WIAW: I guess you can say it works

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

So remember how last week’s eats were a bit of a bomb?  Well, turns out if you have good and healthy food handy, you will eat good and healthy food.  I guess you can say that weekly food prep kinda works… ;)

This morning before I headed out for my track workout I ate two of Amanda’s vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with my Vega sugar-free energizer…

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I did a 3.25-mile warm-up, 5 x 100 @ 1:41, 1:42, 1:43, 1:42, 1:41 (with 2:00 rest/walk in between each lap), and then finished with a 1.71-mile cool-down.  Not going to lie, it felt awesome.  Hard, but awesome.  I was starting to get tired of just going on mediocre runs so the challenge was great and I feel like I accomplished a more meaningful workout today.  Once I got in, I couldn’t decide of I wanted something sweet or savoury to eat…so I had both.

One slice of toasted pumpernickel bread with chickpea salad (recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook).

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Frozen banana, strawberries, pineapple, and coconut water.

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Lunch time rolled around and I dug into my meal prep stash to make this warm kale salad:

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Kale (with hummus/lemon juice dressing), roasted butternut squash, quinoa, and avocado.  Pretty sure I could eat this every day.  It was so good!

Before I knew it, it was DINNAH TIME! [horrible lighting...I apologize]

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One of Lauren’s magical burgers topped with mustard, avocado, and tomato on a whole wheat bun.

Snacks (not pictured): spoonfuls upon spoonfuls of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter (I was able to find it here in Toronto at Summerhill Market!) and corn chips with salsa.  Not many days go by where I don’t have chips and salsa.

There you have it!

I hope you had a great day full of delicious eats.  See you soon!

Marathon Monday: and so it begins…

Here we go.  It’s a fresh week and I’ve got a lot of amazing things to look forward to over the next little while: Thanksgiving, birthdays, the Scotiabank Half Marathon, the Toronto Women’s 8K, the Hamilton Half Marathon, and the start of MARATHON TRAINING.  Yep.  I said it.  That means there’s no turning back.  I know I’ve mentioned that I would be running the Phoenix Marathon again in 2015 but it was so long ago so it didn’t really feel “real”, if that makes any sense…  Well, now that I know I don’t have a stress fracture and my leg feels normal thanks to my chiropractor, I’m getting myself back into a training groove.  So Marathon Mondays will actually be MARATHON Mondays now (instead of half marathon Mondays or 10K Mondays)!

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Last week wasn’t a super strong week in terms of workouts but I’m slowly getting back into a routine of some sort and didn’t want to kill my body by doing too much too soon.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: 6 miles @ 8:30 average

Thursday: 3 miles @ 8:35 average + strength training

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 7 miles @ 8:04 average

Sunday: 12 miles @ 8:56 average

Total: 28 miles + 1 strength training session

Honestly, a part of me wants to cancel my gym membership.  I worked legs on Thursday and I swear I’m still feeling it today.  I didn’t even lift that heavy and my runs really suffered over the weekend because of the muscle soreness (Saturday was supposed to be a tempo run (#fail) and Sunday’s long run was quite a bit slower than usual).  Maybe it’s because I haven’t lifted since June and my muscles were just really angry at me…but I’ve always found it kind of difficult to balance running and strength training because of the DOMS that seem to linger FORever.  On the other hand, I know how important strength training is in becoming stronger, faster, and staying injury-free.  Maybe I just have to stick to lighter/bodyweight/resistance band exercises?  If that’s the case, then I can just do it at home because I’ve got enough equipment in my basement.  I don’t know what to do!  Bah.

What I do know is that food prep needs to go back on my weekend to-do list from now on.  Multiple burritos a week isn’t going to help my training…or at least I don’t think it will.  If someone has any scientific evidence proving that it will, please share because that will make my training cycle very enjoyable! ;)  I think I did a pretty good job this weekend at getting things ready for the week.

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Left: chickpea burgers (recipe here <- I swear these are the best veggie burgers I have ever made in my entire life and I will never go looking for another recipe ever again – THANK YOU LAUREN!!!) and chickpea salad from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

Right: quinoa, roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (recipe here)

I also chopped and washed the biggest kale I have ever seen so I’ve got lots on hand for salads, smoothies, chips, etc.

