Running in the Rain

Yesterday morning we headed towards the lakes for our run. On our way we spotted a coyote! Can you see it? We have heard so many people saying they have seen coyotes around the cities this year. They are sort of creepy looking.

We planned our run around three lakes in Minneapolis: Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, and Lake Calhoun. We parked a half mile away from our starting point so that we would complete 11 miles.

The radar wasn’t in our favor, as there was definite rain heading our way, but we knew we needed to get our run in. Here is our before the run photo, so nice and dry.

About half way into our run, the thunder began, then the lightning, and the downpour. I’m not talking any sprinkles here, we’re talking sheets of rain. We looked like we had jumped into the lakes and swam 20 laps as we were completely sopping wet. I have to admit though, there was something about running in the rain that was exciting and enjoyable. It’s not like we were running to get to our car because we had the chance of staying dry. Instead, since we were already soaked, why not bask in the moment because how often do you really get the chance to do this? Not very often.

Our after photo in the car…

Eleven miles is the farthest distance either of us has ever run before. All in all, the run went pretty well. We were ecstatic to have completed this distance and are feeling excited about our half marathon NEXT WEEKEND! This will be the farthest distance we will run now before the race. This week will be 1 or 2 small runs and some strength training as well.

While I tend to love stormy weather (as long as no damage is done), Moose on the other hand has different feelings. I took these photos from a storm last week. I was home with him in the morning getting ready for work. As he followed me around the entire morning,I was contemplating whether he was protecting me, or really just terrified of the storms.

Moose in the kitchen while I made breakfast. It looks like I put him in the corner for a time-out.

Moose under the table by my feet while I ate breakfast.

And Moose sitting directly behind me while I did my hair and makeup.

I’d like to think he was protecting me, but let’s be real here, he is a super huge baby when it comes to storms. I think it is the cutest thing.

After our run, I immediately hopped in the shower to warm up. I then iced my knees as they were feeling a bit sore from the run. Then, we were off to the in-laws to celebrate Greg’s birthday. They made us super juicy delicious cheeseburgers which were a great recovery meal for us. Bring on the protein, baby. I had to opt out of the veggie salads, but munched on some chips on the side instead. Who am I? This does not sound like me. It WILL be short-lived. I want my veggies.

Birthday dessert followed. Chocolate Mousse Cake from a local Bakery called Wuollet. OmG, this stuff was heavenly. What’s ironic is I had just told Dana that I wanted to lay low on the sweets this week before our race. But, are you kidding me? Like I’m going to say no to this. Yea right. DIVINE.

After our get together we went home, hung out with the doggie, watched a recorded episode of Glee (when they go to Nationals), and relaxed. I snuck in a handful of sugar snap peas. I know I shouldn’t have but I had a serious craving for something green.

Now, it’s Sunday morning and I am clipping coupons with the hubs before we head out for our usual errands. We are hoping to plant our veggie garden today! Catch up with you later.

Working Out on Vacation

Holy cow. Dinner last night was the bomb. Sautéed onions, black beans, corn, tomato, avocado, salsa, cheese, all topped with an over-easy egg. Oh my goodness. I just can’t explain how much I enjoyed this dinner. It was so easy and so healthy and protein packed.

For dessert I had Fage Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with maple syrup (unphotographed).

**********

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I managed to get workouts in on vacation one way or the other. Staying active is so important to me for so many reasons. I am a much more pleasant person to be around once I’ve gotten some activity in. Just because I am on vacation doesn’t mean I’m not going to move my body.

Three of our mornings in the Dominican, we laced up the old sneakers for runs along the beach. You cannot beat this view.

It was a good thing we had a beautifully scenic route because running in the sand is slightly torturous if you’re not used to it. Running two miles in the sand felt like running 6 miles on the pavement.  Because of the uneven surfaces of the sand, your body continues to be surprised each time you land, not knowing what it is going to need to adapt to next, which challenges different muscles.

Training on uneven surfaces (beach, trails, etc)  is actually highly recommended for runners because it does challenge your body so much and helps to develop other muscles that aren’t always the main focus in pavement running (not that I’m a running expert!). I was glad we were able to get a few runs in while we were away.

After I posted the above photo, I realized that Dana and I were wearing very similar outfits in a photo from our 15k race last summer.  How about that, right?

After our first sweaty run, we decided that wearing shirts was absolutely not a good idea because of the insane heat especially since we weren’t used to it. The rest of the runs were completed in this attire…

It helped cool me down but only by a little bit.

