Saturday, October 31, 2015

Running Frustrations and Pot Roast

Why are we so much harder on ourselves than we would be on other people?

I was getting really frustrated with myself on my run yesterday.

Why was my heart rate so high? Why was I SO slow? Why could I run a marathon without stopping a few weeks ago but stopped multiple times on my 4 mile run?

It's really funny how time can mess with us. Steamtown seems like it was such a long time ago, but really, it was only a few weeks. I don't really know how long my body takes to fully recover from a marathon; I've never done it before. I also have a cold right now.

If someone else came to me three weeks post marathon (with a cold), whining about how slow they are and how bad their run was, I would tell them they need to relax. I would tell them to take it easy and not expect too much, too soon. I wouldn't expect them to be running at their best under those circumstances, why do I think I'm any different?

Running always has its ups and downs, and there are a lot of things that are out of our control. I can't control the weather, and I can't make my body recover any faster than it's going to. I can, however, take care of it. I can make sure I'm getting enough sleep (I'm not), drinking enough water (I think I am), and eating fairly healthy (*ahem* candy corn, I'm looking at you).

Buddy and I went for a 3 mile run today, and it went so much better than yesterday. He's such a goofball - he loves it, and he's getting better about not zig zagging in front of me while we run. He spent most of the afternoon usual.

Remember when I said I was doing yoga? Well, I still am! I bet you thought I was going to say that wasn't happening anymore. I'm shocked too. I'm on day 13 of the 30 days of yoga that I started. I haven't skipped any days yet either.

I'm so proud of me.

Tom and I made pot roast in the crock pot for dinner tonight. It was super easy and turned out really good! I wasn't sure everything was going to fit in the crock pot, but it just fit.

We used this recipe, which we mostly followed. We pretty much did our own thing with the spices. And by did our own thing I mean we forgot to put any spices on the veggies until it was already cooking for a while. And Tom made a roux with butter and flour for the gravy rather than the cornstarch method that the recipe uses.

The crock pot has been getting a workout lately (since we found it...). We've made chili, apple butter, pumpkin butter, and pot roast. Gotta use the appliances we have!

Have you entered my giveaway yet? Why not? You don't like free snacks?

Good luck and, more importantly, have fun to everyone running New York tomorrow!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hemp Hearts Review and Giveaway!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Manitoba Harvest and the Sweat Pink community in exchange for a review of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. All opinions are my own.

You guys know how much I like trying new (to me) products, especially if they're edible. So I was pretty psyched to get to try out a bag of Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest.

Hemp hearts are nutty little guys (raw, shelled hemp seeds, if you want to get technical) that you can put on just about anything.

I really like putting them in yogurt, and I have even tried them on an English muffin with apple butter. I have also seen other bloggers use them in smoothies and as a salad topper. There are no rules!

Manitoba Harvest has a bunch of recipes on their site, and if I had a kitchen right now I would be all over these Banana Hemp Heart Muffins. The nuttiness of the Hemp Hearts would be delicious in banana muffins, kind of like adding walnuts to banana bread.

Hemp Hearts have more protein and omegas (10 grams of each per serving) and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax, if you worry about those kinds of things.

Want to try Hemp Hearts? Use promo code: HHSP1015 to get 20% off the entire Manitoba Harvest web store! This code expires December 31, 2015.

Want to try out Hemp Hearts for free? Enter my giveaway by clicking the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Manitoba Harvest through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so I can choose another winner.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I Ran The Farm

Blogging consistency is not my strong point right now.

I ran a really fun trail race called Run the Farm on Sunday. I mostly didn't want to go anywhere, but I had already paid my registration fee and two of my old weekend running buddies were going to be there, so I couldn't back out.

Of course, I'm really glad I went, because it was a lot of fun!

The race was only 5 miles, but that was plenty because it was a serious trail race. There were a lot of single track sections where I kept getting stuck behind people, there were fallen trees and tree roots to jump over, and tons of rocks (the better to twist your ankle with, my dear). It was a really challenging race, partly because I have been running on the roads all summer (nevermind the hills), but it was a beautiful course.

I unintentionally make the best faces in race photos.

They have a farmer's market at the farm every weekend, and race finishers got 5 farm bucks to spend at the market. Mostly I think all the runners were enjoying all the free samples - runners love free food. We did pick up a couple of sausages, and my running buddies went home with a few containers of pickles.

