June 27, 2014

Harry Potter and The Fish Run

Sometimes, I get really sick of my running playlist. I know exactly why - I never change it up, and I don't really think the shuffle feature is that intuitive. Even though I haven't really touched my playlist since I started training for my first half marathon in 2011 (almost 3 years ago!!), there is still one song shuffle has never played. Weird, right??

I've been experimenting with listening to podcasts while I run, but I haven't really found one that speaks to me. I tried out Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!Pop Culture Happy Hour, and How Did You Get Into That?, but some days I really just wasn't feeling it. I'd rather listen to those when I'm driving than running. So, I switched back to listening to audiobooks - and my fallback, of course, is listening to Harry Potter.
Why yes, I am a nerd! :P
On Thursday, I planned to run 5 miles. I got out my iPhone and realized I needed to put an audiobook in my library. I hooked it up and waited for it to update, and then selected the book I wanted (Goblet of Fire, one I haven't listened to in a while) and waited for it to load again. This took an hour. What?! And then it didn't even work. Ummm. So much time had passed that I could have run 5 miles twice. Plus, by the time I had decided to just put another book on there, it was 2pm- My yoga sculpt class was at 4:30pm, and there just wasn't enough time for me to both recover from running and to have a successful yoga class. So I skipped it.

My Summer Shape Up meals for the past few days:

Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal

1/2 ripe banana, mashed = 45 calories
1/4 cup rolled oats = 95 calories
1/4 cup skim milk = 23 calories
1/2 tsp cinnamon = 10 calories
1/4 cup blueberries = 26 calories
5.25 g slivered almonds = 32 calories

Calorie Total = 231 calories

Yeah this is the ugliest picture of food ever - I know. I tried to take it from like 3 different angles and each time it just looked more and more like vomit. However... the taste was okay. I'm realizing I like very little cinnamon (a 1/2 tsp is still a lot to me), and slivered almonds in oatmeal is something I won't be trying again.

Banana & Spinach Smoothie

Half a ripe banana = 45 calories
1 cup skim milk = 90 calories
30g of power greens = 25 calories (I did measure this time!)

Calorie Total = 160 calories

This was pretty good, but either my blender wasn't doing as it should or the banana wasn't ripe enough - I kept finding chunks of banana in my straw. But, I really couldn't taste any of the greens - just banana and milk. Go figure.

Salmon and Quinoa Salad (my own "recipe")

4.5 oz salmon (it was a lot of salmon, but it was the last of it, so I figured what the hell?) = 180 calories
30g power greens = 25 calories
1/2 cup quinoa = 140 calories

Calorie Total: 345 calories

I mean, there's really not much more to this than just heating up all the ingredients and throwing them into the bowl. I didn't even cut the salmon - just kind of mushed it around the other ingredients with a fork. It really was the easiest dinner ever. And with me, the easier it is, the more likely I'll eat that and not our Face M&M's. 
Somebody (hint: starts with in, ends in laws) sent us 12 tins of our Face M&M's. 4 of them have mysteriously disappeared..
This morning, I decided to try and do the thing I used to do.. which is run in the mornings. It was hard. I was still pretty full from the night before (I ate like I was running 5 miles yesterday.. but didn't), so I didn't eat anything before my run. It worked okay - I felt my brain raging, Why did you not eat??!?! but then realized that I wasn't actually hungry, and my brain shut up.

The worst part about my run was that I tried a different route (keep it interesting, y'all) and ended up on the tiniest stretch of non-sidewalk, and ended up running into a bed of thorns, practically. What resulted:

Dannng. This happened at like, not even the halfway point. So my leg was burning like, all through the rest of the run. :( 
It's a fish! With a big head and a little fin! About to chomp on the word "Bellevue" - do you see it?? (I'm a child.)

I'm really glad that despite running with scratched legs, the last mile was the fastest. I really need to get back into this habit! It ends the run on a good note and leaves me feeling accomplished.

Hope you have a good weekend!

June 25, 2014

Why Do I Write This Blog? (Or, My Thoughts on Healthy Living Bloggers and GOMI)

Yesterday, I was introduced to a website called GOMI, or Get Off My Internets. It's a snark site for a lot of things, but one of its sections is Healthy Living Bloggers as well as Running Bloggers, who are a subset of HLB's. Lo' and behold, I found almost all of the popular bloggers ("Big Bloggers") I read have their own thread in forums with pages and pages of people making fun of them, complaining about them, and snarking about them.

