Three Things (A Little Late)

1. OL3P is a Bust

So, in case you’ve forgotten (or missed my earlier post) Kurt launched Operation Lose 3 Pounds when we got back from vacation. It involved a sheet of paper where we diligently recorded our weight every morning. We did this for over a month. Our weights both sort of followed a painfully slow downward-ish trend. Neither of us lost 3 pounds.

I started skipping a day of weighing myself here and there when I felt like I’d eaten too much the day before and didn’t feel like facing the scale.

Then I skipped three days in a row. I confessed to Kurt, who said “I’m not doing it anymore, either. Throw it away”.

IMG_20130830_063449_648

So I did.

Lessons learned?
1. Don’t try to lose weight when you’re training for a marathon
2. Daily weighing works better for weight maintenance than for weight loss, at least for me.
3. If daily weigh-ins are causing stress, they’re probably not doing you any good

2. If you don’t want to eat celery, then you probably shouldn’t eat anything

Have you heard this? It’s supposed to be a tool to determine whether you want to eat because of actual, physical hunger, or for some other reason.

As you may recall, I’ve been doing some stress eating. I want to stop. Kummerspeck is most definitely not going to help me qualify for Boston.

I don’t remember where I first read this tip about thinking about whether a healthy food sounds appealing or not to determine your level of hunger. I do remember that the food that original article said to think about was an apple. I very quickly realized that wouldn’t work for me. I LOVE apples. I’ve been known to eat three or four a day. I don’t have to be hungry to thoroughly enjoy an apple.

Now, celery, on the other hand, is not even close to being my favorite vegetable. I mean, it’s okay, but I have to be pretty hungry before I want to eat it.

IMG_20130831_134441_046

Want some?

To be completely honest, this doesn’t always work the way it’s intended to. Sometimes,  before I bite into a granola bar or chocolate (or even a fig or peach) I’ll ask myself if I’m hungry enough to eat celery. Sometimes the answer is “no”, but I don’t stop and put down whatever non-celery food item I happen to be holding in my hand. I eat it anyway.

I do think that just being aware of how often I’m eating when I’m not truly hungry is a good place to start, though.

3. Vegan Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

We had some of our (amazingly awesome!) AT friends stay with us last week. One of them is Vegan, so I had an excuse to experiment with some vegan baking.

I was planning to make Morning Glory muffins, but I stumbled upon this recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, and with all the local zucchini in the stores lately, I couldn’t resist.

IMG_20130828_145344_016

I followed the recipe exactly, which I rarely do. The only exception was for the optional 2 tablespoons of Stevia. I used all real sugar. I still haven’t made up my mind about Stevia, but my gut feeling is that it can’t be too good for you.

I was a little concerned about how they would turn out. They didn’t have any sort of egg substitute, which I thought is what holds muffins together.

They held together just fine, though.

IMG_20130828_110120They were more delicious than they look. I am (thankfully) a better baker than photographer.

I’ve been doing more than my fair share of muffin sampling lately (all in the name of research, for a future post) and these muffins are better than a lot of the bakery muffins I’ve had.

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Marathon Training Week Four

Monday:

Scheduled rest day

Tuesday:

Scheduled:
5 easy miles

Actual:
5 easy miles around Hollymead
10:01 pace

The humidity was back. I felt fine except my left shin started aching after I’d finished.

Strength training:
Same as last week, in the group exercise room with a few changes:
added one squat jump to each circuit
did second set of push ups on a fitness ball against the wall
side planks instead of front plank

Wednesday:

Scheduled:
8 miles with 7 hill pick ups

Actual:
9 miles around town with 7 hill pick ups
10:28 pace

I parked at the Barracks Road Shopping Center so I could grab a cup of coffee and a muffin after my run. I knew I would be short on time. I needed to be showered and at work by 8:15.

