Monday, December 30, 2013

Run/Bike/ST Workout


I liked today's workout because it had three different parts to it. First, I spent 20 minutes doing exercises from ExRx.net where there are many video examples of exercises. 

Next, I bundled up because it was chilly outside and rode my bike for 40 minutes at the park next to our house. Right away, I saw a deer run across my path! (In case you want to know how I made the deer animation in my last post, with my camera, I took 5 photos in a row and Auto Awesome put them together.)

I rode my bike back home and headed back out to run 3 miles. At first, my legs were heavy like bricks! After awhile, my legs felt normal. I'm not used to riding and running like that. I hope that after some more workouts like this, my legs won't feel so heavy.

For dessert, I had a red velvet chocolate chip cookie with peppermint ice cream. I added peppermint extract to some of the cookies, which made them even better. Everyone's thinking about 2014 goals lately. I think it would be fun to try a new recipe every month or even every week.

Friday, December 27, 2013

So Many Deer!


Last Saturday, I was excited about seeing two deer in the park and Christmas lights in my neighborhood during my run and bike ride. Then on my Christmas Eve run, I counted 17 deer sightings! One group of deer was curious and even walked towards me and my Weimaraner, Zoe. There they are in the picture.

Weekly Recap:

Saturday
run 3 miles
ride 25 min.
side leg raises, 10 Stability Ball Exercises and Stability Ball Elbow to Knee Crunches (Day with KT)

Sunday: Rest

Monday
run 6 miles
ride 25 min.
Myrtl Routine to strengthen hips (here's a video version), Cooking Light's Amazing Arms (here's a post on 3 Weight Training Myths), 100 push-ups: (2 x 33) + 34

Tuesday
run 7 miles - on and off again run, meaning I ran an easy mile, pushed hard a mile and repeated until done.

Wednesday: I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!
went on a walk, 10 Stability Ball Exercises, 75 push-ups (3 x 25)

Thursday
run 10 miles (Finally, double digits!)
Nike Training Club's (free app) Kara Goucher's Pro Running Stretches

Friday
run 4 miles
ride 40 min.

Totals: 30 running miles and 1 1/2 hours riding

Monday, December 23, 2013

5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Run



Sometimes you need a little extra motivation to run, especially when it seems like everyone else is staying in their warm beds and you're the only one outside running in the cold weather. Here are five tips that I've used.

  1. Sign up for a new race, distance or terrain at Runningintheusa.com.
  2. Look for runners who are earning PR's and learn from them.  Jessica at Pace of Me earned a 4 minute half marathon PR and had fun doing it by easing off on the pressure in training. Jim at 50 After 40 found that running five days a week instead of 6 and eating healthier helped him to qualify for Boston twice and place in many races this year. Marathoner and ultrarunner Shana Leneveu has won ultras using a heart rate monitor. Running has even helped her to reduce her asthma medications. 
  3. Find a running buddy or a running group. I enjoyed being in a Usa Fit running group. Knowing that your friends will miss you if you aren't there is a great motivator to never miss a run.
  4. The scenery along your running route can be motivating. I love to run through a park where I often see all kinds of birds, including occasional bald eagles, and deer. Recently, I spotted Santa at the park, too. Maybe he's rounding up his reindeer!
  5. Remember the reasons that you run. Maybe you run for fun, for your health, for PR's or even for the cookies. 
How about you? Why do you run?

Friday, December 20, 2013

This Week's Healthy Recap


Here's my fitness and food wrap-up for this last week.

Fitness

  • I've slowly increased my running, being careful not to run myself into an injury again after running the St. George Marathon in October. Must be patient!
  • I finally had a speed session one day this week, running two miles fast for a change. During a 5 mile run, I sped up for 2 miles and ran 9:19 and 8:51 per mile. My goal was about 9:00 for both miles. I'll get there!
  • I ran five times, sometimes in shorts and sometimes bundled up in gloves and a hat.
  • I went on a bike ride in the warm sunshine.
  • I strength-trained three times. Here's what I used today: Runner's World Glute Strength.



Food

  • I found a Cuisinart dutch oven at Marshall's for $60 (at Amazon, they're $100) and I roasted a chicken in it. I ate a lot of chicken avocado sandwiches and chicken with roasted vegetables this week. My red dutch oven matches the red plate that I found at Marshall's years ago. 
  • I baked a birthday cake and I didn't eat too much of it. Then someone gave us some Christmas cookies. They're so cute that I should save them for as long as possible and not eat them all up. Must resist the gingerbread cookie! 


