Monthly Archives: January 2011

TRON Legacy 3D

I’m going to admit something. TRON Legacy in 3D was actually really cool. Steve was in computer guy fantasy heaven, and I was lovin’ the soundtrack and super-cool look of the movie. The best part was we used a gift certificate so the movie was free. I tried to have Steve take a picture of me in the 3D glasses because I looked so hot, but he was too embarrassed.

I like to pack my own movie treats because I am cheap and the liquid popcorn butter kind of scares me.

A made up some tasty trail mix out of cheerios, Annie’s chocolate graham bunnies, peanut butter pretzels, craisins, mixed nuts, and chocolate covered raisins. The whole bag was gone 10 minutes into the movie.

After the movie we stopped at Best Buy and my hubby bought me this:

A pink iPod Shuffle! My old nano has been on the fritz, and this is what I have been using in my car:

I’m pretty sure it was the first iPod ever made, and it was a hand-me down. It still works sometimes, but I have to do all kind of charging tricks to get it to turn on every day. Now my old nano will go in the car, and I will run with my little pink baby. I typically don’t run with music, except on the treadmill where it is an absolute necessity. The new shuffle allows you to use playlists, which is what I love for my interval workouts. I don’t run with music outside, but I do listen to audiobooks during my long runs, so this will be perfect. Steve got a green one so we can be all cute and matchy matchy.

After Best Buy we hit up Bravo for dinner. We had a buy one get one entertainment book coupon, another score. I ordered a chopped salad and a pizza, half margherita and half verduta, which was roasted asparagus, portobellos, tomatoes and red onions with Fontina and Boursin cheeses finished with fresh basil. It was so good, and I couldn’t decide which pizza flavor I liked more.

There is a gelato store right next to Bravo, so naturally we had to stop for dessert.

Please disregard my grease-slicked hair and focus on the gelato. There are 3 flavors in that little cup: mocha, chocolate berry, and salted caramel. A perfect ending to a tasty meal.

In case you are not in the midwest, we are bracing for a blizzard. I am not happy about the prospect of treadmill running for the next however many weeks until they can get the snow under control. I got new tires on my car today, which were much-needed but I hate hate hate spending money on things like that. Things that are necessary but totally not fun. I could have had 5 new pairs of running shoes instead. On the bright side, I got to leave work a little early, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t propped up on the couch right now watching Oprah, laptop on lap, Runners World magazines next to me. I don’t plan to move until I need food. I never sleep well on Sunday nights for some reason and I always feel drained on Mondays. I am going to bed early tonight so I can kill my treadmill workout tomorrow morning.

Do you run with music? Audiobooks? What is your favorite workout song right now? I need suggestions!

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Filed under Food, Miscellany, Movies

Pancakes from heaven

Ok, so that’s not pancakes, but I’ll get there, I promise. That beauty would be my pre-long run dinner on Friday night. I was craving an omelet, so I took 1 egg + 2 egg whites and loaded them up to the max with onions, mushrooms, spinach and chick peas. I topped it off with avocado slices and black bean & corn salsa. On the side I had 2 pieces of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast and some sugar plum tomatoes. The picture does not adequately convey the size of the omelet, but it was approximately the size of my head.

Saturday morning I got in a 14-miler outside. I decided on two 7-mile loops so I could stop home in the middle for some water and fuel. Since we live on the second floor and I knew if I came upstairs in the middle of my run I would probably end up lying on the couch eating chocolate, I had the brilliant idea to put my water bottle and hammer gel in our mailbox in the lobby. When I returned home at the half way mark, the mail man was there, and I had to explain why there was a random water bottle and Hammer gel in the mailbox. I think he was confused.

The run went fine, and it was a nice sunny day, but my legs were pretty tired the last few miles. I’m sure it’s from the two killer speed workouts I did last week, so we’ll see how the old legs hold up as I ramp up over the next few weeks. I may have to dial down the intensity of the speed work a bit in the name of getting more miles in.

The rest of yesterday was uneventful, and included a nap on the couch, grilled cheese for dinner, chunky monkey for dessert, and a movie rental from Amazon. We really like to go crazy with our Saturday nights.

