Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pork Burger & Veggy Salad

Pork Burger & Veggy Salad
Pork burgers are one my favorite things to eat lately. Ever since I discovered ground pork, which is cheaper, healthier, and tastier to me than ground beef, I've been eating a lot more burgers. Accompanying this is a veggy salad inspired by a recipe from GreenWise Magazine (Marinated Zucchini & Mushrooms).

(all the quantities listed are for reference. You can use more or less to taste)

Pork Burgers
- mince 1-2 cloves of garlic
- mince 1 thick slice of onion (any kind will do, but I prefer red)
- add the minced garlic and onions to the ground pork
- add seasoning of your choice (salt & pepper or everglades seasoning works great)
- add some Worcestershire sauce (you can also use A1 or any other steak sauce you like)
- put gloves on and massage the meat to mix in all the ingredients evenly
- make into patties and grill (1 lb makes about 4 patties)

Veggy Salad
- mince 1-2 cloves of garlic
- mince 1 thick slice of onion (I prefer red)
- chop any leftover vegetables you have into bite size pieces (I usually use a combination of peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumber, mushrooms, radish, tomatoes--anything really that you don't mind eating raw)
- combine all ingredients in a bowl
- season the veggies to taste (salt & pepper is usually enough since the minced garlic and onions sever as seasoning too--I gotta remember to add some fresh basil =P)
- add extra virgin olive oil and vinegar (white or red wine works well) to taste
- serve; this keeps well refrigerated for a few days. If you put too much oil/vinegar it may get soggy though.


I did not want to get up this morning. Is not that I didn't want to run, I just didn't want to get out of bed. I seem to always feel achy in the mornings lately when I wake up (mostly these past few days), but as soon as I get up and move around a bit I am fine. So I got up, warmed up a bit inside, did some stretches and started on my warm up brisk walk.

I knew I could do the 5 minute runs, I did them on Sunday, but I was apprehensive for some reason. I ran the first interval slowly without a problem; I wanted to preserve my energy and be able to do the last run. I ran the 2nd interval a tad faster, and I maintained that speed for most of it. I tried doing the last interval even faster (which is still fairly slow compared to some of you), but I couldn't keep it up the whole time. I slowed down a bit in the middle of it and then sprinted the last minute or so. I finished it! I am looking forward to Thursday, but 8 minutes seems like an eternity. I couldn't stop looking at my watch during the last 2 intervals, I can't imagine how its going to be when I have to do 20 minutes in a row, during a 5k nonetheless.

When I started this program, I had complete faith in it and had no doubt I'd be able to do each run when the time came. I read all of your entries and get inspired, but now that is so close I am a tad intimidated. I know I'll be able to do it, and the adrenaline from the race will help, but I am going to be so bored! LOL.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Meatless Monday dinner

Meatless Monday dinner
This was my dinner today. Asides from the stuffed mushroom, it was very easy to make--and the mushrooms where not hard to make, just time consuming because of all the chopping. It was very tasty.

baked breaded tilapia - I just followed the package instructions I got from Publix, but basically just bread the fish and bake at 450 for 5 minutes on each side.

stuffed mushrooms (hidden mickey)
I followed this recipe with some variations: orange peppers instead of green, minced garlic/onions instead of salt, olive oil instead of butter, bread crumbs instead of toasted bread and I forgot about the pepper and parm cheese.

Saute zucchini & orange peppers
Just cut and saute in olive oil for a few minutes with your favorite seasoning. I also added some minced garlic and onions. I chose these veggies because I had already cut part of the pepper for the mushrooms and wanted to make the zucchini before it went bad.

Meatless Monday lunch

Meatless Monday lunch
I love how colorful this plate of food is. I read about Meatless Monday in GreenWise magazine and thought I'd give it a try this week since I want to reduce my red meat intake.


From their site, www.meatlessmonday.com/, where you can read more details, tips and recipes.

Meatless Monday is a national public health campaign to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer -- four of the leading causes of death in America. A simple way to prevent these diseases is to eat [...] [food] lower in saturated fat, found mainly in meat and high-fat dairy products. If Americans cut out meat and high-fat dairy just one day a week, they would meet the government's dietary guidelines.

