Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Return of Yoga X

I just finished up the flow portion of Yoga X. It felt so good! I've been meaning to do this all week! I had plans to do the workout on Thursday, but I was up late doing work on Wednesday night and I was exhausted in the morning. Then I was surprised by some Eric Clapton concert tickets, so I went to that on Thursday night. It was great! He sounds AMAZING!!! So yesterday I was studying all day because I have a final exam today, and I never got in yoga then either. FINALLY, this morning I decided I had to do it, and I decided to do half since I really don't have time for the full 90 minutes. It's definitely a busy week/weekend! I'm happy I did 50 minutes though... I feel nice and stretched out now. On Sunday I'll get in my long (14 mile run)!

Hope everyone's workouts are going well! Keep pushing play or bring it to whatever you're doing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2 Down, 1 To Go

I made it through 2 of 3 running workouts this week unscathed! Yesterday, I did the slow 2 miler and I threw in some free weights afterwards. I had more energy than a quick 20 minute workout. I did bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest press with a crunch, bent over row, and shoulder fly. I also did some extra abs at the end and some random leg stuff like kicks, etc. All in all, it was a fun workout! Today I did my interval run which include 3 x 1 mile segments at less than 9 min mile pace. It is a bit icy in the burgh today, so I had to improvise slightly. I did 9 fast minutes followed by 6 slow and repeated a total of 3 times. Felt great, although I could have gone a little further! It burned 918 calories though, so I can't complain!

Veg is still going well! For lunch yesterday I made myself a black bean burrito. Yum! It was a whole wheat tortilla, 1/2 cup black beans, 2 T sour cream, 0.75 ounce slice of cheddar, and 2 T salsa. I think that ended up being between 300 and 350 calories. I have a ton of beans and canned tomatoes right now, so I think my meals will consist of those for a little while. Here's a recipe I plan to try though:

After I try it, I'll let you know how it tastes! I'm excited there's turmeric in it. I bought some because I read about it being so anti-inflammatory and I haven't figured out how to use it yet. Of course, I haven't really tried either!

Have a healthy day!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Plan for the Week

It's finals week, and life is busy! We have quarters at my school, so this is my last week of class and I'll have two finals plus various assignments due in the next 10 days. I had been thinking today would be a mess, but I got mostly done with an assignment already (by getting up early and starting to work immediately). That means I get in a bonus yoga workout before class! Mixed in with my walk to and from school, and I should have a nice low key workout day. That is much needed after a run yesterday!

Last week was a slow down week on my marathon training, but this week I am back up to full force. My first run is a slow 2 miler, and I plan to do that tomorrow morning before class. I might throw in some abs and other strength exercises too since that's such a short workout. On Wednesday, I have a tempo run that includes 3 x 1600m at 8:51 per mile with 800m jogs in the middle. It'll also include a warm up and cool down, which for me is the walk over to the track and back. My final run of the week is 14 miles. Woot! Should be fun! In the midst of all that, I'll have to throw in some strength and yoga to keep me balanced.

As for food, veg continues to go well. I now have a ton of beans, canned tomatoes, fresh produce, herbs, couscous, etc. Let's see where that all takes me! Today I'm thinking I'll eat something like this:

Breakfast = English muffin with 1 T peanut butter and 1 T jam, coffee with cream
Lunch = eggplant rollatini's from Wegman's with tomato sauce
Dinner = greens and beans leftovers, plus some couscous

I'm going to have to fill in the blanks with some snack... most likely carrots and hummus or some yogurt and fruit.

Have an excellent Monday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The snow is melting!

Yes, that's right, the snow is melting! And people are actually clearing their sidewalks! I went for a run and managed to get in 4.5 miles without any major issues. It felt awesome! I'm definitely getting stronger, even with the snow derailment. Actually, the snow has been a killer workout. The week of the big storm I wore my HRM everywhere (almost) that I went, and I burned 6226 calories that week. Now that is INSANE. This week has been a dial back week for my running, so I've only have to run 5 miles a day for a few days. My final run will be this weekend, and it'll be a slow 5 miler. Today I did a choose your own adventure workout... that means I did whatever I felt like in front of my TV! I did a warm up similar to what Shaun T does in INSANITY, then I rotated weight exercises for 35-ish minutes. I finished with a stretch and managed to burn 523 calories. Excellent!