This morning I woke up with my hamstrings super-tight, and I was a little worried about my 8 mile run. I went out very easy, and within a few miles I felt warmed up. I was listening to an audiobook, and before I knew it 8 miles had flown by.

And now I present to you, Pancakes from Heaven.

During my run I was fantasizing about pancakes, so I knew immediately what my breakfast had to be. Yesterday in the midst of trying to fit more food in our ridiculously over-stuffed pantry, I came across a bag of organic quinoa flour that I had no recollection of purchasing. I searched for a recipe, but pretty much ended up making my own creation.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Quinoa Pancakes

serves 1 hungry runner

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

sprinkle of cinnamon

1 over-ripe banana

1/2 cup water

splash vanilla

chocolate chunks or chocolate chips to taste (lots!)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mash banana and add water and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk to make batter. Pour onto hot griddle sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with chocolate chunks or chips. When the bottom is browned, flip pancakes and cook a few more minutes, until done.

This was so fast and easy, and made two gigantic thick pancakes. I topped them with a glob of peanut butter (obviously), some thawed frozen mixed berries, and a drizzle of maple syrup. They tasted like heaven. Also, they were incredibly filling and I hard a hard time finishing the last couple bites.

Today I will win the good wife award by going to see Tron 3D with Steve. He is excited to see the movie, I am excited to eat pizza at Bravo afterwards. Double win. Enjoy your Sunday!

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Filed under Food, The run

Thursday treadmill tempo

You guys! I NAILED another treadmill workout like it was prom night!

Though my alarm was set for 5:45 this morning, I woke up at 5:35 ‘cuz that’s how I roll. I had a pretty daunting run on the schedule this morning, and I was a little nervous. I planned to do a 5 mile tempo run with a 2 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down. I downed a cup of black coffee and two medjool dates (natures best energy food!). I didn’t dilly dally around the house like I do when I have to go swimming, and I was on the treadmill at the Y by 6:35. Win.

During the warm-up I felt great. I took the first mile really slow, and then slowly cranked up the speed during mile two. At the start of mile three Diddy came on my ipod and it was time to go. I quickly settled into a 7:30 pace, and to my astonishment, it almost felt easy. I decided to hold steady for three miles, and then crank it for the last two if I had any energy left. I played mind games and didn’t allow myself to look at the display until 6 songs had played. By that time I was already into mile four of the tempo so I upped the pace to 7:19. Still feeling great at the start of mile five, I cranked it to a 6:58 pace to bring it on home. The last half-mile was tough, but there was no way I was slowing down at the end. I finished off the workout with a nice 2 mile cooldown, and ended up with an average pace of 7:53 for 9 miles. That is some fast runnin’ for this girl!

Looking back to the awesome treadmill interval run I had on Tuesday, there was one common denominator that I believe helped my performance on both days. Drumroll please…

That’s right! My beloved pretzel M&M’s. I am going to be sure to stock up and eat at least 57 every day in the name of running faster.

I also tried one other new running strategy this morning. I read a blog post yesterday about how the ideal running cadence is 180 foot strikes per minute, and most people run with far fewer foot strikes than that. When you speed things up, you take shorter steps and lessen impact, thus reducing the risk for injury. Make sense? Ok, then just go read the other post for a clear explanation.  I spent much of my run today counting 1-2-3, 1-2-3 in my head. Each 1-2-3 was one second, and it was definitely a much faster cadence than I am used to running at. I almost put myself into a trance with the counting which is probably why the run seemed to go by so fast. I felt like I was running with less effort than usual at the faster paces. Double win.

Somehow I was not aware that it was going to snow this morning, and I was 10 minutes late to work because of traffic and stupid drivers. I also refused to skip my stop at Einstein’s for a bagel and coffee, so it’s a good thing I have a lenient boss. Now, I very rarely stop before work for breakfast or coffee because I’m a pack-my-own kind of person, but I had a coupon for a free bagel thin & schmear with a drink purchase. I got the everything bagel thin toasted with hummus and a coffee. The bagel thin is really just like a pathetic little half-as-tall-bagel, but it was free which is like magic to my ears. I inhaled it too fast to take a pic, but I assure you it looked exactly as you would picture it. I was afraid I would still be starving after I ate it, but the hummus was able to tide me over for nearly two hours.

