Week 12 NYC Marathon Training + Fundraising Update

Hello friends! Wanted to get this post out there before I head back to the Midwest for a very-end-of-summer trip to Marry my best friend (I am not getting married; I am MARRYING my best friend and her fiance. Right?!) More on that later. But first…

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It really feels like the weeks are flying by. It’s always been crazy to me how slowly some days seem to crawl by, but looking back at the weeks and months it feels like time passes in the blink of an eye. The next class of dietetic interns at MGH graduated this week, which means it’s officially been a year since I graduated and have been living life as an RD (well, plus the one month of studying I did for the exam… but who’s counting that?)

A combination of things last week left me feeling pretty tired overall. Ending week 11 with that killer run on tired legs made for a body very much in need of recovery. I tried to pay attention to this and stay on top of stretching, doing the targeted strength exercises and sleeping… but the sleeping part seemed to fall to the end of the priority list with this week packed full of new/fun things that I don’t regret whatsoever, but by Thursday  I was very much in need of an afternoon of naps, and decided to take the afternoon to myself which ended up being an excellent decision.

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Got beets? Got ginger? Got this smoothie. Beet + Beet Greens + Fresh ginger + Fresh lime juice + Greek Yogurt + Frozen Blueberries.

Week 12 NYC Marathon Training Recap

A little note here on my training plan. I am posting the week as it is planned for my own journaling but want to give credit where credit is due. My coach Heather Caplan puts together my weekly training plan fully customized to my needs. THANKS HEATHER. I’m absolutely loving having her guidance, and following such a well thought-out plan each week takes so much stress out of the equation.

Monday: Easy 45 Minutes + Hip Work

Worked in the AM and the temperatures didn’t get crazy high on Monday so I fit this guy in in the afternoon, running around the neighborhood. I quickly remembered why I don’t make it a habit to run in the afternoon, and even though it wasn’t as hot and humid as it had been, the sun was still pretty strong and more oppressive than I find enjoyable. The annoying afternoon heat and end-of-the-day bloated feeling was probably accentuated by the fact that my headphones died and I was left just running alongside my thoughts for the majority of the 4.6 miles I ended up covering. Thank goodness for the hip exercises (and so glad I was honest with myself and told Heather about my discomfort) because I’m already feeling much more balanced and can finally do pigeon pose again without being stopped by pain.

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Life is good when you can stretch on a pier.

Tuesday: Spin Class + Bodyweight Core Work

Made it to an AM spin class at the studio near my apartment which happily focused a lot on core and hills – truly the best kind of cross-training work out you could ask for. Followed this up with the traditional core exercises which I have officially memorized but haven’t grown to love any more. Mountain climbers still kill me every time I have to do them and I just don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

Wednesday: MAF Run (1 hour)

Had originally planned to run this on the Harvard track, but when the day came I really didn’t feel like making the full trek over there since the mile splits weren’t necessarily built into the run and I just needed to run somewhere relatively flat and consistent. It oddly took a long time for my heart rate to get up to speed – I was mostly running at a warm up pace of 10 min/mile and my heart rate stuck right around 135 BPM which is pretty low for me. I felt like I had to push my pace quite a bit to get up to 150-155, my calculated MAF heart rate, which seemed counterintuitive since MAF is supposed to be more lightly aerobic than high-effort… but once I did reach 150 I tended to hover right around there with a consistent 9:10 min/mile pace which was happily much faster than my previous MAF test. According to my coach, my lower heart rate could be due to any combination of increased fitness or stress, and it’s hard to know which of these it truly was since I had been feeling like my body was stuck in a bit of a stress-mode with the previous days of higher-intensity work outs and busy working schedules/minimal sleep. Also fair to expect a lower heart rate since the temps are finally starting to settle down and my body seems to be responding better with the dry air and cool breeze in the morning. OR perhaps I am indeed building my fitness up and my heart is responding with a higher pace threshold at my MAF heart rate. Time will tell with a repeated test!

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Lots of veggies including one new potato + Chicken sausage + Puttanesca sauce + Feta = great night-before-a-run fuel.

Thursday: Yoga + Bodyweight Exercises

I had planned to go to another Wellness in Motion yoga class during the day but was seriously dragging during the morning and all I wanted to do was go home and nap. I was able to leave work a teensy bit early and headed straight home instead of over to the yoga studio. I napped for a solid two hours and lounged around for the rest of the afternoon. Much needed. I ended up doing two yoga videos from Yoga by Candace on Youtube, which ended up providing just the perfect amount of balancing and inversion practice, as well as an opportunity to work on my hip/leg imbalances. I held Crow for 15 seconds! And am getting a little closer to be able to do a headstand. Little victories. Headed to bed super early Thursday night to catch up on allllll the sleep.

Friday: Easy 30 Minute run

Ended up running 2.95 miles before heading in to work, because I had to leave the PM open for the KENNY CHESNEY CONCERT AT GILLETTE! Nothing really to report here. Nice morning, beautifully cool, easy easy run.

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Yes Kenny was wearing a Patriot’s Bro Tank and Yes he sang for 2 hours. No regrets.

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Weird Snacks. Grilled chicken wrap with some sort of tomato salsa and spicy mayo + French fries. Ended up feeling pretty nasty during Kenny because of this so would not follow my footsteps. Also shout out to the weird stains on my boots. #concertlife

Saturday: Active Rest – Beach day + Walking errands

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Sunday: 2:45 long run (no more than 16 miles)

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Hit the 16 mile mark! My longest run to date actually felt pretty dang good. Coach Heather moved it to Sunday since I had the concert on Friday (very happy about the scheduling because I ended up not getting home until after midnight Saturday morning and there was no way I’d be wanting to run 16 miles after that). I decided to run a different route and felt like heading backwards down the Boston Marathon course towards Chestnut Hill. Most of my warmup ended up being on cement sidewalk which wasn’t an ideal surface to pound out a ton of miles on, and it didn’t help that I wiped out about 1.5 miles in scraping my knee in the process. There was nothing to do but keep going, though, and thankfully it was just a little surface scratch that I ultimately ended up forgetting about. Ran two laps around the Chestnut Hill Reserve pond before heading back to the river to finally finish the 16 miles close to home. When I saw my watch buzz that I had passed 14 miles and was still running at pace, feeling good, I knew I would hit 16 within the time I had left. I think the rest day before and the tough run last week really helped prepare me for these miles, and it’s finally setting in that I might really be able to finish the full marathon and not die/feel horrible. Doing 16 miles in 2 hours and 35 minutes, I could potentially run the last 1o miles in 100 minutes and finish around 4 hours?? Not that I have any time goals whatsoever for my first 26.2, but as with everything TIME WILL TELL. For fuel on this run I brought along another KIND pressed bar but didn’t enjoy this one as much (Apple, beet carrot I think it was?) It was just a little bit too hard to chew, and I’ll definitely want something that takes less energy to get down in the future. Also brought along the margarita clif blocks and had one any time I started to feel my energy levels dip – ended up taking two total. Ultimately feeling strong with this run and so happy that all the training is really starting to pay off.

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Total Miles = 30.0  Nice.

