Thursday, July 29, 2010

Training Week in Review

Monday night I went to an hour long spinning class followed by a half hour abs class. The class included a couple sets of 'haybalers' (move 10 lb disc diagonally across your body), the Hundred (Pilates move), basic crunches, exercises with a stability ball, Russian twists; and four 1-minute planks scattered throughout.

Tuesday morning I did an easy 2 mile run, as per my training plan. It was nice and cool and I ran it at a faster that I was supposed to. My abs still hurt. Have you ever run when you're sore in the ribcage area? ow! I guess that means the abs class was effective.

Wednesday was a rest day (thought about going to spinning, but I was at a friend's pool in the afternoon then went to my husband's first softball play off game). Also justified not going to spinning as I was going to run 7 miles the next morning and thought I should save some energy for my legs. My abs still hurt. I did get in a little manual labor as I went in to work to empty out my desk and pack up all my office things and books (my office is being moved).

Thursday morning I woke up early with every intention of running 7 miles. I was sure to hydrate the previous night, I got plenty of sleep, and then I woke up to a downpour. My abs/torso were still a little tight!! But finally getting better. And it continued to rain buckets until after 10am. I'm ok running in light rain, especially when it's warm out, but this was crazy.

So when the rain stopped, I headed out at about 10:30. It was disgustingly humid. It was 81F with 82% humidity when I started. I was supposed to do a mile warm up, a 5 mile run at half-marathon pace, and a mile cool down. The first two miles went well but then it really started to heat up. Then it went from overcast to direct sun! It got so hot out. I was definitely running slower than I wanted to. And I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch half an hour away at 12:30. I ended up cutting my run short at 5.5 miles so I would have time to eat something, shower, and get to lunch on time.

I was really disappointed I didn't get to 7 miles, but that downpour really screwed things up for me. Guess I should have gone to the treadmill first thing (But I've posted before about how hard it is to stay on the treadmill for that long). Oh well... it's not the end of the world. If it counts for anything, I walked the dog in the morning, as I usually do, which was about a half a mile, and we walked to our garden plot and back tonight (1.5 miles round trip) to pick another batch of ripe veggies.

July 29 Batch of Ripe Veggies

Friday- Tomorrow's an early 2 mile easy run before we hit the road for some family stuff out of town.

Sunday- Should be my 9 mile distance run for the week, but we'll be in the car for our 8 hour return trip drive, so I'm guessing my 9 miles will be bumped to early Monday morning.

How do you handle weeks where you may not have trained as much/as well as you wanted to? Do you stress about it or is it not a big deal?

Starbucks Rewards

Anyone belong to Starbucks Rewards? All you really have to do is have a gift card that you have registered on their website. Every time you pay with your gift card, you earn a star. After 5 stars you become a "Green" member and receive some benefits (like flavored syrup and milk on the house), after 30 stars you become a "Gold" member. Once a gold member, you still get free beverage customization and get a free drink every 15 stars, get a personalized Starbucks Gold card, and get personalized offers. That free syrup is actually not a bad deal-- basically most flavored lattes (mmm...Cinnamon Dolce Latte!) would then cost the same as a plain latte.

Gold Card, name scribbled out.

I just got my gold card a couple months ago (see above). And just recently got a card in the mail for a free drink! Any size.

Recently I have also started receiving cards for 15% off anything in their store valid during a certain time period. (merchandise, not drinks... I wonder if it was good on beans though? I didn't use the card, and I tossed it... I'll have to check next time I get one). Anyway, the rewards program is completely free, and a nice way to reward frequent/regular customers.

One of my favorite coffee beverages in the whole wide world is the Starbucks Double Shot, also previously called a Double Shot on Ice. I'm not referring to the canned variety available in supermarkets. I am referring to this beauty:

It's espresso and milk (I get nonfat) with some of their classic syrup (you can also get it without), shaken in a tumbler, poured over ice, and topped off with more milk. It's like a really strong iced coffee. It's also pretty cheap, for Starbucks. It's usually around $3 for me for a Venti. There used to be a button for it on the register, which has since disappeared, but it's the same cost as an Americano + classic syrup.

Recently I came across a coupon for $1 off the new Starbucks VIA instant iced coffee. I bought a package the other day. The coupon brought the package of 5 from $5.95 down to $4.95. I have yet to try it.

