First week of summer

This time of the year is always strange.  My brothers are still in school for another month, summer training hasn’t really picked up yet, and my internship doesn’t start until the end of the month.  Every year, I have trouble with the transition to summer mode because I’m the type that gets anxious if I have “nothing to do” on a given day.  I tend to feel guilty and unproductive even though the ability to relax is just as important for overall health as things like sleep and exercise!  So the beginning of this past week was hard, but I’ve been able to enjoy the leisure time more each day!

IMG_5845.jpg

Highlights of this week:

Miles run: 16
Minutes cross trained: 70
Number of times I went out to eat: ZERO! (I’m really proud of that- trying really hard to be more frugal.)*

*Okay, I did go to Starbucks twice, but only because I had a gift card!

The few miles that I did run felt good.  There was some bunion pain, but the rest of my body didn’t feel as lethargic as I’d thought it would!

One day, a friend and I went on a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  Another day, I went hiking with another friend.  I read a cliché summer book (The Vacationers) in one three-hour sitting.  We ate dinner outside as a family and tried fruitlessly to keep the mosquitos away with Citronella candles (didn’t work).  I spent hours and hours outside, soaking up the Vitamin D and beautiful weather.  One night brought a counterintuitively peaceful summer thunderstorm.

IMG_5872.jpg

I’m trying to cook even more (and be more creative in the kitchen), and my brother has been helping with the food photography because he has a nice camera 😉  This week, I made the pancakes mentioned in the last post…

Lentil stew stuffed sweet potatoes from The Cutting Veg

IMG_0008.jpg

Topped with yogurt and fresh basil (sounds weird, tastes incredible)

…and I also sauteed turnip greens for the first time, so as to not waste them.  Yum!

IMG_5793.jpg

Roasted turnips and sweet potatoes, fresh tomato, sauteed turnip greens, mushrooms, green onions, and garlic with chicken

I also made copycat Levain Bakery cookies!  I’ve never actually been to Levain Bakery, but these cookies turned out incredible.

Last but not least, I cooked my first live crabs yesterday.  I love crabs and hadn’t eaten them in years!  They were delicious.  What a cool experience.

IMG_5941

Now that I’m at home, I have access to a plethora of foods that were much more difficult to access at school.  We have the seasonal vegetables from our CSA.  Turnips, radishes, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce…all local and much fresher and more flavorful than anything you’d find at the grocery store!  Amazing farmer’s markets.  A semi-stocked pantry (although with two teenage boys and a college runner, nothing lasts long in this house).

This is allowing me to continue to develop my passion for cooking, for which I am so grateful!  It’s also been easier to avoid going out to eat and be more innovative and think of what I can make with the ingredients that we already have in the house.  Three cheers for saving money and eating cheaply, but healthily!

I’m itching to start training for real, but reminding myself to be patient!

Sweet Potato Waffle

A few weeks ago, I purchased a new waffle maker to take back to school (and for future apartments), mostly thanks to Christmas sales and gift cards.  A few days ago, delayed-onset post-workout hunger resulted in the inauguration of the waffle maker via sweet potatoes 🙂

IMG_4082.jpg

The workout was 3 mile warm-up, 3 x [9 minute progression (pick up the pace every 3 minutes), 5 minutes “off”], 2 mile cool down.  I was lucky enough to be able to work out with two teammates!

IMG_4079.jpg

After the coldest week of winter, the weather decided to be beautiful!  It was 40 degrees and partly cloudy.  We went to the canal, warmed up for 3 miles (verryyy fast) and did drills.  The first 9-minute segment started a little faster than I wanted to, and I’m not sure if I actually progressed or just maintained! Oops.  Overall, I was feeling pretty stiff and mentally not in it.

I struggled throughout the second segment because I wasn’t feeling too great physically and just got in my own head, but my lovely teammates helped me through it.  Once the last set was halfway over, I finally realized “I can do this!” and had a great last 5 minutes.  Better late than never, right?

The post-workout fatigue hit hours later, and after lunch, a dentist appointment, and a quick power nap, I woke up starving.  Scrolling through the #wafflewednesdays on Instagram for five seconds secured my decision– sweet potato waffle!!

IMG_4080.jpg

I completely eyeballed ingredient measurements, but here’s a rough estimate:

  • 3/4 cup baked sweet potato, mashed
  • 2 egg whites
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Mix everything together and pour into a preheated waffle maker.  Difficult, right? 😉

(Adding regular wheat flour probably would’ve helped it firm up a bit, but I didn’t want to.)

