“Let’s Do SIX!” she said.

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Lately, I have had the pleasure to train with my very good friend, K!  She has a GREAT pace (that matches mine) and is running the Philadelphia Half as well.  We are also BIG chatters, so there is no lack of entertainment there!  I thought it would be a big challenge to run sans IPOD, but I have actually done a nice job with it lately!  So, yesterday, I feel like I FINALLY turned a corner with my running.  I told Husband, I FEEL LIKE I HAVE MY RUNNING LEGS BACK! YAAAY!  I had written before about my frustration with beginning to train again.  I really had to look back at my old training schedules from last year to see that I was starting at almost the same place.  This week, though I am finally feeling “back-to-normal” (or back to training mode, pretty much).

K and I had a FIVE miler planned yesterday; at my favorite “running (stomping) grounds,” the River Loop!  We were going to do a 2.5 out and back.  WELLLLLLLL…when we hit 2, I suggested we go for THREE, making it a three out and back, which equals SIX!  K agreed and one we went!  We felt great!  And who woulda thunk- I suggested an extra mile!  WOOT WOOT!  Anyway, done and done!

So, I came across an interesting article on the YAHOO homepage.  It details what to eat to refuel for a workout. I thought it was good.  Take a look…

As a health-savvy runner, you try to toss nutrient-packed foods into your grocery cart. But when you’re deciding between similar-seeming nutritious items (say, turkey or chicken?), you may not know the superior choice. “Food is your fuel,” says Mitzi Dulan, R.D., co-author of The All-Pro Diet. “Selecting the most nutritious options will improve your diet and give you a competitive edge.” While you can’t go wrong eating both quinoa and brown rice, choosing the nutritional champ may give your running the boost it needs. In a healthy-food smackdown, here are our winning picks.

Both are health all-stars, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that blueberries (particularly wild ones) showed the most antioxidant activity of all the fruits tested. “These antioxidants help keep your immune system strong,” says Dulan, “and reduce muscle-tissue damage from exercise.”

HEALTHY CHOICE: Mix blueberries into lean ground beef for burgers. The juicy fruit will help keep the meat moist.

The ultimate guide to the best food for runners.

Both breast meats are free of saturated fat, but turkey has three additional grams of protein per three-ounce serving, plus more iron (which helps deliver oxygen to muscles) and selenium. “This mineral functions as part of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase,” says sports
dietitian Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. This enzyme works as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals that may contribute to cancer and heart disease.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Make your own lunch meat to avoid the excess sodium in much deli turkey. Bake turkey breasts, slice them thinly, and add to sandwiches.

Almond butter has more calcium and magnesium, a mineral that’s often lacking in runners’ diets and is important for muscle contraction. While the two nut butters contain about the same amount of fat, the almond variety has 60 percent more monounsaturated fat. “When consumed in place of saturated fat,” says Dulan, “monounsaturated fat lowers harmful
LDL levels to help decrease heart disease and stroke risk.” Almond butter also has three times more vitamin E, an antioxidant that may reduce cancer risk.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Use almond butter instead of PB on your bagel. Blend it into a postrun smoothie, or stir it into oatmeal.

Kale’s nutritional value would even win over even Popeye. Gram for gram, kale contains four times more vitamin C, and one and a half times the amount of immune boosting vitamin A and vitamin K. “
Vitamin K ensures that blood clots properly,” says Eberle, “but it’s also needed to make a bone protein essential for strong, healthy bones.” Kale contains three times more lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants deposited in the retina that work together to protect eye health.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Make kale “chips”: Spread bite-sized pieces on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil, season with salt, and bake for 15 minutes (until crisp).

Have a question about nutrition and exercise? Ask the Sports Dietitian.

When Spanish researchers compared cow’s and goat’s milk from animals raised under similar conditions, they found that both have the same amount of essential amino acids needed to repair and build muscle. But goat’s milk contains a larger percentage of omega-3 fats, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA). Studies suggest CLA has a number of effects, including lowering cancer risk, improving bone health, and helping reduce body fat.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Use tangy, slightly sweet goat’s milk (found at health-food stores) the same way as cow’s milk—on cereal, in smoothies, and when baking.

According to a study in the Nutrition Journal, researchers in Sweden found that participants who ate rye bread for breakfast experienced less hunger later in the day compared with those who ate wheat bread. Hanna Isaksson, the lead study author, believes that rye’s ability to quell hunger is due to its high fiber count. Rye can have up to eight grams of fiber per slice—even more than whole wheat.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Rye bread often contains some refined wheat flour, so to get the most fiber, buy “100 percent rye” loaves or make sure whole rye flour or meal is the first ingredient.

