Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend in Pictures: Snowy October

I've never had to break out the boots and down coat this
early before. I also couldn't believe how much snow we
actually got.
The poor little tree in front of our apartment hasn't even
shed its leaves yet.
hehehe, I got to park my car inside so I didn't have
to come out and shovel snow off of it.
I think we must have got at least 8"-12" of snow, but
I didn't feel like tromping upstairs in my boots
to get a ruler.
Slick! Icy! Dangerous! My boots need better tread.
It wasn't just the little tree in front of our apartment that
hadn't had the chance to shed its leaves. Many, many
of the larger trees around town still had theirs as well.
This scene is much more typical of December, not
If you look closely, there's a downed tree on the sidewalk.
I went for a run later this day and there were so many trees
snapped and downed taking out the power lines with them.
I think there might actually be more tree damage from the snow
than we had from the hurricane this year.
Who's betting we're having a White Christmas this year?
I'm not actually dreaming of one though.
The snow is pretty though. 
I'd wanted to wander around and take some photos of
the leaves turning this year. I just didn't anticipate they'd
still be on the tree with snow on them.
Well, I guess if we just wait a minute the mercurial
New England weather will change on us. It is
supposed to be 60&degF on Thursday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter training comes early this year, it seems!

Eric and I apparently hadn't been checking the weather enough, because we missed the fact that there was a Nor'Easter headed our way this weekend. We decided to sideline our trip to see the fishies this weekend, which is probably a good idea. The Living Social coupon I have doesn't expire until January anyhow, so we've got time on our side.
Source: Weather Channel
in October you say? Before Halloween? Greeeat...
P.S. Weather people stop creating words like "snowtober."
They sound stupid.
This early snow has me thinking pretty hard about my winter training season. Last year, I was filled with trepidation as winter approached. I was afraid that the cold, the snow and the ice would force my to sideline my fitness routine. I was afraid that I would grow weary of boring treadmill workouts and lapse back into my old couch potato ways. I shouldn't have been that worried because I escaped the winter season unscathed and actually emerged to PR in my first 5K of the season. Since then I've come up with a few basic winter training philosophies of my own to follow this year:
  • Each week is planned out in advance on Sunday, but there is no strict training plan to adhere too.
  • It's okay to scale back the number of  just runs each week from 4 to 3, in favor of cross training activities.
  • One run a week should be completed outdoors, and it's okay to all the other workouts on the treadmill.

You don't have to dread the treadmill!
Steady state workouts where you set the pace and the grade and then ignore it for the entire workout do have their place, in fact they're great long run substitutes in the winter. However, that being said, I think most of us would find it hard to get motivated to do steady state workouts for the entire winter.  My two favorite treadmill workouts look like this:
  • Easy (Base) Run:  I like to select the Random workout option if the treadmill has it and pick a constant speed. It sounds easy, but in reality, maintaining a consistent speed with differing grades is actually difficult. I like this workout because I think it helps me learn how to maintain a consistent speed over different and unpredictable grades.
  • Speedy Pyramid Run: I'll admit, this one can be a little annoying if I'm not really in the mood to do it. I warm up for one mile and then for the first half of the distance (or time) I pick a marker (0.10 mi or 1 minute, depending) and increase the speed each time I pass the given mark. After I've hit the halfway point, I use the same marker to decrease the speed back to my cooldown pace. It's hard to get bored on this one.
Easing Up
I use the winter time as a chance to ease up a little and not adhere strictly to any training plan. I end up doing a lot more lifting and resistance exercises to increase my overall fitness, and decrease my likelihood of injury.   I also have a tendency to generate more playlists and putz around with music in the winter because I end up using my iPod more frequently.

