Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Five: Vegetarian Recipes

Today is the last day of our 30 days of eating only vegetarian food. It has gone extremely well, and I do not see us eating meat again anytime soon. We have even contemplated going vegan, but we are not willing to make that leap yet because I love eggs, and Jason loves milk. Our alternative is to make better choices about where we buy these products. This week we bought cage-free eggs, and produce, from the Homegrown Local Food Cooperative Farmer’s Market. We know the owners of the co-op, so we feel confident their growers are truly organic and local, and we can go visit the farms anytime we want -- and we will soon.

Below are 5 of our favorite vegetarian recipes from
  1. Vegetarian Shepherds Pie II - our absolutely favorite that we've made a few times
  2. Chickpea Falafel Burgers - they're like eating humus in patty form
  3. Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos - this is basically chili with sweet potatoes. yum!
  4. Amazing Greek Pasta - this is really a sauce recipe, and it is delicious
  5. Chickpea and Green Bean Stir-fry - this recipe is from a vegetarian cookbook we have, so I don't have anywhere to link it, but it's basically red onions, garlic, green beans, chickpeas and spices stir-fried and topped with drizzle of lemon juice at the end.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three Things Thursday

This has been a great week! I've done a lot, but I feel energized instead of tired. Yay! Here are the week's highlights so far:
  1. "Next Level" functional training workout at the downtown YMCA.
    I did it on Monday and again on Wednesday. It's a killer workout, but I can already feel that I am getting stronger. The exercises change every week, but they were the same on Monday and Wednesday, and I had to do less modifications when I did it yesterday. Yay! The workout is a circuit of 12 different exercises that we do 2x each for 30s on/15s off. Check out my dailymile log for the exercises we did this week.

  2. Running with Jen. My friend Jen is doing the C25k, and yesterday was her first 20 minute run. I volunteered to do it with her outdoors to free her from the dreadmill. She did amazing, and we had so much fun! Congrats Jen!

  3. Speed Work!
     I actually love running in the track and doing speed work, but I haven't done it in months. It was a bit too much to build millage for my first marathon and work on speed, so I focused on distance last season, but I am now ready to get faster! Today's workout was 8 x 400 @ 5K pace, and it went great. I can tell I'm in much better shape. With the warm up and cool down, I ran over 5 miles!  Read details at DM.
PS - I wrote this earlier in the day, while I was still basking in my runner's high from this morning's run at the track. Now that it is 6:30 p.m., I think I've hit my limit for the week. I'm beat! I basically phoned it in for my swim workout this afternoon. I only managed 500 yds, and had to force myself to even due that much, so I cut it short because I was exhausted and could feel myself getting sloppier with each lap. Thankfully, tomorrow is a rest day :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Green Thing: Laundry

I'm going to try something a little different today (which I may adopt for future posts as it gives me a good framework for drafting the posts). Below are the Top 10 Green Laundry Tips (check out full article for details on each item) from Planet Green's article,  How to Go Green: Laundry. I'll write how my own habits stack up to these tips, and where I can still improve.

1. Wear it more than once
Most of the clothes that I wear to work -- specially pants -- barely get dirty, so I try to hang them up when I get home and wear them again later in the week. We usually only do laundry on the weekends, so we'll hand wash our workout clothes while we shower and hang them to dry, then wash those that need it on the weekends. Of course, if something gets a stain or really dirty we'll toss it in the hamper immediately. Another reason for at least rinsing our workout clothes and hang drying them, is that tossing damp sweaty clothes in the hamper will just contaminate the rest of the laundry and may harvest bacteria.

2. Use green laundry detergent
Here is where I need the most work. I still buy Publix generic detergent, but I plan to look into greener alternatives. However, I do use white vinegar instead of fabric softener, and make sure to only use as much detergent as I need and not fill the cup all the way. The package instructions usually encourage you to use more than needed so you run out sooner and spend more on their product.

3. Choose concentrated detergent
The Publix generic detergent I buy is at least concentrated, which is another reason I do not need to use as much of it.

4. Make your own laundry detergent
I've been meaning to do this, but have yet to give a try. If you are interested in trying it, check out this great detailed visual guide at The Simple Dollar or check out the video.

5. Maximize your washer for energy efficiency
I always wash clothes in cold water, and wait until I have a full load to run the wash -- especially since I live in an apartment and have to pay per load.

6. Hang it out to dry
When we lived in the house, we put up a clothes line and I loved using it. Now that we live in an apartment, we do not have as much room to hang clothes, but we still do what we can. We have a clothes rack from Ikea, and I usually hang dry at least all my workout clothes (those tech fabrics are expensive, so I want to make them last as long as possible). We also hang dry workout clothes in the shower when we hang wash them after workouts between laundry days.

7. Maximize your dryer
I ditched dryer sheets long ago in favor of dryer balls. The vinegar in the wash ensure they are soft and clean-smelling, and the dryer balls seem to help with drying. Because sometimes I wash workout clothes with other clothes, the dryer is not always full but it doesn't tend to dry as well when it is too full anyway. Since I wash clothes in cold water anyway, I'm going to try to do an entire load of just workout clothes that I can hang dry to save myself one drying cycle.

8. Don't iron if you don't have to
No protests here! I hate ironing and rarely do it. In fact, I do not even know where our iron is (we do own one, but do not know why). We try to hang our clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer and rarely need to worry about ironing them.