Fundraising Update

I AM OFFICIALLY HALF WAY! Soooo many thanks are necessary to those who have been generous with their donations and support of my fundraising efforts with Action for Healthy Kids. Since I have a donor who is willing to match donations up to $1,500, I technically could stop here and be done with it – but I am so motivated by the enthusiasm and support I’ve received I think I can continue to reach up and raise more money on my end before I have my very generous matching donor take on the rest. I have a charity yoga class in the works (coming in October) with my good friend and fellow dietitian colleague, who happens to also be a yoga instructor. There have been a few bumps in the road and lessons learned during this fundraising journey, and had I been writing this post a month ago my tone might have been a little different, but at this point I have been so impressed and motivated by the support I’ve received from friends and family that have donated. It is humbling to remember that I’m running this race for more than myself. It’s an honor to be able to raise money for Action for Healthy Kids and spread awareness of their mission around my social network.

Week 11 NYC Marathon Training

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I know a few posts back I said I’d try to sprinkle in more non training-update posts, but this past week has been chock full of writing, researching, learning a new job, and working so getting an interesting post fabricated just didn’t happen. So, here we are, a little late to the party with WEEK 11 TRAINING. Going to try to be short and sweet this week ❤ We are getting ridiculously close to the 2-month countdown mark and that’s just insane. Am I ready for this? Will I be ready for this? CAN YOU HANDLE DIS?

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Ever been super hungry and also very indecisive? (Um yes, every day). Chopped up my Iggy’s Multiseed Bagel into threes –> Part one was basic tomato + arugula + fried egg. Part two Neufchatel cheese, salmon, dill and capers. Part three basic cashew butter. 100% satisfying

Flashback to last Sunday when my heart rate was being super wacky during what was supposed to be an easy jog and ended up just being a long walk — I turned on the heart rate monitor of my watch during a bit of my walk to work Monday morning to see if things had resolved and found that my HR was back to normal. So odd why it was elevated, still not really sure what was going on. Maybe it was just my watch being a poop (really has been a temperamental piece these days)

WEEKLY TRAINING PLAN WEEK 12

Monday – Spin Class + Core Work Week 11 started off with a spin class at the studio I NOW WORK AT. Yesss. Dream fulfilled. I got part time job #2 at a Boston-Based spin/bootcamp studio with three locations in Boston. Before you start scoffing at me for adding more things on to my plate that I had the intentions of cleaning up, I will basically be working 10ish hours per week behind the front desk/managing the studio, at this point all in the PM (my other job generally has morning hours and I’d been working more than I was supposed to there anyway), and my primary location is located a 5 minute walk from my grad school and my other job. SO I’m basically going to be living in the South End of Boston for a while (fine with me… they are putting in a sweetgreen). All of this perfection + I get free spin classes. Hooray for budget friendly training, finally!

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Tuesday – Runfellow run (3.3 miles) Took it pretty easy and ran solidly in the middle of the pack of the huge group of runners through Cambridge. Didn’t stay for a drink afterward because I knew what was coming for me the next AM… plus I wanted to get home to watch episode #3 of Bachelor in Paradise… (I hate myself too).

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Not only did I get a great haircut, I also had my first photoshoot ;P

Other Tuesday happenings –> Chopped off 8 inches of my hair! Thanks to the fabulous Patrick at Clementine Hair Salon who did a bomb job giving me an adorable above-the-shoulders bob. As my dad would say, marathon runner hair and who am I to argue? Now I get a cute little nub in the back and sort of look like a boy when I pass myself in window reflections – great! All 8 inches soon to be donated to Pantene… for now they are still sitting in my room until I can get my ish together and get them mailed off. –>

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Veggies Front and Center — Homemade (yes I handled ground Turkey!) Turkey Burger hidden under tomatoes, mustard and cheese. Eaten in romaine “buns” with a steamed New Potato on the side. Plus lots of barbecue sauce because it’s SUMMER TIME and I love me some Hickory goodness.

Wednesday – 800 m Repeats at Harvard Stadium I was not necessarily looking forward to this one, but thankfully the Olympics were still inspiring me so I just decided that I’d pretend I was a track star and going for the gold. Unfortunately Wednesday was annoying and had high humidity right in the morning which burned off with wind throughout the rest of the day. So despite my best efforts to beat the heat in the AM, I was stuck running endless speed laps around the track under beating sun and relentless humidity. Because of all the sweat, my lap function on my watch decided to stop working so I wasn’t able to get very much meaningful data from this workout. Warmed up with 20 minutes of jogging and plyometrics around the track and then did 6 repeats of 800 meters, resting for about 90 seconds between each. I remember feeling like I started off really strong and fast, got tired/slow in the middle, and then used the second lap to build back up and finish with a sprint. I enjoy the speedwork for mixing things up and kicking my ass, but these are definitely not confidence boosting laps yet. Afterward while I was stretching I definitely noticed my right hip feeling very tight. I didn’t feel it at all during the impact of running, just when I would lift it open or stretch it out. I had a pit in my stomach thinking “this is where it all begins” and the last thing I want is another hip issue. Told my coach about it and she gave me a few physical therapy-esque movements to add in to my bodyweight exercises to target weak areas that might be responsible for the tightness.

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Thursday – Yoga for Athletes + Bodyweight Work Took another yoga for athletes class at Wellness in Motion and was again very satisfied. The instructor knows just what areas to target and I was able to work a bit on my hip/core/alignment. Glad I bought a package here because I can tell it’s making a big difference in how good I feel after the harder runs. Did some bodyweight core work back at home as well as the targeted moves for my hip.

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Working lunch at Panera — Half Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad with no dressing + Summer Corn Chowder and of course bread as the side. Brought my own apple to munch on for dessert.

Friday – Easy 45 minute Run + Bonus Spin Class Planned on just running in between working at the research center, getting some writing done at Panera, and my shift at Turnstyle, but found out that I had the opportunity to take a class during my evening shift from one of my favorite instructors and how could I turn that down? Ran easy through the South End streets, and tried to take the 45 minute spin class on the lighter side knowing I had my long run in the morning – but taking Britt’s class easy is almost a joke. Working up a sweat is an understatement and I definitely felt that booty burn afterwards. But so thankful I work in a place where it’s totally cool to spin and then head right back to the job. It was another instructor’s first night, so I ended the shift with a few sips of sparkling rose because life is short.

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How’s that for a work perk?

Saturday – Long Run, 2.5 hours WELL I definitely felt that spin class during my long run this morning. I was a little intimidated by this one as it was the longest one that had been scheduled so far, and based on my previous times with long runs expected that I’d probably end up with close to 15 miles. Intervals worked out to be 1 hour warm up, 30 minutes HR 160-165, 30 minutes HR 165-170, 15 minutes half marathon effort, 15 minute cool down. My legs were tired before the end of the hour long warm up. The 160-165 section wasn’t that hard to maintain listening to music and running along the river, but of course I had just been listening to a podcast all about runner safety and why we SHOULDN’T wear headphones while running… I’m just so conflicted. I know it’s not the safest practice and eventually I would love to be able to run without music but at this point it’s still so motivating for helping me push past the sluggish feeling with burning legs. I also feel pretty safe running in Boston because the areas I run are heavily populated with other runners/bikers/walkers and I generally feel very safe where I choose to run. That said, I definitely have been trying to be more conscious of my surroundings and not running in deserted areas if I’m going to be alone.

