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Why, yes, yes I am scared…

Most of us have heard this before…

Dream Big.

source: Pinterest

So, if this is in fact true, then my current dream is certainly big enough!!

What is my current dream?  (Thanks for asking!) The Rock n Roll Country Music Marathon in Nashville on April 27th!

So, this might be a case of setting my dreams TOO BIG …

I will dream BIG

source: Pinterest

How did I get to these BIG DREAM?? You see, I had signed up for the Wallis Sands Half Marathon on 4/28 and was well on my way training for that when I decided to add the Eastern States 20 miler (3/24) to the mix.  Originally I said to myself “Let’s see how 20 miles feels; if it feels good then I’ll consider a full for fall.  And in the process maybe I’ll break my 2 hour goal for the Half Marathon in April.”  (Come on, you know you have hours on the pavement and treadmill to talk to yourself!)

Well, when I finished 16 miles relatively comfortably I thought “maybe I should re-evaluate.”  Since I’m already getting the miles up to 20, why not continue on the way to the full?  I mean, these long runs take a LOT of time.  My kids are busy, but in the fall they’re even busier.  I don’t know how I would fit in the long runs between soccer, swim, gymnastics, etc!

So now my goals have shifted…

Dream big!

 

source: Pinterest

I will work on completing the full next month! (gulp!) And then I will work on my sub 2 hour half marathon in the fall!

In between there I will have a BLAST at the Reach the Beach relay and maybe enjoy some down time in June. ;-)

For now, I will focus on the FULL marathon and I will take it seriously… but maybe not too seriously in terms of time.  That’s something I still need to work out in my head… time goal or not?  I know myself too well though… I could say “oh I just want to finish” but on the inside beat myself up if I can’t finish in a time I secretly set for myself!  So, I’m not going to put a time out there… yet.  Let me see how 18 miles goes this weekend (yikes!) and then I’ll re-evaluate again.

So, why am I scared?  Let me count the ways…

1) It’s a FULL marathon – need I say more?

2) I haven’t done a full in almost 13 years!

3) My last full was before I had four children.

4) I’ve had a recurring, nagging hamstring issue for a year and a half.  The more miles I add, the more it seems to ache.

5) It’s 26.2 miles!

6) We have busy schedules… will I be able to get the proper training done?

We Dream Big!

source: Pinterest

And finally, I leave you with this quote.  ”Take Your Dreams Seriously.”  Don’t worry.  I will.

Do you have any advice for this scared running momma??  I’d love to hear it! Leave me a comment!!

 

 

 

Mexico Exercise Recap

I’m slow at updating these days! LOL Oh well. Life is.

So, we went to Mexico for February vacation… here’s a summary of how I fit my workouts in…

Saturday, 2/23

- 12 mile run. I had it on my training schedule for Sunday, but decided running it a day earlier outside was better than inside on a Treadmill!

- flew to FL, stayed over night

Sunday, 2/24

- rest day, flew to Mexico (2 min plank)

Monday, 2/25

- got up early and started the day with one of the hottest runs I’ve ever done.  I was melting… no seriously, I was!

- 5 miles on Treadmill (supposed to be 7 but couldn’t do it)

Tuesday, 2/26

- speedwork – 1.5 miles warm up; eight 30 second pick ups each one quicker pace than the last followed by 30 sec recovery, 1.5 miles cool down

- some upper body weights and 4 min of various planks

Wednesday, 2/27

- Yoga – 50 min – included lots and lots of plank work

Thursday, 2/28

- it wasn’t all the much easier than Monday but I was able to get in 7 miles on the treadmill.   It was SO hot in the little workout room my FIL asked the director about the AC.  His reply was that the room was the hottest spot in the Spa building (awesome) and the AC couldn’t keep up (no kidding, really? I hadn’t noticed) and then he opened up the sliding glass door about 2 feet from the TM I was on!  WHAT?!?!!?!  Just what I needed… 99% humid, warm air drifting in like a wall to hit my legs as I struggled on the TM.  At 2 miles I hopped off the TM and closed the door, grabbed a hand towel, shoved it in the ice bucket there (filled with bottles of water) and wrapped it around my neck.  Thankfully my FIL was working out for a bit at the same time so he got me two new cold facecloths as I ran.  I swear the cold cloths got me through the run!

- some upper body weights and 4 min of various planks

Friday, 3/1

- 6 miles on the treadmill.  I had 3 on the schedule and decided I would attempt 5 to make up for the 2 miles I couldn’t do on Monday.  At 5 I still felt pretty good so decided to just run until the TM shut off which brought me a hair over 6 miles.

- 3 min of planks

Saturday, 3/2

- Rest Day.  Flew from Mexico to Florida.

Sunday, 3/3

- Flew home from FL.  Got off the plane at 3:30 and was home and on the road running by 5:20 pm.