9. Head to the laundromat
Technically, we have a laundromat at our apartment, but it is only 1 washer and dryer that services 4 apartments. It would probably be quicker to take all my clothes to the laundromat and wash/dry them at once, but I like multitasking while doing laundry and then I would not be able to hang dry some of the clothes.

10. Don't bother with dry cleaning
I don't really own many clothes that need dry cleaning, so I either use the washing machine or hand wash everything. The one thing I occasionally dry clean is my winter coat.

So, how do your own habits stack up? Is there anything new you plan to implement?


Monday, April 26, 2010

MBE: My Blog

Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at  Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Your Blog.

Question: Do your family and friends know about your blog? If so, what do they think of it? If not, why haven’t you told them?

I am an open book and this is a public blog, so yeah they know about it. I have the link to it on facebook and twitter, and every post gets syndicated there. My mom has mentioned reading my blog, and some friends comment on it either here or via facebook.  My boyfriend never comments, but he tells me he reads it via rss (or at least skims it because I tell him what I blog about anyway so it's redundant to him -- at least, that's the story he's sticking with).

Before I started this blog, I had a blog on livejournal. That one was and still is private, but I rarely post to it anymore. I do read some communities there, and it was an invaluable resource when I was completing the c25k program. When I embarked on my lifestyle change to lose weight and become a runner, I began this blog to document the entire process publicly. I think making the process transparent helped keep me accountable, and inspired others to embark in their own similar journey. Inspiring others is one of the biggest motivations for me to keep going.

I love documenting my training as I set higher and higher goals, as well as recapping all my races so I have a historical account of how far I've come. While I always hoped I'd have readers follow along, I blog more for me because I love having the data to look back on. I am thrilled to have met so many wonderful people through this blog, both online and in person. So if you are out there lurking, come on out and say hi! :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 16 Recap

It's been a long week, and even longer weekend, so this will be short and sweet so I can go back to doing nothing for the rest of the day :) The highlight of the week was setting a new 5K PR yesterday and finally learning to swim the breast stroke. w00t! This upcoming week will be our last week of living by candle light and eating vegetarian, but we expect to continue this lifestyle change indefinitely with a few modifications. I'll blog more about that later. No races planned for next weekend, but I hope to run at least 10 miles on Saturday.

Workout Summary
See details on Dailymile
  • Monday - swam 600 yds in 15 min; 1hr of kickboxing and functional training at Y
  • Tuesday - ran 3.5 miles in 41 minutes
  • Wednesday - biked 6.2 miles in 31 minutes (drop off / pick up car at shop)
  • Thursday - rest
  • Friday - rest
  • Saturday - ran 5k in 32:12; biked 13 miles; walked 4 miles; swam 1 hour
  • Sunday - biked 9.6 miles (errands); swam 350 yds; moving storage units
Week Totals (rounded)
  • run/walk - 8 miles
  • bike - 29 miles 
  • swim - 1.5 hrs (1000 yds+)
  • cross training - 1 hr 
  • exercise hours - 7.5 hrs
  • Run for the Trees 5K -- New PR!
  • 100% vegetarian meals
  • 71% homemade meals (ate out 4x + 2 days of leftovers)
  • I can do the breast stroke! :)
Goals for Upcoming Week
  • 100% vegetarian meals
  • 85% homemade meals
  • exercise plan (subject to change):
    • Monday: run + functional training at Y 
    • Tuesday: swim
    • Wednesday: bike to work + run with Jen
    • Thursday: run @ track + swim
    • Friday: rest or yoga
    • Saturday: long run + swim
    • Sunday: bike

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Race Report: Run for the Trees 5K

    It's been a very busy day, and I am exhausted, but I didn't want to put off writing this race report or it may never happen. In the span of 3 hours this morning, I biked 13 miles, set a 5K PR, and walked about 2 miles. I then had breakfast, took a 20 minute nap, swam for 1 hour (last lesson), and walked around lake Eola for a bit at Central Florida Earth Day. Oh yeah, and I made vegetable stock and german chocolate brownies. Quite frankly, I have no idea how I'm still awake. But let's back up and take it from the top.


    I woke up at 5:30 am before my alarm. I was a bit anxious about today's race. I got ready and had a bit to eat, then decided to make sure my Garmin was fully charged and download the latest workouts. I put it on the charger and it beeped like it just turned on. So I turn it off (I think, we are living in the dark here) and it never turned on again. I was freaking out because I needed it for the intervals and to monitor my pace, but more than anything it just seemed like a bad omen to start the morning. Since Jason isn't as obsessed with data as I am, he let me use his watch and all was right with the world again. I still was trying to get mine to start because I have it set just how I like it, but I had to let it go and focus on the task at hand. Around 6:45 am, we left the house and biked 6.5 miles to the start. We meant to leave earlier, but made it there with 10 minutes to spare, locked up our bikes, and walked the 1/4 mile or so to the start.

    The Race

    Run for the Trees 5k 2010I started somewhere in the middle of the pack and tried to pace myself well. My legs felt a bit tired from the bike ride, especially the calves, but I pushed through it and let myself take it easy for the first interval while I got into the running groove. I walked 1 minute for every 3 minutes, but really pushed it during each run segment. 

    The first 3 minutes was at 10:52 pace, but every other run interval was under 10 min/mile. I was even impressed at how fast I was walking, around 13-14 min/mile. I gave it all I had and was rewarded with perfect negative splits -- 10:20 - 10:16 - 10:00 - 8:50 (.18 in 1:34) -- and a new PR by 1 minute and 2 seconds from last year's race. I'm also pleased that I placed in the top half overall, and even better in my age group and gender (see full stats below).

