded it in for two pounds of fat. B Clearly with my desire to be healthy and fit, this is not the direction I want to go in. B So I needed to evaluate my recent habits and see what’s going on.

Biggest change in my life for the past 3 months? B I’m training for my FIRST marathon. B Its super exciting and I’m learning everything the stupid way because I’m just that brilliant.

Here are a few reasons for my body change (even if it’s a 2% change)

bChange in eating habitsb

Ibd like to say marathon training has made me a healthier eater, but it has not.B While before I used to eat a small light meal at lunch (salad or a small deli sandwich from home), I find myself needing bigger meals to get through post work training runs.B My cooking time has also drastically decreased.B I am no longer cooking balanced meals, but instead picking the option of eating out.B When I get home at 9PM post run, I want food NOW, not an hour later once Ibm down slicing, dicing and baking.B Tortilla chips and pop chips seem like great options as I savage through my kitchen.B While those make a great in between meal snack, I shouldnbt be adding them in addition to my regular dinner.B Also due to time, I have created a more vegan diet.B I am skipping lean meats like chicken and replacing it with a more fatty protein like peanut butter and other nuts.B Why?B Those are much easier to pop in my mouth as I am always in a rush.B However, while I am keeping up with my protein intake, Ibm sure my fat content in my diet is increasing drastically at a higher rate.

Solution: I need to keep an eye on my healthy fats intake.B I need to cut back on peanut butter.B Ibve been really going to town on that jar and eating it in place of a more balanced snack such as an apple or yogurt.B Ibm also going to make an attempt to increase my lean meat consumption instead of just relying on nuts to get my protein content.B I donbt feel like I need to cut calories, but I definitely need to change the content of them.

B bAre you resting more than usual?b
I read this somewhere and I think it applies to me.B I am no longer running in addition to my normal activity.B Instead itbs become in place of my long walks or biking or hikes I used to do.B No more Jillian Michaels workouts.B My mind has taken the mentality of bwow I ran far…I can relax the rest of the dayb. Before marathon training a typical Saturday was a few hours of hiking followed by grocery shopping, laundry, pretending to clean and then out with friends. I was moving constantly. Now a Saturday involves two to three hours of running followed by vegging on the couch most of the day and a bag of tortillas for bcarbo-loadingb.

Solution: Donbt let running take over my life.B Even though itbs winter, itbs coming to an end and definitely make a better effort of staying social.B Try to go hiking when the weather is good.B Clean the dust of my bike.B Donbt direct all my energy to just running.B I know this will get easier once I feel like I have the base for running 26.2 miles and am not paranoid that I do not have enough training.B Also cut back on bcarbo-loading.bB If I eat healthy, Ibll have enough, therebs no need to find an excuse to stuff chips in my mouth for every meal.

bCalories Rewardsb
As my running mileage starts doubling for the week; it has become very easy to say bwhy yes I deserve a 3pm cookie!B 10am cookie, this is just breakfast part 2, I bpomiseb;b Puppy dog big eyes.

Solution: I really have no need to eat half a bag of M&Ms with my tea before lunch time.B Save my sweet tooth for 3PM.B Cut giant cookie in half or have a few M&Ms.B I donbt really need both items.B Better yet, but a cool kid and half an oz of dark chocolate.B I hear it has some pretty nifty health benefits.B Also just because I have free baked dessert at work available daily does not mean I need to take advantage of it daily.B Grab an apple instead!B If Ibm not hungry enough to eat the fruit, then Ibm definitely not hungry enough to eat the cookie.B

bBuilding glycogen storesb

Another reason for my loss of muscle and gain of fat could be my glycogen stores.B Everyone and their great-aunt know about the importance of glycogen storage for distance.B Your body automatically stores water with the glycogen and that might lead to weight gain and a reading of less muscle mass.

Solution: None needed, itbs okay I should be happy with this as my races are coming up.

bRebound Hungerb

As common with others, (I am not a unique snowflake) I am not feeling very hungry post long run but am famished the next day.B Problem is when my hunger is out of whack, I make silly eating decisions.B bWhy yes, peanut butter brownies make an excellent breakfastb vs. a normal oatmeal serving like a normal child.B Repeat this for a couple of days a week and bam fat/weight goes up within a few weeks of training.