Based on their nutritional guidelines, "meatless" means no red meat, pork or poultry. Seafood -- which is high in nutritional value and "good fats" our bodies need -- is encouraged [...]

So, why Mondays? [...] Monday is a great time to start the week on a lighter note, especially for those of us who tend to overindulge over the weekend.


My meatless meals today:

- Breakfast: scrambled egg beaters and veggie sausage (which I accidentally purchased, but are quite tasty).
- Morning Snacks: banana; Quaker Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Lunch: Smart Taste Pasta (with 3x the fiber and calcium equal to an 8oz glass of milk) with, shrimp saute in extra virgin olive oil and the leftover veggies from last night.
- Afternoon Snacks: homemade popcorn
- Dinner: Tilapia with stuffed mushrooms and zucchini or some other veggie

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Man I am beat. My legs, specially my thighs, were a tad soar from my 4.3 mile bike ride yesterday. I was worried I would not be able to run this morning, so I took extra care warming up and stretching before I started because I was determined not to through off my schedule before the upcoming 5k on Saturday. My legs did feel tired, but I pushed through it and actually ran the entire 3rd interval (3 minutes) pretty fast and most of the last one. The last minute I was practically sprinting, finding it very hard to keep up, but I finished it. I think I will have to take tomorrow off entirely (from running & biking), which means driving or maybe walking very slowly to work. I really need to do yoga soon too or my body is going to go on strike.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Today's workout was about the same as Wednesday, but I guess a tad easier. The 5 minute runs are tough, but doable--at a snail's pace of course. =) I was worried I'd be too sore to run after my 8.7 mile bike ride yesterday but it went well. I even rode my bike to work (2 miles) afterwards. I am feeing great and I plan to ride my bike to work at least 3-4 days a week. Gas is too damn expensive and this will be a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone: I'll save money and get fit at the same time.

Fitness Update: -15.8 in 85 days

easy does it
Starting Weight: 152 (1/29/08)
Previous Weigh-in: 136.4
Current Weigh-in: 136.2
BMI: 25

Weight Difference: -.2
Total Weight Loss: -15.8 in 85 days
Current Goal: 135 lbs (1.2 lbs to go)

Not much of a loss this week, but at least I did not put on any weight. I ate awful last weekend, so it would not have surprised me; I guess I made up for it with all the activity I did this week. I weighed myself before and after the run, and it seems I lost about 1/2 a pound just from this morning's workout. I also rode my bike to work today and to Waterford yesterday. I am feeling great!

Marinated Zucchini & Mushrooms

This recipes is from Publix GreenWise Market Magazine, which you can subscribe to and receive for free in the mail every month, pick it up at the store, or view it online.

Two-Potato Skillet

This recipes is from Publix GreenWise Market Magazine, which you can subscribe to and receive for free in the mail every month, pick it up at the store, or view it online.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

8.7 mile bike ride to Waterford

I rode my bike to Waterford Lakes to pick up my glasses today. I can definitely feel that I am more fit now, because I remember having a horrible time the last time that I rode 2 miles to work, but this was not too bad. The roundtrip was a total of 8.7 mile, and although it wasn't a piece of cake, it was totally doable.

Again, controlling my breathing goes a long way, drinking plenty of water, and wearing the right clothing for the weather. One nice side effect of all this outdoors exercising is that I am looking Puertorrican again :) I should probably wear some sunscreen.

I am really going to try to bike to work at least 3-4 times a week. It will give me regular exercise and I am sick of throwing all that money away on gas. Here is hoping this bike ride burnt enough calories to show a loss tomorrow--though I suspect that slice of pizza I just had negated it :( But it's all good, it's all muscle I tell ya ;)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I got up early this morning and completed day 1 of week 4 before work. It went pretty well; better than expected, in fact. The 5 minute runs were no piece of cake, but they were not agony either. This is a pretty big accomplishment because the total time of the run intervals is almost 3 times more than the walk intervals (not counting the extra 10 minutes or so of walking for warm up and cool down). Just for comparison so I can look back on it later: week 1 was a ratio of 3/2 of walking to running; week 2 was almost the same as week 1 with an extra minute of running; week 3 was an equal amount of running and walking.

