WIAW: trying something a little different

Happy WIAW!  Work is officially done for me (as of yesterday) and it’s a pretty good feeling.  I’ve got about 2.5 months to take advantage of which will probably end up being spent running, eating, hanging with Princeton, and condo-hunting (<– time to get serious about that one).  Now that I’m home, I have more time to actually sit down comfortably to my meals which is always nice.  Yesterday was the first day in a loooooong time that I was actually home for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  So let’s hop to it!

I’m pretty used to grazing on snack-y foods all day, both when I’m working (and when I’m not) but yesterday I wanted to try eating three bigger meals that were more filling and calorie dense and I kinda liked it.  I was full for longer, wasn’t thinking about food all day, and was truly satisfied after each meal.

Breakfast:

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1 cup brown rice/quinoa blend mixed with 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1tbsp maple syrup, and almond milk.  I had some rice and quinoa from food prep sitting in the fridge and decided to try using it for a sweet breakfast and I really liked it.  I heated it up in the microwave for a minute so it was nice and warm like a bowl of oats, then topped with banana, strawberries, and Justin’s honey peanut butter.

Lunch:

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Pretty basic and always a favourite – two slices of whole grain bread topped with avocado mash (avocado, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chill flakes).  Cherries on the side because #CHERRYSEASON!!

Dinner:

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Sweet potato fries, half an avocado, Mary’s Crackers with hummus, and cherry tomatoes.  Something really funny happened during dinner time – there was a pretty bad rain storm here last night and just as my sweet potatoes were done, the power went out.  I had prepped all my food on my plate and then BAM!  Lights go out.  I was like “HOW AM I GOING TO TAKE A PICTURE OF MY DINNER?!” #bloggerproblems [power came back after about two minutes...]

Snack:

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.12.50 AMAfter my three meals I thought I was done for the day but my stomach thought differently.  I was in bed and it started to growl so I got up at about 11:15 and headed to the kitchen for a Vega Snack Bar.  Seemed to do the trick.

My food has been pretty basic and unexciting for the most part.  Everything is pretty plain and my diet is very high in carbohydrates because of my stomach.  “Dry” carbs like toast and potatoes seem to be best for me right now and (usually) keep the pain at bay.  I did go to the doctor yesterday though and am in the process of getting some testing done so hopefully I’ll have answers soon.  I feel like I have a lot of anxiety when I eat these days because I don’t know how the food is going to do to me.  This is not enjoyable.  Not one bit.  It makes going out to eat very stressful at times and I’m just itching to get some sense of normalcy back.  I want to order a pizza and not think about the side effects, you know?

ANYWAY, I hope you are having a great week so far!  See you tomorrow for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

How many meals do you eat in a day?

Marathon Monday: mind games

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend and a Happy Father’s Day.  My weekend was pretty quiet for the most part.  It included a little Orange is the New Black, chips and salsa, a long run dedicated to my dad for Father’s Day, and some retail therapy.  Can’t really complain about that, right?  After a few days off blogging I was itching to get back to it this week with a new Marathon Monday post.  I was actually thinking about what my topic should be during yesterday’s run (I no longer run with music so I have lots of quiet time to think about random things) and was debating between ‘mind games’ and ‘long run fuelling’ — what I eat the day before, pre-run, during my run, post-run, and the rest of my day….  Maybe next week I can cover fuelling?

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Here is a recap of last week’s workouts:

Monday: 6 miles @ 8:29 avg.

Tuesday: 8 miles @ 8:08 avg.

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 20 minutes stairs + strength training

Friday: 5 miles @ 8:47 avg.

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: 14.04 miles @ 8:41 avg.

I didn’t get around to doing a tempo run this week but Tuesday ended up being a progression run that went surprisingly well.  This week’s goal is to spend a little more time focusing on speed and STRENGTH TRAINING.  I’ve been letting that slip big time but I’m getting back to it this week…

Now for MIND GAMES.