Before we dig in, a bit about me: I used to read the gossip blog Oh No They Didn't almost every day (I still pop in every week when things are slow) and stayed up late reading comments on, and commenting on, celebrities I could only dream of meeting. I mean, I especially love a good gossip session with my friends where we basically rant about people we know and work with. There's a certain thrill in talking about someone behind their back. Is it immature? Yes, absolutely. Is it fun? Yep. Would I hate it if I knew other people were talking about me? Oh, absolutely. But it's hard to care.

On GOMI, it's the same way. People are basically gossiping in plain sight, and even taking it one degree further and researching the Big Bloggers' old blogs/places they've commented to get more information about them. Don't get me wrong.. I had a good cackle at a few of these. I also learned a few things about the "actual" (quotes because who really knows) personalities of some of my favorite bloggers - who is really shy, who is actually a bitch, who is really friendly, etc.

I mean, obviously I know to take all this with a grain of salt - the people who comment on the forums are there to snark and to be mean, and embellishing certain aspects of someone's personality to better fit how the snarkers perceive them is to be expected. But it's still interesting to see the contrast of all the Big Bloggers commenters on their actual page ("omg I love this recipe!", "you are so pretty!") to all the GOMI commenters ("she is so boring", "another pic of her breakfast? fascinating"), and it really got me thinking as to why I have my little blog.

(side note: Of course I checked if I'm mentioned on there. Of course I'm not, in any way. I laugh that I even toyed with the idea that I might be.)

So, why do I have this blog? Well, first it was to document my first marathon. I wanted to be kept accountable for all my runs/cross training, and I thought that maybe if someone was trying their first marathon too, my posts might be able to help? But I struggle with this reason, because I wasn't really putting any scientific information in my posts - just, "This is what I did, and I felt okay I think" blahblah. So, was I really posting for anyone but myself? I don't really think so.

This blog is also a way for my parents to keep up with me while I'm living in another state. I'm sure they're the only ones who appreciate the pictures of myself and the small updates about my day (when I give them).

Hi, Mom!
And... those are really the only two reasons. To be kept accountable (re: for me), and to update my parents on my life without having to call them everyday. I can't really think of any other reason, because if I say I think my life is so interesting that people would want to keep up with it, then damn that's narcissistic.. and unrealistic. I'm just a normal person, living a normal life.

Maybe it's just an easier way to keep a diary that's easier to write in, prettier to look at, and as a bonus I get to put pictures and recipes in it?

Do I wish I was so popular that I was getting sponsors and free trips and free races thrown at me? Well of course. I love to travel and I've really enjoyed the few races I've run - it'd be cool to get those entree fees comped. The likelihood that that will happen is so small, though. And it'll stay small unless I make a big change - attend a conference, network, or start reaching out. How motivated am I to do that? Not very.


Are there moments when I've been reading certain blogs and asked myself, "Why is this blog so popular? This is a post about her breakfast." Oh yes. And the answer is simple.. It's popular because it just is. They worked hard in the beginning (and at the right time, when not everybody and their dog was blogging) and now they can slack off because they live off of sponsors and ads, and have stopped devoting their time to commenting on random blogs to get traffic and now just sit back, relax, and do their thing.

GOMI probably helps their blog traffic as well - people love to hate things, and you can only hate something if you care enough to look at it every day. Blessing in disguise, y'all.

Anyways. I guess I just wanted to acknowledge that I know my blog isn't showy or unique. I know it doesn't have pretty pictures of food, nor does it have unique circuit workouts. I don't run 6 minute miles, and I don't dress very stylishly (when I do get dressed. Let's be real, mostly I just stay in my pajamas/work out clothes all day). I don't post recipes I've made up myself. I'm pretty average, and this blog highlights that fact.

But I like having a way to connect with the few people who read this, and at the very least I like having my own website- a place to call my own.


June 24, 2014

Unlimited Bread, Salad, and Running

Even though I'm not technically through with experimenting with all of Week 1's Summer Shape Up Meals,  on Sunday I checked out Week 2 and saw that the first breakfast was an easy bake "bar". I realized I could have that ready to go in the fridge and grab it every morning if I made it beforehand, so I went ahead and threw together the ingredients. So, so easy!!

Almond Butter Banana Breakfast Bars (makes 10 bars)

1 cup whole wheat flour = 400 calories
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats = 380 calories
1/2 cup flaxseed = 240 calories
1 tsp. cinnamon = 7 calories
1 tsp. baking powder = 0
1 tsp. baking soda = 0
1/4 tsp. sea salt = 0

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce = 50 calories
1/3 cup raw agave (I took a chance with using this ingredient, instead of maple syrup- turned out great!) = 320 calories
1/4 cup smooth almond butter = 380 calories
2 very ripe bananas, mashed = 180 calories

Calorie Total: 1,957 calories, making it 195 calories per bar!

