Monday, July 30, 2012

The Lite (and Delicious!) Choice!

I was contacted recently by the Social Media Manager for The Lite Choice to see if I'd be interested in trying their product and writing a blog review in return.  Who doesn't love trying different types of ice cream?!  Of course I was up for it and thanks for asking!

Fro-Yo (specifically 16 Handles) has become VERY popular recently.  Everywhere you go, you see someone carrying a 16 Handles cup.  But, has anyone ever JUST gotten the Fro-Yo?  Is it good?  I wouldn't know, because I always pile all of those high calorie treats on top!  I'm glad to know that I now have a healthy alternative (that isn't even fro-yo!) in my neighborhood!  I will definitely think twice next time before I say I want to go to 16 Handles....

On Saturday, I went to The Lite Choice on Broadway, between 95th and 96th streets, which happens to be very close to my apartment.  I went at 1pm, and had only had breakfast to eat, but should have gone with a completely empty stomach.  When I first arrived and was waiting, I was impressed by how clean the store was, the Scoopables (hard ice cream) and how many other options there were.  

Not only did they have both soft serve and hard ice cream (6 flavors of each every day that rotate throughout the week), but also protein shakes, 80+ flavors of soft serve that you can have made on the spot (if your favorite flavor isn't featured that day), smoothies and hot chocolate.  Sold!

And best of all, it's all organic, natural, gluten free, low calorie and low fat!  And no corn syrup.  Recently I've started reading the ingredients for certain products.  EVERYTHING has corn syrup. Except The Lite Choice! 

Everything comes at a price. They did
put me to work serving my own ice 
cream since I told them I'd been to 
16 Handles...

Maybe I found a new career path.  I 
look like a natural.

They might be healthy, but they also
know how to have fun. And the way
to a woman's heart. And wallet.
(But I think they said it was fat free??)

One of the MANY samples that I was given to try!

Their peanut butter products are made from 
pure peanuts (or almonds) from these nifty machines.
No additives.

Oh, you want to know what I tried?  And I thought you just wanted to look at my awesome photography skills. 

I was given the royal treatment by the manager and owner of the store.  They were so friendly and told me a bit about the company, then we began trying the products. SO MANY THINGS TO TRY!  I tried taking notes, but was being handed delicious sample after delicious sample, so I know I left some things out.  You'll just have to go try those products on your own!

Here's the summary of the notes I was able to take, in between stuffing my face:

Peanut butter soft serve (really descriptive....I didn't write anything down about it, but I do remember it being really good!)

Peanut butter- natural.  Chunks of peanuts in it
Coffee- really strong, tastes natural (I'm not a huge coffee fan, but for those of you out there that are- go try this!)
Strawberry- really flavorful, with chunks of real strawberries!

Muscle power- was made with milk, almonds, whey protein powder, a full banana, French Vanilla soft serve.  I think they said this has 28g of protein in it.  It was good, with a nutty/banana taste.  Would definitely get it again, and would be great after a long run.  Should have done that yesterday.....

I tried SO many other products!- fresh almond butter with French vanilla (I think) soft serve and hot fudge, the coffee freeze, banana Any Flavor Anytime Soft Serve.....others I can't remember after I was in a food coma....  But everything that I tried was really flavorful and natural tasting.

AND everything was so good that I didn't even have any toppings (except a little hot fudge). But they do have them if you want them too!

As I said the other day, I'm not a food blogger, so if you're not already drooling over the natural and flavorful options they have there (understandable- I warned you that I don't know how to write about food!) go try them yourself at one of their many locations.  Maybe I'll see you there!  They got me hooked!

They even mailed me my own hat!
If I had been wearing that while scooping
they definitely would have hired me! :)

Have you been to The Lite Choice?  What's your favorite flavor/product?  If you haven't been, why are you still reading?!  Go try something awesome there!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 4 marathon training and 16 mile run!

Week 4 of marathon training is now complete! Here's a summary of my runs this week:

Monday- Easy 4 miles, pace 8:51

Wednesday- I was supposed to do the Al Goldstein 5k, but had a little too much fun with a friend Tuesday night, so did a short run on my own instead. 3.3 miles, 8:26 pace

Thursday- Tempo run with Ashley- 2 mile WU, 5 miles around 8:00/pace, 0.6 CD- 7.6 miles, average pace 8:22.  