    With a little speed work, I'm sure I could run my coveted 31 minute 5K soon, and under 30 minutes before the year is over. However, all the long distance training I'll be doing starting in June for the 3 upcoming marathons and the 50K ultra may limit my speed and how many 5Ks I can do this year.

    • garmin = 3.18 in 32:13 (10:08) 
    • clock = 32:40 
    • chip = 32:10 (10:21) 
    • overall = 484 / 969 (top 50%) 
    • ag = 37 / 97 (top 38%) 
    • gender = 230 / 594 (top 39%)
    Post Race

    I crossed the finish line spent, although I somehow I felt I could have pushed harder, but I know I gave it all I had. Jason had finished over 10 minutes earlier, I quickly spotted his bright red shirt cheering me on across the finish line. While I walked to get water, Mike finished about a minute behind me. He did great for his 2nd 5k and we were leap frogging for most of the race (he ran the whole thing, while I ran/walked). We waited for Jessica to finish, then walked back to the start with Marcus and Cheryl. I also got to meet Morgan from CAUTION: Redhead Running and some other local running bloggers. I love our running blogging community!

    After we got our trees and smoothie samples, we biked back home. The ride home was a bit harder because our legs were tired (we had both ran our fastest) and we of course had a headwind. We were starving, so made some breakfast, and I debated skipping my swim lesson because I was so tired. I am glad I took a quick 20 minute nap and went to the lesson because I made some progress on my breast stroke and learned the beginnings of side stroke. 

    I'd like to find another 5K to do soon, and hope to do a tri in June, but marathon training will begin before I know it. I'm really looking forward to it and incorporating some speed work. This is going to be one crazy year! =)

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Friday Five: Run for the Trees 5k Goals

    Tomorrow I'll be running the Run for the Trees 5K for the 3rd time. I set my current 5K PR at this race last year, and I'm going back for a rematch tomorrow :) I stupidly did a new circuit workout on Monday and have been sore since; fearing I may have pulled something on my right inner thigh, I skipped yesterday's run. The soreness (and bruise like pain on my thigh) seems to be mostly gone now with resting the last 2 days, so I still have high hopes that I'll do well tomorrow.

    Below are my lofty goals for this race.
    1. Bike to start -- the race start is about 6 miles away near Cady Way Park, so we plan to bike there as a warm up. I am not looking forward to biking back after pushing hard on the run, but it should be a good cool down if I take it easy and allow myself plenty of time to recover before heading home.
    2. PR -- This is my main goal, to finish under 33:12, which was my time at this race last year.
    3. Finish in 32:30 -- This would be an average pace of 10:30 min/mile and I think its doable since it's only 42 seconds faster than last year. I may be able to pull that off on my improved endurance alone.
    4. Finish in 31 minutes -- This is my pie in the sky goal, which would mean an average pace of the coveted 10 min/mile. I would be ecstatic if I finished anywhere near this, but I am not going to beat myself up if I don't. I do think this is doable if I push really hard and leave it all out there, so I'm going to do my best.
    5. Run using 3:1 intervals - Even though I can cover the distance without walking, I am at least 2 minutes slower. So I plan to run using 3:1 intervals (last year I used 5:1 intervals). I may extend the run intervals during the last mile, but will likely just run faster. Using 2:1 intervals worked great for a PR at my last 10k a few weeks ago, so it's worth a shot for this 5k.
    Well, there you have it.  I'll be sure to post a race report tomorrow night and let you know how I did. Wish me luck!

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    One Green Thing: Water Bottles

    I drink nothing but water on a daily basis, and I have a Klean Kanteen with insulating tote and sling that I refill with filtered tap water and carry everywhere I go instead of buying bottled water. It's become a second purse.

    Bottled water is not only absurdly overpriced for something we already pay for at home, but it's not very environmentally friendly, nor is it really any safer than tap water in most cities. There is a lot of waste and cost associated with the production and transport of bottled water. Take a look at the video below, The Story of Bottled Water, for an eye opening look at the evolution of and waste created by the bottled water boom.

    I am by no means perfect, and occasionally will consume bottled water when I have no other option, but I make every attempt to recycle that bottle even if I have to bring it home to do it. We have a reverse osmosis filter at home, which we use to refill our water bottles and make water for the fish tank, but I am appalled at the amount of water waste it produces. I wish we lived in a house so we could have a way to catch the waste water and use it to water the plants and such. 

    For more information, check out the articles at

    If you need your own reusable bottle, here are some options:
    • Klean Kanteen - stainless steel with optional insulating totes and slings
    • HydraPouch - alternative to paper cups during a road race
    • Vapur - the anti-bottle, made of ultra-durable BPA-Free polymer; stands when full - rolls, folds or flattens when empty

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Three Things Tuesday

    1. Turbo Kick

    I went to the YMCA after work yesterday for what I thought was a kickboxing class. The instructor was way too peppy and it felt more like a hip hop class, so I left after 30 minutes for a different workout. I realized this morning that it was a Turbo Kick class:
    a combination of super-fun kickboxing moves, as well as dance moves, all perfectly choreographed to high energy and motivating music. It's an amazing cardiovascular workout that's a unique blend of cardio intervals, strength/endurance training and a relaxing cool-down. 
    It was a good workout, but I don't care for the combination. I really prefer the traditional kickboxing moves that make me feel powerful, and help me tone and build strength. This class just made me feel sloppy and uncoordinated.

