Tag Archives: half marathon

Wet and Wonderful

1 May

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…well here it is, the official HHH Forest City Road Races Half Marathon recap! I think the finish line photo tells it all….I was WET (and so was my family after waiting in the rain for half an hour…thanks guys)! Although it didn’t rain for the first 14 km or so, the 45 minutes of rain I ran through certainly managed to soak me to the skin! I was so wet, I could hear and feel the water squishing in my shoes! My final time was about 2 hours, 37 minutes, which is right about on par with how I thought I’d do. I’m writing this on the couch, with heat on my legs and the royal wedding recap on the tv….internet’s not working, so this might not get posted until Monday, but let’s go back to the beginning….

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After going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep (I was exhausted after only sleeping for 4 hours on Friday night at the ladies’ retreat!), my phone alarm went off at 6:31 (I almost never set my alarms to exact times). I got up and got dressed, ate my pre-race breakfast of champions (a light English muffin spread with peanut butter – tasted pretty good IMG_1045considering I had to make it on Thursday!) and then my mom and I headed down to the starting line.

The half marathon didn’t start until 8, but we got there just after 7 because I had to pick up my packet (I couldn’t get it on Saturday because I was at the retreat). The race shirt was pretty sweet – women’s sized long-sleeved cotton shirt, which I am wearing as I type this. Since we had a bit of time to kill, we went to Starbucks where my mom got a coffee and her favourite treat – an oat bar (I had a bite, but as much as I love Starbucks, didn’t get anything else as I didn’t want to have to make a pit stop during the race).

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After adjusting my race bib (I moved it from the center of my jacket to one side, so it wouldn’t cover the zipper in case I wanted to take it off), we headed to the start line around 7:45. I took my place in the crowd and got my music playing and was off when the horn went at 8:00.

I made a pretty sweet new half marathon play list for the occasion – and this is where I admit my extreme geekiness – my first song was Eye of the Tiger. I downloaded it on Thursday just for this playlist, and now I want to start all races with it! Seriously, I know it’s such a cliché song when it comes to sports, but it’s popular for a reason, right? It was the perfect song to get me psyched up. I actually put it in the playlist twice – I heard it for the second time around the 18km mark – again, great motivation for those last few kilometres. I was telling my mom about it though, and she didn’t know what I was talking about. I figured she’d heard it and just didn’t know what it was called, but after hearing it, she still didnIMG_1055’t recognize it – I was shocked!

Now onto the rest of the race.  I was wearing my lightweight running pants, favourite sports bra (the tata tamer…LOVE it!) and my super-thin and breathable running t-shirt (all lululemon). My big question was whether or not I should wear my jacket – the temperature was iffy, it was kind of windy, and rain was in the forecast. I decided to wear the jacket because I figured I’d want it if it rained. I was IMG_1059frustrated with my decision almost immediately. Less than 15 minutes into the race, I was already too hot. The jacket came off before I even hit the 3 km mark and I had to tie it around my waist (I know a lot of other runners/bloggers say to wear “throwaway clothes” for layers, but I don’t have any clothing that I want to throw out!). The temperature was actually pretty nice for running – I wasn’t hot at all in my t-shirt. The rain held off until about 9:45, when it really started coming down. My earlier annoyance at my jacket was replaced with gratitude – I was glad to have it, although I still did get pretty wet!

My playlist was AWESOME, if I do say so myself. Do you ever listen to music on your ipod, and think to yourself, “Man, I made a really sweet playlist?” That’s what I was saying to myself as I was listening to it. Eye of the Tiger was a definite highlight, as were numerous songs by Avalon, Point of Grace and Mark Schultz (particularly Steady On, Keep the Candle Burning and Running just to Catch Myself). And when the wind and rain were driving into my face, Michael Jackson’s Beat It gave me a boost. I tried to see if I could cut and paste my IMG_1056playlist from itunes into this post, but no dice. Sadly, I had  a music malfunction near the end of the race. About 15 minutes from the finish line, my music faded out  Sad smile….wicked bummer! I’m not sure what the problem was, I think maybe my headphones and/or ipod just got too wet? I tested both out after the race, and they’re working fine. I’m just glad it only went out 15 minutes from the finish, not 15 minutes from the start! SmileThe course itself was good – a few small inclines, but no real hills. I enjoyed running through my “alma matter,” The University of Western Ontario. And a lot of the course went through parts of London I wasn’t familiar with, even DSCN0790though I lived there for 5 years. My favourite part was the paved running trail near the university – how did I not know about it?!? We went through a lot of residential areas, and started and finished downtown. There weren’t all that many spectators along the course, which was a little disappointing. I don’t know what I was expecting, as it’s not nearly as big a race as the one I did in Toronto, but I felt a little lonely at times, especially since I was near the back of the pack.  If you live somewhere where there’s a race being run, and you aren’t doing anything that day, come out to cheer on the runners! I can’t tell you how big a difference it makes. And you have little kids, BRING THEM! I love high-fiving the little ones (which I got to do once today). IMG_1063