Veg is going well too! I switched my normal turkey sandwich for lunch to a hummus sandwich. For dinner, I had pasta and veggies one night (Barilla Plus pasta, so higher protein than normal). Last night I had a bread salad and spinach and white beans. Here are the recipes in case you're curious. I had some leftover Italian bread from Valentine's Day, so that's why I made the bread salad. I generally don't eat white flour, but I also don't like to waste food. Next time I make, I'll use a whole grain bread instead. Overall, the meal was awesome!

Calorie count is in check, and I'm even losing weight. At this rate, I'll be back to my "fighting weight" in no time! :)

Have a healthy weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Going veg!

Okay so that might sound a bit nutty given that I'm training for a marathon. I have in fact decided to go veg for Lent! I am Catholic although I don't really go to church very often, but this year I decided I was going to actually do something for Lent. I gave up meat a few times before for Lent, so I'm going for it again. I haven't decided exactly what that will mean to me yet, but I have a couple things that are going to be important for me to feel like this was a success.
  1. I will not eat pasta and tomato sauce everyday. Boring!
  2. I will not survive on peanut butter alone.
  3. I will not eat veggie burgers and soy patties on a regular basis.
  4. I will not eat beans and rice everyday either. Variety is key!
I bought a cookbook last night (it's already shipped... yay Amazon!), and I'm going to try recipes from there. It's called "The Conscious Cook" and it's by Tal Ronnen. It had great reviews and a friend actually recommended it. The recipes are vegan, and I'm not going straight vegan but this will help me with variety and creativity.

A couple disclaimers to go along with this adventure:
  1. I am not going vegan. I will eat dairy products. I'm still not sure about eggs.
  2. I may eat fish. Again, still not sure... I am going to focus as much as I can on not eating fish even when I'm at home, but there may be time when it happens (restaurants, etc.).
  3. I am not doing this permanently, unless I love it.
  4. I am not doing this because I think meat is bad for you, etc. This is a challenge I'm giving myself for Lent.
So, I do want to also mention that when I do eat meat, I do my best to eat meat that is raised humanely and sustainably. After reading about the health problems associated with eating animals force fed corn to make them fat, I started that transition. Then, Food Inc. was really all I needed to push myself over the edge. On a student budget, it is challenging, but it's worth it!

On the running front, it is still SNOWING! I am supposed to run a slow 5 miles today, so I'll be fitting that in after class. I also have to hit the grocery store to get some food. I've got plenty of produce, but I need some more grains and legumes. Let the veg begin!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heart Rate Monitor

So I got a couple questions about how I track my calories, so I figured I'd write a bit about my heart rate monitor. I've actually had it for years, and I love it! I will admit though that I'm kind of craving a Body Bugg so I don't know if I'll always use the one I have. In any case, it's a Polar F11. It looks like they've upgraded their models, so I can't find it on their website, but I imagine this is a comparable model.

Here are the features I love:

  • Tests your fitness level, sort of like a VO2 max although nothing is ever going to be 100% accurate when it comes to that
  • Use fitness level, age, sex, weight to determine calorie burn
  • Stores data for you on workout time, average heart rate, max heart rate, and calories burned
It does way more than that, but that's all I use it for. I bought it because I read reviews and people seemed to think this was the most accurate calorie counter on the market. Of course, this was pre-Body Bugg. I wonder though if there are still Polar diehards out there! If you're looking for a fairly simple to use HRM, I highly recommend the Polar F series HRM's. From what I hear, the lowest level is fine if you're just looking for calorie counts and heart rate.

Another perk is that Polar has great customer service. My watch broke a year after I bought it and they sent me a brand new. Easy peasy! So if you find service to be important, that's another reason to go with Polar!

New Shoes!

All this running has caused my shoes to wear out quite quickly, so I bought myself some new ones online. I'm a devoted Asics shopper, and for the last few years I've been using the Gel Landreth. I don't think they're too popular unfortunately, so they're a bit hard to find. They only sell in specialty running stores, which is great because I like to support local running shops. This time around I bought from an online store I haven't used in ages, but I'm so happy I went back! The website is and they have awesome prices and deals! In fact I joined their VIP club for just $1.99 and I get free shipping and discounts. They also sell bars, gels, apparel, etc. I'm so happy I rejoined the world of roadrunnersports! I'm going to start buying all my protein bars and gels, etc. from there. Excellent!