Anyone try VIA yet?
Are you a Starbucks or a Dunkin Donuts person (or both)? (I like both).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Garden Update & A nice COOL run!

Here's what we picked from our garden on Saturday, 7/17:

We used most of the tomatoes and two bell peppers by just cutting them up and cooking them in some olive oil and serving over pasta.

And here's what we picked from our garden Thursday 7/22:

We're still working on using this stuff up... Saturday morning we had tomato and pepper omelets for breakfast.

Some banana peppers cut up

Last night we cut up some of the above cucumbers and some of the tomatoes and tossed with a little dressing and had a cucumber and tomato salad before dinner. I must say, the big tomatoes are SO flavorful compared to what you find on your sandwich or in your salad at most restaurants.

Look how red those tomatoes are inside!

I'd also just like to say...yesterday we had a serious thunderstorm roll in with heavy rain and high winds. It cooled things off quite nicely (for the rest of the day anyway). Last night I ran an easy 4 miles at 9:30 pm and it was only 72 out and breezy. It was glorious!! I headed out with my watch, cell phone, and my fun little clip on blinking light for visibility:

I just ran at what felt like a comfortable, easy pace, without checking my watch continuously (only when it beeped at me every mile to check my pace). My pace per mile was about 15 seconds faster than my last "easy" 4 mile run on Friday morning, and my average heart rate over the course of the run was 16 bpm slower. Woo hoo!

I am not ready for summer to be over, but when you run outside, cool days/evenings are greatly appreciated! It gave me a little confidence boost. As it's been so hot, I've been worrying about being able to run the pace I want to for the half marathon in 2 months. Hopefully it won't be above 80 on that day and I can know that when it's cooler I will be able to run at a faster speed, more easily than I can in the weather we've been having for the past month. I checked my notes on my Garmin Connect program and saw that the last time I ran outside when it was at least 72 or cooler was June 30th (last night's pace was faster and my HR was slower than my June 30th run too, hopefully that's an indication of progress). It's been nearly a month since I've been able to run in weather that cool. Anyway, back into the 90s this week, but at least our overnight lows are going to be around 70 again, maybe I will plan for more evening or early morning runs when I can.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Coffee Cubes and some Birthday Treats

Here's my attempt at Coffee Ice Cubes.
They don't photograph well, and they don't look too appetizing in an ice cube tray.

I put 4 or 5 in a glass:

Be careful, they leave coffee on your hands!
(I took a picture of my hand with melted coffee cube all over it,
but didn't think it was worth posting).

And I added some milk.

And I added some previously made, previously chilled coffee.

Looks a lot creamier with my camera's flash than it actually is.

Yesterday was my birthday, so I decided to treat myself to some of the best cupcakes I have ever tasted (hope it didn't ruin my husband's plans for my birthday dessert).

Warning: There is nothing healthy about the pictures to follow!

Sugar + Sunshine bakery makes the best cupcakes I have ever tasted. I haven't tasted a whole lot of cupcakes, but enough to know that I really like these.

Yes. That's two boxes that you see. That's because when I went in to the bakery, I saw some cinnamon rolls left. I have heard fantastic things about the cinnamon rolls, and usually there are none left after mid-morning. And as this bakery is no where near where I work or live anymore (well, it's like 10 miles away, and I am rarely over that way) I am never there in the morning. So I brought home one for me and one for hubby:

And then, what I went to the bakery for in the first place. Mocha cupcakes! Well, clockwise starting at the top we have Mocha, Carrot Cake, Chocolate w/Peanut Butter Frosting, and Mocha again.

Mocha Close Up:

These babies are chocolate cake with a coffee butter cream frosting. The fat kid inside me LOVES butter cream frosting. These are fantastic cupcakes for the coffee fanatic.

The carrot cake and peanut butter chocolate ones are for my husband.

Sugar + Sunshine's cake is moist enough, but not too sticky.
A nearby rival cupcake place seems to consistently have dry cake, not just at the end of the day when they've sat out for a while. I already raved about the butter cream frosting.

