Spin Out Your Stress

My week went by fast, but I am so ready for the weekend!

After Thursday night’s 10 mile run, I decided it would be best to sleep in a little on Friday and plan for a p.m. gym visit. My day started off simply: coffee, Nature’s Path instant oatmeal (made with skim), and a banana.

oatmeal with banana

Lunch was a leftovers re-mix: lentils, 1/2 sweet potato, melted mozzarella cheese, and hot sauce. I heated up everything for 2 minutes and then mixed in a big handful of arugula. All of the flavors melded together quite nicely :-)

arugula, sweet potato, lentils

I managed to fit in a brisk 15 minute walk at lunchtime….I sat at my desk for 10+ hours yesterday and I could NOT do that again today. I needed some sunshine!

Afternoon snackeroos were decaf cappuccino and another honest foods baked granola bar. I love the ingredient list on these bars: oats, almond butter, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, etc. So good! I can’t wait to try all of the flavors. The variety I had yesterday was pretty good – it had a decidedly almond flavor.


honest foods

I was feeling kind of brain-fried when I finally left work, so I wasn’t in the best of spirits when I arrived at the gym. I thought about packing it in and going home, but I know that I always feel better after a sweaty workout so I stuck it out. I warmed up on the elliptical for 10 minutes and then took a 45 minute cycling class. This instructor was nowhere near as fun as the guy who teaches my Tuesday a.m. class., but all-in-all it was a good workout and I felt better afterward.

I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home and decided that I needed a little snack from the salad bar – a small container of spinach salad with lemon pepper tofu.

whole foods salad

And then when I got home, I heated up some lentils with hot sauce (that’s the last of the lentils, I promise!) and a veggie burger with hummus on a whole wheat sandwich thin. And there wasn’t a simple carbohydrate in sight ;-)

lentils and veggie burger

I experienced some internet problems that caused me to freak out put a damper on my to-do list, so I decided to unwind with a book + early bedtime. But before I hit the sheets, I needed a snack: Oikos plain greek yogurt with a Tbs almond butter and 1/2 crushed Kashi granola bar.

yogurt

Things are looking up today – the internet issues are solved, I’m about to head out the door for a run, and I have a fun afternoon + evening planned with one of my best friends from high school. Happy Weekend!

What if you’re a runner, but can’t tolerate pasta? No worries, there are other options.

Question: Are you a pasta lover? Or do you prefer to get your carbs in other ways? I don’t really like pasta, but thankfully I DO love potatoes, bread, and oatmeal. Yay, carbs!

8 Miles, 10 Miles

First and most importantly, Happy Friday!

Secondly, thank you for all the kind and supportive comments yesterday. Hearing from readers and knowing that my running and cooking adventures provide inspiration is why I write this blog! It should be noted that the author of yesterday’s email did apologize, however I received another not-so-nice email when they realized I discussed the issue on my blog. All I can say to that is…Oh well! I use this blog as way to discuss issues that affect my quest for a healthy lifestyle and I think yesterday’s blog post was beneficial for me in that respect.

My daily eats and running mileage have been MIA lately, so prepare for a monster recap! I’ve tried to keep it balanced :-)

I woke up feeling wayyyy tired on Wednesday morning and kind of headache-y, so instead of running right away, I hydrated (decaf coffee and water!) and ate breakfast first.

I made a delightful bowl of oats:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water
  • chopped apple
  • sea salt and cinnamon
  • tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs (or a lil more!) almond butter
  • sprinkling of chocolate chips

oatmeal

After waiting awhile for digestion (and downloading the new Jay-Z/Alicia Keys song..) I was ready for my run! The weather was brisk (50 degrees), but sunny so I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt. 90% of me was comfortable, but my hands get cold no matter what!

I was feeling quite sluggish for most of this run, but my legs finally perked up around the 5 mile mark. I finished the 8 miles in about 1 hour and 12 minutes (9:00 per mile pace). After a quick shower and change, it was off to work!