Solution: Seriously, as stated earlier in this rambling, I do not constantly need to be shoveling chips, almonds and M&Ms into my mouth.B Take the time to eat an actual meal so I donbt find myself famished when my metabolism catches up to me.

“Lacking of Strength Training”

Also, I need to make more time for strength training. As my running mileage increases, I still have the same limited amount of free hours in a day. B This leads me to cut out my strength workouts I used to do.

Solution:B Take the time to cross strength. B Skip a run and do a Jillian Michaels workout instead. B Do 5 minutes of planking a day. B Wake up, Plank up, shower and head out. B It’s not too complicated, I just need to stop finding excuses.

Basically the conclusion is, although its great that my endurance is growing, I need to stop using my running/training as an excuse to eat crap (chips, how did this habit start) and avoid weight/strength training (I really hate weights and non cardio workouts).

Have you ever one of these body composition analysis?

Have you ever noticed changes in your body as you were training for something? B What were you training for and what changes did you notice?

How long would it take for my skin to turn yellow/orange?

Yes, I ended up with a single lunch time run session:

5.6 Miles – 3 Incline – 49.44 – 6.8 average pace

Not bad. B I wanted to do an 11-miler for my “longish” run but I got caught up at work for an extra 90 minutes and by then the slush/snow storm made me too lazy to stick around the office until 10pm (even if it is to use the gym). B I told myself there’s always tomorrow and that’s my plan for today. B 5:30Pm 14 mile run single session. Me and evil treadmill have a date.

So yesterday instead of run part 2, I went home and decided to make theB SpaghettiB Squash that was slowly but surely going to die in my kitchen if it wasn’t cooked soon.

Spaghetti squash gets its name from the fact that when it is cooked, the inside flesh pulls out of the shell in long strands, resembling spaghetti pasta. B When I first tried it, I was a bit in shock when it didn’t taste exactly like pasta.

So Let’s talk about why aside from the taste (even if its not like pasta), why it’s so great

  • A 1-cup serving offers 5.4 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 10 percent of the recommended USDA daily intake
  • Other vitamins include A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K.
  • The dominant mineral is manganese, with 0.2 mg, which is 8 percent of the RDI. Manganese aids in the production of healthy bones, tissues and sex hormones. It also plays a part in metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, absorption of calcium and the functioning of the nervous system.
  • Other minerals found in smaller amounts in spaghetti squash include potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium.
  • It contains 2.2 g, or 9 percent of the RDI of Fiber. B Your body will use this fiber much better then the kind found added to FiberOne bars.
  • B It also contains omega-3 essential fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. While the former is good for preventing heart disease, cancer and inflammation caused by arthritis, the latter promotes brain function.
  • There’s only 42 calories and 10 carbs in one cup!
Here’s a summary chart people who see too many words on a screen and tend to have their eyelids glaze over:
Nutrient Value
Vitamin A 170 IU
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3 1.3 mg
Vitamin B5 0.6 mg
Vitamin B6 0.2 mg
Vitamin C 5.4 mg
Vitamin E 0.3 mg
Vitamin K 1.2 mcg
Folate 12.4 mcg
Potassium 180 mg
Choline 11.6 mg
Calcium 32.6 mg
Sodium 28 mg
Phosphorus 21.7 mg
Magnesium 17 mg
Iron 0.5 mg
Zinc 0.3 mg
Manganese 0.2 mg

So how did I prepare this massive lump of goodness?

I washed it, I almost killed myself,B I cut it in half, took out the guts, seeds and all that icky stuff. B I Pam-ed it (I might get cancer but its moreB convenientB then olive oil), went to town with the garlic salt, lemon pepper, and maybe a littleB too much cayenne pepper.

Upside down and in the oven it went. B 400F degrees for 45 minutes or so until the skin felt bendable.

Once out of the oven, the fun part begins, grab a spoon, grab a fork, grab your hands and scrap/scoop out the insides. B Keep scooping I promise there is plenty left!

My one squash yielded me two giant snapware containers worth!

Look at what a mighty fine job I did! B The left side tried to misbehave so I showed him whose boss.