- 14 miles.  Was VERY happy my recent order of EnergyBits was waiting for me when we got home!  I was able to be powered by bits for this run, thank goodness!  (Have you seen my give away for Energy Bits?  If not, go enter it here!)

Or if you prefer a visual of the workouts…. warning – this isn’t pretty!!!

Decent enough.

Decent enough. Saturday.

Sunday. Plank.

Sunday. Plank.

 

I thought I would melt into the TM.

I thought I would melt into the TM. Monday.

Speedwork session

Speedwork session – Tuesday

Tuesday - 4 miles

Tuesday – 4 miles

Seriously - i usually sweat a lot - but this was out of control.  This picture doesn't do the sweat justice! LOL

Seriously – i usually sweat a lot – but this was out of control. This picture doesn’t do the sweat justice! LOL

Wednesday - feeling good after yoga

Wednesday – feeling good after yoga

I'm so not good at taking pics of myself with my phone!  But here's another view of the workout room (hehe) and proof I got my 7 miles done. Thursday

I’m so not good at taking pics of myself with my phone! But here’s another view of the workout room (hehe) and proof I got my 7 miles done. Thursday

Last run in Mexico.

Last run in Mexico. – Friday

Not exactly the pace I was hoping for, but after traveling for 2 days and a couple other issues, I was happy with this.

Not exactly the pace I was hoping for, but after traveling for 2 days and a couple other issues, I was happy with this. – Sunday

So that’s it.  Vacations aren’t down time for me in regards to exercise.  I get up early, do the workouts I love to do, then spend the rest of the day enjoying downtime with the family!  I’ll post some of that next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I chose ENERGYbits

3/14 Edited to add:  Our winner chosen by random.org is Jeremy!  Congrats and enjoy your bits!  I certainly hope you love them and find a difference in your training with them.

Thank you everyone for entering!

So, you may have seen I am now a brand ambassador for ENERGYbits.  What does this mean? Well for me it means:

1) I loved what they’re made of and how they’re made…

(a) they’re all natural

(b) they harvest real spirulina algae in fresh water tanks – no genetic altering

(c) loaded with protein – important as a vegetarian – 64% protein per tab! (More than a steak!)

(d) Spirulina has 58x more iron than spinach, 28x more iron than raw beef liver, the two other best sources.

(e) and tons more vitamins and minerals!  (Their web site has tons of info – well worth the trip over there.)

(f) They are NOT a supplement.  They are a natural FOOD source packed with nutrition.

got allgae

2) I tried them several ways and was impressed with each use.

(a) Before a run that started with a 5 am wake up and 1.75 mi warm up, 8 hill repeats, and a 1.75 mi cool down for a total of 5.5 miles.  I couldn’t believe how awake I was for this whole run.  I do not drink coffee or drink caffeine and am NOT a morning person.  So to actually not feel groggy during a 5:30 am run was incredible.

(b) At 4 pm – you know – that time of day when all you want to do is curl up under the covers and take a nap, but the kids come home from school and you’re off and running.  Again, I have to say the clarity of mind and the feeling of being more “awake” after consuming the algae tabs is really quite awesome.  There were no jitters, no upset stomach, nothing like that.  I just felt more “there” – does that sound crazy? LOL

(c) Before a long run – not only do EnergyBits provide energy but they also make you feel full.  Ever go on a long run and mid way start to get hungry and know there’s nothing you can do about it?  Didn’t happen with the bits.  Admittedly, this doesn’t happen on every long run of mine, but it has when I haven’t fueled properly.  I can tell you the EnergyBits definitely satisfy a hunger craving.  A long run with increased energy, clarity of mind, and feeling full the whole way through?  Yes please!!!

3) How do you take them?  Well, you could chew them, but I don’t.  They smell… like algae so I’m sure they taste like algae too.  Yuk.  I take them with water.  Easy.   It’s recommended to take 30 at a time.  I did.  It’s easy.

4)  Jonathan from EnergyBits sent me the sample free to try.  I tried them several times over, asked him a ton of questions through Twitter and email, read the literature he sent and online, ordered a bag of my own, then decided to fill out the Brand Ambassador application.

5) I was accepted and am able to give you a 30% discount on any of their healthybits!  I do not get paid to talk about their products.  I was not compensated in any way for reviewing these.  WANT TO BE POWERED BY BITS? USE CODE ‘APPRECFITNESS’ at BITSOFHEALTH.COM TO GET 30% OFF!!

6) I have a FREE SAMPLE (courtesy of EnergyBits) to give away to one of you!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s Ramp Up time!

Are runners crazy? I think we all can agree that answer is YES.

Examples?

1) I text a friend mid afternoon asking her to run 13 miles with me THAT night so I can make my (unwritten) goal of running 100 miles in January. Here’s a quick snippet of how it played out:

kerin 1

Some more talk of logistics and timing and then less than 20 minutes after I’ve asked her…

kerin 2

Ya, that’s how we runners roll!

Click HERE to see how the run went.