My tum was feelin’ a little off (I think I might be getting a cold), so lunch was a little lighter than usual:

  • 1 cup oikos plain greek yogurt
  • sliced banana (it’s hiding in there somewhere!)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

pumpkin seeds

And a vita muffin + cappuccino for a snackeroo (do you like that word? I think I made it up!):

vita top

Cappuccino

Worked, worked, worked throughout the afternoon and then came home for an easy dinner: apple cider, Campbell’s Selects onion soup with lentils, and a whole wheat sandwich thin with arugula and mozzarella cheese.

french onion soup and sandwich

Andddddd I was still hungry. I got a new container of hummus (Sabra’s greek olive – LOVE) and was going to have it with some pita chips, but then I decided that another sandwich thin would be a better option. More whole grains and fiber!

arnold sandwich thins and sabra's hummus

I finished up some work on the computer, chatted on the phone, and finished the night off with half of this lil’ guy: a Trader Joe’s PB&J bar! This brilliant creation featured milk and dark chocolates, raspberry jam, peanut butter, and crushed potato chips (!!). And while this is definitely a treat, 1/2 the bar only had 150 cals, 4 grams of fiber (not shabby!), and 3 grams of protein. Plus a lil calcium and iron. Sweet :-)

pb & j bar

I woke up feeling a little under the weather yesterday, so an early a.m. gym visit was just NOT going to happen. Instead I spent some time in bed reading emails and catching up on google reader.

And then off to work for me! I’m running low on fruits and veggies in the kitchen, so breakfast was two bananas and a packet of Nature’s Path Flax Plus instant oatmeal made with 1/2 water, 1/2 skim milk. This oatmeal presentation wasn’t nearly as beautiful as yesterday, but you get the idea…

Flax Oatmeal

Lunch was another sweet potato with lentils, mozzarella cheese, and hot sauce. I know this is boring, but it’s so quick and delicious! I heated everything up in the microwave for about 90 seconds to get the cheese melty :-)

Lentils & Sweet Potato

Afternoon energy: decaf cappuccino and a vita muffin top.

Cappuccino

vita top

Things got pretty crazy in the office around 4:30pm and the next few hours were go-go-go. I had a plain whole wheat Arnold sandwich thin sometime around 5:30pm. Too busy to snap a picture, so this stock photo will have to do:

sandwichthin

I really like these sandwich thins. They’re perfect for all sorts of sammies – pb & j, hummus & veggies, deli meat, etc. Or you could top with tomato sauce and mozzarella and make a mini pizza!

I left the office a little before 8pm and was feeling hungrryyy, I debated going straight home, but instead I had a snack in the elevator, and headed directly to my gym. I’ve found that if I don’t allow myself any internal debate (and just GO to the gym or a run), I’m much more likely to get it done. So I snacked on an Honest Foods cranberry lemon zest bar (oh my goodness, so delicious!) and was on the treadmill 15 minutes later.

Honest Foods

Must have been the energizing carbs, protein, fat, and fiber in my snack – I ran 10 miles in about 1 hour and 28 minutes (yes, all on the treadmill). I originally planned on going to a road workout with my track club, but due to the late night in the office, that didn’t pan out. By the time I was free to go running, it was dark and I would be by myself, so I made the decision that the ‘mill would be safer (although more boring).

  • Miles 1 – 9:20 pace
  • Miles 2 – 9:20 pace
  • Mile 3 – 8:55 pace
  • Mile 4 – 8:55 pace
  • Mile 5 – 8:34 pace
  • Mile 6 – 8:34 pace
  • Mile 7 – 8:00 pace (faster effort #1)
  • Mile 8 – 9:13 pace
  • Mile 9 – 7:20 pace (faster effort #2)
  • Mile 10 – 9:13 pace

“Dinner” was rather late, but yum. I had about a cup of plain, non-fat Oikos greek yogurt left in the big tub, so I mixed in about 1.5 Tbs of almond butter, a chopped apple, a dollop of pumpkin butter, and some pecans for a garnish.  I think that mixing the nut butter thoroughly through out the yogurt really put this flavor combo over the top.

