What I Ate Wednesday

Well I’ll tell you what I have been eating, if I’m honest.


OY!  I did so well for six weeks, not one slip up! Nada!  But sure enough, now that the incentive of Lent is over, it’s easy to fall into the trap of having dessert because everyone is having it, eating sweets when they are offered.  And I can see the difference.  Not only is my weight up three and a half pounds over from the best of my clean eating efforts, but the cravings are back.

Last night, after dinner and things got calm at home, I sat down to watch TV.  I wasn’t hungry at all; I’d made a satisfying dinner of roasted chicken breasts, broccoli and red potatoes.  But I wanted a little something.  Something sweet.  And unfortunately for me, because of the race I am planning, I have literally hundreds of little packets of sweet animal crackers, Milano cookies and all sorts of other yummy goodies in the house.

I didn’t eat anything terrible; two little graham cracker packets and two pieces of chocolate that I received as a gift.  But it was probably 250 extra calories that I didn’t need yesterday.

I still haven’t ventured back to artificial sweeteners, and I won’t.  I’m drawing the line there.  I’d rather have a coffee with just milk or iced tea rather than use a packet of Splenda or have a diet soda.  It took me a long time to get beyond that and I won’t go back.  I might slip on the sugar from time to time, but at least it is a real food.

But for now, I’m going to recommit to the no sugar rule.  It’s just too easy to fall into the habit of it, and it is amazing how it changes your palate.  Not to mention your waistline!

Motivation Monday

I’ve gotten a few weeks behind in posting about my exercise and fitness on Mondays but I want to get back in the habit.  It helps me stay accountable knowing I am going to list the days of the week and what I did on each one.

It’s been a busy time here for me.  I am the race director for our town’s 5K.  This is my third year in the role, and while I have a committee, the lions share of the work falls on me.  The race is two weeks away so it is hours of work right now, every single day.  I do love it but it is pretty overwhelming at times.

I had slacked off some on working out with family in town for ten days early in the month, and I am finally starting to feel like I am getting back on track.  The weather has (finally) gotten warm here, which is one of those things that you dream about all winter until it happens and then you’re like….um, what?  Why is this run so much HAAAARRRRDER in 65 degrees and humidity?  But I feel like I am slowly starting to acclimate to the higher temps.  It still isn’t super hot yet, so I have to seriously get used to this before the really crazy heat kicks in.

One fun thing I did this week was some of my girlfriends from our previous bootcamp studio got together at our local park and did a light workout together.  I was very intimidated and almost didn’t go because three of the women (out of five of us) are really speedy and in great shape.  But I finally decided to go when another friend who was more my speed said she was coming to.  So glad I went!  We all went at our own paces and it was super fun to chat and gab and still get a workout in.  We’re planning on doing it again this Friday.  :)

I’m running another 5K this weekend, one I’ve always wanted to run (well since I started running three years ago) but have never been able to.  It starts and ends at our minor league ballpark which should be fun.  One of the perks of being a race director is sometimes other race directors throw you a freebie, and this is one of those for me.  Yay for that.  Hoping to not embarrass myself with my time.

This is what this week looked like for me:

Tues:  60 min strength and toning yoga  (I have bounced around all of the classes at this place and this one seems like the best fit)
Wed:  3.3 miles @  13:27 pace (I blame the dog)
Thu:  2.3 miles @ 12:32 pace + 30 min HIIT class
Fri:  30 min run/walk (mostly walk) and light workout with friends at the park
Sat:  Rest
Sun:  4.3 miles @ 13:17 pace (dog + hills)
Mon:  3.7 miles @ 12:42 pace and 30 min TRX class

You’ll notice my slowest paces have “dog” noted by them.  I do often take my dog running with me and he often needs to “pause” many times before he does his business, and then I need to pause to clean it up.  Plus if we run into other dogs I have to slow him to a walk to keep him calm as they pass by.  It doesn’t help me get any faster but it is nice to run with him.  That said, now that the weather is warmer, I’m starting to leave him home more to do the harder training.  The heat isn’t good for him anyway.

Mother’s Day 10K Recap

Yeah, so it is five days after the race.  That’s how much I didn’t want to post about this trainwreck of a race.

This was my third year running this race and so I was hoping for a good one….third time’s the charm and all of that.  Unfortunately as the weather forecast came into focus, I knew I was going to be dealing with a warm race with humidity.  I scaled back expectations and with hesitation drove out to the beach where the race started and ended early Sunday morning.

For the first time, a friend was joining me at this race.  She’s a speedy 5Ker, and I convinced her that she could handle the 10K distance with that kind of speed under her belt.  We had originally thought to carpool, but I ended up advising her against it because it would take me so much longer than her to cross the finish line.  Yep, low expectations, that’s me.