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P.S. Taking self-timed shots from the ground make your legs look twice as long.

P.P.S. I know I have a heel striking problem but I am thinking it will be a forever problem.  Don’t judge me.

A lot of the times, heck – most of the time – running is mental.  Running at a certain pace is possible.  Finishing a marathon is possible.  PRs are possible.  You just need to believe that you can do it.  I remember the first day I went running outside - I couldn’t even make it about 1/4 of a mile before I had to stop to catch my breath.  It was so frustrating and I just thought maybe it wasn’t in me to be a runner.  Then I had a conversation with a friend who told me it was mind over matter.  Your legs can go as long as you want them to, you just need to convince yourself you can do it.  The next day I ran 3 MILES without stopping.  That day was huge for me and I still look back on it to this day and remind myself I am capable of hard things – and hard runs.  I have also gotten into the habit of playing these three mind games with myself that make these runs easier.

1.  Staying ‘in’ the mile.  When I go out planning to do say, 8 miles, and the first mile just feels like an absolute struggle I need a lot of convincing to keep going.  I tell myself to stay within the mile and not to focus on how many I have left.  I find that when I do this, nine times out of ten, I end up having a really great progression run.  If I run my first mile at 9:00, I try and run the next a little faster, and the next a little faster, and so on.  This is what I did on Tuesday and ended up running my last three miles in 7:51, 7:45, and 7:38.

2.  The memory game.  I use this for my tempo runs ALL the time.  Let’s pretend I have to do 6 tempo miles.  I’ll warm up for about 1-2 miles and then start the tempo portion.  I complete my first tempo mile in 7:50 and once I move onto the next mile, I keep repeating “7:50″ in my head until the second mile is over.  I run my second mile in 7:48.  So now i’m repeating “7:50, 7:48″ over and over in my head until I’m done the next mile, which I run in 7:45.  Now I’m repeating “7:50, 7:48, 7:45″ over and over….you get the point.  The goal is to remember my times for all six tempo miles once I’m finished.  I don’t know why I do this but it seems to make the run go by a lot faster.

3.  Changing up my feet/stride.  As you can see above, I am a heel striker.  I also tend to take long strides.  I basically have the least efficient running form ever.  When I get bored on my runs I will change things up, focus on form and play little games like “let’s try mid foot striking from this pole to that fire hydrant” or “take smaller, quicker steps from this stop sign to that set of lights”.  It gives me something else to focus on and hey, if it helps improve my form and running efficiency, why not?  I tend only to do this for the last few miles of a run because I personally know if I change my foot placement too much I will get injured so I’m taking a really gradual approach at this right now.

There you have it!  Some of the little tricks I use to help me out when I need it.

Are there any tricks/mind games/mantras you use to make your runs/workouts easier?

WIAW: a vegetarian walks into a steakhouse…

Happy hump day!  I am actually loving participating in weekly WIAW posts.  Taking pictures of food kind of becomes fun, even when you’re out for dinner and everyone looks at you like you are crazy.  “WAIT!  Don’t eat that appetizer yet!  I need to snap a photo!” #storyofmylife

Yesterday’s wake up call was a bit later than usual and I didn’t head out to run until about 10:30ish.  I knew I couldn’t eat a “real” breakfast beforehand or else I would cramp and/or barf so I just grabbed a couple of dates and dipped them in my jar of gold.  Dates are a teeny tiny bit sweet for me but they did the trick.

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After my 8 mile run (which actually went a lot better than expected) I grabbed some Vega Recovery Accelerator and took Princeton for a walk as my cool down.

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…and yes, that is in fact him peeing.  Impeccable timing I have, right?

Once I got in and showered I was absolutely famished.  Thanks to Monday’s food prep, I quickly tossed some rice, broccoli and tofu in the microwave.  Avocado toast and a side of fruit too.