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Delicious dinner I credit with powering me through a lot of this run –> Quinoa Pasta with Pinch of Yum Corn Sauce, Baked Salmon, Pan Seared Summer Squash + Feta and Pepitas

Paces ended up like:

  • 1 hour warm up – 10:01/mi
  • HR 160-165: 9:14/mi
  • HR 165-170: 9:08 (note I really was only able to sustain my HR around 167 for most of this)
  • Half marathon effort: 9:18/mi (definitely feeling tired and 100% done with this run at this point… HR average was 169)
  • 15 minute cool down: 12:32/mi jogging/walking

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Fuel-wise, I felt pretty good waking up around 5 after having some delicious quinoa pasta with sweetcorn sauce, zucchini and salmon for dinner the previous night (still salivating over this meal, really — you NEED to make this sauce). Had two rice cakes with nut butter and a banana + 1 tsp or so of honey for good measure about 1.5 hours before heading out. The temps were definitely more moderate Saturday morning and I wasn’t as worried about melting, but the sun was out in full force so I definitely felt the heat toward the end of the 2 hours and was glad I brought the extra sodium chews with me. I ate 3 of the clif chews during the higher-intensity intervals, and also experimented with some more food-based fuel. I brought one of the KIND Pressed bars I had been sent and it ended up working really well as a supplement! I was a little worried about the fiber content (3g per bar), but that didn’t end up being much of an issue as I only had about 1/3 of the bar each time I dipped into it, and the pineapple coconut flavor went really well with my pineapple skratch labs drink mix 🙂 I ate the last 1/3 of the bar when I got home during my stretchout which was a nice treat.

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Ended with 15.3 total miles and very tired legs

Sunday – Active Rest Day Walked a whole bunch. Enjoyed the sun and stopped to try a new (adorable) restaurant with a friend. –> Saltie Girl

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Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Puffed Quinoa and Amaranth, Thai Basil and Balsamic Glaze

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Saltie Girl’s THING is tinned fish (love that) and fresh seafood so we split some East Coast Lobsters and some sardines in olive oil and lemon.

Total Weekly Mileage = 27.6 miles

My hip is already feeling MUCH better with the additional exercises and TLC. Fingers crossed I am able to stay on top of other such niggles for the next 2+ months.

Other NEWS –> I made a dedicated food and running Instagram so I can post as often and annoyingly as I want about all the things that make me happy and filled with life. Follow me @abalancedpace ! Annoyingly, I am blocked from following people on that account until Wednesday because apparently it’s frowned upon in Instagram land to follow more than 150 people in one day…? Don’t ask.

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Anything exciting happen in your week? I would love to hear about it!

Do you prefer long or short hair? I am currently loving how cool this short hair cut is keeping me and don’t know why I didn’t take the plunge earlier

New here? Pour yourself a cup of coffee and play catch up:

Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 & Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 & Week 4 | Week 3 

Please take a minute to read about the charity I am running NYC for this year and donate if you would like to support me and my effort to fundraise for Action for Healthy Kids. I need to raise $1,500 by September 1st!

 

Week 10 NYC Marathon Training + Life Update + Bonus Recipe

 

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Here we are — 10 weeks in, 11 to go. Almost half way! I’ve been feeling super motivated (and also very much in awe) watching all the insanely athletic olympians kick ass in Rio. Sportz!

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Rio-Inspired Breakfast Scramble

This heat. Needs. To. Go. Away. I’m so tired of constantly sweating and sticking to furniture, not being able to breathe, etc. etc. On Friday my thermostat in my apartment read 94 degrees. Inside. WHAT. Needless to say there has been a lot of non-cooking going on, lots of fruit, salads, ice cream, and literally anything that takes no heat to make. Even pantry snacks like nuts seemed too hot to eat sometimes. So far, my mileage hasn’t been that crazy so my appetite has been pretty much where I started at baseline (besides my long run days where I feel like I could literally eat all day), though this past week I’ve had more than a few bottomless pit episodes…runger here I come. You can bet it’s gonna be out in full force once the cool air of fall hits…. (If it ever comes… please come back, fall!)

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Training Recap (Credit to Heather for the Plan)

Monday: Spin Class + Core Work 

Took my workout back to Turnstyle for a morning spin class that was full of leg-burning hills and perfectly high energy. I always leave these classes on some kind of high. I love it. Followed up with a 30 minute core workout at home.

Tuesday: Group Run + Yoga

Nope. Got stuck at work on a phone call that kept me downtown until 7:15pm and the run was all the way up in Cambridge at 7:30pm. No-can-do. I had planned to leave work just before 7 and hop on the T to make it in time, but ended up feeling pretty burnt out by the end of the day anyway. Thought about just running on my own back at home, but figured I’d be in better shape if I just took the day off and saved my legs for tomorrow’s hills. Did a lovely Yoga With Adrienne stretching routine for Sore Legs which was perfect.

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Uh oh, I bought some crack at the grocery store…. Vanilla Life were $1.99 and yes, they are very tasty

Wednesday: Hill Repeats

Luckily my neighborhood is known for its hills, so finding a good one was not such a hard task. Started with a 20 minute jog to warm up and completed 6 runs up a residential hill, with light jogging/walking down it between each set. The Hill was about 1/4 mile long and each round up I focused on engaging my core, legs, and glutes to push me ahead with strong strides. Even though it was tough work, it was one of those workouts that felt super rewarding. Each round up was short – about 2-3 minutes, so I was able to push myself hard with comfort in the fat that I would have an easy jog back down. I felt like the training I had already done, spinning and strength and running over moderate hills during all of my runs, definitely prepared me here and I actually enjoyed the burn. Felt fine all day but damn when I woke up the next morning my booty was definitely feeling sore.

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Another fav. Made a batch of tuna with just a few tablespoons of this dressing mixed in and it added some bomb flavor. Delicious on crackers, with pepper slices, or in a pita pocket!

Thursday: Crosstraining

Did 45 minutes of easy cardio on the elliptical, increasing resistance from 11-15 over the course and pedaling to the beat of the music while watching the olympics!

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The perfect no-heat recipe: Tilapia Ceviche with Avocado, Cilantro and Green Pepper on a bed or crisp romaine lettuce. With corn chips on the side for scooping!

Friday: Easy 45

Took this one inside to the treadmill because remember what I said about it being 94 degrees INSIDE? yeah, apparently on Friday the heat index was upwards of 110 degrees with all the humidity so there was no way I was wasting energy and life slowly dying for an easy run. Ended up being a pretty solid decision because it’s a lot easier for me to control my heart rate on the treadmill and keeping it under 155 was no problem. I also was able to watch most of the Women’s Olympic Soccer match between USA and Sweden before the tragic ending – so this one was a win!

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Drinking this stuff like it’s going out of style. Heat and humidity life saver if you like bubbles like I do.

