Sweat-urday

Lots and lots of fitness happened this weekend. Friday night, I continued my standing long run date with my friend J. My pre-run snack consisted of a gifted fruit leather, and my post-run smoothie was pretty freakin’ amazing. Saturday morning, I kept the fitness momentum rolling by going to a double header of classes at the gym: spin and Body Pump (basically a barbell lifting class). Yeah I know, I’m a psycho.

Friday

One of my coworkers, whose house I would head for if a zombie apocalypse were to happen (he and his wife grow their own food, make amazing, crunchy treats and are overall stellar people) gave me homemade raspberry fruit leather (!!!!!!) to fuel my run. According to him, you juice and de-seed the raspberries, spread them out on parchment paper and stick them in a dehydrator. Once my kitchen is bigger than a thimble, I will definitely be purchasing a dehydrator and making these. Fantastic.

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Um, this homemade raspberry fruit leather was AMAZING.

Now for the fun part: what to wear for my run? It was low 40’s (and dropping) and windy as HELL. Like, you feel like you’re going to get blown away. I felt like I was home in WNY (where the wind in the winter feels like your face may freeze off, and it’s generally coupled with tons of snow. There was no snow but the feeling was generally the same). I suited up in running tights, wool socks, a long sleeve running shirt and a vest. Ear warmers and gloves were a must. Both J and I were kind of driving the struggle bus on Friday, it was a tough run. It was our first one in a few weeks, and my first “real” run back from my half marathon (which was almost a month ago, ooops!). We got our usual stellar views of Boston, this time from the Cambridge side of the river.

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Boston at night. Also, who leaves their boat in the Charles in November?? Doesn’t it need to come out? I am boat-less, so I have no expertise on the matter but that was my feeling.

We cut our run shorter than normal, only about 7ish miles or so. It was tough (and especially obnoxious that it felt like no matter what direction we turned, we were always running into the wind!). Now that it gets dark early (thanks, daylight savings) and it was especially chilly, it was difficult to get motivated. Which is why having a running buddy to go with is prime, because it’s not like you’re going to bail out on your friend. I’m not ashamed to admit that there is noooo way I would have been motivated to go 7 miles by myself – I am eternally grateful to have to J there to motivate me! πŸ˜€

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J has mad photog skills, yo. You can see how windy it was bc my ponytail was going crazy.

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More of J’s photog skills. I love this shot!

When I got home I adapted M’s Spooky Smoothie recipe to create LITERALLY the best post-workout smoothie I’ve ever had. It was simple but packed with some delicious stuff:

L’s New Post-Workout Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • Several shakes of cinnamon and cloves

Directions:

Throw all your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add additional almond milk to achieve your desired consistency (you may need a bunch more almond milk if you like your smoothies more juice-like). Tip: If you’re using a NutriBullet or Ninja, don’t put your protein powder at the bottom but scoop it on top of your fruit. It mixes better that way and doesn’t get stuck to the walls as easily (this tip comes from personal experience). πŸ˜‰

photo 5This smoothie is STELLAR. Obviously, I stole the basic recipe from my gym buddy M, but added frozen mixed berries in place of bluebs, and skipped the spinach (I had spinach salads almost every day last week for lunch, by Friday I was pretty spinach-ed out). Adding the cinnamon and cloves gives it a little punch and adds a dimension to the flavor. As you can probably tell from my posts, I like smoothies A LOT, and so any minor tweak that pops the flavor up a notch is always great. The flax seeds add a nice dose of omega’s and fiber, and the almond butter gives it a little fat so you stay full longer and your body can scoop up all of those nice fat-soluble vitamins in there. Mmmm! I made the exact same smoothie twice this past weekend, once on Friday and a second time after my Saturday morning workout.

Saturday (/Sweat-urday)

Time for a humble brag. All of my overnight oats lovers out there have been letting me know that all of the fresh berries are slowing disappearing from the grocery store, and I had a Eureka moment to solve their O.O. woes: duh, use tropical fruits! There are a bunch that will be in season over the winter (bananas are always around, plus mango, pomegranates, kiwi, etc…), and my local grocery store had kiwis and pomegranates on sale this past week, so I’ve been watching them ripen all week with big weekend plans for them.

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Tropical Overnight Oat: With Banana, Kiwi, Pomegranate, Coconut flakes and Chia seeds.