    2. The Next Level - Functional Training

    Instead of the rest of the Turbo Kick class, I went to the Loft (new room at the Y) and tried their new functional training workout called "The Next Level," which focuses on core, balance and strength, fast twitch power and endurance.  It was a circuit of 4 stations, with 3 exercises per station that we did twice for 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off. The exercises ranged from using kettle bells, balance dome, rope ladder, and TRX. It involved a lot of jumping and plyometrics that really got the heart rate up, and strength training such as squats and push ups. It was a nice variation for cross straining and a change of pace, so I'm going to try to incorporate this into my routine once a week.

    3. Virtual Race Report

    The Mordor Half Marathon is the greatest race report ever, which was written for Jamoosh’s Virtual Halfathon. I wish I had seen this virtual race before and signed up. It's all about the race report and doesn't require any actual running. How awesome! Maybe I should bandit the race and write a race report anyway ;)

      Monday, April 19, 2010

      MBE: Boston

      Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Boston.

      Question: Do you get excited about the Boston Marathon? Have you ever ran or do you hope to one day run in the race? Will you watch today and if so will it be watching in person, on TV, on the computer? Do you have anyone special running this year? Any great Boston stories to tell?

      I got a little excited about it today. Last year, I didn't even know when it was taking place; this year I followed the live results on the website. I am in awe that runners can finish a marathon faster than I can do a half marathon. LOL. More astonishing was that there were only seconds separating the top 10-20 elite men.

      The only way I'll ever run Boston is if I'm still running and don't get any slower when I'm 80 :) I know I could run it for charity, but I wouldn't want to run it unless I qualified, and that's a hell of a long shot for me in my lifetime. I did find out this year that they have a 5k the day before, so maybe I'll take a little vacation to Boston next year, explore the Expo, run the 5K, and watch the marathon.

      Congratulations to everyone who qualified for and ran Boston today. You are all an inspiration!

      Sunday, April 18, 2010

      Week 15 Recap

      This was a very busy and exhausting week, but I got back into the groove of training. The Corporate 5k was a huge success! Swim lessons are going well. I am finally getting the hang of bilateral breathing and starting to make a little bit of progress on the breast stroke. I only have one lesson left, and I may see about learning the basics of the side stroke. I may have to take another set of lessons in June, but we'll see how things go.

      Workout Summary
      See details on Dailymile
      • Monday - ran 2.5 miles in 31 min
      • Tuesday - swam 600 yds in 13:30; ran 3.1 miles in 41 min
      • Wednesday - 1 hr of yoga
      • Thursday - swam 950 yds in 21 min; ran 3.13 in 34:37
      • Friday - rest
      • Saturday - ran 9 miles in 01:54; 45 minute swim lesson
      • Sunday biked 18.2 miles in 01:16; 65 min of yoga
      Week Totals
      • run/walk - 17.6 miles
      • bike - 18.2 miles
      • swim - 1h 20 min
      • cross training - 2 hrs yoga (core/upper body)
      • exercise hours - 8h 20 min 
      • Corporate 5k
      • 100% vegetarian meals
      • 85% homemade meals (ate out 3x)
      Goals / Planned Events for This Week
      • swim x3; bike x2; run x3; core/upper body x1
      • 85% homemade meals 
      • 100% vegetarian meals
      • Run for the Trees 5K (PR?)

      Friday, April 16, 2010

      Friday Five: Corporate 5K Quickie Race Report

      I need to write a proper race report for last night's Corporate 5K, but I have 100+ photos to go through and videos, and a busy day ahead, so I'll do it this weekend. In the meantime, you get a mini race report Friday Five style :)
      1. According to Track Shack, the race had 617 teams and 12,633 runners/walkers!
      2. Team Stats:
        • 34 registered participants; 31 completed the race (we had 9 last year + 1 cheerleader)
        • 12 completed their first 5K!
        • 7 returned from last year, and our cheerleader Sammy did the race this year
        1. One of our runners, Bob Reed sang the national anthem at the race with his quartet Makeshift. View the video on YouTube.
        2. Per my garmin, I ran 3.13 in 34:37 (11:03 min/mile pace). My clock time was 43:20 as it took almost 9 minutes to cross the start line. Read my mini race report on dailymile.
        3. Below is a group photo of most of the team before the race. You can see more photos on Flickr, and I'll be adding more to that album soon.
        not pictured: Alison, Beth, Bob, Danny, Don, Manny, Matt, Patricia, Regina, Shannon

        Thursday, April 15, 2010

        Three Things Thursday

        This will probably not be a regular feature, but I'm giving it a try today since I have things to say :)
        1. I've had 2 great swim workouts this week, and I'm finally getting the hang of bilateral breathing. I can only do it for 1 lap (50 yds) at a time and then I need a break, but that's progress! I also need to use a pull buoy or I get too tired/out of breath after one length, but that's ok. I'm focusing on building muscle memory for now and will work on doing it without the pull buoy later.
        2. Tonight is the Corporate 5K, and I'm really excited! We have 34 people in our team and most will be coming over to my place for a post-race potluck. For many of them, this will be their first 5k race, and that is super exciting! I plan to take a deluge of photos before, during, and after to document this milestone for them, and Jason will be running with the helmet cam again :)
        3. Because of a busy week of getting everything ready for the Corporate 5K tonight and Relay for Life tomorrow, we've not been able to bike to work this week. However, I managed to get in a 1 hour yoga workout yesterday that included abs and upper body strength. I really need to revise my training schedule and find time for core and upper body strength training at least once a week -- ideally twice.
        So that's all for this quickie post. I hope to post a race report tonight or tomorrow morning with lots of photos and videos. Go team Online@UCF!