Weekly Exercise Recap

S: 6 mile run with stops to cheer at a 5K race
S: 4 mile run
M: 5 mile run, strength training
T: 5 mile run with 2 faster miles
W: 25 min. bike ride, strength training
T: Rest
F: 6 mile run, strength training
Running Total: 26 miles

How do you make sure to get in all of your workouts? I put my workouts on my Google calendar, which shows up on my phone. That way I know to work them into my day.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

3 Random Things


Let's go random today... Blog changes, race winner changes and oops!

1. Blog Improvements 

I made some blog changes. I put contact information in my sidebar. Then I changed the width of my blog so that everything fits just right. Last of all, I added Adsense back on and one day this week I made a whopping 11 cents! Read Seven Mistakes Even Nice-Looking Blogs Make for more ideas on fixing up your blog.

2. The Woodlands Marathon 2013

Last March, I ran The Woodlands half marathon here in Texas. Today the race declared a new female overall winner, Janna Boren, for the marathon held that day. That's because the previous winner tested positive for a prohibited substance. I feel sorry for the women who placed second through fourth that day. Compared to that, missing the 2 hour mark by 34 seconds like I did seems like an even smaller problem than it did on race day.

3. Oops...

...That moment after you hit the comment button on a blog when you realize that you left out a word or misspelled a word. Whatever you do, don't go back and write another comment explaining that you know how to spell because really, really, no one will notice it until you mention it!

Photo: Seen while shopping - a goat on burlap. Could be a fun DIY project using your child's artwork.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Short Strength Training Workouts

No Weights Required Today

In a perfect week, besides running five days a week and a bike ride, I like to get in at least three 15 minute sessions of strength training.

Here's a workout I did on Monday before my run.

The PB & C Workout 
Perform the following 3 exercises:
10 Push-ups
10 Burpees
10 Crunches
And then go through all of them 9 more times.

I took a water break halfway through. After the burpees, it felt good to be on the ground for the crunches. Just be careful not to take a nap while you're down there!

3 Short Workout Videos Online
But maybe you only have 5-8 minutes to exercise. Here are some shorter workouts. I did the second and third workouts today. I had to take breaks during the workouts - they're tough!

Carrie's 5 Minute Ab Workout on C Tolle Run - Her cheerfulness makes the workout go by fast.
4 Full Body Exercises in 7 Minutes with Stuft Mama & a resistance band So many push-ups - I couldn't wait for the finish beeps on this one.
8 Minutes of Non Stop Ab Exercises on XHIT Daily - A hard workout - I was staring down the countdown timer in the video.

My Favorite Workout Videos Have These Features

  1. Complete exercises performed straight through in real-time.
  2. Exercises begin soon after the video begins.
  3. I can hear the person giving the instructions even if there's music in the background. 
  4. Gym machines aren't required.
How about your favorites in a workout video? What do you look for?

Giveaways
After all of that earbud talk, I won some earbuds from SugarPlumRunner.com! Maybe you'll be a winner in Skirt Sport's 12 Days of Giveaways (ends soon: 12/20)!


Monday, December 16, 2013

5K Race Spectator


On Saturday, there was a small 5K race at the park where I like to run. Instead of running in the race, I had a great time spectating. I didn't only watch, though, I also ran 6 miles. I didn't want to be in the way so I stayed off of the course unless it was empty. Still, I was close enough to see the runners so that I could stop and cheer for them when they ran by.

Before I started yelling, I thought about what I'd like to hear. I knew that I didn't want to tell anyone that they were almost to the finish. 'Almost' is relative. I thought about where they were on the course and hoped to say something that gave them the confidence that they needed to keep running strong. When I knew they were towards the end, I yelled something about kicking it in to the finish.

Race Spectating Can Be Hard Work

I had my Weimaraner, Zoe, with me. I think that she was a good distraction for the runners as we stood on the side of the course and cheered. Zoe and I also stopped to chat with the race medics and the women's overall winner. Some runners even said something nice about Zoe as they raced by, which she appreciated almost as much as a bacon-flavored doggy treat! 

I can't count the number of times that spectators have given me the push that I needed to keep going. It felt great to be on the other side this time - my 6 mile run was over before I knew it!

