Monthly Archives: January 2012

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I amped up the nutrition in my Dreamsiscle smoothie yesterday by adding as much spinach as I could fit in the blender.

I know a lot of people are turned off by the thought of drinking something this green, but I love it. I can almost feel the nutrients going straight through my veins as I drink it.

After taking a few easy running days, my legs are feeling pretty well recovered from the half marathon. I had a great 10-miler yesterday afternoon through the neighborhood streets, and then an easy 5 miler this morning to loosen up.

So what is next you may be wondering? Ok, you were probably not wondering but I will tell you anyways. This:

I am signed up for the Ice Age Trail 50 mile run and I cannot wait! This run will be 19 miles longer than I have ever run before (my longest race to date is a 50k). After spending 2011 training for Ironman, I am excited to focus on running, running, and more running. If I complete the 50 miles, I will be the proud owner of a finishers belt buckle. Bring on the trails!

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Filed under Food, The run

Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon

When I was offered a free entry into the Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon through my running team, I have to admit that at first I wasn’t super-excited. Forty eight laps around an indoor track didn’t exactly seem all that thrilling. As the race drew near, I started to see it as an opportunity for a fast race in perfect conditions. Though the track is not a forgiving surface (it’s just thin rubber over the cement floor), the temperature inside hovers around 50 degrees, it is dry, and there is no wind. There were two heats for the half marathon, 7am and 9:30am, and I was in the first heat.

I woke up around 4:45am for the 7am race start. Pre-race I had a banana with pb, honey, and cinnamon and coffee. (Pictures are from my iPhone).

I got myself ready and headed out the door just before 6am. I got to the Pettit Center and headed upstairs to packet pickup. The room upstairs was warm, and a nice place for runners to hang out before heading into the cold oval. About 30 minutes before start time, I consumed my secret weapon.

Two medjool dates. These things taste like candy and are little energy bombs. I snapped a photo of the track from above before I went down to warm up.

The timing table:

That big screen on the left of the picture was displaying names all day with the number of laps completed. It was on a scroll, so I didn’t get to see my name every time around, but I did manage to catch it quite a few times. I was planning to rely also on the lap counter on my watch, hoping that I would remember to press it after each lap. This would be key for pacing, as I was hoping to average around 2:00/lap.

I had time for a short 2-lap warm up before it was time for the national anthem. I lined up somewhere in the middle/front of the pack and got ready to run. The race started, and there was a lot of congestion right at the beginning, but I was surprised how quickly things spread out on the 2-lane track. The rules of the track are similar to a freeway, run on the right (outside) and pass on the left (inside), running counterclockwise.

Behind those people walking were the water tables. Each runner had their own water bottle with their number on it. If you wanted water, you yell your number out as you pass the tables. The next time around, a volunteer hands you your bottle. You run with it for a lap, then hand it back. They had plenty of great volunteers here, and I had no problems getting my water when I needed it.

My first few laps I really tried to just settle into a groove. My pace was spot-on, and each lap ticked by in the 1:55-1:58 range. It felt quick but manageable. I knew I had a long way to go, and hoped I could maintain the speed. Around 3 or 4 laps in, I was lapped by the race leaders, who were running well under 6 min pace. As the race progressed, it was fun to see how everyone was spread out. I would get lapped by the same guys every so often, and I would lap the same people every so often as well. I don’t remember how many laps in I was when I got lapped by the first female, but she ended up finishing about 7 minutes ahead of me.

Half way through the race I started to feel like I was losing energy. I got a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace. I ate a PB flavored GU (my new absolute favorite, obviously), and hoped that it would do the trick. A few laps later, I felt better, though it still seemed like I was working hard. With ten laps to go, I just wanted to be done. I also knew that it would be over before I knew it. With two laps to go I picked up a little speed, and finished my last lap in 1:52, which is sub-7 min pace.

Official chip time: 1:33:12

23/223 overall

3rd overall female

I wish I would have pushed it a little harder to break 1:33. Judging by the fact that I was able to pick it up at the end, I know I could have done it. Overall I am happy though, as I’m pretty sure this is about a 14 minute half marathon PR for me. I don’t even know the last time I raced one (besides on trails), but it was years ago for sure.

On the way home I rewarded myself with a Starbucks soy mocha which I’m pretty sure contains the optimal carb:protein ratio for muscle recovery.

Stay tuned this week for an announcement of my next big race. Hint: It’s a long one that involves a belt buckle.

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Filed under Races, The run

Dreamsicle smoothie

The final day of the smoothie challenge brought my favorite creation of the week. As a kid, I loved orange dreamsiscles. I used to mix vanilla ice cream with orange juice just to mimic the flavor.  My smoothie today tasted exactly like a dreamsiscle: creamy & citrusy with a good punch of vanilla.

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 frozen banana

1 medjool date (or sub 1 TB of honey, maple syrup, etc)

1 TB ground flax

1 TB chia seeds

4 small clementines (or sub an orange)

splash of vanilla

sprinkle of cinnamon

handful of ice

This one turned out so good that I actually stopped to buy a bag of oranges today so that I can continue to pretend it’s summer and slurp away on this orangey creamy goodness.

With that, the five day smoothie challenge is complete. I will not be continuing to have a smoothie every single morning because it’s too darn cold outside for that. However, I’m glad I did the challenge because it made me remember how much I like smoothies. I plan to start incorporating more of them again on a regular basis. Cheers!

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Three things Thursday

1. I got this cute Valentine’s Day mug yesterday and it made me extra happy to drink my coffee this morning. My grandma got the same one and I hope she enjoys using it today as well.