I also treated myself to a 1 hour massage today. It's part of my plan to not get injured during my training. Man, that was awesome! You don't realize how tight your muscles are until someone starts working on them for you. I can't wait for my next one!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Best Revenge (on snow)

I made my way out into the beautiful (READ: FRIGID) Pittsburgh weather this morning for my long run. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I have had to improvise on the running because the snow was crazy last week and it took forever for the city to clear it. Obviously they don't have enough public works people because they overworked the ones they do have and it still took days upon days. I digress... really I should just stop complaining about the snow! In any case, my workouts for the week included:
  • Hiking to and from school in soft, deep snow... this is a workout, let me tell you! It takes all you have in your abs and back to keep yourself upright! What usually would be ~100 calories burned was closer to 200 calories because of all the extra core work I was doing. SCORE!
  • INSANITY!!! I did two different INSANITY workouts, one of them being Max Interval Circuit. That workout is a BEAST! I had to pause it close to the end to catch my breath. No need to puke! I burned 976 calories on that!
  • My long run (today)!
So the long run went fairly well. It was supposed to be 12 miles, but I didn't quite make it that far. I'd say 30% of the people in my neck of the woods cleared their sidewalks of the 2-3 feet of snow, so I had to slow down and in a lot of cases walk. In the 2 hours and 10 minutes it should've taken me to do 12 miles, I finished 10.4 miles. I'll take it! Oh, and it was 2369 calories burned. OMG!

So this is what I called "The Best Revenge!" I spent almost a whole week not being able to run because of the weather, and I spent a lot more time sitting around and eating/drinking than I should have. Now, I know I am the one who is fully responsible for myself and my actions, so I can't really use the snow as an excuse for having wine every night or sitting and watching TV for hours on end. What's done is done, and my long run today is now representing my revenge. Revenge on snow, on laziness, on drinking every night, on not getting in my runs! I thought of this from one of my favorite running songs called "The Best Revenge" by Fischerspooner. It's kind of a crazy techno song, but it's very motivating. Love it! I listened to it several times while I was careening through the snow and kept thinking to myself that my run was the best revenge I could have on my week of being crippled by snow. It will not happen again!

In case you want to listen to the song, here it is!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Continuing saga of snow

In the continuing saga of sadly defunct public works in my city, I am home yet again from last Friday's snow storm. We've gotten another 6-ish inches today, and they're still miraculously not clearing it. I live on a major road in the city too, so if my streets aren't clear, I can only imagine the side streets. And to make things better, our illustrious mayor decided it was not illegal to leave your sidewalks covered in snow for this storm in particular, so apartment owners, etc. have decided not to shovel. It's been almost 6 days and some places have left over 2 feet of snow on their sidewalks. That means it is dirty, slippery, deep, slushy, and has ice underneath. NICE. Makes for fabulous running weather!

And soooooooo the improvisation continues. As I mentioned earlier this week, I did 1 hour and 40 minutes of plyo to mimic my 10 mile run. My lower body is SORE! Can't complain about that though cause I know that means I worked hard! Yesterday I walked over to school to pick something up, and it took me close to 40 minutes. It usually takes 25. That burned over 300 calories! Today I decided that I was going to substitute my easy 2 mile run for the week with a walk to the pet store to get cat food. I only went a total of 1.5 miles, and I actually did a walk jog combination when I could find steady ground. That total distance took me 35 MINUTES!!! The best part is that it was 409 calories! A slow 2 mile jog on normal terrain would've been maybe 250 calories. I'll take it!

Let's just hope they can clear this stuff up in the coming days. I've watched a powerful amount of TV, done some workouts, studying, and job applications. I could use some normal life though! My next run for the week is a tempo run that will most likely be done on the treadmill. That is if the gym is open at school... we shall see!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Sadly, the snow is still a mess! The entire city was shut down for the day and the snow came on Friday. Not only that, but we're expecting 6-12 inches again tomorrow. Hmm... if they can't clear the first storm what's going to happen with this one? Oh what an awful mayor we have! The good news is that the National Guard is here to help those who are stranded without power, water, etc. It's sad that something so routine in other places totally cripples our city!

