Friday, November 29, 2013

Running & Eating During Thanksgiving Week

I'm especially thankful for a week of good running! If you've had to take a rest from running when you'd really rather be running, each running day is even more special.

Here's how I exercised this week:
  • Saturday: 6 mile run. Today I ran in the woods for part of my run. 
  • Sunday: Rest.
  • Monday: 6 mile run. Deer sighting!
  • Tuesday: 100 burpees - I think. I know it's hard to do math while running, but try it while counting up 100 burpees! This was my first time to try these in a long time and I had to stop to rest often. 

3 Tasty Foods I Made This Week

Muesli - Noms McGee: I ate muesli when we visited Norway and found out that I like this less-sweet version of granola with milk or as a yogurt topping. 

Along with some turkey yesterday, I loaded up on vegetables this week: sweet potatoes, zucchini and carrots. If you're tummy is full of healthy food, there isn't a lot of room left over for anything else. 

Do you have a favorite turkey or vegetable recipe? Roasted vegetables are easy and the leftovers can be used for days.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Puddle Experiment

Needed on Today's Run

2 Tips for Running in the Rain

  1. Wear a cap with a flap to keep the rain off of your face.
  2. Bring sunglasses in case the wind blows the rain into your face. After coming back from a long rainy run with red eyes, I started bringing my sunglasses even on rainy days.

I accidentally conducted an experiment for this blog today... 

The Puddle Experiment

  1. Wait for a cold (40 degrees), rainy day.
  2. Go for a run in your brand new Asics Nimbus shoes, which you hope to keep clean for at least 3 runs. (Not a chance!)
  3. Enjoy the scenery: the trees, the creek, the birds.
  4. Since you aren't paying attention to where you're stepping, run through a deep puddle with only your right foot.
  5. Be sure to keep your left foot out of the puddle.
  6. Notice how cold your right foot feels - very cold!
  7. Choose not to complain because you...
  8. Realize that it will be the perfect puddle experiment.
  9. Run for another mile and then... 
  10. Check to see how your right foot feels compared to your left foot.
Conclusion: My right foot felt the same as my left foot - not colder, not wet, but just right. This experiment would probably have different results for those living in colder climates. Experiment at your own risk!

Pains Be Gone!

I'm so happy about running lately because I've gotten in some good running. I'm not having any of those pains that bothered me before and after running the St. George Marathon on October 5.

Notes on Three Recent Runs 

  1. Did speedwork with my husband since he runs faster than I do. It's fun to run with someone who is faster than you - extra incentive to pick up the pace.  
  2. Saturday, I set out knowing that I wanted to run 6 miles and that cooler weather might mean faster times. It did! What a difference rest and cooler weather makes! It was great to see 9 minute miles again - 4 times. 
  3. Today I ran 6 miles (10:04/mile average) at about a minute slower than my marathon goal pace.

Total running miles last week: 16.5 divided up over 3 days

This week's exercise goals: 4 days of running and two days of strength training

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bobcats & BQ's!

I like to run up a hill in the woods near my house. From the top, I can see the creek in the picture. In the woods, I usually only have to keep an eye out for deer, snakes or maybe even a coyote, but I've heard that we have a bobcat living there now.

I always wondered what I'd do as a runner if I lived somewhere where there were bears or wild cats and now here I am in Texas with that very problem. I try to remember to look out for wild animals, but sometimes I forget. The other day I was startled when I looked up to see a very large turtle in my path. I sure was glad that it was just a turtle.

In my last post, I wrote about wanting to BQ. I'd love to qualify for Boston and to achieve more personal records, too, and I'll keep working on those goals. It's good motivation and since I love to run, it's fun. I hope that in 2013 or 2014 we are all able to meet our goals and find ourselves with shiny new PR's and BQ's.

It's pizza night at my house! Here's a photo of a thin crust pizza from Papa Murphy's Take and Bake. Before baking it, sometimes I add extra toppings. This time I made a special Thanksgiving piece with sweet potatoes, corn and turkey. I liked it!

Monday, November 18, 2013

To BQ or Not to BQ

After posting my 10 goals last week, I checked every item off my list and more. That wasn't too hard since I chose realistic goals unlike some of the other goals I write about on my blog...

Like qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It's quite possible that my best time of 3:54:03 is my forever PR (personal record). At the time, I needed a 3:50:59 to BQ or to qualify for Boston. Last May, I ran a 3:58:11 (that's me in blue in the center of the photo) and in January, I ran a 4:00:29. I need at least a 3:55.

Actually, the time I need to beat is faster than 3:55 since the race fills up quickly. It's possible that my goal to BQ is out of my reach, but whether or not I ever BQ, I still love running. I've run in so many great marathons all over the U.S. already. In fact, the joy of ordinary running days is enough to keep me running all of my days - BQ or not!

I'm feeling better this week and got in a 6 mile run this morning after eating an English muffin topped with fruit jam and peanut butter. It was a great start for the week!

From the web:

Nonprofit reaches out to bombing victims with an offer of service dogs
Coach Culpepper: Goal-Setting Strategies

Friday, November 15, 2013

Oatmeal 3 Healthy Ways

It was cooler this week so I warmed up with oatmeal. If I'm hungry when I wake up, I'll eat oatmeal before I run in the morning. Otherwise, I like to have oatmeal after I run so that it warms me up after I've been outside. 

Coming up with some healthy topping ideas was a good way to get my brain working early in the morning! 

Apple Oatmeal

Today, I made myself some apple oatmeal. Rather than just top my oats with uncooked apples, I took an extra step that made my oatmeal even better than usual. 