I have been bouncing off the walls with unexplained energy all day, must be runners high from this morning. Tonight I will be attending a “natural running clinic” at a local running store that is taught by Newton. I am 99% sure that I will be convinced that I need a $175 pair of Newton shoes. I shall remain strong and resist. It helps that I do not have $175. I am excited to see what they have to teach me though!

I hate that this post had one measly picture, so here is a random one of me coveting a box of the most delicious cupcakes ever.

Drool.

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Pretzel M&M’s are gonna kill me

Wednesdays are my day off from work. Oftentimes I have work to do from home (I’m a freelance video editor on the side), and it’s also my day to schedule appointments and things I need to get done. Very rarely, I have a blank slate of a day, and today was just that. These types of days always start with the best of intentions. A long list in my head of everything I will get done. It’s always overly ambitious, and I usually end up completing less than half of my list before I curl up in a ball on the couch and take a nap.

Though I didn’t accomplish everything on my list today, I still feel that I was rather productive. I started out this morning with an easy 5 mile recovery run before breakfast.

My breakfast bowl contained leftover brown rice, grape nuts, coconut milk, cinnamon, sliced bananas, and blueberries. I topped it off with a big blob of peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum, yum. I love brown rice and I have no idea why I don’t make it more often.

I did some random cleaning along with 3 loads of laundry (including the sheets and the duvet cover), and also got to work on the TNT triathlon training program. Working on their training plan made me itch to map out my own, so that’s what I did. Before too long I was hungry for a snack.

I gobbled up a wasa cracker with whipped cream cheese and raspberry jam alongside an orange. I buckled down and roughly completed my training plan through Ironman WI in September. This plan takes me through the Boston Marathon, hopefully a 50-mile trail race in May if I can stay healthy, and then right into Ironman training. It is certainly an ambitious plan, but that’s how I like it. I love having everything mapped out, but I never see anything as set in stone. I allow myself to change things around as needed for both my health and sanity.

Before I knew it, hours had passed by and I decided to whip up a late lunch. This lunch was so amazingly good I may have to recreate it tomorrow for dinner.

That would be grilled brie and apple slices with cranberry mustard and cinnamon on Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread. Please ignore the fact that I burnt the sandwich and just focus on the melty brie and apple slices. Trust me, this combo was a winner. On the side I had some leftover roasted butternut squash with earth balance and tortilla chips. After lunch the pretzel M&M’s were calling to me.

Eeeeeaaaattttt mmmmeeeeee!!!!!

I ate so many that I had to curl up in a ball on the couch and take a nap. You win some, you lose some, right?

Tonight is the last TNT recruitment meeting, so I hope I can get some peeps to sign up for the triathlon team.

Are you usually productive on your days off, or do you often end up taking a nap like me?

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Filed under Food, The run, Triathlon

Junk food attack

Last night after work I stopped at Target to pick up a few essentials. Here’s what happens when I go to buy toilet paper and I am hungry:

Oopsies! Ben & Jerry, where did you come from? Also, did you guys know that those 8-packs of little fun-sized candy are $1? And fyi, Pretzel M&M’s = delicious. At least there is some greek yogurt in there to round out this picture of health.

When I got home, there was a package from Amazon on my doorstep. I thought really hard about what I had ordered, and came up with nothing. I opened up and found the most wonderful surprise from my sister-in-law. Thanks again Omo!

It’s a vegan cookbook she thought I would like full of delicious and healthy recipes! I had an immediate pang of guilt for buying a bunch of junk food, but that didn’t stop me from taste-testing the M&M’s and Butterfingers, you know, quality control and all.

All of my candy sampling paid off this morning when I had an uh-mazing run! I did 10×400 intervals on the treadmill, and I nailed every single one. I felt like I could have kept going forever and ever, but I had to go to work. Boo. Have I mentioned how much I love doing intervals on the treadmill? It makes things go by so much faster than just running the same pace, and I always feel so awesome when I finish.

Tonight I tried out a healthy recipe from my new cook book. It was Butternut Coconut Rice, and it turned out yum city. I added and modified a bit with what I had on hand, but it’s basically brown rice, butternut squash, coconut milk, spices, and I added some canned chickpeas for some extra protein.

