Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekend Reads, Shoes & Socks

Time to share three links and two local sales that I found!

Up and Down or Sustained Running
Maybe my cut-back weeks, weeks with decreased running mileage, are unnecessary if I recover correctly each week. Food for thought!

What Are Strides? How to Run Strides in 3 Easy Steps
I did some strides at the end of yesterday's easy run. This video gives you the recipe for strides: how to do them and when to do them.

How Stuft Mama Tracks Shoe Mileage 
She uses a shoe box plan. Since I don't keep my boxes, I keep a shoe list on Evernote. Every few days, I update the list with the miles that I have run in each pair of shoes. At the top of the list, I keep the date that I last updated the list. Here's what it looks like.

My Running Shoe Mileage List
Last update- 1/28/14
Asics 2170 - 280
Asics Gel-Nimbus 14 - 89

Local Sales

Finding unexpected deals is a modern day treasure hunt! The Asics Gel-Nimbus shoes in my Mileage List are a new-to-me shoe. They're so plush that with nearly 100 miles on them, I still feel like I'm running on a cloud when I where them. I bought them from a local Gander Mountain on a good sale for $75.  

On another shopping trip, I found some Experia Thorlo socks for $7 at Marshall's. They're cushioned at the heel and toe and they just happen to match my Nimbus shoes. 

Update: Today, Kristin (Stuft Mama blogger) is running 37 miles for Sixty Feet on a treadmill! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

14 Mile Run - Done!

Yesterday we had a snow day here in southeast Texas. I'm not even sure that there was enough of it to call it snow, but it was fun to watch the tiny flurries fall even if it was only for a minute or two.

Since I'm training for The Woodlands Half Marathon (March 1) and I knew that it might snow on Tuesday, I did my long run on Monday.

The wind picked up about an hour into my 14 mile run. A friend passing by and yelled out to me, "It's windy!" Although it's hard to run into the wind, sometimes it helps. That's what I kept telling myself! Focusing on the good, I pushed into the wind, counting down the miles until I'd eat my next gel or make it to the turn-around point where the wind would once again be at my back.

Towards the end of my run, I ran with 1.5 miles at a hard pace. Like my 14 miler done a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I could have run farther.

While I was running, I heard a noise in the trees so I stopped to get a good look into the wooded area and realized that six deer were looking back at me. Half of them were young deer.

For energy, I ate English muffins with honey before the run and then at mile 4 and 9, I ate gels.

14 miles - that was my long run goal for this week. I've still got some bike riding, strength training and more running that I'm looking forward to doing, but I doubt that our fairly mild winter weather will be any trouble for the rest of the week.

I know many of you are tired of the snow and the cold, but I hope you're able to get your exercising done and that somehow you can survive all of the miles on the treadmills!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

5 Weeks 'til the Half Marathon!

I'm looking forward to running my seventh half marathon, The Woodlands Half Marathon in Texas, which takes place on March 1. The photo shows the area close to the race start location. I'm using Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach by Hudson and Fitzgerald to prepare. 

Summary of last week's exercise:
  • Monday: 7 mile run, strength training
  • Tuesday: 8.46 mile run that was supposed to be a 12 mile run. 23 mph wind and other little things got to me and I stopped. This week, I'll get that long run in!
  • Wednesday: 5 mile ride, strength training. I got out very early and rode before anything could sabotage my ride.
  • Thursday: 5 mile ride, 6 mile run. Windy and raining. 
  • Friday: 3 mile run, strength training. It felt like 15 degrees F outside, but I was okay since I wore double layers of nearly everything.
  • Saturday: 6 mile run, 2 mile ride
  • Sunday: Rest.

I ran 5 days, strength-trained 3 days and rode 3 days. I was 2 miles short of my 15 mile a week riding goal, but that's not really a problem since I road 20 miles last week. Since I didn't get my long run done last week, I'm looking forward to doing it this week and that's a good thing! It might be an interesting weather week - we may actually have snow here in southeast Texas.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekend Reads

Daily Goals

Do a Little Work Every Single Day, on Gretchen Rubin's blog, reminds me that it's easier for me to remember to do things that I do every day than it is for me to remember to do the things I only do occasionally. For instance, since I eat breakfast every day, I never forget. Remembering to do something on the same days of the week works for me, too, like doing strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I recently finished reading Gretchen's book, Happiness at HomeIt's an easy read and nice to pick up to read when you have a minute here and there.

