To Be Continued…

Today I will be attempting to run my final long run before the big Half Marathon day in two weeks.  You think I’d be on edge.  Full of energy and nerves and ready to pump out ever last mile.

You’d think.

But no.  This past week with all its business and chaos has left me feeling like Stitch will a belly full of food.  Tired.  Pooped.  Completely tuckered out.  Yes.  This may very well be the run that will test my mental strength and motivation.

I’ll tell you all about it upon my return…and if you happen not to hear from me, please send the posse.  It means I’m lying on the side of the road, somewhere, in need of a caffeine IV.  ;)

To Be Continued…

Wish me luck and Happy Saturday! :D

dancing the night away.

What pulled me through yesterday’s 12 mile run:

  • Your comments!  Talk about some serious motivation.
  • Mind tricks.  I pretended that I had a rope tied around my waist and that my dad was pulling me.  This didn’t work so well when he disappeared from view, but the visual cue was still there.  It worked!
  • Bottling some energy for the last 2-mile stretch.  Another mind trick.  I didn’t “open” that bottle of energy until I needed it the most.
  • Praying!  Random people popped into my head during the run.  Twelve miles offers a lot of time to think and pray. :D
Everything ached by the end of the run, but I was incredibly ecstatic all at the same time.  I’ve never run this far before and I never thought I could do this.  THANK YOU for all of the motivation and inspiration! :D
And then I partied the night away at my cousin’s wedding. :D
AJ and Stacey’s Wedding: A Photo Montage

(p.s. The secret to wearing heels when you’ve never been a “heel wearer” is to invest in a pair of comfortable wedges.  The front of these shoes was a good 1 inch or so off the ground, so even though it was giving me height, there were no weird angles!)

There’s never a normal picture with my brother and I.  Somehow we always feel the need to make funny faces. ;)

Reusable place setting tags…LOVE it!

Love.

I. Heart. Wedding. Cake.  :mrgreen:

Congratulations, Stacey and AJ!!  The wedding was absolutely beautiful and everyone had such a blast!

QUESTION: What is your favorite thing about weddings (besides the food! ;) )

a series of serious questions

I was in an especially thoughtful kind of mood today, spending some time chewing over those very important, real-life kinds of issues.

Things like, why can’t I sleep past 6 o’clock on a Saturday? Or, why do cold oats never keep me as full as warm? And, why am I still using St. Patrick’s Day napkins on April 2?

Because, you know, these are all very important, current, real-life issues that must be mulled over every now and then.

The real question, however, was this: Why do I feel the need to run?

Some would argue the point that runners run because they can.  Plain and simple.

But that answer just doesn’t work for me.  Because theoretically, I could go bungee jumping…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could eat an entire cake in one sitting…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could walk up to a tall, dark and handsome stranger, give him my number, and tell him to call me…“because I can.” Theoretically.  But I don’t.

So what is it about running that lures me in?  Why do I run?  Why do you run?

This is what I came up with…

When I run, I pray. Sometimes I pray just to keep me focused.   Sometimes I do it just because it feels good to finally be alone and talking to God.  And sometime do it just to get my mind off of the way that my legs are starting to feel like dead weights hanging from my body.  ;)

When I run, life feels more simple. My schedule suddenly makes sense.  My days don’t seem so crazy.  I feel focused and ready to embrace all that life brings.

When I run, I am strong.

When I run, I feel free. No phones, gadgets, internet connections (even worse, lack of) or demands.  I am alone.  I am content.  I am blissfully free.

Yes, bungee jumping is something that I could, theoretically, do.  But it wouldn’t really make life seem more simple.  It wouldn’t make me feel free in a good way.  And while I would be talking to God, I wouldn’t necessarily be praying.  More like begging and pleading for my life.

And so, take it or leave it, this is why I run.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grilled Salmon

This salmon is simple enough to make for a busy weeknight, but delicious enough to serve when company comes over.  It also makes the perfect post-running fuel, as its chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which may help to reduce inflammation.

