Sunday, October 31, 2010

a Thanksgiving 5k?

It's been 6 weeks since my half-marathon.  I'm starting to think about what kind of race or event to do next.

Last year, we were back in my hometown for Thanksgiving, and ran in a Turkey Trot there. The Turkey Trot had a 2.5 mile or 4.4 mile option, and almost 2300 participants between the two events.

I ran the 2.5 because I didn't want to "push it" by running a 4 mile race and be one of the last people to finish.  It's run by one of the former cross-country coaches from the district in which I went to school, so there are a lot of fast runners and cross-country alum (I don't fall into either of those categories).

My longest run as of when I registered last October had been nearly 4 miles. If you told me last October that in one year, I would have run 2 half marathons, I would have thought you were crazy - !!

Anyway, this year, we're sticking around our place for Thanksgiving, and visiting family at Christmas.  I don't know of any big races over winter break there, so I'm looking into a fun Turkey-Trot kind of event around here.

It looks like there are 2 events near us - one being a cross country run in a very nearby park sponsored by a high school sports team ($20), and another in the next town over run by a church ($27).  I'm inclined to go with the one that's closer, but concerned about sloppy weather making for a muddy run.

Because of all this longer-distance running and warmer weather, I got sloooow, even for short distances.  I need some help getting a little faster (for me) again.

I used my favorite Smart Coach to make a couple "plans" for me if I decide to run a 5k.

Here's one based on 4 weeks:

And another based on 5 weeks:

Smart Coach seems to think the extra week will help me shave :06 off of my pace. 
My last, well -- my only -- 5k finish time (July 2009) was 30:39.

There's no way I can run my easy runs at a pace of 12:47 without a lot of effort to be that slow, or without a little walking mixed in.  I think for my half training, ~12:06 was my slow pace, and that was tough sometimes.

While I got slower, I at least I know I have the endurance to go longer distances, and to be out for 2 hours at a time, for whatever that's worth.  Anyway, I have started using the above training plan for my running 0 whether I sign up for a Turkey Trot or not.

Have you ever done a "turkey trot"?  
Are you currently signed up for any events (Turkey or not)?

PS, Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Hike

Despite going to bed before midnight last night, I slept in insanely late (nearly 10 am) – I guess I racked up a bit of sleep debt from earlier this week!  It was a busy week at work and I had a couple of really long days.

For breakfast, my husband made buckwheat pancakes with walnuts + OJ and Coffee.  It probably would have involved some kind of fruit, except we really need to get to the grocery store, as we are out of fresh fruit.  (We have frozen stuff, but it’s not the same.  I prefer to use that for smoothies).

It was a nice day, sunny and mid 50s.  We decided to take our pup (Molly) to a park about half an hour away for a hike.


It was 2.75 miles but hilly (well, really just one big hill.  It’s referred to as a mountain, but I’d say it’s a small one) with a lot of switchbacks.  It took us an hour and a half with a couple stops for water and to say hi to other dogs.

hike elev

By the time we were done with our hike, it had become more overcast.  Not the best lighting for photos:


We really wore Molly out!


She sleeps a lot usually, but this is about all she’s done since we got home at around 6pm (that’s over 5 hours at this point)-


Once we got home, we treated ourselves to the bottle of Southern Tier Pumking in our fridge, that was so highly recommended to me by Brittany from Eating Bird Food and Ojodeazul (and I’m sorry if I’m leaving out anyone else who had mentioned it!).


It was fantastic!  While I enjoy beer, I am no connoisseur, and no expert at describing it “properly.”  But I loved how it smelled like spices up front, and it was a little hoppy-but not too much, then a nice pumpkin taste!  I think splitting the bottle between us was probably just the right amount since it is sweeter.  I’d definitely have it again though!

And as it’s down into the 40s right now (ok, not really that cold, I know) we thought we’d use the fireplace for the first time this fall.  Ok, maybe it was still a little warm out for the fireplace.