All in all, the race went pretty well. I definitely enjoyed the half marathon distance (as opposed to the full), and it went by pretty quickly really. I brought a fibre one 100 calorie bar as a “just in case” snack, even though I don’t normally eat it. But between kilometres 14 and 15, I decided to go for it in the spur of the moment for a little energy boost (I’m still not sure how much of a difference it made). DSCN0793

I said it before, but I have to say it again: A HUGE thank-you to my family for braving the terrible weather to watch my cross the finish line, and to my mom and sister for getting all these great photos!

IMG_1061And now onto the “aftermath.” All race participants got 2 vouchers for their choice of Starbucks coffee, Domino’s Pizza or a Booster Juice Smoothie. I’m not a coffee drinker, and we were going out for brunch so I skipped the pizza, but I was happy to take the smoothie – score!IMG_1062

Another amazing perk? Free massages – sweet! There’s a massage therapy school in London, so the students gave free 15 minute massages – wonderful! I asked my therapist to concentrate on my hamstrings, since that’s where I usually feel the pain. After the massage, we made our way back to the hotel. My sister and I took a quick dip in the FREEZING pool and then went for a 10 minute soak in the hot tub. After that, it was a quick shower and stretch session, change of clothes, then headed downstairs for brunch.IMG_0947

The brunch at our hotel, the Delta London Armouries, is supposed to be the best in the city. Our family has enjoyed it on special occasions in the past, and it did not disappoint this time! I had just ran 13 miles, so I was not going to hold back – an 80/20 day for sure! This is my first plate – all cold, mostly salads, some yummy marinated veggies, fruit (as I said to my sister, nothing tastes as sweet as pineapple that someone else has cut up Smile) and a roll. IMG_0948

Round two was the hot stuff (plus bread and fruit and a few more of the marinated veggies) – ham, chicken, roasted potatoes, veggies and some Asian veggie/noodles. All were delicious!

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The brunch buffet was the second event I was at this weekend with a chocolate fountain (how often does that happen?), so I dipped a MASSIVE strawberry and a marshmallow in that, and took more of the fruit. Most of the desserts looked so-so, but I managed to snag a delicious piece of cheesecake and a small chocolate-dipped brownie. The drink you see in this photo was a banana-mango smoothie – AMAZING! They had pitchers of this stuff and I think I had three glasses! Embarrassed smile

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I had to include this photo just to show you all that I do clean up nicely – this is what I look like when I am not a rain-soaked runner. The brunch was great, but what made it even better was that it was FREE! Part way into our meal, the musicians and a couple of other men came over to our table and asked for everyone’s attention. I thought (and apparently everyone else at our table did as well) that someone had arranged something special to celebrate my completing the race. But a man announced that the hotel was starting a new promotion and buying one lucky table their brunch every week – and we had been randomly selected! They actually took our bill and burned it at the table – SCORE!Open-mouthed smile

After brunch, it was time for home. I immediately changed into comfy clothes, put my stuff away from the weekend, and sat on the couch with a cup of tea, heat on my legs, and royal wedding coverage playing on the tv. I’ve had a serious case of the munchies since getting home, so I’ve been eating bits and bites of various things (some healthy, some not-so much). IMG_0951My “supper” was delicious – although a bit unconventional. I was craving the flavours of peanut butter and banana, and something hot after the rainy weather – so I made a bowl of oatmeal (minus the cinnamon apples) and topped it with the rest of my homemade nut butter and a sliced banana. Certainly more decadent and calorie-rich than my typical bowl of oats – but delicious nonetheless. On the side is a cafe mocha with cinnamon.

A great race, and a great weekend (with LOTS of food)…recap of the rest to come! How was your weekend? Did you take advantage of Saturday’s beautiful weather?

Friday, Faspa, Fun

23 Apr

Most of you are probably reading this title and wondering, “what on earth is faspa?” Well, according to this article, faspa is “a low-German, Mennonite term used for a typical late afternoon lunch that for generations has been served in Mennonite homes.” My Dad’s family is both German and Mennonite, so faspa was a concept we grew up with….it was typically a Sunday night meal after a big Sunday night lunch.

