Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Return of Oatmeal!

So yesterday I was out of bananas, which meant I couldn't make my beloved banana oatmeal for breakfast. Yesterday afternoon I solved this problem by stocking up on bananas. Which meant that this morning I got up and made my usual oatmeal with:
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup water
1 smashed banana
1tbsp chia seeds

I then topped it with 1/4 cup granola, a tablespoon of almond butter and a tablespoon of crofters superfruit spread.

Oatmeal I missed you! Even though it was only one day.

Also yesterday dinner turned out brilliantly. Before going to pick up the boy I marinated some chicken breasts - organic, ethically raised chicken, the only stuff we'll eat, which is why we don't actually eat that much meat as its INSANELY expensive - in a mix of soy sauce, tahini, garlic, ginger, some canola oil, and some sesame oil.

When we got home I stir-fried some one cubed eggplant with some shitake mushrooms (which are also super expensive, 14$/lb as compared to the 2.99/lb or so I usually pay for white button mushrooms, and ps, you probably could use white button mushrooms in this) in a bit of olive oil. I threw the chicken into the oven, on broil (the recipe said to grill it, but we have no barbecue), turning it ever five minutes for about 15 minutes (this would likely have taken lest time if I had pounded the chicken flat first, but it worked out fine in the end). Meanwhile I reheated some quinoa, and made up a batch of pasta. When the chicken and vegetables were done a threw a bit of soy sauce and sesame sauce into each of the grains and mixed it up. I sliced up the chicken, mixed it with the veggies and then mixed it up with the quinoa and pasta.

It was SO, SO, SO, good. I was a bit apprehensive because tahini is such a strong taste, and the vegetables were stir fried without any real flavor added, but the chicken marinade was so good, and somehow the addition of just a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil at the end made all the difference.

We curled up on the couch after dinner to watch Finding Neverland, which was amazing, but had me crying at the end, then cleaned the kitchen and went to bed.

I have today off, so my plan is to go for a six mile run, my calves are feeling better and I'm thinking an easy run might loosen them up a bit. Then I'm planning to bake, bake, bake. I haven't had a good baking day in a few weeks, and I have a recipe I would like to make: these banana oatmeal maple raisin cookies.

There might also be some more raw chocolate chip cookies in the near future, I think I have enough cashews to make them. I want to experiment with using a little less coconut oil as I'm not sure they need the full 1/2 cup I've been putting in. I also want to try and use a bit more agave in the raw chocolate chips as I don't think the chips were sweet enough last time.

Also on the schedule today is rock climbing! I'm so excited, we haven't been in AGES and I miss it. We used to go 2-3 times a week but life's gotten too busy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rest Days

Woke up this morning with my calves so tight I could barely walk. I took it as a sign and designated today a rest day as I didn't actually take one last week. I don't believe in working out seven days a week. Generally speaking I exercise six days and take one full-stop rest day. I'm not completely inactive, I walk (I walk to work, so most days include at least 30 or so minutes of walking), sometimes take the boy's dog for a walk, etc, but I don't do any high-intensity, sweat inducing activities. Considering that I got through my first half marathon without any injuries, I see it as a sign that my one-day-off per week system works.

So, back to this morning, I shuffled painfully into the kitchen, and threw together some Greek yogurt with a bit of honey and peanut butter granola, along with a piece of toast topped with coconut butter. We were out of bananas so no oatmeal for me, which was sad, because all I really wanted was a big bowl of oats, but the yogurt and toast were good.

I then went to work, where I snacked on a nature's valley peanut butter granola bar, during one of my breaks, and then had the other half of the vegan macaroni and cheese I made last night. I followed this recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, it was so so so good. I used whole wheat macaroni, so the fiber content was high, and it was fat free (except for what occurs naturally in tahini) and jam-packed with protein which was perfect considering the fact that I had just completed a ten mile run. It filled me right up for lunch too.

After work I drove over to whole foods and picked up some more bananas (oatmeal will make a return tomorrow!), rainbow chard, kale, carrots, garlic, cucumber, red and orange bell peppers... basically a giant produce run with some yogurt and sandwich thins thrown in. Along with some cliff-shots and cliff-blocks. Now that I'm running long distances again they're necessary, and I like that they have 70% organic ingredients, and I find they work. When my energy is waning around half-way through, they perk me back up and give my legs an extra kick.

Tonight for dinner I plan to make grilled tahini chicken (We don't have a barbecue, but I'm thinking a panini grill might work, either that or the broiler) over quinoa for me, and pasta for the boy. The recipe is out of Food to Live By which we got for Christmas and has yet to disappoint us. Seriously, if you are looking for a good 'slow foods' cookbook, this one is fantastic! Its by the same people who run Earthbound Farm Organics - you know all the pre-washed packaged salad, and the recipes are the kind that always, always, always turn out great. They even have one halibut recipe that the boy actually LIKED and he is not a seafood fan.

Catch ya' later!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rainy Ten Miler

Happy Daylights Savings! Ugh. I opened this morning, which meant that instead of having to be at my store at the less-than-decent hour of 6:15 am, I had to be there at the equivalent to 5:15 am, which is the same as a weekday open, but there is a reason why I like doing the Sunday opens - because I get an hour more sleep.

The advantage of opening however is that I was off work by 2:15, which meant I had the rest of the day to go for a run. In theory. Because I am an idiot at times I thought the boy had taken my keys to work with him. Turns out they were in my apron the whole time, but I ended up hanging around the backroom of my store for an extra hour and a half, fortunately my wonderful ASM and I have a book exchange going on, and she'd just given me a new one to start. So I sat in the back and read... Until the boy called me asking if I was sure he had my keys, asked if maybe I'd left them in my apron... and a quick check determined that sure enough I don't function super well on five hours of sleep.

I went home, changed, thought terrible things about the weather and headed out for the ten mile run my training schedule prescribed. Let me just preface this by saying that the weather was horrific, as in pouring rain and windy horrific. Oh yeah, and cold. But there was no way I was getting through 10 miles on a treadmill, I would rather get wet. The first few miles weren't bad, until my hair got so soaked through (the hood on my rain-jacket was chafing against my forehead, I love love love my rain-jacket except for that serious design flaw) that water started running all over my face. It was in my eyes, my nose, mouth... You get the picture. I pushed through and finally around mile 6 the rain let up a bit, it was still coming down but not as intensely. Around mile eight I just got cold, I was absolutely soaked through and while my core was still warm, thank you lululemon running rain jacket (it was a Christmas gift from the boy's family), my legs got cold, which meant they got stiff, which meant all the aches and pains created by a week of running, yoga, and Jillian's 30 Day Shred started to bug me. But I dug in.

I was thinking about an article I read in Runner's World recently, about Kara Goucher one of the world's top female distance runners. She was talking about the mental tricks she uses to push through the immense pain of running a marathon at the speeds in which she runs them, and talked about using trigger words. About picking a word that encompasses your ability to succeed and the confidence you have in yourself. She picked fighter, to represent how she'd fought through so many challenges in her running career. I really liked the idea, the idea of being able to trigger a single word and create a mental clarity that gives you the emotional strength to push through, because while I don't run as hard as Goucher does, I do push pretty damn hard. So I started thinking about what my word would be, about what drives me, what pushes me to succeed.