Saturday- short, easy run- 2.2 miles, 9:33 pace

Sunday- LONG run- 16 miles, 8:58 pace with Carla and Sara.  We met at the start of my run and ran up the West Side to the George Washington bridge.  Let's just say it was complicated to find the entrance onto the bridge.....but once we did, we ran across it to NJ and back.  It was pretty cool!  Here's a picture that Sara took:

We ran back down the west side together for a while, then Sara split off, then Carla (after she finished her 20!).  I still had 5.5 miles to go to get in my 16 so I ended up running down to 100th street, over to Central Park, and around the reservoir 1.5 times.  I wanted to give my legs something nice to run on after streets for 10+ miles.  I think they were happy with me not making them run hills.  

I tried to pick up the pace for miles 12 and 13 to at/near marathon goal pace (still haven't completely decided what that is yet!).  I would have liked to have been able to keep up MGP longer, but since I had never run over 14 miles before, and that was a disaster, I didn't want to bonk before I reached 16 today! Next time! 

This run felt MUCH better than 14- I'm sure it had something a lot to do with running with other people, so thanks for running with me, Carla and Sara!

Here are my (negative!) splits:

I've been wearing my compression socks all afternoon (for the first time after a long run) and took a nap  and my legs are feeling pretty good!  Bring on 18 next weekend!  Who wants to join me?!

How's training going?  Have you run across the George Washington bridge?  Do you have a better way to get onto the bike/walking path than we did?!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Not a Food Blog, but here's a recipe!

I am definitely not a food blogger.  And I don't intend to become one.  So please keep sharing your recipes because you probably won't find many here!  Not that I don't cook, but because I don't think I know how to make food sound interesting, flowery, or very enjoyable!  But, I just found and made an awesome, SUPER easy salad/meal that I wanted to share!  It may not sound that great from my post, but take my word for it! Go make it!

Warm New Potato and Lentil Salad
3/8 cup lentils
1 lb new potatoes (I used Yukon- same thing? Dunno, but the Yukon's were good!)
6 scallions (I used 3- seemed to be enough)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (oops just saw this- I used Red Wine vinegar, which was also really good! When I make it again, I think I'll use red wine vinegar again)
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of water to a boil.  Rinse the lentils, then cook for 20 minutes or until tender (I cooked them for 25 minutes).  Drain and rinse, then put to the side.

Meanwhile, steam or boil (I boiled) the potatoes until they are soft all the way through.  Drain and halve.

Chop the scallions, and add potatoes, lentils and scallions together.

This is where I got creative to make it even better!  (Ooh, maybe I do have a future as a food blogger!)  I chopped and mixed in fresh basil.  If you're vegan, you can stop there.  But if you're a vegetarian or carnivore, try adding some gorgonzola cheese (if you are one of those people that like moldy cheese. Like me) to the top.

I didn't decide to post this recipe until after I ate, but here's what's left (not much).

SO good!  I paired it with some cucumbers that have been marinating (can I use that word if they're only marinating in one ingredient?) in white vinegar and salt and pepper.  A great snack for the summer!

Have any favorite, super easy, go-to recipes?  This is now one for me!

Tempo Run, Run Fast for Fun and Heart Rate!

Yesterday, I did my first tempo run in what feels like way too long with Ashley.  Recently, I've run a few 5ks and a 10k races, so have used those for my weekly speed work, rather than alternating between mile repeats, tempo runs, etc.  Racing and doing a tempo run are very different.  When I'm racing, I'm giving it everything I have and am pushing myself to the limit.  We ran our tempo run (7.6 miles for me, with 5 miles of tempo), around 8 min/mile, which felt great!  We were pushing ourselves, but I never reached the point of I-really-want-to-stop-every-step like I often always do in races.  I had forgotten what it was like to run faster, but without completely burning yourself out!  Also, I'm not sure that I've ever run a tempo run with someone else before.  It made it so much more fun! All day yesterday, I kept thinking back to this run and loving it!  

I like to run fast.  (Who doesn't?!)  But I also don't necessarily like it to feel on-the-verge-of-too-fast.  In other words, I like to be able to sustain my pace without feeling like I'm going to crash.  I've had a few people ask me recently how to get faster.  Sorry to say, but the ONLY way to make a significant improvement is to practice running faster- i.e. interval repeats and/or tempo runs.  If you're not already incorporating speed work into your weekly runs, I encourage YOU to go try a tempo run.  Warm up for a mile or two, then try pushing the pace for 1-2 miles to start, then cool down for another mile or two.  You don't have to run at a 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 min/mile pace.  Just whatever is fast for YOU! And not all-out sprinting either.  Just a pace that is faster than normal, but where you would be able to still carry on some sort of conversation.  (Maybe try 30 seconds faster per mile and see how that feels.) Then be proud of yourself for running faster, and have FUN running fast!  There's something about doing a tempo run (at the right pace for you) that makes you feel like you could keep it up all day!  Enjoy it, and enjoy getting faster in return!

