Twin Cities Marathon Training – Week 7

Another week down! It started well, even with a busy week. But the long run was kind of a bust. Looking to turn that around next week.

Monday – 4.02 miles (9:34/mile)

Your standard 4 mile run after work.

Tuesday – 4 miles (9:25/mile)

I was expecting to make this a rest day because I actually had flag football practice in the evening. I’m playing in a charity flag football tournament in a couple of months, and my team is trying to actually win a game this year. 😉 Unfortunately, we didn’t have many people who could make practice, so it was pretty short.

I was hungry on my way home. I made myself a deal, I could get Chipotle if I did my 4 mile run before I ate it. Well, I did! It was a good trade. And it meant that I didn’t have to get up early on Wednesday to do the run, so win – win – win!

Wednesday – rest

I met some friends for a happy hour/grill out after work. It was really hot during the day, but became really nice in the evening so we could sit outside to eat and chat.

Thursday – 7.02 miles (9:34/mile)

The evening air was cool and clouds covered the sky. It felt more like fall. Perfect conditions for a 7 mile run. I made my way across a bridge over the Mississippi River for some river views.

The downside of this route is the hills, but my legs felt good even after a long, stressful day.

Friday – rest

My sister and I headed out to dinner and a little shopping. Then I rested up and tried to go to bed at a decent hour so I could be up bright and early for my long run.

Saturday – 14 miles (9:54/mile)

I knew it was going to be a hot day – sunny and in the 90’s. I planned to get to the chain of lakes by 8 a.m. so I could get started. When I stepped out of my car, I could feel that it was already a little warm, but I was ready to run.

This is pretty much how it went…

Miles 1-5: “Ok, feeling good. First half of the run underway. Made it around a couple of the lakes. It’s a little warm, but keep moving.”

Miles 6-8: “Well, halfway done. Kinda tired, still warm, but you’re halfway. Keep moving.”

Miles 9-11: “Now I’m really tired. Need to get back to Lake Harriet and there will be more shade. Try not to walk.”

Miles 12-14: “This just blows. It’s hot. I’m tired. I just want to quit! No, keep moving even if you do some walking in between. But this still really sucks.”

Not my finest run. Proud that I kept going and didn’t just call it quits when things got really hard. Hoping that training will come in handy around mile 22 of the marathon when I’m having some of the same mental battles.

In general, I might need to just make myself get up earlier for long runs when it’s going to be that hot.

Sunday – 38 minute bike ride; 22 minute walk

I got up in the morning and went to the farmer’s market to get some fresh veggies. I can’t believe this was my first trip there this summer! I got some beets, carrots, and zucchini that I roasted for dinner.

But before doing food prep and cooking, I pumped up the tires on my bike and hit the trail for some cross training. I rounded out my hour by walking for 1.36 miles to change it up a little.

Looking forward to the next week of training to see what progress I can make!

TC Marathon Training – Week 16

I’m officially two weeks away from the Twin Cities Marathon. Eeek! I can’t believe it’s so close. It’s nerve-racking, but I’ll also be glad when the day is finally here.

Many of last week’s workouts and training runs were done while I was on vacation. I didn’t get to run on the beach as much as I would’ve liked to because high tide was falling right at the time of the morning that I wanted to run. Hitting the streets wasn’t too bad though, and I got to relax on the beach after!

Monday – 14.51 miles (10:14/mile avg pace)

The weather was fantastic at the beach with lots of days in the low to mid 80s. The first couple of days that I was there were hotter and more humid, but the temps got a bit cooler by Monday, so I felt good about heading out for a 14 mile run.

I got up early to get the run in so I had plenty of beach time and to avoid lots of sun while running. Running in the neighborhoods provided some nice shade for most of the run. It took me a little bit to get warmed up, but I’m kind of used to that by now. Finally my legs woke up and carried me even a little farther than 14 miles when all was said and done. I took a few minutes to dip my tired feet in the pool after my run. 🙂

beach14

Tuesday – 4.13 mile walk

Took a nice, long walk with my family in the morning before heading back to the beach for the afternoon.

Wednesday – rest

Thursday – 5.09 mile run (10:03/mile avg pace)

I made myself get up to do one more run while on vacation. We had a few hours in the early afternoon to sit on the beach before having to get packed up and head to the airport. Sad to have to leave my Happy Place, but it was the perfect way to wrap up the summer. I think I’m ready for fall now.

flying

Friday – 8.09 mile run (10:05/mile avg pace)

I got back late Thursday night, but still had Friday off of work, so I was able to do a mid-day run as the temps were definitely feeling like fall in the 60s.