Yogurt Mess

Clickety-clack went my keyboard into the night – a little bit before 1am I toasted up 1/2 a whole wheat sandwich thin and slathered it with Sabra’s greek olive hummus.

Hummus

Finally, finally, I finished up all I needed to do and hit the sheets. Phew, what a day. Thank goodness it’s almost the weekend!

Don’t have time for a gym visit – Check out these 5 Fun Ways to Workout at Home.

We all get in grumpy moods sometimes, but according to a recent study it can actually be GOOD for us. Interesting…

And the best part of Friday – a new Running Shorts article from me and Matt!! Are you excited?

Question: What’s your strategy for fitting in exercise to a busy work/school/social life schedule? Do you wake up at 5am to run? Take a walk during your lunch break?

Record Time

 I was up and at ‘em around 7:30am on Sunday. No sleeping in for me – I wanted to enjoy every minute of my weekend!

First things, first: I headed to Dunkin’ Donuts for a 99 cent latte lite. Yay for special deals!

morning latte

I spent some time chatting with my family and then made them eggs in a hole for breakfast. I think they enjoyed it!

Then I set about making my own morning meal: pear-peanut butter cup oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk, 1/2 cup water
  • chopped bosc pear
  • 1 Tbs dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs whipped peanut butter (I think they discontinued this!)

oatmeal

 pear and peanut butter cup oatmeal

‘Twas lovely. I let the oats digest for a few hours while I caught up on emails and did a little work on the blog. Around noon I set off for a run. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel since I’d doubled yesterday, but my legs held up pretty well. I started off super slow (as usual), but picked it up towards the end. In the last 2 miles I played around with some fartlek intervals. Fartlek is a Swedish word that means “speed play” . For example, yesterday I sprinted to the blue house down the block and then resumed normal pace for a few minutes. Then I picked it up again until I hit another landmark (mailbox on the corner). This is a fun, no pressure way to do some speedwork! I ended up running about 6.5 miles in 58 minutes.

And then I arrived home to this:

cookies

My mom had baked chocolate chip cookies, so of course I had to have one straight out of the oven! Mom uses salted butter when she bakes and I loved the sweet & salty combo of these cookies. Mmmm…

And then I had a glass of  OJ (for hydration + nutrients!):

OJ

Followed by some cottage cheese (protein + calcium!) and an unpictured bite of banana covered with peanut butter.

cottage cheese

After showering, it was time to visit some relatives. Sunday was supposed to be cold and snowy (!!), but it actually turned out to be a beautiful fall day. I had a little photo shoot amongst the Autumn leaves in front of my Aunt’s house.

Autumn Leaves

Dinner contained vegetables (finally!). I ordered the veggie delight from Subway and loaded it up with: spinach, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives, jalapenos, banana peppers, green peppers, swiss cheese, and sweet onion sauce on a whole wheat roll. With an unsweetened iced tea and some sunchips for crunch!

Veggie Delight

And then a tiny sliver of pumpkin pie + whipped cream for dessert (x2!)

pumpkin pie

I had planned on taking the 7pm bus back to the city, but my mom is the BEST EVER and suggested that she drive me back instead. We got really lucky and hit zero traffic. Door-to-door, the entire trip took 2.5 hours. That’s a record! Thanks Mom :-)

By the time I got back to my apartment it was 9:30pm and I was feeling a little hungry. It was definitely time for more pie! It’s a good thing my family helped to devour this thing, otherwise I’m pretty sure I might eat it all by myself. It’s THAT good.

apple pie

I had a really fun weekend with A LOT of desserts, but I enjoyed every bit (and bite). It seemed like a mini vacation! Now it’s Monday and I’m back to the grind…

Question: What’s the best part about Mondays for you? For me, it’s the promise of a new Gossip Girl episode!