Saturday: Long Run, 2 hours 15 minutes

This was a first for me – ran with a running buddy! Somehow, after Friday’s oppressive heat, the heavens opened up and graced the city of Boston with temps in the low 70s. I was almost shocked leaving my house, which was still about 20 degrees warmer than outside, in a tank top. Couldn’t have asked for better weather for this run, really. It was a little humid but definitely a small price to pay for being able to run a little later in the morning (read: not at 5am) and not melt in scorching heat. I met my running buddy, who happens to be moving down to Knoxville, TN TODAY, in Harvard Square and we headed north to one of my new favorite paths — super shaded and woodsy for most of the whole way. Of course, he is a good FOOT taller than me so I felt kinda bad dragging him along (lol Will if you’re reading this, hey!) at my slow warm up pace, and definitely could tell that I was running a little faster than I would have if I were solo. Tried soo hard to slow down and keep my HR under 155 like I was supposed to, but stayed right between 155 and 160 for most of this leg. He was great enough to stick with my pace basically the whole way and it was awesome to be able to spend a sweaty couple hours getting a good run in for his send-off from New England. BUT I don’t think I’ll be running many of these long runs with a partner again because it’s just too hard for me to truly check in with my body and respond. I felt more burnt out from this run in my legs than any of my previous long runs which weren’t all that different, and I think it’s because I ran too hard during the first hour. After that first hour, we did 3 x 15 minutes of half-marathon effort, which I think I again overshot – especially the first one. Finished up with 20 minutes of cool down by the Charles where I really started to feel the lactic acid in my legs. I had a 30 minute walk home from saying goodbye which helped loosen up some of the tightness — motion is lotion, as they say. Got home and rolled out some of the tough spots right away. I had a pint of Arctic Zero in my freezer (going back to the dark side here but so far so good…) that was calling my name. It ended up being the purrrrfect refueling immediately post run – super cold, super refreshing, and full of a decent balance of carbs and protein. Definitely not the most wholesome post run option but it did the trick and honestly felt amazing.

For fueling during the run, I brought along my usual 20 oz water bottle with a full scoop of Skratch and brought a packet of the high sodium clif chews since I figured I’d probably be sweating buckets in the humidity. I ate one every 30 minutes up until the cool down, 3 total. Before leaving, I made sure to get a bit more energy in me than last weekend and toasted up a slice of whole grain bread with some homemade cashew butter and half a banana and ate it about 1.5 hours before the run.

I am feeling inspired to try my hand at maybe making some running fuel to bring with me on runs? Something along the lines of energy balls or easy-to-chew dried fruit snacks, instead of leaning on all this refined sugar every Saturday. Hopefully with this much time left before race day I can come up with something my body likes and that also keeps my blood sugar from going to whacko.

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I prefer salads the size of my head, please and thanks. This one had fresh romaine, watermelon, feta and mint with raspberry vinegar drizzled on top. Super satisfying and hydrating. (Clothing is obviously optional in my apartment these days)

Sunday: 45 minute Jog/Walk

I ended up walking all of this because after the first 10 minutes of walking my heart rate was already at 150. What?! I was so confused, and thought maybe my watch was going on the fritz – since it’s already having trouble with my manual laps. But it’s possible there’s a physiological reason here too — maybe I was still dehydrated from yesterday, though I didn’t feel thirsty and made sure to drink lots of fluids on Saturday. Maybe since my run was particularly hard, my body was still under stress and was trying to recover and my heart rate reflected that. Whatever the case, I did not run and kept my HR right around 150-160 which it did on its own while I walked at an easy pace. CRAZY. and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad sign but we’ll see how it looks tomorrow.

Total Miles = 27.3

So far still so good! My legs are still holding up, feet feeling tired after long runs but better with rest. My glutes and lower back always seem to tighten up so I am continuing to focus on these areas with foam rolling and yoga, and strengthening my core and glute muscles with crosstraining. Thanks to my glorious A/C unit that I finally installed in my window, sleep has been no problemo.. though I am really looking forward to the nights where I can leave the window open and let the fresh air lull me to sleep…

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So excited to make some of these delicious recipes!! Some really great ideas in here (full review coming soon!)

Life Update!

Wait, I do things besides run? Haha. Sometimes. I forgot to mention this a few weeks back (and shoot this is also running related…) but I ended up registering last minute for the BAA Half entry lottery and got in! So I have that to look forward to on my calendar on October 9th – just about one month before my marathon. I’m probably not going to PR in this one as I’m going to use it to practice my marathon pacing, and will most definitely be running slower than my previous races. But it will be great to have a day to practice pre-race and during-race fueling, pacing, music vs. no music… all that jazz. Plus, the BAA Half is lots of fun and they have a great medal and shirts so I’m glad it worked out! I wanted to try to get into a half that I hadn’t already done, but it was so hard to find one at a good time that wouldn’t require a bunch of travel and lodging arrangements. Even though the bib price of the BAA half is higher than a lot of other races, I’ll end up saving a bunch of money not having to pay for somewhere to sleep, a car rental for a full weekend, and a lot of stress associated with all of the above.

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Haha I WISH I was eating gelato for breakfast at work. I had fun pretending with this batch of oats and chia soaked in milk with a half scoop of protein powder – Kept me full for hourssss which is always nice when talking about the weird and delicious food people ate all day at work.

I also have some random news… I am now an ordained minister! Anyone want to get married? I can do that for you! My best friend from college recently got engaged and is planning a small ceremony at the end of the month with her Fiance, and they asked me if I would officiate the ceremony with one of the groom’s best friends. Before this summer, the thought of getting ordained seemed way out there – but my friends who got married earlier this summer had the groom’s dad get ordained to officiate their ceremony, and my cousin is having her brother get ordained to officiate her ceremony next year. Hopping on the new trend, I guess! But I am SO excited, and so honored to have such a major role in the start of their life together ❤ I’ll be flying out to Chicago and Madison at the end of the month for a last minute vacation before school starts up again in the fall and am so grateful I’ll get to see all my most special friends again!! I miss them out in Boston every single day. My official ordination materials are apparently in the mail, and now I have to start figuring out what I’m going to actually say during the ceremony…. EEP

Bonus Recipe!

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I have always loved sweet potatoes, and normally just steam them up in the microwave to cook them, cut em open and stuff them full of lots of goodies like black beans, other veg, greek yogurt, apples, berries, peanut butter…. all the things. Sweet potatoes are a great vehicle for many flavor combos. But recently I started seeing these sweet potato breakfast bowls popping up – almost like oatmeal. I knew I wanted to give it a try because hello sweet potatoes are BOMB and the idea of having a starchy veg be the base of a breakfast meal is something I can definitely get behind. Well, it ended up being a major success. Definitely adding this to my breakfast repertoire and breaking it out frequently during cooler mornings. I’m sure you could make this ahead of time and stick it in the fridge and eat it cold like an overnight oats deal – that is going to be the next thing I test. This is another recipe that literally comes together in minutes, but I think you’ll get the best success if you take the time to fully bake the potatoes in the oven so they get nice and soft inside and the skin is easier to remove. I like to wrap my potatoes in foil and stick them in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Bake a full batch and you have breakfast ready to go for the whole week!

Without further ado, here is how I pulled this beaut together:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes, baked and skins removed (feel free to save the skin for something else, don’t waste all those nutrients!
  • 1/2 scoop (15g) protein powder of choice* – I used PEScience Select Protein Blondie flavor
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice – I used 1% dairy milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Toppings of choice: Banana, berries, apple, peach, chia seeds, cacao nibs, dark chocolate, coconut, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil; the base of this is primarily starchy carbohydrates and protein so feel free to add some healthy fats here

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Directions:

  • In a bowl, mash baked sweet potato into a mush.
  • Add protein powder and milk, and stir until completely combined
  • Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute or so
  • Top with cinnamon, toppings of choice and enjoy!

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*If you don’t have protein powder at home, you could easily sub in one egg white here – just make sure you really stir to combine so the egg is completely mixed in and you don’t end up with bits of egg white scramble mixed in with your potato bowl!