        Wednesday, April 14, 2010

        One Green Thing: Vegetarian Diet

        In addition to living by candlelight during the month of April, we're also not eating any meat this month. I have to admit that my main motivation for not eating meat is not about being green, although that is a nice bonus. I'll tackle eating green in general in a different post, but here is a relevant excerpt from Planet Green's Top Green Eating Tips that talks about why easing up on meat is green:
        Ease up on the meat
        Meat is the most resource-intensive food on the table and eating less of it can be the single most green move a person makes. Producing meat requires huge amounts of water, grain, land, and other inputs including hormones and antibiotics, and leads to pollution of soil, air, and water. A pound of beef requires around 12,000 gallons of water to produce, compared to 60 gallons for a pound of potatoes. If you’re a meat eater, for starters, try cutting out a serving of meat each week.
        So why are we not eating meat this month? We've tried this before and always ended up coming back to meat, or at least fish, once a week or more. We reduced the amount of meat we consumed for a while, and I actually lost the taste for steak, but lately we've been going back to our old ways and eating chicken, pork, and event steak regularly. It just becomes easier to grill some meat and steam some vegetables and call it a night. This makes for very boring meals of the same stuff week after week. We've been meaning to give this a real shot for a while--it's even on my 101 things list--then Jason watched Food, Inc. and didn't want to eat meat for a while, so no better time like the present.

        It's been almost 2 weeks of eating only vegetarian meals, and I don't miss meat at all. At the beginning of the month, I said we'd eat fish if we had to, but we haven't feel the need yet. So what's different this time? I like beans now! lol My biggest hurdle before was getting enough protein to sustain my level of activity. Since I did not like beans, and don't care much for tofu, my options were very limited. There is only so much pasta and stir fry I can eat. But now with the addition of beans and grains, such as the amazing quinoa, the possibilities are endless.

        Another hurdle was all the extra planning that cooking vegetarian meals would entail since I didn't know enough to just throw something together. Not being familiar with many of these ingredients, it was difficult to know if I'd like a recipe and I hate wasting cooking time on something I won't like. Well, I convinced Jason to be the cook for this month too, so that solved the problem. He is way more patient and willing to take risk than I am, so I'm ok with letting him experiment for the month. I stocked up on canned soups just in case he made something I really didn't like, but I have not needed to resort to that yet. Oh yeah, I like soups now too.

        So if I'm not doing this to be green, what do I hope to get out of it? For me, this is an experiment in variety. It's allowing us to explore some new foods we wouldn't otherwise try, and I've got to say that our diet has seen more variety these past 2 weeks than I usually get all year! lol Here's some of the delicious meals we've tried so far:
        I'm not sure if we'll eat vegetarian forever, but I can certainly see this extending well past April. If we do add back meat, it will be only occasionally, mostly chicken and fish, and we'll make better choices about where they come from.


        Tuesday, April 13, 2010

        Final Corporate 5K Training Session

        Last Corporate 5k Training Run

        Today was our last training run before the Corporate 5k on Thursday. Our group has come a long way in just 2 short months, when running for 1 minute seemed like an eternity for most. Today those who've been following the Couch to 5k program ran 5 km in 41 minutes with only 2 minutes of walking. I'm so proud of what they've accomplished, and I can't wait to share their first 5k race with them.

        This is only a fraction of our Corporate 5k team. We recruited 34 coworkers, friends, and family who will be running and walking this race. I live 1/4 mile from the start, so we'll meet at my place for a pre-race group photo, walk to the start together, and have a post-race potluck at our apartment where we'll share race stories and watch the slideshow of all the photos and videos we've taken during training and the race. I can't wait!

        Monday, April 12, 2010

        Monday Brain Exchange: Training

        This week's Monday Brain Exchange topic is Training.

        Question: How do you train? Do you use a schedule, have a coach or go with the flow? Do you train alone or with group?

        For half and full marathons, I train with Track Shack's Galloway Group. The group technically meets three times a week on Tuesdays (tempo/hills/etc), Thursdays (track), and Saturdays (long runs). I usually only join them for the long runs on Saturday mornings (3 - 6 am start depending on distance) because it's easier and quicker for me to run on my own during the week, and then I get to sleep in a little :) I plan to join them at the track on Thursdays at 5 am starting in June to get in some structured speed work (maybe sooner so I can get used to it before I commit to being there weekly to set up the water cooler). We use Jeff Galloway's run/walk/run method for the long runs, but I typically run without walk breaks during the week for a little variety and to build up my endurance for short distances. However, I rarely race without walk breaks because I am always slower when I run non-stop.

        For triathlons, I trained on my own and informally with some meetup groups (see my Orlando Groups page) and friends last year. Jason and I do some of our training together -- meaning at the same time -- but our paces are so different (read he is faster than me in all 3 sports =P) that we can rarely actually do it together. We did go on a nice bike ride this Sunday where we stayed mostly together. We'd sprint for a bit at our own pace then regroup and do it again. It was fun. I was going to join the Central Florida Tri Club at the Downtown Orlando YMCA this year for a bit more structure and coaching, but their training schedule is a bit ambitious for me. I don't mind getting up early once a week, but a 5 am start every single day is a bit much. Now that the Cady Way pool is open again, I may try swimming with the Winter Park YMCA Trimaniacs on Saturday morning if I can make it work after my long runs with the Galloway Group.