As you can see, I topped mine with plain nonfat Greek yogurt, Wild Friends sugar cookie peanut butter, and semisweet chocolate chips.  Delicious.  And a good mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats- a perfect, indulgent post-workout snack!

 

 

Holidays and Killer Core

Happy Monday!  My face has finally unfrozen all the way from the numbing and surgery, so here is a shameless selfie from the Christmas party we hosted last night:

img_3909

My internship starts for real on Wednesday, so today involved some paperwork and drug testing.  I woke up at 5:45 am, ran 4 miles on the treadmill at 7:45ish pace, and drove out to the office.  I don’t love the treadmill, but I’ll have to get used to it over these next few weeks…

After getting home around mid-morning, I made a delicious, but aesthetically displeasing lunch (sweet potato, rotisserie chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, boiled carrots, and unpictured apple and peanut butter), and found seasonal Wild Friends peanut butter at TJ Maxx!  I went there in search of a blazer and gray pants and came out with crew socks and seasonal peanut butter, but…it happens.

For my second run of the day, I ran 5 miles through city streets and my high school track.  I stopped a million times at stoplights and to talk to former teammates and coaches, but it was a good run, and I went pretty fast.  Afterwards, I did core!  My new favorite core routine takes about 12 minutes and really works 🙂

Killer Core

  • 1 minute straight arm plank on swiss ball
  • 1 minute of bird-dogs (switch sides halfway through)
  • 10-15 rolls on the ab wheel
  • 30 seconds of toe touches + 30 seconds of penguins
  • 1 minute side plank each side, with movements or weights

Repeat x 2

The first time I did this routine, after getting stuck in a rut with the same 10-minute routine, I was sore for four days!  It even hurt to do things like close a window 😉

As I mentioned previously, we hosted our first holiday party in the new house last night!  But first I ran ten miles.  My friend from high school joined me for five of them, and I did five more on my own.  The party was fun and filled with good food- chili, cornbread, ham, apple cider, cranberry chevre, camembert, gingerbread, sugar, and chocolate chip cookies, etc.  However, one long run + four hours of intensive socializing (and having the same conversation about college with 30 different adults) caused me to crash real hard around 8 pm, so I took a quick power nap/rest before bouncing back!

I’m going to savor my last day before the work grind truly starts by spending tomorrow at the gym and with friends.  Then, it’s time to enter the land of meal prep, 5 am (and 6 pm) treadmill runs, and trying to dress like a real adult 😉

Outdoor season opener: 3k PR (10:22.00)

Yesterday was my first collegiate outdoor meet!  It was a home invitational, which was super convenient because my dorm is a 5-minute walk from the track and our locker room was literally 20 seconds away.  Everything was right where we needed it to be!

The night before the race, I fueled up with grilled chicken, whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, a giant salad, and pineapple-glazed carrots.

My race day breakfast of choice was oatmeal with almond butter/cinnamon/chia seeds/raspberries/bananas, plain Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, and a multivitamin.

 

I ran the 3k along with like 15 other teammates.  The race was at 2:50, so I did my shakeout run at 7:30, ate breakfast (and drank too much Wawa coffee…) at 8:30, lunch at 11:30, watched my friends race the 1500 at 11:45, and headed over to the track for good around 1:15.

We warmed up for 20 minutes and did drills and strides on the infield.  A lot of people scratched, so they combined the 2 heats into one.  We lined up on the starting line, the gun went off, and we were off!

I didn’t feel great from the beginning, but I didn’t feel horrible either.  Honestly, I think it took me awhile to get mentally into the race because on lap 3 I could’ve sworn we were on lap 4, and I was not happy when I realized we still had over a mile to go.

IMG_0828.PNG

There wasn’t a clock so I have no idea what any of my splits were.  (Actually, I know my second lap was an 80.  That’s it.)  Oh, well.  Three of my teammates and I worked together for about a mile, and then with 600 to go we really started kicking it in.  I entered the last lap a little ahead of one of my teammates who has a great kick and we battled it out for 300 meters… she ended up outkicking me, but I was happy that I stayed with her and had a pretty strong kick!

IMG_0825.PNG

My finishing time was 10:22.00, which was a PR by over ten seconds!  I’m so excited.  That’s 25 seconds down since December and 10 seconds faster than last month.  It converts to roughly 11:04 for 3200, which is over 15 seconds faster than what I ran in high school!IMG_0827.PNG

After the race, we did a workout and a leg lift before stretching, rolling, and ice bathing.  Afterwards, I went out to dinner with my mom and grandma, who had come down to watch me race!