Not a fan of bananas and nut butter? (Who are you!?) Here are a few other flavor combos that sound absolutely delicious

Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin pie spice + Pecans + Apples (try microwaving them with cinnamon for 30 seconds before adding to the mix!) + Vanilla yogurt

Tropical Vaca: Coconut Flakes (unsweetened) + Mango slices + Cashews + Coconut milk

Mexi-Cali: Make it savory and omit the flavored protein powder. Add black beans + avocado + sautéed peppers + greek yogurt + chili powder and lime juice

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I’m so excited just to have this day to lounge around and watch the olympics, make some food for the week and reset.

Have you guys been watching Rio? What has been your favorite event to watch? Anything you guys are still looking forward to?

Do you tend to prefer sweet or savory for breakfast? I tend to prefer sweet but there are definitely days when nothing but savory will do. Luckily, sweet potatoes fit both of the bills!

HELP ME REACH $1,500 BY SEPTEMBER 1ST!

 

Week 9 NYC Marathon Training

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Woop woop! 9 weeks down, 12 to go, I think? Tried to keep this short and sweet but ended up writing a short novel. Insert eye roll emoji. This week was more yoga, bodyweight training, and tempo runs with one 2 hour and 15 minute long run on Saturday. My original plan got switched around a bit because I heard about this free running event on Sunday hosted by the city of Somerville Arts Council that was a partnership between a local running club and strength training studio. Originally, I was mapped out to have a day of walking on Sunday to shake out my long run, but instead we switched that day to Friday and my coach made some adjustments to the structure of the long run with Sunday’s 3.1 mile run in the works.

Weather wise, this week was not so bad! Really some ideal summer weather for the most part, and we FINALLY got some rain out here in Boston – the grass in some places is so dry you can hardly call it grass anymore. I hate seeing that. But the heat came back with a vengeance, just in time for the weekend.

Week 9 Training Plan

Monday : Cross Training + Body Weight Exercises

Took this cross training workout to the gym since I had used up my last spin class from my package the previous week. I was feeling pretty lackluster late in the afternoon and did 45 minutes on the elliptical with a routine I used to do all the time in college (throwback!): 7 minutes with moderate resistance (10-12) followed by 3 minutes of heavy resistance (17-20) pedaling backward, repeated for 45 minutes. Helps to make the time go by faster to split up the workout with intervals.

Body weight workout (2 Sets)

  • 15 air squats
  • 1 min forearm plank hold
  • 15 lunges (each leg)
  • 1 min forearm plank hold
  • 15 side lunges (each side)
  • 1 min forearm plank hold

Tuesday : Yoga for Runners + Fun Group Run

It was my last week with Wellness in Motion‘s introductory week! So I knew I had to get to a yoga for runners class. This one was an hour of really chill stretching and hip opening. Wasn’t much of a work out or core-burner, but I was fine with that given my run afterward. Shout out to Brittany for leading a great class.

I made the promise to myself that I would FINALLY make it to a Runfellow run this week since they were starting out of a brewery really close to my apartment (the same one I actually hosted my fundraiser at that last Friday, who I now love and share true loyalty) and I happened to have to voucher for a free drink sooooo it made the decision a lot easier. I am so glad I went! I had a ton of fun, there were WAY more people there than I expected, but after talking with some of the regulars that seems to be pretty normal for the summer. This group runs out of Somerville/Cambridge every Tuesday, and out of Boston every Thursday. They start and end at various restaurants/bars and are always followed by optional food/drinks and a fun social hour. Their motto is “I Like Your Pace,” and everyone is encouraged to run at their own personal pace. Everyone stands in a high-five funnel as every runner finishes, so each and every person gets cheered into the group. It really was such a great vibe. I’ll definitely be trying to be more regular with this group because I’ve already met quite a few awesome people!

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Can you find me? 🙂

Despite the “I Like Your Pace” motto, I started off running in a pack of runners that were really pushing it out of the gates. I tried to run at a comfortable pace, but my heart rate wasn’t having it. I was up in the 170s off the bat, and got down to the low 160s eventually. I let people pass me, and chatted with some of the runners who were running at my pace. It helped to stop at stoplights along the way when I felt like I was going too fast. It’s hard to listen to your body when you’re running with fast runners! Overall the run felt great and I feel like I eventually was able to pace myself nicely, and push a bit towards the end because who doesn’t like sprinting to a finish? 🙂 Next time I’ll definitely try to pay more mind to my pace, and try to put the race mentality out of my head running in a group.

There were so many people there that the crowd at the bar at the end was insane! I ended up sticking around for some watermelon and pizza, but decided not to stick around for the beer – plenty of other opportunities to use the voucher I’m sure 🙂 Total = 3.84 miles

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Wednesday : 1 Hour Tempo Run

15 min warm-up (HR under 155)
25 min @ 10k effort
10 min cool-down

This run felt amazing – it was a gloriously cool morning and I was excited to again be able to run a bit faster than usual. Started off listening to a podcast to keep my pace and HR down, and switched to my running playlist that is a treat to listen to now-a-days for the 10k effort leg. I tried not to pay attention to my heart rate during this portion and just push myself to run by feel. I wasn’t really paying attention to any particular pace either, just running to the music and enjoying the weightless feeling and cooler air. I was kind of surprised to see the 8:08 pace average (probably wouldn’t run a whole 10k at that speed) but I’ll take it! Got my heart rate down without walking too much at the end of this run which was awesome to see. Ended up walking the last 5 minutes. Total = 5.55 miles

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Thursday : Yoga + Core Exercises

Got in my last class at WIM over the lunch hour, with a Yoga for Athletes that was super intense. Not in a hard workout way, but our instructor had us twisting and balancing a lot and holding the poses for a long time. I could tell she knew what she was doing and the poses were all very targeted toward the hips, spine, and core. I had a super weird experience and got the sensation of being really cold all throughout my body during one of the deeper balancing twists. I asked the instructor about this afterward and she said she thought I might have activated my parasympathetic nervous system somehow and initiated a cooling response? Crazy! I do have pretty low blood pressure at baseline and it could also have been related to that since we were doing a lot of inversions as well. Whatever it was, it certainly didn’t feel normal.

Came home and rolled out my yoga mat at home for the rest of the core work I had to do. Completed 3 sets and finally started to feel like I could get through the 50 second mountain climber section without collapsing. Literally killer.

Was nice to know I didn’t have a run the next morning so you can bet I enjoyed this delicious cider after dinner.

Friday : Walk it Out!

Used today to walk a bunch, to work, to the park, back home, etc. – had about 20,000 steps by bedtime. Beautiful day!

Saturday : Long Run!

THE PLAN:

90 min easy (HR under 155)
20 min @ 8:45-9:00
5 min recovery
5 min @ 10K effort
15 min cool-down

THE RUN:

I was underprepared for this run in a few ways. First, I was expecting it to feel a lot easier than it did – definitely underestimated how tired my legs would feel after 90 minutes of easy running. Second, I forgot to pick up more honey stingers so I only had the half of a pack left over from my run last weekend, which was shorter. I was up on the later side Friday night watching the opening ceremonies and had been snacking until around 9:30 or so, so I didn’t wake up terribly hungry at 5am. I decided to try one of these bars I found at my fav. local grocery store recently, and was so happily surprised with how tasty it was. The ingredients are Dates, butter, sugar, wheat flour, cranberries, egg, water, corn starch, vanilla flavor and salt — kind of like a little cookie. For 140 calories, 6g fat, 19g carbs (2g fiber and 14g sugar) and 2g of protein, they provide a nice boost of energy. The company is from New Zealand so they’re automatically winners.