Outdoor Running, in the winter? Are you nuts?!
I actually enjoy running outside once a week. I usually pick a weekend day so I can run when there's still light. Sarah of Running On Words already has a great post up on how to enjoy outdoor running in the winter, so there's no need for me to compile a list. Check out her post here!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Going to See the Fishes

Weekly Weigh-In
Weight: 127
Body Fat %: 20.8 + 3 = 23.8%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20.5"

Well, maintenance is all about staying the same...
So, yay, success! Thing is, I had my yearly physical this week and I'm healthier than a horse, so while my weight is on an upward swing right now. I'm content to slowly decrease it back to where it needs to be. I like food, and I don't like feeling so hungry I get a headache. Slow and steady wins the race, right Shirt Woot?
Winning The Race
Source Shirt.Woot
Weekend Plans
A month or two ago, I got a good deal off of LivingSocial for two tickets to the Boston Aquarium for $16, so we're headed to the aquarium this weekend!
I'm also planning to paint some of my silly little pumpkin looking gourds with cute faces. I'm thinking a squirrel, a panda and...the last one is up in the air. I'll take suggestions in the comments below!

Any big weekend plans? Let me know in a comment down below!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Turkey Trot Training: Week 8

Blog slacking
I wasn't feeling very good earlier this week (stomach ache) so I just took it easy. Today I'm feeling much better, so I can finally get this training post up.

Previous Weeks
Week Seven - 10.88 mi
Week Six - 15.2 mi
Week Five - ~15 mi
Week Four - 17.07 mi
Week Three - 11.62 mi
Week Two - 16.12 mi
Week One - 15.75 mi
Week Zero - the plan

Last Week's Training
Monday (10/17) - 60-60s
8x60s @ 5K pace, with 60s active recovery between, sadly this is one of my last couple of 60-60s workouts. This (current) training week is my last one. Then it's onto 1K intervals at 5K pace, fun.

Tuesday (10/18) - Rest

Wednesday (10/19) - 4x600m repeats, circuit training style
Only four repeats so less resistance exercises:
8 x Pull-Ups w/a 45lb. assist
15 x Push-Ups
2 minutes of assorted planks

Thursday (10/20) - Zumba and Pilates
I decided to take Elena's Pilates class before Zumba since I didn't want to stay at work and wait. I felt a little bit like a fish out of water at first but was able to start picking it up when she did squats. Zumba was good, except the disruptive chatter of some of the other attendees. Save your high pitched chatter about how hard the class is until after the class is over, please.

Friday (10/21) - Easy Run
Lovely fall weather, great for a leisurely run.

Saturday (10/22) - Tempo Run
1 mile @ recovery - 11:38
4 miles @ half-marathon pace - 37:52
1 mile @ recovery - 11:24

I find it wicked hard to run at recovery when I'm outside. I just want to bolt away and run at my average pace.

Sunday (10/23) - Zumba
Good class! Elena taught us a new song and it's definitely going to take a few more attempts to get it right. Just like how I'm finally getting the hand movements for El Amor. And the window washing part, the step count for that one is rather difficult but it's getting easier.

Total Mileage: 17.75

This week's plan:

How has your week been, training or otherwise? Let me know in a comment below! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

Eric and I went apple picking last weekend, and I've had a bag of apples sitting on my counter ever since. We've finally started to have some seasonably cool temperatures of late, and that always makes me want some warm comfort food. This is my favorite cinnamon roll recipe due to it's ease and low calorie nature. I decided to fuss around with a few of the ingredients and use up one of those gigantic Hampshire Mac apples, and tada! These were born.
Apple-Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Cooking Light's October 2009 Issue

1 cup (240ML) warm unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 package quick-rise yeast
16.9 ounces (~3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

7.5 ounces apple, skinless and diced fine
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter

1. To prepare rolls, combine milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes. Add the egg and remaining sugar into the bowl, then weigh in 4.5 ounces (1 cup) of flour. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.

2. Add 11.25 ounces (2.5 cups) flour and salt to the milk mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the speed just above mixing on the machine and add in the remaining 1.15 ounces of flour a tablespoon at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should spring back at your touch when it's ready.

3. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and let the dough rice in a warm place (85°) that is free of drafts for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. I recommend heating 2 cups of water to boiling in your microwave, pushing it off to the side and placing the bowl in here. It ensures a warm environment and no drafts.

4. Punch the dough down, cover and let rise again for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. If you're using the microwave as your proofing box, make sure you reheat the water to boiling before placing your bowl back in.

5. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine the apple, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set it aside.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into an 18"x11" rectangle. Brush the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over the dough and evenly distribute the apple-cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough.