Made it to the site without any problems, got my race number and shirt, and made a bathroom stop. This might be the only race I’ve ever done that had more than enough bathroom facilities for the size of the race.  Eight or nine stalls in the beach house nearby checkin made for nearly zero lines.  Awesome!

I spent some time prerace putting out flyers for the 5K I am in charge of in a few weeks (!!) and before I knew it, it was time for one more pit stop.  I hemmed and hawed about my head….it was still cloudy out, should I just wear my headband?  Or keep the hat on that I swear by when it is sunny for long distances?  What if the sun comes out during the 3rd mile, I thought?  I kept it on.

Probably shouldn’t have, but more on that later.

I found my friend just as we were lining up.  She’d actually brought her husband and they planned on running together.  Good thing; I could have never kept up with her.

No announcements, no national anthem, no nothing.  Boom.  The gun went off and we were out.

After my 10K two weeks ago I decided to make a concerted effort to not go out too quickly. This was a flatter course but the humidity and heat were much greater today so I wanted to be sure not to go off the rails later.  I was in the back, but fine with that.

Mile 1 and 2 passed with me feeling good and careful.  I passed one or two people, not many.  I was getting warm though, even though the sun hadn’t broken through the clouds.  Really warm.

Mile 3 goes through South Norwalk, a busy urban downtown area with cobblestones and bridges over rivers leading out to Long Island Sound.  A guy in front of me ducked into an alley, I suppose to pee (ew).  Another guy was practically limping in front of me as we neared the I 95 underpass.  I asked him if he was OK, and he said he was just hoping to finish at this point.

That was the moment when I realized, yeah, me too.

The very urban part of this race is the most challenging:  miles 3-5.  I started to feel really tired here.  It still wasn’t sunny but the heat was really getting to me.  I stopped at the second water stop even though I had a water bottle with me.  I just needed the walk.  And then as you’re leaving the urban area, you encounter the course’s few hills and they felt monumental to me.

This is where I just came off the rails.

I felt tired.  I needed water.  I needed to walk.  The woman I’d been pacing with kept getting further and further away as I took walk break after walk break managing hills that shouldn’t have been as hard as they felt.  It still wasn’t that sunny, and my hat wasn’t dripping my sweat the way I remembered from last year.

I don’t know if it was really the humidity, the one extra drink I’d had the night before, or just my head telling me I didn’t have anything left in me, but by the time I hit mile 5, I was struggling to just put one foot in front of the other.  I didn’t care about time.  I saw the woman in purple get further away as I gasped for air and kept moving forward.

Mile 5-6 are mostly flat and you can see that you’re back near the beach and getting closer the whole way.  You actually run the same roads you drove in on, so you know you’re getting there.  But no matter how much I kept moving, everything still seemed impossibly far away.  When I hit mile 6, I desperately looked around for the finish, not being able to see it.

Finally, I looped around and saw the finish line.  I also saw the clock reading 1:19 and change.  Seriously.  What a disappointment.  I ran through it, hearing both my friends (who had finished TWENTY minutes prior) and my husband and kids cheering me on.  Which was nice, but I was mortified at my performance.  I couldn’t believe they all were there to witness the horrible time I’d clocked on a mostly flat course.

In the end, it was my second worst 10K (I’ve now run 7, including this one three times) at 1:19:35.  5th from last.  I hated nearly every minute of the last four miles of this one.  Part of it has to be the heat; we haven’t had a lot of warm days yet and I am just not acclimated to it.  I’m not sure about the rest.  I said to my husband and friends afterwards, “Never again.”

But then they handed me a medal and my kids got ice cream for free off of the ice cream truck.

So we’ll see.

Foodie Friday: Zoodles with Chicken and Red Pepper Sauce

Because I totally forgot to put up a post for What I Ate Wednesday, it feels a little crazy to still call it that.  Foodie Friday has a nice ring to it.  :) One of the things my girlfriends and I are doing is doing lunch in at one of our houses every few weeks.  We always make some version of zoodles, since we’re always trying to eat as clean as possible.  I had a huge jar of roasted red peppers in the fridge, so I sent them both this recipe from Food Faith Fitness for Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Zoodles.   But my one girlfriend pointed out that she didn’t care for the taste of plain Greek yogurt, or feta cheese, and I’ve been staying away from dairy. So I figured I could adapt the recipe to work without the dairy, and it was simply amazing.  It was a different flavor than tomato sauce but still in that vein.  The garlic made it nice and robust, and all you do to make the sauce is puree it in the food processor.  If you use jarred roasted peppers the sauce isn’t even cooked at all.  I threw in the juices from the roasted chicken breasts I made and it added flavor too.  Here’s what I did:

  • For Noodles:
  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • Kosher salt

I used my spiralizer on four medium zucchinis, salted them with kosher salt, and then put them in a colander to drain over the sink while I put together the rest of the meal.