Two times we headed to the hotel’s gym. I am kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo of the quaint space, but did pull this one from their website to give you some idea of what we were working with. We warmed up with 5 minutes on the stationary bikes before hitting the weights. One day we focused on back, shoulders, and biceps, and the other we focused on chest, triceps (with some core work mixed in). It had what we needed!

I participated in beach aerobics one day. Can you find me? I am the palest gal out there (it was our first day of sun).

Went for walks on the beach every day.

And even got to swim and climb waterfalls on a Safari Tour one day which was extremely difficult and scary too!

Were my workouts on vacation as strenuous as workouts at home? No, definitely not. But seeing as I could have completely neglected workouts all together on this trip as some people chose to do, I feel pretty good about my activity level. Nobody wants crabby Melanie, especially not the husband, so getting physical activity in is a must.

Speaking of workouts, it’s time for one right now. Off I go! Have a wonderful day, and don’t forget to MOVE!

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite ways to stay active while on vacation?

Enjoy Life While Training Plan

Dinner last night was healthy and delicious, and the company was even better. I went to mom and dad’s and my brother, Kevin was there as well. We ate, laughed, chatted, and relaxed.

Dad’s a little goofy if you haven’t noticed by now! I love them all so much. It was a perfect way to spend Friday night.

We spent some time watching YouTube videos of Sophia Grace and Rosie who are two adorable little girls who have been frequent guests on the Ellen show. Sophia Grace is an 8-year-old “rapper” and her side-kick Rosie dances and lip-syncs by Sophia’s side. It is the CUTEST thing. If you haven’t seen them yet, check them out here on YouTube. They will make your day.

**********

Half Marathon Training Plan Decisions

A few days ago, I discussed my contemplation between half marathon training plans. I mentioned that Dana was leaning towards one plan, and I was leaning toward the other, and trying to decide if we should go separate routes with training for our first half marathon in June. I was hoping for some tips and advice from runners out there and I was fortunate to get some that really helped shape my decision.

The comment that struck me was one from a reader named Lisa. She is an avid runner, running about 3-4 full marathons annually among other races as well. Here was her advice:

“For my very first marathon, I followed a training plan and I found that when someone else was telling me when to run and how far to go, it became work and I dreaded it. Since then, I have just run to run and not worried about how far I was going. Two years ago I ran my first sub-four hour marathon and couldn’t have been happier. Now, this is not to say that training plans don’t work, but I found that I resented mine. Like I said, I listen to my body, run longer runs when I feel like it (or have the time- usually on the weekends) and give myself rest when I need it.”

Lisa completely shook some sense into me. I guess I was just so used to reading about training plans and talking to people who had used them, that I didn’t really think about the other options.

With that comment, my decision has been made. I will train on my own schedule. Most likely I will stick to running 2-3 short runs during the week, and one longer run on the weekend, as this is typically when I have the most time. However, I do have certain days off in the week so I may find myself doing my longer runs on those days. I love having the freedom to do what I want.

Just as my reader mentioned, I don’t want running to become a chore. If I don’t feel like running one day, that’s okay, I will cross-train instead, or maybe take a rest day if I feel that’s what my body needs. I am learning to listen to my body. I am one of those people who have a hard time taking a total “rest” day. I love to be active and to keep moving, but I also know how important it is to give my body a break.

I am very excited to see how this, “Enjoy Life while Training Plan” goes. My plan is to run on my own terms, to run when I feel like running, and not beat myself up for shortening or lengthening a run on any particular day. I will increase my mileage on long runs gradually and safely and continue to put it an appropriate amount of miles weekly. With the beautiful weather in our midst, and many fun spring and summer plans scheduled, this will be the perfect way to accommodate training in my life.

My goal is to make sure running does not become a chore, and to continue to learn how to enjoy running. I don’t always love running, but I am definitely learning to like it.

I have never regretted a run.

Thanks for your advice and comments. All of you runners out there are so motivating to me. I have a long way to go, but I am getting there. Now I suppose I better get out there and move it or lose it!

What are you doing to stay active today?

Half Marathon Training Guidance

Dinner last night came together quickly. Sunday evening I prepared a tuna salad to have for lunches (or dinners) during the week.

In the mix:

  • 1 can albacore tuna packed in water
  • cottage cheese
  • mustard
  • pepper
  • green pepper
  • zucchini
  • kale
So very random I am aware, but it actually tasted good! I served this salad on top of mixed greens and added some fresh broccoli and grape tomatoes. I finished it off with my favorite Newman’s Own Honey Mustard. I also ate a piece of bread with grape jelly and a dark chocolate adora disk dipped in Smart Balance peanut butter.