Pro Nutrition Tips

Pro Athletes Don’t Diet, They Practice These 6 Racing Weight Steps, by Matt Fitzgerald, reminds me to eat high quality food, but not too much of it, not to fear carbs on workout days, to keep track of what I eat, to weigh myself, to eat more earlier in the day and less later in the day and to run easy often.

Blog Business

It's fun to dream about Blogging as a Business (FitFoodieFinds). Here's a day in the life post from a career blogger with facts about her sources of income and her schedule that involves a lot of kitchen duty.

And a Running Post, Of Course!

Here's another day in the life post. These are fun to read! Camille Herron, 11-time marathon winner, writes about how she runs 100-125 miles a week and works, too, with some help from her husband. From peanut butter in the morning to ice cream at night, she shares about what she eats, too.

Thank you, Blog Friends!

Thanks for helping me out with ideas and encouragement about my shortened long run in my last post! I still haven't made it up so I'll just call almost 8.5 miles a good run and try again next week. Sometimes your body needs extra rest and the next long run will probably be a good one, like last week's 14 miler.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chia Seeds & My Short Long Run

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia Seed Facts

  • Chia seeds are packed with protein, calcium, iron, essential fatty acids and potassium. 
  • Whole chia seeds are more digestible if you soak them in water or another liquid for a few minutes before eating. 
  • You don't need a recipe to use chia seeds. You can simply add chia seeds to your favorite smoothie recipe or add them to some water or juice.

Chia Seed Recipes

Chia Seed Pudding

For the pudding in the top photo, I used Chia Seed Pudding (Giada's recipe). All of the ingredients are pictured except for the milk.  It is a good idea to stir the mixture every once in awhile at first to make sure that the seeds are covered with yogurt. 

I liked this pudding and will make it again. If you like a thicker consistency, the next recipe is for you.

Chia Muesli 

In a bowl, stir together the following ingredients. Then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. This has a thick consistency.

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon almonds
1 tablespoon walnuts

This recipe is based loosely on a recipe from The Aztec Diet by Bob Arnot, a book I read this week, which focuses on chia seeds. I'm not going to go on the Aztec Diet, which calls for eating chia smoothies three times a day at first, but there are some recipes in the book that I'll try like this chia muesli I ate yesterday before my run.

My Long Run - Not!

Yesterday I planned to run 12 miles, but while I was running, things got in the way - a phone call that needed a follow-up, the wind, blah, blah and I only made it 8.46 miles because I...

...Ran back home to get a jacket and my dog and I made the follow-up phone call. By then, I was really cold and hungry so I didn't finish my run. See? Blah, blah, blah. Excuses!

I haven't decided whether I'll make it up or just skip my longer run this week, but I've got a plan. Next time, I'm wearing more layers and bringing a snack. I hope you finish all of your planned runs this week!

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Step-back Week


I decreased my running miles this last week in order to give my body a break from the increase of miles I've been doing. It was a good workout week. We were blessed with some sunny days even in the dead of winter here in southeast Texas. Here are some exercise highlights from the week.


The Long Run & the Deer

By coincidence, I ran 14 miles on the 14th. It was almost 40 degrees when I began and it felt great to run in the cold, crisp air. This was my longest run since I ran the St. George Marathon in October and when I was done, I felt like I could have run farther without a problem.

I live next to a park where I often see deer. During my run, I kept seeing a group of three deer. One time, I saw them running just ahead of me so I sped up and tried to keep up with them. Then they stopped and stared at me. I took 10 pictures before I finally left to finish my run.
  • Pre-run: toast with peanut butter and honey and a banana
  • During the run: 6 dried apricot halves. Six apricots have 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates, similar to a gel.
  • Post-run: chocolate milk


Longest Ride: 9 miles!

I rode farther than I remember ever having gone in one ride when I rode 9 miles this week. That ride was after an easy 5 mile run. I read that it's a good idea to switch things up and to ride first sometimes and to run first sometimes, too.