FAT BETTER: Earthy, rich-tasting extra-virgin olive oil contains more anti-inflammatory compounds than canola oil. Use it when you make dips, pesto, and vinaigrettes.

Everyone has an eating personality? What kind of eater are you?

Quick Hits
Can you pick the best runner’s staples?

Quinoa beats brown rice
WHY: Quinoa has three extra grams of protein per cooked cup, plus more fiber, iron, and magnesium.

Greek yogurt beats regular yogurt
WHY: The Greek variety has about twice as much protein as traditional types.

Green tea beats coffee
WHY: It’s bursting with antioxidants (such as EGCG) that help ward off diabetes and certain cancers.

Pork tenderloin beats beef tenderloin
WHY: The pork version has less saturated fat, more B vitamins, and is cheaper.

Goat cheese beats feta cheese
WHY: Goat cheese has nearly half the
cholesterol and a third less sodium.

Orange beats apple
WHY: They have similar amounts of calories and fiber, but oranges have 12 times as much vitamin C.

Red pepper beats green pepper
WHY: It boasts eight times the vitamin A, which keeps your immune system strong.

Flaxseed beats flaxseed oil WHY: The seeds have lots of magnesium, potassium, selenium, and fiber.


Does it count?!?!

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Well hello there!

Ok, so lately I have been grappling with two “does it count” questions.  Help me out…Here we go:

1.  When I walk the 8.5 mile loop on Sundays with Shiya, does this count toward my weekly mileage totals for Half Mary training ?!?!  Please tell me your thoughts!!!!

2.  So what EXACTLY constitutes a “brick” workout?  Yesterday, I ran three miles for my Half training and then took a spin class.  Is this a brick technically?!?!  When I google “brick workout,” this is what I come up with …

Bricks refer to training on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal or no interruption in between, just as you would do in a race (I am sure you knew this). Usually when people talk about bricks they refer to a bike/run workout, but bricks could also refer to a swim/bike workout or to a run/bike workout (if you are training for a duathlon). These last two are often overlooked but still important to fit here and there in your training plan.

OK, so it seems that my run + spin WOULD then be considered a good “brick.”  your thoughts?!?!?

Well either way refueling was IMPORTANT!  Last night I brought back an old fall fave, SPAGHETTI SQUASH!  Nom nom!  This time, I topped it with a CREAMY tomato vodka sauce and it was delish!

THIS deserves a close-up!

AND speaking of refueling, I SOMEHOW forgot to post this REDIK pic of me “refueling” (obviously feeling anemic and craving MEAT I ordered and ENTIRE cheesesteak pizza for myself post-run Saturday hahah)…

Eggplant Parm a la SHIYA

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You know you have a good friend when_______.

Go ahead.  Fill in the blank.  Here is mine. 

You know you have a good friend when she offers to double the batch of eggplant parm she is makinig for her family so that she can pretend “teach” you how to do it, but really knows you are just so appreciative that she is doing it.  Shiya is a good friend.  Not only does she give in to my annoying fitness requests (for instance walking the Loop and more) but she will do ANYTHING for me (and me for her of course) including making a meal for my family and packaging it so it looks like I assembled it all when I pop it into the over at my house next door.  And all she traded for…my company!  How awesome.  So, here is AMAZING (and healthy) eggplant parm a la Shiya…

Slicing the eggplant. Chef Shiya says slice thinly!

 Shiya dipped each slice in an egg/milk mixture and then dunked the slices in a whole wheat bread crumb/spices mixture (full recipe to follow)…

Pan fry the slices to make them soft and yummy

Lay them out while you finish the rest

 Then, layer with sauce and cheese.

Pop it in the oven for a few minutes so the cheese gets melty. Shiya says to keep everything neat for easier clean up!

Here is Shiya’s official recipe:

-1 large eggplant or 2 or 3 small Japanese eggplant -Shredded mozzarella -Olive oil -whole wheat bread crumbs

-2 jars your favorite pasta sauce

-2 eggs

-milk (whatever you usually use)

Italian seasoning

Garlic powder

Black pepper

Whole wheat pasta

Slice the eggplant thin, no larger than 1/4 in thick slices.

Pre-heat oven to 400

Mix two eggs and a tablespoon or two of milk in a pasta or cereal bowl

Mix whole wheat bread crumbs with garlic powder, black pepper and Italian seasoning in a separate past bowl or plate.

In a frying pan heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat.

Dip a slice of eggplant into the egg/milk mixture then into the breadcrumbs covering both sides completely. Place it in the frying pan and cook it until it’s browned on both sides. Repeat  with all the eggplant slices. As they are done frying place them on a paper towel covered plate.

