Archive | May 2015

Motivation Monday

It’s Memorial Day Monday.  It is very easy for me at this very busy time to just be grateful for a day without a schedule, but I am humbled by the fact that so many have given their lives for our country.  Our small New England town threw our parade yesterday and the veterans that one by one either drove or marched by reminds you of what this weekend is really all about.

For me this was a busy week trying to fit in everything that needs to get done for the 5K I put together.  The race is in six days so it is crunch time.  It was also tech week for the local theater group my husband and daughter are involved in; opening night was Friday and shows ran last weekend and will run next weekend as well.  Add to that one big school project for my son and let’s just say I can’t figure out if I am coming or going.  I started every morning this week with a to do list and while it does feel like I am getting it all done, I am very mentally tired.

Physically, the workouts are still getting done, and I think they are helping me keep everything on an even keel.  They force me to take a mental break from everything and get out of my head for a little while.  Here’s what the week looked like:

Tues:  60 min yoga, tone and strength class
Wed:  3.3 miles with hill repeats (12:34 pace) and 1 hour HIIT class
Thu:  30 min TRX class, 1 hour HIIT
Fri:  60 min kickboxing class
Sat:  60 min yoga
Sun:  Bridgeport Hospital Home Run 5K (11:19 pace)
Mon:  60 min bootcamp class

My gym is hosting a special 8 am Memorial Day bootcamp today, and I plan on heading out for it in a bit while the rest of the family sleeps.   I am feeling better and stronger these last few weeks, and yesterday’s 5K gave me a significant mental boost as well.

It was a good week!  Have a great Memorial Day everyone!

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Bridgeport Hospital Home Run 5K Race Recap

A few girlfriends mentioned they were running this race and asked me if I was interested.  It has been on my radar for several years but I’ve never bothered to head down for it.  The race starts and ends at our minor league ballpark, and I’d heard you finish the race actually in the ballpark.  Sounds cool right?  When I read that not only the ballpark stuff was true but that the course went through Seaside Park, where I ran a lovely 5K last fall, I was sold.  Sign me up.

I headed out early this morning; the weather was crisp and cool when I left my house at 7:30 but I knew that by 9 things would be much warmer.  Layers were the order of the day.  The forecast was for sunny at 63 or so by race time.

Me before the race inside the ballpark.  Very cool!

Me before the race inside the ballpark. Very cool!

I spent some time before the race putting race flyers for my own race (next weekend!!) out on cars in the lot before I met up with my friends, did the final potty stop and got in line.  One of us went to the front, one to the middle, and I headed to the back.

We started out and I got into a groove quickly.  We started just outside the ballpark, through the neighborhoods nearby, and quickly entered the park.  It was just gorgeous out.  Sunny and once we got into the park, which is basically Long Island Sound frontage, there was a great breeze (actually more like a headwind, but I was trying to stay positive) keeping things comfortable.

The first mile passed quickly.  I felt good.  My last race, the 10K a few weeks ago, left me feeling a little demoralized.  The wheels had come off so badly.  In a 10K, I’m near the last, no matter what.  People don’t walk a 10K.  But in a 5K, you’ll get a lot more casual types, people who are willing to walk the whole thing.  So as I passed this person or that, keeping a steady, even pace, I felt my confidence build.

The course was super flat, so I easily passed the water station without stopping and kept going.  I was pushing at mile 2, but still feeling OK.  No hills will do that to you.  The view was spectacular, I was listening to my tunes and generally feeling good.

We left the park again around mile 2.5.  I knew we didn’t have much further to go, and I was amazed at how good I still felt.  I hadn’t needed to walk even once.  Normally I hit a wall somewhere, or a hill, or something, and have to slow down.  Not so today.  I kept cruising along, picking off a few more people as I went.

We neared the ballpark and I realized I was not terribly far off my PR of 35 and change.  I wasn’t sure how far I had left to go, but I tried to push myself as much as I could.  There was the 3 mile marker just as we entered the ballpark and I knew I was going to come in under 36.  I’ve only run four 5Ks under 36, so this was great news.  Not one of those races had temps above 55 degrees, so this was even better news.

I ran as fast as I could towards the finish and knew I’d done well.  I wasn’t sure how well, but I knew I’d done well.  I found my friends one after the other, and was shocked to find that they hadn’t done so well.  Granted, they all had finished before me, but they hadn’t enjoyed their races.  They told me they’d had to walk, they felt tired, they weren’t happy with their runs at all.  For me, I knew I’d run the best race I could, and that felt pretty good.

I needed the win.  I’m going into my own race next week and I don’t want to embarrass myself by pulling a 39 minute run.  Granted, that could still happen.  Our course is hilly and it could be hot next week.  But I wanted to prove that I had the juice to do well today.

I took in the post race glow of free Italian Ice and water and took my time before heading back to my car.  After I got home I found that I actually PRed today.  By one second.  One second.  35:25. But I’ll take it.  Especially considering this race was probably 15 degrees warmer than my other similar time?  It’s definitely a PR.

Me with my girlfriends and the arena mascot, Storm.

Nothing says Fun Race like posing with a guy in a big cat costume with a hockey jersey on it.

What I Ate Wednesday

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

SUGAR.

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!