So this was a pretty big jump and I finished it without wanting to die. My calves were hurting a bit during the runs, but adjusting my stride or speed seemed to alleviate that. It is amazing how much your body can do if you just put your mind to it and you maintain a regular breathing rhythm. Ever since I started to really pay attention to my breathing I've had no side stitches, which is fantastic! I am beyond proud of myself for getting this far and I have every confidence that I will finish this program and be able to run 30 minutes by week 9. How far 30 minutes of running will take me? Well that is a different story, but one thing at a time :)

I know I should not focus on speed at this time, and I am not, but it baffles me that I am maintaining pretty much the same pace (14-15 minutes a mile) from week to week. You would think that running more than walking would help my pace a little, but I suspect that my walks are slower because I have more to recover from. I will continue working the program until I can run 3 miles then I will worry about increasing speed.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I did my run before work this morning and it went really well. I did not get up as early as I hoped, so I could not do any extra intervals. That is ok because I start week 4 on Wed and that will be much harder with the longest run being 5 minutes. I've eaten badly this weekend, so I need to make sure I get some exercise in on days off from C25K. I am trying to do abs regularly and some strength training because I really need to tone my tummy and thighs. I am really looking forward to Wed to see how I do with the increased run times. I am really enjoying running and I wish I could do it everyday, but I know my body needs the rest while it is still getting used to running. Once I finish the program, I think I will run every day but with varying lengths and intensity.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Today's run/walk went great. I really love doing this in the mornings. I hope I can get up early enough on Monday to do it before work. I actually finished the first mile in under 14 minutes, but I did not keep up that pace for the 2nd mile because I was done with the program and walking before starting a few extra intervals. Next time I will just walk 5 minutes between restarting instead of almost 10. I really focused on my breathing and that helped immensely as I had no side stitches today. The 3 minute runs did not seem that long and I probably could have done a few more intervals, but I did not want to overdue it.

I bought some new bike shorts at Target yesterday and they are amazing. They are seamless and I barely feel they are there. I didn't want to take them off when I was done. It seems I may have pulled a muscle behind my left knee because it feels a little tender, but hopefully it will go away by Monday so I am not derailed from the program. I really cannot wait to start week 4 and get one step closer to being able to run a whole mile straight.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fitness Update: -15.6 in 78 days

day122: 15+ lbs lost
Starting Weight: 152 (1/29/08)
Previous Weigh-in: 137.6
Current Weigh-in: 136.4
Weight Difference: -1.2
Total Weight Loss: -15.6 in 78 days
Mini Goal Exceeded: > 15 lbs lost
Current Goal: 135 lbs (1.4 lbs to go)

I wasn't expecting much of a loss this week since I have not been as active as normal and my food intake has been off (not really eating bad foods, but probably not eating enough because of stress). I did continue with the C25K running program 3 days this week, but that was about all I did; I did not lift weights or do much else on the days off. But I am thrilled that I've lost over 15 lbs total in the past 2 months.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I started week 3 of C25K today, where the longest run is 3 minutes, and it wasn't too bad. Since there are only 4 running intervals for a total of 9 minutes of running, it was over before I got a chance to get too tired or winded. I really worked on controlling my breathing and that seemed to prevent the stitches and make running 3 minutes in a row easier. I am excited that I am able to keep up and this program really seems to be working. I actually look forward to starting a new week and being able to run longer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


day120: after run FUTAB
It is in the 60s today. I know I should be happy about this, but I did not enjoy running in weather that cold. I wore long pants and long sleeves, but I was still freezing for must of it. I still managed to complete W2D3 for a total of 2 miles in under 30 minutes. Thursday I start week 3 where I'll be running intervals of 90 seconds and 3 minutes.

I really want to get the nike+ ipod sports kit (for which I would also need to buy an ipod nano) or SportsBand, but do I really need 'em?

I would really love to try it out first, anyone have an ipod nano I can borrow for a few days? I have other ipods I can lend you in the meantime.