This year, my grandma opted for a Good Friday faspa get together instead of a big Easter dinner (the whole family will get together in a few weeks anyway for my grandpa’s 85th birthday, which I will sadly miss because I’ll be in Vegas).IMG_0858

What do you eat at faspa? Glad you asked! Here’s my plate: cold ham and salami, potato salad (lots of mayo, lots of eggs), marshmallow salad (with oranges, pineapple and coconut), paska (a special sweet yeast bread with dried fruit and icing that is ONLY made at Easter….so that makes it ok to have 3 pieces in one sitting, right?) and grammy buns (the two buns in the background….that’s a nickname that our family has given them). Wish I could say that was all that I wait, but I had second helpings of almost everything! Embarrassed smile….80/20, right?

So after faspa, there was an “after party” (not at all in the traditional sense of that term). My grandma’s get-together conflicted with my Aunt hosting her family, so my aunt and uncle and cousins and their adorable, fun kids weren’t at fospa Sad smile, but we were invited to stop by after the fact, which we did. My little cousins (ages ranging from 1.5 to 8) are so much fun, and it was great to catch up with their parents. I also ate more chocolate eggs than I choose to admitEmbarrassed smile (let’s just say there were 3 different kinds of eggs….your basic foil-covered chocolate ones, Lindor eggs and mini eggs….and I ate more than one of each kind) and an absolutely delicious, rich fudge-y square of some sort…I certainly did not need any of it, but Easter only comes once a year, right? Winking smileIMG_0852

On the plus side, I started my day with an 8 mile run (went pretty well, finished my audiobook, got out before church and got it done). I also had a healthy lunch (portabello and goat cheese panini and kale chips….classic). I did try new seasonings on the chips though: mix of garlic salt, cumin and smoked paprika – winning!

Another food and fun-related event that happened yesterday? Making these guys! You are looking at peanut butter cake and cupcakes with Skor on top…oh yeah! IMG_0857And the cupcakes are in Star Wars cupcake papers and toppers. My friend is having a family dinner for her husband’s birthday today, but doesn’t have a full oven at her apartment, and knows how much I love to bake, so she asked me to help make the cake/cupcakes for the big event….of course, I was only too happy to oblige. Winking smileMmmm…..this combo is so dangerously delicious, it’s a good thing these left the house right away! Of course, I had to sample the batter and icing and Skor pieces, just to make sure everything was ok, right? And one cake wasn’t quite flat, so we had to cut off the top….we had trouble figuring out what to do with it, but we managed to get rid of that excess cake somehow….any ideas what we did? Winking smile

So, if you were looking for healthy eating inspiration today, sorry, you’re out of luck! Yesterday (and really, most of this weekend, let’s be honest) aren’t going to be banner days in terms of self-control and healthfulness….but that’s what a healthy lifestyle is all about….healthy eating and good habits most of the time, so days like these don’t derail my efforts to achieve a healthy balance. And starting the day with a long run doesn’t hurt either!

Before I sign off, one thing to share. I thought this was a really good post, called Lessons in Self-Love from Oh She Glows. Self-confidence and acceptance are still things I struggle with and I’m learning to live with myself and love the skin I’m in, so I need all the inspiration I can get. Hope this article inspires you too!

How is your Easter weekend so far? Enjoying the time off? Any notable food splurges? I’m looking forward to Sunday’s cold ham dinner! Smile

I came, I ate, I conquered

17 Apr

So I’ll make you a deal. I promised a full recap of the delicious eats at Eat Drink Norfolk on Friday. I will deliver the recap, and you don’t judge me for how much I ate! Embarrassed smile….it was a 20% night, to be sure, but I enjoyed every bite. And everything was small, so I can eat more, right? (Please say yes to enable me in my rationalizations).

Eat Drink Norfolk is an event that is a fundraiser for our local fair that celebrates the delicious and diverse food and drinks grown and prepared in Norfolk County and surrounding area.  You pay an $8 admission, then buy food and drink tickets for $1 each. All the vendors are serving something that costs 1, 2 or 3 tickets, so you take your tickets to various booths to get small plates of food or a drink. So are you ready for the LONG list of what I ate? Brace yourselves! Since many of my readers are not from Norfolk county, I won’t list the vendor names…but if you locals (or anyone else) want specifics…let me know and I’m happy to oblige.

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I started with local fingerling potatoes with pesto. My mom really liked these, but I wished that the pesto flavour came through a bit more. And before I continue, if you are thinking that my photos aren’t the greatest, you’re right. Try juggling a plate, glass, food, tickets, camera and a wristlet and see what kind of pictures you can take! Smile with tongue out

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Next was some AWESOME mushroom soup! It was cream of mushroom, but made with several different kinds of mushrooms, and mushroom pieces throughout. I could also taste a hint of wine or some sort of alcohol, which added great flavour. I especially enjoyed this since I almost never eat cream soups when dining out…so this small cup was really delicious!