This weather has gotten in the way of my marathon training so I had to improvise. I was busy shoveling and walking everywhere I went this weekend so I burned a lot of calories. Actually, it was a total of 2900 for the week! I did not get in my 10 mile run though, and I did not think I'd make it today either. Instead, I decided to do cardio for an hour and 40 minutes because that's how long it would take me to run that distance anyway! Soooo, I did Plyo X followed by Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance. It felt AWESOME! I did better than before one both of the workouts even though I did them back to back! That was a total of 1435 calories! LOVE IT!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Wow. We got a lot of snow!!! Like 2 feet of snow... let's just say I am stuck and will be for a couple days! Thank God I still have heat and electricity! I was supposed to run 10 miles today, but I'm postponing that till Monday. Instead I shoveled snow! I didn't get very far, but I burned a lot of calories... over 700! This is the most snow I've seen in PA in a long time!!! It's crazy! Check these crazy photos out! That's my buried car in one of them!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tempo Run and My Current Food Obsession

Today was a tempo run, which is basically a warmup, a slightly faster than usual run of 3 miles, and then a cool down. It went well! I felt super strong, and I can really tell the running program is working. AND, I burned 822 calories! Not too shabby! Combined with my hilly walk to and from school, and I burned some killer cals today.

As for food, I am currently obsessed with pico de gallo. I am sure most of you have heard of it, but if not, it's basically a fresh, chunky salsa. It's got tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and some garlic or green onion as well... depends on who makes it. We have this awesome Mexican grocer in Pittsburgh so I picked some up there. Yesterday, I mixed it in with some hummus (my favorite brand is Sabra... you have to try it!) and dipped carrots in it. Today I topped an avocado with some pico and ate it with whole grain pita chips. It seriously makes everything taste better! I love it!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rest Day!

Ahhh, the beloved (or dreaded depending on who you are) rest day! I'm loving it! It's been a busy week already with tons of work, and I just need a break. A break from pressure, a break from stress, and a break from working out! I definitely still have work to do, but I'm thinking about it in a different way. I'll do it. It'll get done. End of story, no pressure.... just do it! The last two days I've felt pressure to get in my workouts, and I did, but as I mentioned I just felt sluggish yesterday. So that's why I've decided that today I will rest!

So many workout fiends hate the dreaded rest day. Why? Because you aren't burning any calories that day? Because you have to eat less if you want to lose weight? Because rest is for the weak??? Who cares??? I know that might sound crass, but really... what is one day? It's a day to unwind, relax, and let your body (and mind) recover. You need it! So do it! If you don't, you'll break down later from going too hard, trying to do too much. Not good! So, please, give yourself a break! Take a rest!

I am, and I couldn't be happier...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sluggish runs

So today was one of those days where you just want to stay in bed and sleep. It's only Tuesday, but I've already had a busy week at school and it doesn't look like it's going to let up till Thursday night. I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 7 and checked on the weather. Sub-freezing... awesome. Tired, freezing run! Luckily my friend was planning to run with me (still working on convincing her to run the whole race!), so I had no excuse. If I gave up, she would have to go alone! Also luckily for us, it was a slow 3 miler. Phew! I managed to get in 3.25 miles in just about the pace I was supposed to... 10:49 instead of 11:04. Gotta keep working on my pacing!

The rest of the day is bound to be exhausting and chaotic... non-stop class and meetings until 9:30 PM. I caved and had some free pizza for lunch, but I also burned 688 calories in my workout, so I think I'll be fine. I packed up plenty of snacks and a sandwich, so that will be my food for the rest of the day.

Happy Tuesday all! Keep it healthy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

On to week 6...

Week 5 ended very well with a long run on Saturday and yoga on Sunday. The long run was COLD! It was 14 degrees out, but I just bundled up and went out and did it! That felt like a serious accomplishment. I ran a total of 9 miles! Nice! That was 1840 calories! A friend of mine has been running with me, and I think now that we've gotten up to some higher mileage, she's thinking of running the marathon with me. Yay!! It's so fun to have someone to train with!

On Sunday, I wasn't sore at all because I've still been good about doing my stretching. I did a 25 minute Rodney Yee Power Yoga for Flexibility workout. It's my favorite! It stretches my legs out better than anything I could ever do on my own, and I get pretty warm because it's just a constant flow.

Today will be a cardio kickboxing workout and then it's back to running tomorrow! Have a health Monday!