I think we may have convinced Tom to run with us next year.

It was so much fun to run with my people again! I really need to make the drive down for our Saturday run again one of these days.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Best Part of Not Training

I've pretty much been training for something all year. Between my 4 half marathons and Steamtown, I haven't really taken any breaks.

The great thing about not being "in training" for anything is that I can pretty much do anything I want. I don't feel like running? That's fine - I don't have to. Feel like doing yoga today? Great, go for it! I don't want to do anything? That's ok, too.

I have barely run since the marathon. I took Buddy for a couple of two milers, which he loved. Today I got changed to run and he got really excited, but I was going past his 2 mile max, and got a really sad look when I walked out the door.

I want to build up Buddy's endurance a bit so he can join me for more runs.

For maybe the first time ever, I have been doing more yoga than running. It feels good to slow down. I found a YouTube channel with a yoga instructor that doesn't drive me crazy, and I have been doing her 30 days of yoga video series. Most of them are less than 30 minutes, so it's not a major time commitment. I'm on day 5, which is longer than I usually stick to yoga. :) She also has a ton of other videos, even one that's for couch potatoes!

I keep trying to get a picture of Buddy when he's waiting for his dinner. He gets this look that makes us think of Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter. This is close, but not quite the Dobby look.

Dobby would like some dinner, please.

He helped me do some bookkeping today. I was all dressed up in my running clothes and bunny slippers.

Just trying to keep up my reputation for extreme fanciness.

I helped Tom stack a bunch of firewood this afternoon.

Unfortunately, that's only about a third of the wood currently laying in our driveway. Also unfortunate: our new wood stove didn't come in this week, so this giant pile is pretty much decorative.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I'm Going to Throw a Laundry Party

 It's been a little chilly around here the last few mornings.

It even snowed for a little bit on Sunday. Fortunately, it didn't stick. We were hoping the cold would hold off for a little longer because we don't have heat on the first floor right now. The heat in the house is baseboard, and they had to drain and cut some of it out in the addition. The upstairs heat still works, and our new wood stove should be here sometime this week. Soon we'll be toasty warm!

I spent another thrilling morning at the laundromat. You have no idea how excited I am going to be when we finally have a washer and dryer at home again. Seriously, I may throw a laundry party.

On the bright side, I do get some reading done at the laundromat.

The house is all wrapped up (in Tyvek, not wrapped up as in finished), and most of the roof is on now. I climbed up and checked out the second floor and the attic today. The interior walls are framed now, so I got more of a sense of what the rooms are going to look like.

It's pretty cool!

As far as workouts go, there haven't been a lot. I have been doing a bit of yoga, and took Buddy for a couple of short runs. I don't want to jump back into training mode, but I am also trying to figure out what works for me when I don't have a schedule to stick to.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

We Know We're Fancy

I finally went for a run today, a week after Steamtown. It was really cold out and I apparently became a wuss over the summer, so I bundled up with my smartwool headband and my favorite running jacket.

Since I was only planning on doing 2 miles, I took the mutt with me. He was pretty excited and completely wore himself out.

This is from the other day, but you get the idea.

The run went well for me, I'm pretty much not sore at all at this point, though I can still feel a blister that isn't fully healed.

I made it a week without having any races scheduled.

The Sleepy Hollow 10k was on Saturday, and since I wasn't running I decided to go cheer on my old weekend running buddies instead. While I was down there they convinced me to sign up to do Run the Farm with them on the 25th. It's only 5 miles, so it's not a major commitment.

After Run the Farm I don't have anything planned. I might look for a turkey trot on Thanksgiving, but otherwise I'm pretty much done for now. In theory.

We've been having fun with our Blue Apron deliveries. Everything has been pretty tasty, and for the most part they are reasonable portions. We have added a few potatoes and some veggies to a few of the recipes, because seriously, I eat more than 6 brussels sprouts by myself.

What I bought vs what they sent

 We haven't taken pictures of many of our meals (because we're busy eating them), but here are a couple I found on my phone.

Seared chicken and caramelized fennel with jasmine rice and roasted cherry tomatoes:

And Za'atar chicken and farro salad with beet, goat cheese and pistachios:

We moved our outdoor kitchen to the front porch a few weeks ago when the construction started and we couldn't go out the side door anymore. This weekend we added the camp stove so now we can have more than one burner going at the same time (there's one on the side of the grill). 

