Pacing for Pittsburgh…here we come!

Mon, Jan 30
Ran 35 minutes at lunch on the treadmill
Distance: About 3.5, but I don’t know exactly because I forgot to look at the machine. I ran for 33 minutes on 6.0 and the last two minutes on 6.1

Today was the first run on my next training schedule. Pittsburgh or Bust!! May 6 will be here before you know it!! I had initially thought that I would try the intermediate 1/2 marathon training schedule. I mean, afterall, I already ran one, right? As a matter of fact, I already ran a marathon too!! Heck, I could just run one right now….cuz…Okay, Whoa! I looked back at the intermediate plan and it said right at the top for those who have been running 3 to 4 times a week for 5-8 miles each time for 6 months. Uh, no. That plan is not going to cut it. But I also feel like I don’t want to do the same plan I already used for my first 1/2 last May. Mike suggested I compromise by adding 5 minutes on to each run on the program. I can totally do that and I did so today, as a matter of fact. A big 35 minutes! Depending on how it goes I might add some tempo runs and other types of training runs that the intermediate plan has. But I’ll just play that by ear.

The run felt pretty great! I ran beside my friend on the treadmill which is fun. I don’t bring my music or watch the tv on those days. We chat a bit, sing a bit and just keep each other company. It is fun and after all that is what this running thing should be all about anyways right??!!

Chopped: The Sequel

So we decided to do Chopped again tonight! For those of you who missed the first episode you can read about the first Chopped experience here.

So tonight we switched so I was to make the main dish and Mike was to make the dessert. Here were the ingredient selections for tonight:

Main Dish
Mike – Egg noodles
Zach – Lemons
Lisa – Mozzarella cheese

Dessert
Mike – Custard
Zach – Fortune cookies
Lisa – Hazelnuts

As we walked around Heinen’s I decided to do salmon served on the noodles and with asparagus. Here are the ingredients I used:

1 lb salmon
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Fresh parmesean, grated
1 container fresh mushrooms, cut up
1 jar of sundried tomatoes, cut up
3/4 pkg egg noodles, cooked
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
Olive oil

And here is what I ended up doing:

Marinated the salmon in the juice of one lemon for about 10 minutes. Mixed the rosemary and cheese together. (I decided to just use parm rather than add mozz, as well). Covered the salmon with a thick layer of the spice mixture and put it on a cookie sheet. Baked salmon in a 450 degree oven for about 23 minutes and then broiled it on high for a minute to finish. Prepared noodles as directed. Sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes in olive oil in skillet. Added 1/4 cup vegetable broth and simmer. Add more vegetable broth as desired. Drain noodles and mix tomato mixture in with noodles. Serve salmon on 1 cup of noodles. Serve asparagus on the side. Here is what it looked like:

It tasted great! Zach even liked the fish so that is a win, for sure!

Mike was not feeling in the creative mood at Heinen’s so Zach took the reigns and decided to plan dessert. We made the executive decision to change custard to vanilla pudding to make it easier. Also, we could not find fortune cookies so we looked at regular cookies. We lucked out and found some “chocolate hazelnut sticks” sorta like this:

so we decided to forego the actual hazelnuts and use these instead! One can of whipped cream and we were on our way! Zach worked hard to make these vanilla pudding and chocolate hazelnut parfaits ALL BY HIMSELF! Here is a pic of his masterpiece:

Zach had a blast doing this! Henry enjoyed it too (read: cleaning up the crumbs from the floor). Zach insisted that we sit down while he cleaned up the kitchen. “Mommy, you always do too much, so I want to clean the whole kitchen for you,” he said. Yes, that is a direct quote. (*Note to self – do Chopped often and let Zach cook for God’s sake!!) The parfaits were extremely yummy and light! We figured 8 points per dessert -not too shabby!! Our judge for this night (Mike) said he could not chop either dish. They were both too yummy. Yes. Yes, they were! And yes, we should do this a couple times a month and involve Zach as a guest chef very often!

Question: What Has a Head and Two Legs?!

Sat, Jan 28
Yoga at yoga lounge

Answer: Me, in my first tri-pod pose!! Yep, I tried it for the first time today and got into it! Very cool and it wasn’t hard at all – no hesitation – just went into it. Here is what it looks like:

This really is the start to get into headstand, so I’m happy with that progress. At some point I’ll get the nerve up and be ready to actually try headstand.

In addition to the tri-pod triumph, this class, really rocked! I felt really challenged and had a great workout, both mentally and physically. Amy talked about focusing on smooth transitions between the poses – just like life…making smooth transitions in our lives. She also talked about taking our time getting into poses, not rushing into them. This is good practice for life too. I love those 90 minutes classes because I feel like we can really do a lot without rushing. Sometimes no matter how good the teacher, the hour class just feels rushed. We did a bunch of cool balance poses including the normal eagle, but also dancer, bird of paradise and half-moon with a bind. I just love how Amy mixes it up and keeps it new and always challenging.