Boil water for the pasta. Follow cooking directions.

Once all the eggplant is cooked place the slices in a single layer in a 9x13in baking pan (I like Pyrex).

Using a soup spoon place a generous amount of pasta sauce on each slice of eggplant. Use the remainder of the sauce and 2nd jar of sauce for the pasta.

 Then sprinkle a generous amount of shredded mozerella on each slice

Bake in the over until cheese melts and gets golden brown on top.

Sever next to a bed of pasta. Enjoy!

NOM NOM!  What a wonderful friend

And what wonderful FOOD!

Served with ravioli

Necessary Purchases.

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I know, I know.  What a post title.  I am sure Husband you readers are thinking to yourself, “WHAAA?  Way to justify a shopping haul!”  But really, people…REALLY.

OK, first thing’s first.  While breezing through Macy’s in an attempt to get out before making any rash decisions purchases, I perused the MAC coutner for a minute, remembering that “something funky” was going on with my BELOVED MAC STUDIO FIX powder.  I LOVE for this product.  Being an almost no-makeup wearer, I LOVE how Studio Fix is full coverage (for me) without the heaviness of a cream and the convenience of a sponge/powder compact!  Anyway, MY Studio Fix was not looking good.

EW.  See that bubbly darker looking area?  It almost looks like I got it wet, but I KNOW I didn’t.  I asked the lovely MAC counter girl and she told me that it is becuase I rest the sponge on top of the powder when I store it.  And I said, “Why yes, I do!  Where else would I put it!??!” 

She then laughed at me and showed me the vented area BELOW the powder where you are SUPPOSED to store the sponge.

DUH!!! I had never even opened this under-section!

The MAC girl explained to me that the oils from my skin (EW) are being absorbed into the sponge and then expelled onto the powder, creating that bubbly yuck mess.  She said I could scrape it off, but I opted to buy another and have a backup 🙂  Anyway, THAT was a necessary purchase.  Moving on.  I needed underwear.  One word…OSCAR.  Two words?  Victoria Secret.  Their cotton undies that I wear were on sale 7 for 25 bucks!  Holy heaven!  How amazeballs?!?!?  Of course I bought 14.  They are usually 5 for 25.  Love it. Still necessary, right!??!

Done and Done.

Alright, now, tell me…WHAT IS THE MOST NECESSARY (but fun, of course) PURCHASE YOU’VE MADE LATELY!?!?

The Suicide Drills were…

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, they don’t call them “suicides” for nothing!  BUT, I conquered (well, kinda whined through it, but all’s the same in the Speedwork game)!

Wow.  That is ONE big picture 😉 hehe Anyway, yesterday a friend and I ran by the river.  We did 5 miles in 49:20.  ‘Twas lovely!  So today, we were planning a repeat performance!  I just love running with this particular friend because we have the exact same comfort pace and we do just the right amount of talking 🙂  OK, moving on to conquering the suicides.  So today, my friend suggested that we “do the stairs” (as in ART MUSEUM STAIRS!!!!) with her man and I obliged.  Boy oh boy did I not know what I was getting myself into! We did suicides on the stairs:  there are about six “sets” of steps with landings between each.  Basically, you run up one flight, back down and then to teh first line (of bricks) on the sidewalk.  THEN, you go up TWO flights and run to the second line, etc.  HOLY WOW!  It was HARD!  We also did these crazy zig-zag runs that were too difficult (mentally even hehe-they were confusing!) to even do more than one set!  Then we  moved on to these drills where we ran in and out of these sculptures (hard to describe but trust me-soooo difficult).  Lastly, we did some stair sprints.  WOW.  After that, I was tired, but needed to squeeze in three miles per my Halfie Training Plan 🙂  Fun….NOT!  My legs felt like bricks!  I was soooo slow.  To be honest, I don’t even know exactly how long it took me because my Garmin still had the stair running data on it.  I think it was around 3:00 even.  Anyway, it was rough. BUT, I conquered!  Yay! What are you currently proud of yourself for “Conquering?!?!”

Weekend: Distance WALK


Good Morning and happy Monday!  This weekend was a blast and was full of fun and productivity!  Wootwoot!  Let’s get started with a recap!

So, a HUGE event of the weekend was my dye job hair appointment on Saturday.  I decided, finally, after years and years of “bringing out my natural blonde” with highlights, to GO BACK TO MY ROOTS!  I like it.  But, what I like even more is that I NEVER hav eto touch my hair again with dye and this is what I have naturally!  Pretty lucky, huh?!?!  Yay!  Good change.  My hairdresser, Allie, says that we change our outters when we are going through a process of changing our inners.  Hmmm…deep, no!!? Anyway, what do you think!?!?!?  Have you ever made a rash decision to go back to YOUR roots?