Grete’s Gallop 1/2 Marathon Recap

I did it!

I did it! This morning was the Grete’s Gallop 1/2 marathon in Central Park and the longest run I’ve done since the Boston Marathon in April. As most of you know, I’ve been dealing with a pretty serious hamstring injury since the winter and tried nearly everything (chiropractors, acupuncture, trigger point therapy, etc) to get some relief. For the past 6 weeks or so I’ve been able to run (mostly) without pain and have begun building mileage again. My hamstring (and IT band) still aren’t perfect, but they are getting better. Back in June I couldn’t even run 3 miles and now I can run a 1/2 marathon with minimal discomfort. I’m pretty sure this is something I’ll need to stay on top of (rest, foam rolling, yoga) for a long time, but at least I’m running again!

Today’s race was very important to me for several reasons: Grete’s Gallop was the first race I did once I moved to New York City in 2007, it was the race where Alma and I met (and became friends!) back in 2008, and this year it marks my return from injury. I finished today’s race in 1:54:35 which is 18 minutes slower that my 1/2 marathon PR (1:36:38), but I honestly couldn’t be happier. I am SO thankful to be running (and racing?) again and I know if I’m smart about training, I’ll regain my fitness someday soon.

But, let’s back track to my pre-run eats…

In the spirit of being economical (just bought a new macbook, ugh), I ate very inexpensively on Friday. Breakfast used up some more Nature’s Pride 12 grain bread topped with peanut butter, honey, and a sliced banana.

Banana and PB sandwich

Lunch was leftover brown rice, pinto beans, sauteed spinach & onion, and soy sauce.

Leftover rice & beans

I also made a lunch time visit to the Union Square Farmer’s Market to pick up some Autumn decorations (I plan on using the dried corn to make popcorn later on).

Autumn

There was so much gorgeous local produce – I wanted to buy it all!

Farmer's Market

Friday afternoon snack was a Stonyfield Farm yogurt with some dried cherries and peanut butter chips.

yogurt

I was craving comfort food for dinner, so I whipped up a bowl of oatmeal (quality carbs, mmmm).

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water
  • chopped apple
  • chopped prunes
  • cinnamon
  • dash of brown sugar
  • A LOT of peanut butter (pre-run fueling!)

Stove top apple oats

I spent the rest of the evening baking up some goodies for tomorrow’s house-warming party and catching up on my favorite TV shows.

Saturday = 1/2 marathon day!

I was up by 6:30am and started the day with 1/2 cup of coffee. Pre-race breakfast was two slices of 12-grain bread topped with mashed banana and honey. With a tall glass of water!

About an hour before the race I had 1/2 luna bar and then I carried a power gel to have around the 8-mile mark.

Fuel

The race began promptly at 9am and my teammate Ani kept me company for the first 7 miles or so. I wanted to start off veryyyy conservatively, because I hadn’t run longer than 11 miles in many months. My first 6 mile lap around Central Park was right around 9:05/mile pace and then at the half way point I tried to pick it up a bit. I felt strong and controlled the entire 13 miles and my last 2 miles were around 7:30/mile pace. Yahoo! I was very, very happy to finish this 1/2 marathon in 1:54:35 (8:44/mile pace). Being injured and having to take a break from running was very difficult. I don’t think I will ever take running for granted again. Here’s hoping foam rolling, yoga, and careful training keep me pain free!

I chugged some Gatorade at the finish and then headed over to the post-race Norwegian festival for some food: 1/2 bagel and goat cheese spread

Bagel

DSCF4776

Big props to Alma – she had an amazing race today and ran a HUGE PR – 1:32:31!

