Rodeo Run

Since I’m getting back into the Team in Training swing of things, it just gets easier and easier to hear that early alarm clock on Saturday mornings. I bounced out of bed this morning, ready for our six-mile run. Since I knew it would be a good while before I could eat breakfast (~60 minutes of running + a 15-minute drive each way), I wolfed down a Clif Z bar right when I woke up. Actually, I ate it in bed AS I woke up. (Those are my traditional pre-run fuel. They’re tasty and easy on my stomach. And they are a good size at 130 calories each, so I can have half or a whole one before a run. When I get up to running 11 or 12 miles, I’ll have a slightly larger pre-run snack like whole wheat toast with almond butter.)

I felt pretty good going into this run, despite a lack of running this week and a terrible run last weekend. What can I say, the glass is always half-full. 😉 I set out with my great group of TNT buddies in lovely running weather: it hovered in the mid-40s our entire run, with the sun peeking out for the second half. Besides my running capris and T-shirt, I only needed a ski cap to keep my head warm. The wind was a little chilly right at the beginning, but I warmed right up.

I was the group leader and shouted out mile times from my handy Garmin. Check out those negative splits!

Mile 1: 10:42

Mile 2: 10:13

Mile 3: 10:05

Mile 4: 9:37

Mile 5: 9:35

Mile 5-5.9: 8:18 (9:13 pace)

Everyone was super-pleased with the run. Including me because I have not run this far in about…two months? And injury-wise, I felt pretty good. My ankle was a wee bit sore while running,  but my knee was only a little stiff and I iced both. Follow-up doctor’s appointment on Monday, which I am pretty excited about! Don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about going to the doctor…

But the best part of our run was definitely the last couple of miles. The rodeo is in town and we got to run along the rodeo parade for a couple miles. Tons of spectators were lining the road we were on, and it was easy to pretend they were cheering for us! 😉

I came home and immediately prepared this bowl of deliciousness. (I am home for spring break right now, at least for a few days until I jet off to New York.) I haven’t had my stovetop oatmeal in a couple months!

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In a pot I combined 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 sliced banana, 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. After a few minutes, it was all ready and I topped it with a little bit of Kashi Heart to Heart, about half a serving of the best granola ever (Nature’s Path Peanut Butter), and a tablespoon of almond butter.

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Mmm…almond butter…

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This bowl was worth the wait. Except next time I don’t think I would mix the granola in with the oats; I’d either eat it separately or leave it on the top and just take a little bit with each bite. The granola got too soft in the hot oats and I couldn’t taste it very much. 😦 Good to know!

After a nap and a shower, it was just about time for lunch.

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My very favorite salmon salad. (Which I’m about to put up on the recipe page!)

I started with a whole host of veggies: chopped zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, and carrots. I added half a chopped apple and half of a can of salmon (wild Alaskan salmon, available at Costco). I combined it all together with Greek yogurt and seasoned with salt and smoked paprika. Yummy! Served with a side of Kashi 7 Grain crackers as dippers…this was awesome. The veggies lend a lovely crunch, while the apple adds sweetness and the Greek yogurt binds it all.

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And who can forget my other obsession? Dark chocolate, the darker the better.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

I hope you’re having a wonderful Valentine’s Day! 🙂 I celebrated with a gorgeous bunch of roses, some chocolate-covered strawberries, and a fabulous s’more-flavored Adore bar. Sounds like a pretty good day to me!

Besides those treats, the food side of Valentine’s Day hasn’t been too interesting. And the exercise part is still up in the air…it’s 8 p.m. and I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to the gym. Might be a yoga night for me in my room!

But yesterday’s workout was good enough for two days, anyway. Week two of Team in Training went wonderfully. I was a little worried about running in mid-30 degree weather, but with my little beanie and gloves I was fine. I ran four miles, which is the longest I have run since my (injury-provoking?) 12-miler at the very end of December. (See this post for all the injury details.) Those four miles felt awesome. I kept just under a 10-minute-mile pace, which is perfect for me. Plus, zero ankle pain—hallelujah—and very little knee pain. I could feel my knee stiffening on the drive home, but I iced it twice throughout the day and had no pain at all after that, which is even an improvement after last week. Can’t wait for my follow-up doctor’s appointment on Friday!