What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Recipe: Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

I was looking for some recipe-inspiration on the website of my favorite grocery store, and came across this Squash and Pear Soup recipe.  It looked like there were some mixed reviews, but I was interested in the squash and pear combination so I looked online for other squash and pear soup recipes and found this one on Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup.  It was well-reviewed, so I decided to make it.

Here's the ingredient list:
  • 1 (2 pound) butternut squash

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

  • 1 tablespoon curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

  • 2 firm ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch dice

  • 1/2 cup half and half

  • Modifications I made--
    1. It called for a 2lb butternut squash, I prefer this precut stuff instead. I am not fast at food-prep things like cutting squash, so I'll pay a little more for the convenience.  I got 2 packages, so I used more like 40 ounces of squash, minus a couple pieces that fell on the floor.

    2. Even reduced sodium chicken broth has a fair amount of sodium.  I went with vegetable stock instead for lower sodium (75mg/3% of your daily sodium per serving).

    3. I added a little extra curry powder, and improvised by adding a little cinnamon, and some extra ginger.  (Maybe I needed the extra spice anyway, since I used more squash than called for).

    4.  I don't own half and half because it would make my morning coffee routine a lot more unhealthy!  I found that the soup was already pretty thick before adding any kind of dairy, and threw in a splash of skim milk... I don't know why. 

    Here's the soup in the pot, not a very interesting picture.  But I'm including it anyway.

    We've got a lot of it.  It was dinner for both of us last night; and we both packed some for lunch today.  There's still a decent amount left. 

    It took a while to make since you have to roast the squash first, then put all the other things in a pot and cook them before it becomes soup.  I pre-roasted the squash the night before when I had some extra time so it wouldn't take so long to make last night, when we planned to eat it.  Another HUGE time saver was the fact that we have our fabulous immersion blender and did not need to transfer smaller batches of the soup to a blender, then back to the pot.  It turned that pot from chunks to soup in about a minute. (Should have taken a before-shot, but it was a little messy).

    My verdict on the recipe is that I would make this again!  I like the pear taste in the soup.

    My husband has previously made a fantastic version of butternut squash soup (Butternut Squash Soup with Sweet and Spicy Pecans) that we found on the Food Network site/from Rachael Ray.  He's not a fan of Rachael Ray, but he does love to make this recipe!

    After dinner, I ran down to our favorite nearby restaurant that has amazing desserts, and brought back a Reese's Pieces tart for us to split.  Again, should have taken a before-picture, but I dug right in.  It's a little pastry shell with some fudge and peanut butter at the bottom filled with peanut butter mousse then topped with Reese's Pices and a little chocolate. YUM.

    With our dessert, we had coffee, thanks to our new coffee maker.  It's a little space-age looking, but it does the job.  Our $20 Mr. Coffee one appeared to have crapped out after about 3 years.  The interrupter wasn't working well anymore (or at all... actually).  And it seemed to leave a lot of water in the basket that never made it through to the pot.

    This one has the programming feature too, which our bare-bones old one did not have.  So I'll have to try pre-grinding some beans at night and see what it's like waking up to the glorious smell of coffee brewing in the morning.

    Another thing I like about this coffee maker is the shape of the spout on the carafe - it's a little elongated, and so far no dripping!

    You can not see it in my picture below, but the 'reservoir'? (that's what I'm calling the part where you put the water) can come out of the coffee maker for easy filling at the sink, or to be washed.  So far, so good! 

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Off Topic: Skinny Jeans

    iewThe post is a bit off topic, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.  Sorry for the dense text at the beginning, I tried to add as many pictures when possible.

    Up to this point, I have resisted the skinny jean fad.  I am 5'2", I have hips and I have some muscle in my legs, and always thought they would do me no favors.

    Back in May, I gave Banana Republic's skinny jeans a shot in a couple sizes, but I was not in love with them, they were a little more faded than I would have liked, and not worth the (on sale) $70 price tag.  They were also a little too short in my opinion, and going up to the regular inseam would have added 2" (maybe a little too much).

    BR 4P Skinny Medium Wash Jeans
    No longer available on the BR site, or I'd link to them.