**********

This morning, breakfast was waiting for me in the fridge. Last night, I mixed together a small amount of oats, Fage non-fat greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, and blueberries and refrigerated over night. This morning I gave the mix a good stir, added a bit of honey and banana and ate a breakfast of champions. It was so creamy and just the right amount of sweet. It really hit the spot.

*************

Half Marathon Training

As you may know, I am registered for my first half marathon on June 3rd, 2012 in Minneapolis (Dana is also registered). Throughout the winter I maintained some of my running endurance by hitting up the treadmill a few times a week, however my boredom hindered me from accomplishing anything further than 5 miles on the treadmill. I decided that any distance longer than 4 miles was going to have to wait until Spring rolled around so that I could run outside (remember I am a big freeze baby and don’t like to run outside in the cold winter). Now that Spring is here, it is time to reevaluate our half marathon training plans.

Originally, I had found one by Hal Higdon I liked, and Dana had found one by Jeff Galloway that he liked. Could we both train on separate plans leading up to the big day? Surely, but it would be a whole lot easier if we trained on the same plan, that way we could run together and keep eachother on track. In either plan, we would have our long runs on the weekend so we could at least run together on Saturday, which in retrospect would probably be the only run that we would be able to do together unless I started running after work. That’s a whole other bag of worms: my total dislike for running after work. I feel like that is when I am the most sluggish. I prefer to run in the mornings but that doesn’t always happen either!

What I do like about Jeff Galloway’s plan is that he only has you running 3 mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday for the most part, which, in working around a work schedule, seems like the nicest option. However, I don’t know if that is enough mileage for me. I am at such a crossroad and sort of don’t know what to do.

I know it is an option to adapt pieces I like of each and make it work for me, and that’s probably what I will end up doing. Any thoughts/tips/advice from runners out there would be greatly appreciated!

Anyway, enough of my rant.

Basically, I just need to get my booty in gear and make some decisions so I can move on with the training. June 3rd is not that far away! Yikes!

You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere

Happy President’s Day! I am celebrating the day by being a productive U.S. citizen and supporting the local economy, aka running errands and going shopping. I am very fortunate to have the day off today so I am using it as another day to be very productive.

As I was getting ready for bed last night I was recapping the weekend in my head and oh my gosh, I realize I was completely lazy when it came to cooking/creating any type of meal! Usually my weekends are a time for me to really get creative and show my mad skills in the kitchen, but apparently I wasn’t feeling it this weekend. Tonight we have dinner plans that involve a really nummy italian restaurant, so tonight I will not be cooking either. That means I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to redeem myself, and you better believe I will.

This weekend when we were at Whole Foods, I bought some really neat purple and white eggplant as well as purpley-green kale. I have plans to get creative with it. I also bought something else I have been really interested in trying that I will break out either Wednesday or Thursday. I’m not sure how it will go, but more on that later. Can you handle the anticipation?

**********

My day started off with a mug of hot and steamy coffee and a bowl of banana, blueberries, and Special K Blueberry cereal.

It was pretty good, but the banana wasn’t quite ripe enough for my liking. It should do the trick for a while and tide my belly over.

**********

As I was running the other day my brain started to wander as it usually does. I was running on the treadmill at the gym and tired of reading subtitles on the t.v. ahead, and needing a break from people watching. I was getting bored as I often do on the treadmill. My head started playing tricks on me telling me to stop or take a break and walk and it wasn’t because I was tired, I know it was because I was bored. I kept running, trying to fight off my sub-conscious thoughts. I daydreamed back to my days when I first started running. Now, I am by no means a “runner.” I can run, but running is not easy for me, at all.

I first started running because I had signed up for my first 5K. I had no time goals in mind, I just wanted to finish. I was in La Crosse, WI at this time for my internship and I remember the morning so vividly that I laced up and headed out for a walk/run. I did a large loop around my apartment complex and ran for a total of about ten minutes. I called Dana and told him how long I had run and I remember thinking, that’s better than nothing, but man, do I have a long way to go. Dana’s response to me was, “you gotta start somewhere.” He was so right. I could have given up then thinking ok, I can only run 10 minutes right now and I need to run more like 30 for the 5k and quit right then and there thinking it would never happen, but I didn’t, because I knew this would take some time. I began increasing my running to walking ratios and progressed slowly until I was eventually running 3 miles. I completed my first 5k and was addicted to the feeling at the finish line. I knew I had to do more. From then on I ran more 5k’s, then eventually progressed to a 6k, then a 10k, and then last summer Dana and I completed our first 15k.