And of course I thought about my mom. My mom who fought cancer for eight years, who turned every single death-sentence on its head so that when she finally did die she did it as much on her own terms as possible. She chose to go off medication. She was able to say goodbye to everyone, to confront them about the things that needed confronting, and forgive them for the things she was upset about. I remember the last time I saw her. I flew down to San Francisco about two weeks before she died, and before my dad drove me to the airport I went into her room to say goodbye, pretty confident it would be the last time I ever saw her. She was tiny when she died, 5'2 and maybe 85lbs, but she radiated strength. I hugged her, careful not to crush her, and she told me she loved me, that she was proud of me, and she was so happy for the time we'd had. I held her hand, and told her I loved her, and told her I was so proud of her. Because I am. My mother is my model for survival, for courage, for fight. She refused to give up. I was eleven when she was diagnosed, my brother was nine, and she was adamant about one thing: she wanted to see us grow up. She got to see me turn 19, and she got to see my brother turn 17. It wasn't perfect, but it was a lot more than anyone had hoped for.

My mother was a survivor, and she comes from a line of survivors. My grandfather was a holocaust survivor and my great grandparents survived pogroms, and some immigrated illegally into Israel, risking everything for a dream they believed in. Survival is something that is inherent within me. It had to be. I survived my teenage years growing up in a family destroyed by breast cancer. I kept my sanity, my ground, and my ability to function. I've survived academic disappointments and come out stronger on the other side.

I am a survivor.

So today, when the last two miles of rain and wind threatened to make me give up. I conjured up the word, and pounded through those last two miles.

Let me tell you. It worked.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Schedule Confusion

I messed up today. I thought I was opening, so I made plans to go climbing with the boy and some friends of ours at five tonight. Turns out I'm closing tonight and therefore have to be at work at 4:30. So no climbing for me, which actually makes me really sad. I started climbing because the boy and his two best friends have been climbing since they were fifteen (so eight years now, WOW!). He finally convinced me that I would not be too fat for the harnesses, and I agreed to take an intro class about two years ago now (December 2007). Turns out they had to put me into an extra large men's harness, but I got over it, learned how to belay, and tie in properly and fell in love with the sport.
As I lost weight over the last year one of the things that astounded me was how quickly my climbing improved. I spent almost a year struggling to go from climbing a 5.7 (stupid easy) to a 5.9. As my weight dropped to around 175 and below I moved from climbing a 5.10a to a 5.10c in about three weeks. As of now I have on-sighted (that is climbed without falling, to the top on my first try) a a few 5.10ds and have a few 5.11as and bs that I am currently working on, as in I can climb them, but not without lots of falls. As the boy said, now that I'm carrying up 25lbs+ less per hand, difficult, technical moves, along with moves that require a whole lot of strength are much, much easier.

I've been thinking a lot, lately, about the things I used to do to myself, the way life used to be. The boy and I used to go out to dinner and order two appetizers, two mains, and dessert. He can do that, he's tall, super thin, and struggles to put weight on. I thought because he could do it, I could too. Not the case. Not the case at all. I couldn't go hiking, I couldn't enjoy the outdoors because I worried I would be faced with a physical challenge I would be incapable of over coming. When I went to Vegas with my friends in August 2008 I untagged almost every photo that went up on facebook and spent the three days we were there semi-miserable due to heat and my inability to walk as fast as everyone else because it exhausted me.

Last week I was asked to go pick up milk from a nearby store about fifteen minutes from mine. We were desperate, had one jug of milk left, and the boy had taken my car. As a result I carried (in giant costco bags one of the people at the other store let me borrow, otherwise it would have been impossible) over 50 pounds of milk back to my store. As I was walking, my muscles aching, I realized that I used to live every single day of my life like this. Every day. It's shocking to me now, and that's the true testament to how far I've come.

My manager calls me 'muscles,' I run half marathons, people consider me fit, toned, in shape. All things I never was before in my life. And I wont lie, I love it.

In other news today has been semi-laid back. I got up and threw together some Greek yogurt, granola, and a banana and ate it while I sat in bed reading. Later in the morning I also had one cookie that the boy's mom baked last night, she's a fantastic baker and I'm a strong believer in occasional indulgences. Particularly when it come's to her baked goods. The key, and I know this is the hard part (trust me I screw this part up frequently), is to only have one.

After cleaning the kitchen and fridge I put together lunch. For lunch I threw together a sandwich made up of multigrain sandwich thins, crofters superfruit spread, humus, spinach, and tempeh. I know it sounds weird, it was actually really, really good. I also had an apple on the side. As I suspected, they were, indeed, good apples.

When I found out I wouldn't be going climbing today I thought I might go to Bikram, but the boy needed the car as he is still going climbing after work, so I downloaded Jillian Michael's 30 day shred and did level one. Ok, so I know a lot of people have problems with Jillian, and the Biggest Loser, but I've been curious about her DVDs and I've heard really good things. In short, level one had my sweating like crazy. I didn't think 20 minutes could give me that good a workout, but it did. I worked, and I worked hard. I still have problems with the Biggest Loser; basically I don't think losing 200 pounds in six months is healthy in any way, shape or form... but her workouts are solid.

I'm off to go throw together dinner to take to work. I think I'm going to have some leftover quinoa, with spinach, almond milk and almonds on top, I've got a bit of an idea I'm playing around with... I'll let you know how it works out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Snow to Sun in Five Hours or Less

Vancouver weather is famously odd. Ok well its famously wet and lately its been famously odd. My plan this morning was to get up, have breakfast and go for a five mile tempo. When I woke up at about 8:30, I looked outside to see snow. Yes, SNOW. This year we've barely had any snow in Vancouver, see the Winter Olympic news reports for more information on that one (ha!)... but last night it decided to snow. I also had a terrible headache, so I made myself some oatmeal, my usual with almond milk, banana, cinnamon, and vanilla, topped with almond butter and crofters superfruit spread which melted into the oatmeal and was delicious, and crawled back into bed. I lay around for a bit, chatted with the boy, started a new book, read blogs etc. At around eleven I went across the street for some coffee. Finally at about noon, the sun started shining, the snow melted away, my head was still pounding, but I thought running might make it feel better so I got changed, grabbed my trusty Garmin and got going.

I had a five mile tempo to run today and it was glorious. Yes, glorious. I warmed up, with a 9:47 mile and then went into the three tempo miles, first mile 8:24, second mile 8:36, third mile 8:59 - that's right all three miles in under 9:00 minutes which makes it my fastest tempo to date. Awesome! I then did a super slow cool-down mile, stretched and went home. My legs felt dead, in a good way.

I got home and threw a cup of almond milk, two handfuls of spinach, a banana, some frozen raspberries, and a scoop of brown rice protein powder into the blender, and inhaled it. One of my goals for my marathon training is to be better about recovery that is stretching, icing, and getting some protein and carbs, in liquid form so they are better absorbed immediately after working out so my muscles can repair themselves etc.

Now I'm off to go shower and we're heading out to our favorite lunch place - The T Room to grab some food. We haven't been there for a few weeks and I'm excited.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Power Yoga

Today was filled with new things. Before going to work I made my usual banana oatmeal, but instead of topping it with almond butter I stirred in some coconut butter. To be honest, I couldn't really taste it. Although I still love coconut butter on toast, and anywhere else where I can actually taste it, I will probably be sticking to almond butter on oatmeal.