Now how do you serve this? B Normal people add something fancy like sliced up small veggies and marinara sauce.B Not I. B I was in a hurry and only had 10 minutes this morning. B So:

B Top half with spaghetti squash, other half with baby spinach (my addiction) and four Trader Joes fully Cooked meatballs and you’re ready to go.

That’s me running out the door!

Remember these from The other day. B They made a comeback in my squash. B I’m on a add hot sauce to everything kick.

Pop into the microwave for 2 minutes and now I’m off to work some more and eat my lunch!

Have you ever madeB spaghettiB squash? B What recipe did you use?

Did you sign up for any races yesterday during Rock & Roll’s Leap Day Sale?

I signed up for the Montreal Marathon inB September. B Now I need to figure out who I can convince to come with me. B Any takers?

The perfect muffin

I had quite the great start to my day today. B After my usual giant breakfast of half a bagel, 3 egg-whites and a pound of cream cheese I decided to go to the cafe once again before the clock even hit 10AM. B Healthy start I know, I grabbed one of our cafe’s “low fat” blueberry muffins. B I say low fat in quotes because our low fat soft serve frozen yogurt has 160 calories per serving so there’s lies in the labeling. B Anyways I digress on my rants of low fat labels that still mean high calorie. While I went to town on the muffin. B Hold and behold I had the perfect muffin.

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The inside of it was all blueberries! B I think that counts as a healthy dose of anti oxidants.

My lunch time workout went great. B IB squeezedB out a 6 mile run at a 7MPH on 2incline. B I alternated between 7.5MPH with 7.3MPH to 7.0 MPH with 6.8MPH with a few 4MPH walk catch of breath when I felt really winded.

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I’m part of runners world daily quotes and early this week they have the common quote of:

“If running is important to you, then your mind-set shifts from Can I find time for it? to When can I find time for it? You think in terms not of Will I run today? but When will I run today?B (Scott Douglas)”

Which as i become more addicted to this running world, I’m finding out that my grand debate in my head is not will I run, but when can I find an hour to make time for one? B Will I have time at noon? B Do I need to go after work? B Maybe at 3pm I can carve out that hour if I have work meetings during my lunch time? B Will it be indoors or outside? B But I never question will I be running this week anymore as I used to a few years ago. B I guessB that’sB just part of the addiction.

A couple of other interesting reads I got from my running emails lately are:

Alternative carb sources keep you fueled on runsB – From runners world, if you’re like me and just can’t stomach Gu. B My favorite suggestion was using gumdrops instead of energy chews as they have 4grams of crabs per drop vs. 5grams of crabs in energy chews.

Commuter Workouts!B – Which is linked with this article How sitting killsB – I love the the scary but true charts they have showing the facts. B “Sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3. B Even if you exercise.” One option for office workers they suggest is to always take the stairs. B We all know that. B While I am not about to go up 39 flights of stairs and break my knees, I do try to take every staircase when I useB train stationsB for my daily commute. B I am also trying to take the article’s suggestion on sitting at a 135 degree angle as I do sit at least 8 hours a day (and that’s on a low key slow day.)

New Geico CommercialB – A co-worker showed me this hilarious new Geico commercial which pretty much defines half my eating lifestyle…. I know, I know, B EewwB seriously…B that’sB so gross…

Do you have a long weekend? B Any good plans?

I do have the awesome Monday off! B Mine are to eat, run and nap. B Maybe try to plan a few vacations for 2012. B Tony and I are going out to dinner tonight for a date and on Saturday we have a couple double date. B So yup lots of eating, some kitten cuddling andB definitelyB a 20-miler for my marathon training.

Do you say soft serve or creamies?

I say soft serve, while myB VermontB friends same creamies and I just think it sounds dirty. B Spell-checkB agrees because it gave me a red squiggly over the word “creamies.”

How do you try to make yourself less sedentaryB in an office environment? B

I take the stairs when I can for my train commute. B Everyone once in a while I try to stand vs. sitting on my train but usually get lazy and sit down once a seat opens up. B I try to walk if I need to be somewhere less than a mile away. B I’m lucky for living in such aB walkableB city.