So that was my birthday treat. I've been sticking to my running training plan, I have been eating healthily and I haven't had dessert like this in a long time. I know my 4 mile run yesterday morning probably didn't make up for the birthday cupcake, but it was worth it anyway. I didn't get around to the cinnamon roll or the second cupcake (one of those is later today and one is for Sunday).

I worked up quite a sweat running errands today at about 6 stores in the 99 degree weather, I've got a 4 mile run on the schedule for tomorrow morning (it's a "recovery week") and Monday night is my hour long spin class. So I'm not going to sweat my sweets this weekend.
I ate well otherwise...

For dinner last night we went to a nearby low-key favorite restaurant. I had a fantastic arugula salad with asparagus, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds, and a lemon vinaigrette. It came with a little goat cheese and tomato quesadilla wedge which was also delicious. It was so huge I had leftovers for dinner tonight.

So, I am a huge fan of butter cream frosting (one of several "bad" things I like).
What not-good-for you foods do you like to indulge in?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Stride Jacket!

I stopped by my local Lululemon store the other day to check out the new Stride Jackets. I looked at one in coal/alarming (gray and orange combo) and one in Oasis/River rock (blue). I liked how unusual the gray/red-orange combo was, but I really liked the dark shade of blue-green and one of the educators said Oasis looked really good with my skin tone. So that helped me make up my mind!

I tried on my usual size 6 and it was quite baggy allover. The shoulder seams went far past my actual shoulders and it was just very loose through the mid section. I grabbed a 4 to compare, and found it was a much better fit. I was looking for it to be a little more fitted. I don't need it to be baggy as I won't be wearing it over bulky clothing like sweaters. The educator agreed that the 4 looked better on, and not too tight.

Lululemon Stride Jacket II, Oasis/River Rock, Style W4768S

I love how the hood is HUGE. I am wearing my hair up in these pictures, and the hood still comes over the top of my head. The sleeves are plenty long, though that is not usually an issue for me as I'm only 5'2". That stand up collar is pretty tall when worn up - it entirely covers my mouth when zipped up. I like the contrasting inside of the hood and drawstrings (I wish I fixed them before taking the pictures though!) The wide waist band is nice. That feature combined with this fabric - it really retains its shape and doesn't get stretched out around your middle while wearing it - very flattering!

The educator who rang me up warned me to keep those side pockets zipped when not using them. She got one of these, and noticed a little pilling on her sleeves from brushing against the unzipped pocket. I did notice a couple jackets on the rack had a tiny pull here and there on the ribbed section (the part that is their logo).

It's a really comfy hoodie. I didn't want to take it off, except for the fact that it's about 93 outside. This hoodie really makes me want a nice cool day or evening just so I can wear it. But we still haven't had an overnight low below 70 in several weeks. And this weekend we are expecting highs in the upper 90s. So that's not happening soon! I can't wait to wear it when it does cool down though.

And just for fun:

I know the first picture is really dark, but I'm sharing it anyway - I swear my dog knows when I am doing this and intentionally tries to get in the picture :) She just walked right over to me and I tried to shoo her away before the timer went off, but she just sat down right where she was. Just walked into the picture for the second one too...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coffee Protein Smoothie...sort of

I recently became aware of Tone It Up. They have some great short videos on their site showcasing exercises to target various muscle groups. They also post recipes on their blog, and I recently became a fan on Facebook. TODAY, they posted this on facebook - right before I went to the gym.

(Screenshot from Tone It Up's Facebook page, as there's no link to it on their blog).
Click on the picture to make it bigger if it is hard to read.

As a self-proclaimed coffee addict, this sounds fantastic and the picture is makes me want iced coffee real bad. I didn't get to making coffee cubes yet. We only have 2 ice cube trays, and I need them both for water ice cubes in this weather. I'll have to buy another tray to use for trying out coffee cubes.

So I brewed some coffee right before I left for the gym. I just so happen to have almond milk in the fridge, because I bought some a couple weeks ago to try out for the first time. I'm not vegan or anything, and I consume plenty of dairy - I was just curious to know what almond milk was all about.

AND I picked up some protein powder at Whole Foods last week when I went there for Coconut Water. They had some nice small packets that I picked up for me to try whey protein for the first time. I think they were something like $1.19 each, but I can't find my receipt.