    As it is now fall and we are in boot-weather again, I have been thinking about ways to gather up the ankles of my boot cut or straight leg jeans to get them to fit into my rain boots and my taller suede boots.  I was talking with a fellow (short) friend at work about skinny jeans, and she mentioned Old Navy had some that were worth checking out (and cheap).  So I placed an order for a pair the other day.  I bought them on sale for $17.10 (originally 29.50).

    Skinny Jeans were on the brain, and today when I found myself at Target, I said:  What the heck.  I grabbed a couple pairs of skinny jeans and headed to the dressing room.

    I am usually a 2 in skirts and dresses in Target's Merona line (vanity sizing, I
    think), and I don't know that I own any pants from them.  I'm usually a 4 in my Gap/Old Navy jeans and a 4 in Banana Republic Pants.  I grabbed the 4S in these Mossimo Black dark wash skinny jeans ($24.99).  The 4 regular looked long when I held them up to me, if the goal is for these to hit between my ankle and the ground when wearing them.

    The pair I found in the store wasn't quite this dark though, and my eyes were drawn to the Juniors darker skinny jeans.

    They were the Mossimo Supply Company juniors dark wash skinny jeans.  Only $19.99!  I have absolutely no idea what size I am in junior's clothing as I haven't worn it since probably the 9th grade.  Again, the regular length looked long.  I compared waists to the Women's 4S I had in my hand, and found the 7S was kinda close (but a lower rise).  Just to be safe, I also grabbed the 9S too.

    I grabbed a pair without looking, and tried them on.  It was the (Juniors) 9S.  Surprisingly, I was able to get them over my 15" calves with no problem.  They actually fit well!  In the waist, hips, calves, and length.  A little room in the low-rise waist, and not painted on in the hips and thighs.  I was shocked.  They didn't look so bad on, either.  I think this was a good fit, as it will allow a little room for shrinkage.

    Next I tried on the Women's 4S.  These were really snug in in the calf (more "jegging" style).  They fit a little loose in the waist and hip, and I didn't think the side view was as flattering, for whatever reason.  I practiced sitting and when I stood up, they were bunchy in the knee and I had to pull them down at the ankle again.

    Last I tried the 7S, to compare to the 9S I had already tried on.  A little snugger in the calf than the 9S, but they still fit, a little less extra length, and snug enough in the thighs that the back view didn't look as great (fabric pulling a bit under the bum/on the upper thigh).

    I tried on the 9S again, just to double check.  They seemed to look ok with the wedges I had worn to the store, they looked ok when I stood barefoot and when I stood on the balls of my feet to simulate heels.  For $20, why not?

    When I got home I tried them on with a variety of my boots, and tall black pumps as well.  I measured the inseam to be 29".  They have an 8" rise.  The waist measures about 15" across.

    I took some pictures, but the lighting stinks because some big rain clouds moved in and it got really dark out.  Lamps did not do much to help.  But here goes:

     These jeans fit into rain boots, amazing!

    (These Tretorn Langta rain boots are also amazing because they have a 16" opening, which is plenty of space for my meaty calves and pants)

    They even fit into my black suede Tahari Harrison tall boots!
    (Also amazing, because of their 15"+ circumference)
     Can you tell by my stance that it's my 10th attempt
    at getting a clear shot of these black boots in the dark?

    And lastly, here are the jeans worn with black pumps, the Nine West Rocha.

    For reference, here is the Target size chart.

    A womens 4 should fit a 27-28" waist, and 36.5-37.5" hip.  Short styles have a 29-29.5" inseam.

    A junior's 7 fits a 27" waist and 37" hip; a junior's size 9 fits a 28" waist and 38" hip.  Short has a 29-29.5" inseam.

    I will likely leave the tags on these until the Old Navy ones I ordered come in the mail, so that I can compare.  But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by these!  While I may be coming around to skinny jeans, I can't say I'll ever be a legging person...

    What are your thoughts on skinny jeans?  Do you own any?

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Brussels Sprouts!

    After work, I ran to the grocery store, then raced the dark clouds home so I could run before it rained.  The forecast had said 90% chance of rain, but as of 10:39pm, it still hasn’t rained.  Oh well.

