Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Review RnR DC - Week 6

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was busy, tiring, but a lot of fun!  The work outs went ok this week.  Monday was counted as my long run for last week.  Here's the rest of this week.

Tuesday - lunchtime yoga class at work.  She concentrated a lot on core and leg strength, which was great,

Wednesday - this was supposed to be speed work on the track but the public schools cancelled evening activities due to weather.  This meant no lights on the track so our group workout was cancelled.  I ended up on the elliptical instead.

Thursday - rest day

Friday - I was having a hard time motivating myself to go out on a run and by the time I did, the rain started :( I ended up on the elliptical instead.

Saturday - Jillian Michaels yoga and lots of house cleaning plus cooking for a party at our place. It was great to catch up with friends and I experimented with some cooking that went over well.

Sunday - My plan was to do an 8-9 mile run.  The group was doing 12 miles starting about 3 miles north of my house and turning back about 3 miles south of our house on the Rock Creek trail.  There is an entrance to the trail about a mile from my house.  So I figured I'd run the 6 miles out with them and run only 3 miles back and then bail out to walk home.  My pace was a bit slower than I wanted but there were a lot of places we had to go slow because of icy and muddy patches on the path.  I stepped into icy puddles a couple times :(

Overall, the run went well.  The walk home was not so good.  I didn't think it through and it turned out to be a bad idea to walk home.  It was just a bit more than a mile but I was freezing and it took more than 30 minutes since my muscles kept tightening up from the cold. Plus my feet were freezing from stepping in the puddles earlier.

But overall, I'm happy with the way today went, especially considering I haven't run since Monday and this is 2 miles more than I ran my last long run.  The strained muscle in my foot is a little tender but no worse than usual.  My calves are a little tight but I think some foam rolling should take care of that.

This week, the plan is for a rest day on Monday, yoga on Tuesday, speed work on Wednesday (as long as the schools don't close again), treadmill run on Thursday, yoga on Friday, rest on Saturday and 9-10 mile run on Sunday.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate but it looks like we might be getting more snow.

I hope everyone has a great week and stays warm!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Five - things I've learned from one year of blogging

Wow, this week has flown by and I can't believe it's already Friday!  Not that I'm not happy about that, I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend.  And of course, time for another Friday Five post to join the link up with Cynthia, Mar and Courtney as well as a ton of other great bloggers.

The theme this week is 5 things about you.  But I've also realized that I've been blogging for a little more than a year!  My first post was January 3, 2014.  So I figured this might be a good time to look back and think about 5 things I've learned this year since beginning to blog.

1.  Consistency is key - both in blogging and running.  I really do feel better about both when I do them regularly.

2.  Community is vital - Again, I think this can apply to both running and blogging for me.  The thing that keeps my consistent and coming back to writing my blog and reading other blogs is the interaction I have with other bloggers.  And the best way I've found to grow my blog is to remain engaged with other bloggers, participating in link-ups, posting on their blogs and replying to comments on my blog.  The best part, it's fun!  And I've even had a couple opportunities to meet other bloggers in person, which I hope to do again this year.

3.  The internet is a great research tool - There is so much information available and all types of great ideas for writing prompts when I have writer's block.  I never used twitter before I began blogging but it's bee a great resource to find useful information, some of which can spur the idea for a post.

4.  But like all tools, it has to be used carefully - the other side of the internet is that it can be easy to get lost in all the information and other blogs.  I try to stay genuine in my posts and remember the purpose of my blog but sometimes I can get caught up in what everyone else is doing online.  If it doesn't match up with my reasons for blogging, I don't need to do it even if it seems like everyone else is.

5.  I have a lot to learn still - It turns out that one year is not that long a time and I still have a lot left to learn!  Which is a good thing.  I'm sure that will keep blogging interesting.  I've definitely got to get better about being organized, scheduling posts in advance, using things like pinterest and creating images.  All things I hope to work on in this second year of blogging.

And just to end on a fun note, here is a selfie of me and Shelby.  She might look annoyed but she's enjoying herself, really :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Kitchari (Indian rice and lentils)

A couple weeks ago, the Washington Post had an article in their food section about Kitchari.  This was ridiculously exciting to me because this is one of those dishes that has always been comfort food for me.  It's the type of thing my mom would make when I was sick or after we had been out eating junk all day.  It's a wholesome mix of rice, lentils, and spices cooked together into a porridge.  The Post puts it better than I can.  "Kitchari is creamy and fragrant, filling without being heavy, deceptively rich-tasting and supremely healthful at the same time."