The next two weeks will be extremely stressful as school comes to a close and I frantically finish grading. I have way too much going on right now, and I am feeling overwhelmed. I am hoping my weight loss and workout programs won't be affected, but something has to give. Oh well. Here is hoping May arrives soon and I get everything done in time.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Race Report: Windermere Run Among the Lakes 5K (W2D2)

day117: 5K under 45 minutes!
I did it! I finished my first 5K in just under 45 minutes (44:38) and I feel great. I know it's no 10 or 12 minute mile or anything, but I think its great considering I am still walking most of it. I am a little tired of course, but I am not exhausted or in pain. I had a slightly better pace than the last race, which is a great accomplishment since this course was mostly hard-packed sand making it harder and slower. I think it helped that I have been training and that I wore cooler clothes than last time. I followed week 2, day 2 of the C25K program for the first 2 miles. After about 10 minutes of walking, the other podcast kicked in; and I put in an extra 3 run intervals, then sprinted to the finish line. I ran a total of about 14 minutes. Now I have 3 weeks to kick it up a notch for Disney's Go Red For Women 5K, where I hope to be able to run at least half of it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fitness Update: -14.4 in 71 days

day116: under 140!
Starting Weight: 152 (1/29/08)
Previous Weigh-in: 140.2
Current Weigh-in: 137.6
Weight Difference: -2.6
Total Weight Loss: -14.4 in 71 days
Mini Goal Exceeded: Weight < 140 lbs
Current Goal: 135 lbs (2.6 lbs to go)

I am finally showing a significant weight loss and I weigh under 140 lbs! Obviously I have been very active this week with 4 days of C25K walk/runs and 20-30 mins of weightlifting and abs on the other days. I also did yoga last Sat and will probably do that tonight and after the race. I kinda miss kickboxing, but I don't want to overwork my legs so I am focusing on upper body and abs on days off from running. I am taking it easy tonight to give my body a rest and be ready for the race tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today's run was rough. I completed the first day of week 2, but barely (run 90s/walk 2min) then walked extra for a total of 2.5 miles in about 38 mins (this may be off by a minute or so since I stretched after the warmup and forgot to stop the clock. I tried to compensate later but probably not the right amount). I got a real bad side stich during the 5th interval and I had to stop for a few seconds, but I powered through it and finished it--albeit very slowly. I think it is getting way too hot to run/walk after work--sweat kept getting into my eye and it was very annoying. I am either going to have to get up early so I can run before work, or run at night in the dark. I am not sure which seems less pleasant to me. I have no idea how I am going to do at the 5K on Sat, but I'll be happy if I can finish under 50 mins. I've been doing the program every other day, but I am taking 2 days off from running after the race and will do yoga and maybe kickboxing before taking on day 3 on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


C25K - W1D3
I just completed week 1 of the Couch to 5K Running Plan and I feel great! I was starving and had a bit of a headache when I got home, so had to wait until after dinner. This probably worked in my favor since there was a nice breeze out tonight. Since I am also training to walk/run a 5K on Saturday, I walked extra and ended up doing 3 extra run intervals (for a total of 11 minutes of running). I walked/ran a total of 3.4 miles in under 50 minutes! My hips and the bottom of my feet are a little soar, but I feel great. Thursday I start week 2, which means I'll be alternating between 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking. This is what I plan to do during the race since I'll be doing W2D2 then. I'll probably walk extra in the beginning and after the program is complete, then do a few extra intervals towards the end and finish off sprinting through the finish line. I'm hoping to finish under 45 minutes, but I am realistically expecting it will take me closer to 50 minutes since the course is hard-packed sand so it will be slower.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


day111: C25K W1D2
I just finished week 1, day 2 of the Couch to 5K Running Plan and I feel great. It was definitely easier than the first workout and when he announced it was my last run interval, I couldn't believe it. I think doing it in the morning and wearing shorts helped, as I did it in the afternoon with the sun beating down on me and wearing pants last time. I walked extra for a total of 2.5 miles in just over 37 minutes. Next time I am going to start with a half mile warm up walk (about 7-10 minutes) so it is easier for me to walk/run a total of 3 miles. At this pace, I should be able to complete next weekend's 5k under 45 minutes (my initial goal). By the time the Disney 5k comes around on 5/3, I should be running 2 miles in the program, so I should only have to walk up to half of that 5k. My goal is to be able to complete the Run for the Trees 5k on 5/24 jogging the whole time with little to no walking, as it coincides with week 9, day 1 where I should be running 3 miles with only a 5 minute warm-up walk. This of course assumes I do not have to repeat any days in the program (I plan to repeat any days in which I can't complete the required jogging times).