I didn’t have a route in mind, but it was still dark out, and I knew there would be people at the track, so I headed there first. I ran a few laps waiting for the sun to come up. I’ve been meaning to buy some pepper spray for my early morning solo runs, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I was worried about my shin, but it didn’t hurt at all.

I did a loop around the stadium and then made my way back to the track for a few more laps. I knew it was a little over a mile back to my car from the track, so at 6.5 miles I headed back. I stopped at The Park on the way and did my 7 hill repeats. I was tired and soaked and, unlike last week, I didn’t find the repeats to be much fun at all. They added more mileage than I had anticipated, though. I finished my run right at 9 miles.

It was later than I had planned and I had to really rush to make it to work on time.

Don’t worry, though. I made sure there was time to get coffee. I dripped sweat on the floor of the coffee shop (sorry Greenberry’s!), but I got my coffee.

It was not the best run. I felt slow and tired and discouraged.

Thursday:

Scheduled:
5 easy miles

Actual:
4 easy miles at Monticello
10:13 pace

Since Wednesday’s run was longer than it was supposed to be, I cut this one short to keep my weekly mileage where it was supposed to be.

23 push ups to catch up with baseball scores.

I decided not to do strength work because my legs were feeling tired from Tuesday’s strength and Wednesday’s hills. My shin was still sore, although it didn’t bother me while I was running.

I wore my flashy new shoes, hoping they’d make me speedy.

IMG_20130822_074730_480It didn’t work.

And they’re really just the newest model of the same shoes I always wear.

Friday:

Scheduled rest day

Saturday:

Scheduled:
18 miles with last two miles at marathon pace

Actual:
18 miles in Free Union (with the Marathon/Half Marathon Training Group) with the last two miles at attempted (and failed!!) marathon pace.
10:04 average pace

30 push ups to catch up with baseball scores.

As soon as I got home from work on Friday, I crashed on the couch and stayed there until Kurt got home. I was exhausted and had a headache (I’ve had a minor headache for about two weeks now). I felt like I was coming down with something, but I think I’m just really stressed out.

I felt better when the alarm clock went off at 4:40 this morning, but as we were driving out to Free Union I started feeling sick again. I had Kurt feel my head to see if it was hot. It was not.

Nobody was surprised.

It was much cooler than it’s been for most of our long runs, but the humidity was still high.

Mark was out at the one mile mark taking pictures of us as we went by.

1010027_10153200939585512_572598622_nThe run in Free Union is absolutely beautiful.

It’s a 13.5 mile loop, and I needed to do 18. I knew that I’d have a hard time mentally if I finished the loop and had to tack the extra mileage on after that, so I turned around a little after about 2.5 miles and backtracked almost to the start. I figured it would be easier to get the extra miles done first, so when I got back to the car, I’d be finished.

At mile 4, I got the “low battery” message on my Garmin. Either it is reaching the end of it’s life, or it somehow got turned on after I charged it on Thursday. Luckily, the miles are marked on the road for these Saturday long runs, so when I got to mile 3 (actually mile 7.5 for me) I turned my Garmin off to save the battery for my last two miles, since they were the only miles I needed to hit a certain pace for.

I was worried about my shin for the first few miles, but at around mile 10 I realized it didn’t seem to be getting any worse, so I tried to just forget about it.

I didn’t feel horrible but I did feel like I was working much harder than I should have been at the pace I was running. My legs were tired. I was tired.

I took a gu at miles 5, 10, and 15 and sipped on Nuun throughout. I refilled one of my bottles with water at the cooler around mile 13.5.

I got a side stitch at about mile 10 that stayed with me for the rest of the run. Breathing out really hard as I landed on my left foot (stitch was on right side) would help for a little while, but it never went away. It would get better running up hills and then worse running down. I wonder if it has something to do with the oatmeal I had for breakfast? I used to always eat oatmeal (and I used to get a lot more side stitches). I think I’ll go back to NOT eating oatmeal before long runs.