In addition to an awesome tempo run yesterday, I wore my heart rate monitor for the first time ever!  My boyfriend got me my Garmin for my birthday last September (boy does he know how to win my heart!  This pastry that he just brought home for me doesn't hurt either....) 

Drool.....  Oh wait, are we still talking about running?  Okay, back to my Garmin... it came with a heart rate monitor.  I immediately said "well, I'll probably never wear this" and put it in a box.  The last few weeks seem to be all about heart rates.  First I read Dorothy's post on heart rates (she is SUCH an inspiration, btw), then saw this video of a day in the life of Meb Keflezighi while marathon training. 

Okay, let's not compare ourselves to him because he's just out of this world, and I can almost guarantee that my resting heart rate will never be 37, like his.  Then Ashley posted about using her heart rate monitor.  She mentioned to me that she was going all the way back to NJ just to get her Garmin so she could use her heart rate monitor.  Since all I had to do was walk to my bedroom and pull mine out of the box I put it in nearly a year ago, I decided to test it out.  After 10 jumping jacks, my heart rate was already 25 bpm higher than Meb's after a 12 mile tempo run.  Oh wait...did I say not to compare ourselves to him? Hmm...

Anyway, yesterday morning, after rolling out of bed at 6:15am (the earliest I've EVER gotten up to go for a run! Yay!) I was curious enough about my heart rate that I decided to test it out on my tempo run.  

I calculated my max heart rate to be between 191-198, based on these two different ways to calculate it:
#1: Subtract your age from the number 220 (for men) or from 226 (for women).   For me, 226-28=198

#2: Subtract half of your age from the number 205. For me, 205-14=191

Here are the results:

(The first dramatic dip is when I met Ashley, and the other two are from stopping for water) The average of 161 puts me at about 75-80% of my max heart rate (but does incorporate my warm up and cool down).  I know VERY little about heart rate monitors, where your heart rate should be, etc. but I've read that 80-85% of your max heart rate is a good starting place for tempo runs, so I was just about right on with that!  I'll continue to use it and will continue to update as I learn more/gain more experience with it!

Here are the splits from this run:

It took us a while to get into the tempo portion of the run during mile 3, but once we got there, we stuck to our pace pretty well!

Can't wait for my next tempo run!  I'll definitely be sure to get back into incorporating these into my training.  And hopefully running them with friends to keep them fun!

Do you do tempo runs?  Do you like them?  Do you wear a heart rate monitor?  Do you have a good site with lots of information about it that you want to share with me?!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Horrible 14 mile run, Oiselle, vacation and yoga!

Where has the time gone?!  I'm really not quite sure how it's already mid-July, or how I've managed not to write a blog post in the last few weeks….  Somehow, time has gotten away from me!  I'm going to try to be better about this, but I think I might have said that in the last post, and clearly it didn't help….

Today I finished week 3 of marathon training for the Philly Marathon!  I've only had one miserable, horrible, wanted-to-stop-every-quarter-mile run. That was my last long run.  I had 14 miles on the schedule, and I did 14 miles, but not without FAR TOO MANY stops.  I was planning to run last Sunday, but when I woke up on Saturday and saw the Sunday forecast (thunderstorms all day), I decided to run Saturday instead.  Unfortunately, I didn't wake up until after 9:30, and needed to eat breakfast, so I didn't get started until 11:30.  Which means that I finished during the hottest part of the day.  And I paid for it.  Mentally, I was not at all prepared to do my long run on Saturday.  I love running in Central Park, but I don't really love running along the Hudson. But so I wouldn't get bored, I decided to do a loop of CP, then run over to the Hudson and run downtown, then back home.  I was fine until I got to the Hudson, around mile 8. The last 6 miles had me stopping, walking, trying to distract myself, nearly taking a shower like a homeless person in a water fountain, and struggling with every step until I got to 14.  I'm glad I didn't give up, and that I got the miles in, but I'm looking forward to a long run (my next is 16 miles) that does NOT feel like that!  I'm going to keep making myself run along the Hudson because it's good practice for me mentally, but perhaps not at 1:30 in the afternoon on a near 90 degree day, where there's little-to-no shade.  