What a great feeling of accomplishment it is seeing your body progress and really finding what your body is capable of doing. I never thought I would be completing a 15k, and that currently I am signed up for two half-marathons this summer. Am I ready for a half-marathon now? Absolutely not. I am now averaging about 3-4 miles per run, 3 runs per week. I am about a third of the way there, just as I was when I first started training for my first 5k. I know I can do it though. The body is capable of so much more than I often let myself believe. It might be painful, it will indeed be challenging, but it will be worth it. I will be sharing my progress with you as I go, and pushing harder through your support. The moral of this story is as Dana put it, “You gotta start somewhere.” Even if it is only 10 minutes, or 2 minutes, it is possible! Don’t let your mind play tricks on you and tell you that you can’t. You can.

I’m still constantly working on my self-talk as I am running. So many times my mind will say, “you can walk for a little while, come on,” but I am learning to fight past it (unless I am positive that I really do need a walk break). I am often repeating, “keep going, you’re fine” and if I am on the treadmill, “keep going, you’re not tired, you’re just bored, but don’t stop because then we’ll be on this thing even longer.” It is crazy how much self-talk goes on in my head. I do love running with music because it really motivates me and pumps me up. There is nothing like having fresh music to run to really listening to the music to glide you through a run. Also, finding a running buddy is great motivation. Dana and I trained together for the 15k and it was so helpful to have someone by your side through the process and encouraging you to push to the end of the run, and to get up on Saturday morning for a run when you really just want to stay in bed all day. It was an experience that we were able to accomplish together, which is very special to me.

That was my motivational piece for the day. Like I said, I am not a great runner, but I can run. And you can too. Get up and move it baby!

I am off to tackle laundry, shopping, and hopefully a workout as well! Have a great day!

Sweatin’ Out Onions

This morning’s training included a 5 mile run which turned me into a hot sweaty mess. My shins were really hurting again during today’s run so I want to spend a little time researching the possible reasons why. Am I running incorrectly? Am I deficient in a certain nutrient?

On the drive home from the gym I asked Dana if he smelled onions. He said “no, but you’re probably sweating them out from last night’s dinner.”  Huh, he’s probably right! That’s gross and funny at the same time, and totally worth it because last night’s dinner turned out wonderfully! I hope you are ready for this oh baby baby.

Yesterday I gave you a little sneak peak of the ingredients I was going to be using for part of the dinner.

After some chopping, mixing, and seasoning, those ingredients turned into this:

Melanie’s Cowboy Caviar

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 10 mini bell peppers (or 1.5 medium-sized bell peppers), diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix all ingredients gently making sure to cover avocados with lemon juice to prevent browning. Serve as a salad/side dish or with baked tortilla chips.

Holy moly this was goooood.

Next up was the main dish: Chicken Enchiladas

This was my first time ever making enchiladas I think and I decided to wing it. I started off sautéing 2 small yellow onions and 4 mini bell peppers.

Next I added 1-7 oz can of diced green chilies, 2.5 cups of cooked pulled chicken, cracked black pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

I removed from heat then added 1/2 cup of Mexican style reduced fat shredded cheese to the mix. The next step is to stuff the tortillas. I sprayed a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and stuffed each tortilla with approximately 1/4-1/2 cup of chicken mixture. This made 9 enchiladas.

I rolled them up like burritos and lined them in the pan. I topped them with about 1 cup of non-fat plain greek yogurt, then a layer of red salsa, then finished with a layer of the Mexican style shredded cheese.

They cooked for 20 minutes covered at 350°, then removed the cover and broiled on high for 2 minutes to start to melt the cheese.

And helllllloo cheesy healthy goodness. I plated up and topped the enchilada with a little more salsa, because I love saucy. Apparently I need to work on my plate presentation because this picture DOES NOT do the dinner justice.

I loved every bite of this dinner and my family really loved it too! See, look how happy they are.

I love them.

Brother Kevin

We hung out for a little while after dinner and heard all about mom and dad’s wonderful trip to Florida. I am so glad they are home.

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 mini bell peppers, diced
  • 1-7 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup Mexican style reduced-fat shredded cheese divided into 1/2 cup portions
  • 9 whole wheat tortillas (La Tortilla Factory Low-Carb)
  • 1 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup salsa (plus more to top post baking if you like your food saucy like me)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Saute onions and peppers.
  3. Add green chilies, chicken, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir, remove from heat.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. Stuff 9 tortillas with 1/4-1/2 cup of chicken mixture, roll into burritos, and place in 9 x 13 pan coated with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Top with a layer of yogurt, then a layer of salsa, and finish with the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake covered for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove cover and broil on high for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Serve warm with extra salsa on top (or hot sauce if you like it SPICAY)

 

I am off to find something to eat for lunch and enjoy some time with my husband.

Adios muchachos!