2) Getting up at 5 am to PURPOSELY do this to yourself:

Hill Repeats

Hill Repeats

3) Knowingly running in this weather:

10 miles after teaching SPIN

10 miles after teaching SPIN

Those are just a few of the many reasons people think we runners are crazy. Maybe they’re right.  Maybe they don’t know what they’re missing!

So… why am I talking about being crazy?  Well, because I’ve decided to run a race… next month… the longest distance I’ve run since having all my kids. What is it? Eastern States 20 Miler!!  Okay, I know I only have a few weeks.  I know I’m not exactly properly trained for it.  But what I do know is:

  1. I will work my butt off to make it happen.  Even if it means getting up at 5 am and running in “Feels Like” 6* weather.
  2. I will NOT race it; I WILL run it
  3. I will challenge myself.
  4. I will power myself with Energybits.
  5. I will have family and friends support in getting my training done.
  6. I will be wearing Mizunos.
  7. And remember Kerin from “Crazy Point #1 above?”kerin 3 kerin 4Hehehe.  Yep, she’ll run it with me! I will say, I haven’t signed up yet.  I’m waiting to see how my next two long runs go and then I’ll make the ultimate commitment.

Regardless, I will DEFINITELY be running the Wallis Sands Half Marathon.  I’ve never done this one before but have heard great things about it.  Normally I’m not a huge fan of flat courses, I find them more difficult for some reason.  Maybe it’s the monotony, maybe it’s that my muscles don’t get to work in slightly different ways like they do on rolling terrain, maybe it’s all in my head.  (Well… we runners are crazy, right?!) But I’m definitely willing to give it a shot!

And thankfully there are others  know running it as well!  My sister in law (yup, you see her in some of those pictures that scroll above) and of course Kerin will be running it.  A few more might sign up as well (sign up soon!).  This race I’d really like to break 2:00.  Fingers crossed and training plan in place.

So, yup, I’m ramping it up and happy to do so!

I appreciate that ALL runners are crazy and don’t think twice when asked to run at strange hours of the night…

 

A Spin Playlist and a few notes about Endurance training

Yesterday’s SPIN class was week 4 of a 12 week progression to get us to a “Race Day” ride.  Week 4 ends our focus on Endurance training.  What is “endurance training?” Well, in a quick tiny nutshell (ya right, you know I like to talk!) it’s the building up of your aerobic capacity and by working it harder and longer you are pushing the boundaries of when your body switches to its anaerobic fueling strategy.  Why would one want to do this? Let me count the ways!  No? Okay.  Just a few GOOD reasons for today then. 1) Increase your body’s ability to reach for its fat stores for fuel first (before the stored glycogen (sugars). 2) Increasing the amount of time your body can work in its aerobic state before switching to anaerobic metabolic processes means you can work harder, longer, more efficiently, and over time at a lower heart rate. 3)(How about an easy reason?) You build up your immunity system when staying in your aerobic/endurance zone for longer periods of time.  Okay, there are MANY more reasons but that wasn’t where I wanted this post to go…. LOL

The SPIN profile/playlist…

During Bike Set Up/ Members Coming in…

Amsterdam by Imagine Dragons
The Biggest Mistake by The Secret State feat Akon & B.O.B

Warm Up

Sweeter by Gavin McGraw (92 rpm)
What I Got by Sublime (96 rpm)
At this point I’ve asked them to ride these flats and turn the resistance up gradually hopefully ending at a 75% heart rate.  Now the trick is to NEVER dip below this HR for the remainder of the ride. Remember, this is week 4, we’ve been working up to this.

Working Portion

Thank You by MKTO (126/2 = 63 rpm) (not a heavy hill staying seated the whole time)
Instanbul (Not Constantinople) by Milan & Phoenix (128/2 = 64 rpm) (standing climb but no increase in resistance – don’t let the HR go over 80%. If it does go over 80%, sit down and climb it.)
Mermaid by Train (105 rpm) Just sit, remove resistance, and ride this brisk pace. For the rest of this ride you should be “uncomfortably comfortable.”
Carry On by Fun (106 rpm) Play with your resistance.  Add? Remove? Your choice… you know where your heart rate needs to be (between 75 AND 80% of max HR) so you ride it.  These quick paces can be hard … mentally push through it.
Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull (63 rpm) Back on your hill.  Play with it. Sit for 30 sec, add a touch of resistance and stand in position 2 for 20 sec, out to position 3 for 20 sec, sit for 20 sec, repeat two more times.
Feel This Moment by Christina Aguilera & Pitbull (68 rpm) Sit and climb.  Watch the HR.
Man Like That by Gin Wigmore (103 rpm) Love the energy of this song (that apparently is in a Guinness commercial?!)  Just like before… embrace the flat, your heart rate should not drop below 75% – how could it when you’re pedaling a meaningful flat at 103 rpm!  Become aware of your pedal stroke – about 30 secs into the song use the Right leg only for 20 secs, then the Left leg only for 20 secs, then even out your pedal stroke again.  Feel a difference?  Feels easier now, right? Can you add a touch of resistance without losing your cadence?  Push through…
The Foxhunter by Celtic Woman (starts out 110 rpm then drops to 65 rpm) take a tiny bit of resistance off at the beginning of this song, ride it out, add resistance to get on a moderate hill when the cadence changes.
Eyes Like Yours by Shakira (127/2 = 63.5 rpm) last hill … remember it is never a grueling hill.  One that makes you work and keeps your HR in that 75%-80% range.  Stand in position 3 if you’re able to do so and keep HR in the range.  Otherwise, sit and climb til the end.
Say Hey (I Love You) by All Rebel Rockers (93 rpm) Bring that heart rate down slowly… enjoy a nice flat for a couple minutes and then begin your cooldown in the middle of this song.