I got to work a bit of a shorter shift today which was nice, only six hours. I brought an Ezekiel tortilla with apple butter as a snack to work, and Greek yogurt, granola, and a banana, along with an almond butter and apple butter sandwich for lunch. Apple butter was a recent discovery for me, a friend of mine has been raving about it for weeks and I finally picked some up. OH MY GOD, it's absolutely amazing. So, so, so good! It's basically apples and apple cider that get simmered down with cinnamon to create a thick spread that has a consistency similar to super thick applesauce. It taste's like heaven, and only has 20 calories per tablespoon, which is more than enough to cover a piece of bread. Of course I've taken to eating it with a spoon... but that's just me.

After work I went home, grabbed an Ezekiel tortilla with a small amount of almond butter and apple butter (are we seeing a pattern here?) and then went to go try out my first ever Vinyasa Power Flow class. I've done a pretty good amount of Bikram yoga, and while I love it (well in that I hate doing it, love the way I feel after kind of way) and I'm get a workout in the sense that I'm sweating my but off (literally), and there is some muscle work... I wanted a real 'oh my god, my muscles are shaking, can't hold this for another second, wow I'm sore and can't move my legs' kind of workout. So power flow class it was. It was really, really fun. I loved it, and man do all those downward dogs work your triceps, not to mention the countless plans, twists, and awkward balancing poses. She also had us pair up so that we could actually do handstands, which was cool because it's not something I have the strength to do yet. In short, I really enjoyed the class, it flowed nicely, I was able to get into it, but because it wasn't a class with set series of poses there was a certain amount of informality and flexibility to it that I liked.

The studio was right next to whole foods, and I was out of bananas (I tried only buying six this week as the 12 I bought last week almost ended up going bad, but I ran out, so this time I am trying eight). So I ran in, and bought some bananas, and some apples, because they actually looked good this week. I am super picky about apples and wont eat them if they don't have the right crunch. Fortunately I've gotten pretty good at telling whether or not they will be good by look and feel. They looked good this week - hopefully they will be. I also decided to grab a giant salad from the salad bar for dinner as the boy requested Asian noodles from a place nearby and I was feeling a bit carbed out.

I piled a box high with spinach, chickpeas, sesame tofu, carrots, bell peppers, and corn and topped it off with raspberry vinaigrette, and raisins. I also grabbed some nature's path granola bars as I need snacks to take to work as I am always starving halfway through my shift, and let me tell you, the Starbucks pastry case is hardly filled with health-food items. I got the pumpkin spice flavor and the apricot flavor. I love, love, love their peanut butter granola so I had a good feeling. They didn't disappoint, I had a pumpkin spice one in the car on the way home because yoga left me starving. So, so good.

With my dinner salad I also had a piece of soda bread with almond butter (again, but let me note I only ever put about a teaspoon if even on bread, I'm not a fan of super thick spreads, I like it thin, just enough so I can taste it, not so much it sticks to the roof of my mouth), and crofter's superfruit spread, which I also grabbed at whole-foods today after seeing it on so many blogs. Again, it didn't disappoint, and was the perfect dessert.

After dinner the boy and I proceeded to watch this week's episode of Lost and now I think its time for bed. We both have the day off tomorrow, so I think we're going to go climbing. I also have to do a 5 mile tempo tomorrow, the first one of my marathon training plan. Yay!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rainy Run


I have today off, which basically means I get to spend the day cooking, yay! This morning I drove the boy to work and then stopped by Whole Foods on my way home. I know, I know, I was there yesterday, but I forgot a bunch of stuff like sandwich thins, kale, and tortillas, so I had to go back. I then came home, had one of the power cookies I bought from the Whole Foods bakery (they're made with spelt flour oats, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, and a million other seeds, raisins and just plain goodness in general) and set out for a four mile run. Today, unlike yesterday is one of those gross, rainy, cloudy, Vancouver days. Nevertheless, I had a good run. It wasn't absolutely pouring down rain, more like a light drizzle and it actually felt kind of nice. When I got home I was starving. I ground up some cauliflower, and added some lemon juice and raisins, and then threw it on top of a huge bed of spinach, with a red bell pepper, some carrots, a bit of nutritional yeast, a black bean veggie burger crumbled up, and raspberry vinaigrette. For dessert I had the other power cookie I bought.

Then I set to work making raw chocolate chip cookies again. I've been promising my manager I'd make them again for weeks and haven't managed to get around to it, but I finally did today! Yay! They are currently in the fridge hardening up.

Also on the agenda today are these nacho cheese kale chips. I am pretty excited about them, my first experiment with kale chips went wonderfully and I'm excited to spice them up a bit. I don't own a dehydrator, so I'll be throwing them in the oven, but that worked brilliantly last time so hopefully it will again...

I'm also thinking about making the coconut chocolate bars I made last week cause they were so good... But I don't know if I have the time or the energy. Although we are going over to my boyfriend's Dad's place for dinner tonight so its not like I have to make dinner.

Catch ya' later.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun...

Today is one of those GORGEOUS. Perfect, cloud free, beautiful, I can't believe I live in this wonderful city, kind of Vancouver days. I also don't have to be at work until four, which meant I got to go out and enjoy it!

I woke up at about 8:30 this morning.. which is about as late as I ever sleep (I am not a night person and will naturally wake up between 8 and 9 am), and made myself a smoothie with:

1 cup almond milk
2 cups spinach
1 banana
2/3 cups frozen raspberries
brown rice protein powder
1 tablespoon almond butter.

It was delicious.

Then I sat in bed for a bit until about ten when we got up and headed over to Starbucks where I got a double tall iced soy latte. We then did the ever so boring thing of going out and talking to an insurance agent about getting renters insurance. We have been meaning to do it for years but finally got all the information today. We're going to take a few days to think about it, but we'll likely end up going with the quote we got today. It seems a little ridiculous, but it covers things like theft and fire, and lets face it if all our furniture got destroyed in a fire we couldn't afford to replace it, nor could we afford to replace the computers, hard drives, books etc and everything we own, therefore we decided to get insurance. It's not actually that expensive either.

After leaving the insurance office we walked down Fourth for a bit and stopped in a kitchen supply store where I drooled over springform pans, Emile Henry baking dishes, pie pans, fancy five speed blenders (ours is ok, but super, super basic), stand mixers (I have my boyfriend's mom's old one which works brilliantly, but lets face it, is not nearly as pretty), Cuisinart food processors (I want a seven or eleven cup so, so, so bad), and immersion blenders. Kitchen stores and grocery stores are my personal heaven. We left empty-handed, mostly because the boy saw the danger and dragged me out. He knows me well.

Then we headed over to Fisherman's Warf to go to Go Fish for lunch, a small tin-shack seafood hut that makes the best fish and chips you will ever have as well as some really really good fish tacos. I had the soy-wasabi cod tacos and the boy had single piece halibut fish and chips. The line up was ridiculous. Seems like everyone else had the same idea we did upon seeing the gorgeous weather, but the wait was worth it. The food, per the usual was delicious, and yes, I definitely stole some of the boy's fries. Cause they are so damn good.

On the way home we stopped at Whole Foods for some frozen berries, kale, yogurt, oats (I was almost out, oh the horror), and cashews (I have a few cashew cheese recipes I want to try out. I also want to make raw chocolate chip cookies again).

