Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekly review - RnR DC week 1

I am happy to report that I finally had some good runs this week!  I may have just needed to acclimate to the cold and get back into it.  I also stuck with the plan to run by feel this week and not to worry about pace too much.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - about 50 minutes on the elliptical (I took a mid workout break to go pick Mike up from the metro)

Wednesday - my first track run with the MCRRC half marathon training group.  We did a 2 mile warm up run in the neighborhood and then 4 400s and 1 800 with a half lap recovery in between each set.  I felt good, even during the speed work, and didn't need my inhaler afterward.

Thursday - rest day since sadly my foot was hurting again :(

Friday - rest day

Saturday - strength training with jumping jacks mixed in the get my heart rate up

Sunday - my first long run with the group.  It was 9 miles (I started the garmin a bit late) and I felt good for most of it.  Sadly, my foot did start hurting again though.  Hopefully it's better next week.  Also, I really like this group so far.  They had a mid run water stop set up with some snacks (dried fruit, pretzels, etc.) and post run food that included spinach lasagna!

I might try to get a bit more rest in this week if the foot doesn't start feeling better.  The problem is that it feels better after a couple days but then starts swelling and hurting again the next time I run.  I hope you all had a great week!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday traditions

Yay, it's Friday again and less than a week from Christmas!  I'm definitely looking forward to the break this year. And it's time for the Friday Five again with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia.  Today's theme is Holiday traditions.

1. Travel - we don't have a lot of what most people would consider holiday traditions because we travel every Christmas.  We alternate between visiting Mike's parents in Atlanta and mine in Ohio. We have gotten very experienced with flying around the holidays.

2. Cooking - my brother and I always cook a holiday meal together.  We take this as an opportunity to try out new things and just have fun together. This year, I think I'm going to experiment with jack fruit tacos.

3. Games - both of our families are into playing board games and card games.  I'm excited because we've already got some new games for Christmas and it'll be fun to try them out.

4. Birthday party - Mike's niece was born right and Christmas so we started a new tradition last year and that is a birthday party for her.  A one year old's birthday party was quite the experience!  It was fun to watch all the kids running around having fun.  We'll miss it this year but I'm looking forward to it next year. This is her when we visited shortly after her birth.

5. Zoo lights - this is another new tradition. We really enjoyed it when we went to the one here.  We haven't had time to do it this year but I saw that there's a similar event at the zoo in Columbus so we'll hit it while we're there and the tradition can continue!

And of course, there's always dressing the cats up in their holiday best!  Here's Shelbly looking very dapper in a bow tie.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Year of Running

I can't believe that it's almost the end of 2014!  This is my first full year that I've been running and I've had so many amazing moments.  When I saw the Year of Running link up from Miss Zippy, I knew I had to participate.

  • Best race experience? I'm going to go with the obvious one and say the Richmond Half Marathon.  It was my first half marathon and it was an amazing experience to know that I could not only finish the race but finish feeling good thanks to my year of training.

 Ecstatic to be finishing my first half marathon
  • Best run? I've had so many good runs this year (and a fair share of bad ones) so it's hard to choose the best.  But I think I'm going to go with my run on the Strip while in Las Vegas :)  It was my first time running on vacation and it was good to discover a new way to see and enjoy a vacation destination :)
Seeing a new city on the run

  • Best new piece of gear?  I started out the year with essentially no running gear (other than my shoes) and have ended with a lot, so I have a lot to choose from! I'm going to take out the obvious (my shoes) and go with my garmin forerunner 220.  It's really helped with my training to be able to have access to the data from the watch after each run.  

  • Best piece of running advice you received? To cross train.  I used to think that runners just ran and that was enough.  But then I got some knee pain and I was told that I needed to include core and hip strengthening exercises.  The more I read, the more I realized how important it was to include other types of workouts in my routine.  And I love yoga so that remained a big part of my routine.  I'm still working on the weight training.
Still haven't mastered an unsupported headstand but I'm working on it!
  • Most inspirational runner? There are so many people out there to be inspired by but I really can't just choose one.  I will say that I found watching the Marine Corps Marathon to be amazingly inspiring, especially watching all of the individuals who had lost limbs still completing the race.  