Serve with your favorite veggies and some mashed sweet potatoes, rice, or a baked potato.  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. wild caught salmon
  • 1 tsp lite soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley
  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Drizzle salmon with soy sauce and sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and parsley.  Cook skin side down on grill for about 5 minutes.  Flip.  Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, depending on desired doneness.  Fish will flake easily with a fork when finished.  Avoid overcooking.  ENJOY! :D

QUESTION: What is your exercise of choice?  What makes this your favorite?

i need to run

Reason #1,000,003 Why I Run

February, 2011: My abstract on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was accepted to be presented in poster form during the statewide Dietetic Conference.

Today @ 3:00: I felt pretty happy.  Pretty complete.   In fact, I felt 100% satisfied with all of my hard work.

Today @ 3:04: I looked closer.  Closer.  I noticed something awry.  Something strangely…how should I say it?…off.

And then I saw it.

Oh yes.  I did.  Thousands of proof reads.  Too much time over-obsessing every single inch of detail.  And yet, somehow, I failed to notice the most obvious of issues.  I used the wrong word at the beginning of the very first paragraph.

First thought that came to mind: *GASP*  Somebody shoot me!!

Second thought that came to mind: I need to run.

And so I did.  I ran and I ran and I ran.

I let every worry and care roll off my shoulders like the droplets of rain that splattered breathlessly against my face.

And then I realized the same thing that I realize after every run.  You can’t cry over spilled milk. You just can’t.  A misspelled word is nothing to get hung up over.

(hopefully, it’s nothing that a little marker job can’t fix either!)

Attitude is everything.  Running helps.

And cooking too.  To be continued…

Question: Have you ever made a big (silly!) mistake with your job or in school?

Six. Point. Five.

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how worried I was about this morning’s run.  Worried. What an understatement of a word, if ever there was one.

Why, you ask?

Well.  First, there was the sharp wind, which was absolutely howling.  Blowing ladders around like little wooden sticks.  Opening screen doors and then banging them shut again and again and again.  Showing no mercy.

And then there was me, in my winter running garb and sneakers, wearing big, thick mittens and a blue wool hat.  And what felt like a lofty goal of running 6.5 miles.  A feat that I haven’t accomplished since last January before my knee injury.

Worried.  Psshh.  What an understatement.


 

And yet I was surprised at how quickly everything came together.  All the old tricks that I used to use to pull me through my long runs never really left.   You know, those self motivating pep-talks.  They work like a charm!

“Three miles to the top of this hill.  You can do that!”

“Two more miles.  That’s easy.”

“The first two miles are the toughest.  Just get through this and you’ll be fine.”

“Don’t go too fast.  Hold on to some extra steam for the last hurrah.”

And then…suddenly…the run was over.

Six. Point. Five!!

 

 

I felt so proud at the end of this run.  Six and a half (pain free!) miles may as well have been a marathon.  :D

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Post Long-Run Rituals

1. Foam Roll

Foam rolling hurt a lot (a LOT) the first few times that I did it, but it is much, much easier now.  My physical therapist had me doing this during my knee injury last year, and it really did help with my leg and knee pains.  It’s basically like having a really affordable, deep tissue massage.

Be sure to hold those painful positions for at least several seconds!  It takes me a good 20 seconds or so to bring the foam roller from right above my knee to the upper leg.

 

 

I’ve found this position to be particularly good for any IT band issues and/or knee pains.  Using your hands and leg for balance, roll yourself from right below the hip to right above the knee.  Back and forth, really slowly, stopping in any painful positions to let the massage go deeper.

 

 

2. Ice Baths.

Yes, they help with inflammation.

Yes, they’re totally painful.

If it’s just too painful, grab a bag of ice and compress any sore, tender areas for about 10-15 minutes.  That works well too.

 

 

3. Refuel.

 

 

Try to focus on getting some carbs and protein in for refueling your body after a long run.  Milk is known as the “perfect” choice because of the carb/protein balance that it has.  But really, anything that you feel like you can tolerate will do just fine.  Toast with peanut butter.  Half a banana with peanut butter.  Crackers and cheese.  A fruit smoothie.

Some people can’t imagine eating a large meal after finishing a tough workout, while others could eat their arm off in hunger (ahem, that would be me.)  Find what foods work for you and stick with it.

