Friday, January 29, 2010

Food Journaling

I am proud to report that I am almost at a full 2 weeks of food journaling. That might not sound like a big accomplishment to the really diligent people out there, but this is a huge accomplishment for me. I tend to fall off the wagon on the weekends and estimate instead of journaling. But this past weekend, I was completely honest and I tracked everything I put in my mouth. This is especially important on those days when I burn 1700 calories running! Like I've mentioned before, when I ran the New Jersey Marathon in 2005, I gained weight. And no, it wasn't because I got more muscular! It was because I ate burritos, ice cream, wings, fries, etc. I felt entitled, and let's be honest. No one is entitled to eat that. It's poison! I've come a long way in 5 years, and I'm determined to make this a healthy marathon training season. These two weeks are a big step toward that! I'm definitely one to splurge here and there, but within reason, I think that's great! I even had a brownie yesterday. :) It was yummy! I can tell the journaling and running is working though. I'm feeling more toned, fit, and tight. Love it!

Today's workout is going to be one of the Phase 1 Insanity workouts. I'm thinking some plyo will be fun and good for me. I did my weighted workout yesterday. My long run (9 miles) is on Saturday and then I'll do some yoga on Sunday.

Happy workouts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I am loving this!

I just got back from my speed workout, and I am just loving this!!! I have never felt so fit in my life (well, at least with respect to running). It is so fun! Today's run included:

Short jog to warm up (which I did between my apartment and the track at school)
1 mile at 9 min/mile pace
1/2 mile recovery jog
Slow jog/walk home

The best part about it is that it felt awesome! It was FREEZING but I pushed through it, I stayed on pace, I felt good, and I recovered easily when I got home. This training program is working so well! My only run left for the week is a 9 miler this weekend. I still have to throw in some yoga and some weight training, and then I'll be all set.

I hope everyone else is doing well with their workouts! Thanks for the kind words! :) Almost 5 weeks of training down... time flies!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 5 Begins!

Today was the first workout of week 5 out of 18 for my marathon training. Today's run was a slow 3 miler (supposed to be 11:04 minutes per mile according to my training plan). The weather is a little odd in PGH today. It was pretty warm, very humid, and very cloudy. It looks like the skies are going to open up and pour down on us! It did rain a ton yesterday, and now we have a flood warning. I decided to be like the rest of the crazy runners here and go out in shorts. I guess that's what happens when it's 50 degrees and you've become accustomed to 25 degrees!

The distance today was only 3 miles, and I finished up at ~10:30 pace. It's so hard to control your speed! I naturally run around a 9:30 min mile lately, so that is what feels "slow/easy" to me. When I push myself, I'm sure I get into the 8's, and trying to go at 11 feels practically like a walk! Now, here's a good thing about this... I used to run an 11 minute mile and that was my normal pace! So I've definitely gotten more in shape over the last 5 years (I did my first marathon 5 years ago). Woo hoo P90X and INSANITY! I truly attribute it to those programs.

The other thing that I've noticed is that running takes a tremendous amount of core strength. I remember from my first marathon that my lower back was really sore in the beginning of training because my core was just to weak to handle all the long distance running. Guess what!?!? It happened again! I think I was slacking on the ab and lower back work! I've added this little cycle a few days a week and it's really helped me to eliminate back pain:

Regular Crunches
Crunches with Legs in the Air
Bicycle Crunches
Lower Back Leg/Arm Extensions

That last one is the exercise where you start on all fours, and you extend your left arm and right leg, then crunch them together and repeat. Then of course you switch to the other side. Much harder than it looks or sounds!

Enjoy your workouts! Have a healthy Monday!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cross Training and a Long Run

In the past couple days, I've had some kick butt workouts! It's felt great! Yesterday, I decided to do some cross training that included strength. I chose a workout from Exercise TV On Demand that was led by Jackie Warner. She's the trainer from the Bravo show Workout. So, first of all, OMG on her abs. Like seriously! RIDICULOUS! Second of all, I really liked the workout! It was structured really well. She does things by body part, and she does 3 moves per body part. You do the exercise for about a minute at a pretty normal pace, and then you do a power section where you combine those 3 moves in a more intense fashion... like faster and without rest. The body part sections she did were:

Bis, Tris, Shoulders
Upper Abs
Lower Abs

Now I understand why she has killer abs! I woke up fairly sore today which is awesome for a home workout where I only use 8 pound weights!

Today I did my long run which was 8 miles. I went with a friend, and we tried to keep it around an 11 minute mile because my training plan suggested that pace. It felt so slow! We ended up adding in some walk breaks and stopped for water and the bathroom in the middle. The crazy thing about it is that after my stretch, I checked my heart rate monitor and it said I burned 1740 calories!!! That's a whole freaking day of food!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brussel Sprouts!