Anyway, I have to be at work in an hour so I'm going to have a quick snack, throw together some dinner to take to work with me (likely a giant spinach salad and sandwich thin sandwich with coconut butter, almond butter, banana and cinnamon), and throw on my work clothes. I am always so excited when I don't have to wear Starbucks clothing...

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Beginnings

This is a hard post... because I am admitting I didn't succeed at something, and I like to succeed. As of right now I have been rejected from four out of the six graduate schools I applied to. I am waiting to hear back from Northwestern, one of my top choices, and Michigan State. I am disappointed because I don't really understand why I didn't get in. My grades were good, my recommendations good, my GRE scores good, my essays good. In short, I think I was rejected not because I wasn't qualified, but because there were other people who were older, had more research experience, more field experience etc.

The thing is, I'm ok. In truth, I mostly applied to graduate school because I felt like it was expected. I was graduating with excellent marks, good relationships to my profs, and a desire to continue learning, what else to type A overachievers do but apply to grad school? I was never really sure it was what I wanted. I enjoyed my major, and felt passionate about it at times, but never spent my spare time learning more about anthropology. I liked the idea of having a PhD much more than I liked the idea of being trapped into working at a university or as a researcher for an NGO. I knew I wanted to work with people, and I thought this was the only way for me to accomplish that seeing as I was so far gone with my degree anyway.

I should have taken better notes from my parents. My mother didn't start singing until she was nearly thirty and my father is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Both of them, however, have lived successful, rewarding, and mostly happy lives (well Dad, you can comment on this yourself).

In the last year, as I have learned more about health and nutrition I have started to think about how wonderful it would have been if I had decided to go into nutrition originally. But I figured it was too late. I was almost done, I might as well push those thoughts away and pursue anthropology. I was good at it after all, and I liked it. Because I really do enjoy anthropology. I love learning about how people think, and function, and interact, and I love that I could use it to help people. The thing is, if you think about it being a registered dietitian isn't really that different. You work with people, you try and understand how they relate to food so that you can teach them to eat properly. You work with cities and public health authorities to understand how to implement nutritional systems within given communities.

In short, I think I am going to start over. I think I am going to get a full time job and work on my pre-requisites - first and second year bio and chemistry, and a few Food and Nutritional Health specific courses, and then when I finish them I am going to apply to UBC's dietetics program, and hopefully I'll get in and write my RD exam three years later. The need for registered dietitians is growing, quickly, and over 90% of new graduates are employed, full time, within a year. This means that instead of spending the next eight years getting my PhD and then the next five getting onto a tenure track, and six years after that struggling through it before finally, maybe, just maybe, getting tenure, I'd be 28 and starting my career. I could always go back for a masters, and if I decided I wanted to go into anthropology, I could still do it. Seeing as I wanted to work to implement nutritional programs among children in third world countries, a background in nutrition would be helpful. I will be older, have more experience, and therefore more likely to be admitted.

I am somewhat terrified. The last time I tried to take university level biology and chemistry it ended badly, but that was my first year. I was in science one, I was desperately lonely and unhappy. And lets face it, I was passing science one bio and chem, as compared to math and physics which I was decidedly failing. This would just be regular sciences, not crazy amped-up science for the future Einsteins. I was really really good at bio and chemistry in high school, so I think I can do this. I really do.

More than that I want to.

It will be five years. Five more years of school, five more years of being broke, five more years of studying, but in the end I think I will have a career I am truly passionate about. I already spend all my time researching nutrition, learning about nutrition, making food, talking about food/nutrition... So why not make it my career?

In other news. Marathon training starts Monday. I am actually incredibly excited. Terrified but excited. My plan is to do strength training, including hill repeats Mondays, easy runs Tuesdays, bikram yoga Wednesdays, tempo runs/mile repeats Thursdays, climb Fridays, rest Saturdays, and do my long runs on Sundays. It's only three days of running, if you don't count the hill repeats, which are usually much shorter in terms of mileage, and more the runners version of weights, and I am excited about it. The hills are necessary because the Seattle Rock'n Roll is HILLY. Two 250 foot hills (bigger than the biggest hill I ran up in my half) and quite a few 150-200 foot hills. I need to be ready for them.

I also registered to run the Vancouver 1/2 on May 2nd. It's more of a training race, just to get one more in. I would like to finish in under 2:05, but I wont really be going for that much speed. I think it should be faster than my first half, however, seeing as with the exception of the Prospect Point hill the course is really flat.

Also, I recently discovered coconut butter, I buy Artisiana's and it is amazing. This morning I had it on a sandwich thin for breakfast. Actually I made a coconut butter and almond butter sandwich with raisins in the middle. It was the perfect fuel for my three miler, which was glorious.

I then came home and made a green monster smoothie with:

1 cup of vanilla almond milk
2 cups of spinach
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 serving of brown rice protein powder.

It was delicious.

Lunch consisted of a giant spinach salad, with two huge handfuls of spinach (I have a 1lb box to get through before the ninth), some black beans and chickpeas, crumbled up Amy's California veggie burger, half an orange bell pepper, some flax, and Amy's raspberry vinaigrette dressing. It was awesome.

I also snacked on a small bowl of granola with just a touch of almond milk (I hate, hate, hate soggy cereal), and a banana.

Its interesting, I used to hate beans, and bananas and now I go through nearly a dozen bananas a week and adore beans...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Looking Towards the Future

After my half on Sunday we drove up to Whistler and spent Monday wandering around the village and enjoying the Olympic atmosphere. It was a BEAUTIFUL day out. I have seriously never, ever seen the mountain that clear. We didn't ski as I felt like that wasn't the best idea, having just completed a half marathon and all, but it was fun to be up there nevertheless.

We bussed back down on Monday night, as the boy's mom was staying an extra night and we drove up in her car, and arrived back at home at around nine pm. We threw together some quick stirfry with a combination of broccoli, zucchini, and carrots I had steamed on Saturday night that we had leftover, some chicken we picked up at Whole Foods on the way home, and our favorite stir-fry sauce which is made up of: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, red chili flakes, a bit of turbinado sugar, and water. I had mine wrapped in a whole-wheat pita with leftover spinach salad in maple balsamic vinaigrette (also made for Saturday night) on the side while the boy had his over pasta.

Yesterday I lazed around, took the dog for a walk (we are dog-sitting while my boyfriend's mom is out of town), and eventually went to work at 3:00.

Today I made some banana-almond butter oatmeal for breakfast and then I decided my legs felt good enough to go for a short run. I went to the gym and completed an easy three miles on the treadmill. It felt awesome to run and my legs felt great. I then did twenty minutes of core work and upper back/arm weights. Then I came home and threw some honey, a banana, and some granola into the waning Greek yogurt container and mixed that together. I also had some coconut water and half a sweet potato.

In other news I'm considering what my next races should be. I am terrified at doing a full marathon at the end of June, but I really think I can do it. More than that I think I should. I wasn't afraid of doing a half, but the idea of a full marathon does scare me, and I think, therefore, that I should do it. In order to make sure I am truly ready to take on a marathon, however, I plan to run a few more races first. There is a 10k trail race on April 17th that I really want to run because a) trail races are fun b) I like the 10k distance its short, quick and you feel like you've accomplished something at the end and c) the start is five minutes from my house. Then there is the BMO Vancouver half marathon on May 2nd. I would like to get another half marathon in, and this seems like a good one. The timing is good, and with the exception of the prospect point hill (which comes right in the middle) the course is fairly flat.