So I didn't keep exact measurements as I made this smoothie. But I knew that 8 ounces of Coffee, 4 ounces of Almond Milk, 2 ice cubes, a dash of cinnamon, and 1 tbsp Vanilla Protein Powder (I know that's less than a serving - but: baby steps) was not going to make much of a smoothie. Actually I mixed that up first only to find some of the liquid shooting out of my blender cup. It didn't taste fantastic. Really thin. So I added a small glop of greek yogurt. Plain, but hopefully enough to thicken it up. Nope, still thin. So I added a medium banana. Might as well get a little nutrition out of this. The banana really helped! It was still very drinkable but not too watery. The result was this:

No idea what the end product was, nutritionally-speaking. It contained something like 2 ounces of 2% greek yogurt, 8 ounces of Dunkin Donuts Dunkin Dark Roast coffee, 4 ounces of Silk Pure Almond Milk, 2 ice cubes, 1 tbsp of BioChem Vanilla Whey Protein (1/3 or 1/4 of a serving?), sprinkle of cinnamon, and a Medium Banana.

If I just used regular skim milk instead of almond milk + protein powder, it would probably result in the same amount of protein.

By the way, if you're curious, here is a (nutritional) comparison of Almond Milk to Skim Milk:

L: Almond Milk; R: Skim Milk

On the Almond Milk container, they compare Almond Milk with 1% Milk.
I can't say Almond Milk is healthier for you - but it's not a bad option if you can't or don't want to drink dairy. I have never tried Soy Milk so I cannot compare (nor am I interested in trying it. Long story, but it has to do with when I saw Wesley Willis live about 7 years ago.
Anyone know who Wesley Willis is? But I digress.)

The following comparisons are based on one cup of each kind of milk.
  • Almond has 20 less calories than Skim
  • Almond has 2.5g fat more than Skim
  • Almond has 3g less of cholesterol than Skim
  • Almond has 30mg more sodium than Skim
  • Almond has 4g less carbs than Skim
  • Almond has 1g more fiber than Skim
  • Almond has 4g less sugars than Skim
  • Almond has 7g less protein than Skim
  • Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin D are the same
Anyone try Almond Milk? Thoughts? Any creative uses? I've only been using it in my coffee and the occasional smoothie. Not sure what I'm going to do with this whole container :)

What I'm wearing to the Treadmill

My in-laws were here this weekend through this morning, so I wasn't able to get outside early enough for a run today. Now that they have left, I will head to the gym and run 4 miles on the treadmill. It's 84 and 55% humidity and I haven't even left yet, (and I am stalling by writing this post) so I'm sure it will be more like mid to upper 80s by the time I get out the door.

Here's what I'm wearing:
The black tank is from Target's C9 active wear line. I bought it last summer or maybe even the summer before that. It's 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex. Made in Jordan. I think it was called the Long & Lean Tank, though the current version of this tank online has different percentages for the fabric. I have it in black, a dark purple, and a light pink. It's a lightweight, moisture-wicking racer back tank. I believe the price is $14.99 though I know I bought 2 of my 3 on sale for $9.99. I'm wearing an XS.

My shorts are Lululemon's Speed Short in sidewalk/white foxy plaid, style # LW7558S. The shorts are 100% Polyester, the Liner is a blend of Polyester, Coolmax Polyester, and Lycra Spandex. The plaid is a little crazy for me, but not too wild in gray. I got them while marked down to $39 at my local Lululemon. As you can see, this style of short flares out a bit around the leg opening, which is different from the original version of the short (I talked about that a little bit here). They are still a good moisture-wicking lightweight run short with the zip pocket in back that I really appreciate and the nice wide waist band that doesn't cut in. I'm wearing my usual lululemon size 6 in these. I tried on the 4 as I read online reviews stating these run bit, but the 4 was too snug in the waist. For me, these are true to size, but with a looser fit through the leg.

3:30pm - Edited to Add:
The Sports Bra I'm wearing is a newer style by Moving Comfort, called Juno. See it [here].

This color is Guava. I actually ordered this exact style but in Black a little over a month ago and loved it so much I ordered one in a second color. So far I've worn this puppy on runs of up to 8.5 miles and feel that it is very supportive, without smooshing me flat like a pancake. It's rated for high impact activities and uses both encapsulation (cups) and compression (some smoosh).