Cool Down

Take You to Rio from the Rio movie soundtrack
Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

 

At the end of this ride you should not feel totally spent.  You worked very hard but never sprinted or went all out on a flat or a heavy climb.  What should you feel? Energized! A little tired.  And ready to go again! (tomorrow)

Enjoy the playlist and the ride!!

 

 

Running isn’t Simple…

It sounds simple.  Put your sneakers on and go out for a run.  Seems straightforward enough.  So why isn’t it this easy? (Or is it just me?)

Well, I’m sure the answer to that question varies slightly for everyone.  Here are my thoughts on my run from 2/6/13…

Today’s run was a true test of my will; willing my body to do what my mind wanted it to do at the same time I was convincing my mind I could do it.  Confused?  Ya.  Me too.

Today’s run hurt.

Today’s run required change.  I set out with a goal of 6 miles.  I’ve been tired lately… really tired.  I think it has something to do with my 100 mile goal for January which ended with me reaching that goal by finishing a 13 mile run at 11:30 Thursday night.  It wasn’t so much the 13 miles.  I had done the training to get me to that mileage no problem.  I think it was the cumulative 100 miles (about 20 more in a month than I’ve done in a while) along with teaching at the gym frequently.  Could be because of my diet as well.  Don’t get me wrong.  I eat well for the most part, but I have had many more indulgences lately!

Running is a Process

I need want more than just a pair of simple running sneakers to get the run done. (Ha! “Simple” running sneakers.  That’s funny.  How much time do you spend in a Running Shoe store while shopping for your next perfect fit??!!  I wonder how many different running shoes actually exist.  Anyone?)

I started out with my Garmin not finding satellites quickly.  I waited and waited and finally set off.  It was probably about 0.15 miles before the satellites kicked in.  I love my Garmin (except when it can’t find the satellites).  GPS. Heart rate. Pace. What’s not to love?

I had my JayBird bluetooth wireless earbuds in.  These of course were connected to my iPhone strapped around my arm in my adidas arm band.  Thank goodness for my music today!

My UnderArmour ColdGear Compression pants were perfect for the weather today.

weather

 

I had two layers on top – my adidas Climalite long sleeved top and my Nike Dri-Fit Thermal half zip jacket.  Do I need these special fabrics and fits to run? No.  But I enjoy them and definitely stay warm and dry on my cold weather runs.  (And maybe TMI, but I sweat. A lot. Even when it’s cold out so I prefer to have these wicking/warming fabrics on.)

My Experia socks with Thorlo technology are the only socks I wear now to workout in… today’s color? Hot pink.

I wore my Fuel Belt and brought along my chapstick and one bottle of water.  Only ended up having a few sips but it’s a comfort factor to have water on me at all times.

So is running simple for me? No.  I think about layers and materials, water and chapstick, music and… even the type of sneakers to wear!  Right now I’m keeping it simple (hehe).  If I run outside I wear my Mizuno Nirvanas.  Done.  Simplest part of the whole running process.  Yes, sometimes running is a process.

The Run and my thoughts during it…

I realized around 0.2 miles both of my shins were screaming at me. What?  Since when do my shins hurt me?  How come I felt no pain in my shins leading up to this point in my day?  Ugh.  They burned.  But I didn’t stop.  Let’s see if this feeling goes away. (Come on, you know you’ve said this on many a run before!)  Wasn’t much further out when I felt the drag in my legs.  Just couldn’t get my groove.  WTH?!  Ugh.  I JUST WANT TO RUN!! (Do you scream at yourself in your head too?) My husband came home early so I could get a run in.  Good guy.  A keeper.  I’m not turning around.  This is my only workout time today.

At mile 1.5 I decided something needed to change. Easiest thing to change at that point? My route.  At the next turn, instead of going left, I went right.  It’s a road I run frequently, but this time I ran it the other way.  Amazing the things you can see when you’re simply facing the other way!  I saw a Gazebo I’ve never seen, an American flag mailbox I’ve never noticed (I love American flags!), and even though it’s a very familiar road, it just plain looked different!