Over my holiday break, I made it to a cool restaurant in San Francisco called Isa. One of my favorite items on the menu was a brussel sprout side dish. It was slightly naughty in that it had bacon in it, but I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation, so a couple of crumbles of bacon is no big deal to me. Super purists may disagree, but that's why we're all on personal journeys, right? This girl needs some bacon every once in a while! I decided to re-create the side dish in a healthier way tonight. I haven't made it yet, but I'll let you know how it goes! Here's the plan:

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion, chopped (I'm only putting this in here because I have red onions)
1 pound brussel sprouts (most likely halved because they'll cook faster)
4 slices bacon (microwaved because I'm lazy!)

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft. Microwave bacon and crumble. Keep bacon on the side. Add brussel sprouts and saute. I may need to add a bit of chicken broth to steam the sprouts in. Will report on that later! Add bacon crumbles in at the end. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. In all honesty, I should really leave out the salt!

Nutrition Facts
Bacon and Brussel Sprouts
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat10.7g
Saturated Fat1.5g
Trans Fat0g
Dietary Fiber4.8g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 1%Iron 1%

I'm excited about it! I'm going to eat a chicken breast as well that I've marinated in soy sauce and powdered ginger with a little hot sauce mixed in. Yum!

On the workout front, I went jogging with a friend this morning. It was fun!

Have a healthy night all!

UPDATE: I did use some chicken broth. 1/2 cup and I added it into the brussel sprouts, onion, and garlic, then I simmered that until the brussel sprouts were tender and dark green. I also forget to mention that was 4 servings!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rest and a New Program

Today is a Rest/XT day and I decided to make it more of a rest day. I had a physical scheduled this morning, and it was a 30 minute walk from my apartment. I made my cross training the walk to and from the doctor, in addition to my normal walk to and from school. It actually added up to about 400 calories, and that is right on for what I need with my food intake today. So resting tonight it is! Now it's time for some low key school work... all on my own time and without interruption. Oddly enough, that can be fairly relaxing for me. Ahhh...

In other news, I decided to change running programs. I switched to one that I got from Runners World's website called the Smart Coach. It gives you more information and a more personalized plan (for free!) than Hal Higdon's website does. This will actually tell me what pace I should be running, when I should do intervals, when I should do tempo runs, etc. And it allows for more cross training, which to me will be lifting, plyo, and yoga!

Hope you had a healthy day! Tomorrow is a new one, so even if you didn't, you can get back on track then!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bean Salad Recipe

I don't know about you, but I get seriously sick of eating lettuce and regular salads. I don't know what it is, but they just get boring and unsatisfying. I've taken to making salads that don't include lettuce so I still eat well, but I can avoid the lettuce boredom. Here's something I made this week that was inspired by a restaurant called Nepenthe in California. I've made something like this before, but I ate at Nepenthe recently and had their version, so I was feeling inspired.

Bean Salad
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste

I put this into and it gave this for nutrition information if you consider the full recipe to be 8 servings. In the future, I may use a lite Italian dressing or even reduce the sugar or oil. This was pretty similar to a recipe I saw for the Nepenthe bean salad, so I decided to try it with the sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Bean Salad
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat14.5g
Saturated Fat1.9g
Trans Fat0g
Dietary Fiber5.8g
Vitamin A 8%Vitamin C 86%
Calcium 5%Iron 11%

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy. High Power Snack

With marathon training comes the need to eat more calories than usual. In a 5 mile run and stretch, I burn over 1000 calories! Last time I ran a marathon, I ate with no thought, and I actually gained weight. This time, not so much! I will not allow that to happen! This is going to require me to eat healthy high calorie foods. Today, I mixed up a snack that I'm loving so I thought I'd share!

1/4 cup Trader Joe's dried bing cherries (no sugar added)
2 T black walnuts, also from Trader Joe's

The calorie count is 226 calories according to

Go here for more information on the anti-inflammatory properties of bing cherries. Black walnuts are a good source of Omega 3's, so overall I feel like I'm getting a powerful, healthy snack out of these 226 calories!

Week 4 Marathon Training

It is now week 4 in the marathon training, and it's starting to step up a bit. My schedule for the week is listed as:

Rest, 3 mi, 4 mi, 3 mi, Rest, 9 mi, Cross Train

After doing some research and getting some advice, I've decided that I will allow myself from time to time to substitute plyo work for one of my shorter runs. In the beginning, INSANITY workouts make more sense because they only require 40 minutes of my time, and a 3-4 mile run is going to take me 30-40 minutes. As my mileage increased, I'll work in one of the phase 2 INSANITY workouts or Plyo X from the P90X program.

I've also decided that one of my rest days is going to be a yoga day instead of pure rest. This week (and most weeks), that day is today! I didn't have school today because of MLK Day, so I scheduled a massage for 9 AM. I won my fantasy football this year (2 years in a row, thank you very much), so I had an extra $250 I didn't expect to have. Woo hoo! I treated myself to a few massages so I can keep my body in tip top shape during my training. After I got back, I had some extra water (very important after massages), and then I did a 25 minute Rodney Yee yoga routine. It's called Yoga for Flexibility, and I love it! I am now nice and relaxed, plus my muscles are stretched out!

Tomorrow I will get back to my running with a 3-4 mile run. Last week was a successful week, and I felt super strong like I was really building up some endurance. Let's hope this week is just as great!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Running 3 Days a Week?

