Monday, February 24, 2014

Woodlands Half Marathon This Week!

Apple Crisp Parfait

Race day is nearly here! On March 1, I'm running in The Woodlands Half Marathon (Texas), which is about 20 minutes away from my home. I'll pick up my race packet later this week. Something I like about the Woodlands race is that they use an online race guide - a great idea!

Weekly Recap (2/16-2/23)

New Recipe I Tried this Week: Apple Crisp Parfait (Joyful Healthy Eats link) I sauteed diced apples in butter with cinnamon and layered them in a cup with yogurt and granola to make a parfait, which would be good any time of the day.

Daily Running Miles: 12, 0, 5 1/2, 6, 5, 0, 10, 0. (5 days out of 8 running.)

Total Running Miles: 38.5 miles. My pace has been on the slow side lately so I'm hoping that a restful taper week will be just what my body needs. 

Cycling: On a non-running day, I rode 15 miles. After 10 miles, I stopped to get a drink at a water fountain and I noticed that my legs felt like Jello.

Strength Training: 3 times. Various exercises like push-ups, leg raises and reverse crunches.

The Audiobook I Listened to When I Ran and Rode at the Park: Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. I liked learning about why some online content goes viral. Worth listening to!

Friday, February 21, 2014

5 Running Links for Friday

I'm running a half marathon in a week so it's taper time! My Weimaraner and I have enjoyed the warmer weather for running and walking.

I've found some helpful and inspiring posts to share with you today.

A Few Questions Answered by Arkansas Runner Mom
She tells what she's done to improve her race times and more. Posts like this are great!

Do Ice Baths Help or Hurt Your Training? by Alex Hutchinson
I quit taking ice baths quite a while ago. I first realized that I didn't need to take them after talking to an experienced runner who had never taken one in his life. That was an eye-opener for me.

FITspiration: Running 100 Miles (runladylike)
Have you considered running a 100 mile race? I haven't yet, but I have considered a 50K race. I even ran half of one once! A root side-lined me. Other than that, marathons have been my longest distance.

Transitioning from Running to Triathlon (Jesica D’Avanza)
I rode 15 miles today! I don't think I have a tri in my future, but I do like to ride my bike. Just in case you'd like the extra challenge, here's a good post.

How to Increase Your Google+ Engagement by 281% (Quick Sprout)
A lot of runners have Google+ pages. I have one, but I need to learn more about it. Learn tips in this post like the fact that Friday is the best day for Google+.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Oranges

I tried something new for a snack - chocolate dipped oranges. I melted some chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave. Then I dipped the oranges slices in the chocolate and chilled them in the refrigerator, which caused the chocolate to harden. Visit the Eat Live Run blog if you'd like more information on making these. Chocolate and oranges is a good combination!

It's taper time. My longest run this week will be the 12 mile run that I did last weekend. That was a good run with 15 minutes at a hard pace. At the end of the week, I'll run 10 miles with 10 minutes run at a hard pace. I've got a half marathon coming up on March 1 in The Woodlands, Texas. That's just north of Houston. I'm looking forward to race day!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Exercise: Working Off the Pizza

Less than two weeks until race day! I'm running in the The Woodlands Half Marathon (Texas), which takes place on March 1.

Here's how I worked off last Friday night's pizza this weekend:
  • I ran 12 miles after eating these fluffy pancakes.
  • I rode 15 miles on my bike. It took me 1.5 hours. That's my longest bike ride this year!  
  • I exercised with this video: 10 Minute Abs Workout For Women At Home.
  • I went on a walk with my husband and our Weimaraner. You can see a park squirrel in the animation. Those little guys are all over the park.

Can we train our brain to become more resistant to mental fatigue and cause better physical performance?

The Olympic games - athletic performance and fitness technology combined.

Just in case you need to find your bike in the dark!

Have a great week!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's Friday so it's pizza night! For dessert, I made chocolate chip cookie dough. It's really good!


Today I ran 10 miles. It was a warm 77F so I wore shorts. My apologies to all of you who are reading this and have been shoveling snow for days!

Strength Training

I liked using these videos for my arms and abs this week. The pointers given during the videos are helpful.

Toned, Lean Arms Video (Fitness Bender) 20 minutes
Abdominal and Oblique Exercises (Fitness Bender) 10 minutes
Standing Abs WO (Fitness Bender) 10 minutes

Bike Riding

I did a 5 mile and a 10 mile ride this week. On the 10 miler, I spotted what I think was a peregrine falcon. When I saw it land on a branch, I stopped to look at it and then I finally rode off. It sat there so long that I was able to see it four times during my ride!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

3 Tips for a Long Run

I ran 17 miles yesterday. That's a little farther than I need to run while training for a half marathon, but I might decide to run a longer race after I run The Woodlands Half Marathon on March 1 and I want to be ready.

Long Run Tips I Used or Should Have Used Yesterday
  1. Pin a safety-pin to your waist band where you can attach your gloves if you don't need to wear them.
  2. Bring extra food.
  3. Remember the Body-glide!

Fuel for the Body

During my run, I ate a gel and decided I'd see how I'd do with just one. I was fine. I like to try different things when I run. I often take one gel every 5 miles during a race. I think I'll take oranges on a future run. In Nancy Clark's article about sports nutrition, she writes that oranges make a good workout fuel.