7. Beginning with either long side of the dough, roll it up tightly, jelly roll style. Pinch the seam to seal, but do not seal the ends of the roll. Cut the dough into 16-18 slices. Arrange 8-9 of the slices into 2 (8-inch) square or round baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Loosely cover the rolls and allow to rise in a warm place for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. Again, if you're using the microwave as a proofing box, remember to reheat your two cups of water!

8. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

9. Uncover the rolls and bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

10. Eat delicious rolls!

This is the first time I've ever substituted almond milk for milk in a yeasted recipe. I wasn't sure if it would work at first, but I went for it since I don't usually keep skim milk on hand. Surprisingly, they turned out just as good as always. The original recipe has icing but I actually think that cinnamon buns don't really need icing. I'd much rather taste the caramelized cinnamon sugar filling than the icing.

What's your favorite fall-themed baked good? Let me know in a comment down below! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Turkey Trot Training: Week 7

Oh right, I forgot about this post.
As I'm sitting here waiting for my car to be serviced this morning, searching the internet for my next race, it occurred to me. I'd totally forgotten to post this week's Turkey Trot training post! I'd been waiting for the official results of the 5K last Saturday to post it, and since that took for-freaking-ever, I completely forgot about it. So here it is, a much belated training recap post.

Previous Weeks
Week Six - 15.2 mi
Week Five - ~15 mi
Week Four - 17.07 mi
Week Three - 11.62 mi
Week Two - 16.12 mi
Week One - 15.75 mi
Week Zero - the plan

Last Week's Training
Monday (10/10) - 60-60s on the treadmill
1 mile of warm-up, 7x(60s-60s) repeats at 6.9mph/6mph, 1 mile of cooldown. Think I was still getting the Benadryl out of my system because I felt super sluggish.

Tuesday (10/11) - Zumba practice
Zumba in my basement because I didn't feel like doing anything else. :)

Wednesday (10/12) - 6x600m repeats, circuit training style
For the active rest periods:
Pull-Ups x 12 w/55lb assist (these felt super super hard this week)
Split Squat Jumps x 30
Barbell Lunge and Press x 11/leg w/27lbs
Bench Dips x 12
Rotating Planks x 1 min (left/right/center x 20s) & Three Point Planks (left/right/center x 20s) for a total of 2min

Thursday (10/6) - Zumba
The one problem with bigger classes is that I often find myself adjusting where I stand due to encroachment by other people who aren't as aware of their personal space.

Friday (10/7) - Rest

Saturday (10/8) - HipHipHerRace 5K
I had a wicked bad tummy ache the night before that prevented me from sleeping as well as I wanted. I guess I learned my lesson: don't eat any new foods the night before a race. Stupid me, I already knew that lesson. You can read the full race report here. The official time is now posted (though my Garmin seriously disagrees with it) on my Fitness page.

Sunday (10/9) - Zumba
Big turnout again, but I'm still not sure if I like having Zumba on Sundays. I'll have to give it another week to see.

Total Mileage: 10.88

This week's plan:

How has your week been, training or otherwise? Let me know in a comment below! :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Too Close For Comfort

Weekly Weigh-In
Weight: 127
Body Fat %: 20.7 + 3 = 23.7%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20.5"

Uh oh. That's too close. I'll confess that I haven't really been trying to keep it under wraps, and now it's time to fix that. No more plans, no more blog posts about challenges. I'm taking a page out of Nike's book:
I've always found that the less I talk about it, the more likely I am to do it, which is often why you don't hear about any real struggles from me. Talking endlessly about it is an excuse for me to feel like I'm doing something when in truth, I'm not. So no more 21 day challenge!

Weekend to myself
Eric's off to Vegas for the next 5 days, so I have the apartment to myself. I'm not entirely sure what my plans are for the free time yet. I think the first items on the agenda will be getting out of work early (3:30PM) since I was in early (7AM) and ate lunch at my desk, going for an easy 4.5 mile run, and making a trip to Wegman's for dinner. It sounds thrilling, I know.

I just got my favorite Cooking Light issue of the year (November's holiday menu), and there's actually a recipe for Sloppy Joe Sliders in there that I'm contemplating making tonight, in addition to the Bananas Foster Parfaits recipe. That will hopefully get rid of my fruit fly problems.