    I went for an easy 2.43 mile run.  I thought I should go easy on my legs since it's only been 2 days since our 30-mile bike ride.  It was 73 degrees at 6pm.


    73 degrees warrants a tank top.  I wore my Lululemon I Just Wanna Run Tech in pig pink and my Lululemon Fast Short in black.   2.43 miles at a 10:54 pace.  Thanks to some soccer teams practicing in a nearby park, I had the help of some spotlights as the sun had already started to set.  (When did the sun start setting by 6:06pm!?)

    For dinner tonight, I made a recipe from Real Simple:  Ravioli with Brussel Sprouts and Bacon.

    I have made Brussels Sprouts one other time in my life, and it involved tossing them in some olive oil and spices and roasting them. I feel like the outside leaves got burnt before they were cooked enough.  So I was determined to do a Brussels Sprouts-Do-Over with better results.

    photo from

    Probably not the healthiest thing, but actually not too awful.  I am sure that my version had less sodium and less fat than the original version due to substituting turkey bacon, finding a lower sodium ravioli, and using more Brussels sprouts than the recipe called for.  Also, my recipe yielded 5 servings, not 4.

    Yes, it involved bacon. I used Applewood Smoked Uncured Turkey Bacon from Trader Joes.  I can't find a product page for this, so I will share the nutrition facts.

    2 slices = 40 calories, 1.5g of fat, 20mg of cholesterol, 260mg of sodium (low for bacon, anyway), and 5g of protein.


    Wegmans Frozen Small Round Cheese Ravioli -


    Brussels Sprouts and Pecans:
    Brussels sprouts are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and folate.  Pecans are tasty.


    A sprinkle of cheese on top (I had Pecorino Romano) – While the recipe called for cheese, it probably wasn’t necessary due to the cheese in the ravioli.


    Plenty more left for a couple more meals.


    Thumbs up on the recipe, and the hubby seemed to like it too.  Had enough to pack up 3 lunch-sized pyrex containers for later meals.

    And a Flying Fish Oktoberfest.  There's only 6 more days of October, after all!


    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Long Fall Bike Ride

    Went for a nice long bike ride with the Mr. today.  It was 66 and sunny when we set off on our adventure at about 2pm.

    I wore my Lululemon Run: Zoom Crops, Target Champion SS Singlet, Lululemon Run: Energy Pullover:

    picture from

    picture from (circa September 2009)

    picture from (circa December 2009)

    I filled up my 1.5L Camelbak Hydrobak Hydration Pack to bring along with me:

    Bought the 2008 model in Spring 2009 for $24

    I also strapped on my ifitness pouch, in which I stored my license, credit card, some cash, and my compact digital camera, enabling me to take some of the pictures to follow.

    And we were off!

    The first half included some hills:

    Not sure if that's a big deal or not, but the elevation increased by about 80 feet over 2 minutes or .3 miles.  It sure felt like a big deal.  The last 6.5 miles of the first half of our trip was mostly flat tow path, which was nice.

    We rode 15.14 miles to a nearby favorite town of ours.  About an hour and a half later, we arrived.  We were torn between a really good Middle Eastern restaurant and a place with a good beer selection, burgers, and outdoor seating.

    We went with the bar/burger place.  The patio is around back, I should have taken a picture.  It was decorated with tons of carved pumpkins for Halloween.

    picture from

    I got a Smithwick's (sadly they were out of the Saranac Octoberfest on their menu) hubby got the Troegs Hop Back Ale.   I got their current special burger which included tomatoes, guacamole, jalapenos, and 'queso fresco.'  Hubby got a rueben made with some kind of brat I have not heard of before.  Both came with their home made chips which you can see they sliced from real potatoes - they were fantastic.

    Then we hopped back on our bikes at about 5pm and pedaled the just-over-15 miles back home, making it home with just enough sunlight.  I had just enough water in my Camel to last me the trip.

    Round Trip: ~30.2 miles!
    My quads were feeling a little fatigued on our way home, we'll see how my legs feel tomorrow!