  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Commitment and Joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Lentil Wellington

We had some friends over for a dinner party over the weekend.  And I have a tried and true recipe I use for a vegetarian main when I want to impress... a vegetarian wellington.  The filling can be adjusted for the season, but I generally like to use some sort of lentil filling in colder weather.  It makes a nice, hearty vegetarian entree that looks beautiful and tastes great.  Sadly, I again forgot to take photos until the dish was almost done.

The original recipe is from the BBC.  Makes 4 servings.

5 oz lentils (I used green lentils, you want ones that will retain their shape when cooked)
1.5 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp sugar
1 large lemon
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped finely
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Heat a pan over a moderate heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, and turn the heat to low. Add the sugar and cook until well caramelized, stirring occasionally. This can take quite some time.  I think I ended up cooking the onions for 45 minutes or so.  Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Put the lentils and water in a pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until soft - about 15 minutes. You may have to add a little more water while cooking if the lentils seem to be too dry, but don't add too much as the lentils should be thick. Add salt to taste. 

3. Stir the caramelized onions through the lentils, add the lemon zest and juice, rosemary and black pepper. Chill in the refrigerator

4. Lay the thawed puff pastry flat on a baking sheet. Spoon the lentil mixture down the middle in a thick sausage shape, leaving a border at each end. Wrap the pastry around the filling and press the edges firmly together. Seal the ends of the Wellington. Roll the pastry over so the seam is underneath. I had way too much of the lentil mixture so I only put about half of it in the pastry and served the rest outside the pastry.

5.  Brush with beaten egg (optional, it's just for color) and then slash with a sharp knife several times diagonally.  I slashed three times so it would be easy to divide the pastry into 4 servings.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden and puffed all over. 

I served it with some green beans sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I've made different variations of this. For example, I've done lentils with mushrooms and parmesan instead of the caramelized onions and lemon.  Or in the spring I've done asparagus and goat cheese.  There are a lot of possibilities and it's a wonderful dish for a special meal.

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly review

My week was a mixed bag but there were definitely some good things in there.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Strength training (lots of abs and lower body work, only push ups for upper body).  I've got to work on my upper body as well.

Wednesday - Rest day.  I was feeling under the weather and really congested, to the point that I felt like my balance was off.  So I skipped track work with my training group.

Thursday - I was mostly feeling better so I tried to get in the speed work on the treadmill after work.  It didn't go so well and while I did it all, it wasn't at the speed I should have been at.

Friday - I did some time on the elliptical at home.

Saturday - DDP yoga and a 15 minute abs video

Sunday - Saturday afternoon my under the weather feeling I'd had most of the week turned into a full on illness :( I was sick with muscle soreness and chills.  So I skipped the Jingle Bell Jog 8k and spent most of the day in bed and binge watched some Gilmore Girls on netflix.

So that was my week.  We did also see Interstellar at the theater Friday night (great movie) and had some friends over for dinner Saturday evening (before I realized quite how sick I was getting). So there were a lot of good spots but I'm worried about missing a long run.  Next week I'm getting together with the training group for the long run and I hope I can keep up.  I think right now I need to stop worrying about time and just run by feel for a little bit until I get back to where I was at the beginning of November.

I hope everyone else had a good week!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Five - favorite winter activities

It's time for the Friday Five link up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia.  This week has gone by super fast and I can't believe it's already Friday again.  That tends to happen every week in December since there is just so much going on.  But I'm not complaining since it's mostly fun stuff!

This week's theme is favorite Winter activities.  I'll be honest and say I don't have that many.  I'm not a giant fan of Winter.  But here are some of the things that get me through.