What do you like to hear that helps you cross the finish line? "You've got this!" always helps me to feel confident about knowing that I can finish the race.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekly Recap, Pancakes & Kefir


Exercise This Week (miles I ran/ST = strength training): 
S: 3
S: 0
M: 5/ST
T: 4
W: 3/ST
T: 9 - I'm almost back up to double digit running again!
F: 0/ST

Total Miles: 24


Eating this Week: 

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes - These pancakes are full of spices, perfect for the holidays. I used homemade buttermilk (milk + vinegar to make them fluffy). The pancakes aren't very sweet, but I doubt that will be noticed once you top them with peanut butter, fruit or a little pure maple syrup, which has manganese and zinc in it to help your immune system. I'm glad that I still have some of these left in my refrigerator! 


Kefir vs. Yogurt

I recently started buying kefir. I bought some blueberry Lifeway kefir this week. It has a great blueberry taste and has the consistency of a yogurt smoothie. The strawberry flavor is good, too.

I used to think that kefir was yogurt with something added to it to give it a liquid consistency, but it's not. Kefir and yogurt contain different types of bacteria and help your body in different ways (more about that). Usually, I just buy plain yogurt and mix it with some fruit or use it to top my Mexican food or baked potatoes like you would use sour cream, but having kefir was a nice change.

Listening to Audio Books While Running in the Park: I finished Letters of Mrs Adams, Wife Of John Adams by Abigail Adams. I liked listening to her letters. It was almost as though she herself was reading them aloud to me. She talked about missing her husband, wishing he'd write more often and what it was like taking care of the family and their property while John Adams was away from home. That's the 25th book I've read or listened to this year. Sounds like a good number to finish on!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Earbuds, Arm Warmers & St. George


Nice Touch, St. George Marathon!

The St. George Marathon sent me a newspaper with marathon day articles. My name is in there, too... Along with all of the other runners and their finishing times! Here's my race report from that October race day, in case you missed it. When I think about it, I can almost feel the leg pain of running down those hills in St. George. Ouch!

One Size Doesn't Fit All Asics Arm Warmers

The UPS driver brought me some new Asics arm warmers. I'd only recommend them to you if your upper arms measure 10" or less. Mine are a little bigger than that so the arm warmers are a little tight. They're a good deal for only $2.67, which might even beat the price of my homemade arm warmers

Earbud Results 


Thank you for all of the great earbud recommendations on my recent post! I came up with a list of your likes from your comments... 

Earbuds You Like (in order of votes with $ to give you an idea of price): 

  • Skull Candy $ (3 votes) 
  • Koss Fit Series for women $ (2 votes) 
  • Bose $$$ (1 vote) In-line volume control switch: my fave feature!
  • AfterShokz earband $$ (1 vote)
After that post, I started thinking more about my Sony earbuds falling out when I run and realized that the weight of the earbud wire pulls my earbud out of my ear. I was able to fix that! I wrapped the earbud wire around a clip (that came with some other earbuds) to fasten the wire to my shirt. It's not a perfect fix, but it's a lot better!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Motivation: Running Podcasts

Have you heard about the Lifestyle Accountability podcast? So far, I've listened to three shows that I found interesting there. Runners shared their fitness goals and the ways that they live healthy lifestyles.

3 Running Podcast Links

Doc Andrew Murray talks about running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 consecutive in November 2012, living in Scotland and adding 7 years to your life by running.

Addicted to Running (Alex) talks about completing a 100-mile ultra marathon, having a short race distance goal, like a sub-21 5K and having goals that scare you.

Organic Runner Mom (Sandra) talks about being a beginning trail runner and preparing to race the 2014 Boston Marathon after running the Boston Marathon this year.

Do you listen to running podcasts? I like to listen to podcasts when I'm ironing. It almost makes ironing fun. Almost.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Found: 5 Giveaways


I've won a few items online like my wool Point 6 socks from Run.Write.Hike. They are one of my favorite prizes. I can always use more socks and they're comfortable. 


Do you enter online contests? I've entered some giveaways recently that you might like to enter, too. I hope you win something!


5 Giveaways (approximate deadlines)

Organic Runner Mom’s Holiday Gift Guide (12/11)
Vera Bradley Bag (12/12/13)
Mizuno Shoes: Stuft Mama (12/13)
Premium Spiced Sugar Box  (12/16)
Blogging Course (12/17/13)

Weekly Recap 

I got in the 4 strength training sessions this week, one more than usual, but I only ran 4 days when I was really hoping to run 5 days. I was surprised that my thighs were so sore on Monday. Then I took Friday off from running because one of my my hip flexors was sore. 