When I got to the marker for mile 2, I turned my Garmin back on and cranked out mile 17 at an 8:48 pace. Not great, but only 28 seconds slower than goal pace. I’ll take it. Mile 18 was not so good. 9:19 pace. Just about a full minute slower than goal pace.

I was pretty upset. It seems like I’ve been finishing all of my long runs feeling pretty down on myself these days.

I had a bit of a breakdown on the drive home.

Kurt thinks I’m having such a hard time because I’m stressed. But two weeks ago he thought it was the heat. I think it’s time to face the fact that it’s not the heat or the stress, it’s ME.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to rethink my “A” goal of qualifying for Boston this year. At this point, I’m not even hitting my “B” goal times. I have another long run in two weeks, if it doesn’t go much better than my last two, I’m going to have to go have a talk with coach.

Because I’m a whiny, self-pitying mess, it may sound like there wasn’t ANYTHING good about this morning’s run.

But that’s not true.

IMG_20130824_094344_639 I spent three hours running HERE.

Eighteen miles of views like this.

Even a whiny self-pitying mess can’t help but appreciate that.

IMG_20130824_180626And a long run (even a bad one) always makes ice cream taste better.

Sunday:

Scheduled:
4 easy miles

Actual:
4.19 easy miles at Monticello

Strength:
Spread out throughout the day:
3 pull ups
2 pull ups
1 Pull up
20 squats X 2
1:15 plank with leg lifts

29 push ups to catch up with baseball scores

As soon as I got up this morning, I noticed that my abs were sore. I was kind of baffled as to why. My abs haven’t ever been sore after a long run before.

It wasn’t until I started running that I realized that the soreness was only on the right side. I was sore from running 8 miles with a side stitch!

It was 57 degrees out at 6:30 am when I started my run, which made me very happy.

IMG_20130825_062708_703I was surprised at how good I felt. I still ran very slowly, but I actually REALLY enjoyed it. I saw a fox and a deer and the gate to Monticello was open AGAIN! Maybe they’ve given up on trying to keep out the early morning runners and walkers. That would be nice.

My shin is still bothering me. I feel it all the time, but it never actually hurts.

Goals from last week accomplished. It’s a little bit of a stretch to call what I did today strength work, but I’m counting it.

Total mileage for the week:
40.3

Goals for next week:
Strength train twice
Hit my pace goals!!

Three things (August 12th-18th)

This week, it’s all about food.

1. PB2

IMG_20130816_082411_908I noticed when this first appeared on the shelf with all the nut butters a few years ago. I wished that it had been around when I did my AT thru hike, but didn’t understand the point of it other than as a lighter way to carry peanut butter on backpacking trips. I imagined reconstituted sub-par peanut butter with a weird texture, certainly not worth the saved fat grams.

But then, a few weeks ago I read an article from Ace Fitness that mentioned the high protein/low calorie aspect of powdered peanut butter (45 calories and 5 grams of protein in 2 Tbsp.) The article suggested sprinkling a little on yogurt or cereal to add peanut butter flavor along with some added protein. That sounded like a wonderful idea, to me. I hadn’t thought of using it that way.

So I bought some. I’ve been putting a couple scoops in whatever cereal I’m having for breakfast. It’s like having cereal in a peanut butter milkshake. That might not sound like a good thing to you, but I think it’s pretty fantastic! Everything tastes better with peanut butter. I’ve also been using it to make peanut butter chia pudding.

If you love peanut butter as much as I do, I highly recommend PB2!

2. Whole Grain  Peanut Butter Banana Muffins.

The cool, fall weather we had for a few days last week got me in the mood to do some baking. I had a couple of over-ripe bananas and wanted to experiment with using PB2 in some muffins.

IMG_20130816_095743_267I used this recipe, but made several changes.