Saturday – 35 minute elliptical and 1.3 mile walk

Doing my 20 mile and 14 mile runs on Mondays was kind of throwing off my training schedule. Not too bad, but I wanted to get it back on track for the last couple of weeks. I opted for some good cross-training instead of a 4 mile run on Saturday morning.

In the afternoon I met up with my sister and some friends to check out Street Pub with Deschutes Brewery. They closed down a couple blocks in downtown Minneapolis for this pop-up street pub with beer, food, and music. All of the proceeds get donated to Second Harvest Heartland. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be outside sipping a beer for a good cause!

streetpub

Sunday – 12.18 mile run (10:01/mile avg pace)

When my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I knew I was not ready to get up yet. I reset it for 7 a.m. and went back to sleep. Luckily, it was a nice, cool morning so starting my run at 8:30 wasn’t a big deal.

I ventured over to Summit Ave. for this 12 mile run. Summit Ave. is the road the covers the last 5 miles of the marathon course. I parked near where the finish line will be and ran West on Summit until I hit East River Rd. I ran on East River Rd. for about a mile and then turned around. I did this on purpose. There’s an infamous hill on East River Rd. that leads the marathon course onto Summit Ave. It’s not a huge hill, but when any hill comes at mile 21 of a marathon, it’s a bad hill. I wanted to run that hill and then make my way back up Summit towards the finish line just to get a taste of it before the actual day.

Summit is a beautiful street full of trees and old homes. You pass the beautiful St. Paul Cathedral just before the finish line.

cathedral

Overall, a pretty nice run to get ready for TCM!

12miles

I spent most of the afternoon relaxing, but then ran a few errands, and embraced the fall weather by cooking up a hot meal. I made this Spinach and mushroom quinoa recipe that I found on Pinterest and roasted some sweet potato. Doesn’t get more fall than that!

quinoa

Are you ready for fall?

Buffalo Chicken and Easy Fried Rice

One of my 2015 goals is to keep cooking, so I’m definitely starting off the year right.

On Sunday I pulled out my new Crock Pot to make buffalo chicken. I love ordering buffalo chicken in restaurants, but it hadn’t occurred to me to try and make it myself. Then, I found this buffalo chicken slow cooker recipe that only required three ingredients so I decided to give it a shot!

It was perfect to have the chicken cooking for a few hours on Sunday afternoon while I cleaned, worked out, and got my apartment back together after the holidays.

I was so excited hungry that I failed to take a picture of the chicken before taking it out of the Crock Pot, but this gives you an idea.

buffalo chicken

I put the chicken in a wrap with carrots, green onion and blue cheese. Delicious!

chicken wrap2

On Monday night, I used the chicken for lettuce wraps.

lettuce wrap

I plan to get a lot of use out of the Crock Pot this year!

I had extra chicken breasts after making the buffalo chicken, so I baked a couple in the oven which was perfect to have around to go with one of my favorite go-to recipes: Easy Fried Rice. I may have shared a link to this recipe before, but I’ll share it again. It really is easy, and even better it’s from Weight Watchers. It’s a great light option when you’re craving some Chinese food.

Cook up some rice. I like using brown rice. Cook some carrots and green onions in a skillet for a few minutes. I just spray the pan with cooking spray – you don’t even need oil.

rice2

Then put the cooked rice, some peas, and soy sauce in the same skillet. Stir everything together and let it heat through for a minute.

rice3

That’s it! It’s really that easy to have fried rice in about 15 minutes.

rice4

What are your favorite slow cooker recipes? What are your go-to recipes?

Holiday Dinner Party – I Made Cannoli!

Life tip: Become friends with people who know how to cook. It makes for some fun dinner parties!

On Saturday night, some friends and I got together for a holiday dinner party. We had an Italian menu with some fabulous dishes.

italian dinner

Menu: Ceasar salad, ciabatta bread, chicken parmesean, stuffed shells, lemon spaghetti w/ shrimp, and bacon wrapped dates. Holy delicious!

I was in charge of dessert, and I really wanted to do something to go with our Italian theme. So, I made cannoli!

cannoli3

cannoli2

Well, I made the cannoli filling. I bought the shells, but that made for a super easy and festive dessert.

I found the recipe on Pinterest. It only needed a handful of ingredients.

ingredients

I started by combining the ricotta cheese and powdered sugar.

ricotta

Then I made whipped cream to fold into the mixture along with the vanilla and chocolate chips.

whipped cream

I let the mixture sit in the fridge til it was time to head out. I assembled the cannoli after dinner so that the shell would stay crispy. They turned out great! A nice sweet treat to cap off our Italian feast.

cannoli1

What are you making for upcoming holiday parties?

Sunday Supper and 10 Mile Training Week 5

Last night was full of cooking, cleaning, and baking. The cooking started by making myself a Sunday supper.