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Pulled pork came next….oh so good! I made the observation that pulled pork was really popular this year – it was part of a dish served at 4 booths! I got mine from an authentic BBQ place, with extra sauce, YUM! I ate part of the bun, but left some of it, because it was nothing special, and really, the meat was the main event.

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This little beauty is a slice of perfectly-cooked steak on a seasoned potato slice, topped with sour cream, chives and bacon, from a local butcher. It was simple, but delicious. When you do it right, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to make great-tasting food.

Now, I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed in you guys. No one made any guesses as to why I was up on stage. IMG_0780You guys are no fun! So I guess I’ll just have to tell you – I volunteered to compete in a grilled cheese challenge using all local ingredients with the Two Fairly Fat Guys. For those of you who don’t know, the Two Fairly Fat Guys are “Norfolk County’s official volunteer ambassadors of local food and agriculture.” The challenge was to work with one of them to create several original grilled cheese sandwiches in three minutes, then plate them however you wanted and describe them to the crowd. IMG_0784I made 3 – smoked cheddar, pear and prosciutto topped with apple/hot pepper jelly; honey goat cheese and mixed berries topped with strawberry pie in a jar and bacon, cream cheese and extra old cheddar cheese topped with hot pepper jelly. The contest was declared a tie – both of us won a Norfolk County oven mitt filled with white chocolate popcorn and  an official map and local food guide. It was so much fun – I felt right at home up there! IMG_0785

Check out the plating – I think the Fat Guys were impressed! I got to eat my creations. I ate the bacon one and gave the other two to my companions for the evening.

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You’re probably wondering where are my drinks? After all, the event was called Eat Drink Norfolk. Fresh-squeezed lemonade was my drink of choice for the evening (as well as an undocumented cup of Earl Grey tea later in the evening). Wine and beer don’t really do it for me. The lemonade was really good. I used to get this kind at the fair when I was younger, so it was a nice flashback – not too sweet and very lemon-y.

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Now dessert starts. Of course I couldn’t limit myself to just one dessert when there were SO MANY delicious options! Dessert # 1 was apple strudel with maple caramel sauce. YUMMY! The strudel was good, but the sauce just put it over the top. I could have drank the stuff! No matter how much had been on there, it wouldn’t have been enough, it was just THAT GOOD.

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I shared this next photo with you yesterday….but not the back story that went with it. All night, we saw people walking around with these cute and delicious-looking cheesecakes. I finally made my way over to the booth and saw that most of the flavours were crossed out, and asked what they had left. I found out that there was ONE CHEESECAKE LEFT – a single cinnamon dolce! I didn’t hesitate, I nabbed it (what can I say, I’ve got killer cheesecake instincts). My mom had also wanted one, so to make up for it, I got her a caramel pecan brownie and we shared both. Both were absolutely out-of-this world! Knowing how good that cheesecake was, I am so glad I didn’t arrive a moment later.

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Dessert continued with a tiny little dark chocolate cupcake with Irish cream frosting. Meh…it was nothing special, actually not even really worth the calories. Not to sound snobby, but I could have made better at home. Oh well, at least it was small, so I didn’t waste too many calories.

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We’re nearing the end! This is a mini-cone (it’s small, really!) of peach melba ice cream. For those of you who don’t know what peach melba is, it’s a dessert with raspberries and peaches. Normally fruit-based ice creams don’t really excite me if there’s no chocolate to go with the fruit, but this one was outstanding. I didn’t even miss the chocolate!

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Last but not least, some chocolate-covered bacon. I just couldn’t say no. It’s been a food fad for a while now, so I decided to try it for myself. The ladies at my table refused when I offered them though. The verdict? I liked it. I’m a big sweet and salty girl, so it definitely hit those notes for me. I don’t think it’s something I’d crave/eat on a regular basis, but I didn’t find it disgusting.

I had a few extra tickets at the end of the night, so I used them to purchase some cookies/tarts for a lunch I was making for yesterday (post to come). Full disclosure: there are a few things I ate that don’t have pictures here – a bite or two of my mom’s pulled pork and jalapeno poutine (SO good – I went back for my own, but they were out…maybe for the best!), some free samples at a couple of booths, a couple slices of cheese, and a chocolate cake ball from the same place as the cupcakes (again, sadly, I could have made better).

At the end of the night, I was stuffed! But it was all local (mostly) delicious food. I love this event, but I’m glad it only comes once a year! I was suffering a bit fro m the “well, the day’s a write-off anyway” mentality when I got home, so I was nibbling a bit more….but, one day at a time, right?