Amazing post-race dinner: steak with Merlot butter, sweet potato fries, and grilled zucchini.IMG_0829.JPG

Followed by the most decadent flourless chocolate cake I’ve ever had.  Paired with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and cream, this cake was literally a truffle in cake form. IMG_0831.JPG

After not getting very much sleep last night, I woke up this morning, ate a bagel and a clementine, and ran 9 miles to shake out my legs from the race.

My mileage this week was about 49 miles, one mile short of 50 but still the highest mileage I’ve ever run in my life!  And I feel great!!

My mom brought down leftover corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes from their Saint Patrick’s Day dinner, so I devoured all of it after my MR+ today.

IMG_8896.jpg

Not the prettiest but SO GOOD (I had two plates…)

The past day after the race has been filled with extremely good food and a distinct lack of sleep, but it’s completely fine to indulge for a day after a race.  Once this weekend ends, it’s back to the grind of healthy food, sleep, midterms, etc. #balance

I’m so excited for the rest of the outdoor season.  I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, and all the hard work we’ve been doing day in and day out is paying off.  Hopefully, injury and illness don’t butt in.  While bad races await me just as good races do, I’ll take it all as long as it pays off in the long run.  All I want to do is contribute to my team.

How do we handle bad days?

Damn, my last post was so optimistic and positive!  Sorry in advance for the negativity today, but I hope I can come to some good conclusions.

On Monday, I ran six miles with my friend, and we hammered.  We were hitting 7:00 flat.  I was not recovering from my long run.  I skipped the strides just because they didn’t fit in to where I had run, and I did upper body circuits and abs when I got home.  I’ve recently been really into Siggi’s yogurt, and I tried the orange and ginger flavor for post-run fuel.  It was incredible.IMG_8687.JPG

Yesterday started out mediocre and turned horrible, both running and otherwise.  After some emotionally traumatizing family issues last night, I went to bed emotionally and physically exhausted, slept badly and wasn’t particularly in the mood to work out.  The temperature rocketed up to a sunny 80 degrees (what happened to last Friday’s ice storm??), I sat in the car for two hours while taking my mom to the airport, and I was annoyed at having to bear more responsibility for my brothers and the house this week.  Not an ideal way to get ready for a workout.

The workout was simple: 4 x 1600m at 6:00-6:10 with 1 minute recovery.  I warmed up for 20 minutes, did drills and strides, and started the workout.  My first 1600 was a 6:06 and felt fine, although once I stopped, my heart was pounding really hard.  I took 90 seconds and started the second 1600.  This one was immediately bad; my legs wouldn’t move, I was nauseous due to the heat and got even more upset because of that, and it escalated.  I think I hit like a 6:35 or 6:40.

I called my coach, and she told me to get off the track and do a fartlek of 4-3-2-2-1-1 minutes with half-time recovery.  I ran 5 minutes to the bike path and did the fartlek, but I could tell early on that the heat was really getting to me.  (Remember how much trouble I had once it started getting warmer last year?)  After barely completing the second 2-minute interval, I cut off the 1 minute intervals and jogged back to the track.  Guzzled water and jogged a 1.5 mile cool down for a total of 9ish miles today.

IMG_8698

I only had time for 5 minutes of lunges and squats and no stretching before I had to get in the car and go pick up my brother.  I wolfed down a cookies and cream Quest bar, hopped on the highway, and sat in front of his school for 20 minutes with no one answering their phones before I learned that he was at home the whole time!  So I was sedentary for 50 minutes right after a horrible workout for no reason.  My mood worsened.  I sped out of the middle school and stretched and took an ice bath the second I got home.

Anyway, yesterday was definitely not the best day.  But it’s important to stay positive.  I’ve already recognized the factors contributing to the shitty day: heat, hammering my maintenance run yesterday, sitting in the car, emotional trouble, etc.  But hey, at least I got some work in!  Even if it wasn’t quality work.  And I’ve been doing really well with balancing mostly quality foods with rare indulgences recently, and I’ll continue to drink lots of water, and try to get some sleep and recover well so that the next workout is better.

IMG_8693.JPG

We can’t control everything, and sometimes things just don’t go our way.  But we can make sure to do well at the things we can control: fueling properly, going to bed at a reasonable time, staying off of social media (I need to work on this!), and working through our emotions (I need to work on this, too!)  I’m a little bitter that this spring break isn’t going to be as “spring break”-y because I’m essentially stuck babysitting my brothers all week, but I need to get over that and focus on everything I’m lucky to have.