What this run taught me is that I need to be able to be more flexible with my running routes and schedule.  If I decide to run 14 miles on Saturday instead of Sunday, it shouldn't be the end of the world!  And if I decide to run somewhere other than Central Park, my mind shouldn't totally give up on me.  Things to work on for the next few months before Philly!  It also taught me that I really can't wait for a cool, crisp Fall morning!  I know that training will be so much easier come September!

This long run also led to some really huge, nasty blisters that I've still been trying to get rid of.  I bought Injinji toe socks, which feel funny and make me look like a frog, but I think they're helping.  We'll see after my 16 mile run!  I've also been using Bodyglide and band-aids over my already existent blisters.  Let me know if you have any blister-prevention ideas!  My toes are crooked so they rub in weird ways….

Remember when I said I wasn't going to do the Runner's World Summer Running Streak, but I made my own Summer Workout Streak?  Well, I completed it!  Honestly, I think I made it too easy for myself, but I'm glad that it made me do more core work and cross training.  Of course, now that the streak is complete, I've slacked off this week, but I'm going to blame that on house guests, birthday parties and traveling to Northern California where I am now!  (Rough life here....this is right outside our private guest/pool house)

I'll get back on track next week! Last week, I got the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD.  I've only done it once so far, but definitely plan to do it at least once a week.  It was a great workout, for my arms especially, and was the first workout DVD that actually pushed me!

Okay, so I'm sure everyone is dying to know what I bought myself since I finished my streak!  Drumroll please….. ….   ……this awesome Oiselle top, which I debuted on a run this morning!

Yesterday, while walking in a parking lot in California, I found $20 on the ground.  And I happened to be less than a block away from Fleet Feet (I may or may not have already been there the day before....) so how could I resist?!  Fleet Feet here carries a lot of Oiselle products, but not many in my size, so my options were limited, but I couldn't be happier with this top!  It fits great, it's soft, and what sold me is that it's NOT a racer back!  My favorite sports bras aren't racer backs, so that complicates things in the summer.  When I saw that I could wear my favorite bras with this top (and it has a pocket- score, since most tops don't!), I had to buy it!  I wore it on my run this morning and can't wait to wear it again!

Last week I went to a blogger yoga event at Sangha House that Katherine organized (thanks, Katherine!).  The class was great- it was definitely the hardest yoga class that I've taken to date, but it was a great workout!  I would love to return to take that class again! (Anyone want to go with me?) After the awesome class, there was a giveaway for a Phat Buddha outfit, and I won!  I don't think I've won anything since I was a kid, so I was really excited!  I haven't gone to the showroom yet to pick out my outfit, but I'll definitely blog about it when I do!  Right now I'm scheduled to go at the end of July, so stay tuned to see what I pick out!

How's your training going?  Do you have any Phat Buddha wear? Have you tried the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD? Are you completely sick of running in 90+ degree temperatures too?!  Leave me comments, let's commiserate together!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why I Run

Over the past few months, I've read so many blogs with incredibly motivating, inspirational stories about how people began running.  Some people began to lose a significant amount of weight. Some people started running to deal with the death of a loved one.  Some people started after a job layoff or being fired.

I, however, don't have one of these crazy, amazingly inspirational stories about how I started. But I like how my running story has progressed.  I started (seriously) running because my boyfriend suggested it one day (full story here, and thanks, Anthony!).  I had absolutely no plans to become a runner before or after our first run together, and certainly not during!  I don't think I really thought about it in the few days after our run either.  But once I recovered and was no longer sore from our impromptu 7 mile run, I ran again. And again. And then all of a sudden, I was running multiple times a week. I motivated myself by pulling the 7 mile run/(walk) out of nowhere, and wanted to see what else I was capable of.  

[Side note: if you're looking to get into running, I do NOT suggest starting by going for a random 7-mile run.  I'm lucky that it worked for me, but start with short and SLOW runs- don't dive in headfirst.  It is really unpleasant. Trust me!] 