You don't have to tell us, we know we're fancy.

Friday, October 16, 2015

House Updates

I'm in a bit of a fog this week. I had some seriously sore quads and exhaustion that came in waves after Sunday's race. Stairs are no longer an issue though, and I only had to go downstairs backwards once.

I haven't worked out. At all. I was too sore earlier in the week, and the last couple of days I have been tired and/or lazy. I did have to work, so at least I wasn't laying on the couch all week. Chasing preschoolers around counts as a workout, right?

The construction guys have been hard at work this week.

The new stairs to the attic will be where that ladder is. The space on the right is going to be the master bedroom closet.

Bedroom windows.

Dormer windows in the attic.

I climbed multiple ladders to get up here. This was when I was still sore from the race, and I realized that going down ladders is not dissimilar from climbing down stairs. It was a little dicey.

Look how big it's getting!

The roof is going up at the beginning of next week. Pretty exciting!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Steamtown Marathon 2015 Race Recap

I ran a marathon!

I still can't quite wrap my head around it, but my body is quick to remind me that something extreme happened yesterday. Stairs and I are not friends today.

This recap got long, sorry!

Saturday morning we dropped Buddy off to be boarded for the night and hit the road. Scranton, Pennsylvania is only two hours from our house, so it was an easy drive to the expo. The expo itself was fairly small but really well organized. Packet pickup was a breeze, and they had a spot to check your bib to make sure your timing chip was working correctly.

I used my birthday money from my grandma to get a snazzy marathon jacket and pint glass. I only get one first marathon, so I definitely wanted some extra goodies to commemorate the event.

They had a panel with the race director Bill King, and runners Jon Sinclair and Kim Jones (who are both crazy fast!). They talked about race strategy for the course and answered questions. The course advice boiled down to this: hold back and take it easy for the first half of the race. The first half, especially the first 6 miles, is mostly downhill, and it will absolutely kill your legs if you go out too fast. They all recommended running an even split rather than trying to bank time in the first half.

Tom came up with the catch phrase, "It's better to have gas in the tank than time in the bank." It popped into my head several times on Sunday, and brought a smile to my face while I was counting down the miles.

We tried to go to a pub for dinner, but they were having some big fall festival thing and had a cover charge just to get in. Since I wasn't planning on even having beer with dinner, it didn't make sense to spend extra money just so we could get something to eat.

The second place we tried was closed (seriously?).

By this point I just wanted to eat something, and since we had already paid to park, we found a pizza place that was in walking distance. Then it was off to the hotel to get organized and get to sleep. We somehow both forgot to pack our phone chargers, so we took a field trip to CVS to pick a couple of cords up. On the bright side, that was the only thing I forgot to pack, and it was easily fixed.

On Sunday morning we woke up bright dark and early and made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a bagel. Then we were off to the start at Forest City High School. The starting area was great! They had the high school open so we had a warm place to hang out until the start (which was nice because it was 38 degrees out), handed out water to the runners, and had a totally reasonable number of porta potties.

I don't have a mile-by-mile recap for you, because that's not how my mind was working on Sunday, but here are things I do remember:

The race starts with a civil war cannon! They warn you several times that the cannon is real, and it will be loud. Apparently it has startled people in the past.

There are a lot more rolling hills in the beginning of the race than the elevation chart would have you believe. We set off through the first of many little towns, and already there were tons of people out to cheer the runners on. The high school band was playing Thriller as we ran through Forest City.

I had GUs all over, creating really attractive lumps.

I did a really good job of keeping my pace reasonable at the beginning of the race. Even as early as mile 4 there were people breathing really heavy around me, while my breathing was even and I was feeling strong.

There were a couple of viewpoints where I got to see Tom. The first was around mile 8, he jogged along side me a little ways and told me I was doing a good job at not going out too fast.

Spectators were plentiful on the course, especially considering the size of some of the towns we ran through. Their signs were hilarious, and had me smiling and laughing, even into the later miles. There were a lot of unofficial aid stations set up too, offering everything from water and sugar to ice pops, gummi bears, orange slices, and even beer! There's a bit of a hill around mile 23, but you hardly notice because there is a huge block party going on! They had a hose misting over the street (heaven!), water, snacks and music - they were having a great time and it was a nice boost toward the end when we were struggling.