Mile 2.5  I don’t even want to know how slow I’m going, but I think I’ve found the zone. I didn’t have to think anymore about putting one foot in front of the other.  I was noticing things around me and not thinking about my shins and heavy legs.

Mile 2.96 Okay, I’m feeling the groove… let’s go down this road I’ve never run before.  I have to look like a real runner here; I know people who live on this street.  Felt good going down… a little rough going up.

Mile 4.3 Hmmm… 5 miles or 6 miles? 5 or 6? 5 1/2?  Ugh – 6 it is.  So, let’s climb this other friggin’ hill to get a little extra in before I head back home.

Mile 5 Thank goodness this is downhill!  But why am I continually catching myself slouching?  I think I have a strong core… I work it a lot.  I’m just tired… blech.  Tired of being tired.

Mile 5.3 Dang it.  I’m going to have run past my house to get the 6 miles in.

Mile 5.6 Okay, I passed the house and now I’m on the home stretch. My legs are tired. Again.

Mile 5.85 At my house.  Feeling good… run past it again.  GET IT DONE.

Mile 6 Huh.  Well that was a rough one…. or was it?  When can I get out here and try this again? Ha!  I know all you runners chuckled at this thought of mine.  But it’s true right?  Running breeds more running.

 

Okay, let's look at the pace.... What?!?!  THAT was my last mile?  Wow.  That's a great mile for me... especially with how I was feeling this whole run.  Wonder how the rest of the miles actually look like versus what they felt like?!

Okay, let’s look at the pace…. What the?!?! THAT was my last mile? Wow. That’s a great mile for me… especially with how I was feeling this whole run. Wonder how the rest of the miles actually shaped up to be versus what they felt like?!

Mile 1: 9:58 (basically a slow climb the entire mile) Avg HR: 142

Mile 2: 9:02 (a lot of downhill) Avg HR:148

Mile 3: 9:04 (rolling terrain) Avg HR: 146

Mile 4: 9:46 (some definite climbs but honestly I thought this was my pace for my “easy” miles!) Avg HR: 151

Mile 5: 9:14 (one short and steep climb) Avg HR: 151

Mile 6: 8:53 (back down mile 1 with a tiny quick climb near the end) Avg HR: 155

 

Huh.  Not bad for a "feel like a$$ run."  Wow... look at how low my heart rate was! Ya - I guess I'll try again.

Huh. Not bad for a “feel like a$$ run.” Wow… look at how low my heart rate was! Ya – I guess I’ll try again.

Lessons Learned

Okay, it just doesn’t feel right to only complain about the run.  Good comes out of even the bad runs, right?!  What did I learn from it?

  • Even when my legs are tired and sore they still keep moving.  One foot keeps falling in front of the other (directly under my torso no less) without me having to think too hard about it.
  • Even when  I think I’m running the slowest miles of my life – I’m not.  Maybe I should’ve looked at my watch to get some encouragement from the paces I would’ve seen on there instead of ignoring it thinking it was all bad news.
  • The combination of shirts I wore was annoying.  The bottom one kept riding up.
  • Feels good to be well hydrated and not NEED the water on a 6 mile run.
  • My heart rate was lower than usual at given paces.  My cardio is improving.  I think it’s time to adjust my numbers (zones).  (Maybe this will be a separate post topic!)
  • In 25* weather, I should’ve worn my mittens; the thumb holes didn’t cut it.
  • My mind needs to just shut up sometimes and let my body “do”.
  • Camel toe seems inevitable in any and all running pants I have.  WTH?
  • Feels great when all of a sudden I realize I’ve been enjoying the scenery around me and not been down on myself for how the legs feel, the pace feels, the annoying shirt riding up feels, etc.
  • CHANGE is good.  I should run some different routes or at the very least start running my current routes in the other direction.
  • Running by homes of people you know makes your form improve.
  • I am stronger than I think.
  • I’m high maintenance… even in running.  Who knew? (Careful there friends!)
  • Running isn’t just lacing up and heading out… for me anyway.  I need all the gadgets and fabrics and thing-a-ma-bobs and I’m fortunate enough to have them.
  • My husband is a great guy to come home early to watch the kids so I can get in my run for the day.
  • And lastly, I appreciate both the trials and the triumphs in running, no matter how big or small they might be and truly look forward to my next run.  I guess that means I’m a runner.  And THAT is a label with which will I happily live!

Love me some Falafels!

Hi All!  I’m multi-tasking as I write this post… watching the Biggest Loser at the same time. ;-) Love this show! So inspiring!

Anyway, onto the falafels… I love falafels and have never made them myself so when I saw this recipe on Angela’s blog I knew I had to try it.  I did make a few changes so let me start there.