There are countless types of people in this world, but I think most people can fall into one of these two categories: 

                 1) those who love running
            2) those who hate running

Anywhere between Middle School and three years ago, I probably would have fallen into the "those who hate running" category.  I completely understand why people hate it.  When you're not used to running, it's hard.  Really hard.  Even when you are used to it, there are many days when it's really hard!  I remember my first several runs, when my lungs and legs were burning, when I was gasping for air, and when putting one foot in front of the other suddenly seemed insurmountable. Why would I keep putting myself through that kind of pain?!

Because there's something amazing about running.  When you're out there by yourself, that's when you find out what you're truly capable of.  How strong you are both mentally and physically.  

The thought of running a 10k or half marathon never even crossed my mind until a few weeks before I signed up for my first half. And now, after I ran my last half marathon in May, I was definitely a little depressed for a few days because I didn't have another race in the books.

There's no other part of my life where I am as challenged or motivated as I am when I'm running or racing.  I'm running for me.  I'm running to become faster.  I'm running to become stronger.  I'm running to meet a new personal goal.  I'm running because I want to.  No one tells me that I have to run.  No one really cares if I do or not.  Except for me.

Of course there are still days when I have a hard or rough run, and I feel defeated.  But that only makes me want to lace up my shoes that much sooner, to push myself further, to mentally become stronger and to prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I remember my life without running.  It was fun, but it didn't have any real motivation.  I wasn't excited to get up every day like I am today.  I didn't have any goals that I was 100% in control of achieving.  I didn't have anything that I did just for me.

If you're one of "those who hate running", you're probably not reading this blog.  But if you happen to come across this and currently hate running, give it a try.  Actually, give it a few tries.  You probably won't love it at first run, but I bet you'll come to love it.  And I hope that it will make you a happier, more motivated and challenged person too.

What do you love most about running?  What got you motivated to start?  What keeps you motivated everyday?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hot & Sweaty! Queens 10k Race Recap

Yesterday I ran the Queens 10k.  It was hot.  REALLY hot.  Here are the things I did wrong leading up to the race:

*I took a spin class on Wednesday, and another on Friday and ran Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
*I hardly slept at all Saturday night
*I didn't plan out my outfit, if I was doing baggage or not, or what I was going to eat in the morning.  I'm 99% sure this contributed to my lack of sleep Saturday night.
*I woke up sore Saturday morning, then carried home 3 really heavy bags of groceries late Saturday night.  My arms were like jelly.
*I woke up sore Sunday morning
*I positive split the race

Here's what I did well:

*I PR'ed

I won't say that I did it right, because maybe it wasn't the best idea to try to PR given the heat, and I definitely positive split this race.  But it's still a PR, so I'm happy with it!

Waking up Sunday morning, I was feeling tight, stiff, sore and tired.  My 10k PR prior to this race (48:13 - 7:46 pace) wasn't on the same level as some of my other race times (how do you race/pace a 10k!?) so I was hoping for a PR, even though all conditions were less than ideal.

It was 75 degrees when I woke up, which to me is perfect weather, so I thought maybe I could run 46 minutes.  We had to run to the start because we somehow ended up being late.  It still didn't seem that hot to me.  I was beginning to think that the weathermen had been wrong. AGAIN.  I felt great for the first two miles, even though they were my fastest (7:19 and 7:14).  Then it finally became apparent just how hot it was!  I was running out of my way to run through puddles to feel the water splash up on the backs of my legs, and desperately running towards the sprinklers.  I was pouring water on my head after taking a sip (I'm still terrible at drinking while running) and counting down the miles VERY SLOWLY.  

I was so focused on getting to the end that I didn't even know I ran right by CitiField, but here's proof!  That's me. The only girl in the picture.

Photo Courtesy of New York Road Runners

It quickly became clear that 46 minutes wasn't going to happen, but I was still on track to PR.  My heart wasn't really in it- I thought about stopping a few times.  I thought about walking a few miles to the end.  But I knew that I would regret that, so I pushed through the heat and negative thoughts in my head and made it to the AMAZING ICE-COLD SPONGES! And surprise medal!  And a new 10k PR!

Here are the official results:

We left Flushing Meadows Park quickly, partially because we had to meet friends that were taking us to the beach for the day, but also so we could sit in the AC on the train for an hour!  Sorry to anyone that was on that train and didn't run the race...

Next time, I might think twice before signing up for a race on July 1, but now I'm just one race away from qualifying for the 2013 NYC Half and NYC Marathon!

How do you pace your 10k races? What did you think of the Queens 10k/the heat? Are you working towards qualifying for the 2013 NYC Half and/or NYC Marathon?