Anyone have any big plans for the weekend? Lemme know in a comment down below! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

I used to hate coffee.
Image: Karen Shaw /
As a teenager, I would adamantly tell my mother, "I'll never ever drink coffee." How could I want to drink something that I'd get addicted to? I was against drugs of all forms, even the legal ones, it just went against my youthful (idiotic) principles.

I managed to hold out for quite a long time. It wasn't until my senior year at WPI during a crunch to finish my major qualifying project that I gave in and had a cup of coffee. I clearly remember walking up to the counter at the Dunkin' Donuts in the campus center and asking for a small hazelnut coffee with cream and sugar.  I remember feeling like I was a traitor to my own beliefs. That didn't matter though, because I was so tired from staying up too late working on a Computer Networks project that I was willing to try anything to get more energy to finish up other parts of school work. I choked it down while contemplating how terrible I thought it tasted.

I caught up on my sleep after that cup of coffee and didn't buy another one for the remainder of the school year. Coffee didn't have a place in my life during college. If I was tired, I slept. I didn't think it tasted all that great either. I graduated and moved out into the real world and started my career as a software engineer. Suddenly, I couldn't just take a nap in the middle of the day if I was sleepy. Suddenly, I had to be up between 6 and 7 AM every weekday.  Suddenly, I wanted coffee. Within the first two weeks of starting my job, I went out and purchased a tiny 4-cup coffee brewer.

Coffee and I had a rather tentative relationship in the early days. I would often spill it on my shirt and my desk, burn my tongue, select a flavor that was not tasty and abuse it by adding more artificial sweetener than anyone should. Coffee and I learned to set our boundaries, so that I wouldn't be left tossing and turning as I attempted to fall asleep at night. Four years later, I have a healthy relationship with my coffee. No longer are there daily coffeetastrophes at my desk or on my shirt. No longer do I abuse it with any sweeteners, I allow it to be completely natural.

And if anyone was wondering at the title of this post, my love for coffee has grown so much that my favorite ice cream is Ben and Jerry's Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chocolate Babka Bread

Ever since my trip to Mama's, I've been consumed with the idea of having Chocolate Babka French Toast.

Chocolate Babka
Slightly modified from Cooking Light, December 2009

1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm 1% low-fat milk (105° to 110°)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
7 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 2/3 cups), divided
6 ounces bread flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened
Cooking spray

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg yolk. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 6 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour and 6 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) of bread flour to milk mixture; beat with dough hook attachment at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add 5 tablespoons butter, beating until well blended. Scrape down bowl and using the dough hook, begin kneading the dough, adding 1.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to to the sides of the bowl. Total kneading time will vary, check for springiness of dough.

2. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough. Punch dough down; cover and let dough rest 5 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. If using, line the bottom of a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with parchment paper; coat sides of pan with cooking spray. Otherwise, spray 4 mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

5. To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

6. Place dough on a generously floured surface or on a silicone baking mat. If making mini-loaves, portion dough out into four equal balls. Roll dough out into a square of the appropriate size for your pan. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Roll up dough tightly, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam and ends to seal. Holding dough by ends, twist dough 4 times as if wringing out a towel. Fit dough into prepared pan. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

7. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.

8. Cool bread completely on wire rack before slicing. This step is very important! If you do not wait, you will completely mangle the lovely chocolate swirls. Resist the temptation to nom it!
You'll notice my swirls aren't as pretty as in the picture on the Cooking Light recipe page. I found it difficult to do the twisting with the mini-loaves and chose not to do the twisting. They taste just fine still. I opted out of the streusel piece of the original recipe because I knew it wouldn't lend itself well to French toast making. I loved how the little mini-loaves turned out and I'm actually contemplating using them as Christmas gifts for my coworkers this year.