So once again, happy Valentine’s Day or Singles’ Awareness Day or whichever version of the holiday you choose to celebrate. 🙂 I got flowers and cards from my family and plenty of chocolate strawberries and hugs from my friends. Also, I went with two of my best girlfriends to see Valentine’s Day on Friday night, which I highly recommend. Such a cute movie! A lot like Love Actually, but even happier and sweeter.

I won’t lie, I love Valentine’s Day because it’s all about love, in all shapes and forms. Romantic love, family love, friendly love, pet love, all of it. Another kind of love we shouldn’t forget is self love. Love is about appreciating people and accepting them for what’s good and bad. Nobody’s perfect, and for some reason we are far more likely to accept this fact about others than we are about ourselves. It constantly amazes me how we are so hard on ourselves and say things in our head that we would never say to someone else that we love. So love yourself! It’s pretty hard for you to love someone else or for him/her to love you if you don’t. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s certainly worth the effort. Appreciate your quirks, celebrate your strengths, and accept your weaknesses. They are all what makes you you.

So use Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love, as an excuse to eat chocolate, and as a push to go for what you want—romantically or otherwise. 😉 Go give someone a hug tonight or go post an Operation Beautiful note and give yourself some love. ❤

48-Hour Burn

So Sunday afternoon I went to the gym, like usual, and planned on a normal legs workout. But I guess it wasn’t so “normal” because it is now 48 hours later and my lower body is still. so. sore. It’s awesome. 😉

So what was the key? I did pretty normal exercises, but I changed things up a bit. Here’s how:

  • Lunge and lift: Instead of dumbbells like usual, I used a 20-lb body bar (3 sets, 15 reps)
  • Lunges: On the Bosu! I used the body bar again, and the bosu added an element of instability and balance (3 sets, 15 reps)
  • Dead lifts: On the Bosu with the body bar (3 sets, 15 reps)
  • Calf raises: I used the body bar and stood on a step instead of just on the ground (3 sets, 30 reps)
  • Standing hamstring curl: 3 sets, 10 reps, 80 lbs (upped the weight!)

This is proof that switching up exercises works! I used an unstable surface and decided to use a body bar instead of dumbbells like usual. So next time you’re doing weights, try using a medicine ball, a kettleball, or a body bar to use your muscles in different ways. Also experiment with a Bosu or an exercise ball. Being on an unstable surface forces your body to recruit more muscles, including those in your core.

Let’s see, what else has been going on…oh yeah, Team in Training has started! We had our kick-off party last Wednesday—which was highlighted by an amazing speaker—and our first training on Saturday morning. Ah, the joy of getting used to that early Saturday alarm clock. 🙂 But at least they’re easing us into it so far! For the majority of last season we met at 6 a.m., and we’re only meeting at 7:15 right now.

But our first training went so well. Our team is pretty big and hopefully everyone will stick around. I love being a mentor and feeling more involved than I was last season. I just hope I can live up to the expectations of being a good mentor! On the injured knee front, I did a really strong three miles and felt absolutely fine. I iced my knee afterward, but it was only the tiniest bit sore.

And I’ve still been enjoying these delicious Glo bars. It’s been a week, and I still have five left—I think that’s pretty good. 🙂

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This Crave flavor was pretty good, but it wasn’t my favorite. I’ve loved the Adore flavor (s’more) and the chocolate peppermint ones the best.

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Team in Training workout tomorrow night…I’ll keep you updated! Check the exercise schedule for the most up-to-date info.

The Best Breakfast

My very favorite breakfast is super simple. Prepare banana oatmeal as usual.

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Take advantage of an almost-empty almond butter jar.

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Combine. (Be sure to eat with a long spoon so you can scrape all the almond butter off the bottom and the sides of the jar to get it in every bite.)