Then there is the Seattle rock n roll full on June 27th. I haven't registered yet because once I do I've spent 100 dollars which means I can't back out, but I think I will soon.

Anyway, the plan for the rest of today? Clean the kitchen (our next apartment will have a dishwasher, even if it has nothing else), pay some bills (boo), and head to work at 5pm. I also promised the boy I'd make him lunch but we're a little low on lunch-making ingredients, oh well I'll come up with something.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fort Langley Historic Half

So yesterday I ran a half marathon. I got up, I made a bowl of oatmeal with almond milk, smashed banana, and a spoonful of almond butter. I put on my favorite running clothes, picked up my dad and brother from my boyfriend's mom's place where we were staying and headed out to Fort Langley. The weather was perfect, high of 15 C, sunny, clear skies... I ran the entire race with a perfect view of Golden Ears... I realize the problems the weather has caused for the Olympics but I was thankful for it.

We got into Fort Langley at about eight am, sat in a warm coffee shop for about twenty minutes while the boy got a mocha, and waited for my dad to park the car. Then we headed up to the fort, where the race was starting. I for one, was a bundle of nervous energy. This was it, this was what I had been training for not only for the last 13 weeks since I officially started a targeted half-marathon training program, I started preparing for this in September 2008 when I decided it was time to take control of my life and my body and get healthy. Except I didn't know then, I didn't know how much I would change, how much my perspective, approach to things, and just everything would change.

I started running in February 2009, after loosing roughly 20 pounds and finding that it was possible. I started off doing just fifteen minutes at a time, taking five minutes in between to walk and stretch out, slowly I put the two fifteen minute segments together and started running for thirty minutes with a five minute walk break and then another twenty minutes after that. Then I put those two halves together. I remember the day I first ran 50 minutes straight, I ran slowly, only covering four and a half miles during that time, but when I stepped off the treadmill I felt something changing.

I was the kid who walked the mile in middle school. I was the kid who was picked last because I wasn't athletic and was always, always, always slightly overweight. I didn't start really gaining weight until I started University, but even in high school I weighed 185, at 5'7. Long story short, running was something I hated, something I could never do, and something I never thought I could do.

On that first day where I ran for fifty minutes straight, I knew I was onto something. I felt dizzy with happiness. I felt powerful and capable, and I felt myself changing. I left behind the middle-schooler who was picked last, I left behind the high-schooler who wore oversized pants so people didn't notice how much weight I carried in my lower half. I left behind the university student whose mom died and used it as an excuse to put on another thirty five pounds. I also started to think: if I could run for fifty minute straight, maybe I could run for longer, maybe I could one day do something amazing, like run a marathon.

When I chose to take this year off of school, I decided I had a goal. By the end of summer I had lost 40lbs and with roughly 30 left to go I figured why not spend this year losing those last 30 and training for a marathon. I shyly told my plans to my boyfriend, to his family, and to my own, and was happy to find them generally encouraging. I picked a November 10k as my first race, figuring that was probably the first step. At 6.2 miles a 10k race is just under half of a half-marathon, I figured it was a good test. I didn't really have a plan, I mostly just ran a lot, and on November 15 I lined up at the starting line, and ran my first ever 10k. I finished soaking wet due to the rain and wind (oh Vancouver weather...) and in just under an hour. I went home and registered for my first half marathon, February 21st, the Fort Langley Historic Half, simply because I wanted a February half, and it was the only one being run around Vancouver.

I pulled a training plan off of RunnersWorld.com and followed it diligently. I started with seven mile runs and worked my way up to eleven. I ran in the pouring rain, returning from one particularly rainy nine-miler looking as thought I had just stepped out of the shower. I forced myself through some insanely painful mile repeats. I pushed through every-single tempo. I ran eleven miles, twice, and I loved it.

So yesterday when I lined up at the starting line I felt good. I had a goal of finishing in under 2:10, averaging less than a ten minute mile, nothing spectacular, but respectable and I was confident. I zap-strapped my timing chip to my shoe, pinned on my race bib, and waited for the race to start. I set out, at a steady pace, going through the first mile in 9:24, the second mile in 9:20, and then the hills started. No one told me just how hilly the Fort Langley half was, but I discovered it quickly. After each turn there seemed to be another hill looming waiting to suck energy out of me. Nevertheless, I continued. We ran through a wildlife preserve, where I saw two zebras, and I was treated to beautiful panoramic views of the BC mountains throughout the entire race. At around the 10k mark I felt my energy waning, so I took my first cliff-shot energy gel, and just as it kicked in as I was running down a hill, and I saw my boyfriend, with the camera, standing at the bottom, I waved, and I smiled for the camera, thrilled to see him and feeling fantastic, as I turned the corner onto yet another hill, part of which he ran up with me. Then I continued.

Around mile 8 things started to hurt. The ball of my right foot started to hurt and one of my toes started to go numb. But I kept going. I thought about everything I've accomplished this last year. I thought about how it would feel to finish. I thought about what my mother would say if she was here. I thought about how hard she fought, for eight years, against cancer, a much bigger challenge than a half marathon.

At mile 10 I turned another corner to see the biggest hill yet, and I felt my heart sinking. I inhaled my last cliff-shot, and promised myself I would RUN up this last hill. I know walking is an ok thing to do in a half marathon but I didn't want to. I wanted to run the whole thing. So I did, I moved slowly, but surely, telling myself I would make up the speed on the downhill. Telling myself I could make it. That I would make it JUST UP THIS HILL. And then I saw my boyfriend standing halfway up with my Dad and brother. I think he could see from my face how badly I was hurting because he jumped into the street and ran up the hill with me. Promising me it was downhill and flat from here on out, and it was. I made it over the crest of that last hill and then surged downhill, doing what you're not supposed to do for the sake of my legs and just letting myself fly down the hill. I only had a mile and a half left to go, and I really wanted to finish in under 2:10. Then it flattened out, and I fought with my legs, forcing them to move at a 9:20 mile, and before I knew it I turned the corner to see the finish line up ahead, my watch beeping to tell me I had hit the 13 mile mark. I forced my legs as fast as they could go, which lets face it, wasn't that fast, and crossed the finish. Exhausted. In 2:07:13. Perfect.

I don't thing I realized what I accomplished until this morning. I spent most of yesterday in a half daze, happy but completely spent, but this morning, I woke up and realized what I accomplished.

I did it, I went from the girl who hated running to the girl who completed a half marathon, and I cannot wait to run more, to complete more races. I'm looking towards a 10k trail run in April, and another half marathon in May, and a full in June. I have a lot of work to do. I need to get into better shape, I need to strengthen my hips because they were insanely painful at the end of yesterday, I need to mentally prepare myself for the challenge of running for four hours straight. But I can't wait.

So to everyone out there who is doubting their abilities to accomplish something amazing, go out there, start, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bikram and Running

OK, so today was slightly ridiculous. I slept in till about9:30, and for the first time in about a week I didn't set an alarm. It felt so so so nice. I had some peanut butter granola with vanilla almond milk and the boy and I watched some Olympic broadcasts, lazed around and eventually got going. I grabbed a quick veggie burger - Amy's veggie burger on sandwich thins with baby spinach and a mix of hummus, nutritional yeast, and tahini (it seriously tastes like cheese) for lunch. I then dropped the boy off at the bus stop, and then went to Bikram yoga. For some reason I struggled today. I felt dizzy and slightly nauseous and actually had to sit down a few times, but I got through it and per the usual felt amazing afterward.