Have you ever had Chocolate Babka bread? Let me know in a comment down below! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Race Report: HipHipHerRace 5K

In the training for my turkey trot 5K, I had a tune-up 5K on the schedule. As usual, I convinced my (not-so-little-anymore) little brother to run the race with me. He and my Mom met me at my apartment around 7:10 and we headed off to the race.
We arrived only 15 minutes before the race start time and hopped in the registration line to pick up our bib numbers. I was surprised that there was actually a line, and that a precious few minutes of time were wasted standing there. After we got our numbers and goody bags, we found the bathrooms. Can someone please explain to me why the women's bathroom always has a line? Is it really so time consuming to pee? By the time I finally finished with the bathroom, they were already singing the national anthem. I realized I wasn't going to have any time to warm-up. I sighed and accepted the fact and headed to the start line.
And we're off! The course was just as hilly as I expected and several of my lap times suffered because of it.
While my brother and I were out running, my Mom, who was playing paparazzi, was having some camera trouble. Nice feet, Mom, nice feet. You'll just have to get some more practice at the turkey trot.
That's the face of suffering after pushing up the last half-mile hill and heading for the finish line.

Nate found enough left in the tank to sprint once he got past the last hill. I'm not sure what time he finished in and neither is he. We're thinking 32 something.

Post-Race Reflections
It's been three days now and the official results aren't posted. I'm a little annoyed by that, and by the disorganization after the race. At least I had my Garmin to provide me with the data I want:
1K: 5:02.92
2K: 5:38.05
3K: 5:51.11
4K: 5:20.20
5K: 5:57.03
Total: 27:49.03
Pace: 8:57 min/mile

I'm pretty sure the course was a tenth of a mile longer than it should have been, and that my "official" time will be somewhere closer to 28:32. I think I'm just going to trust my Garmin time for this race. I'm not spectacularly happy with my performance at this race, but I did commit some critical errors:
  • Eating something new at sushi on Friday
  • Not warming up
  • Not getting enough sleep due to a stomach ache from bullet #1
Given all that, I'm going to allow my pace chart to remain the way it is for the rest of my training. Hopefully I can avoid the above critical errors for my next race on Thanksgiving and come out with a PR.

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Foodzie Box

It's Foodzie box time again!
I think this month's theme rocks.
Fall in New England is my favorite season. I love the colors, the flavors and the weather.  And my most favorite part of all:
Pumpkin seeds. They're like crack for me; I just can't stop eating them. These particular pumpkin seeds are excellent, as well. Their shells are not too hard and there's just the right amount of salt. I'm actually surprised that I still have some left as I write this post.
One of the things that makes fall really feel like fall to me are apples. This apple juice was better than most, but not something I would actually purchase for myself. I prefer my apples crisp and freshly picked off the tree.
Maple Syrup. Ugh. If you've ever read my About page, you know that I don't like Maple syrup. Yes, I know this makes me weird. And yes, I know it makes me even weirder since I'm a New Englander and have been my whole life. I'm sure it's quite tasty, but unfortunately I can't say that with any certainty. Perhaps I'll make Eric some pancakes in a couple of weeks when he returns from his trip to Vegas.
I'm not a big fan of chewy energy bars like this. I really prefer my granola crunchy and easily mixed into some yogurt. That being said, however, I did appreciate the lovely apple flavor that this bar conveyed. I would definitely recommend it to people who prefer some chew to their granola bars.
These caramels were delicious. I ate them all before I took the picture. Eric's also sad that I ate them all without sharing, and I do feel (very) guilty and a little piggy. I'm sorry Eric. :( I will make it up to you by making caramels.
I'm almost not even sure where to start with this. I've never had a kumquat or a persimmon so admittedly I can't say if this tasted true to the fruit. However, if this is any indication as to what either of them taste like, I want nothing to do with either them. Perhaps the name tricked me into thinking this, but I honestly thought it actually tasted like leather. It was not good. It was bad. Eric agrees but his assessment included some cursing, so I won't actually share it.

If you're interested in signing up for the Foodzie box monthly, it's $19.99 and you can do it here. If you're already a subscriber, what'd you think of this month's box? Lemme know in a comment down below! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

21 Days To (Re)Establish Some Healthy Habits: Day Five

Weekly Weigh-In
Weight: 126.2
Body Fat %: 20.2 + 3 = 23.2%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20.5"
It's an acceptable weigh-in for the week. At the very least, I'm pleased to be holding steady around 126 despite the fact that it's a little too close to my ceiling weight.