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And so it begins!  Let’s DO this!  I emailed Phaedra yesterday regarding my plan and was told I will get “..different long run workouts that should help you run faster on tired legs come race day!  And I think I’ll get you to do more than a couple 20+ milers this time around.”  And for some reason, this gets me more excited than scared.  Bring. it. on.  I’m ready to tackle Phoenix again and if you want to come, XTINA10 will get you 10% off (any distance).  SO many fun people are coming and we are ALL GOING TO PR!!!  Come party and we can eat Cafe Rio and Pirate’s Booty and all that other fun stuff I can’t get here in Toronto.

Hope your week is off to a great start!!

Thinking Out Loud #34

It’s Thursdaaaaaaaaay!  Finally.  One more day until the weekend (thank freaking heavens) and THINKING OUT LOUD THURSDAY is happening.  It’s kind of the best day.

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1. Remember how I said I needed help sleeping?  First off, you guys are the best for offering all of your advice!  I’m looking into magnesium and hoping to get some soon.  Over the last week or so I’ve been wearing ear plugs and an eye mask to sleep and it has helped big time.  I’m very sensitive when it comes to light and sound so they’ve made a huge difference for me.  There’s something about being in complete darkness and silence that puts you right to sleep!  Well, maybe not right to sleep but it’s getting better.  At first it felt kind of weird (do people actually wear eye masks?) but I was getting desperate and am so happy I gave it a shot.

2.  The only problem with wearing ear plugs to sleep is that I can barely hear this guy when he needs something:

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He’s really into stopping in the middle of the street these days when we go for walks.  Literally just stops to sit and stare at nothing and then lays down when you try and pull him.  Awesome, right?  Turns our 20 minute walks into an hour.

3.  I know that I really love pizza but I’m not too sure about this:

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That, my friends, is a pizza cake.  Apparently Boston Pizza started this craze and now you easily whip one up at home care of Pillsbury.  I think that’s too much pizza for just about anyone.  Just looking at all that cheese alone makes my stomach hurt!

4.  I honestly cannot believe that it is already October.  We’ve been having some pretty spectacular weather in Toronto lately and it’s felt a lot more like summer than anything!  It also occurred to me that Thanksgiving is just 11 days away!  WHAT.  It’s my favourite holiday, without a doubt.  I get to hang out with my family and eat my weight in stuffing.  What’s there not to love?

5.  One thing I hate about fall is breaking in flats/loafers/Toms/any closed shoes after months of wearing flip flops.  I have ripped the skin on my heels so many times already and I’m just not into that whole bandaid look on my feet.  Not cute.  I’ve been trying to get away with runners as much as possible but that doesn’t really swing at work unless I’m teaching Phys Ed…

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6.  Speaking of shoes, Pro Compression is holding a giveaway on their Facebook page where you can win a new pair of running shoes (of your choice up to $150!!) to give your fall training a kick start.  Who doesn’t love new shoes?

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7.  I saw these two mugs on Buzzfeed and I think I kind of need them both:

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not happening

8.  This was on the counter when I got my burrito and wasn’t really sure what to think…

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I know there was a lime shortage a little while ago so are people going into Burrito Boyz and buying limes??  But why are they selling them by the HALF?  Or are they charging 40 cents if you want the juice of half a lime on your burrito?

SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.

I hope you had a great day and I’ll wish you an amazing weekend now!  I won’t be blogging tomorrow but I will be catching up on some of my favourites.  Haven’t done much reading lately! :)

WIAW: Good things come in…

…paper bags??

Remember how I said yesterday that my celebration food of choice would be a burrito?

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#provedit

I had physio after work and it’s pretty close to the best burrito joint in Toronto – Burrito Boyz – so I really had no choice, right?  Usually the lineups for this place are insane and you have to wait quite a bit for your burrito (they grill them to perfection) but since I was going in the midst of downtown rush hour, I had the place more or less all to myself.  Everyone else in the city was more concerned with getting home while I was on a mission to satisfy a burrito craving.  I’m okay with that.

Let’s get on with today’s WIAW.

I’m just warning you – it’s probably not even worth writing about because I was not great about eating today.  At all.

The morning started off great – two cups of frozen berries, one scoop of Vega Performance Protein in chocolate, and coconut milk.