Strength Training

Livestrong Videos for Abs: Reverse Crunch, Toe Touch, Abdominal Twist, Bicycle and Leg Raises. I like the way that Coach Amy explains in detail how to perform the exercises.

Livestrong video for the arms: used weights.


  • Monday: strength training, 5 mile run, 9 mile ride
  • Tuesday: strength training, 14 mile run
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: strength training, 6 mile ride
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 7 mile run (4x1 mile with 1 min. recovery)
  • Sunday: 5 mile ride, short workout on park equipment
Total miles I ran in my cut-back week: 27
Bike goal for each week: 15 miles total. Did it! Plus, I rode 5 extra miles. It was such a pretty day on Sunday and I wanted to get out in it!
Strength training sessions: 3+

Now it's time to plan out my workouts for next week. I'll pull out my copy of Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach by Hudson and Fitzgerald to plan my training runs for my half marathon in The Woodlands, Texas, in March.

Hope you're able to get in some good running, riding or lifting this week!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekend Fitness Links

What Ultra-Marathons Do to Our Bodies Some good and bad news in this post like more breathing problems for runners. After long runs, I've experienced a hoarse voice after my 20 milers, maybe from breathing in the pollen or the pollution.

No More Marathons… For Now. A dietician's take on what marathons do to the body. No matter what side of the fence you're on, interesting thoughts here. I've run 15 marathons and they've brought me a lot of fun adventures, but you don't have to run marathons to have fun running.

3 Ways to Beat Depression Through Exercise You don't have to sign up for a marathon in order to lift your spirits. You could simply go on a walk. This is good to hear if you're recovering from a running injury and can only walk. I did a lot of walking after my last marathon. Yesterday, I rode 6 miles and then I took my dog on a walk to the pond in the photo since she it wasn't a run day for me. She needs her exercise, too!

The Biggest Fitness Tech Trends From CES (Consumer Electronic Show) The video and article showcases many new fitness gadgets. Some will track your heart health or tell you how much sleep you need. More, right?! Also, I came across the Jawbone UP this week: sounds like a fun tracking gadget!

I found an Age Graded Calculator which said that for a 47 year old woman to finish a marathon in 3:58 (like my May Marathon) would be like running a 3:29 marathon. That makes me feel fast, sort of... I don't know what to think of those calculators!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Yogurt All Day

Cake Batter Yogurt

Yogurt is a versatile food. I like to top plain yogurt with fruit or granola. Often, I use it as a substitute for sour cream on potatoes and taco salads. Here are some yogurt recipes that I like.

Pineapple Smoothie

Smoothie - If you haven't tried making a smoothie before, this is a great way to drink your protein and get in a serving of fruit and vegetables, too. Here's my basic recipe for a yogurt/fruit smoothie. Recently, I made a raspberry, spinach and flax seed smoothie. One of my favorites is a yogurt and pineapple smoothie.

You can make a smoothie before you go to bed and grab it for a quick breakfast the next day. After a long run, it's nice to grab a smoothie that's already made. I do that a lot!

Cheesy Tuna and Rice - Here's a new recipe that I changed a little from the inspirational quinoa recipe I found at Running Escapades because I'm out of quinoa. Using yogurt is a healthy way to make the dish creamy. This recipe makes two servings and is easy to put together.

Mix together:

  • 5 oz. can of tuna 
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice 
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt 
  • parmesan cheese, to taste 
  • Optional vegetable: broccoli

Creamy Tuna Dish

Cake Batter Dip - I eat this dessert right out of the bowl rather than use it for dip. I add cake mix (straight from the box) and whipped cream to some plain yogurt. Sometimes, I leave out the whipped cream and decrease the cake mix amount for a healthier treat. It still tastes like dessert!

For 2014, I've started a list of the delicious new recipes that I make. At the end of the year, I plan to post the list. Talk about planning blog posts way ahead of time!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Half Marathon in 7 Weeks!

I registered for The Woodlands Half Marathon (Texas), which takes place on March 1. It will be my 7th half marathon and the second time I've run the Woodlands Half. The race is only about 15 minutes away from my house, which is not as exciting as an out of town race, but is nice in it's own way. I'm all for all of the comforts of home!

My goal is to get a PR - to beat 1:50:57. Sounds impossible given the pace I've been running lately, though!