The tropical oats had sliced banana (sprinkled with chia seeds), kiwi, pomegranate seeds and coconut flakes. All in all, it was pretty simple but the tropical flavor was bright and fun. It was a welcome change to the berry-centric variations of O.O. that I’ve been making recently, and I highly recommend you guys get in on it. I prepped my fruits for this week by slicing them into bite-sized pieces (/undergoing the painful process of removing pomegranate seeds from the pomegranate) and put them in airtight containers in the refrigerator so that assembling the oats the night before is a breeze.

At the gym, I hit up my spin and body pump classes. It’s not always fun when my alarm goes off early on Saturday morning when I’d rather just laze around and sleep in, but it’s always worth it. It’s not like you ever regret going to the gym to get your sweat on before the rest of the East Coast has their first cup of coffee.

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Zoom, zoom – time for Saturday morning spin!

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Body Pump supplies – I love that the weights are rainbow colored. It’s the little things. πŸ™‚

Real talk: Body pump was HARD. My legs were shaking and I got the cold sweats because my body was getting so tired. But I drank water, focused on my breathing and pushed through. When I got home I rewarded myself with another one of the smoothies I shared above. Ah-freakin-MAZING.

PicFrame

Another delicious smoothie!!

I hope you guys had a great weekend! I can’t wait for you to try this smoothie recipe out and let me know what you think. πŸ˜€

Happy runs and happy workouts this week! πŸ˜›

L

Well, sh*t.

Today I’ve learned something very important about rest days.

TAKE THEM!

Don’t be like me, think you are unstoppable and tweak your right knee five days before your first half marathon while trying to do dips off a bench for your triceps (yes, an exercise that has nothing really to do with your legs). GAH! I can’t even believe it. Sometimes, that voice in your head – the one that tells you that you can do just ONE more push-up, sometimes it just needs to shut the F up. It’s okay to not be perfect, or the person who leaps out of bed every morning ready to take on the world. It’s okay to be the person who sleeps in a little extra to get the rest they need (and have earned!) and doesn’t care that they didn’t push themselves that extra inch or mile. This mentality is especially important before a big event that you have been working your ass off for. I really should be practicing this soliloquy in front of a mirror right now, but hey. What’s done is done, and hopefully time and rest will make up for my own foolishness.

Let’s shift gears to something a little more fun, shall we? I’d love to share with you the playlist that pumped me up during my 11 mile training run on Sunday. I always love finding new music to run to, and so I thought I’d share my current favorites with you! If you don’t like dance/EDM music, then you should check yo’self and give it another shot. When it comes to running or working out, I like to dance in my sneakers for the entirety of the sweat fest.

Hope you like it! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

L’s Kick-AssΒ Dance PartyΒ  Long Run Playlist:

Under Control (feat. Hurts) – Calvin Harris & Alesso

NRG – Duck Sauce

Hideaway – Kiesza

How We Party – R3hab & Vinai

Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Remix) – Robin Schulz & LILLYWOOD

Blame (feat. John Newman) – Calvin Harris

Delirious (Boneless) [feat. Kid INk] – Steve Aoki, Chris Lake & Tujamo

Take U There (feat. Kiesza) – Jack U

Giant In My Heart – Kiesza

Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) – Calvin Harris

Feel the Love (feat. John Newman) – Rudimental

Colors (feat. Sterling Fox) – Tritonal & Paris Blohm

I Got U (feat. Jax Jones) – Duke Dumont

Booyah (feat. We Are Loud!) – Showtek

Wildfire – Borgeous

Bend Ova (feat. Tyga) – Lil Jon

Bad (feat. Vassy) – David Guetta & Showtek

The Days – Avicii

Summer – Calvin Harris

Gonna Be Mine (Far Too Loud Remix) – Napt & Peo de Pitte

We Are Your Friends (FTampa Remix) – DJ Exodus & Leewise

Don’t Go Lose It – MOTi

Rasie Your Hands – Ummet Ozcan

Gecko – Mr. Blinck

Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

Aw Yeah (TJR edit) – Will Sparks

Dechorro – Deorro

Revolution – R3hab, NERVO & Ummet Ozcan

I hope everyone has a great Tuesday today! For all of you who had yesterday off – you lucky ducks! Four-day work week, woohoo!

I will actively try not to kick myself all day for being stubborn. *Le sigh*

Channeling all positive thoughts and vibes toward my right knee,

L.

PS: For all of those who appreciate my recipes more than my musings on life, stay tuned: something magical is happening tonight with a pumpkin, beets, chickpeas, green beans and barley. πŸ˜›

42 Seconds

Sweat was dripping down my face and my elbows were getting rug burns as I desperately pulled myself forward. Grunting, I thought, “This will all be worth it in 7 days. This will all be worth it in 7 days.” Pain seared down my legs. I squeezed my eyes shut and heaved my body forward one last time.