And even more exciting, the recipes included in the Post article make the dish even more interesting by incorporating vegetables and using various whole grains instead of just rice.  I've never made Kitchari before (isn't comfort food most comforting when someone else makes it for you?) but I decided it was about time to give it a try.

My version is a mix between the Rice and Quinoa kitchari from the Post article, information from my mom during a frantic call right before I started making the dish, and ingredients I had on hand already.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup raw basmati rice (or other long-grain white rice)
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup red lentils (masoor dal - can use any lentils though)
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 ounces spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Plain yogurt and chopped cilantro for optional garnish
I started by heating the oil on medium heat and adding the mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and chili flakes. Once the mustard seeds start popping, that means the oil is hot.  I added the onions at that point and let them saute for 3-5 minutes.

You'll need to fish out the cinnamon stick and bay leaves later so you may want to be smarter than me and tie them in a cheesecloth as recommended in the Post article.  I neglected to do that.

I then added in the rice, lentils, and quinoa as well as the garam masala, cumin and turmeric.  I mixed it together so that everything was well coated in the oil and spices, and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next, I added in the water and let come up to a boil.  Once boiling, I reduced the heat to simmer, covered the pot, and let cook for 40 minutes.  You want to make sure the water is absorbed and the grains and lentils are soft.  Add more water if the grains aren't soft and need to cook longer.

While the grains and lentils are cooking, chop the spinach and the tomato.  Once the grains are done, pull out the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.  Add in the salt, tomatoes and the spinach and cook for a couple more minutes, until the spinach has wilted and incorporated into the dish.  

You can top with a dollop of plain yogurt and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves if desired.  This is a dish that tastes great as left overs as well.  

I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday and will be linking up with Deborah and Tina for Meatless Mondays.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Review RnR DC - Week 5

This week was a mixed bag.  I did 7 miles for my long run last weekend which felt ok but then spent a couple hours at Dave and Busters.  I think the combined time on my feet made my foot with the strained muscle unhappy.  So there were a lot of rest days at the beginning of the week.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - 50 minutes on the elliptical

Friday - strength training routine from the running coach.  This was tough, especially the mountain climbers which I'd never done before. It left my right calf feeling really tight for some reason.

Saturday - rest day

Sunday - yoga from Runners World

Monday - since this was a long weekend, I'm including Monday in this week's workouts. I met up with a friend and got in an almost 7 mile run.  We went to a shopping center by her house that has a mile loop around a lake.  It went well and my foot feels ok so far so fingers crossed that it's fine tomorrow as well. I'm planning to ice it this evening and foam roll my calf since it's still tight.

The plan for this week, as long as the foot cooperates, is yoga on Tuesday, running at the track on Wednesday, yoga on Thursday, running on Friday, strength training on Saturday and 8 mile run on Sunday.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Five - things in my travel bag

Yay, it's Friday and that means it's time for the Friday Five link up with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia.  I love this link up, there are so many great bloggers that participate and it's always interesting to check out.  This week's theme is "what's in my gym bag."  My upcoming trip to India has been on my mind so I'm going to talk about 5 things that I always take with me when traveling so that I'm ready to run during the trip.

1.  The bag!  I always take a separate carry on size bag for my running gear so that it is all easy to find and also so that I don't have to worry about the airlines losing it.  I got an Apera bag for Christmas and I love it so far.  It's the perfect size to use for a work/gym bag since it fits my computer as well as my gym gear but it's still small enough to use as a carry on and fit under the seat in front of me on a plane.

2.  My Ipad -  There are times when I'm running on a treadmill in the hotel gym and being able to watch Netflix on my Ipad helps make it bearable.

3.  A water bottle -  I always take my handheld water bottle with me so that I'm ready for either a run outside or a run on the treadmill.

4.  My armpocket - I never run outside without my phone, and this is even more important when running in an unfamiliar area.  I went accidentally trail running when visiting family in New Jersey and my phone was helpful in finding my way back to the paved area!  I love the armpocket as an easy and comfortable way to carry my phone on the run.

Perry modeling my armpocket.