Sunday supper

Now, full disclosure, the potatoes were not made from scratch and the pork loin was pre-marinaded, but it was still a delicious dinner! For the asparagus, I used a recipe from Cooking with a Wallflower with a couple of modifications. I didn’t use the olive oil and just sprayed the asparagus with some cooking spray (my usual method when roasting vegetables) and I didn’t add the cheese, but only because I didn’t have any. The garlic and crushed red pepper gave the asparagus some spice and a lot of flavor. Really good!

roasted asparagus

 

I followed up the cooking with some baking. I had some lemon poppy-seed muffin mix and a couple mini muffin trays, so these delicious little guys were born.

mini muffins

 

The mix came with a lemon glaze too, so even though I normally think of muffins as a breakfast food, I will totally be munching on these for dessert too. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I LOVE lemon desserts. 🙂

The weather on Sunday was beautiful! It was about 45 degrees when I stepped outside for a run. The fresh air felt great and I was so excited to hit the pavement. The previous week had been pretty good for training. I was still taking it easy with my “foot issues” and even had a really great run on Thursday that essentially became a 30 minute tempo run. The path was still pretty icy/snowy in spots, so I had to slow down and walk some, but there were also some decently clear stretches. For the first 2 miles I felt great. No pain in my foot/ankle. I started to make my way back home and not long in to mile 3 I started to feel a little pain in that same trouble spot. Crap. My run ended up being 4 miles, which isn’t bad, but if it wasn’t for the pain in my ankle I definitely would’ve kept going.

I chatted with my dad after the run and he had the same hypothesis that I did, which is that my new shoes are part of the problem. Even though they’re new and are the same brand and model as my previous pair, I’ve never had this issue before and the biggest predictor of pain is when I’m wearing those shoes. So, I’m going to do a little experimenting this week and maybe stop in the running store where I got the shoes. I may just need to get a new pair.

I hate that this has hung around for so long. It’s kept me from training like I wanted to for my spring races. Hoping I get something figured out this week. :/

Anyone else had an issue with new shoes causing unusual pain? Is that a realistic hypothesis?

 

Cooking Fail – Still Learning

I’m keeping up with my 2014 goal of making at least one new recipe each month. Last Sunday, I busted out this Weight Watchers cookbook and looked up a recipe I had seen while flipping through it a couple months ago.

WW cookbook

It was for Spicy Poblano and Corn Soup. Still dealing with cold weather, so soup sounded good and I like any recipe that uses a small number of ingredients and is quick!

Now, the book says the prep time is 3 minutes and cook time is 10 minutes. Maybe for a more experienced cook, but not for me. It took me a bit longer to chop up the onion and peppers. The book actually suggests starting to boil the milk and some corn while you chop. I did that, but then realized it was boiling and I was nowhere near ready to add the other ingredients. I actually ditched that batch of corn and milk and started over (it was just a cup of milk and a cup of corn, so not a lot wasted). But, still kind of a #cookingfail. I regrouped and finished all of the prep before I started boiling the milk again, so from that point on things went smoothly.

The soup tuned out well. You also puree some milk and corn which made it a little thicker than other soups.

feb soup

Timing is often the thing I struggle with while cooking–at least until I’ve made something a couple times. I watch shows on Food Network and I’m always amazed at how they’re able to multi-task and have three things going at once!

Even with the hiccup, I finished the recipe and learned something in the process. That’s the whole reason I wanted to challenge myself to try new recipes this year. Practice make perfect and I know I’ll get better the more I cook!

Have you ever had a #cookingfail?

Let’s Get Cooking

One of my goals for 2014 is to make at least one new recipe a month so that I can learn to cook better. Last Thursday, I started with something pretty easy: Garlic Mashed Cauliflower.

I had some mashed cauliflower around the holidays so I wanted to try making it myself. That recipe had cream cheese and Parmesan cheese, and that’s probably why it tasted so good. But, I’ve been trying to keep my eating in check after not eating so well during the holidays, so I looked for a mashed cauliflower recipe that was a little lighter. I realized I had pinned this recipe a while back, so I gave it a shot. It turned out pretty good. Not as creamy as the holiday version, but I love garlic so bringing out that flavor was good with me. I did need to add a little salt and pepper. I realized later that adding a couple sprays of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter would also probably be good on these for just a little extra flavor without adding calories.

mashed cauliflower

The recipe makes four, one-cup servings and is pretty low in calories, so it was a great side dish with some marinated pork loin I had cooked up.

mashed cauliflower2

I’m calling recipe #1 of 2014 a success. Not sure what my next recipe will be, but I have a Pinterest board FULL of options!

What new recipes have you tried recently?