        I enjoy running with a group for long runs, but the Galloway Group is the only one where I've really been able to click. Every other group I try, I am too slow or too fast (rarely), and no one else really runs the way I do. But that is ok because I enjoy running alone for shorter distances (3-6 miles, up to 10 if I have to). Running is a great way to clear my head, and is nice being able to do my own thing and not have to speed up/slow down for others.

        If you live in the Orlando area and train with a group for any or all of the 3 triathlon sports, I'd love to hear your recommendations and experiences training with them.

        Sunday, April 11, 2010

        Week 14 Recap

        This week did not go as planned, and that is ok. I think I over did it last week, and I payed for it this week. I didn't feel well at the beginning of the week, so I took it easy for most of the week. Even though I didn't meet most of my goals for this week, I had some great workouts at the end of the week.

        Workout Summary
        See details on Dailymile
        • Monday - 24 min of yoga 
        • Tuesday - home sick
        • Wednesday - rest
        • Thursday - ran 3 miles in 35 minutes
        • Friday - home sick
        • Saturday - ran 6.5 miles in 1:18 non-stop; 45 minute swim lesson #2
        • Sunday - biked 18.2 miles in 1:17
        Week Totals
        • run/walk - 9.5 miles (2 runs); longest = 6.5 miles
        • bike - 18.2 miles (1 ride)
        • swim - 45 minutes
        • exercise hours - 4 hrs
        Goals / Planned Events for This Week

        Saturday, April 10, 2010

        6.5 Miles Non Stop in 1:18

        I set out to run 10K without walking this morning (another item in my 101 things list), and I ran 6.5 non-stop miles in 1:18 @ a 12:02 min/mile pace! The most I've ever run without a walk break before was 5 miles.  I am in awe because I figured that at best I would average 13. When I finished the first mile in 12:36, I feared I had started out too fast, but the pace felt comfortable. I tried to slow down, but that's the pace my body wanted to run; anything slower actually felt a little awkward. I was sure I'd lose steam towards the end, so imagine my surprise when I kept seeing my average pace go down!

        • mile 1 = 12:36
        • mile 2 = 12:15
        • mile 3 = 12:16
        • mile 4 = 12:17
        • mile 5 = 12:06
        • mile 6 = 11:30
        • mile 6.5 = 5:15 (10:26)
        And to think that this run almost did not happen. I was having tummy issues so I was going to postpone until tomorrow. But Jason urged me on, so I took a pepto and gave it a try staying close to home for the first few miles just in case. I felt great, and the weather was perfect, so I kept going. I wore my fuel belt to sip on water throughout and took a gel at mile 3.  I was feeling really good towards the end and speeding up, so I instead of 10K I kept going for an even 6.5 miles. I probably could have ran 7 miles, but I didn't want to push it since I felt twinges here and there.

        After the run, I ate some breakfast and ran some errands, then I went to my 2nd swim lesson at the Y. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of bilateral breathing, and began learning the proper way to do the breast stroke. You can read more details about the swim at dailymile.

        Friday, April 9, 2010

        Friday Five: Why Go Green

        There are many benefits to going green. Planet Green has an excellent article, Why Go Green?,  talking about the big picture, including Top 10 Tips and By the Numbers for those of you who like statistics. Below is my top five list of the benefits of going green. I find that at least one, and usually all, of these are true of every green thing I do.
        1. reduce impact on the environment - this is the main benefit of going green. Everything we do affects our planet and we're slowly using up all our natural resources. The Story of Stuff is a great look at this.
        2. incidental exercise - biking to work or walking to the store not only saves you money on gas and helps reduce pollution caused from car emissions (such as carbon dioxide) they are a great workout!
        3. reduce waste - recycling, or better yet reusing, keeps excess waste out of landfills. Sadly, not everything we recycle stays out of landfills so being mindful of the packaging and reusability of the things we purchase goes a long way. 
        4. eat healthier - eating green is healthier for us because they are natural and unprocessed, keeping more of their nutrients, which also means they require less resources and money to produce and transport them. e.g. most processed foods have extra sodium to help preserve the food longer; restaurants also use a lot of added sodium and fat (e.g. butter) to make things taste better even if they are not of the best quality from the start.
        5. save money - most things that we do to conserve the earth's resources also help us save money, e.g. tap water vs bottled water; biking vs driving; opening windows vs light bulbs or A/C; cooking vs eating at a restaurant.
        How about you? Why do you go green?

        Thursday, April 8, 2010

        Should I Tri?

        Training for and completing the marathon reignited my love for running, and I don't ever want to stop. I'm getting faster and my endurance is outstanding. I could run for hours, and I do, and I LOVE it! I feel so powerful when I run, and it helps keep me sane. This is why on an almost daily basis I go back and forth on whether I want to train for triathlons this season or just focus on my running.

        Last season my running suffered because I was too focus on swimming and biking and barely ran more than 2-3 miles the entire season; I don't want that to happen again. In fact, I can't let it happen. I'll be training for a fall marathon, probably the Space Coast Marathon during Thanksgiving weekend, so I need to keep up with my running to be able to run 12 miles at the start of the training in June.

        On the one hand, I enjoy the additional challenge of a triathlon, the great community that goes with it, and the benefits of cross training. I know that I'll get the bug when I see others, like Jason, start participating in triathlons. There also aren't many road races in Florida until the fall, other than 5Ks, so I'd be running with no goal in mind other than maintenance and I always do better when I'm training for a specific race.