Alma and Megan

After a MUCH needed shower (humidity does not do nice things to my hair…) I heated up some brown rice & beans and added some spicy hummus and a laughing cow cheese wedge. Lots of protein and quality carbs in this dish – I will try to eat some vegetables later today :-)

rice & beans

And finally – dessert! After I ran Grete’s in 2007 I had a special cookie from Levain Bakery. Today seemed like a good day to go back :-) These cookies are nearly 1/2 lb and are amazingly good, but they are probably only a “once in a great while” treat!

I had half of my dark chocolate-peanut butter chip cookie and have plans to devour the rest sometime this weekend:

dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-chip-broken-400px

Ok, I’m off to go clean and prepare for tonight’s house-warming PARTY!

Have a great weekend!

Oatmeal, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, M&M Cookies

Ever since I bid on a batch of kitchen sink cookies during the Healthy Living Summit’s bake sale, I’ve been thinking about creating my own batch of oatmeal-m&m-peanut butter-chocolate goodness. I based my recipe on Michelle’s Montana Whoppers recipe (omg, don’t they look delicious?), but made a few alterations.

First I had to assemble the ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups granulate sugar
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 eggs (organic if possible), beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 natural peanut butter chips (I used Sunspire brand)
  • 6 ounces of M&Ms (mini size or any variety)

Candy!

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Once butter has melted, pour it in a very large bowl.
  • With a large wooden spoon, mix in the brown sugar, granulate sugar, and peanut butter.
  • When the temperature of the butter-sugar-pb mixture is warm and no longer super hot, add in the eggs. If you add the eggs when the butter is still hot, you will get scrambled eggs. That would be bad!
  • Next stir in the baking soda, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and M&Ms.
  • Add in the oatmeal, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  • Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 2 hours – don’t skip this step! Time is needed for the oats to absorb the butter/peanut butter.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with cooking spray.
  • Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. These cookies have a tendancy to burn, so keep an eye on them!
  • Cook the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Mmmm….So good! And since they contain oatmeal, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, they must be a little healthy. Right? ;-)

Cookies

Montana Whoppers

Oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter chip cookies

Are you a Kombucha lover? Whole Foods Bowery now serves it on tap! With all the probiotics and antioxodant this drink has, it might just be my new obsession!

Remember my sweaty soul cycle experience? Well, they just opened up a new studio on the Upper East Side and are offering FREE classes this weekend. People, jump on this. My class cost $32!

Feel a cold coming on? Or just love all things Autumn? Check out this yummy and healthy pumpkin soup recipe. It’s nutritious enough that you can indulge in some homemade apple pie for dessert :-)

Today is the first day of Autumn!! What’s your favorite part of the season? I love going for long runs under crisp blue skies and eating all sorts of apple and pumpkin goodies :-)

Pantry Essentials

I always have the following items in my pantry. I can’t live without them!

1) Apples – perfect with peanut butter, dipped in yogurt, chopped up in oatmeal.Apples

2) Dried and frozen fruit – good additions to yogurt, smoothies, and baked goods.Fruit

3) Yogurt – calcium and protein!Yogurt

4) Dried beans – cheap and full of fiber :-)Dried Beans

5) Eggs - another inexpensive source of protein, essential for bakingEggs

6) Oatmeal – in bowl or  in a cookie, I love oats!Old Fashioned Oats

7) Coffee and milk – Necessary upon waking.Coffee & Milk

8) Olive oil and vinegar – the perfect salad dressing and great for grilled veggies.Balsamic & EVOO

9) Whole grain bread/bagels – the variety and brand changes, but keeping it in the freezer keeps it fresh. Right now I’m lovin’ Rudi’s Organic bagels.Rudi's Organic Bagels

10) Peanut Butter – The perfect food.Peanut Butter!

And finally – COOKIES! These may not be necessary, but they sure do make me happy :-)

Cookies!

$$ Cheap Eats

Running makes me hungry and good food can cost a lot of money (there’s a reason why Whole Foods is nicknamed “Whole Paycheck”). In the spirit of eating cheaply, yet healthfully here is a list of my favorite budget meals:

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