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When I got to work a teacher was selling Girl Guide cookies in the staff room so I bought a box to support him/his kid and legitimately ate the entire box.  I might have given maybe four or five away to a couple of students but the rest?  In my stomach.

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They probably wouldn’t have been my first choice for introducing sugar back into my life but whatever.  Still good.  I should have rationed them so they’d last a couple of days or something but I guess it’s too late now.

On my lunch I went to pick up roti because I am obsessed with anything that comes in a brown paper bag these days (just like my burrito).

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This roti place is amazing.  It’s not even that close to my work but I call them while I’m driving and place my order so that when I get there I can just pick it up and eat it in the car on my way back to work.  It gets hella messy though.  Chickpeas and potatoes flying everywhere.

After work I had a dentist appointment.  I got my first filling EVER and I did not enjoy the experience one bit.  I also avoided telling the dentist that I ate a box of cookies today because he probably would not have been very happy about that.  Hah.

Came home, changed, went for a 6-mile run, showered, took Princeton for a walk, and then had one of those nights where dinner consisted of eating random things I found in the fridge while standing over the kitchen island.

I’m highly lacking in food inspiration for you guys today but I promise I will try a little harder next week!  It was just one of those days, ya know?

See you tomorrow for Thinking Out Loud Thursday! :)

Today calls for a celebration

Today calls for a celebration because…..

…my 21-day sugar strike is OVER!  That went by soooo fast and it wasn’t even torturous.  Truthfully, I didn’t notice much difference in regards to my digestion so I don’t think sugar is the culprit.  I think the biggest lesson I learned through all of this is that I don’t really crave sugar as much as I thought I did.  There wasn’t even one moment where I was like “omg I need to eat that but I can’t because of my sugar strike”.  It’s crazy how our brains often think we want something when we really don’t (if that makes any sense).  I think a lot of the times when I eat sweets it was because I feel like I “should” eat them.  For example, after a big race I often just eat heaps of candy because I know I could.  It’s weird logic – I burned X amount of calories so I should eat at least X amount of calories worth of junk food because I deserve it.  Probably not the smartest thing to do when it comes to recovery.  I’m not saying that post-race treats shouldn’t happen.  I’m all about a good face-stuffing after a race (or even just a solid run):

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post-ottawa marathon (2010)

That race was NOT a good time.  It was my first marathon and I questioned my sanity about a million times all while telling myself I would absolutely never consider running a full marathon ever again.  Only took me four years to change my mind… ;)  Oh and all those mini bags of chips were from the expo.  They needed to get rid of them so some guy gave me an entire box but I didn’t even eat those ones because they were plain and I hate plain chips unless I’ve got dip.

Okay we are starting to get off topic here.

What I’m trying to get to is that I noticed a huge difference in how I felt after Sunday’s race in comparison to a lot of past races.  When it was over I ate some watermelon and an apple and then when I got home I had a roasted broccoli chickpea burger on a whole wheat bun.  I also had some BBQ chips but I didn’t eat to the point of a food coma (we’ve all been there!!) and I definitely didn’t eat an entire bag in bed.  I just felt normal.  No headache, no discomfort or bloat – just good food and a satisfied belly.  I guess good food really does do a body good.

Now the big question: did I cheat??

Simple answer: yes.  Aside from the juice incident, there were two other times I sort of slipped.  Once I ate half a bag of Smartfood sweet & salty popcorn (I have no explanation for this other than it was delicious and I couldn’t stop) and the other time was just yesterday – I ate some of a protein bar that was in my race kit without even thinking and after a few bites, realized that sugar was at the top of the ingredient list.  Oops.

Maybe even the BIGGER question: what will I eat today???

I honestly don’t even know!  I thought there would be a list of things that I would just have to eat today but as of right now I cannot think of anything.  If there is something that I want later then I’ll have it but truthfully, I think I’d rather celebrate the end of my strike with a burrito.  Is that weird?!  I’ll let you guys know if I eat something remotely interesting in tomorrow’s WIAW post!

Have a great day!

Marathon Monday: Toronto 10-miler RACE RECAP!

Well hello.  Nice to see you again.  I haven’t posted since last week’s WIAW.  Lots of stuff going on and I just felt like I needed a bit of a break!  Yesterday I ran the Toronto 10-miler so I thought I’d recap it for Marathon Monday (<- haven’t done one of these in a while…mostly because I’ve been LA-ZY and also haven’t been able to run much).