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I ended up having this an hour before leaving though, which was too long to wait. By the time I was 15 minutes in to the run I was already feeling hungry. And I only had a half pack of honey stingers that I had to hoard for later on in the run when I would really ned them. Not good. Thankfully I had a full scoop of skratch labs drink mix in my water bottle which has some decent carbs in it that kept me going. I ended up making it without bonking or anything, and the 6 honey stinger chews I had left kept me going with energy to spare, but I definitely learned an important lesson in making sure I have enough fuel in me before heading out on longer runs because that feeling of hunger is not something that I want to be experiencing 15 miles into a marathon. As my coach said in her feedback, “if you’re hungry on a run (this probably goes without saying), you’re under-fueled for the task at hand. Marathon training digs a big energy hole that can be hard to climb out of if you don’t catch it early.” Good to note, Heather!!

Physically I felt OK on this run. Definitely tired (and it was humid AF) for the most of it and the faster paces were tough, but I got through them! By the end, I could feel a little nagging in my right knee (this pretty much went away right afterward and hasn’t bothered me since). Just guessing that this could possibly be related to my running form during the 90 minutes easy at the beginning, where I often feel like I’m literally dragging my feet to keep my heart rate down, compared to my faster paced sections where I feel lighter on my feet. Will be paying more attention to running form/cadence at the lower heart rate moving forward.

My watch did a dumb thing (or I did a dumb thing) and ended the workout while I was trying to change the display from pace back to heart rate. So I don’t have a pretty picture of all my splits to show you. Boo hoo. Total = 13.4 miles

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When I got home I made sure I refueled right away! I put a 1/2 scoop of my PEScience  Blondie protein (so good, and I think it’s still on sale) in with some 1% milk and had that with about a cup of Trader Joe’s Cheerios. After about an hour and a half, when I was feeling hungry again, I made myself a huge egg scramble “toast” with chard, summer squash and onion, and had it with a banana (pictured in yesterday’s post as well). Yum yum yum x3

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Sunday : Fun Run

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The local run ended up being just under a 5k at 11am in the hot hot heat and included a killer hill at the end. There were about 12 people who participated, and we all did an active warm-up together led by one of the trainers from The Training Room. Prior to the run, he presented about the importance of incorporating a strength training routine into a running training program, something I can definitely get behind! It was nice to get a few new active warm up moves into my repertoire – they all focused on activating the core and getting the legs nice and loose and ready to go. Afterward I laid around by the river, snacked on an RX Bar (This one was so good) and took it nice and easy watching the Olympics for the rest of the night.

Highs

  1. Having a blast at my first Runfellow run, meeting the founder, and getting a slice of delicious free pizza! (Free pizza for president)
  2. Two really deep yoga sequences that left me feeling mucho rejuvenated and flexy flexy.
  3. Watching the Olympics!! The TV has pretty much been on 24/7 while we are home and I’m so excited to watch all of the events as the happen the next few weeks. So far the swimming and gymnastics have been obvious highlights, but I also really enjoyed watching rugby, volleyball and the Men’s bike racing — wasn’t able to watch the Women’s race which was probably a good thing…

Lows

  1. HEAT WAVE IS BACK. Again. I’m ready for fall.
  2. Under-fueling that long run on Saturday was kinda a bummer, but not a disaster. Thank God.
  3. Don’t know if this counts but I think I definitely had one alcoholic drink every day this week… Just one of those weeks where it felt right, ya know? Actually this definitely counts as a low because now I’m out of that delicious cider.

Bonus Jam: Old Guitar – BUNT

Balancing The Plate

As a dietitian, it’s about time I posted a nutrition-related topic on the blog, don’t you think?

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Running dominates the blog these days because I’m constantly learning new things and am definitely not an expert at it yet, so writing about it helps me process the journey of becoming stronger in the sport. It’s too easy to take the nutrition side for granted since it’s the one thing I’m the most comfortable with. But anyone who knows me know I can talk your ear off about nutrition so let’s get started.

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As much as I like the word “Balance” because it encompasses my approach to pretty much all aspects of life, I think it gets thrown around a lot and is quickly be coming the new “Moderation” (ugh). Like any word, it needs to be defined to have a meaning. In life, balance to me means taking the good with the bad, accepting imperfection and approaching life holistically. Balance means being okay with taking one step backward in your journey forward, because at the end of the day you still made progress. Balance means getting a little bit of everything and not too much of one thing. It’s about the big picture, but the beauty is in the details.

Nutrition-wise, it’s a little less poetic. Balance doesn’t mean eating burgers and pizza at every meal, but it does leave room for those things when life happens. It’s about fueling your body with valuable nutrition for the majority of the time and not stressing out over having  a not-so-nutritious meal on occasion, or a glass of wine with dinner every evening. Overall, having a balance of food is important because our bodies work best with a mix of nutrients and lots of variety. We don’t just require one nutrient or super-doses of any one thing. Any time we eliminate entire food groups from our diet, or avoid certain foods, we run the risk of depriving our bodies of valuable nutrients and developing unhealthy relationships with food. Our body systems are complex and work best with a little bit of everything. As a result we FEEL the best when we fuel ourselves with a little bit of everything. And hello food is a lot more satisfying, and nutrition a lot less complicated, when we allow ourselves to eat everything.

There are many different dietary patterns that allow you to achieve balance – it’s totally possible to be vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whole30, sugar-free, WHATEVER suits your fancy, and have a balanced diet. But, it isn’t always very straightforward –even if everything on your plate seems to pass the “healthy” test.  Just as important as it is to make sure you give your body a mix of nutrients every day, keeping each meal and snack balanced in nutrients is the most effective way to keep our bodies functioning efficiently. Of course, these recommendations are for most generally healthy people and those who are managing specific diseases like diabetes or healing from severe injury have different requirements. The ratios of the different food groups can be adjusted depending on specific needs, but overall, EVERYONE benefits from getting a balance with every bite. Let’s start with the big 3 (macronutrients, that is).

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1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, carbs, CHO, however you like to call ’em, are the preferred energy source of muscles, the brain and our heart. (Did you know that the brain can ONLY use glucose, the breakdown product of carbohydrates, for energy?). It’s recommended that roughly half of our calories come from carbohydrates every day. Realize that “carbs” don’t only come from pasta, bread and rice — fruits, vegetables and dairy products also contain carbohydrates and these bring along a wider variety of nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and water for each gram of carb they provide. Whole grains like brown rice, wheat, barley, oats etc. offer a concentrated source of carbohydrates with an extra boost of protein and fat that refined carbs (think white flour) lack. Whole grains also retain a host of micronutrients that are lost in the refining process. 