Starting this week, I'm using a half marathon plan from Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach by Hudson and Fitzgerald to prepare. Since this is a step-back week for me, I won't be doing all of the workouts, though. I hope to run some goal paced miles, an easy-paced 14 mile run (with apricots to keep me going!) and some easy runs. Plus, I'd like to bike and to do some strength training.

I like to have a step-back week with fewer miles after three build-up weeks. It's a physical and mental break that I hope will keep me uninjured and wanting to get back out there on the days when I am scheduled for a run.

I'm glad to have a race to look forward to!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

This Week's Exercise

2014 Goal: More Biking!

My Goal for January: Ride my bike more - 15 miles a week.
This Week's Status: I rode 15 miles.

It's getting easier to ride more. Three weeks ago, I was riding about 25 minutes at a time, but now I can ride 50 minutes at a time. It's great to see progress! I haven't signed up for a triathlon. I just like to ride! Plus, I think it will help my overall fitness.

I'm taking part in the 12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge. In the challenge, you set a goal for each month in 2014. I think it will be good to focus on a new healthy goal each month.

Arm Workout (Fit Sugar video), Fitness Magazine Videos: Butterfly CrunchPlankPilates Roll-up,
Ride: 7 miles
Run: 5 miles. Unusually chilly 27 degrees feels like 11! After 2 miles of running, I went home to get my dog who likes to run. My toes felt numb from the cold so I went back inside to warm them up. After that, they felt fine.

Core H Routine (Coach Johnson)
Run: 6 miles 

Run: I did a 12 mile run broken up into thirds: started out easy and speeding up a little.

Arm Workout (Fit Sugar video)
Ride: 8 miles. 

Run: 5 mile 

Run: 7 mile. I ran an easy, hard, easy mile until I finished.


If you set some goals, how are your goals going? I hope all is well, but if not, every day is a new day!

Friday, January 10, 2014

7 Weekend Links

I came across some great links this week. Here are my favorites. 


Snacking Your Way to Better Health (with nuts) "In study after study, the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be." Great news because I like to snack on nuts, often with an apple. I heat nuts in the microwave to bring out their flavor. 


Sally’s Secrets: Top 3 Tips for Leaner Abs Do some running on water only, drink lots of water and lift heavy weights.

Your Ultra-Training Bag Of Tricks: Taking Progression Workouts To The Trails I did a 12 mile progression run this week. You don't have to be an ultra runner to benefit from these tips. 

The Top 8 Fitness Trends of 2014(Outside Online) - Spotlights new products like the Recon Jet  ($599), which projects your pace and heart rate onto the lens of your eye glasses.

Boston Marathon Treadmill (ProForm) You can control the speed with a ring on your finger. Is it my birthday yet?!

Technogym: Google Glass Controls Treadmill You control your treadmill by talking to it!


Knowing Your Audience, Blogging Bravely and Changing Things Up Here's an interview with Tsh Oxenreider from The Art of Simple. Learn about analyzing your blog and what it's like to change a blog name. Do you have experience with changing the name of your blog? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Healthy Roasted Chicken

Sometimes simple is best! This is one of those times. Easy Roasted Chicken is a simple and healthy meal that I made for dinner last night.

In my new Dutch oven, I put in some carrots, celery, olive oil, salt and pepper. I put the chicken on top of the vegetables, brushed olive oil on the chicken and sprinkled salt and pepper on top. This was easy to put together and it was delicious.

With the leftovers, I can make some of my old favorites like Picky Palate's Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole (I reduce the cheese and it's still great) and my Healthier Chicken Pot Pie.

Here in SE Texas, it hasn't been cold enough to keep me from running and riding my bike outside. It's in the 20's and 40's when I'm exercising. Lately, I've picked up the pace a little when I run - something that's been out of reach for awhile. It could be that more riding is helping my overall fitness or maybe it's because I know that the faster I run, the sooner I'm done!

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Weekly Recap, Garmin Tip and Piano Playing

Best Workout Day This Week: That would be Saturday. I went for a short walk through the nearby woods with my husband and our dog, did an abs workout, ran 5 miles and rode my bike for 50 minutes. It's cold here today, but on Saturday, we had some perfect 60 degree sunshine in SE Texas. 