 

 

For dinner tonight, Dad grilled up some burgers.

Mom made a batch of whole wheat hamburger buns.

And I made the eazy peazy, balsamic glazed onions and peppers.

Delicious.

 

 

Balsamic Glazed Onions and Peppers

This is one of my favorite toppings for steaks, poultry, and hamburgers.  You could also use it in a veggie wrap, on top of a fresh garden salad, or chopped into brown rice with tofu.  Or, you could really just grab a fork and eat it as is. ;)

The important thing is to let the balsamic vinegar completely evaporate after you’ve added it.  It’s at that point, when the onions and peppers will begin to brown and caramelize, thanks to the heat of the pan.  It’s lovely, really.  And it’s also super easy.  Enjoy!

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/2 or 1 whole green bell pepper
  • handful of fresh mushrooms, sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  1. In a nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper, and mushrooms.
  2. Continue cooking until peppers and onions are still firm but beginning to soften.  Add a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Enough to coat all the veggies.  Turn the heat to medium high and continue cooking until all of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Continue cooking and stirring for 1-2 more minutes, or until vegetables have caramelized.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  ENJOY!

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Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles

Week 7:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles

Week 9:
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!!

 

Question: What are some ways you keep yourself motivated during a tough workout?

 

sixteen weeks

A Running Injury Flash Back

February, 2010: Plantar Fasciitis

March, 2010: Runner’s Knee

Last year, I had plans to achieve my dreams of running a Half Marathon.  My body apparently thought differently.

But just as I’ll never let a crumbly piece of cake ruin my day, I also refuse to let a few injuries set me back from my ultimate goal.  I will run a Half Marathon.  And I will stay healthy and injury free in the process.

Today, I finally decided to take the plunge, as I filled up my calendar with key dates and weekly long runs.  This all feels so delightfully official. :mrgreen:

One devoted and supportive running partner.  Sixteen weeks of training.  And one determined attitude.

It all begins on January 29th!!

In an attempt to do all that I can to avoid any lingering, pesky injuries, I’m also adding a regular yoga/strength training routine to each week.  A wise runner once told me that running only works certain muscles.  This can create a muscle imbalance, so it’s crucial to keep the arms, abs and legs strong for pumping up those hills while keeping a proper form, even as the body grows tired.  

Know what else is important?

Sleep.  Never understimate the power of a regular sleeping schedule. ;)

Question: Have you ever set a major goal for yourself?  What were some challenges you faced and what made you successful in the end?

running partner

I am not a night runner.

I get up early.  I wake up with the sun.  I run in the crisp morning air.  I indulge in the smells of coffee and bagels and fried eggs. 

At night, I am sleepy.  Ready to relax with a good magazine.  Or maybe fit in a quick yoga session.  Maybe.

I am not a night runner. 

Putting that all aside, tonight I ran my heart out.

Dad and I have made a mutual agreement to set aside both Tuesday and Thursday nights for running, as it fits nicely into both of our schedules.  And, really, I think having a runner partner is going to do me—and my motivation—a world of good.  There are definitely times when I’d rather not run (yes, especially at night!) and having someone who’s up and ready keeps me going.

My dad pushes me harder than I think I’m capable of.  He dashes up hills.  He pushes through moments of feeling tired.  Just after a week or so of running consistently with his pace, I feel like my endurance has already improved dramatically.

A breezy 3 miles felt absolutely invigorating! :D

And then I came home to eat a gigantic sardine sandwich. :mrgreen:

Forget those thoughts of slimy, canned fish.

When sardines are heated in a pan, mashed together with dijon (or even honey mustard) and mixed with crunchy, diced celery, the results are pretty darn yummy.  Place in between two toasted slices of seedy bread, and serve with a mixture of your favorite veggies. :D 

I am exhausted tonight.  My second day at the hospital left me with a huge workload, along with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Once I fell into the groove, however, I found myself really enjoying it.  Nutrition assessments.  Education (I love the elderly patients! :D ).  Nutrition screening.  I think I’ll learn a lot.  And very quickly. ;)

Tomorrow, I’ll be on my own for a couple of hours in the early morning.  Ready or not, here I come. :D

Question: Do you have an exercise partner or do you prefer going solo? 

just a few days

Within the past few days of being on vacation, I have…

…brought all of the recipe pages up to date, which hopefully will make it easier for everyone (and me!) to find past recipes! :D

…consumed a very full head of kale.