Saturday - 7 mile run
Sunday - bike ride, strength training
Monday - rest
Tuesday - 4 mile run, strength training
Wednesday - 3 mile run
Thursday - 3 mile run, strength training
Friday - strength training

I ran 17 miles this week. I wish it was more miles, but I'd rather take it easy than have to take weeks off to recover. I'm looking forward to ramping up those miles this week.

Friday, December 6, 2013

PB2 Peanut Butter Powder

Today's Breakfast: Chocolate/PB/Banana Oats & Kefir
Yesterday I saw a small packet of chocolate PB2 powdered peanut butter at the grocery store. Since I had seen it on food blogs, I was curious about it. Aren't blogs great for new ideas?

I put it on my oatmeal this morning. It mixed in easily and it tasted great - like I had added peanut butter and cocoa powder to my oats. The taste isn't surprising since chocolate PB2 is made up of peanuts, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.

The big difference between powdered and regular peanut butter is that the powder has no fat. The fat in nuts can be good for you, but using the powder is an easy way to enjoy peanuts and still cut your fats when you want to.

Chocolate PB2 vs. HEB (local grocery store) Peanut Butter (2 tbsp)
Calories: 45 vs. 200
Fat: 1 vs. 16
Protein: 4 vs. 7

Have you tried powdered peanut butter before? Next, I'd like use it to make chocolate peanut butter cocoa by adding it to milk. That would be great after a chilly run outside.

Now that I've tried PB2, I'd like to try peanut flour because it doesn't have any added sugar. Have you tried any new foods lately?



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Athletes: Eat Your Protein!

Protein: Almond Butter, Lentils, Nuts and More

I've been trying to slowly increase the number of miles I run per week so that I can start training for a race and not cause myself any pain along the way. Sometimes I only run 3 miles at a time, which would be okay if I didn't have an early spring marathon or trail race in mind. But I must be patient!

Since I'm running less, I have more time to read blogs! Recently, I came across a blog post that reminded me of how important protein is in my diet so I've been adding more protein to my meals.

Eat your protein! The advantages:


  1. Protein fills you up. That's good because it means I can last from breakfast time to lunch time without getting hungry. Today I ate 26 grams of protein and made it to lunch without feeling hungry.
  2. A high protein diet reduces muscle loss
  3. It may help your body to heal after injury. Sock Doc recommends at least 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight if you're injured and 1.5 if you're not injured. (Here's a metric conversion scale. Is it just me or do you remember your 4th grade teacher telling you that everyone would use the metric system when we grew up? I thought I'd have it memorized by now!)
Now it's time for some scrambled eggs, avocado and toast - more protein! What are some of your favorite protein filled foods and drinks?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book: Continental Quotient & Running Earbuds

Fraser, Colorado (Photo Courtesy of Kristen Lodge)

Yesterday I finished reading the book Continental Quotient by Kristen Lodge. The book is all about living in new places and outdoor experiences. I liked it!
Photo Courtesy of Kristen Lodge

In the book, Kristen moves from New England to Colorado and finally to Arizona. Most of the book is about moving to and living in different towns. She writes about what it's like to move alone and to make new friends along the way. 

There are stories of the hardships of living where it snows, which I found especially interesting since I've thought about moving to a snowy place someday. After the nearby roads close for snow, Kristen starts carrying skis in her car so that she will always have a way to travel between her home and work. Eventually, she moves to sunny Tucson where she can experience outdoor adventures all year long.  

I liked reading about traveling to new places, hiking and backpacking up high mountains, being an Ironman triathlete, biking and skiing. Because the book is only about 130 pages, you'll have more time to plan out your next outdoor adventure whether it's just a bike ride from home or hiking up a mountain - something you'll be inspired to do after reading the book. As for me, I hopped on my bike and went for a ride yesterday!

Kristen Lodge online:

Live Adventurous Dreams: Kristen Interviewed

27 Books in 2013! 

Now that I've finished Continental Quotient, I've read 27 books this year. Three or four of those were audio books. Sometimes I like to listen to a book while I run for some two-in-one fun.


Earbuds for Running


Saturday I ran 9 miles at a park and my Sony earbuds fell out every once in awhile so I'm looking for some better ones. 

I saw a wraparound earband, Aftershokz, that some reviewers said works well for running, but I don't like the idea of wearing an earband as much as wearing one earbud. The plus with the earband is that it doesn't fit in your ear, but sits in front of your ear instead. That way, you don't have to worry about it falling out of your ear.

Still, I'd rather put one earbud in my ear, like I prefer, than wear an earband. Do you have some favorite earbuds?

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