I was having a special moment with my foam roller.

Why so sore you ask? Well, as you can see from the countdown on my blog, my first half marathon is in 6 days. I’ve been pushing myself extra hard at the gym and on my training runs, trying to get those legs in tip-top shape so I can run my heart out for those 13.1 miles. Yesterday was a big day for me. I had been getting jittery and nervous last week as I watched those countdown numbers slowly tick down, and I promised myself I would crank out one last “long” (for me) practice run to convince myself I could do it. I set my sights on 10 miles. 10 miles, I could do it, no big deal. I woke up yesterday feeling good, made myself an amazing breakfast, my Autumn-themed overnight oats:

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L’s Autumn Overnight Oats with banana, cranberry compote, blueberries, delicata squash and almond butter; topped with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and a swirl of maple syrup.

You can find my recipe for overnight oats here: Overnight Oats. This time, I topped my oats with blueberries, banana, almond butter, leftover roasted delicata squash, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, a little maple syrup and a quick cranberry compote. I had leftover cranberries from another recipe and whipped this up:

Quick Cranberry Compote
Ingredients

1 cup of fresh cranberries

1 – 2 Tbsp raw coconut sugar

Directions: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat, and cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until berries start to pop but are still whole. Transfer to a bowl to cool; serve.

Optional: A splash of orange juice and zest of a quarter of an orange, but I had neither on hand. You can also increase the sugar to 1/2 cup if you want something sweeter, I really like the tartness of the cranberries with the other fruits in my oats, so I kept the sugar minimal.

The delicata squash I roasted for a snack on Saturday and put the leftover in the fridge. I scooped out about half of my leftover squash for the oats. (All I did was cut the squash in half length-wise, scoop the seeds out and lightly brush some melted soy butter over the inside. Roast at 450F for ~30 minutes for delicious, soft and creamy delicata squash. Easy peasy).

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Roasted Delicata Squash

Anywho, after I chomped that down and did a little tidying up, my “Booyah!” attitude was flagging. The little voice of doubt in my head started up.

– I don’t want to do this.

– You HAVE to do this, it’s the last Sunday before your race.

(etc, etc…I’ll spare you my 20 minute internal monologue – you get the idea)

I laced my sneakers up, picked a good song to start out, and pushed myself out the front door. It was crisp and sunny, and the fall colors were really amping up their game. You got this, I said.

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Dude, my shoelaces match the leaves.

I had one of those runs where you surprise yourself, when the choppy robot-lady voice from the Nike+ app interrupts your song: One mile completed. Average pace: nine minutes and fifteen seconds. As I racked up my miles, my pace did not deviate. I couldn’t believe it. It’s only a matter of time before my pace slows down to “normal,” or so I thought.

Five miles. Average pace: nine minutes and twenty-one seconds. (I then ate my mocha energy gel).

My legs were under protest, but I kept going. One foot in front of the other. Up, down. Up, down. I said all of my mantras to myself. I made up new ones. I hummed along to my music. Don’t slow down, I said.

Ten miles. Average pace: nine minutes and twenty seconds.

Let’s make it 11 miles. One more mile, you can do this, I said.

Robot lady: Eleven miles…I ripped off my headphones. I did it! BOO-freaking-YAH!

In the end, I shaved off 42 seconds from my mile split time. 42 seconds: half a minute, plus 12 seconds. I have not had that much of a jump in my speed since I started running consistently. I am walking like I just got off a horse today, and thinking about foam rolling my legs again tonight makes me cringe, but who the hell cares. 42 seconds!! Hells yeah!

Moral of today’s story: Get out there and do it. You might not want to, but you always have the potential to surprise yourself. πŸ™‚

Happy Monday/Columbus Day!

– L (who today, has no legs).

πŸ˜›

Better, Faster, Stronger: Before & After Run Fuel

I felt unstoppable last night! Both J and I agreed that yesterday’s evening run was invigorating, fun and flew by, whereas last week was kind of “meh”. (I honestly think the thought of vegan chili bubbling away in my crock-pot was a compelling force to make my legs go faster).Β  I learned from my mistakes from last week: not properly fueling up beforehand and drinking enough water during the day. This time I chowed down on a Picky Bar while frantically whipping up my chili – I didn’t want to keep J waiting!