        On the other hand, I really want to work on improving my running speed, so that means I can't jeopardize any of my running workouts because of swimming or biking. I also want to keep up with core and strength training and I'm having a hard time finding the time to fit it all in without risking overtraining, injury or burn out. I guess the best thing to do is to focus on my running, bike and swim for cross training as best I can, and if I'm ready when the time comes sign up for a tri to mix thing sup. We'll see.

        Wednesday, April 7, 2010

        One Green Thing: Candlelight

        Earth Hour inspired us to shut off the lights and live by candlelight for the month of April. The verdict is still out about how much cheaper or better for the environment this may be than compact florescent light bulbs, but Jason will be posting a full analysis at the end of the month.

        We long ago switched to compact florescent light bulbs to conserve energy, but we still flipped the switch and left lights on far more often than needed. I always try to turn off lights after I leave the room, but sometimes we forget. Flipping that switch became such a habit that we often had lights on in the middle of the day! There is no reason at all for that. To avoid temptation, and believe me it abounds, we put taped over all the light switches. I am hoping this experiment will help us realize just how little artificial light we need on any given day and help us adjust to do more things during daylight hours.

        How has this changed my lifestyle so far:
        • We open windows and blinds more often to let in natural light; this further reduces our cost and impact on the environment because we need to light less candles.
        • I get more done when I get home from work, such as preparing my lunch or packing workout clothes for the next day, because I want to get it done before losing daylight. 
        • I'm finally getting to use all the candles and holders I bought when I was a Partylite consultant.
        • The apartment smells great from all my Partylite candles :)
        • My eyes are adjusting to seeing better in low light; it's amazing how the smallest amount of light can light up a whole room -- unless you are looking for something tiny =P
        • It's easier to go to bed early when it's pitch black.
        • We spend more time in the living room because the fish tank and projector provide extra light lol
        This is the perfect time for this experiment because days are longer and the sun doesn't set until almost 8 p.m. The light on the fish tank in the living room used to turn off at 9 p.m., so that gave us extra time with light, but Jason switched it to shut off at 7 p.m. to make things more realistic when the apartment goes dark after the sun goes down.

        So far this has been a pleasant experience, and we are enjoying the gentle glow and aroma of candles. However, a few things are proving a bit difficult, such as shaving and looking for clothes in my closet. My closet has no windows so it's always the darkest room, and I fear bringing candles in there and setting my clothes on fire =P I do have an enclosed candle lantern that I can bring in there, but it's still not enough light. I've managed, especially if pick out clothes the day before,  but I'll be glad when I can turn on that light again :)

        I doubt we'll continue living by candlelight alone past April, but I hope this will help us make better use natural light and limit when and how often we use artificial light (including light bulbs and candles). Maybe we'll leave most of the light switches taped, but I think the one in the closet and the bathroom may need to come off.

        For more information: Top Green Lighting Tips from Planet Green

        Tuesday, April 6, 2010

        Vote for our Corporate 5k t-shirt design

        Victor designed our Corporate 5K an awesome team shirt (see design below) and now we need your help to win the best shirt design contest. Visit the Corporate 5K Blog and vote for "UCF CDL" in the poll to the right. Everyone can vote, even if you are not participating, so spread the word!

        Monday, April 5, 2010

        Monday Brain Exchange: Favorite Races!

        This week's Monday Brain Exchange topic is Favorite Races. The question: Name your top 3 favorite events to date. When were they and why are they your favorite?

        This was a tough choice -- like choosing your favorite child. LOL. Ok, maybe not. Anyway, I narrowed it down and here they are in order of occurrence. Click on the race name to read the race report.

        Run for the Trees 5K - April 25, 2009 in Winter Park, FL

        Vanessa and her tree I've run this race every year since I began running, which is only 2 times lol, but I'm going back this year. Last year I ran it in 33:12, my current 5K PR, and had a blast because I had my mom and friends there. One of the things I love most about this race is the focus on the environment. Everyone that finishes the race receives a young tree, and the race awards are also (bigger) trees. It's close enough to home that I can bike there. The course is gorgeous and unique, ending on in the tree-canopied, wilderness dirt road of Genius Drive, a privately owned glimpse of old Florida opened to the public only once a year, for this event.

        26.2 with Donna Marathon Relay - February 21, 2010 in Jacksonville, FL

        Post-Race Lunch The big selling point for this race is that 100% of the proceeds go towards breast cancer research and care. With such a great cause, it's not surprise that the support from the local community is amazing. I was impressed with the level of organization, support, and spectators in this race. The water stops were ample, as were the GUs and other food items. This being their first year of the relay, the logistics could be improved, but it wasn't a big enough issue to deter from my enjoyment or wanting to do it again. The weather was perfect, I ran a great race, and got to share a marathon with my family. What more could I have asked for? I'm already planning to return next year to run the full marathon by myself.

        Gasparilla Marathon - February 28, 2010 in Tampa, FL

        we're marathoners! This was my first marathon, so of course it makes the top 3. The goodie bags were reusable tote bags, the post race food was great; I loved the pirate theme; and my heavy duty maiden voyage medal is gorgeous and can double as a weapon if someone breaks into my apartment lol I don't think the support and spectators were as good as BCM, and I prefer GU to PowerBar Gels, but it was an amazing experience that I will cherish forever, especially running the last 2 miles with my Dad! :)

        Honorable Mentions: Corporate 5K for it's cheer size and running with co-workers; Central Florida Sprint Triathlon for the great goodie bag, course, and post-race food; OUC Triathlon Relay for a killer run leg with the best relay team ever!