I started the next day with a trip to the gym for my weekly “long run” (didn’t feel like drowning in the rain). I just did 6 miles instead of the planned 8 since I had a busy day ahead, but I held a 5.5 mph pace for the whole time, which I was happy about. IMG_0792 I returned home for a healthy breakfast (yogurt, mangoes, strawberries, cereal and a cafe mocha)…so back into the healthy routine right away.

What local foods are your favourite? Does your region have any specialties that are a must-eat?

Half and Half

7 Apr

IMG_0669So…first of all to explain the title. I did my weekly long run yesterday, and I reached my peak distance before I start to decrease in my “tapering” leading up to the race (only 3 weeks from Sunday!)…this peak distance was 13 miles, also known as a half marathon. So that’s the first half…the other half comes from the fact that I only worked a half day today…hence why I had the time to run so far in the middle of the week.

I chose to do the long run yesterday so it would be out of the way for the weekend. It’s not that I really mind the long runs (well sometimes I do, depends on my mood), but they are, well, LONG…especially for someone like me who is not-so-speedy (I did my 13 miles in about 2 hours 40 minutes…so I’m expecting to finish the half around that time…I would LOVE to get 2 and a half hours, but don’t know if that’s gonna happen). It just frees up my Saturday a bit, allows me to go to Military Tone at the gym, and, since I’ll be out all day Friday, I don’t need to worry about getting to bed in good time.

The weather yesterday was supposed to be about 7 degrees with light rain, if my memory serves me correctly. Well, it certainly felt cooler than that, and although the first part of my run was precipitation-free, I was greeted with a lovely rain/snow mix for the second half Smile with tongue out. Other than the weather, the run went pretty well…I did a 7 mile loop then the same 6 mile loop I did for my 12 miler. I discovered again why I love mapymyrun so much. I went on the verify my 6 mile loop and to create a 7 mile run, but then discovered that I had created one last summer…and it was saved for me…so easy! If you are a runner and haven’t checked out this site, go now! It is so helpful if you need to figure out distances for runs (and you can do either miles or kilometres).

I was working today at a school about 30 minutes away, and had to be there for 11:45. So I got up a bit before 7, had the fibre one 100 cal bar and a glass of water (it worked last time, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), left just after 7 and got back about 9:45. I did the usual stretch, Epsom salt soak and A5-35 rub, but I had to sort of rush through them since I was heading to work. This may be why I felt stiffer than I have been on the last couple of runs. I was actually so sore at school that when I had a 20 minute break, I went into the staff room and stretched again (I was REALLY glad no one walked in to see my stretching in my argyle sweater and dress pants).

I decided to structure my “eats” for the day as follows, given my schedule: eat a big breakfast/brunch after my bath (1round 10:30), take an apple to eat after school (they have their lunch early, so it was already over when I got there) while getting my snow tires off (yay!) and then have another snack when I got home before supper. So what did I eat for my post-run brunch? SO glad you asked! Smile

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I decided to jump on the “overnight oats” bandwagon that I’ve seen all over the blog world. For those of you who are new to this craze, over night oats are made by combining raw oats with a mixture of liquid ingredients and then refrigerating overnight for a delicious, cold version of oatmeal. Instructions for my version are below. I also had a salad with one of my quickie vinaigrettes (balsamic vinegar, flax oil (any oil will work, I just bought this ‘cause I felt like it was healthy), Dijon mustard, fat-free Italian dressing, a pinch of sweetener – combine all in a container and shake) that I had made the night before and an egg substitute omelette (instructions below as well).

Here are the before and after photos of my overnight oats, as well as the how-to. I’m calling them overnight pear oats because, like my clever fellow bloggers, I want to give them a cute acronym: OPO…I started with Pear Overnight Oats, but didn’t really like the way that acronym came out (you figure it out Winking smile)!

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Overnight Pear Oats (OPO)

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt

1 pear (I used Bosc, they’re my fav), grated on the coarse side of a box grater

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Splash vanilla

A couple shakes of cinnamon and Epicure Gingerbread Spice

A dash of brown sugar twin (or your choice of sweetener)

Combine all ingredients in a cereal bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Open your fridge in the morning, remove plastic wrap and enjoy…you have no breakfast prep to do!

I thought this turned out pretty well, but I want to play a bit with the ingredients/combinations/proportions. What I did like about the OPO was the lack of A.M. prep….if I hadn’t just run 13 miles, this would be enough for me as a breakfast on its own, especially on a morning when I was in a rush and didn’t have time to make breakfast. But, since I had just run 13 miles, I made the omelette you’ll read about below…I am more of a sweet breakfast gal, so I don’t make omelettes that often, but when I do, they’re some variation on this recipe.