I was starving when I got home, so I had had lunch number 2: whole wheat tortilla, almond butter, banana, cinnamon, and raisins rolled up and microwaved for about thirty seconds, and then shoved in my face. It was delicious, best combo ever and the microwaving caramelizes the bananas ever so slightly and with the cinnamon its pretty much the best thing ever.

Then I went for a three mile run. I figured I'm in the week leading up to my half, its already a cut-down week until the actual race, I should stick to the schedule. I did a quick three miles on the treadmill, while watching the women's snowboard cross (yay! Canada won gold!), and then came home, starving again and had an apple which I sliced up and then slathered in almond butter. I don't know how it has taken me so damn long to try that combo. It was amazing. Seriously the almond butter tasted like frosting I just about died of happiness.

Then I went to work. On my way I grabbed a pita from the pita pit, it had the following: whole wheat pita with humus, copious amounts of sprouts, grilled green peppers, mushrooms, and onion, banana peppers, feta cheese, hot sauce, and tzatziki. I heated it up in the microwave at work during my break and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will be having the combination again, potentially for lunch tomorrow as we are out of dish-soap, and therefore the kitchen is a hot-mess that makes cooking difficult.

Anyway, the combination of bikram/running/and work has left me exhausted. Time for Greek (yes I watch trashy television) and sleep. Its going to be a good combination.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eleven Miles

My baking experiments last night turned out fantastic. The raw chocolate chip cookies were AMAZING, and the chocolate puddle cookies were a success, success measured in how the boy reacted, his words being 'I think these are my new favorite chocolate cookies, I want to take them to work so I can brag about them.' I unfortunately undercooked one pan, so when I removed them from the parchment paper they turned into a goopy mess, but the boy promised he'd still eat them, and there are about another eight cookies that turned out fantastic.

So I thought I had to work from 11:45-8:00pm today, so I figured I'd get up early and pound out eleven miles before 10:30am so I had enough time to sit around, shower, and eat. So I got up at about 7:30 made two pieces of Irish soda bread toast with almond butter, raw honey, and some raisins, and drank a pretty good amount of water while browsing the Internet and waiting for food to settle. I had one mocha flavored cliff shot before leaving and packed a strawberry flavored run where that 6.5 mile point where I always, always hit a wall, and left the house.

It was cloudy and gray when I left the house, but as I ran it started to clear. I ran by the hockey rink, where they were setting up for the games going on later today (UBC's Thunderbird Hockey rink is hosting a ton of the Olympic preliminary hockey games so they have a whole set-up over there...), and then around the back of campus as the clouds began to lift up and clear, by the time I was running my last loop back up Chancellor blvd (eleven miles takes two loops, one seven mile one, one four mile one around UBC campus). The sky had cleared, the mountains were coming out and it was all shaping up to be one of those absolutely stunning Vancouver days. It's true, Vancouver gets a lot of rain, so much rain that most of the population spends December, January, and February suffering from various degrees of SADS (seasonal affective depressive disorder), no really. I know I do. After three weeks of rain I'm generally in a pretty crappy mood. But, the upside of Vancouver's rain is that when the sun comes out, not only am I reminded of how absolutely beautiful this city is (see current Olympic broadcasts for footage of what a sunny day in Vancouver looks like - AMAZING), but the entire city comes out and you can see on everyone's faces just how happy they are. I know I personally am suddenly filled with absolutely inexplicable joy as the sky turns blue and I am reminded of how painfully gorgeous this city truly is.

When I finished my run, and hit the stop button on my Garmin, I stopped for a moment and threw my head back sucking in air and smiling staring up at the sky just unbelievably happy. It was one of those moments that reminded me of why I run, why I slog through eight, nine, ten, miles in the pouring rain, or why I deal with those painful days where I spend an hour arguing with myself and forcing myself not to stop. Today was just plain wonderful.

I stopped at Starbucks on my way home and grabbed a frappucino for the boy and a grande iced unsweetened green tea for myself, which I pretty much chugged by the time I made it across the street to my apartment. Then I made myself the green monster smoothie I had been fantasizing about for the last five miles of my run: 1 cup vanilla almond milk, a handful and a half of spinach, about a half a cup of strawberries, a whole banana that I split into a few chunks so my blender would have an easier time of it (we have a pretty good Cuisinart blender that was a Christmas gift a few years ago, but breaking stuff up as much as possible before it goes in tends to be a good idea, I've found), a scoop of protein powder (muscle repair yay!), and some flax to get some omega-3s going on. I then blended it and more or less inhaled it.

My manager also called me about halfway through my run to inform me that I could have the day off, apparently we've been slower than expected. So that was certainly exciting. I'm pretty sure the plan is to sit around, watch the rest of last week's biggest loser (yes I'm addicted, don't judge me), maybe bake some carrot cake cupcakes (I found a recipe I'm pretty much dying to try, will post the link if they turn out) if I decide I have the energy, and watch the pairs short program in anticipation of tomorrow night's long programs which I AM GOING TO! So so so excited to be going to an Olympic event. Let's face it, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

In other exciting news, my half marathon is a week away and my dad and brother come in on Friday night (they're coming to see my race, which I'm super excited about). It is going to be a busy week, but hopefully a super good one.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Eight Days and Counting

A week from tomorrow I will run a half marathon. Indeed, the even starts at 9:00, so I will likely be done by this time next Sunday. I am so excited. I can't wait to run it, I can't wait to be there and feel the energy and accomplish something that a year and a half ago I thought was impossible.

I have today off, yay, and so far have enjoyed a wonderfully relaxed morning. I woke up at about 7:30 and messed around online for a bit, then made some delicious oatmeal with 1/2 cup of oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup water, almost a tablespoon of vanilla (I don't believe there's such a thing as too much vanilla), one smashed up banana, a tablespoon of chia seeds and about two teaspoons of almond butter, and about a tablespoon of agave. I whipped it up until it was a fluffy oatmealy-mess on the stove then topped it with some raisins, goji berries, and about a quarter cup of nature's valley peanut butter granola, which is my favorite stuff in the world. It was delicious, the granola added the perfect crunch and its kept me full all morning. After breakfast, and the daily run across the streets for caffeine (although as the boy and I were saying this morning I really should just buy a coffee press and grinder... then I could just make my own french press, and it would be more or less free as I get a free pound of coffee a week), the boy and I sat in bed watching the Olympic broadcast, and talking. Pretty much a perfect Saturday morning.

Today I drove my boyfriend to work, and then went to buy some new/old running shoes (new in that they are new, old in that I bought the exact same model I had before as I adore them - mizuno wave riders, pretty much the best shoe ever). My old pair have served me faithfully since early August, and have taking me through my 10k and all my half marathon training, but I think they are just about done. I know you aren't supposed to run a race on new shoes, but I have a three miler today, an eleven miler tomorrow and some runs next week that should break them in in time. After buying new shoes I stopped at whole foods so I can make these raw chocolate chip cookies and these chocolate puddle cookies I promised the boy I'd make. Of course, me being me, and whole foods being whole foods, I also bought a ton of other food to experiment with this week. I just can't help myself when I am in there, but as my dad said, it's a good sign when the thing you spend the most money on other than rent is food, it means you're buying good food. So I'm going with it.