Habit #1: Logging my food daily
I didn't make my target yesterday but at least I logged everything. You can check out how my daily eats from yesterday went here.

Today's meals look a little something like this:

B: Cherry-Peanut Butter Oat Groats w/Coffee
MS: Peanut Butter and Banana on an English Muffin
L: Sushi Friday! + (Pirates Booty)
AS: Fage 0% Blueberry-Acai Yogurt with an oat and honey bar
D: Green Egg Salad on an English Muffin w/tomato soup
BS: Coffee Almond Cookies

Habit #2: Drink Enough Water
I could tell by Zumba time that I had not had enough water for the day. I felt completely parched the whole class. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out of the lab soon.

Habit #3: Flossing at least twice a day
I only got in one flossing session. :\ Better than nothing right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

21 Days To (Re)Establish Some Healthy Habits: Day Four

Ow, 6x600m repeats, ow. I'm pretty glad that I put this workout off until yesterday. I wouldn't have survived it on Monday. It took everything I had to push through my last repeat, but I felt beat and successful after I finished. That feeling of accomplishment is one of the best feelings you can have during training. I think it's only second to the feeling of seeing real progress, be it strength or speed improvements.

My tune-up 5K is on Saturday morning. It'll be my first race since the PUMA 5 (migraine) miler in August. I am slightly intimidated by the course map:
Those hills are both at least a half mile long and a 2% grade, which is one of the steeper climbs I've seen in a race. I'm sure I'll tackle them just fine, but knowing about them beforehand always helps.

Habit #1: Logging my food daily
I did pretty good yesterday. I logged everything and didn't go over my calorie target. I did end up swapping out dinner with some nommy Chipotle. I got home much too late to even consider cooking a full meal. Chipotle seemed like an acceptable substitute. That might be because I love their guacamole though...but I digress. You can check out how my daily eats from yesterday went here. It seems to be rainy and cool this morning, so I'm inclined to repeat my soup lunch from earlier this week to feel warmer at lunch time.

Today's meals look a little something like this:
B: Peanut Butter & Cherry Oat Groats w/Flax Seed
MS: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffin with some Clementines
L: Amy's Tomato Soup with Pretzelfish and Edamame on the side
AS: Nature Valley Cinnamon Granola bar w/Peanut Butter
D: Yogurt and Granola
BS: Single Serving Brownie
Habit #2: Drink Enough Water
I did okay with this yesterday, still not fantastic though. I haven't come up with an acceptable solution to my can't have water in the lab problem.

Habit #3: Flossing at least twice a day
I only got one flossing session in yesterday before bed, but better than nothing right?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

21 Days To (Re)Establish Some Habits: Day Three

I felt like a grouch most of yesterday morning. I spent most of my drive into work, rerunning the scenarios I expected to encounter when I got to work that day, so I was in a pretty grouchtastic mood when I finally got there. I tried to check my baggage at the door for work though. Work is actually going really well right now, things are (insert Sarah's personal shock and awe here) working. Heck, I've even been able to find the time to go each lunch with Eric in the caf for two days in a row.
Image: winnond /
Habit #1: Logging my food daily
I guess you can call yesterday a success on this piece, despite the fact that I totally did not make my calorie target.  The whole point of logging what I eat is to help keep me accountable. This certainly makes me feel accountable for scarfing down a NuGo bar during afternoon snack when I didn't really need it.You can check out how my daily eats went here.

Today's meals look a little something like this:
B: Fage 0% Mango Guanabana (does anyone actually know what a guanabana is??) with a serving of Cocoa Beach Granola
MS: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffin with Three Clementines
L: Turkey Sandwich on an English Muffin with Pirate's Booty and a banana
AS: Granola Bar with Peanut Butter and Flax Seed
D: Cranberry-Apple Chicken Salad on an English Muffin with mixed veggies on the side (for reals tonight, I swear)
BS: Spicy Popcorn 
Habit #2: Drink Enough Water
I didn't get in my normal 64 ounces yesterday because of the lab. I'm going to have to get creative to start getting my water allowance in.

Habit #3: Flossing at least twice a day - check!

Tina's decided to join in the 21 days of habit forming. I'm psyched to have her onboard so it doesn't feel like a lone Sarah challenge.