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat bran (I used 1/2 cup oats and 1/4 cup almond flour)
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds (I used PB2)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup and sprinkled a little on top)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 bananas didn’t quite make a cup, so I added canned pumpkin to make up the difference)
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk plus)
1/3 cup canola oil (I used a mixture of natural peanut butter and canola: mostly peanut butter)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional) (left these out, but did add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla)

They were delicious! I love the texture. I think it’s due to the high (healthy!) fat content.

I wanted my muffins to be big enough that I would be satisfied with just one, so I made 7 instead of the 12.

banana muffin nutritionThe nutritional breakdown above came from the Calorie Count website. I use it all the time to figure out the nutritional profile of my recipes. I like it because it allows you to customize. So, for instance, for this one, I was able to set the yield at 7, since I made 7 muffins.

3. Coffee

IMG_20130822_115832_211Earlier this month, I sent out this tweet:

I drink a lot of coffee. I have no intention of giving up my favorite morning beverage.

I follow the ongoing debate over whether or not this is a healthy habit. I tend to focus on the studies that tout the health benefits and dismiss the ones that question those benefitsI think that’s human nature. We gravitate toward anything that validates our own preconceived notions.

Based on all the studies I’ve read, I’ve pretty much concluded that coffee isn’t bad for you. But, there’s been this nagging little voice in my head that won’t leave me alone. It keeps whispering the word “moderation.”

The latest study, referenced in this USA Today article proves that the little nagging voice probably knows what it’s talking about. This study shows that for people under age 55, four or more cups of coffee a day is linked with a higher risk of death by all causes.

Kind of reminds me of the study that came out last year stating that long distance running was tied to a higher risk of death.

I don’t like these studies. I want to run lots of miles fueled by pots and pots of steaming hot, delicious coffee.

As much as I don’t want to accept that drinking a ton of coffee and running for hours at a time will not lead to a perfect bill of health, I have to admit that I’m not surprised.

Everything in moderation, right?

I’m planning to try to reign in my java habit. Tomorrow.
Or maybe next week.

*I’ve decided to discontinue my Three Things on Thursday post. Because frankly, It’s a lot of work and I’m not excited about it. If I’m not excited, you must be bored to tears. So, I’m doing everybody a favor here.

Anybody else love peanut butter as much as I do?

Are you a coffee drinker?

Are you a coffee drinker?

Marathon Training Week Three (recovery week)

Monday:

Scheduled Rest Day

Tuesday:

Scheduled:
4 easy miles

Actual:
4.1 easy miles around Hollymead before work
10:06 pace

Strength:
I like to do my strength work right when I finish my run, but I didn’t have time before work, so I didn’t get to it until about 4 pm. I almost didn’t get to it at all, which is another reason I like to do it in the morning with my run.

There’s much more space to workout in my yard then there is in my house, so I headed out in the afternoon heat.

I worked up a lot of sweat in a short fifteen minute workout:

IMG_20130813_163653_746I did a 7 minute warm up consisting of:
butt kicks
high knees
grapevine
side shuffle
backwards run
skipping
bounding
walking lunges

and then two circuits of:
10 squats
5 squat jumps
15 push ups
10 single leg squat & reach (each leg)
1 minute plank with leg raises

and finished with:
35 hip raises (each leg)
3 pull ups

Wednesday:

Scheduled:
6 easy miles with 6 hill pick ups

Actual:
6.46 easy miles at Monticello with 6 hill pick ups
10:18 pace

This was the best run of the whole summer. With the temperature in the low 60’s I was happy before I even started running.

And things just kept getting better. The gate to Monticello was open!

IMG_20130814_065340_948It’s never open early in the morning, but an open gate means I get to add about a 1/2 mile of flat running.

IMG_20130818_103826The view on the way back down.

I actually had fun doing my 6 hill pick ups. Weird, I know.

Thursday:

Scheduled:
4 easy miles

Actual:
4.1 easy miles around Hollymead before work.
9:48 pace (I guess my pace is a little quicker when it’s cooler out)

Strength:
Same as Tuesday, except I did it in the group fitness room at the gym, and I didn’t do hip raises or pull ups.