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Veggie and Cheese Omelette

Sauté veggies of your choice (this time it was broccoli, onion and red pepper) in a small non-stick frying pan that has been preheated to medium-high and sprayed with cooking spray, until tender-crisp (3 to 5 minutes), season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-high. IMG_0667 Pour in half a cup of fat-free liquid egg substitute (this time, it was Southwestern egg substitute, I always buy plain, but my mom was doing the shopping and she bought this stuff by accident…it’s actually pretty good though). Add a bit more salt and pepper, cook until partially set, then flip. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of light cheese (Tex-Mex this time), then cover the pan and let the omelette cook through and cheese melt (another 2 or 3 minutes).

I will say that I am by NO MEANS an omelette chef. I haven’t mastered the art of the graceful flip, and my omelettes certainly wouldn’t win any beauty contests…but they taste good, so that works for me. This meal did the trick in satisfying the half marathon hunger. It had a nice combo of protein, fat and carbs, and I really wasn’t that hungry for the rest of the day (I was a little hungry right after I ate, but was less so as the day went on…does that ever happen to anyone else?

Have you ever tried overnight oats? Any tips and tricks for me? What’s your go-to post-workout meal?

Abort Mission

3 Apr

So yesterday, I did something I’ve never done before….I shortened a training run. I’ve run through incredible blister pain, gone barefoot on the the sand, run in the dark, run in the snow. So why did I bail yesterday? It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t snowing, it wasn’t even that cold. In fact, the weather was gorgeous! I felt fine, no blister or muscle pain in sight. So why the shorter route? Well, in short, I just wasn’t feeling it.

For one thing, I went out much later than usual…I started out for what I planned to be an eight mile run around 12:15….every time I exercise at a time other than the morning, I am reminded how much I like running/exercising in the morning…I like to get up and go and just have my workout out of the way for the day. So I was already dreading the run before I started out, since it was later in the day.

I was also kind of hungry. Since I’m not used to running in the middle of the day, I’m not used to eating/fuelling my body at that time of day…does that make any sense? Although I did eat a good breakfast (more on that below), my tummy was rumbling during my run.

Now…before I conclude this post-run analysis, this run wasn’t an epic failure or anything. I had planned to run 8 miles, and I ended up doing about 6. I was still out there for over an hour. Plus, I completely made up my half training plan. I used 8 miles as the distance for the “shorter long runs” because that’s what I did for my full marathon. But I feel like if 8 is good for a full, 6 is more than enough for a half, right? Plus, it’s not like I totally skipped a workout or anything. I’m trying to get better at the whole “listen to your body” thing….so I feel like it’s all part of the journey…and I’m feeling no guilt at all! Smile

Onto the eats…IMG_0623 my mom requested a breakfast from my new Hungry Girl Cookbook, and I delivered with 2 Crunchy Beefy Taco Egg Mugs (actually made in bowls). Here’s how to make ‘em.

Crunchy Beefy Taco Egg Mug – from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300

1/4 cup frozen ground beef-style soy crumbles

1/4 teaspoon taco seasoning mix (which I did not have on hand, so I substituted some Epicure seasonings and cumin)

3/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

1 tbsp low fat or fat-free cheddar cheese (I used Tex-Mex blend…it’s what I had)

4 low-fat baked tortilla chips, roughly crushed (mine were blue, hence the colour in the photo)

1 tbsp salsa

1 tbsp fat-free sour cream (I substituted Greek yogurt)

….after typing out this recipe, I realize how much I substitute in recipes and don’t even realize it!

Spray a large microwave-safe mug (or a bowl) with non-stick spray. Add frozen crumbles and microwave for 45 seconds, or until thawed.

Add taco seasoning and mix well. Add egg substitute, stir, and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Gently stir and then sprinkle with cheese. Microwave for 1 minute, or until scramble is just set. Top with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream.

We enjoyed these with sliced pears on the side, and I also made an almond milk “latte” (not pictured).

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The post-run lunch was also quite a treat. I had part of an avocado leftover in the fridge from my BLTA Club so I put it to good use: a Southwestern Avocado cheeseburger (my own delicious creation). I simply smeared 1/4 of an avocado over one half of a thin bun. I melted one Velveeta slice over a veggie burger (one of my Buffalo Bocas), put it on top of the Avocado-topped bun, and topped with salsa and sliced onion). OH YUM! I heart avocado. Would certainly make this one again. The veggies you see on the side are an eclectic mix of what I had in my fridge/needed to use up, sautéed in one tsp olive oil, and the seasonings are salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice, and garlic. I finished up the meal with an HG Raspberry Mocha. More  HG: 300 under 300 recipes will be coming up this week…so I hope you don’t get sick of them!