What's one habit you would work on forming that you don't have right now? Let me know in a comment below! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

21 Days To (Re)Establish Some Healthy Habits: Day Two

I felt more like myself yesterday, silly and generally happy. I waffled on which workout I was going to do when I got to the gym, but ended up swapping Wednesday's planned 60s-60s with the 600m repeats. Yesterday was just not a 600m repeat day. I think I still had some Benadryl in my system which had me feeling a little bit sluggish. That's why I like the adaptive training principles I've been trying to incorporate into my life. If a certain workout doesn't feel like quite the right fit for that day, I choose the one that does. No need to follow a training plan without consideration to how you're feeling that day!
Image: winnond /
Habit #1: Logging my food daily
I did really well with this yesterday. It just felt easy to stick to, and I didn't feel like I was depriving myself at all. I ended up swapping out the spicy popcorn bed time snack with a Peanut Butter, Banana and Oat Muffin. I used a modified Cooking Light recipe and some bananas that have been sitting on the counter getting brown (and driving Eric nuts with their fruit fly generation). You can check out how my daily eats went here.

Today's meals look a little something like this:
B: Two Eggs SSU topped with avocado on an English Muffin with strawberries and raspberries on the side
MS: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffin with a Clementine
L: Amy's Tomato Soup with Pretzelfish and Edamame on the side
AS: Fage 0% Strawberry Goji w/a banana
D: Cranberry-Apple Chicken Salad on an English Muffin with mixed veggies on the side
BS: Single Serving Brownie
Habit #2: Drink Enough Water
Despite being stuck in the lab most of the day, I was able to down a good solid 64 ounces. It's a big pain not being able to bring my water into the lab because I feel like getting up every 10-20 minutes to get a sip is disruptive when I'm in the zone.

Habit #3: Flossing at least twice a day
I flossed in the morning and the evening. My dentist will be happy. And me, I should be happy because then I'm slightly less likely to develop cavities between my teeth. I shouldn't think of it as such a chore since it helps me avoid the dentist with her mean drill.

Tina's decided to join in the 21 days of habit forming. I'm psyched to have her onboard so it doesn't feel like a lone Sarah challenge.

Do you have trouble remembering to floss? Do you have any tips/tricks about forcing yourself to remember? Let me know in a comment below! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Turkey Trot Training: Week 6

Stress is less!
Work's cooled down a bit so I'm feeling much happier overall these days. YAY!

Previous Weeks
Week Five - ~15 mi
Week Four - 17.07 mi
Week Three - 11.62 mi
Week Two - 16.12 mi
Week One - 15.75 mi
Week Zero - the plan

Last Week's Training
Monday (10/3) - 21 minutes of PSP
Our flight back from San Francisco was later in the day so I did 21 minutes of PSP before we headed home. I felt like I had to do something!

Tuesday (10/4) -5x600m repeats, circuit training style
for the active rest periods between repeats:
Assisted Neutral Grip Pull-Ups x 12 w/55lb assist
Split Squat Jumps x 30
Barbell Lunge & Press x 11/leg w/27lbs
Bench Dips x 12

Wednesday (10/5) - 60-60s on the treadmill
My 30-30s have been upgraded to 60-60s (60s @ 5K pace, 60s recovery @ 6.0mph)! This week had 6x(60s-60s). I continue to enjoy this workout. It'll definitely find its way into my winter training regimen.

Thursday (10/6) - Zumba
We had an another awesome turnout for Zumba! There were at least 6 people there and it just made the class actually seem like a class instead of a private lesson. I felt really on key too; everything came to me easily.

Friday (10/7) - 5 miles @ base pace
Easy five miler! It was wonderful running weather.

Saturday (10/8) - Rest
I think I slept through most of this day. hearts the Benadryl!

Sunday (10/9) - 3 mile @ recovery
I'd been having a nasty allergic reaction to some bites, and wasn't feeling up to the scheduled 3-mile tempo run, so I hopped on the treadmill instead.