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Pumpkin Spice Smoothie - Fantastic!

    Somewhere in my internet-browsing this morning, I came across this Pumpkin Spice Smoothie on fitsugar.  It caught my eye!  Recipe is from the blog eating bird food and can be found [here].

    When I got home from work, I decided I would make it.  For once, I already had all the ingredients listed in a recipe.  I didn't have a real lunch because my afternoon was crazy at work, and I don't know when the hubs will be home for dinner today, so I made it as soon as I got home.

    In case you didn't click on the recipe link, here are the ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or freshly cooked)
    • 1/2 frozen banana
    • 3/4 cup almond milk
    • Approx. 2 T vanilla protein powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    • pinch of ground ginger

    Note: I have refrigerated unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  
    Pumpkin from Trader Joe's. I don't usually go out of my way for organic.
    Vanilla protein powder by BioChem (isn't that a high school science class?)

    I just liked the way the almond milk sat on top of the pumpkin mush.

    Finished product!

    The verdict?  Thumbs up.  Fantastic!

    My only regret is that I did not have pre-frozen banana.  I will be sure to have some in the freezer for the next time I make this (yes, there will be a next time!)  After making it, I threw in a couple ice cubes to swirl around since the only thing cold in this was the almond milk.

    Thanks to eating bird food for this great smoothie recipe!  I have not checked out her site before, but I am appreciative of her sharing her recipe with fitsugar!

    And because of my hectic afternoon (today was a long day... is it really only Tuesday?), I am looking forward to one of these later tonight.  Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale.  A nice amber-y pale ale.

    PS, hello to any new readers!

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    "Uh oh. Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays..."

    Back to work today.  I feel like I didn't get to relax at all since we were hosting parents for the second weekend in a row (mine last weekend; his this weekend).

    This morning I prepared some tasty snacks to bring to work with me.  I made my own little fruit & yogurt parfait.  This was my first time trying Chobani's vanilla Greek yogurt.  I layered it with some strawberries and some Honey Oat granola from "The Baker."

    Verdict: the vanilla Greek yogurt is ok with strawberries and crunchy stuff; 
    I can't say I love the vanilla on its own though. 

    I went to work.  I feel like my peep-toe pump days and my skirts without tights days are numbered.

    I came home.  I had to really tell myself not to stop at Dunkin Donuts on my way home for a pick-me-up iced coffee (and hm, I have a coupon for a free donut with purchase of beverage...I haven't had a donut in a long time).  But I resisted. 
    photo from Dunkin Donuts

     photo from flickr

    I made it home, but I snacked on some delicious peanut butter pretzel nuggets. (Better than a donut, right?)  Because I was feeling lazy and putting off going for my run.  Ok, I also had a Reese's Peanut butter cup... why did my husband have to bring a bag of those home??  And why can I not get enough of peanut butter.  And why do I really really want junk food today.

    It was about 58 and overcast when I got home from work.  I was happy to have a chance to wear some cooler weather running clothes!  It also felt incredibly cold.  I had to remind myself that at one point in the spring, I probably thought 58 was warm!  With it being so overcast and a little windy out, it was hard to get off my butt and step out the door, but I did.

    I went for a run in my Lululemon Swiftly Tech L/S in dark classic grey (purchased last year on markdown at my local store - not sure why it looks so awkward on the model on the website!) and my Lululemon Run: Zoom crops in black (snagged off of loot this summer for $49!).

    Slouchy McSloucherton

    I went for 5.17 miles, at what I would call a comfortable pace.  That pace is what all my runs have been lately.  I think since I'm not actively training for anything there's no reason to kill myself over my pace; just trying to enjoy running.  This was my longest run since the half marathon on September 19th. (The next longest distance I've done in the past month is two ~4.35 mile runs).  Anyway, it felt good to go for a nice longer run in the cool weather.

    As a follow up to this previous post, much to my relief, sans-cold medicine my heart rate was back to normal on this run.  My average HR was 167 over the course of the run which is good for me.  The cooler weather helps too.

    PS, Anyone know what movie the title of today's post is from??
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