1. Holiday Cards - I love holiday cards, especially the ones with photos of friends and families. I love hanging them up and being able to look at them throughout the year.  This year, I participated in a holiday exchange organized by Fairytales and Fitness.  I sent off my card earlier this week and I love the card I got from Jenny though this exchange :)

2. Indoor projects - Winter is a great time to finish up all those little projects around the house that need to get done.  This may not sound fun but hopefully they're things you enjoy doing but just didn't have time for in Summer.  And I love the feeling of accomplishment with getting things off my to do list.  I foresee lots of winter evenings finishing up some photo editing and some knitting.  And Mike just put up a medal display for me, which I love!  I have it up next to the medals I got from the Nerd Herd virtual races this year.  I don't have a lot of medals on there yet but I'm hoping for more to come next year. And the medals hanging there now are special because they're my first 10k, first 10 miler, and first half marathon.

3. Zoo lights - I love the zoo and Winter isn't a time of year you would usually think of visiting.  But I really enjoy zoo lights, which is a fun holiday event that the zoo here has in evenings.  And they have adult hot beverages, which makes the zoo even better!

4. New Year's Day race - Last year was the first year I did a New Year's Day 5k.  It was a cold but beautiful morning.  And I just really enjoyed it as a way to start the new year.  It seemed like a great way to get things started on the right foot.

5.  Vacation - I'm not going to lie, my favorite thing to do in Winter is to get away from it!  I love taking a break to somewhere warmer when possible.  A couple years ago we went to Belize in December with my family and that is probably still my favorite Winter activity :)

I hope that everyone has a great weekend, and if you have any activities that get you through the Winter, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jingle All the Way 5k

This past Sunday, I ran the Jingle All the Way 5k put on by Pacers.  This has been an 8k race in the past but it was converted to a 5k this year because of construction.  I was excited to run this race because I'd heard great things about it and I had heard that Pacers races were really well organized.

So they had packet pick up available the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the race at any of their stores.  I went to the Pacers store in DC Saturday afternoon and packet pick up was a breeze.  There were a couple people in line ahead of me but it moved fairly quickly.  And since it was at the store, I was also able to buy a new pair of running gloves since I knew I would need them for the race.  The shirt was a really nice long sleeved tech shirt.  I love the red color.

The race started at 9am.  I liked that it wasn't super early.  Mike dropped me off at the metro and it was an easy ride into the city.  I was meeting friends in front of the National Theater.  I was a little early so I did a couple laps around the block to get warm.  Then I hung out in front of the theater and enjoyed checking out all the costumes.  There was one group dressed up to represent the 12 days of Christmas and that was awesome!  There was also another group in fun animal costumes and Christmas lights.  One of the things I loved about this race was all the entertainment from the other runners :)

My friends found me easily and then we went over to gather with the masses near the start.  We started toward the back of the pack but I still felt like there was always plenty of room in spite of the 4.836 other finishers. There were walkers but also plenty of room to go around. And it was awesome to run down toward the Capitol in the company of other runners, so many of them dressed up in holiday attire!  I sadly didn't take photos while running but will have to remember to do that next time (I'm pretty sure there will be a next time for this race).

 So how did my race go?  It went ok.  I initially thought I might try for a PR since I knew this course was flat. But I decided against that since this was only my second run after the half marathon 3 weeks ago and I was trying to avoid re-injuring my foot.  So I just stayed with my friends and had a great run with them catching up since we hadn't seen each other in a while. My official bib time was 41:03.  According to my Garmin, it was 41:55 for 3.19 miles.  My 5k PR was 38:54 from the Semper Fi 5k in May.

After the race, we were able to grab a banana and some water before taking a selfie and heading over to brunch.  There were photo opportunities and a photo booth with Santa but the line was pretty long so we skipped that.  There was an official post race brunch at the Hamilton but it was super crowded.  We headed over to another nearby restaurant with plenty of room.

Overall, this was a great race!  Definitely a fun one for the holidays and a great thing to do as a group.  I can see this one becoming a regular every year.

And don't forget that the give away for an armpocket is almost over! You have until tomorrow to enter.