After my run, I refueled with a leftover grilled chicken avocado taco, beans and orange slices. I like to use Greek yogurt as a topping for extra calcium and protein.

A Good or a Bad Run?

There's no such thing as a bad run! One thing that I like about running when it's down in the 30's, but feels like the low 20's with the wind, is that it's like a test to see if I could still run outside if I lived in a colder climate. I was surprised that I was able to take off my gloves after running a few miles. The cold weather didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

It was a good 17 miler without any aches or pains - except for a little chafing where I forgot to apply Body-glide. After I had run 11 miles, I was sure that I could finish. From that point on, I happily counted down the miles.

Monday, February 10, 2014

5 Running Links to Motivate You

Time for another workout update! Like my previous workout, I mixed it up with strength training, running and riding. Doing more than one activity keeps it interesting.

After strength training at home, I ran to the park. I still needed my gloves, but it was warmer than Friday when we had a light dusting of graupel, tiny snow pellets, here in southeast Texas. I had never heard of graupel before so it was fun to see. (There's some graupel on the park bridge in the photo.)

Now I have two words that need to be added to the Spell Check Master List: graupel and Weimaraner. My dog, Zoe, would appreciate it!

The Workout

  • Strength Training (2 sets of each): Reverse Crunches (50), Toe Touch (50), Crunches (50), Leg Raise (25)
  • Run 6.5 miles: 2 mile warm-up, 5 x 1K with 90 second recovery, cool-down with Zoe.
  • Bike ride for 30 minutes.

During my workout, I had stories like the following one about 7 day ultra races to inspire me and the idea of running 2,014 miles in 2014 to motivate me.

5 Running Links

Friday, February 7, 2014

Core Workout, Run & Ride

Today's workout consisted of core work, running and then riding. Outside, it was cloudy and almost 30F, which is a little chilly, but I won't complain. I know that some runners have been running in the snow lately and that in a few months I'll be sweating in the humidity. I was happy that it wasn't windy or raining today, like it was during some of my other workouts this week - a nice change!

The Workout

  • Core work for 10 min. using Runner Dude's video (uses a medicine ball).
  • Run 9 miles: 2 mile warm-up, 2 x 3 miles with 30 second recovery, 1 mile cool-down with my Weimaraner who was happy to be out running.
  • Bike ride for about 40 minutes. 

Pre-workout meal:
2 eggs, Rice Chex, cantaloupe

During workout fuel:

Thru-hiker Photos

Pacific Crest Trail Thru-hiker Takes Selfies Every Day  Here are 159 photos put into a 3 minute video. I've never even hiked overnight, but hiking for 159 days sounds like a fun challenge.

Top Photo

That's my husband and our Weimaraner on a recent walk at the park where I run. Next time, I'll try to be out front when I take the picture, but they were too fast for me this time! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

15 Mile Run & Yogurt Dip

Since I might run a race that's longer than a half marathon after I run the March 1 Woodlands Half Marathon, I ran 15 miles today instead of the planned 13 on the plan in the Run Faster book.

I happened to have a package of Powerbar chews in the pantry so I took it along, eating one every mile starting at the 5th mile. It was nice to have a sweet treat to look forward to. It was a bit of an incentive on a windy day. I'm not complaining, though, the sun was out and it was 40F - nice compared to yesterday's rainy workout.

I made a yogurt dip to eat after the run. You really don't need a recipe to make it, but here's what I mixed up in my nearly empty yogurt container. You can't beat snacks that don't dirty any dishes!

Greek Yogurt Peanut Butter Dip

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • honey to taste
Adding mashed banana or cocoa powder would be good, too.

The first time I put peanut butter in yogurt, I didn't like it, but some recipes grow on you. Others never will...

Don't Mess With Cauliflower 

I apologize to the 20 Pinterest pinners who pinned the baked cauliflower tots recipe after I pinned it to my "Must Try" board! I like cauliflower, but apparently not if it's pretending to be something else like potatoes in tater tots or even mashed potatoes. Years ago, I mixed cauliflower in with mashed potatoes thinking that my family wouldn't notice and now, they'll never let me forget!

Monday, February 3, 2014

4 Weeks 'til the Half Marathon!

After running the St. George Marathon (my race report) back in October, I'm looking forward to racing again. I'll be running my seventh half marathon, The Woodlands Half Marathon (Texas), on March 1! Here's how last week played out.

3 Fitness Goals Completed: 
  1. Run 14 miles for my long run.
  2. Ride my bike 15 miles.
  3. Strength-train/core workout three times.

Running, Riding & Strength Training:

Monday: 14 mile run, Core H video workout

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 7 mile run with hills, 5 mile ride, strength training

Thursday: 5 mile run with strides

Friday: 10 mile ride, strength training

Saturday: 9 mile run with 6 miles hard (hard is relative!)

Sunday: Rest

Total Running Miles: 35

Non-fitness Goals:

I practiced on the piano 5 days this week. Too bad taking a child to piano lessons for years does not make you a great pianist!

I finished listening to the audiobook Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. I'm still eating some salt and sugar and healthy fats, too, like whole milk that only has one percent more fat than two percent milk.

I tried a new recipe (photo): Jam Crostata. This was easy: make the dough, spread jam on it and bake it. It would be fun to make this for Valentine's Day in the shape of a heart. 

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