I melted a dab of coconut oil in a small pot.Then I warmed the apples in the oil and placed them aside in a bowl. I made my oatmeal in the same pot - you don't want to have a mess to clean up when you're done! (If you'd like an oatmeal cooking lesson, here's one: video from Eating Well.) When the oatmeal was done, I added: 

  • Small Granny Smith apple (diced and warmed in coconut oil)
  • Wheat germ
  • Almond extract 
  • Molasses (a sweetener)
  • Toasted almonds

Chocolate Nut Butter Oatmeal

These oatmeal toppings make oatmeal taste like an Almond Joy candy bar.

  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Cocoa powder
  • Coconut
  • Almonds
  • Banana (a sweetener)

Sweet Potato Oatmeal

You've probably heard of pumpkin oatmeal, but have you heard of sweet potato oatmeal? This is a good way to get a head start on eating your vegetables for the day. Here's a Runners World Post on Healthy Sweet Potatoes.

  • Half of a sweet potato (microwaved, peeled, cut-up or mashed)
  • Toasted walnuts (microwaved)
  • Reduced Sugar Cranberries (these taste just as good as the regular ones)
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Pumpkin pie spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger

More Healthy Oatmeal Toppings

This is just the beginning of fall and I'll be making oatmeal many more times. My usual go-to toppings:
  • Raisins
  • Walnuts 
  • Cinnamon
Do you have any favorite healthy oatmeal toppings? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

10 Goals for the Week

My goals for this week:

1. Just making a list of my goals goes on this list since I don't usually do this!

Fitness Goals:

2. Run 3-4 times. I want to run more than that, but one of my hip flexors hurts a little so I'm keeping the miles low. I ran yesterday so I'm taking today off.

3. Do a home workout twice. I found a new Upper Body Workout at

Food Goals:

4. Remember to take daily vitamin D. My blood tests show it works. For Monday and Tuesday: completed!

5. Eat kale 2 times. Try a new smoothie combination.

6. Try this new recipe: Pinch of Yum's Whole Wheat Honey Apple Bundt Cake. Looks so good!

Blog Goals:

7. Write two blog posts.

8. Work on my project plan for a new blog idea. (More on that later!) This week's questions: Wordpress or Blogger? or

Personal Goals:

9. Read Hebrews (chapters 6-11) in the Bible.

10. Listen to two chapters of Jane Austen's Emma with my Librivox app.

Number one and half of number 7 on my list is now completed and that feels good!

Photo: taken on our Colorado/Utah trip last month. Near Moab, Utah.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Common Trail Running Mistakes

After running three road marathons and one half marathon this year, I've been thinking about doing some trail running. But before heading out on the trails, I came across some common mistakes that road runners make when they hit the trails. Here's what you need to do to combat those mistakes.

  1. Rather than go all out for a technical trail right away, start on easy trails like the fairly flat one I ran on in Scotland's Hazelhead Park (photo) while on vacation. Once you feel comfortable with the smooth trails, move on to technical trails with some rocks and roots. 
  2. Shorten your stride. It may feel strange at first, but it will cause less of an impact on your body. 
  3. Relax! If you run while tense, you're more likely to fall. Remind yourself to relax at each mile or water break.

Thinking about trail running makes me think about trail races. If I run one, I'll pick one that takes place at nearby Huntsville State Park (Texas) where I've run a couple of races including a half marathon - one of my favorite races. 

When I started trail running, I was surprised by my trouble with the roots on the trails. They may not look like much at first, but after hopping over them for miles, they're tough to run over without falling or stubbing your toe. If you've been trail running, is there something that surprised you about it? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blogger & Twitter Tips

Today I fixed a problem I was having with Blogger and I learned a Twitter tip, too.

First, I saved myself a headache by ignoring what Blogger told me to do. Instead, I did a Google search on the problem and found that I was not the only person experiencing trouble. That led to learning how to fix the problem.

The problem was that I wasn't able to make any changes to my blogger page from the design page. This message would pop up: the following errors were found: isExperimental: Required field must not be blank. If you are still having trouble, we recommend: Clear your browser's cache and cookies and then try again.

After a Google search, I found that I should go to the blogger draft page and click the gear icon which is located at the top right. Then I clicked "user settings" and removed the flag from "using draft blogger." This fixed my problem and saved me the trouble of clearing my browser's cache and cookies. 

Then I came across a Twitter tip. If you place the username first in a tweet, only that person and those who follow both of you will receive the tweet. If you'd like all of your followers to see the tweet, then place the username somewhere else in the tweet. Or you can place a period before the username like this: .@GottaRunNow1. For more Twitter tips, see Michael Hyatt's post listing 8 Twitter Mistakes.

Using Blogger and Twitter has been a great way to make running friends so I'm happy to have my Blogger problem solved and for the Twitter tip, too.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

2 Almond Butter Tips

Sure, you can buy almond butter from the store, but there's just something special about making it yourself.

First, you layer some almonds on a cookie sheet. (I use about a cup of almonds.) Then you bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Last of all, you place them in a food processor or heavy duty blender and blend them until they turn into almond butter. It's easy to make, but here are a couple of tips that will make the work even easier.

2 Almond Butter Tips

  • Use roasted almonds. After using unroasted almonds a couple of times, I started using roasted ones and that cut the blending time down.  
  • Be patient. It will probably take 10-15 minutes of blending to get the consistency that you want. For me, this is the only hard part about making almond butter.

The almond container in the photo is one I've saved to transfer bagged almonds into because it has a handy top that makes snacking on them convenient - a good thing because almonds are good for you.

Have you tried any add-ins when making nut butters? After scraping most of the almond butter out of the blender, I've added frozen banana pieces, cocoa powder and milk to make a smoothie. Also, I've left some almond butter in the food processor and added melted chocolate chips and salt like this recipe. If you need more information on making almond butter, this post may be helpful.

Have you ever made nut butter? Have any tips?

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