So I'm thinking I'm going to change my running program slightly. It has me running 4 days per week, and that cuts out a lot of time for other workouts! I'm seriously considering substituting one of my short during the week runs with an Insanity workout or maybe Plyo X. Then I'm getting my heart rate up to a running level, but it's a different workout so I won't get bored. There are plenty of 3 day per week running programs out there, so I'm thinking it should be fun. I of course will never skimp on my long runs because that is a big part of the program! Can't run 26 miles if you haven't done your 18 mile run too!

Runners out there, any thoughts on occasionally subbing plyo for one of my short runs?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Above Freezing!

Today I fit in my 4 mile run for the week in the beautiful, MILD 39 degree Pittsburgh weather. It felt like spring! Oh so sad... :) There were actually a ton of runners out there. You'd have thought it actually was spring!

I mapped out a course for myself using the US Track and Field website. I know there are other sites, but this was the first I used so I prefer it. Anywho, I mapped out a nice 4 mile loop that started in my neighborhood and made its way into a neighborhood right next door. What I failed to remember is that this other neighborhood is up a fairly large hill, so for a good 20 minutes I was seriously running up hill. Not only was it up hill, but I'm pretty sure people from Pittsburgh have learned how to walk on snow, so they just don't bother to shovel. So I was running up hill on snowy sidewalks. Oddly enough, I'm used to that although it does slow you down a bit. I actually tripped once, and it was on DRY LAND! What a clutz! I didn't fall, but I seemed to be quite stable in the slush. I guess I'm a cold weather beast at heart!

All in all, good run today. I stretched for 12-ish minutes afterwards with the help of my cat. It's one of his favorite activities. I sit down to stretch and he runs over and sits next to me. Too cute!

Hope everyone is doing well with their health journeys! Be well!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week 3 Workouts

So far week 3 is going well! I did one of my 3 mile runs yesterday, and (as advised in a comment) I made it an interval run. When I trained for one of my half marathons, I was really good about doing speed workouts and tempo runs, and I definitely felt the improvement in my running. I'm going to try to do as much of that as I can during this training program too. I ran just under 3 miles in some freezing cold weather, but I felt strong, so it was great!

Today I decided to do some cross training instead of running because I needed a bit of a rest. I did a total body weighted workout in my living room while I watched Dr. Oz. Much more of what I was in the mood for! I'll get some running in tomorrow!

Also trying to get my food back on track... that's going pretty well! I had to rough it a bit the other day before I made it to the grocery store, which meant random leftovers, but now all is well!

I can't believe week 3 is almost over! The mileage is going to get long and serious really soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Okay, I know it's already January 11, so the new years wish is a bit late. I have literally been away since before Christmas though and I just returned last night. I am so excited to be home! My vacation was quite nice, but it was also very, very busy. I went to see my parents for Christmas, then flew to Florida to see my grandparents, then flew to Cali to see my boyfriend and his family. I finished the week in San Francisco networking with companies in the area to see if I could perhaps get a job at one of them eventually. After all that, being locked up in my toasty warm apartment with my cats is AWESOME! I do have class today though, so it is back to reality!

While I was away, I started my marathon training. The first two weeks went something like this:

Rest, 3 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles, rest, 6 miles, Cross Training
Rest, 3 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles, rest, 7 miles, Cross Training

I didn't do the workouts EXACTLY as above because I just need more of my weight lifting than that is allowing. I definitely did two 3 miles runs each week and my long run. I also did a lot of walking with my dad and my boyfriend, and I hit the hotel gym a couple times and used some free weights. I have not weighed myself since I got back... ugh reality! I was not awful but I had my fair share of beverages and yummy food. I am going grocery shopping today to stock up my fridge on healthy, wonderful food. Can't wait!

This week's marathon training looks like this:

Rest, 3 miles, 4 miles, 3 miles, rest, 5 miles, Cross Training

I'm a bit sore from my 7 miles run on Saturday, so I plan to do some yoga today to warm up and stretch out my muscles. I'm cool with the running mileage on the other days, but I'd love to throw in one full body strength workout. I'll make sure to get in one real rest day as well because that is going to be very important. Last bit of really important activity is food journaling... I'll be burning a lot of calories running, so I need to make sure I properly refuel my body so I can keep up with the workouts. Plus I don't want to use running as an excuse to pig out! When I ran my first marathon, I gained weight because I just ate whatever I felt like! Not good!

Hope everyone is having a healthy start to the year!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Short and Sweet

I am waiting for a flight from CA back to PA (it's going to be a looooooooong trip), and I can finally post a short note! My Christmas and New Year's were awesome, and it is now back to reality! I was good about keeping up with my running and workouts over break. I did more running than anything, but I spent a week at a hotel recently, so I used their gym for some free weight activity. I am looking forward to getting back to my normal life!

Back to school on Monday for my last semester of graduate school... need to find a job! We're hoping to find good jobs in the SF bay area (biotech for me), so keep your fingers crossed for us!