Have you ever bailed/shortened a planned workout or training run and why? And…do you make a lot of substitutions when you cook/bake? Any favourites?

A Saturday in the life…

28 Mar

….of a half marathon runner (March 26, 2011).

7:20 AM: Wake up (earlier than desired), get dressed, eat a Fibre One 100 calorie bar and drink a glass of water. IMG_0486-1

7:40 AM: Head out for 12 miles in the COLD! This run went really well, other than the fact that I miscalculated on which gloves to wear…a couple of weeks ago, I was too hot with my thick fleece gloves, so I thought I’d go with the thinner ones this time…BIG mistake! It was much colder than last week’s beautiful run and my hands were so cold I was almost in pain…I kept having to move my hands around and slap them against each other because they were going numb. Other than that, it was a great run…I did a 6 mile loop twice, which seemed to break it up nicely….I did a couple of big hills in there too. I’m not sure if the course for my half marathon has hills or not, so I figured it doesn’t hurt to be prepared! On the audiobook, I heard about the 2004 election, Aids Relief in Africa and Hurricane Katrina.

10:05 AM Arrive back home (just short of my 10 AM goal!)….stretch, make a yummy breakfast of oat bran with pears (sorry, no picture, but looks just like the apple version)…try and get my hands warmed up. Take a nice Epsom salt bath, rub legs with A5-35, apply heat (no soreness after, so my trick seems to be working).

12:00 PM Tea with family at a local coffee shop.

1:00 PM Make lunch. It was a good one! Hungry Girl-fredo topped with mushrooms and greens. I sauteed half an onion, a sliced portabello mushroom and some creminis, garlic, some chopped collard greens in a tsp of olive oil. I seasoned with thyme, sage, salt and pepper, then at the end added some defrosted drained frozen chopped spinach and an ounce of sliced deli ham I also soaked a few dried mushrooms and threw them in, along with their cooking liquid. YUMMY! I was still kinda hungry though. I was craving a sweet, but opted for a sliced apple instead with a cup of tea, as I thought that would fill me up more. IMG_0591

4:00 PM: Arrive at Starbucks in Guelph and spend 3 hours chatting with a dear friend over a tall skinny caramel latte.

7:00 PM: Meet even more good friends at Moxie’s in Guelph. Order the chipotle mango chicken grilled with a sweet & smoky dry rub, fresh mango, and a side of wild rice and fresh broccoli & a fresh tomato & avocado salsa . It was tasty! It came with 2 chicken breasts, which I certainly didn’t need, so I ate one and packed the other one up (will make a great lunch on a salad this week) along with some of the rice. I liked this one, but it’s kinda spicy, so if you are not into that, I wouldn’t recommend this dish. The broccoli was cooked just how I like, tender, but still a good crunch….and with the brown/wild rice and only eating half of the chicken, I’d say this was a pretty healthy dinner. It was great to catch up with friends….the 6 ladies I dined with are all friends from university, and now that we no longer live in the same city, we don’t get to see nearly enough of each other.

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9:00 PM Leave the restaurant and pose for the required photo to capture the night in our memories (and blog history)…these lovely ladies are HHH readers, and were thrilled at the prospect of gracing my little blog with their photo-presence, so here you go girls!

10:40 PM IMG_0598Arrive home, exhausted, but pleased after a full and pleasant day. Enjoy a nice bowl of the low fat Thin Mint Ice Cream that I bought in Buffalo on March Break (it’s low fat…and I didn’t have dessert at the restaurant, and I ran 12 miles…how could I NOT have dessert? Smile ).

What did your Saturday hold for you?

Oh what a beautiful morning

20 Mar

…oh what a beautiful day. I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s goin’ my way. Inspired by my fellow Canadian blogger Katie (if you haven’t read her blog, Real Food Katie’s Way, you should check it out…some great ideas and always fun read), I decided to go for a musical title for today’s post. Can you name the musical it comes from (leave in the comments section of the post if you know the answer)? That song just popped into my head during my long run on Friday…the weather was SO gorgeous! I did the run on Friday instead of Saturday this week since I was off for March Break, and it meant that I could go to my favourite class at the gym on Saturday: military tone!

This week’s long run was not that long (just under 8 miles)…it is long enough, but after completing a full marathon, 8 miles is just a nice little jaunt. 🙂 And because it was so warm out, I actually ran in capri pants and without a jacket :D….it was great! I decided to post a more flattering photo than last week’s post-run shot…can’t go wrong with just the feet, right? Plus I wanted to show the ankles and lack of snow, to demonstrate the warmth outside.