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2. Protein

Protein, another macronutrient, is important to include at meals and snacks not only because it provides the building blocks for just about every structural and functional element in our bodies, but because it helps slow the digestive process so we stay satisfied longer and benefit from more stable energy levels. The reason we suffer from “sugar highs” and “sugar crashes” is because our bodies don’t have a protein buffer to keep from burning through the easily available fuel right away. With a bit of protein in the mix, our cells get a slower, more steady stream of energy and our brains don’t scream out in hunger just hours after we finished a meal. Protein is everywhere these days. And while part of me is grateful it’s easier now to find traditionally carb-heavy options like oatmeal and bread with a boost of protein, it’s really not necessary to aim for super-high protein intakes that are often recommended by those who don’t really know what they are talking about. Generally (again, for those who aren’t recovering from serious injury or illness), we should aim for .8-1.7 g of protein per KILOGRAM of our body weight. For Americans who aren’t used to referring to their weight in kilos, this often gets mistranslated as .8-1.7 g per pound, which ends up being a considerable difference. To get your weight in kilograms, divide pounds by 2.2. Then multiply by .8 if you are on the smaller side and have a low activity level for the grams of protein you should generally aim to get each day. Multiply the number by 1.7 if you have more body mass and if you undergo intense exercise and need to rebuild broken down tissue every day. Shoot for somewhere in the middle if you fall somewhere in between. Protein really deserves a post all to itself, so I’m going to stop here to keep it simple.

3. Fat

Fat! Fat is fun. Fat is necessary. Fat is back as they say. Fats are the cherry on top of the carbohydrate and protein sundae, and they serve a major role in transporting and storing vitamins A, E, D and K. Without fat, we don’t absorb those nutrients! Fats also slow the emptying of our stomach, so like protein, they help us feel satisfied with a smaller amount of food. Like anything, some is good but more is not always better. Fat is the most energy-dense nutrient, meaning each gram of fat provides the most amount of calories — 9 calories to be exact (more than double that of carbs and protein). Overdoing it on fat often leads to overdoing it on calories because it’s difficult for our brains to keep up with the high doses that come from fat-heavy foods, like fries and pizza, to tell us when enough is enough. Current recommendations for most healthy adults are to consume about 30% of calories per day from fat. For a long time, Americans have been afraid of incorporating fat into a healthy diet because it had been so often associated with gaining weight. And because we group a whole bunch of different types of fat together under one label, it can be confusing to distinguish between some fats that are worse for us than others. It is true that high intake of some fats has been associated with increased risk of chronic disease (KEY WORD: HIGH INTAKE). The “bad fats,” as they are commonly termed, are the solid fats that come from animal products, and they seem to raise the risk of heart disease when they are consumed in excess. The research in this area is so difficult to tease apart because humans don’t eat just fats — usually the people who eat a lot of animal fats also eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and not a whole lot of fruits and vegetables, which makes it hard to determine whether the fat itself is the problem (less likely) or the diet as a whole (more likely). When we took out fat from a lot of the products in the food supply in the 90’s, we replaced it with sugar, which led to a whole lot of imbalance in the favor of refined carbohydrates and was notttttt such a great move for our overall health. One thing that is clear is trans fats should be avoided at all costs. Nothing good comes from these artificial fats, and they are slowly being removed from the food supply. Best to avoid commercial fats in packaged and refined products altogether, and look to incorporate more unsaturated fats found in plants and fish. Fat from dairy products and eggs seems to be relatively neutral and is probably fine if not consumed excessively.

What does this actually look like? How can you really get a balanced bite at every meal and snack? Here are a few of my favorite examples – all of which you can probably tell make use of simple cooking methods and affordable ingredients –> I am in grad school after all.

Breakfast:

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Whole Grain Toast + Egg + Avocado + Grapes and a little low-fat Cream Cheese

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Smoothie made with blueberries, banana, spinach, almond milk and whey protein powder + 1/2 a banana, hemp seeds and dried fruit with nuts

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Greek yogurt, banana, and mixed nuts

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Oatmeal made with one egg white, peanut butter, mixed berries and walnuts

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One egg, one banana, one rice cake and some peanut butter

LUNCH

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Whole Grain Toast + Avocado + Chicken Sausage

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Salad Greens + Sweet Potato + Salmon and a little tahini dressing

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Shrimp Spring Rolls in Rice Paper with spring mix, broccoli slaw, radish and avocado

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Chicken Black Bean and Corn Enchilada Stew + Avcocado

 

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Quinoa, Kale, Broccoli and Buffalo baked Chicken Breast with a little Low-fat Cheese

 

 

DINNER

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Roasted Root Vegetables (Carrots and Potatoes here I believe) + Salmon + Kale + Salsa and Guacamole

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Pizza! On Whole grain crust, topped with marinara sauce, lots of veggies, and part-skim mozzarella cheese

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Baked Salmon on top of Avocado, Roasted Corn, Black Beans, Blueberries + Lime juice

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Sauteed Kale and Broccoli, Roasted Potatoes, and Baked Fish

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Roasted Parsnips and Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, and Kale + Egg with a little Goat Cheese

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Turkey Taco Salads + Avocado + A little low-fat cheese

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Steamed Sweet Potato + Black beans, Salsa, and Broccoli + Cheese

My favorite balanced snack options:

Fruit + Nut Butter or Strong and KIND Bar

Yogurt-based dressing or Hummus + Fresh Veggies

Homemade Trail Mix (I love dried chickpeas, nuts, whole grain cereal, dried fruit and a little dark chocolate)

Plain Greek Yogurt + Picky Bar

RX Bars

The concept of nutritional balance at meals and snacks is useful for anyone. The exact ratios of carbohydrates, to fats, to proteins can be individualized to your specific needs. I’ve tracked my intake for a while and found that I function best day-to-day with about 50% of my calories from carbohydrates, 35% from fat, and 15% from protein and try to get a little bit of each in with every eating opportunity.

Diets that promote very low or high intake of any one of these macronutrients are not balanced and because of this are usually not sustainable in the long-term.

Resources

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Trumbo, Paula, et al. “Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 102.11 (2002): 1621-1630.

Lagiou, P., Sandin, S., Lof, M., Trichopoulos, D., Adami, H.-O., & Weiderpass, E. (2012). Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study. Bmj, 344(jun26 3), e4026–e4026. http://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4026

Chowdhury et al., (2011). Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk. Annals of Internal Medicine, 155(9), 139–141. http://doi.org/10.7326/M14-0538

 

Writing Fatigue + Weeks 7 and 8 Marathon Training

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HOWWwww is it already August? Seven months of 2016 have already come and gone? Truth be told, even though 2016 has been going by in the blink of an eye, I’ve had an absolute blast and I’m really proud of myself for always trying to live “in the moment” (really starting to hate that cliche phrase) because looking back on the previous 7 months I don’t feel an ounce of regret or sadness or like I missed out on anything.

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Helloooo gorgeous sunrise! Major perk of running at the literal crack of dawn.

Having this blog is both a blessing and a curse. I love posting, re-reading my previous posts and looking at my progress over the long-term as a runner and human being. But sometimes it’s hard for me to write. I have the responsibility hanging over my head knowing I really should just sit down and write something today, but reading other people’s posts or that random article that the Washington post just published or the trashy-yet-saying-everything-I-want-to-say bachelorette recap usually sounds way more fun.