It's a pullover racerback style with a row of hook and eye closures at the bottom for a better fit. So you leave the hooks open, pull it over your head and then hook it closed. I love this!! (I have Moving Comfort's Fiona bra which offers great support, but it is not racerback. So I cannot wear it (attractively) with any of my racerback tanks. It has been a good fall and winter running bra anyway).

Also, the straps are adjustable from the front. You can see where the straps disappear into the body of the bra. The straps double back, coming up on the inside where you can adjust the length. It comes in actual bra sizes, not S/M/L and I find it fits true to size. For this style I wear the same size as my normal bra size. I can even fit my heart rate monitor strap under the band of this bra.

Moving Comfort's special fabrics are: S.Cafe Polyester - made with coffee grounds! Its properties include: fast-drying, odor control, UV-protection, and it's environmentally friendly. And aerosilver: anti-microbial, odor-preventing, quick dry, UV protection.

Most importantly, it's supportive for bigger cup sizes and can be worn under racer back tanks. $52 sounds like a lot for a sports bra, but it is worth the money. You can check places like or and usually find a promotional code to knock that price down even more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I Wore Running

I got up this morning around 6:45ish so I could get an earlier start on a long run today. An 8.4 mile run, to be exact! The high for today was 93... and it's staying in the 90s for the foreseeable future, so I guess I need to get better about waking up early if I want to run outside. I didn't get to check the temperature when I left because my husband was still sleeping, so I just got ready and slipped out the door. But when I got back, sometime before 9am, it was 84 with 59% humidity.

I made sure to drink lots of water last night so I would be hydrated when I woke up. After I got ready, I ate a banana and drank some water, grabbed my Garmin Forerunner, then I headed out the door.

This is what I wore:

Front - New Balance Cocona Tank

Back - Check out the Reflectivity

I wore my New Balance Cocona tank. It is antimicrobial and moisture-wicking. It's semi-fitted, but a little looser below the bust. It's made of 35% COCONA Polyester/65% Polyester. Cocona is a fabric embedded with activated carbon from coconut shells, a renewable material that wicks, fights odor, and offers UV protection. You can read more about cocona [here]. This is a nice lightweight tank. It's fitted, but not tight, and I like the slightly longer length so I don't need to worry about it riding up. While it wicks, it doesn't show sweat easily.

Lululemon Speed Shorts, black (Summer 2009)

Back - Note the venting, reflective logo, and zip pocket

I love my Lululemon Speed shorts from last summer. They seem to be a different material than the two pairs of Speed Shorts I bought this year (white/wish blue and sidewalk/white foxy plaid). My black pair seems lighter and softer. The ones from this year seem to have a stiffer fabric. I also prefer the fit of these guys; they are shaped a little more to my butt and upper leg. The new ones are a bit looser and flare out at the leg opening more. I still like the new ones I bought, but this black pair is really my go-to running short. I find I choose to wear them for running more than any of my other shorts.

O.N.E. Coconut Water

When I got back from my run, I was thirsty! I was hoping being hydrated was enough to get me through my run, and it was, but on my next long run I'll definitely be bringing water along. It's hard to compare these long runs with my earlier training - since the long runs for my spring half marathon training were in 50-70 degree weather. Anyway, I filled up a big glass with ice and coconut water and downed it pretty quickly.

I just picked up this Liter sized container of coconut water at Whole Foods for 2/$8 the other day. Considering O.N.E.'s little 8.5 ounce (250mL) bottles are ~$1.19, this was a good deal.  The 11 ounce containers are usually $1.69.

After breakfast, we went to the local farmer's market where we picked up some more fantastic honey from a nearby farm. I had always just bought the bear shaped clover honey from Wegmans, but THIS stuff is really good.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Garden Update

A belated picture of what we picked from our garden this past Monday night (7/12):

We went to the garden this morning to water and weed and came back with all these goodies:

Looks like maybe we'll be making some salsa.

I meant to bring my camera to the garden with me but forgot. The tomato plants got huge since we had two days with rain recently (It's been about a month without rain before that! We've had to rely on us watering the garden about every other day). I think we need to get more twine or garden tape to hold them to their stakes.

Anyone else garden? What do you grow?
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