I also had a side of roasted broccoli, but I was too embarrassed to show it to you because I burnt it and it was more like broccoli crisps. I still ate it though and pretended it was potato chips.

I will be sure to have some more Pretzel M&M’s tonight and maybe some Chunky Monkey so I have plenty of energy for my run tomorrow. Night!

Do you buy junk food on impulse? How do you resist the temptation?

Usually I am pretty good and don’t buy a lot of candy and junk. But $1? Come on, who can pass that up?

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Super bowl here we come!

What happened to the weekend? I am trying to figure out how it is Monday morning already. My weekend was pretty jam-packed, thus the lack of posting. Saturday morning I did my first of two weekend runs in the frigid cold. When I left the house the weather said this:

It was the “feels like -5” that had me worried. I piled on the layers and ended up slightly over-dressed, but I’d rather be too warm than too cold any day. I ended up having a very pleasant and relaxed 12 mile run over a fresh layer of snow. I used to get down on myself during long winter runs when I didn’t feel my pace was up to par. Now I just roll with it. For example, my normal long run pace is usually somewhere in the 8:15-8:45/mile range. Saturday it was 9:00/mile exactly. I have come to realize that running outside in the winter is just about getting the miles in, not about going fast. How can you expect to run the same pace when you are bundled up in about 14 pounds of extra clothing and navigating ice and snow as you do in the summer where you throw on shorts, a tank, and shoes and fly out the door?

The rest of Saturday was spent rather lazily, with a nap, some work on the computer, and leftovers for dinner. Exciting, I know.

That brings us to the big day that was Sunday. Let me just say, SUPER BOWL HERE WE COME!!!

After a 6 mile recovery run in the morning, it was time to head out to my mom’s house to cheer on The Pack. In honor of such a momentous occasion I made this:

If you are thinking that this is a chocolate peanut butter banana cake with peanut butter frosting, you would be correct. chocolate.peanut butter.banana.cake.peanut butter.frosting. Oh.em.gee.

After suffering multiple heart attacks during the 4th quarter, we were able to celebrate a Packer victory!

Then it was time for dinner. A mighty delicious spread of lasagna (meat and veggie), 2 salads, homemade bread, and fruit.

I wish I had a picture of the inside of the cake to make you super-jealous, but the minute it was cut my piece got topped with ice cream and shoveled into my pie (cake?) hole. So good.

My Monday is off to a good start despite the fact that it is once again snowing and crappy outside. Dear Mother Nature, I hate you right now. Love, Laura

I got a good swim in this morning, and I might even think about doing some strength training after work today. Might.

How was your weekend?

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Filed under Family, Food, The run, The swim

TNT

Going back to work after a vacation is hard. I’ve had two days now to play catch up and still there is so much to do. Thank goodness I have off on Wednesdays. My life is rough, I know.

I’d like to go back here:

Actually scratch that. I want to go back here instead:

Winter is starting to make me very cranky. My 5 mile run over snow-covered paths and icy sidewalks this morning felt more like 10. Yes, I would like some cheese with my whine.

I have some exciting news! I have been hired as the new triathlon coach for Team in Training in Southeast Wisconsin! In case you are not familiar, Team in Training (or TNT) is a sports charity program that raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In exchange for fundraising, participants get coached training for the event of their choice. Race entry, travel to the event, and basically anything you would need to participate and complete your event is included.

I ran my first marathon with TNT back in 2003, and it was such an amazing experience.

I raised over $4200 and was sent to Anchorage, AK to run in the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon. I will never forget the people I met and trained with (a few of which I am still in contact with), nor the experience itself. Not only did I do what I once thought was impossible (run a marathon), but I love knowing that I was also able to help the lives of those affected by blood cancers in some small way. It sounds so cheesy, but it truly was a life-changing experience.

That is why I am so excited to be a part of this great program again! I will be coaching teams for the Elkhart Lake Triathlon in June, as well as the Chicago Triathlon in August.  I can’t wait to work with the participants in making their goal of completing a triathlon a reality. If you’re in the Milwaukee area and want to get involved, let me know!

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