…worn my apron like it’s the latest accessory item.

…made three big bowls of “un”overnight blueberry banana oats.

(because, obviously, having just one day to eat your favorite breakfast is never quite enough!)

…enjoyed one, two, three lovely New England walks with my parents.

…and trotted out 5 pain free miles through a sunrise.   Which, by the way, I haven’t done before my knee injury.

I always seem to flirt around with the idea of entering a race come spring, but I’ve also been indulging in the sheer pleasure of just heading out for a run.  Just because.

No clear training goals in mind.    

No drills.

No speedwork.

No 12-mile long runs in zero degree weather.

Just running.  For the pure and simple reason that it feels delicious on my legs. 

When life gets busy and crazy with the dietetic internship and everything else, nothing brings my pace back to normal quite like a brisk morning run.  It slows me down.  The half marathon is still on my horizon.  But for now, my heart belongs to just running. 

Just because.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Warm Kale Salad

If you’re still sitting on the fence over kale, try this recipe!  The flavors are subtle but bright, with the sunny addition of lemon juice.  Aside from kale chips, this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Kale won’t wilt like spinach does, and stands up quite well against all of the heat and stirring.  Even still, the kale will be tender and soft, making it a wonderful accompaniment to any and all of your favorite meals. :D

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • at least 4 large handfuls of chopped kale
  • a few spritzes of lemon juice
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a carrot, grated
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onion until tender.  Add chopped kale, stir, lower heat slightly to medium low, and cook until wilted and slightly tender.
  2. Add lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and grated carrot.  Continue cooking on low for another couple of minutes.
  3. Serve warm and ENJOY! :D

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Un”Overnight Blueberry Banana Oats

The “un”overnight oats resemble their close cousin, the “overnight oats.”  The main difference is that there’s no soaking or waiting involved with this version.  It’s are made the same morning that you want to eat it, which is nice for those of us who frequently change our minds on what we want to eat, come morning. ;)

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cortland apple
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. almond butter
  1. Mix together all of ingredients except almond butter.  Stir well.
  2. Top with almond butter and ENJOY! :D

 Question: If you had an entire day to do only the things that made you happy, how would you spend it?

a typical day.

If you have the chance, check out my guest post at Ashlei’s blog (aka, the Vegster.)  Ashlei was nice enough to ask me to write a guest post on anything that I wanted, so I decided to put up together little ‘photography post.’ :D

Good Morning! :D

Tea and oats were eaten in standard form this morning, while sitting in front of  the Christmas tree.  I had exactly 15 minutes to eat, but it still felt incredibly enjoyable with the dazzling drama and glitz of a few colorful lightbulbs. :D

But I still think it would have been useful to have just a bit more than 15 minutes to clear away any early morning brain-fog.

Look how I almost walked out the door!!

Not that I didn’t mind spending more time in a warm pair of Uggs and striped fleece pants, but…

…phew.  That was a close one. ;)

I managed to get myself out the door in one piece—and wearing a work-appropriate outfit—with a fun, smart lunch packed away in my backpack.

Homemade Baked Beans!

And a raw kale salad!

  • a couple handfuls of raw kale, shredded with hands
  • 1/2 carrot, grated
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a few splashes of fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Snacks included a red orange…

…honey roasted peanuts…

…and an apple, crackers and a cheesestick.

Plenty of snacks.  I’m finding this works best with my internship schedule, since I never quite know when I’ll have the chance for a “quick” bite.  Normally, I can’t go longer than 3 hrs without feeling tired and/or hungry, so having a little something to eat on hand is an absolute must.

Packed last night. 

Ready to-go this morning. 

Munched on throughout the day.

The 9 hrs. at work f-l-e-w by today!