2. I kept my smoothie small and simple this morning.

3/4 cup coconut milk

3/4 frozen banana

1/8 cup peanut flour

2 TB cocoa powder

1 TB chia seeds

I did this to make room for a slab of cornbread on the side. I made this recipe last night (the spiced version) and it is already over half gone. I am the only one eating it. This morning I heated up a piece and topped it with a heavy smear of peanut butter, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. This was the best breakfast I’ve had in quite some time.

3. I made apple sauce yesterday in my crock pot. It was so easy I have to share. I peeled, cored, and chopped 9 apples (I got an entire bag of apples off of the reduced produce shelf at the grocery store the other day for $1.50!).

I put them in the crock pot, sprinkled them with a little lemon juice, added pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I set the crock pot to low and six hours later I had deliciously sweet and perfectly spiced applesauce.

4. Ok, there is a forth thing, sorry. I did an easy run this morning on Phillip and my legs felt quite a bit better. I threw in some 60 second pick-ups at race pace and while they didn’t feel great, it was much better than Tuesday’s attempt. I am hoping with one more rest day tomorrow I will be ready to rock on Saturday morning.

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Smoothie day 3

I am still going strong with the smoothie challenge. Here is my creation for day three:

Yes, it tasted better than it looked. In the mix:

1 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk

1 frozen banana

1/4 avocado

1/8 cup peanut flour

2 TB cocoa powder

1 TB chia seeds

2 huge handfuls of spinach

1 cup frozen strawberries

Eaten with a spoon with Leapin’ Lemurs Crack Cereal for a fun topping. About this cereal, not too long ago I got six boxes delivered to my doorstep via Amazon subscribe and save. I just opened the second to last box. I cannot be trusted.

I calculated the nutrition facts for this smoothie (minus the cereal) to show just how nutrition-packed and calorie dense a smoothie can be. Hello healthy fats, protein and fiber! I typically aim for around 500 calories for breakfast, and with my cereal topping this was probably right on. With a good dose of fats from the avocado and chia seeds, and protein from the peanut flour, this smoothie will easily hold me over until lunch.

And now I am freezing cold. Who’s idea was it to do a smoothie challenge in the middle of winter? Oh. That’s right.

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Icebreaker

This Saturday I will be racing the Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee. Here’s a little bit of info on the Pettit Center taken from their website:

“As the only indoor sea-level oval in the U.S. available to our country’s athletes, it is considered “mission critical” when it comes to preparing for the 2014 Olympic Game Sochi, Russia (also a sea level location). All of the U.S. speed skaters who have participated in the last five Winter Olympics have competed or trained at the Pettit Center. That includes the international icons of the sport and hometown heroes – Chris Witty, Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair – as well as high-profile medal winners Apolo Anton Ohno, Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis.”

Bonnie Blair

source

Pretty cool if you ask me. On the outside of the oval is a 443 meter running track that is open year round. I have run on the track a few times when the weather was nasty, and it is a nice indoor alternative for the winter. Many people also run there in the summer, as it is kept at a cool 50ish degrees, perfect for some summer speedwork. The half marathon is approximately 48 laps around the track. I ran at the Pettit this past Saturday, and with the perfect temps in there it is hard not to run fast. I am hoping for a huge half-marathon PR, mostly because I haven’t raced one in years.

source

The tricky part about the race will be pacing. I have figured out my goal “per lap” pace, and that will be what I have to go by. Since the track is longer than a standard track, it is near-impossible to pace by the mile. I am hoping to hold a pace that is somewhere around 2 minutes per lap, give or take, which would put me somewhere in the 1:35 range, my ultimate goal.

I was feeling really good about the race until this morning, when I hopped on Phillip for a pre-race tune-up. (I only got one name suggestion for our treadmill. It was Phillip. I liked it, so it stuck :-)) I planned to run a 2 mile warm up, 3 miles at goal race pace, and a 2 mile cool down. Well, I got about one minute into the race pace miles and knew it wasn’t happening. It felt awful. I tried sticking it out a little longer to see if I could settle in, but I just felt worse. Half a mile in I decided it was stupid to keep going, so I bagged it and ran easy until I hit five miles. Talk about a confidence-killer. I have been running a lot of miles lately, and I think it has finally started to take a toll on my legs. My new plan is to rest tomorrow (Wednesday), do a short easy run with a few pick-ups thrown in on Thursday, rest Friday, and hope for the best in the race on Saturday. I am hoping that by taking two days off (during which I will probably go insane), I can get some spring back in my step in time for the race. Fingers crossed!

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Smoothie challenge

This week I issued a smoothie challenge to my coworkers. The rules are simple. Make a smoothie each morning for breakfast, and report to the group what was in your smoothie. My motivation was two-fold:

1. Smoothies are a super-healthy way to start the day, and I wanted to be accountable for having one each morning this week.

2. I wanted to get (and give) new ideas for smoothie ingredients/combos/add-ins.

Today was day two, and here was my smoothie this morning (LOVE the vibrant green!):

 

The contents:

3/4 cup almond milk

1 TB ground flax

1 TB chia seeds

1/2 scoop Vega WFHO Vanilla Chai  <—- I don’t really like this stuff but am determined to use up the tub I have because it is $$$$. I just add 1/2 a scoop at a time and it isn’t bad

1/2 frozen banana

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

1 small apple

sm piece fresh ginger

tons of spinach

cinnamon

On the side I had a small bowl of Nature’s Path Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise Cereal. I ate the smoothie with a spoon and kept replenishing the top with cereal. The fresh ginger really made this smoothie. I am having fun thinking up new recipes to try.

Now help me out. What is your favorite smoothie or unique smoothie ingredient? I need some creative ideas!

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