Friday:

Scheduled rest day.

Saturday:

Scheduled:
9 miles with 2 X 3 miles @ marathon pace with 2-3 minute recovery jog in between

Actual:
9 miles at Riverview Park with 2 X 3 miles @ about marathon pace with 3 min recovery.
8:53 average pace

Marathon pace is 8:20. I programmed my Garmin to beep if my pace wasn’t between 8:05 and 8:40 for the marathon pace miles. In hindsight, I wish that I had narrowed that window. I need to work on consistency, but I guess that’s what these marathon-pace runs are supposed to teach me.

My first three marathon-paced mile splits were: 8:27, 8:11, 8:11 and second three were: 8:05, 8:22, 8:21IMG_20130817_075637_825

I’m still confused about how difficult my marathon pace should feel at this point in training. I finished the two 3 mile segments without too much trouble, but I’m not sure how much longer I could have maintained that pace.

Sunday:

Scheduled:
3 easy miles

Actual:
3 easy miles at Monticello in the rain.
10:04 pace

Who doesn’t love splashing in puddles?

IMG_20130818_084932_411I was happy to realize that I can wear my new shorts for running in the rain. I don’t have to worry about embarrassing sweat patterns when they’re uniformly soaked.

Total mileage for the week: 26.8 miles

Goals for next week:
I think I’ll stick with the same ones from last week: Strength train twice and take my iron daily.

Three Things (August 5th-11th)

1. Grief Bacon.

pig2

Have you ever gained weight as the result of emotional eating during a particularly stressful time in your life?

Well, the Germans have a word for that extra weight: kummerspeck.

It translates into English as grief bacon.

I’ve had grief bacon on my mind this week because I’ve caught myself stress eating more than usual.

Just trying to avoid the ‘ol kummerspeck.

For your Thursday reading pleasure: 38 Wonderful Foreign Words We Could Use In English

2. Make sure you’re not missing out on life

A friend of mine posted a link to a blog post entitled “The day I stopped saying ‘hurry up’” on her Facebook page.

I loved the post, and did a search to find out where it had come from.

I found out the post was written by Rachel, over at  Hands Free Mama.

In this particular post, Rachel writes;

Whether it’s …

Sno-cone eating

Flower picking

Seatbelt buckling

Egg cracking

Seashell finding

Ladybug watching

Sidewalk strolling

I will not say, “We don’t have time for this.” Because that is basically saying, “We don’t have time to live.”

Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.

It’s all too easy for us to get so distracted trying to uphold society’s standards of success that we are rarely truly present. We’re so busy rushing to cross the next thing off our to-do list that we don’t think we have time for “frivolous” things like sunsets and picking flowers.

Rachel’s blog is about letting go of these societal and self-imposed expectations and allowing ourselves the time to notice, appreciate and participate in the things that really matter in life.

3. Be Inspired.

I was inspired by a woman I met at the gym.

Dana Shiflett is a volunteer at the local humane society (kudos for that alone, in my book.) I asked her how she got started exercising and she told me that she credits a shelter dog named Dave.

One day she decided to take Dave for a walk at a local park. The dog was so excited that he took off running, up and over a big hill and on down the trail. She didn’t have much choice but to run with him, so that’s what she did. Once she realized that she could run, she just kept doing it.

Dana has also made big changes to her diet. She told me that she had participated in a fast with her church that required her to give up meat, dairy, sugar and yeast. By the end of the fast, she noticed that she felt so much better. She said that her joint pain disappeared and she had more energy. She knew she couldn’t give up sugar (I’m with her there!) but she figured she could give up meat and dairy. She is now a vegan.

These days, she’s in the gym almost every day, is more than 25 pounds lighter and has completely reversed her diabetes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired!