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Moan with happiness and enjoy your breakfast.

Waiting

I have been waiting almost two weeks for this, but the happy day finally arrived!

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My Glo bars were delivered!!

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After trying the delicious Glo bars back at the Healthy Living Summit last August, I finally justified the purchase and bought 10 Glo bars with a little Christmas money. I was rewarded today with a beautiful package of five different flavors. So of course, I had to break one out for my afternoon snack.

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I chose the seasonal “Adore” flavor.

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The plan was to eat half now and half later, but that plan flew out the window pretty quickly. These bars are so good! Even better than I remembered. The texture was just perfect, nice and soft. Plus, how can you go wrong with marshmallows, dark chocolate, and homemade graham crackers? Yum.

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Such a delicious snack. Now I have to make sure that I savor the remaining nine bars. 🙂

The healthy bar provided a nice boost before my workout tonight, as well. Today was a chest, triceps, and shoulders day! Plus a little running on the treadmill and about 10 minutes on the elliptical.

I have a crazy busy day tomorrow that includes two exams :(, but it ends with our Team in Training kick-off party! I’ll be back on Thursday with a recap!

Stronger

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I have been so pleased with the progress in my mini-rehab! My legs feel so much stronger, and I have virtually no knee pain anymore. And speaking of legs, let me back up to Saturday’s workout. 3 sets of everything, per usual!

Plus 20 minutes on the elliptical. A really great workout!

On Sunday, I ran again, increasing my distance a little bit. (Remember you can check out all my workouts in my exercise schedule.) Tonight will be another cardio workout. (My roommate and I go to the gym at 7 on Mondays so we can watch The Bachelor. At least I only watch it while I’m on the elliptical!)

And now for food talk! One of my toughest challenges when coming to college was figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I should tell you that breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. If I could (and I sometimes do), I would eat breakfast foods at lunch and dinner, as well. When I am at home, I switch my breakfasts up among cereal, yogurt and granola, French toast, pancakes, smoothies, and my beloved stovetop oatmeal.

But here at school, there is really only one option for me: instant oatmeal. I know. After making it old-fashioned style on the stove for a while (and perfecting that technique, by the way) I had to figure out a way to make instant oatmeal taste as good.

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But I’m proud to say that I finally did it! I don’t know about you, but what I never liked so much about instant oatmeal (I use the plain instant stuff out of the canister, not the packets) was the texture. Oats plus hot water never equaled a nice combination for me. So what I do is put the oats in the bowl first, and then add a healthy splash of milk (soy milk, in my case). Then I add a little bit of hot water (no microwave necessary). I have no idea why that changes things, but adding the soy milk first—which means you don’t need as much water—really makes the texture a lot more appealing to me. Softer, somehow? Less gummy?

Anyway, then I add the toppings. (Mine are cinnamon, chopped pecans, and a little granola.) Last step: I slice in a banana—preferably a deliciously ripe one like today—and mash it all up!

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So now that you’ve heard my super-nerdy tutorial about how to make good instant oatmeal, give it a try! Oatmeal is the perfect, fiber-rich breakfast. 🙂

Catching Up

Bear with me…it takes a bit of time to get used to the blogging lifestyle while I have a full-time student job! I last posted on Monday, so let’s see what’s been going on that’s exciting.

Exercising, of course! Here is a good triceps/chest/shoulders workout that I did a couple of days ago (three sets of everything):

Plus all of my leg-strengthening rehab exercises, which I listed here. Speaking of my legs, I really feel like those muscles are getting stronger. My runs are getting easier, and I definitely feel that I’ll be ready when Team in Training starts officially next Saturday, Feb. 3.

Today was another strength training day: back and biceps time! Once again, three sets per exercise.

If you want to see my thoughts on exercise, my daily workout schedule, and links to the workouts that I do, please visit my Exercise page!

And I’ll leave you with my new favorite quote…just because it’s cute.

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet, "what’s the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What’s for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It’s the same thing," he said.

Have a great day!