5.  Recovery tools - I love to have comfortable, supportive shoes to change into after a run.  And right now due to the muscle strain in my foot, I always need to wear comfortable supportive shoes.  Even if I'm just lounging around in a hotel room.  So my Oofos recovery sandals go everywhere with me as does my travel foam roller.  I feel so much better when I can roll out my calves and quads as they tend to be tight.  And if I'm on vacation and plan to be walking around doing a lot of sight-seeing, it is so much easier without tight muscles!

I hope everyone has a great weekend planned!  I'm looking forward to a post-holiday party for Mike's office.  It tends to always be a good time and it's at the building museum this year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

MCRRC New Year's Day 5k

I realized that I haven't posted my review of the Montgomery County Road Runners New Year's Day 5k.  The longer I wait, the less I'll remember about it! I did this race last year as well as this year and again, it was a great way to start out the new year.

The race is at Seneca Creek State Park and started at 9:30am.  We were running a bit late so drove into the park around 9:10.  Thankfully, there is no traffic back up and parking was very well organized.  There were volunteers with flags waving us the right way for parking, which was set up in a big field with plenty of room. I imagine parking could be a problem if it was raining and the field was muddy but this day way bright and clear.  We walked from the parking to near the entrance of the park where the race started.  It was a bit of a walk but not too bad and helped us get warmed up.

This year, unlike last year, there was actually registration available the day before the race as well.  But we still decided on race day registration.  It was inside a park building, which was nice.  The line was a couple people long so we weren't the only ones running late.  We exchanged our member bibs and chips from last year for new ones and it took a couple more minutes to get the chip tied onto my shoe and the bib pinned on.  As we exited the building, we heard the race start so we hurried to get to the start line and cross.  Of course, the last minute rush meant I forgot to start my Garmin until a couple minutes into the race.

You can see where the start is different from the end due to my lateness with the Garmin

The course itself was beautiful.  It was a cold but sunny day and it really felt great to be out there with friends.  We ran on the roads of the park so it never felt too crowded in spite of the more than 400 people running and walking.  There were families, dogs, strollers so the feel was very welcoming.  It is a hilly out and back route but beautiful, especially the parts where you are running by a lake.  There is one water stop on the course at the half way mark.

One of my friends and I decided to run together and catch up while running.  Our strategy was to run pretty much the whole way out since it was mostly downhill so that we could walk on some of the uphills on the way back if it was needed (and it was definitely needed).

I wasn't trying to PR this race given my hurt foot and all the hills, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the time on my Garmin when we finished!

I didn't start it right away and it wasn't accurate, but this average pace would have been a PR for me.  My official time was 39:20 with an average pace of 12:39. Sadly, the official results show this wasn't a PR (my 5k PR is 38:54) but I'm ok with that given the circumstances.  I'm surprised at how close to a PR it was and can't wait until my next flat 5k :)

Overall, this was a great race.  It was really well organized and a scenic run for New Year's Day.  It was very low key and welcoming and never felt overly crowded.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Weekly Review RnR DC - Week 4

Well, this was an interesting week, mostly due to the weather.  It was cold and snowy to start with and it looks like this week is going to be similar.  But I did get my workouts in, so that's a plus.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - strength training.  The coach of our running group is sending us a strength training work out every week and it's helping me keep things fresh since I'd been doing the same strength training workout routine. Between this and the 40 minutes of shoveling, I was definitely sore the next day.

Wednesday - Elliptical for 43 minutes. Our running group cancelled the track workout since there was still ice on the ground and the temperatures were so cold.

Thursday - treadmill at the work gym.  I did Wednesday's speed work on the treadmill today, 1 1200, 2 800s and 3 400s.

Friday - rest day, and I was glad for it!

Saturday - 55 minutes DDP yoga and I also managed an unassisted headstand again for a couple seconds.

Sunday - 7 mile long run on Beach Drive.  I cut down my mileage per the podiatrist.  It was around 15 degrees when we started so super cold.  

At one point someone told me I had icicles in my eyelashes!  My water froze and my phone stopped working around mile 2.5 :( it had plenty of battery so that wasn't the problem.  Has anyone else encountered this and found a solution?  It was kind of cool running without music and just listening to my breathing and footfalls, especially in the peace of the cold morning with snow on the ground.  But I'd prefer to be the one choosing whether I have music or not, not leaving the choice to my phone.