Now there is a three mile run and some strength training in my future. The question is whether or not I feel like braving the rain for three miles or braving the 'dreadmill.' Chances are, seeing as it is only three miles I'll do them at the gym, that way I can easily transition into doing some weights, planks, stability ball crunches etc. Then I get to come home and bake, bake, bake... and then the boy and I are celebrating our four year anniversary (again, as the first time around was our semi-disastrous snow-camping adventure) at Vij's one of our favorite west-coast style Indian places. Seriously some of the best food ever.

Ok. Time to stop procrastinating and start running.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

T-12 Days and Counting

That's right, 12 days from now I will have hopefully just completed my first ever half marathon. I am insanely excited, and somewhat terrified. But mostly just excited. First off, I love racing. I had so much fun at my 10k, I like the slightly competitive aspect. While I realize I am unlikely to ever win a marathon/half marathon/any running race, I do pick someone slightly faster than me and try to stay on them, and maybe even edge them out at the end. What can I say? I'm competitive. I also like the energy, all the people, the adrenaline, the spectators, the volunteers who cheer you on, the food at the end of the race, the sense of accomplishment, the race shirt. In short, there are a lot of things to love about racing, and even though this will only be my second race, I am thoroughly smitten.

I ran eleven miles on Sunday, and it was fantastic. The first three miles hurt, and I felt sluggish and my legs didn't seem to want to respond, and I almost threw in the towel, but instead I told myself I could do it, repeating over and over in my head that I was strong enough to do this and pushed through, around mile four I started to feel good, at mile six the adrenaline really kicked in and I finally hit that zone, runners high, whatever you want to call it where the world goes blurry and the pain dulls, and everything is suddenly crystal clear, and I remembered why I run. Why I love to run, why I started running in the first place. I came home and baked vegan super-charge me cookies (from Eat, Live, and Be Vegan) which were delicious, and some full-fat full sugar banana bread for my boyfriend because I promised him I would actually make good banana bread as the last time I tried it I accidentally only put in half the banana which meant it wasn't nearly as moist or banana-tasting as it should have been. This time it came out perfectly, and was devoured in just over 24 hours (yes I had a piece, or two).

I took yesterday off, because I worked out every single day of last week (Bikram Monday, run Tuesday, run and climbing Wednesday, run Thursday, run Friday, Bikram Saturday, run Sunday), and baked up some spicy kale chips, which were amazing and so so so healthy, and some homemade power bars which I accidentally over-baked a little bit so they aren't as chewy as they should be, but are overall pretty good, and a great post-run recovery food because they have protein and complex carbs.

Today I woke up and made myself a green monster smoothie with almond milk, spinach, banana, a half a scoop of protein powder, some honey, frozen raspberries and a spoonful of almond butter because my life is incomplete without almond butter (yeah it sounds melodramatic, but its true). It was delicious, and great fuel for my easy four mile run. Now I'm off to go shower and then head off to work. Tonight we're going climbing and I'm hoping I can convince the boy to go to Foundation, which is only the best vegetarian restaurant ever, because I am dying for some of their maple-tahini quinoa (I really need to learn to make it at home because oh my god the stuff is amazing, it's like good for you crack. No really.)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taking the Day off

So I definitely didn't stick to the training schedule this week... but I kind of knew that would happen. It was my boyfriend and I's four year anniversary and we had planned to go winter camping up at Garibaldi Lake on Friday and Saturday. My training schedule dictated five days of running this week which meant I had to run all the days I was actually home, including the day before we left, which I knew we would be crazy, and today, Sunday which I had my doubts about cause I didn't know how sore and tired I would be.

In short, I didn't get the run in on Thursday, we ended up being just way too busy, and I am listening to my body and taking today off. I have a headache, my feet hurt, and my legs feel a bit stiff. I am sure a tylenol would fix the headache and my legs would be fine but it is actually the pain in my feet that convinced me to not run. We used snowshoes and by the end of yesterday the straps were digging into my feet and my arches were starting to really hurt along with oddly enough my baby-toes... I really don't want any foot injuries, I am three weeks out (to the DAY!) from my half and I want to be able to focus these next three weeks and really rock my first ever half marathon. So I'm taking today off. It mean my cumulative mileage for this week is only about 12 miles... but that's ok. I still ran, and the hike up and back down from Garibaldi lake was hardly a walk in the park. It was six kilometers of steep, and I do mean steep uphill in the snow... So my legs weren't getting the pounding they normally get from running, but my cardio-vascular exertion level was certainly up there. Next week I actually have the time (and hopefully will have the energy to complete the 28 miles my schedule demands of me. It's time to kick it in and train hard.

I also want to go to Bikram for the first time ever at some point this week.

Today I woke up at the disgusting hour of 5:15 am, had a shower, made myself some pumpkin yogurt for breakfast (plain non-fat yogurt, a quarter cup of pumpkin, a half tablespoon of agave and granola) and packed a LUNA bar and my favorite egg salad sandwich (I use one hard-boiled egg, non-fat yogurt with tumeric, cayenne, and salt instead of mayonaise, and then I chop up about a quarter of an apple into the mix, before spreading it on sandwich thins with a layer of peach red pepper chutney) before heading to work. Luckily it was a Sunday so we were pretty slow. I got off work at 2:30 and walked home, where I made myself some almond butter toast and some more pumpkin yogurt (seriously addicted to the stuff). Probably more food than I needed but I am always so hungry after opening at and least it was healthy food right?

So this coming week looks something like this:

Monday - hopefully going to Bikram Yoga (for the first time ever, I am a little nervous, but mostly excited)

Tuesday - run four miles

Wednesday - run three miles

Thursday - seven mile tempo

Friday - run three miles

Saturday - off (maybe go climbing, but maybe 100% full stop rest day)

Sunday - run 11 miles

For a total mileage of 28 miles. The most I've ever run in a week and 11 miles will be my longest run to date, and the longest run I do before my half.

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Importance of Failing

I had a failed eight mile run today. I was supposed to do four mile repeats with half mile jogs in between with a warm up and warm down to total eight miles. I was apprehensive about it. I kind of hate mile repeats. I know they make me faster, I know they help my endurance and mental toughness, but I hate them. Why? Because I am a competitive person. I am a perfectionist and if I run the first mile in 8:30 I will kill myself to run the next one in 8:25 and the one after that in 8:20 and the one after that in 8:10. This is a good thing, except that I have trouble pacing the mile distance, and therefore always end up exhausted and barely breathing at the end. Usually, however, it is ok... Today it wasn't.

I think I just got myself too wound up about this run... I did my warm-up and felt kind of crappy, I felt slightly nauseous, which makes me think that bananas+runs=bad because I had one before my run today and I usually just stick with a bit of toast with almond butter and honey which always works. As I went into my first mile I realized I had accidentally planned my route so that that first mile included A LOT of hilly sections. Bad, bad idea for mile repeats. I was relieved when that first mile was over. I did my jog and then went into the second mile... Immediately I felt sick, I was pushing up yet another hill (bad, bad, bad route planning on my part, I was trying to do mile repeats not hill repeats), and I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. So I stopped leaned against a tree and breathed, I figured I could just pick it back up and maybe aim for 9 minute miles... Not what I really wanted to ultimately respectable. Kind of. After a minute or two I tried to start running again... My legs felt like absolute lead, and my stomach just felt worse... After about five minutes I figured I'd just make it to the three mile run, count today as one of my easy run days (I have three easy three mile days this week) and do the mile repeats on Thursday.