  • For Sauce:
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh basil, chopped

The first thing I did was drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on the boneless chicken breasts.  I put them in the oven at 350 degrees and set the timer for 30 minutes (you may want to go less or more depending on the size of your breasts). Then I put all of the other ingredients into my food processor and pureed them until they were smooth.   Check the salt and pepper to taste. Finally I drizzled olive oil in a large pan and sauteed the zoodles until they were soft, about 7-8 minutes.  You may want to add a little broth in here too if they feel dry.  I put a lid on to have the steam help them cook faster.  Once they were soft, I added the sauce, and a dash of red pepper flakes (optional, but I find a few of them doesn’t add too much heat, but does add flavor).  At this point the chicken was done and resting.  Once it had rested a few minutes, I sliced it up and added it and all of the juices from it to the pan as well.  I just tossed everything together to combine flavors. That’s it!

It was super delicious, super easy and had super healthy.  This recipe made three very satisfying servings. We never did take a picture of our pretty zoodles with red pepper sauce, so I’ll have to make it again and remember to put the picture here.  But it was also a very pretty plate as well as being delish!

Motivation Monday

It was a week of getting back in the groove after a week of kids’ vacation and travel.  I definitely felt much more back in the routine, although it was not a perfect week by a long shot. I had an unplanned rest day on Friday when a last minute client meeting came up.  I had planned to do yoga on Saturday, but my husband was out of town and I didn’t want my son to wake up to an empty house that morning.

This week looked like this:

Tues:  Rest Day
Wed:  2 miles @ 11:53 pace plus 30 min HIIT class
Thur:  2.5 miles @ 11:43 pace plus 30 min HIIT class
Fri:  Rest Day (unplanned; client meeting)
Sat:  Rest Day
Sun:  10K Minuteman Race @ 11:50 pace
Mon:  3.7 mile walk

I had planned on a short run and a strength class today for exercise, but I tweaked my left knee yesterday and I can still feel it today.  I wrapped it in an ACE bandage but I still wasn’t sure putting so much stress on it today was a great idea.  I decided a walk was the best way to not blow the whole day but still take care of myself.  I have another race in two weeks, another 10K, and I don’t want to ruin my chances for making that a good day.

Tomorrow I plan on a short two miles to see how the leg is, and I’ve signed up for a TRX class at my local gym.  TRX is NOT my favorite thing by a long shot.  Every time our instructor brings out the straps, I always need two or three explanations before I finally get it right.  Plus, I find it super hard.  I know that means it is good for me, which is why I have signed up.  These classes are enormously popular at my gym, so there must be a reason, right?

Later this week family is coming into town for my daughter’s communion.  When we have family visits it is always hard to keep up with the workouts.  I’m trying to figure out how to parcel out my runs to still get in some exercise while spending precious time with the family.  Hopefully I can find the balance for both.


Minuteman 10K Recap

I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one.  I haven’t run distances much over 5 miles since my half marathon a month ago, and I purposely signed up for this one to keep me honest and pulling the higher distances.  But when I woke up yesterday morning I was totally thinking, “Why on earth am I doing this?”

It was chilly when my friends and I left for this race, half an hour away at scenic Compo Beach in Westport.  For those who don’t know, Westport is a tony suburb in lower Fairfield County.  By the time we arrived at the race site, the weather had warmed up considerably; I had brought two different running jackets and decided I needed neither.

This race was a 5K/10K combo.  Those aren’t my favorite, because not only am I slow in a 5K field, I am REALLY slow in a 10K field, and it makes for a really lonely race return.  But, I remembered this race was a nice one; beautiful course, well organized, decent swag prior, so I signed up for the 10.  My friends had signed up for the 5.

Pre race on the beach.  Beautiful day.

Pre race on the beach. Beautiful day.

We arrived early enough to get parking but not too early to be bored.  Hit the bathrooms, got some of the decent swag.  The 5K started ten minutes prior to the 10K so I saw my friends to their start and realized I needed a bathroom.  I bid them good luck and went off, figuring that with all the 5K people out of the mix, the line would be short.

Yeah, not so much.  I sprinted to the lonely porta potty on the other side of the parking.  It wasn’t the worst I’d ever used, but close.  Ew.  But it got the job done and then it was go time.

I can’t say enough how glorious the weather had turned out to be.  Sunny, beachfront, glorious, 50 or so degrees, slight breeze.  Perfect running weather in just my short sleeved tech shirt.  Unlike the 5K, the 10K gun went off with zero announcements or fanfare, startling everyone around me in the back of the pack.  I turned on the RunKeeper and tried to not go out to fast.