One of the things I kept thinking about post-practice today was how awesome the workout experience is with yoga with no equipment other than a mat and a foam block. The heat that is built up is totally with the body – the breath and the flow. No heavy weights, no machines – not even shoes are needed! Those of you who know me know that I have a direct relationship with equipment. As the amount of equipment involved with something increases, my ability to be competent and/or actually enjoy the activity decreases. Just give me a yoga mat and some running shoes. Now, is that asking too much to keep a girl happy?! Thanks. That’s what I thought!

The Flying Treadmill

Thurs, Jan 26
Ran 4 miles at lunch
Time: 40:25

Great run today! I was on “the good treadmill” so it was a little bit of an easier run. I ran the first 2 at 5.9, the third at 6.0 and the 4th at 6.1 (no incline). I know, I know…I need to get back to the incline again. Today’s run was the kind that I felt like I was flying and I truly enjoyed it. Every now and then I have those runs which keeps me coming back for more. I didn’t have my friend on the machine next to me today so I rocked out my music and had a good random mix. Monday starts my 1/2 training program so this is how the rest of my week will go:

tomorrow – Amy’s yoga class – awesome
Sat – probably yoga at Yoga Lounge
Sun – rest
Mon – bring it!!

Midday Yoga

Wed, Jan 25
9:30am yoga at Yoga Lounge

So I would normally run today, but I was on vacation today so I decided to take the 9:30am yoga class. The class was packed! Yep, me and the stay-at-home moms (and a couple dads) were there hanging out. It was a great class – such a great workout and perfect in every way. When I was leaving I noticed a kid coming out of the room. When I say kid I don’t mean like a young college kid. I’m talking a literal kid…as in about the 12-13 age range. I recognized him as the same kid that I’d seen before practicing with what I assumed to be his dad. As a matter of fact, I’d seen them a couple times…on a SATURDAY! Today was a Wednesday. Being the nosey-rosey that I am, I just had to ask…

I went up to him and said, “Let me guess, you are home-schooled?”

“No,” he said, barely looking at me.

“Soooo, just a day off of school then?” I followed up.

“Yeah,” he said again trying to ignore me.

Odd.

Hey whateves. I’ve heard of parents giving kids a “mental health day” every now and then. If you are going to miss school, what better thing to do then practice yoga, I always say.

The Veggie Experiment

So it all started last Monday, Jan 16, when I decided to do “Meatless Mondays” in 2012 for the fam. I had bought a vegetarian cookbook at Half-Price Books and wanted to try it out so I picked a Bean Enchilada recipe to try for our first Monday. Now I should add that I often cook a meatless meal probably at least once during the week, but I just wanted to be a little more intentional for the new year. The enchilada’s were great, I thought. Mike had his traditional critiques to offer, but he did eat it. Zach protested by picking out some cheese and filling up on corn cake. In normal fashion I took some of the enchilada leftovers for lunch the next day.

Cut to last Wednesday. As I was eating dinner I realized that I had not eaten any meat since last Sunday! Huh, that’s weird. I didn’t even miss it. That got me thinking. How long could I do this? Could I go meatless?! I am a huge proponent of eating real food that is for sure. I’m a big believer in Michael Polan’s writing about eating real food. Could this be the next step?? You know Polan’s, “eat mostly plants” thing. I decided to just try to see how long I could comfortably go without meat and without missing it or feeling deprived. That is one thing I will not do – I will not have rigid rules that make me feel deprived.

So it is now Tues, Jan 24 and I’m still meatless! I proclaimed this to my family last night as we were sitting down to eat our tilapia and Mike called me out. “Wait a second, how is fish not meat?” Hmm. I looked at him with a blank stare. Wait a sec, I thought. Is my whole experiment null and void? Have I been duped?! I looked down sadly at my tilapia and thought logically through this…yes, a fish is an animal…yes, it has babies…maybe it is meat!!! While I was in mid thought about this, Mike had already pulled out his phone and started googling definitions. This is what we discovered…

Is fish considered meat??

Well, yep. According to this article, I’ve been convicted. Fish. is. meat.

But let’s dig a little bit deeper and define some things…

Definitions: What is a vegetarian? When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians: People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg). This is the most common type of vegetarian in North America.

Lacto-vegetarian is used to describe a vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products. Many Hindu vegetarians are lacto-vegetarians who avoid eggs for religious reasons while continuing to eat dairy.

Ovo-vegetarian refers to people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs. Some people are ovo-vegetarians because they are lactose-intolerant.

Pesco-vegetarian – or “semi-vegetarian” is someone who does not eat red meat or poultry but eats fish.

Okay, that is me, I guess. At least me for the past 9 days and counting. Whew, I’m glad there is a name for it…now I can proceed.