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I had plans to go to dinner for my aunt’s birthday but we weren’t meeting until 7:30…so I had a few Vega Recovery Bites to hold me over until then.

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Dipped in Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter because…why not?  It took them from delicious to heavenly.

Now…dinner.  If you are Canadian you will know what The Keg is.  If you’re not Canadian I’ll fill you in: steak.  They are known for #allthemeat and you’ll also find a few chicken and seafood options on the menu.  Vegetarians are basically not welcome.  I noticed online that their bar menu offered veggie tacos so I asked about those and the server notified me they had TUNA in them.  Then why aren’t they called TUNA TACOS?  Mind boggling.

Anyway…they bring you fresh, warm, crusty bread before your meal since it’s perfectly fine to fill up before your order arrives.  Not complaining.  It was delicious.

[please ignore poor photo quality - the restaurant was HELLA DARK]

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Then one of the appetizers we ordered for our table was the garlic cheese bread.  Goodness.  Gracious.

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Cheese is not something I can eat because it literally feels like my stomach and intestines are being ripped to shreds…but so does just about every other food in existence so I ate it anyway and heck it was good.  The pain was practically immediate but hey, sometimes you just need to make sacrifices for good food.

The server told me he could get the chef to make me a veggie stir fry for my meal so I went for it since there was nothing else I could order but by the time it came I was already so full.  I guess eating a loaf of bread will do that to you, eh?  I picked at the stir fry and it was just okay.  The flavour was good but they put waaaaaaay too much oil and sauce in it.

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Today my breath stinks from all the garlic and my stomach is still reminding me about the cheese.

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#worthit

Garlic bread – yay or nay?

Do you eat anything pre-workout/pre-run?

FAVOURITES and getting my confidence back

Is it weird that I spell favourites with a “u”?  Probably to 99% of you.  Crazy Canadians and their u’s, EH?  Anyway, I’ve been meaning to publish a “favourites” page for a while and it is finally up.

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I get a lot of questions, especially about run gear and nutrition so I put together a list of my current favourite things.  I’ve only got my fav Vega products under “nutrition” so far but I will keep adding to it as I think of things that I often use to support my training.  I also included a list of blogs that I love and read regularly and probably forgot a whole bunch…but like the other pages, they’ll be updated on a regular basis.

Over the last little while my confidence, especially when it comes to running, has been complete sh*t.  I struggled with my last tempo run, didn’t get the result I hoped for at my last 5K, barely reached 100 miles for the month of May (it’s a goal of mine to run 100+ miles/month), and I just haven’t had that OMG RUNNING IS THE BEST THING EVER feeling.  I guess it happens.  We can’t be excited about things all the time.  Except food.  I’m pretty sure I can be excited about food all the time.

I didn’t work today so I got to sleep in until about 7:30 (bliss) and after procrastinating for about thee hours, I headed out to see where my feet and legs would take me.  I started with my first mile at 9:01 and thought, “Okay this will probably just be an easy/relaxed run today” but I started feeling better and better after each mile and turned it into a progression run with my last three miles at 7:51, 7:45 and 7:38.  The best part about it — my sub-8:00 miles didn’t even feel that hard!

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Today’s run was just what I needed to ignite that spark again.  I regained a bit of running confidence and am soooo looking forward to pushing myself over the next few weeks.  Maybe juuuust maybe I’ll be able to finally break my 1:44 half PR at this year’s SeaWheeze in August.

One last thing – if I had a dollar for every time a person asked me who takes my running photos…I’d honestly be rich.  It’s just an app on my iPhone called TimerCam.  I usually set the timer to 10 seconds, put my phone on the ground and run by.  Done.  See?  Easy peasy!