There is one quiet stretch of paved trail that a lot of people were complaining about ("here's the boring part," I heard one girl say), but it made up for the lack of spectators with absolutely gorgeous scenery. We ran alongside a stream and were surrounded by some serious fall foliage. I really enjoyed it! We hit the halfway point out on the trail a little after the 2 hour mark. I had not so secretly hoped to finish around the 4 hours mark, but at that point (with the hills ahead of me) I figured that wasn't going to happen.

I could not remember where the second viewpoint was. Mile 9? 15? I kept waiting for a large group of people, because I knew Tom would be there. It was mile 17. I was still feeling good (though obviously tired) and it was a nice boost to have my own personal cheering section tell me I was looking strong and keeping a good pace.

I kept some of the most even splits I have ever run until about mile 19. There was a gravel trail that I didn't know was coming, and everyone around me slowed down. It seemed to throw everyone off.

I completely forgot to stop my watch until long after I finished.

My left big toe started hurting somewhere around mile 20, and my right hip flexor started cramping up shortly after. Both were manageable, but annoying.

The hills really aren't that bad, it's just that they're at the end of the race. I had a huge grin on my face when I read "last turn" spray painted on the road. Unfortunately, the biggest and longest hill is around that turn. The first half is steep, but even when you get past the steep part, you're still going uphill. The spectators are amazing on that hill - they definitely kept me going! That, and the knowledge that once you get to the top of the hill there's a quarter mile of downhill, and then: the finish line.

As much as I was exhausted, I wanted to finish strong, so I picked up the pace on the downhill and finished with a smile on my face. I excitedly received my space blanket (I was weirdly excited about getting one of these because I've never gotten one before) and told the woman who put my medal over my head, "I've been looking for you all day!"

I finished with a chip time of 4:11:23!

I tried really hard not to curse at the runners in the food tent who had come to a complete stop. Couldn't they feel their muscles locking up? All I wanted was to get through the tent so I could keep walking. Tom met me outside the food tent and we walked around a bit before heading back to the car. I was tired and done with the crowds around the finish.

We drove home, picked up the pooch, had Chinese food for dinner, and I fell asleep on the couch around 9:45.

I didn't open it until lunch today, but this was seriously my fortune. No joke!

Tom was the best marathon buddy ever this weekend. He drove all over the place to see me at the viewpoints and at the finish, and put up with my moody nervousness like a champ. He even sat through the expo panel with me and hung out in a cafeteria full of runners doing strange pre-race things at the start. Plus he met me at the finish with this magnet:

He's kind of the best.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I'm a Marathoner!

I will work on getting a race recap up for you guys soon, but for now I just want to say - I'm a MARATHONER!

For tonight, I'm eating, relaxing on the couch (and getting up for walk breaks so all my muscles don't seize up on me), and probably falling asleep while we watch football. Fortunately I don't have to teach any classes tomorrow!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

About that time

Hello from Scranton, Pennsylvania! I don't have a lot to say and I'm coming to you from my phone, but I just wanted to pop in and say - holy cow, I'm running a marathon in the morning! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Blue Apron Birthday

I don't know if you've noticed, but we're a little busy around here. Between marathon training, work and all the work being done on the house, there have been more than a few nights of takeout in the last few months.

Don't get me wrong, I love takeout, it's easy and tasty, but it isn't the healthiest thing we could eat.

For our birthdays, my mom bought us a few Blue Apron deliveries. We got our first box last week, and everything was really good!

Our box came with three meals and really nicely printed recipes. Everything comes in a nicely insulated box with ice packs, so even if you're not home when it gets delivered, your food will be safely waiting for you.

The first meal I decided to make was this Spiced Turkey chili.

Now, I may just be bad at meal planning and lazy about going to the store, but how nice is it to have just what you need for a recipe delivered to your house? I'll tell you, it's extremely nice. 

The other recipes in this box were pan seared steaks with spinach and lemon-butter purple potatoes, and crispy Cajun catfish with dirty rice and spicy remoulade. They all turned out really well, especially considering how limited our "kitchen" is right now. So far I have been able to make everything on the burner on the grill.

I'm really excited to get our next box - Blue Apron is a lot of fun so far! Thanks, Mom! :)
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