OK, moving on, Saturday night, Husband and I went to the Phillies game!  We are UBER fans and have partial season tickets.  Saturday we capitalized on our amazing seats and enjoyed a lovely (WON) game! 

Sunday…ohhhhh Sunday!  So, Shiya and I were supposed to attend a half-led primary series Ashtanga class.  According to Shanti Yoga Shala’s Website

Led Half Primary Series

The poses of Ashtanga yoga are meant to be memorized and practiced consistently to achieve a healthier, stronger, disease-free body and mind. This class is a manageable way in which to learn, practice, and eventually memorize most of the first series of Ashtanga yoga. it will help the practitioner build strength and flexibility, as well as develop an understanding of what yoga is beyond the physical practice. Additionally, this is a GREAT way build a foundation for Mysore practice. Half Primary will practice Surya Namaskar A & B, Standing poses, primary series up to Navasana, and finishing sequence.

Anyway, we WERE going to go to this class, as we had done last Sunday. It is a great way to kick off a Sunday, end a weekend or start a new week!  BUT, this lil’ lady here slept until ten of NOON!  Yup, that’s TEN minutes before class was slated to start.  SO, Shiya being the lovely girl she is, agreeed to walk “the loop” (the 8.something mile Art Museum loop) with me instead.  I decided this would fit necely into my training plan for the Half.  So, off to the museum district we went.  Well, the ING distance run was just finishing up, so we were not able to park nearly as close to the museum as lazy bones I was hoping, so we added some distance to our little walk.  We ended up doing 8.5 miles in 2:13.  Not bad, eh!?!?  And above all, we had a BLAST!

HUGE perk of following those distance runners, like the lovely LP who ROCKED it, btw-you go girl!- was that we snagged ourselves an AMAZING gallon of Deer Park that was leftover.  Shiya and I were SO thirsty and had given both our water bottles to two ladies who had gotten in a terrible car accident on Kelly Drive just at the start of our loop.  So…we guzzled…BIG time 😉

So, as you might imagine, Shiya and I were quite hungry and thirsty post-distance WALK (hehe) so we took a trip over to Garces Trading Co!  It was a glorious day-perfect to sit outside, sip wine, munch on magnificent cheese, and…chat (of course)!


And look who joined us (with a treat of his own)…

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Other fun things that took place this weekend:

Target run to “fall” up the house (aka decorate!) and stock up on home essentials…

One of the purchases: for those people who have been to our house, this is especially funny because we are known to hang our gingerbread family wreath ALL year round!

Ordered take-out from the most rediculous amazing deli ever:  Famous Fourth Street Deli!

Oh, and PS:  Oscar wanted me to tell you all that he had QUITE the weekend as well….hehe


Speedwork. (?)

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Today I did SPEEDWORK (as in, I had to get home for an appointment and wanted to squeeze in three miles for my Philadelphia Half Marathon training plan by torturing myself and pushing to the max-wow, long sentence)  but in the end, it felt good.  I did 3 miles in 27:53.  Yup ladies and gentlemen (if applicable), that IS speedwork for me.  Lately I have been S frustrated with my running. I keep saying that I feel like I lost my “running legs.”  I cannot STAND this.  I am VERY impatient by nature, and that does not pan out well when training for a ANY running race.  The fact is that growth is slow and steady and PRACTICE IS KEY even though it sometimes seems like a reminder of how far I am from where I want to be (usually a certain memorable level of fitness that I attained for a certain race- for me, Broad Street).  Anyway, this is what I have been struggling with lately.  SO…to turn my frown 😦 upside down 🙂    (wow that was dorky) , I decided to browse my training records from when I first began running back in NOvember of ’09.  I mean, I am definitely at a higher level of fitness now than when I initially starting running, but I am fit not in running,  Running is another kind of “in shape.”  Yes, I “Spun” all summer and did some yoga.  I even took occasional runs as part of my weekly fitness routines.  BUT, training for a race is just an entirely different story.  Looking at my old training logs was definitely helpful in being realistic.  Have you ever experienced this sort of thing?

I needed a Rainbow this Morning

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And look what I got!

It was a wonderful treat on my ride to work today.  I was feeling a bit gloomy, admittedly, and the rainbow was a huge help and encouragement.

And just like that, it was gone.  Appreciate the little things in life, or they might quickly disappear.  I’m leaving you with a quote (again thanks to Cute Little LP) that is inspiring and much needed 😉