Angela’s ingredient list with my changes noted:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry/uncooked chickpeas (or 2 & 1/4 cups cooked) - I did one 29 oz can of chick peas
  • 3 large garlic cloves - oh yeah – me likey the garlic!
  • 1/2 cup red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice - i did 4 tbsp b/c my lemon juice came from a bottle darn it.  forgot to buy a lemon!
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup ground flax - I didn’t use this at all.  I am pretty sure this was Angela’s twist but I added my own little twist!
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional - yes please! I definitely added these
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • instead of the flax I used 1 tbs ground chia seeds AND 1/8 c. flour AND 1/8 c. oat bran

I followed the directions without any changes except I think I made my patties larger than usual.  I kinda wanted them to fit into my mini pita pockets perfectly! LOL

processor

the chickpeas, onion, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, and parsley in the processor

i sprayed the pan with Pam cooking spray...

i sprayed the pan with Pam cooking spray…

Flipped and lookin' good!

Flipped and lookin’ good!

I ended up stuffing some cucumber slices in the pita with the falafel.  I also added some Tahini sauce.  This brand is made in the town right next door to me!

I ended up stuffing some cucumber slices in the pita with the falafel. I also added some Tahini sauce. This brand is made in the town right next door to me! (Good Neighbor)

So, now you know what I’ll be eating the rest of the week!  Unfortunately no one else in the family will eat these… but huge props to my 9 year old daughter for trying it!  Although it never did make it to her belly.  Dang it.  Maybe it’s a consistency thing? I on the other hand thought they turned out pretty darn good!

Other ways I’ll try eating these?  in a salad… probably in a pita with some sliced red peppers… maybe with a melted slice of swiss cheese (yes, it then loses its vegan-ness but that’s ok with me!)… How do you enjoy your falafels?

I appreciate local businesses making delicious food!  I appreciate the protein (albeit in the lower end for beans) in chick peas!  Thanks Angela for sharing some terrific veggie recipes!

(Sorry about the photo quality!  I take all my photos with my phone because my phone is always on me! *Angela did not ask me to review her falafel recipe, but if it’s good, I share, and this was good!)

 

 

Lean Green Bean’s Veggie Mac n Cheese – my take….

So in a quest to actually cook and try something new I’ve been scouring Twitterverse for new recipes. In my quest I stumbled upon Lindsay’s blog. She’s a DTR and Dietetic Intern at Ohio State with a great food blog! Her veggie Mac and Cheese recipe caught my eye. I mean, who can resist Mac and Cheese? Anyone? So, I went to the store an easily found the few ingredients I was lacking (lentils, goat cheese, white shredded cheddar cheese, and I was out of cayenne pepper). Love it. Easy and cheap shopping! At home I already had some veggies: sweet potato, carrots, onion, and zucchini.
Like most people I am busy and the day I made this was a particularly busy day. Between school drops off and pickups and a doctor appointment for one, teeth cleanings for all four, and soccer for one child I had no choice but to make this in stages.
First, I cooked the lentils during lunch.

lentils

I did the whole bag, and then upon Lindsay’s suggestion froze the rest of the cooked lentils.

Then it was pick up one, go to dr, pick up another at a different school, go back to first school and pick up a third.  Dentists appointments for all.  Soccer drop off.  While she was at soccer I sautéed the veggies and cooked the pasta. After they had softened I shut the burner off and let those sit for over an hour to go pick up DD and drop off her friend. Not ideal but it totally worked. (And yes, my cooked lentils were still sitting, covered, on the stove.)

Onions, zucchini, sweet potato, baby carrots, and garlic

Onions, zucchini, sweet potato, baby carrots, and garlic

Then at 7:30 pm I finally got to finishing it. Pretty easy and quick. I even gave myself a challenge to have the entire kitchen picked up and dishes washed while it was cooking!

Mission accomplished.  Cleaned up while it cooked!

Mission accomplished. Cleaned up while it cooked!

Finished Product!

Finished Product!

So, the big question of course, how did it taste???

Well, I have to say I really enjoyed it!  I did add salt though.  I get it.  I know salt isn’t a great thing for you, but honestly, I felt it needed it and I don’t do a lot of salt on a regular basis. (Side note: I gave some to my neighbor to try and she agreed, the salt finished it.) I also used a full teaspoon of cayenne and that was just a bit too much heat for me.  (read: my mouth was on fire!).  But the heartiness of the lentils, coupled with the tenderness of the pasta, the crunchiness of the veggies, the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potatoes, it was really quite hearty, tasty, and filling!  One other thing, besides a little less cayenne, I would do next time is maybe add another clove of garlic.  But that’s just my preference.

And how was it as a leftover? Perfect!  I had it for lunch and dinner the next day!  And still had some leftover!  It heated up well in the microwave and the heat of the cayenne seemed to be less in its leftover stages.  ;-)

So thanks Lindsay for a great recipe!  I will definitely be making this again and be searching your blog for other great veggie recipes!

I so appreciate those who know and love to cook and share with those who don’t love to cook, namely, Me!

Please note, Lindsay didn’t ask me to review her recipe.  I felt compelled to share because (a) I don’t enjoy cooking and this was nice and easy and (b) it was truly yummy!