This run went well…8 miles goes by quickly with a good audiobook (heard about Iraq and Sadaam Hussein today) and great weather. I did the run 10/walk 1 method, but it was more like run 11 or 12, since I was covering a shorter distance, I didn’t feel the need to walk as much.

I got home, stretched, then headed straight to the bathtub for the usual Epsom salt soak. I started to make my lunch, then went out for some groceries and a special treat: a massage! I just got a new health plan, which includes $20 per visit in massage benefits….as tight as my hamstrings get after running, you bet I was going to take advantage of it! I planned this massage on the day of a long run on purpose…and it felt great. 🙂 I’m going back again in April…such a treat!

My stomach was rumbling when I got home – it was 2 o’clock and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet! I had made a yummy veggie stew before I left, so I could quickly reheat when I got home. I just sauteed one clove garlic, minced; and chopped onion, eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower and orange bell pepper in 1 tsp olive oil along with some red chili pepper flakes until tender. Then I added about 1/2 can of tomatoes and their juice, seasoned with salt and pepper, and added a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and some capers. I also added a bay leaf and then let it simmer together. The vinegar really adds a nice depth of flavour and the capers add that great saltiness….it was yummy! I also enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich on light bread (I used a Velveeta slice….processed cheese slices…one of my guilty pleasures).

Dessert was one of my favourite “concoctions”…based on a Hungry Girl recipe for “Tiramisu pudding.” If you love the flavours in tiramisu (or even if you’ve never tried it before)…give this a try…you won’t regret it. All I do is mix 1/4 cup light ricotta cheese and one sugar-free fat-free vanilla pudding cup, a splash of vanilla and a dash of Splenda. I top it off with sprinkles of unsweetened cocoa powder (don’t skip this step…it really adds something extra)! I enjoyed my pudding with a cup of apricot tea (I am currently on a mission to use up my enormous tea stash and will not allow myself to buy anymore….so it means I’m trying those flavours which have been lost at the back of the cupboard for a while). Mmm….this was good. The ricotta adds flavour and texture that you just cannot get with pudding alone…it’s an extra richness….I just can’t totally describe it, you gotta try it! Doesn’t my lovely little centrepiece make a great backdrop for my food photos? 🙂

What have you been doing with all this wonderful weather we’ve been having?

Halfway there

28 Jan

I have exciting news to share: I have signed up for my first half marathon! On May 1st, I am running the Forest City Road Race Half Marathon in London. I can’t wait!

If you have read my About Me page, you know that I ran a marathon last September (the picture at the right is me at the finish line). It was such an amazing experience – all the training, pushing myself to do something I never thought I could do, and soaking up the atmosphere that surrounds an event like that. However, what you may not know is that I have never ran a half marathon. I hadn’t even planned to run a marathon last year…running a half marathon has always been on my bucket list but I never got around to it. Then last spring, I was watching the Biggest Loser and saw the contestants run a marathon. I thought, “if they can do it, I can at least do a half.” So I signed up for a 10 k, and figured that was a good first step.

After I ran my 10 k in June, my friend (who is a personal trainer and went to school on an athletic scholarship) said she was training for a marathon in September and invited me to join her. I thought about it for a couple of weeks, thought about just doing the half, but then decided to go all the way and do the full marathon – and I’m so glad I did!

But, as I was running the marathon, and immediately after, I was thinking how much I would love to do a half marathon. I felt so great at the halfway mark, and half the distance is not nearly so hard on your body. In fact, my mom heard the top Canadian finisher saying that he doesn’t love running marathons because you need so much time to recover (I can attest to that) and actually considers a half marathon the perfect distance.

I briefly considered running the Around the Bay 30 k race in Hamilton at the end of March, but I decided I don’t feel like training that hard right now, especially given the super-cold winter we’re having. The timing of the London race seems right, and I love London – I lived there for 5 years – all during my undergrad and teacher’s college. I can’t wait to run through the downtown and the university (and enjoy lunch afterwards at one of my favourite restaurants, hopefully 😉 ).

I’m looking forward to having a goal, something I’m training for again. In  the coming weeks and months, I’ll post updates on my training, as well as some of my favourite running tips (you learn a lot in training to run 42.2 km!). I was really strict on sticking to a training schedule for the full marathon, but I’m planning to be more relaxed this time. Getting in my long runs will be my priority, but in between, I’ll be more flexible.

I’m so excited to share my journey with you…if any of you are training for a race (no matter what the distance), let me know so we can share tips, encouragement and inspiration!