Last night’s dinner of leftover butternut squash/kale/Gruyere casserole, roasted pork, roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon and coconut oil, and (unpictured) mini heirloom tomatoes cheered me up slightly 🙂

Sunday Long Run + Food

Over two days of running, I’ve run 22 miles.

Ouch.  I’m feeling a 9 pm bedtime…

IMG_8119

Anyway, a recap of this past week of training:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body strength
Tuesday: 20 minutes warm-up, 6 x 800m with 80-90s rest (2:53, 2:51, 2:52, 2:52, 2:54, 2:51), 20 minutes cool down, abs, ice bath
Wednesday: 60 minutes stationary bike, abs
Thursday: 6 miles with my friend Noah, drills, strides, upper body, balance/glutes circuit
Friday: AM: 20 min warm-up, drills, strides, fartlek (10-2-8-2-5), 20 minutes cool down.  PM: 2 miles on treadmill, 10 minute ab drill.  Total: 11 miles.
Saturday: off
Sunday: 11 miles, ice bath

Total: 42 miles, 60 min XT

IMG_8100

Mileage went up from last week (37) and will continue to go up next week (45).  My legs are definitely feeling the increase in both mileage and intensity!

On Thursday, I ran with my friend from high school who’s training for a marathon.  Although it was just a maintenance run, he and I both pushed the pace because I guess we didn’t want the other person to think we were slow 😉  Anyway, it was faster than it probably should’ve been, especially on a hilly route.

I couldn’t find a running buddy for today’s long run, so I psyched myself up, plugged in the headphones, and headed to the C&O canal.

IMG_8125

I don’t think I’ve ever run more than 8.5 miles on the canal, so by the time I got to 42 minutes and it was time to turn around, I was in completely unfamiliar territory and there was no one else around.  Creepy!  The one water fountain on the way back wasn’t on, so dehydration hit during the last two miles, which was fun.  No idea what my pace was since I couldn’t find my GPS watch, so I did 84 minutes, which should be somewhere around 11 miles.

I will force myself to crawl tomorrow’s maintenance run.  Besides cool downs, I don’t think I’ve hit even 8 minute pace in far too long.

Outside of training, this past week was pretty fun.  On Thursday, my three best friends from high school and I went for a leisurely hike and walked and talked for a long time.

IMG_8098

It was overcast and windy and all the trees were bare, but it was still pretty.

IMG_8103

Last night, I took my brothers to see Mockingjay: Part II because I am a big Hunger Games fan even though Mockingjay was by far the worst book of the trilogy.  Afterwards, I got to see a bunch of other people from high school!

This week was the week of the sweet potato.  More specifically, sweet potato roasted in coconut oil and topped with cinnamon.  Incredible. 

IMG_8083

I also made a stir fry (chicken, broccoli, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce, and Soyaki sauce) with quinoa and brown rice.  And ate two huge bowls of it.

IMG_8115

Vanilla ice cream and frozen berries ❤IMG_8104

I actually feel pretty good about my nutrition over the past week.  While I did eat exorbitant quantities as usual 😉 , I was able to avoid the post-dinner boredom binge sessions that had become a regular part of my day.  It’s all about balance.

Turkey avocado tartine from Le Pain Quotidien

Turkey avocado tartine from Le Pain Quotidien

Today’s food:

  • Breakfast, pre-long run: Oatmeal with vanilla espresso almond butter, cinnamon, apples, frozen raspberries, and chia seeds
  • Post-long run eating session (lunch on steroids): 1.5 cups blueberry Chobani with chia seeds; clementines; toast with peanut butter and banana; big bowl of leftover stir fry with brown rice; Pink Lady apple with peanut butter; milk chocolate (which I don’t like nearly as much as dark chocolate, but…oh well!)
  • Snack: a clementine and toast with vanilla espresso almond butter and banana
  • Dinner: roasted sweet potato; omelet (1 egg, 2 egg whites) with spinach and goat cheese
  • Dessert: a clementine and chocolate banana “ice cream”

IMG_8129

We didn’t have any ice cream or chocolate at home!  So I blended 1.5 frozen bananas, a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, some vanilla, and milk to create chocolate banana ice cream.  It was actually pretty good!  It was more the consistency of frozen yogurt or a really thick milkshake.  But it’s healthy and I’d make it again!

Now for as many hours of sleep as I can get (thank you body clock for not letting me sleep past 7:30) and back to the dog sitting and running grind.  One week until I go back to school!