        As you can see, I don't venture too far from home, but that is all about to change in 2010 :)

        Sunday, April 4, 2010

        Week 13 Recap

        This has been a very busy week and I think I may have over done it a bit, so today is a complete day off. I managed to sleep in until 9:30 am! I tried to do some yoga, but quit after 10 minutes. My body just wanted to be, so I let it be :)

        Workout Summary
        See details on Dailymile
        • Monday - 30 minutes of cardio kickboxing; ran 3.11 miles in 36 minutes
        • Tuesday - swam 1200 yd in 35 minutes; ran 2 miles in 26 minutes + walked 1.65 mile 
        • Wednesday - bike to work: 29 miles roundtrip
        • Thursday - swam 1500 yd in 42 minutes;  ran 3.2 mile run in 42 minutes
        • Friday - bike to work (one way) - 14.4 miles; 
        • Saturday - ran 10 miles in 2:13; 45 minute swim lesson
        • Sunday - 10 min of yoga
        Week Totals
        • run/walk - 20 miles (4 runs + walks); longest = 10 miles
        • bike - 48 miles (4 rides); longest = 14.5 miles
        • swim - 2700 yds (2 sessions + swim lesson); longest = 1500 yds
        • exercise hours - 10.5 hrs (avg 1.5 / day)
        Goals for Next Week:
        • run 3x; at least 12 miles
        • run 10k without walking
        • bike to work 2x; at least 34 miles
        • swim 3x (including lesson); 3000 yds
        • cross train 1x: yoga, kickboxing, core
        • restart 100 pushup challenge using ful push ups
        • 85% homemade meals 
        • 4/11 - World Record Bicycle Parade

        Friday, April 2, 2010

        Friday Five: Weekly Blog Features

        Today I am taking a page from Running is Funny (and many other blogs out there), and hopefully this will become my 3rd weekly feature. I'm still wrestling with how I want this to go, but I will either pick a theme every Friday and post 5 things that match that theme, or I'll just post 5 random things that happened that week or come to mind that day =P I guess random is a theme ;)

        Today's theme is weekly blog features. In an attempt to blog more regularly, I am implementing some recurring blog features. I'm trying these out for now and we'll see if I stick with them. I could use your help for more ideas since I may run out of material for some, or grow tire of it, and need to replace it eventually.
        1. Monday Brain Exchange -- I plan to play along every week with the topic/question posted at Finishing is Winning.
        2. Wednesday One Green Thing -- This is my newest feature and one that will not likely last because I'll run out of things to post about. I guess I'll just need to find new was to save our environment :) I may just start going through green guides on the web (e.g. Green Guide or Planet Green)  and post about which I'm doing and try those that I'm not.
        3. Friday Five -- You are here! =)
        4. Sunday Week Recap (needs a clever name) -- I've tried this before and it ever only lasted for a week or two, but I am going to give it another try now that I will be doing 3 sports regularly. This will also help make writing the monthly recaps easier.
        5. Random - I'll also regularly post about the following as they occur: race reports, monthly recaps (including progress on yearly goals), 101 things progress, yearly recaps, gear reviews, and much more! 
        So reading this, you'd think I'll be posting 5 days a week. Ha! I'll try, but it's entirely possible I'll skip one or more of these features on any given week due to lack of time or creativity :) But if I shoot for 5, I should be able to get in at least 3.

          Thursday, April 1, 2010

          March 2010 Recap

          Marathon recovery is going great, but you wouldn't know I just ran a marathon with the level of exercise I've been doing this past month. I started swimming 3 times a week and biking to work 2 times a week (soon to be 3), and that is on top of running 3-4 times a week, including long runs of 6-14 miles every Saturday. I've been neglecting yoga, core, and upper body strength though, so I need to juggle things around in April to fit those in.

          March Stats
          • run / walk = 86 miles = 17 walk + 69 run; longest run 11 miles
          • bike = 135 miles; longest ride 14.5 miles
          • swim = 5 miles / 8100 yards
          • total = 225 miles in 40h 25m (avg 1.3 hrs / day)
          2010 Goals Progress

          The year is 25% over, so anything around that percentage means I'm on track to meet that yearly goal. In some cases (e.g. swimming and biking), I know the totals are low during winter months but they will increase drastically during spring and summer and I'll make up the difference then. Full stats in miles and percentage of goal accomplished are below, followed by a chart for those who prefer visuals :)
          • run/walk = 269 / 700 miles (avg 89/mo; 21/wk; 38%)
          • cycling = 163 / 1750 miles (avg 54/mo; 9%)
          • swimming = 5 / 60 miles (8%)
          • tri 2010 challenge = 436 / 2010 (22%)
          • total exercise hours = 110 / 365 hours (avg 1.2 hrs / day; 30%)
          • 101 things = 7/30 done (23%); 11 in progress (details in separate post later)
          • maintain weight around 125 lbs = spiked above 125 the last 2 weeks, but still mostly within "maintenance" range of give or take 2-3 lbs and I'm back to 124 lbs today.

          March Accomplishments
          • Winter Park Road Race - 8.2 miles Distance Dare - New 10K and 2 miler PR!
          • Recruited 33 people for our Corporate 5K team at work (including a few friends and family)
          • Began swimming again
          • Began biking to work again
          Goals for April
          Related Posts with Thumbnails