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fitness Update: -11.80 lbs in 64 days

Starting Weight: 152 (1/29/08)
Previous Weigh-in: 140.4
Current Weigh-in: 140.2
Weight Difference: -.2
Total Weight Loss: -11.8

Current Goal: 135 lbs (5.2 lbs to go)

I am a little disappointed that I practically lost no weight this week. I felt I was fairly active, but I guess I didn't make the best food choices. I think I got carried away because of last week's huge loss (which I knew wasn't entirely real) and made some bad choices. I ate out 3 times this week, including the character buffet at Disney after the race, backyard burger yesterday, some fried food and a milkshake on Wed (I hadn't eaten anything fried or had a milkshake in about 2 months). Since I've been more active, I've also been more hungry but I guess I did not choose the appropriate additional calories (even though I felt I ate more veggies and fruit than usual this week). The other explanation, which I prefer, is that I am gaining muscle from all the walking/jogging/biking and weight lifting I've been doing. I am sure it is a combination of these. At least I did not have a gain, but it is a little frustrating that I cannot break the 140 lbs mark. On a more positive note, I can now fit comfortably into a suit I've own for years and have only wore once if at all. I'll have to kick it into high gear next week to make up for this week and get ready for next Sat's 5K.

Couch to 5K: W1D1

A couple of years ago, Jason found this Couch-to-5K (C25K) Running Plan. We tried it for a few days and quickly gave up. I never considered myself a runner but that race really motivated me to become one, so I am trying this again now that I am serious about being fit. The key is a slow and steady start.

It is a 9 week program where you do intervals of jogging and walking for 20-30 minutes 3 days a week (including a 5-minute warm up brisk walk and cool down). Each week you increase the amount of jogging vs walking and eventually decrease the total amount of walking until you are just jogging. By the end of week 5, I should be jogging 2 miles in 20 minutes without walking (except for the warmup). From week 7-9, I'll just be jogging (plus the 5-minute warmup) each day starting at 2.5 miles and being able to jog 3 miles / 30 minutes by week 9. So in a little over 2 months I should be able to complete a 5K without walking in under 35 minutes.

I completed the first workout today and I am so excited that I actually managed to jog for the whole time that it indicates--a combined total of 8 minutes out of 30 or so-- for a total of 2 miles. This may not seem like a lot of jogging, but I don't think I even was able to do this much last time I tried this. I am definitely starting to see and feel the muscle in my upper thighs and calves from the walks and jogging I've been doing lately. Now I just need to work on toning the inner thighs. I also need to remember to do yoga because my muscles are a bit soar.

If you are interested in trying this out (it's a great way to start even if you do not think you are a runner), here are some excellent resources to get you started:

  • C25K Running Plan - This sites describes the program and what to do each of the 9 weeks.
  • C25K Checklist - This site is just the chart of the 9 week program with checkboxes to track your progress. It uses a browser cookie so it remembers what you checked from one visit to the next.
  • C25K Podcasts by Ullrey - One of my biggest worries was how I was going to keep track of when to run, when to jog, and when I had done enough intervals. These podcasts make it super easy and include workout music to keep you motivated.
  • Podrunner: Intervals - Another great C25K podcast with more upbeat music. Instead of telling you when to run or walk, this podcast uses a sound to alert you when to switch.
  • Couch to 5k LJ Community - very active and supportive community of beginner runners. Great place to find motivation and inspiration.
  • c25k.com - even more great links about the program and running in general.

So who's with me? I know we can all do this!
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