Hope you all had a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow with a WIAW post! :)

Tell me one of YOUR favourite things!  Anything! – blog, app, food, workout gear, supplement…

Marathon Monday: food prep

Happy Monday!  Let’s be honest, I don’t always start my weeks with a positive attitude but today I am feeling goooood.  I set my alarm for 4:30am to go to the gym and hit snooze a couple of times and finally woke up at 5 to notice the sun was already coming up!!  I’m usually in the gym by that time so I never knew what time it started to get light outside.  Instead of the gym I decided to lace up my runners and head out for a run.  I usually have to leave my runs until after work because it’s too dark out and I’m scared to run alone in the dark so I was pretty happy.  Now I won’t have to run tonight and deal with the cramps I usually get from running with a day’s worth of food in my belly.

Speaking of food…for this week’s Marathon Monday I wanted to show you some of the (healthy + plant-based) things that I usually prep for the week so that I don’t have to worry too much about cooking on weekdays.

MarathonMonday

First, here is what went down in terms of workouts last week:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 6.2 miles @ 8:19 avg.

Wednesday: 6.2 miles @ 8:09 avg.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 3.25 miles @ 8:57 avg + 15 minutes stairs + strength training (upper body)

Saturday: 9.83 miles @ 8:45 avg.

Sunday: 30 minutes stairs + strength training (lower body)

Ideally I’d like to have two upper body and two lower body strength training days but some weeks it just doesn’t work out that way.  Meeting your friend for dinner and getting kicked out of the restaurant is more important.

And now for food prep….let’s ignore the horrible picture because tupperware just can’t look fancy no matter how hard you try.

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  1. Kale chips
  2. Quinoa
  3. Raw veggies
  4. Vega Recovery Bites
  5. Grapes
  6. Pan seared garlic tofu (from OSG cookbook)
  7. Roasted broccoli
  8. Brown rice
  9. Baked sweet potato

My food prep takes about 2-3 hours and I usually end up with enough to last the whole week for work lunches/snacks and some dinners.  Other nights I will make something different or go out for dinner.  This is what works for me and so far I haven’t gotten bored of anything.  Keeping healthy food in my fridge definitely helps big time when it comes to my marathon training.  It keeps me well-fuelled and ensures that I am giving my body the nutrients that it needs throughout the day to recover from my last workout and prepare for the next.  It also makes things easier during the week and gives me more time at night to relax or train or…watch The Bachelorette… ;)

Hope your week is off to a great start!

What are some of your favourite things to food prep?

Remind me never to do that again

The weekend kind of comes and goes too fast, don’t you think? I’m kinda sad it’s over but I’m ready to tackle the last couple weeks of work before I’m off for the summer. It’ll be nice to not have to wake up at 4:30am to train before a work day. I’d like to still try and keep some sort of a routine though or else I know I’ll probably be living in my pyjamas until noon…which would push my runs into the scorching hot afternoon. That’s kind of what happened yesterday. It wasn’t even that late – I think I headed out around 10am?  I didn’t bring any fuel…remind me never to do that again, okay?  At about mile 5 I thought I was going to pass out.  I literally had sweat dripping off my shins.  Luckily the awesome people at Starbucks gave me some ice water aka saved my life.

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I wanted to hit double digits but I reached my house at 9.83 miles and had no desire to go one step further so I called it a day, went inside to chug a smoothie and half a bag of Maltesers.

I know I said I had no plans for the weekend (other than run) but that was before I got a text from Danielle asking if I was free for dinner last night because she was going to be in the city.  Holy.  Yes.  Stop, drop and roll.  Always free for this girl.

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We met at Fresh…WHAT ELSE IS NEW?!  I ordered the squash tacos…again.  Seriously this monthly special is that good and I predict I will eat it at least five more times before it disappears.

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Danielle and I obviously talk too much so even after we were done eating we hung around and talked at our table for a couple of hours until we were KICKED OUT.  Yes, really.  A server came up to us and said he needed our table to attach to another table so he could seat a party of five.  Sure, no problem…until we got up to leave and noticed the restaurant was almost empty and there was NO PARTY OF FIVE TO BE SEEN.  How rude.  So we went and gave Yogurty’s our money and second hit of hunger.