Can you think of anything else that the English language is lacking a word for?

What are some of your favorite simple pleasures?

Who has inspired you lately?

 

Marathon Training Week Two

Monday:

Scheduled rest day

Tuesday:

Scheduled:
5 easy miles

Actual:
5 easy, flat miles at Riverview Park
9:58 pace.

Strength workout at the Park:
30 second wall drill (push-up position against a wall and sprint in place, pressing against wall)
15 squats
5 squat jumps
15 push-ups
10 (each side) single leg squat with opposite toe touch
1 minute plank with leg raises
10 box jumps
30 second (each side) side plank with reach
*I went through the circuit twice and then finished with:
35 (each side) standing hip raises (hikes)
3 pull ups
6 more push-ups to catch up with the baseball scores

Wednesday:

Scheduled:
8 easy miles with 5 hill pick ups

Actual:
8.15 easy miles around town with 5 hill pick ups.
10:19 pace.

I was a little sore from Tuesday’s strength workout.

Everybody and their grandmother passed me, or so it seemed.

My Left foot started hurting after the run.

Of course I’m convinced I have a stress fracture.

IMG_20130807_070413_324

I don’t think the Lara bar I ate before my run was sufficient. After stopping at Albemarle Baking Company for a bran muffin, I went home and proceeded to eat everything in my kitchen.

IMG_20130807_113458_862This is why I try not to let myself get too hungry.

Yes, I ate all that. Well, not the entire bag of chips, but I also ate a peach and several handfuls of toasted coconut.

Thursday

Scheduled:
4 easy miles

Actual:
4 easy trail miles at Preddy Creek
10:39 pace

Trail running is the best.

Strength workout at Preddy Creek
(abbreviated because I was STILL sore from Tuesday. Yikes!)
15 squats
15 push ups
1 minute plank with leg raises
*I did the circuit twice

Friday:

Scheduled rest day

Saturday:

Scheduled:
16-17 easy miles with the last mile at 8:24 pace

Actual:
16.13 miles at Dick Woods with mile 15 at 9:01 pace
10:30 average pace

The good news is: my foot didn’t bother me at all. The bad news is: that’s the slowest I’ve done a long run at Dick Woods since I bought my Garmin in 2009.

We did this run with the CTC’s Marathon and Half Marathon training group, but we got there early and I just started running before everybody else showed up because I knew I would take longer than Kurt and I didn’t want him to have to wait too long for me to finish.

By mile 7 my shorts were dripping (and sudsy). By mile 8 my right shoe was sloshing. By mile 10 my left one was, too. I planned to run mile 15 at race pace, because the last mile is all downhill, and I felt like that would be cheating. So, for mile 15 I picked up the pace as much as I could, but a 9:01 was all I could muster.

IMG_20130810_090600_387Sorry about the blurry picture. My hands were soaked and dripping on the phone.

On the drive home, I was seriously doubting my goal. I’ve run that route so many times over the years, and I’d gotten to the point where I could run it easily at a 9:15 pace. Now I’m struggling to just finish at a 10:30 pace. It doesn’t make sense to me.

It’s exactly how I felt last summer.

But all the summers before that I’d never had this problem.

I had to go to work after my long run, and the fitness center was just about empty, so I had time to read Better Training for Distance Runners (David E. Martin, PhD & Peter N. Coe, 1997). The section entitled Iron Depletion in Endurance Athletes caught my attention. It said that low ferritin (the body’s iron stores) can sometimes cause a problem for female endurance runners. In these runners, Iron in the blood is at a normal level, but the body’s iron stores are low.

As I read more, I was even more intrigued, because it said these problems usually appear in the late spring/early summer; “training and lifestyle patterns favor a net iron loss rather than a balance between iron intake and output, and the stage is set for an eventual inadequacy of iron…The days get warmer, and losses of iron through sweat increase. Training gets more intensive, and thus hemolysis from both impact stress and blood acidosis increases. Gastrointestinal ischemia from such higher-intensity training and an accompanying decrease in appetite result in lowered iron intake.” That makes sense. I don’t at all have a decrease in appetite, but I am a vegetarian, so even thought I’m taking in plenty of calories, I’m probably not getting enough iron in my diet to make up for the increased demand of summer marathon training.