 

My first 10 miler after teaching SPIN

Okay, so I know some of you are thinking “big deal, that’s called triathlon training!”  But to me, it was a big deal!

First I carbo loaded the night before… lol… it just so happened we were having a family get together at our home so we had spaghetti, homemade bread, caesar salad, and cookies and cupcakes.  Yes, I had multiples… of everything listed!  Eek!

I taught spin at 7:30 am.  For those interested… here’s my playlist:

During Bike Set up, People coming in…

Viva! (Orion Mix)
Daylight – Maroon 5

Warm Up

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (76 rpm)
Untouched – The Veronicas (89 rpm)

Working Portion

The Biggest Mistake – The Secret State (feat. Akon & B.O.B) (105 rm)
Let it Roll – Flo Rida (127/2 = 63.5 rpm)
If Today was Your Last Day – Nickelback (90 rpm)
Remember When – Chris Wallace (127/2 = 63.5 rpm)
Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall (101 rpm)
One More Night – Maroon 5 (93 rpm)
Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull (63 rpm)
Intoxicated – The Cab (127/2 = 63.5 rpm)
Your Body – Christina Aguilera (103 rpm) (and portion of cool down)

(I always have  couple extra songs inserted just in case – we didn’t end up needing them but I also had in the playlist:
Pound the Alarm – Nicki Minaj (125/2 = 62.5 rpm)
American Woman – Lenny Kravitz (85 rpm)

Cool Down/Stretch

Secrets – OneRepublic
Something in the Way She Moves – James Taylor

The profile was a simple one to coach but not always an easy one for riders to execute.  The ride consisted of one heart rate ladder repeated two times with a 3 minute recovery in between.

5 minutes spent at 75% of Max HR
4 minutes at 77%
3 minutes at 80%
2 minutes at 85%
1 minutes 85%+ (go all out)

As far as positions on the bike… for this ride I encouraged riders to keep close tabs on their heart rate and we worked positions that went with the rpm of the song at that moment.  Basically, whatever position we were in, I asked them to keep their heart rate in the specific interval.  But ultimately, the riders had control.  Ex. if we were in a standing climb and their heart rate was climbing too high, they could easily sit and climb or reduce resistance.

The ultimate goal was to get riders to be able to read their own body’s cues and see if they could peg that specific heart rate for the amount of time asked.  Questions? Let me know!

Now on to the run…

I came home, ate half a bagel with jam, changed my workout clothes and dressed for the weather…

It looks beautiful and sunny... but don't be fooled... it was freezing!

It looks beautiful and sunny… but don’t be fooled… it was freezing!

weather.jpg

 

And this picture was taken at the end of my run so who knows what it “felt like” when I first started!

I set out with my Garmin on but decided I wasn’t going for any time… just to get the distance done.

At 3.8 miles I was feeling okay but feeling like I was a little slow. (I actually wasn’t that slow when I looked at the data later.)  I stopped to take a picture of some turkeys… yes, we do see them around here but I’ve never seen them at this point in my run before.

turkeysThey seemed not to love me being there!  Oh well.

Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped!  Spinning for 45 minutes and running almost 4 miles is probably the most I’ve done at one time before… well besides running straight through a Half Marathon and teaching back to back classes (like SPIN and then strength) but I felt like this wasn’t beyond me.  So I put on some more chapstick; threw another Gu chomp in my mouth; put my mittens back on; and started up again.  The legs were not happy.  I pushed through and kept repeating to myself:  ”just warm up again and you’ll be good.”  It was true until about 6.14 miles.  (But who’s counting?) I didn’t stop, but I definitely had some self doubts creeping in.  Here’s what the profile looked like.

elevation

I knew I had a few small hills left and could cut out about 1.5 miles if I wanted.  But then ya know what?  All my tweeps (Twitter running “friends”) crept into my head.  These people do AMAZING things and I always feel like my runs don’t compare to their running feats!  So I bucked up and decided to just do it ALL.  And then? A headwind at mile 7.  Ugh.  Lasted for two miles.  My left hamstring started aching (from an old injury) but I still I kept going.  And then all of a sudden I had one mile left and decided to KICK IT IN!!  And again, I kept thinking of the amazing runs I see people on Twitter do.  50Ks, marathons, teaching multiple classes at the gym and still getting a decent run in, and kicked it in a little more.  And then it was over.  And it felt awesome!

garmin

You might not notice in the above picture but I wore my Mizuno Nirvanas for this long run. (They’re great running shoes, especially for longer distances.)  What else did I wear?  Let’s see.

My adidas colder weather long sleeved shirt with my
Nike hooded fleece over that. (I never took the hood off!)
An ear warmer from EMS.  (never took it off)
Fleece pants from Columbia.
Experia socks with Thorlo technology.
hand knit mittens from my mother in law!  These I took off and put back on several times.
Jaybird wifi earphones.
Adidas armstrap for my iPhone.
Garmin watch and HR strap.