Am I a yoga snob?!

I had a really busy weekend this weekend. I worked a full day on Saturday and then again in the afternoon on Sunday. By Sunday evening I was ready to sweat! However, the last yoga class at yoga lounge was at 4:45pm…it was about 4pm and I still had to go grocery shopping. Ugh. Then I remembered that Life Center offered yoga classes so I looked it up. Sure enough a 7pm – 8:30pm on Sunday nights! Yes! I’m there.

Now, Life Center is a fitness club (actually a converted roller skating facility) with all of the noises you might think would be associated with such a club. The music from a group fitness class, the occasional old man grunt followed by the obligatory crash into what we think is a racquetball court wall, and of course the normal talking and socializing that goes on at the club. (It really is not like that, but there are a few people that go there just for the socialization factor). I enjoy the place a lot and mostly use it for running on the treadmill in the nice, temperature controlled, freak-controlled…uh, I mean, less crowded, cardio-room.

Enter last night’s yoga class. Now I went to a yoga class at LC one other time a long time ago, but I didn’t really remember too much about it. There wasn’t a description about the type of yoga class it was, but I was figuring it had to be good since it was 90 minutes, right? Well, I entered the room – a studio on the upstairs level of the building about 15 minutes early just to get a good spot. There were already a few women in there. I got my mat in place, looked around for a mat and then realized it was behind a locked door. It was really cold in there and I mentioned that to the other women. I said I wished it was about 10 degrees warmer. Right away one woman assured me that the room would get warmer once people got there and the class started. Yes, my immediate reaction was “No shit, Sherlock. I didn’t just fall off the yoga truck,” but I didn’t say that. I just said, “that’s true”. For some reason I felt like I had to assert my non-newbee yoga status, but I didn’t. The room soon filled to capacity and the class began. No quiet meditation time on my mat…everyone was chatting rather loudly. No awesome music coming from an overhead sound system…the music was coming from the teacher’s iPod station. No soothing atmosphere…it was a gym afterall. No warm temps…chilly building. But I was here so I’d make the best of it!

The class was pretty good, but very different from the ones I’m used to doing. There was literally no flow. We did chattarunga probably about 3 times in the whole 90 minutes. We did a number of different poses that weren’t really connected by flow, which was just odd mostly because it was hard to keep the breath going. The other thing that was odd that the instructor talked and joked throughout the entire class. It was really difficult to get any “zen” out of the class at all because of a) lack of breath focus, and b) chit-chat going on. All of this being said, it was a good stretch workout and that was pretty much it. I didn’t really sweat too much, but I did stretch and did challenge myself with some different poses.

Next up: run tomorrow!

Two Days in a Row!

Thurs, Jan 19 and Fri, Jan 20

So I’m blogging about two days because 1) I need to get caught up, 2) they are both about yoga, and 3) it is 12:59am and I have get up at 6:15am.

Thursday I went to 6am yoga at the Yoga Lounge…Kevin was the instructor. It was a good class. He talked a lot about vulnerability and reassured us that we are good enough. I felt really good during and after that practice because I let myself go more into poses and got further with them (e.g. dancer and tree). It was a small group so we all got a lot of assists by Kevin which was also good.

Then today (Fri) I was supposed to run…well, I’m not really sure what that means since I’m not on a schedule right now. I guess what I mean is my pattern is that I’ve been running just every other day and Fridays have been regular days. However, since I know I have one more week before my 1/2 training starts I decided I wanted to go to yoga today instead…just cuz. I have really missed Amy’s class; I don’t think I have been since early fall. It was awesome! I could tell a difference in my strength between the last time I took her class and today. I think this is due to just keeping up with practicing. While it still kicked my butt, I still felt like I totally kept up the entire time. I also rocked out crow for a number of seconds! Sweet.

Tomorrow I work all day so I imagine I will not get a run in. Perhaps Sunday…or maybe not….and that is okay!

Don’t Throw in the Towel…Borrow One!

Wed, Jan 18
Ran 3 miles at 10:20/pace
Time: 31:07

So I totally forgot my towel today and as I’ve stated before – not showering after a run is NOT an option for me. So, decision time. Do I try to find one to borrow at the university or do I take this as a sign and bag my run for today. Oh, so tempting to bag it, but nope. I checked with Campus Rec and sure enough, they had one so I was on the hook to run. Shucks. I’m glad though. My friend, Mary Ann, and I grabbed treadmills next to each other and talked so that was fun. Most of the time I felt good during the run, but after talking a lot it felt more difficult. I used yet another machine today that I really liked. It was more open and didn’t have a tv right in front of it. Most of the run I ran at a 10:20 pace, but I bumped it up to 6.0 for the last half mile. My calves felt a bit sore after the run, but seemed to get better during the day.

Next up: yoga in the morning