At first I was really mad at myself, but then I started thinking about the last run I didn't complete, a seven mile tempo I tried to run in the absolute pouring rain where I get so soaked that I ended up to cold to continue, and I thought about what I learned from that run. I learned that it is ok to fail sometimes, that it is ok to not complete something as long as I readjust my schedule so that I do it later. So instead of being mad at myself about today I've decided to use it as a learning experience. Could I have completed the eight mile distance? Yes. I would have slowed down and finished it as a leisurely long run. And if I feel sick during my half, I'll just forget about time and focus on finishing, but that wasn't the point of today. The point of today was the repeats, and if I was incapable of doing them then the best thing to do was to stop, and do them another day, take the failure, accept it and move forwards.

That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Running in the Rain

So it's raining out, again. Yesterday I waited until mid-afternoon to go run, because I had a seven mile tempo and I tend to do best in the mid afternoon. That was a mistake. It started raining around three... So I went inside and ran a seven mile tempo on the treadmill. The good news is it went better than expected, the bad news is I spent the entire hour and seven minutes it took me to complete my seven miles (1 mile warm up, five miles at tempo pace, 1 mile cool) staring at the distance screen on the treadmill begging the numbers to move faster.

This morning I got up early, made breakfast from some non-fat yogurt, canned pumpkin, honey, raisins, granola, some cinnamon, and a banana (mix everything into a bowl and enjoy), and packed my lunch, which was the sweet potato spoon bread I made last night and the coconut wild rice soup I also made last night. I love this soup. Its the second time I've made it and it is out of Heidi Swanson's, of www.101cookbooks.com, Super Natural Cooking and its amazing. Vegan, creamy, complex carbohydrate packed and awesome. Ok, so some people are anti-coconut milk because they think it has too much saturated fat, and it DOES have a good amount but recent studies have shown that because it is not a hydrogenated fat, nor is animal fat it doesn't do the same damage to your body as the saturated fat in say butter does (don't get me wrong, I still use butter though I try and do so minimally). All the research is pretty new but nevertheless... I'll go with it because I LOVE all things coconut. I also grabbed an apple and a latte and ran out the door.

I spent most of today in Food Safe, which to sum up was eight hours of learning about all the different ways food can make you sick and how to prevent it which pretty much equates to: wash your hands, don't defrost food at room temperature, don't leave food at room temperature, and really really don't go to work if you have Hepatitis A.

Anyway, I'm off for a run, just a quick easy three miles today, so the rain should be manageable. I admit, the wimpy side of me is wondering if I can get through running on a treadmill two days in a row. Then I have to pick up the boy. Dinner tonight is going to be flank steak which I marinated over night in a mix of shallots, soy sauce, lemon juice, and orange juice along with a roasted root vegetable medley (parsnips, carrots, potato, and rutabaga), and more spoon bread and potentially a salad if I can sum up the energy to throw one together. I have dressing... all I need to do is put veggies in a bowl. Might be manageable....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Starting Up Again

I feel like I should start posting on here again. For many reasons. First off, my manager managed to meander over here and told me I inspired her, and ultimately that was the reason I started this blog in the first place, to inspire others to set goals and push themselves to reach them. Secondly I really do love to write and not being in school I don't get the chance to do so very often. Finally I like to keep a log of how my runs are feeling, what my goals are, etc. Sure I write it all down on paper but it is not really the same, mostly because I hate writing on pen and paper, my hand gets tired and I'm a wimp (this is what four years of compulsive note taking and writing absolutely exhaustive exams gets you - hand pain).

So lets get to it shall we?

When I left off I had just registered for my first half marathon. Now I'm less than a month out. I have run all but four of the miles dictated by my training schedule, and I'm looking at the final four weeks with a mix of trepidation (there's a lot of running taking place) and excitement. Mostly I just can't wait to run my half. I still remember how much fun I had at the Fall Classic and I can't wait to feel that same adrenaline, exhaustion, and sense of accomplishment. I'm confident about completing the distance (I ran 10 miles last week and it went really, really well), I'm a bit more apprehensive about finishing in under two hours. It would mean maintaining about a 9:05 pace for 13.1 miles... Something I may or may not actually be able to do. I just completed a five mile tempo, done at a 9:10 pace, and it was hard. I mean tempos are supposed to be hard, but this was, hard. Hard in a I feel slightly nauseous now I may have pushed myself a bit too far kind of way. Then again aren't I supposed to give 100% during my half?

Regardless, a sub-two hour half is still my goal, but my secondary goal is sub 2:05, which I really think is possible, and my tertiary goal is simply to finish, but again I'm not actually too overly concerned about running the distance because I know I can do it.

Food-wise things are going really well. The boy and I's New Year's resolution was to start only eating meat and animal products if we could be absolutely sure it was raised in a human way and treated humanely as well. The result has been that we eat a lot less meat (organic meat is insanely expensive), and that I've been experimenting a lot more with food. Its come to a point where I look forward to grocery shopping more than shopping for clothes, but I think that's a good thing. The bad thing is I don't think I should be allowed into whole foods alone. Ever. I rarely stick to my shopping list and end up blowing two weeks worth of food money in one go... Too much good food, too little time/money.

Last night we roasted eggplant with zucchini and tomatoes, along with a bulgur wheat tabbouleh, and roasted halibut done in a green sauce. Tonight I am making coconut wild rice soup with sweet potato spoon bread (sweet potatoes mashed with a bit of flour, shallots, and some goat cheese), as well as roasted tomato paprika soup because the boy doesn't like coconut. My hope is that the soups last us through the week and serve as lunch.

Also tonight I am marinating a flank steak for tomorrows dinner which will be served with a roasted root vegetable medley (roasting vegetables makes all the difference in the world - super high heat, we're talking 400-500 degree ovens here + veggies = mmmmmm). Then at some point this week I really want to make chili (made with a mix of extra lean ground beef and buffalo, the leanest red meat out there) with this buttermilk cornbread recipe that uses polenta instead of cornmeal and olive oil instead of butter and buttermilk instead of cream which supposedly keeps everything super moist and pretty healthy.

This week is also the boy and I's four year anniversary, the 28th. Its been an incredible four years. There's been huge highs - graduation, my 10k, my coming half, Paris, three fantastically beautiful Vancouver summers, our trip to Shasta and Ashland, and massive lows, my mom's death nine months into our relationship, and other things I wont post here. But we've stuck through it, made it through it and come out on the other side four years older, four years stronger, and pretty convinced we can face more or less anything. To celebrate we're going snow camping up at Garibaldi. I am semi-terrified as our last attempt at snow camping ended with us bailing at two in the morning (we were car-camping) because I was just too damn cold. Fortunately this time I own a lot more fleece and a down-fill jacket, and the forecast is saying -2C as opposed the the -16 it was the last time we tried this. I think we'll be ok.

Ok, back to making dinner before I let the sweet potatoes burn.