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Not complaining.  Did you know adding blueberries to your froyo instantly makes it heathy? ;)

I walked Danielle to her second party of the evening and got to meet a French Bulldog named Portia.

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Those ears.  I die.

Then it was home time to watch two episodes of Orange is the New Black.  Who else watches this show?!  I’m only four episodes into the first season and I swear it’s the funniest show in history.  That’s not saying much because I rarely watch TV (The Bachelor/Bachelorette is the only exception) but it takes a lot for me to get hooked on any kind of series.  So good.

Hope you had a fabulous weekend!  I’ll be back tomorrow with a Marathon Monday post! :)

Thinking Out Loud #22

HOLLA!  I’m a day late with this TOL post but what else is new…  I was doing well for so long that I thought I’d throw you off a bit this week.  HA!  Just kidding.  My WIAW post went out a bit late so things just snowballed.  One of those weeks…

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Anyway, let’s get to it!  Time to get RANDOM!

1.  Remember how I told you I had a photo shoot last Friday?  Well it went great except I did not get even one good headshot.  I can take about a million and one fun running photos but when it comes to looking directly into a camera lens and trying to smile but not look like I’m fake smiling, I’m impossible.  I look like a complete idiot.  My friend also kept getting mad at me because I smile too much. When I run, stretch, tie my shoes — always smiling.  Better than always looking angry I guess, right?

2.  Apparently today is National Donut Day?  I’ve never been a big donut-eater but if I had to choose, I’d probably go with a Honey Crueller….

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Yum.

Random fact: I am not a fan of sprinkles (I think they are useless) and dipped donuts are not my favourite.  I think it’s because they’re sticky and you lose about half of the frosting or whatever it is because it sticks to the bag and gets all over the place.  Apparently I’m picky when it comes to donuts…?  That’s why Tim Bits (or donut holes) are awesome – no mess and you can eat like six different flavours instead of committing to one whole donut in one flavour.

3.  I have a bone to pick with MasterCard.  I get that cancelling your card on you without notice is kind of the thing they do when they suspect something suspicious.  But it’s kind of embarrassing when you go to buy gas and your card doesn’t work.  Of course I have alternative forms of payment but I thought there was something wrong with the pump so I was driving to different pumps like a maniac before I went inside and realized it was my card that was not working.  It must have been my online $49 Justin’s Nut Butter purchase that set off the suspicion, as ridiculous as it sounds!  What?  Normal people don’t binge buy nut butters??

4.  Speaking of…

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My order is already here!  I think it came in less than 48 hours!  I was kind of excited and annoyed at the same time.  Excited because my jars came so fast but annoyed that I got charged an extra $21.51 in duties.  WHAT THE…?!  I’m going to have to limit my nut butter intake until I visit the US again and can stock up on this stuff.

5.  I’m having another weekend full of zero plans and it feels weird.  The only things on my to do list so far are (1) RUN and (2) buy this guy dog food…and I already did #2 on my way home from work today.

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6.  Princeton actually had a few rough days this week.  Last weekend someone set off a firework while we were out for a walk and he totally freaked out.  Turned into a completely different dog.  He was shaking, stopped walking, and just looked so afraid.  Even once inside he just turned super quiet and all he wanted to do was sit/sleep as close to me as possible.  This lasted dayyyyysssss.

7.  Just about every day after work this week has looked like this and I am 100% okay with it.

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Sunshine and avocado toast aka heaven.  My nut butter was delivered about halfway through my snack so I had to have four spoonfuls for dessert.  The vanilla almond and chocolate hazelnut are my fav.

8. …and since I turned my alarm off every day this week and made no attempts to go to the gym, that’s where I’ll be tonight.  I’ve enjoyed the extra snooze time but these muscles aren’t going to get stronger if I don’t put in the work!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tell me what you are looking forward to this weekend! :)