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I’ve been mentally wrestling with why it’s so hard for me to keep a blog running when I have no trouble keeping up with other commitments. I never turn in assignments late. I’ve missed maybe one or two workouts in my training plan so far because I didn’t feel well. I like to schedule my time and know when X is going to happen – as much as I like to think I’m spontaneous, I’ve definitely come to terms over the years with how much satisfaction I get from having a plan. I’ve occasionally written “Blog” in fancy lettering in my planner to remind myself to spend part of the day writing a post, but usually something else ends up filling that time. I really don’t know what will kick my butt in gear and make blogging fit in to my life like the rest of it does. Blogging seems to be in the purgatory of priorities in my life now – I know I should do it not only because I like it (I do like it!) but because it helps me practice my writing for when I’m doing this in “the big leagues,” and because having a place to debrief keeps me mentally focused and accepting of whatever is happening in my life. Maybe I hold my posts to too high of a standard – If you don’t want to read what I have to say, I’m sure you won’t! But that fear shouldn’t hold me back from writing in the first place.

alright, blogging rant over. let’s get back to the reason I opened up this NEW POST page anyway.

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Oh-so-lucky to spend a perfect summer evening with family visiting from Minnesota in Fenway watching the Twins beat the Red Sox via incredible seats.

Weeks 7 + 8 Marathon Training

Holy moly I’m already two months in to this thing! I have just under 100 days to go. I’m starting to get really excited, and more confident that I’ll get to the starting line in one piece. So far (I knock on wood every time I bring this up), I haven’t had any real pain or discomfort in my hips, knees, feet or legs like I have previously experienced. A few runs have been, quite literally, pains in the butt with sore glutes/lower back especially during the beginning warm-up stages. But I have basically attributed this to fatiguing during cross training (some spin classes I’ve been to have been utter glute burners), more squats than I’ve ever done consistently before, and being lax about foam rolling. Definitely making it a habit to foam roll after each run and workout and it almost always feels like a good decision. Hurts so good, as they say. I’ve been going to these awesome yoga classes held by a new friend I met at a running club earlier this summer who specializes in yoga for runners. The studio she teaches out of is a Chiropractic clinic as well, with a cozy yoga studio complete with a centuries-old brick wall and complimentary yoga mats. They had a $25 introductory 3-weeks unlimited which is basically unheard of in Boston, so I’ve been making a point to go at least once a week when it works with my schedule, and I’ve been absolutely loving the sessions. Shout out to Sarah, who also just finished the San Francisco marathon and rocked it. You go girl!!

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Hello, perfect salad. This bad boy had roasted sweet corn, avocado, blueberry and onion + baked salmon on top. No need for dressing with all those heart healthy fats goin on.

During week 7, I was also taking a week-long class through my grad school that I signed up for on a whim because it was free and sounded fun. #nerd. Hot Topics in Nutrition, and it did not fail to bring up some interesting discussions and I learned quite a bit about a wide variety of topics. If anything, it reconfirmed that there is soooo much going on in this field and it’s hard even for the experts to keep up. Research is so abundant (which is a good thing!) now, but it’s even harder to discern high quality studies from questionable ones, and we are entering a period of cynicism toward nutrition science. Nutrition science is one of the most difficult sciences to draw any conclusions from – there are just so many limitations at work in any given study investigating diets and humans because of the very nature of diets and humans: they are not static chemicals you can isolate in a lab – they are dynamic and pretty much always changing. Even so, the popular press has no trouble taking modest results and churning them into fiery headlines, often missing the entire point of some studies (making me all the more fired-up about pursuing nutrition communication to confront this systemic failure). At the very least, the class was nice because there was the guarantee of free coffee every morning. Can’t complain about that.

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Tried the coconut RX-Bar for the first time during a busy day when I needed a snack to pack to hold me over between meals. I was not disappointed! The ingredient list is no joke and I love that it has protein from egg-whites for staying power. Also a fan of the size compared to lara bars because sometimes those lil things are just gone too soon. Shoutout to the liter of polar seltzer in the back. No fangirl shame here.

I was proud that I was able to fit in all of my scheduled work outs despite the tight squeeze of having 4 hours of class every morning, usually followed by work in the afternoon. Did two yoga classes this week, body weights, and an elliptical workout for cross-training. Running workouts were two 45 minute “easy” runs + one longer mid-week tempo at 10k pace. My long run was a 2 hour 15 minute killer early on Saturday morning, another day of brutal heat that had me up and running at 5am. It felt good overall, but I felt like I was running a little on the slower-side after my hour-long easy warm up. Problem solved after I turned off the podcast I was listening to and went back to some good, old-fashioned techno jam music. Pace = increased. I definitely needed the hydration I brought with me, and it continues to save my life during the heat. I enjoyed the honey stinger chews that I brought with me and these seem to be a keeper for my long runs that aren’t extremely sweaty (for those I love the margarita clif chews that have extra sodium). On Sunday I had a spin class as my shakeout workout and was surprised how good it felt after cranking out 14 miles the previous day. It helped that the class was on the easier side (read: didn’t feel like I was killing myself but still a pretty intense workout) and I had a delicious breakfast with visiting family to look forward to. Overall, a good week that I was very happy with! Total miles = 29.5

Week 8 I ended up mixing up my workout schedule because a busy day left me feeling beat, so I basically used it as an unplanned rest-day after confirming it with my coach. Started the week with a one hour “easy” run that ended up not feeling super easy because I underestimated my need for water and felt super thirsty for the first half until I came upon a water fountain. Kept it slow and steady though, ended up with 6.3 miles at 9:40 average pace. Went to another yoga for runners class, and did 30 minutes of stationary bike + elliptical for my two cross training days, as well as the core workout I’ve posted about before (becoming a new tradition over here). Skipped my tempo run because of my unplanned rest day, and used the remaining weekday for another MAF run – warmup plus 3 miles at/under a heart rate of 155. SLOW but necessary. It was hot, so my pace was probably a little slower than it would have been otherwise — on average it was 11:19 per mile.

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My long run was a little step back and was only 1 hour 45 minutes including cool-down. I remember this run feeling great – it was a cool morning FINALLY and I had steady energy throughout. I didn’t eat anything before heading out because I was still full from snacky foods I had eaten at my fundraiser the night before until like 11pm. So I just made myself a cup of coffee and let that ..move through.. before hitting the pavement. Ran my first hour easy and my legs felt a little slow to wake up, but by the time I was running my 3 x 1 mile at half marathon pace I definitely felt good pushing it. Music really makes a huge difference with my speeding up these days – it’s just so much more satisfying to feel like your flying to a rolling beat of a good song. Overall my pace for what ended up being a 10.6 mile run was about 9:39 min/mi, but my half-marathon pace sections averaged around 8:30 min/mi which seems about right! Followed my long run on Saturday with some foodie adventures and enjoying the sun, and had an easy 30 minute shakeout run the next morning. Total miles = 25.5

Favorite Running Jam Lately: Colors by Halsey, Audien Remix (Turn this one up and fly)

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Hot days call for recovery smoothie bowls. This one had a scoop of mint chocolate protein powder + almond milk + half a banana and lotsssss of spinach.

I think moving forward with this blog I’m going to try to post more frequently with shorter posts. I don’t want my only activity on here to be weekly updates because #boring. Expect a post soon chatting about fundraising and some of the lessons I’ve learned so far. I also have a few nutrition topics I want to sprinkle in. Variety is the spice of life and I hope more frequent and shorter posts will keep my commitment to this blog a little less of a drag to maintain.

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Oh, just me with many plates of Persian food. In my happy place (Happiness is only real when shared)

 

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