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My “Before” Running Snack

I am trying these bars out after reading about the 4:1 carbohydrate: protein ratio for properly refueling your body after long and vigorous endurance sports. They are touted to be good “before” and “after.” (I highly encourage everyone to do their own research and be informed, as I am not a sports nutritionist. Bottom line: 4:1 was found in at least one study to be an optimal ratio for replenishing the glycogen stores in your muscles after long, endurance exercise sessions. As I understand it, that ratio is a good place to start but not scientifically proven as “THE BEST” beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m a big believer in “you do you”: do what’s right for YOUR body. Want more info? This article on Runner’s World is pretty helpful: http://m.runnersworld.com/nutrition-for-runners/is-chocolate-milk-really-best-for-recovery). All I know for sure about these bars is that they taste pretty great and have a fun name (which may or may not have been a factor in me purchasing them). Between the water, appropriate pre-run fuel and eating enough during the day, I felt like Hermes (or Mercury, or the dude with wings on his sandals in Greek Myth)!Β  Ba-bam!

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We had some pretty stellar views of both Boston and Cambridge as we ran along the Charles path.

After the run, I was expecting to walk into my abode and serve myself a pipin’ hot bowl of chili but alas – I had forgotten to turn the crock-pot on high, and the butternut squash was still pretty firm. Well, $*%@! To tide me over, I made a pretty basic but immensely tasty smoothie.

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My “After” Run Snack: Berry Booyah Smoothie

Berry Booyah Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 banana*

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1 scoop of chocolate protein powder

Enough almond milk to cover the fruit (You can change this based on how thick you prefer your smoothies, I like mine thick!)

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

It’s SOOOOOO good. I get excited on days I lift and get to “bro it up” with a protein smoothie after my workout. I used to be so weirded out by protein powder, but you can’t even tell it’s not just fruit and almond milk in there! Mmmm!

I hope you all get out there and enjoy your day and have the same “omg, my feet have wings!” feeling that I had yesterday. πŸ™‚

Happy Saturday!

*A note on bananas: I buy bananas every week, and as bananas do, they get all spotty and weird after awhile. I’m not a fan of mushy ones, so I began saving the spotty ones that I prefer not to eat fresh and freeze them. All you do is peel the banana and stick it in a ziploc freezer bag or airtight container and stick it in the freezer. Now you’ve got yourself a start to many delicious treats: vegan ice cream, smoothies, banana bread, pancakes…the list is endless. It saves me from throwing SO many bananas out every week and I’ve found they really do come in handy!

Long Run Prep – 8.6 miles with J on the Charles River

My first half marathon is right around the corner. Lucky for me, I have some amazing friends/running buddies. Tonight I’m running 8.6 miles with my friend J. Once upon a time, we were lab partners in Thermodynamics Lab, now we run along the Charles and talk about life – upgrade! It makes the runs go by that much faster when you have someone to chat with and appreciate the scenery with as you are running along.

Having views like this on my run make me fall in love with Boston all over again <3

Having views like this on my run make me fall in love with Boston all over again ❀

To start my day off on the right foot, I made my overnight oats for breakfast (See recipe here). Today I topped them off with hemp hearts, cinnamon, strawberries, banana, blueberries and almond butter. I felt that extra boost of potassium from the banana and strawberries was very necessary given the fun time I had going out with K last night (http://instagram.com/p/t-RkTUgUb7/).

Pre-run overnight oats

Pre-run overnight oats

I skipped the gym this morning to save my legs for tonight, and I always get extra hungry on non-gym days. I’ve packed myself a bunch of healthy snacks and a multiple choice lunch (I pack a little extra so I have plenty of options):

lunch

Leftover vegan pizza, Best Baked Tofu Ever, Macoun & Honeycrisp apples, plain Greek yog and a banana

It’s a good feeling to be excited about what you have for lunch. πŸ™‚

Every Friday when I go on these long runs, it’s always a bummer to get home at around 8 pm and have nothing fun to eat. I’ve typically been making smoothies and eating toast after these evening runs – nutritious, but not very exciting. This week, that is going to change. I’ll be whipping up some Crock-Pot Vegan Pumpkin Chili tonight. (Spoiler alert: it has black and red kidney beans, peppers, onion, carrots, jalapeno, tomatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, lime and TONS of spices). After work, I’ll prep my chili in the crock-pot and put it on low to simmer for a few hours while I go for my run. By the time I come in the door, it will be ready to be housed! I’m really excited about this idea, and I look forward to sharing the recipe tonight. I’ll be putting my farm-stand bought pumpkin and butternut squash to good use, and have something warm and delicious to eat after my run. Score! The thought of a bowl of chili waiting for me is enough to help me power through those last few miles.

I hope you all have a great Friday today.

– L