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Truthfully, I was a bit worried going into this race because I hadn’t run more than 3-5 miles over the past couple of weeks.  My chiropractor gave me the go ahead to run this race, as long as I was feeling good.  My runs have been pretty pain-free so I thought I’d just go into it with no other intention than to finish it and treat it like a training run.  Oh, and to try not to hurt myself… ;)

Let’s do this in point form because recaps are less painful that way.

5:30am – wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, make pre-race breakfast (two slices of toast with Earth Balance + Vega Sugar-Free Energizer)

6:30am – hop in car and drive to race start while eating breakfast

7:00am – arrive at race location 1.5 hours early, snag parking spot, go for a walk and take a photo of the insane sunrise…

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7:20am – realize I parked in the wrong area, hop back in car, look for new parking spot at actual race start #idiot

7:30-8:00am – undress (had sweatpants and a hoodie on top of my race outfit), pre-race text (obviously) warm up (1.8 miles), line up for the bathroom which took foreverrrrrrr (porta-potty company never showed up so there were only four toilets on site) #rude

8:40am – RACE START

LAP 1 [7:30] – Woohoo!  I love races!  Don’t look at your watch.  Just have a good time and pray that you can finish this thing without your leg falling off. [looks at watch anyway] NO.  You’re going to fast.  This isn’t supposed to be one of those races.  Slow the heck DOWN or you will DIE.

LAP 2 [7:36] – Hmmm we are passing a water station now.  I don’t need water!  I’m goooooood.  Slowing down a bit too.  This feels great!  I feel like I can hold this pace forever!  How did that even happen?  When did sub 8′s ever become my “normal” in a race?  This is so weird.

LAP 3 [7:39] –  I should have grabbed that water.  F.  I’m dying.  The lake is on my left.  Maybe I should consider jumping in?  That would be nice.  They said this race is scenic.  I’ve got the lake on one side and the skyline on the other…but once I pass that it’s just dry bushes and trees and OH, there’s a sign that says “STOP FOR SNAKES”.  How about “scream and run as fast as you can to get away from the snakes”?  I think that would be more appropriate.

LAP 4 [7:44] – A WATER STATION!  Best moment ever.  Ahhhh got about a teaspoon of water in my mouth…#fail.  Just great.  I’m stopping at the next water station FOR. SURE.  The turnaround is coming up!  Ooooh here come the elites.  They are FLYING!  I wonder if they drink water?  Probably not.

LAP 5 [7:41] –  Okay, I don’t like this turnaround.  ROCKS. EVERYWHERE.  They should call this a freaking trail race.  Maybe I’m being dramatic.  I like that there’s a lighthouse here though.  That’s kind of pretty.  Should I stop to take a picture?  No.  How fast am I running?  I’m starting to get tired.

LAP 6 [7:44] –  More than halfway.  Now I’m supposed to pick up the pace and run a negative split, right?  Yeah no.  That’s not happening.  How do people even do that?  Let’s try and find someone to keep up with.  That always works.

LAP 7 [7:51] –  “Hellooooo beautiful lady!”  [What in the world...?!]  “My name is Hassam!  Don’t let me pass you!”  Okay Hassam.  I’m on it.  And who are you??  Water station!  WOOHOO!!  [my new friend Hassam and I slow down to drink]

LAP 8 [8:09] –  Hassam is asking me what I do for a living, if I run with a run group, if I am racing the Scotiabank Half Marathon, tells me I’ve very social and warm hearted (<- how he came to this conclusion after 4 minutes, I do not know).  How is he even talking and running at the same time?  I cannot. even. breathe.  He’s making the time pass though.  I like this.  Hassam don’t leave me.  HASSAM!  NOOOOOOO…. “I’ll see you at the finish line, Christina!”

LAP 9 [8:09] –  I’m slowing down quite a bit.  It’s SO hot.  I think I lost at least 14 pounds of water weight.  Geez.  Why did I wear all black?!  I still feel okay for the most part but I would definitely not be mad if this was over.  Like now.  Another water station!  I’m walking for this one.  Okay, only one mile to go.  That’s less than ten minutes!  I can do anything for ten minutes!