Running Total: 28 miles

Riding Total: 18 miles

Strength Training: Get Killer Abs is a hard workout with exercises like V-sits & Reverse Crunches. Doing these exercises reminded me that I need to do them more often.

What I Wore During Outside Exercise: Everything from shorts to a hat, gloves and a scarf!

Healthy Eating: Knowing that I need to eat right if I want my body to carry me through all of the workouts that I want to do is a good incentive to step away from the peanut M&M's jar and to pick up an apple and some walnuts instead.

Tip for Garmin Users: On Garmin Connect, you can manually upload all of your exercising including strength training onto the calendar. Garmin Connect says I burned 3000 calories in 8 hours of exercise this week. Somebody hand me the M&M's after all! 

Music: We've had a piano in our home for years, but I really haven't played on it. I've finally decided that I'm going to learn how to play something - something easy and just for fun. Here's what I'm learning: Dona Nobis Pacem or Grant Us Peace, Lord.  

Here's hoping that your day is filled with peace and some exercising, too!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Favorite Web Links

Here are my favorite links from this week.

Money Saving Mom's 12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge! I'm doing this one. January's goal is to exercise more. In addition to running and strength training as usual, I'd like to ride my bike more: 15 miles a week. I rode 16 miles last week.

Ultra-distance Runner Breaks Record Kim Allen, 47, finished running 500km (310.7 miles) in 86 hours, 11 minutes and 9 seconds without sleeping.

World Record RunnersJanette Murray-Wakelin, 64, and Alan Murray, 68, ran 366 marathons without a single day off. 

Gym Pact App- Participants are paid for keeping healthy goals by the folks who don't meet their own goals. This might be helpful for those who need an extra incentive and it might be an expensive idea for others!

Should You Try Fasting Before Running? (Jenny Hadfield) - Sometimes I eat before I exercise, but not always. If it will be hours before I exercise and I'm hungry, I'll eat. If I wake up and want to exercise right away, I'll skip it.

The Bedtime Snack Unraveled (Dietician Cassie) - She writes that it's a good idea to have a healthy snack before bedtime like a banana and almond butter.

How to Win an Argument with a Nutritionist - Eggs and full-fat dairy are good for you.

Triathlete opens training school in Kona - They'll set you up with training plans or you could sign-up for a tri camp where all of your needs are provided at Triathlon School Hawaii in Kona. What a vacation that would be!

10 Race Reports to Inspire - 10 links to race reports from 5K's to 50 mile races that will make you want to sign up for your next race.


Friday, January 3, 2014

3 Fitness Goals for 2014

2014 Fitness Goals

  1. Running: In 2013, I ran 1500 miles. To run at least 1500 miles in 2014 would be great. That's an average of about 30 miles a week. So many runners have their races planned out for the year already. That's amazing! Hopefully, I'll register for a race soon, too. 
  2. Strength training: I want to continue to strength train 2-3 times a week. 
  3. Biking: I want to add something new: more riding! I'd like to ride at least 15 miles a week or 60 miles a month. I'll keep track of my riding miles like I do my running on Garmin Connect.
My 2013 Races

No PR's, but I had a lot of fun racing this year!

10/5/13 St. George Marathon (Utah) 4:35:01- Beautiful course!
5/26/13 Bob Potts Marathon (Pennsylvania) 3:58:11- Rail trail race! 
3/2/13 The Woodlands Half Marathon 2:00:34 - 1st race close to my new house (in SE Texas)!
1/13/13 Houston Marathon 4:00:29 - My 7th running of this race! I used to live a few blocks from the course.

Longest Run This Week

I ran 11 miles yesterday. Because a cold front was blowing in, towards the end of my run it felt like 25 degrees. It's so much better to run when it's cool than to run in the heat so I'm not complaining!

For some energy, I had a cup of Gatorade and some dates. A quarter cup of dates has 100 calories and 30 carbohydrates, like many gels do. My average pace was 10:16.

The photo shows part of my running route through the park. The fall colors are so pretty right now. I love to run through the red leaves. Although it was cold, it didn't really snow! The day before (on New Year's Day), I saw five deer when I was riding my bike. What a great way to start the new year!

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