I have been encouraged by my shorter runs lately being faster, so I didn’t get too alarmed at my faster than normal pacing in the first mile.  I was working, but feeling good, and also hoping to build up some insurance time for when I would lag later.  The views were mostly of the water, which was lovely.  I could feel myself slowly losing pace with the rest of the group.  This was the race that I finished 3rd from last on last year; I had resigned myself to being one of the slowest out there.

I could tell my pacing was still a bit too fast in the second mile, but I was also kind of marveling at it….I had hoped to at least beat last year’s time (1:13:44) or at a minimum be under 1:14.  Worst case I figured was 1:15, a long way from my very first (and disastrous) 1:26:17 10K.

The course was mostly flat in those first two miles, but in the third mile the hills kicked in.  The gently rolling downward slopes turned into upwards ones.  I turned a corner and found the big hill I remembered from last year. It was steep but relatively short, so I ran as far as I could before dropping to a walk and repeated this twice to get through the hill.  I picked off a few people doing this, which helped my morale.  I was sure I was ahead of third from last.

The third and fourth miles were hilly.  The fourth mile ended at the top of a slow, long climb to a freeway overpass.  Last year I remembered I never had to walk this.  This year, I broke a few times into a walk.  I had pushed myself too fast in the first few miles and was running out of juice.  On the plus side I picked off a few more people there, coming very close to the skinny girl who had been way ahead of me up until that point.  She saw me move to pass and picked up the pace, of course.

The fourth mile marker was at the top of the bridge over I 95.  As I stepped up to it I felt my left knee twinge. It has been tweaking on and off lately.  It was not terrible but it was noticeable.  I knew I was going to have to take it a bit easier for the last two miles.

I was still feeling strong but ready for it to be done.  By the time we hit mile 5 the course had flattened out some, blessedly.  My head was telling me to walk but I forced myself to keep moving; the course was flat, after all.  I kept moving, although slower than I would like.  We got back to the water views by 5.5 and I let it pull me back to the finish line all the way.  I got close to the skinny chick again, and one other woman.  We ran one right after the other until the very end where they peeled away for the last little bit.  I had absolutely no steam left to speed up, but was proud of the fact that I hadn’t walked in those last two miles.  In fact I had hardly walked at all except to get through the hills.

My time was 1:14:27.  Off of last year’s time by 43 seconds.  I was surprised considering how good I felt mostly during the race, but when I compared my splits, I definitely went out too fast.  My first two miles were much faster than last year, but then the last four were slower; last year I maintained a much more steady pace in the last half of the race.

Still, I felt really good about not switching to the 5K.  In the end I loved the course and it was a beautiful run.  And considering last year found me smack dab in the middle of half marathon training and this year finds me plodding along a month after my half?  To be 43 seconds off really isn’t that bad.

Also, since the field was larger, I was further from last place.  I finished 7th from the end.  I’ll take it.  :)

Post race beach shot.

Post race beach shot.



What I Ate Wednesday

So I am definitely still trying to maintain my cleaner eating habits, but I will admit that I slipped a bit last week while I was on break, and the scale shows it.  For the first time I consciously chose sugar (italian ice layered with custard….sugar AND dairy….yum), dairy (no almond milk in the hotel) and bread (submarine sandwich one day, soft pretzel another).  While I wouldn’t choose these options at home on a regular basis, I’m not beating myself up about allowing myself to not make a stink and going with the flow when eating with a group or crowd.

That being said, I’m not happy about the 2.4 lb gain I see on the scale today over two weeks ago.  I did NOT think I strayed that far.  Most of my choices were very solid.  I ate grilled salmon, I never ate french fries, I only had dessert that one time.  It is always shocking to me that even when you think you’re mostly doing OK, a lot of little things can really add up.

Last night, when I found myself out to dinner with a colleague, I was met with the “What Do I Order” challenge.  I was eating with someone who professed to be gluten free and vegan “90% of the time”.  I waffled back and forth between the big salads, all of which seemed loaded with a lot of things that probably weren’t super choices, or what I really wanted.

A burger.

These days I find myself craving hamburgers but I don’t feel guilty about having them.  I always order them the same way:  wrapped in lettuce, rare, with a side salad instead of fries.  This takes care of the craving for that juicy piece of ground beef without it doing the damage of a burger in a bun with fries on the side.

lettuceburgerI’ve ordered this out many times and never really had a problem.  Sometimes they will wrap it in lettuce as above, or sometimes they’ll just serve it on top of a salad.  Either way is fine with me.  I left my dinner full, satisfied, not even missing the bread or potatoes.

My colleague?  She had a turkey sandwich on a ciabatta roll and sweet potato fries.  I know she probably felt she had chosen well with the turkey and sweet potato fries instead of regular, but I honestly think that I made the better choice.  It is no problem ordering something “healthy” when it is also something you love and tastes delicious.


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