LAP 10 [8:18] – The people on the sidelines are so nice!  Everyone is smiling and telling me I’m doing a great job and that I’m almost done.  That’s exactly what I need to hear.  I think I will probably finish in less than 1:20!  I wish I could pick up the pace and try sprinting for the finish but I have NOTHING left in me.  Nothing.  I can hear the cheers!!  FINISH LINE IS COMING!  There it is!!!!!  You are D-O-N-E!!!!

Finishing time: 1:18:30

Got my medal…

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Ate some watermelon…

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They also had candy, bread with an assortment of dips/spreads, bananas, apples, and granola bars.

Then I asked a random stranger to take a photo of me because I went to this race solo…

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…and we immediately became BESTIES!  Her name is Martina and she’s also a teacher!  We chatted for a while and she was nice enough to offer to take ANOTHER picture when they called my name as the third place female in my AG!  WHAT.

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…and apparently 24th out of 301 women! :D  That was unexpected but so awesome.  I’ve been so down in the dumps about running lately so this was definitely a confidence-booster.  A podium finish will never happen for me at a bigger race so this was really nice.

Overall, the race was great.  It was really well-organized, the course is flat, there were enough water/Gatorade stations, a lot of food options at the finish, and the volunteers were super friendly.  It’s an out-and-back which I know a lot of people don’t like but I don’t really mind it because it makes the parking/car situation a lot easier.  There are not very many people cheering – mostly just the volunteers at the water stations and the crowd at the finish line.  That usually doesn’t matter too much to me so I was A-OK with it.  It’s just a pretty quiet race but I’m one of those weirdos that likes quiet.  I don’t even listen to music on my runs anymore.

The best part about this race though – my leg didn’t hurt one bit.  Looks like I’ll be running the Scotiabank Half Marathon in three weeks!  The road to recovery is not fun but it sure does make you so much more grateful for being able to run.

Hope you had an awesome weekend!!!

WIAW: on the go

My last few WIAW posts have been photographed at home when I’m not working and have all the time in the world to make my food look relatively good.  This week I thought I’d shake things up a bit and show you what things look like on the go and on a typical work day.

I didn’t have to be in until 10am this morning, meaning I only had to work 10-2:30.  How sweet is that?!  I was actually able to go for a quick run too!  Just a 5K today…hoping my doc will increase my mileage when I see him tomorrow.  Anyway, once I showered and got ready, I made a smoothie to take with me in the car: frozen banana and pineapple, lots of spinach, coconut milk and one scoop of Vega Performance Protein in vanilla.

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I won this Cuppow drinking jar from Knead to Cook and am slightly obsessed.

For lunch I brought two extremely non-glamorous collard wraps with chickpea salad inside.

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I haven’t nailed the wrapping technique yet so I needed to use toothpicks!  I won’t lie, I like sandwiches [with real bread] better but I found enormous collard greens at the grocery store last night so I grabbed them.  I’ve been meaning to try collard wraps forever now but every time I’ve gone grocery shopping, the greens were just to small.  Now I’ve got about 20 leaves left so if anyone wants to come over for wraps…

I usually bring a bit more to eat on a work day but because I knew I would only be there for 4.5 hours, I just brought a light lunch because I knew I had this deliciousness [aka Amanda’s pumpkin pie breakfast bake with almond butter] waiting for me when I got home.

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I made it last night before I went to sleep so that I’d have it ready to go today.  It was sooooo good.  I added raisins but think next time I will try chocolate chips – when my sugar strike is over, of course! ;)  I also had heaps of popcorn which threw my thirst levels off the charts.  I think throughout this whole challenge I’ve been leaning toward salty snacks a lot more than usual and am learning that my body doesn’t appreciate it very much…but who in their right mind can exercise any sort of self-control and moderation when it comes to popcorn? #notme

Dinner rolled around and I had every intention to make these burgers but those will have to wait until tomorrow because…

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Pizza.  Specifically, a recreation of last week’s restaurant pizza [only better].

Alright, I’m off to try and shake this headache that’s been bugging me for the last few hours.  Thanks for all of your tips on yesterday’s post.  I tried something last night that worked but I’ll wait until tomorrow to tell you [and try it again tonight] just in case it was a fluke.

Hope you had a great day!!