This week’s internship rotation is going to be at a Long Term Care facility.  Today I visited a local nursing home, and I really, really liked it.  I grew up volunteering in nursing homes and working as a food service worker in an assisted living facility as a high school student, so I tend to feel at home in places like this.  And I love talking with the patients.  Their life stories are so fascinating!  Where else would you hear about living in Holland?  Or being born on a ship while having a father in the navy? 

I love it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dinner; kept simple!

I’m on such a scrambled egg kick lately.  Usually I’ll opt for a veggie-styled omelet, but tonight I wanted straight up—pure and simple—fluffy eggs.  Nothing but a touch of salt and a splash of soymilk.

Crisp veggies were saved for the side, with a dollop of artichoke hummus.

And then I blasted the radio, flicked on the Christmas lights and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my way through tree poses, downward dogs and plenty of planks.  A delicious end to a typical day. :D

Time to catch the final show of the Biggest Loser!!

Question:  What is the most enjoyable way that you stay active?  I change my opinion all the time.  Obviously, my true love is running.  But I also love a good long walk or a deep, energizing yoga session.  These days, I’m even enjoying strength training, which is competely new for me! :D

Breakfast Bonanza Day 5

I needed a warm, comforting breakfast. 

I needed motivation to face the black, scary night (it’s not officially morning, you know, until the sun peaks out!) 

I needed something to convince me that getting out of bed at 5:30am was a good idea. 

While I have gone running in the “sort of dark” before, today I ran in the “so dark you can’t see your hand” kind of dark.  It was both exhilerating and scary.  There were moments when I questioned whether risking the broken ankle would credit me as being brave or very, very stupid.  I decided it was better not to answer myself.

(FYI, I still brought along a flashlight to alert cars of my presence, along with wearing good reflector gear)

I bundled up well for the chilly 20 degrees.  Running tights, three layers of shirts, and a hat for extra measure (first *hat run* of the year!)  With a bee bop of the head and a couple of Rocky dances to loosen myself up, I trucked out the door, ready to face both cold and dark.  

Nothing but footsteps.  Nothing but my own breath.  The occasional car light flashing as some poor soul drove to work (at 5:30!)  I quickened my pace, savoring the sound of crunchy pebbles and pavement beneath my feet.  I chased the moon into a deep, dark cloud.  On my return, the sun chased me home as it made its gentle appearance.  I love, love, love the start of a new day.  So simple.  So perfect.

Anyways, as I said earlier, I needed a warm, comforting breakfast.  Because the run itself offers nothing but bliss.  But throwing back the covers and getting out of bed?  That takes some serious effort.

I used to be a huge oat bran fan, but I fell off the bandwagon after rediscovering my love for the rolled oat.

Today, I decided that the extra comfort level of a creamy bowl of pumpkin oat bran was exactly—exactly!—what I needed.

Oat bran should most deifnitely become a regular participator in my morning meals.

Creamy Pumpkin Oat Bran

One of the things I like most about preparing oat bran (besides the v-v-volume!) is that it’s ready in record time.  Perfect for busy mornings! 

The secret to voluminous oat bran is the extra water!  Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond what you normally put in.  Adding in the extra 3/4 c. of water to this blend always gives me more than my nut jar can handle, but I’m okay with that. :D  I like to give the oatbran a quick stir once it’s in the nut jar, just to get it all incorporated (especially with chunky nut butters!)  But scraping down the sides is part of the pleasure too. 

  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. oat bran
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional, but adds to the creaminess!)
  • 1 almost empty peanut butter jar
  • toppings: your favorite granola
  1. In a medium pot, add milk, water, banana, pumpkin and spices.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Add in oat bran and chia seeds, stir rapidly, and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. 
  3. Once oat bran is thickened to your preference, pour into an almost empty peanut butter jar. 
  4. Top with granola and any other favorite toppings! ENJOY!

Question: What motivates you to work out, stay active and/or be healthy?

**Two days left for the Breakfast Bonanza!  Don’t forget to let me know via comment (or email!) if there’s a particular breakfast that you’ve made and would like to see up on the breakfast post for Saturday! :D