Total Mileage: 15.2

This week's plan:

How was your week last week, training or otherwise? Let me know in a comment below! :)

21 Days To (Re)Establish Some Habits: Day One

For the last couple of months, work has pretty much ruled my life. It's unfortunately caused me to misplace some of my healthier habits (not exercise though!). However, the major crunch at work is over now and it's time to re-establish some healthy habits. For the next 21 days, I'll be posting about it in the mornings in addition to my normal lunch time posts.
Image: winnond /
The habits I'm going to work on this week are:
  • Logging my food daily
  • Drinking enough water every day
  • Flossing at least twice a day
I'm uncomfortably close to my ceiling weight (127) and I know it's because I haven't been logging as much as I ought to. OK, that's a lie, I haven't really been logging at all. I'm not going to waste time architecting a grand meal plan for the weeks because I find that I'm not actually hungry for some of the things on the days they're planned. Instead I'll just put up the general food-scope of my day like this:
B: Two Eggs SSU topped with avocado on an English Muffin with strawberries on the side
MS: Fage 0% Cherry Pomegranate Yogurt w/a banana
L: Turkey Sandwich on an English Muffin with Strawberry-Avocado salad and Edamame on the side
AS: 2 Oats and Honey bars topped w/peanut butter and flax seed
D: Chipotle Carnitas and Guac salad
BS: Spicy Popcorn

I seem to have 6x600m repeats on my training schedule for today but I'm not sure if I'm feeling up to that today. It'll just have to be a game-time decision.

Here's to a good week!

p.s. If anyone's interested in doing a 21 habit forming challenge with me, let me know in a comment below. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Breakfast Obsessed

Oopsy, I forgot to put up a post last Friday because I was on a plane to San Francisco. This also means I forgot to post my weigh-in for last week, durh. Let me remedy that situation right now!

Setember 30th, 2011
Weight: 126.69
Body Fat %: 20.06 + 3 = 23.06%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20.5"

Now with that all out of the way, we can get onto this week's weigh-in:

October 7th, 2011
Weight: 126.0
Body Fat %: 19.8 + 3 = 22.8%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20.5"

Mama's in San Francisco
Last Saturday when Eric, myself and our two friends from work went to Mama's, we ended up waiting in line for an hour and a half. Now, I believe that I've said that I turn into a ravenous squirrel beast when I wait too long to eat. This wait certainly qualified me as a ravenous (and grouchy) squirrel beast. As we neared the entrance, an elderly man exited and began talking to two young women in front of us. They asked if it was worth the wait, and without hesitation the man said yes. Despite being said (grouchy) ravenous squirrel beast, my interest was piqued. Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day and the only traditional breakfast food that I've ever met and disliked has been maple syrup (blech).

As we stood on the stoop, waiting for the wait staff to allow us in to order, I perused the menu. That menu is a virtual treasure trove of fantastic breakfast ideas. Before visiting Mama's, it had never occurred to me to use cinnamon swirl bread in my french toast recipes, so the most obvious choice was the Chocolate Cinnamon French Toast with an extra fruit salad to start:

The food was so absolutely worth the long wait.

It was so good that I can't stop thinking about how I want to create my own cinnamon french toast.

Bet you guys can't guess what I'm doing this weekend! *shifty eyes*

What's the best breakfast food you've ever had? Let me know in a comment down below! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday Tips no more

The End of Thursday Tips
I'm not really interested in doing my Thursday tips series anymore. There haven't been any interesting tips on Real Age and I'm too busy to go find good interesting ones, so that means no more series.

If anyone has any ideas about what they'd like to see for a new series, drop me a line in the comments below.

We got a new bed!
Wow, I can't believe it's Thursday already.

Yesterday was an exciting day for Eric and me. We got our new TempurPedic bed!
I hadn't mentioned it, but we'd been sleeping in two different rooms for about a month. His mattress wasn't doing my lower back any favors and my mattress wasn't doing his back any favors, so we went mattress shopping. We decided on a TempurPedic Rhapsody bed, which just arrived yesterday.

I slept so well last night. It was awesome.

I'm not working this weekend!
I'm going to have a relaxing weekend at home for the first time in a couple of months. Tina is coming over Saturday morning for breakfast and chat time. I'm excited to be able to cook for her! I haven't decided on a menu yet, but I'm sure it'll be something that balances tasty and healthy perfectly.

How's your week been so far? Let me know in a comment down below!