Fuel Belt with three 8 oz water bottles…

My nutrition:

Like I mentioned earlier, I ate a half bagel as soon as I got home from the gym.  It was about an hour from the time I stopped spinning and actually got running.  So, I was a little worried that having about 35 minutes to digest the half bagel wouldn’t be enough time.  I have to say, I had a cramp in my left upper quadrant from about my tenth step of the run through mile 1. At the end of mile 1 I was wondering if my 10 miler was going to turn into a 5 miler!  Then thankfully it went away somewhere in mile 2!

So, all I carried with me was some Gu chomps.  I ate almost one package. I also had some vitamin water zero in my water bottles.  In these conditions my water bottles freeze within a couple miles so I did a little experiment.

I decided to take all 3 of my bottles knowing I would already be a little dehydrated from SPIN.

In bottle number 1: a splash of Vitamin Water Zero and the rest water.

In bottle number 2: 1/4 full of Vitamin Water Zero and the rest water.

In bottle number 3: 1/2 Vitamin Water Zero and half water.

Bottles number 2 and 3 never froze and weren’t too sweet.  (I REALLY like water so having to add something to my water on a run is not my favorite thing to do.)

Bottle number one froze half way through my run and I couldn’t get anything more out of it.

I didn’t finish any of the bottles but drank about 2/3 of all of them.

 

So, I think that’s it.

I appreciate all my Tweeps (unknowingly) pushing me to do more than I usually do!

I appreciate all my fantastic running gear I’m so fortunate to own.

I appreciate all of you who do these types of workouts more than once a week!  I was EXHAUSTED that evening and couldn’t wait to go to sleep!  LOL And no, I didn’t work out today!

Here’s the rest of my Garmin info if you’re interested…

heart rate graph

summary

splits

 

So tell me, what’s the hardest training you’ve done recently?  Did you surprise yourself in any way?

January Cruise – Part Three

Okay, finally!  The last few images of our cruise!

Advanced to balancing forks on the nose while playing on the iPhone!

Advanced to balancing forks (spoons are for wimps!) on the nose while playing on the iPhone!

 

It's not often I get a picture of her!

It’s not often I get a picture of her!   Such talent!

Next morning I got up and ran 7 miles on the TM (of course).  Talk about a CORE WORKOUT?  The ship was so rocky the guy on the TM next to me and I kept grabbing the front of our TMs so we didn’t fall off!  I was so thankful when we finally docked about 4 miles into my run. I was annoyed because after an hour (and just 6 minutes before I would be done) the TM automatically shut off!  So I had to start it up again to finish my 7 miles! Stupid.  I was up super early and my phone was no where to be found (darn kids) so instead of waking them up to find it I used my husband’s ipod.  So I didn’t get a picture of the TM so you just have to believe me!  I also did weights and core this morning.

Our next stop was Jamaica. Unfortunately it wasn’t a great beach day so we had a taxi drive us around for a couple hours.  After the “mistake” of dropping all of us off at Dunn’s River Falls and LEAVING us (ummm… no, I’m not letting my 3, 5, 8, and 9 year olds form a human chain and climb these slippery falls!  Ugh. What part of “we just want to drive around to see some of your island” did you not understand? Anyway, our guide called the taxi driver and we waited a while but were finally picked up and driven around.  The girls seemed to enjoy it, the boys played games on our iPhones.

 

View from "Oceans on the Ridge"

View from “Oceans on the Ridge”

Okay, I’m done with trying to go through the pictures of the cruise so let’s cut to the end, shall we? After Jamaica, sea day back to port.

Last morning of the cruise.  5:45 am.  I couldn't sleep so I got up, got my workout clothes on and headed to the gym - but it didn't open til 6 am so I went on deck.  We were already docked and all the lights in the dark were beautiful!

Last morning of the cruise. 5:45 am. I couldn’t sleep so I got up, got my workout clothes on and headed to the gym – but it didn’t open til 6 am so I went on deck. We were already docked and all the lights in the dark were beautiful!

I went back up to the gym and it was still closed up.  A worker was heading in and closing the door behind him (knowingly keeping me out) and I asked if I could go in.  He replied “it’s not open” but it was after 6 am, which I pointed out so he reluctantly let me in.  There was just one other guy in there.  I guess he opened the door himself and didn’t ask permission.  LOVE it. :)

Last morning on the ship.  Was NOT feeling this after two night's of not sleeping well and some rough seas for 24 hours.

Last morning on the ship. Was NOT feeling this after two night’s of not sleeping well and some rough seas for 24 hours.

 

Okay, so my phone doesn't take the best pictures. But you get the general idea.  ;-)

Okay, so my phone doesn’t take the best pictures. But you get the general idea. ;-)

 

And then we went home.  THE END.

And then we went home. THE END.

 

So in the end I logged 22 miles on the TM on vacation along with 2 solid weights workouts.  And my weight? Up a pound.  Damn cruises.  ;-)

 

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