The symptoms of low ferritin were dead-on, too; “For no apparent reason, the athlete develops a state best characterized as burnout, with sleepless nights, more fatigue than usual, and decreased ability to manage even less-intense training than was easily tolerated a few weeks before.” Yes! That is the part I find so confusing and frustrating. I’m doing workouts that used to be easy, and finding them incredibly hard (if I’m able to finish them at all…)

I know that running is always harder in the heat and humidity, but it feels like there’s something more going on.

Kurt disagrees. He thinks it’s just the heat. Maybe he’s right.

I’m taking my iron and running my easy runs at a slower pace and hoping the problem resolves itself soon.

Sunday:

Scheduled:
4 easy miles

Actual:
4 easy miles at Riverview Park
10:19 pace
24 push-ups (had to catch up on baseball push-ups)

I almost purposely left my Garmin at home, but I just couldn’t bring myself to part with  it.

Weekly goals accomplished (greens eaten, strength training done).

Goals for next week: take iron pill EVERY day, strength train twice

Do you notice a significant difference in your running pace during the summer months?

Have you ever been anemic, or wondered about your iron levels?

Do you have a GPS addiction?

Three Things July 29th-August 4th

1. Fruit isn’t bad for you.

apple2

Halleluja!

Have you heard people say that they’re trying to eat less fruit because it’s so high in sugar?

I have too. It sounded like crazy talk to me, but it still made me wonder if maybe I shouldn’t be eating quite so much.

So, I was overjoyed when I came across this New York Times article earlier this week.

Making the case for eating fruit

Jorge, a reader from Illinois’ response to the article was; “An article and discussion about fruit being good for us? Don’t forget “water is necessary”, “love makes us happy” “sleep when you are tired”… Who knew?”

I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who thought that common sense should have told us this one.

2. Run Slower to Run Faster

ric-half-002

Train Slower, Race Faster

The gist of this article is that elite runners run most of their weekly mileage at a slow, easy pace. This allows them to 1.) run a LOT of miles per week without getting injured 2.) feel fresh enough to really push hard during their speed sessions.

According to the article, most age group runners don’t run their “easy” runs easy enough, and would benefit from training more like the elites.

The article cites a study that showed runners who ran 80 percent of their weekly mileage below lactate threshold improved race times significantly more than runners who ran only 70 percent of their weekly mileage below lactate threshold.

I’m guilty of running my easy runs too fast, especially in the summer. I pay too much attention to my Garmin. I know that my “easy” pace is about 9:15-9:45 depending on terrain, so I try to run all my easy runs at that pace.

So, even if it’s 90 degrees and 100 percent humidity, or I’m stressed, or I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in a week, I still try to run at that same pace. The only problem is, under these circumstances, I’m no longer running at an easy pace. String together a couple weeks of trying to run at a too-fast pace and it’s no wonder I end up run-down, exhausted and not able to complete my more challenging workouts.

I’ve slowed down my easy runs. I’ll let you know if it works.

3. My favorite healthy pancake recipe

pancake2

I’ve been craving pancakes lately, so I figured I’d share my go-to pancake recipe with you.

1 egg
2 Tbsp oil (I use canola)
1 Tbsp honey
3/4 cup milk (I use unsweetened vanilla soy. I’ve used almond, but definitely prefer the soy in this recipe)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat egg until foamy. Add wet ingredients, and then dry.

Makes about 5 pancakes. If I have any leftover, I freeze them and then pop them into the toaster on mornings when I don’t have much time. They do dry out, so they’re definitely best eaten fresh from the griddle.