Extra close-up, but it was so good!
The consistency of these is really more like banana bread, more than a bar. I'd call it "Almond Butter Banana Bread", but that's just me. :) Now I have bread for days!

I ate one Monday morning and had leftovers for the rest of the day. I had a dance audition that night, and I think it went well, but it was only an hour so who can tell?? So I came home and whipped up this recipe for "dinner":

Kale Chickpea Feta Greek Salad

2 cups kale greens (washed & trimmed into bite size pieces) = 20 calories
1/4 cup chickpeas (drained & rinsed) = 60 calories
7g  feta cheese = 18 calories
1 tbsp Diced Tomatoes = 3 calories
1/3 of a cucumber, chopped = 15 calories
1/3 of a green pepper, chopped = 11 calories
The last of my lemon juice
1 tsp. olive oil = 40 calories
a few shakes of Salt & pepper
2 oz chicken = 55 calories

Calorie Total: 222 calories

Salads are my go-to! This was so light and refreshing. I wanted to make it small because I wasn't that hungry (I ate every 3 hours!), but even though it was small, I still felt pretty full afterwards. Oh well, it's better than being full from ice cream, right??

Today, Tuesday, I had two slices of Almond Butter Banana Bread to fuel me for my 4 mile run after my voice lesson. My voice lesson is in Tacoma, so instead of driving back to Bellevue to run around downtown, I figured I needed a change of scenery. So, I scouted out a park in Federal Way and ran there.

It was SO hilly-- I'm not sure I'll run on it again! Well, I mean, maybe... I guess it's a good workout... but man, those hills!

The first half of the run was clearly downhill, and the last half of it was uphill. Oh well! Gotta build those muscles somehow.

Feeling good on these last few days of June-uary! Ready for constant summer!

How is your summer running going??

June 22, 2014

The First Week of Summer

I had a great weekend! For starters, Saturday was the first day of summer!

I had planned to spend the morning at a friend's apartment and make brunch, but forgot that Saturday was also the morning of the Rock n' Roll Seattle Marathon! I can't believe that I forgot about it, because a lot of bloggers I keep up with were running it. But how could I forget about it, when the traffic on I-90 looked like this?
Ughhh.. But, hello runners!
It was pretty neat to be on the spectator side of the race, but I really felt for those runners. There weren't many clouds in the sky, and I saw a lot of people walking. I hope everybody didn't get too hot!

Run, runners! Run!!
So cool to see them, achieving their dreams!
Anyways, it took me an extra 15 minutes to get over there, but at least I enjoyed the view. I brought over the rest of my Simple Baked Oatmeal for us to eat. We also made ourselves some protein pancakes, and chocolate chip banana muffins. They were delicious! 

We spent some time talking about fitness, and ended up getting so inspired that we wanted to go walk around outside! And why shouldn't we? It was absolutely gorgeous outside.

What a view!

On Sunday, JW and I went on more house hunting adventures (ughh) and then we rewarded ourselves with California Pizza Kitchen. My usual is now the Quinoa + Arugula salad with chicken, so I had about 3/4 of that and boxed up the rest. Hello, tomorrow's lunch!

I spent the rest of the evening planning next week's meals (the rest of Week 1) and even got a head start and baked one of Week 2's Breakfast Bars! More info in the next post :)

Hope everybody had a fantastic first weekend of summer! I sure did :)

June 21, 2014

Summer Shape Up, Days 3 and 4

I ran 3 miles on Thursday before I continued with meals from the Summer Shape Up!

It was 68 degrees! Much hotter than I'm used to!
Summer Shape Up Day 3 
Tuna Salad with a Healthy Twist

2 oz chunk light tuna packed in water = 50 calories
1/8 cup Fage 0% Greek yogurt = 16 calories
1 celery stalk = probably like 0 calories, but let's say 5
1/2 cup Broccoli slaw = 13 calories
a few sprinkles of Feta cheese ~ 20 calories
two handlfuls of Power Greens ~ 25 calories (didn't measure)
1 whole wheat Jasmine's pita = 150 calories

It was really messy, but really good!

Cinnamon Applesauce

2oz unsweetened applesauce (leftover from the Simple Baked Oatmeal) = 25 calories
a few sprinkles of cinnamon = 10 calories

Calorie Total = 279 for the Pita + 35 for the applesauce = 314 calories

Salmon Quinoa Salad (my own creation!)

3 oz. salmon = 120 calories
1/2 cup quinoa/rice blend (Near East) = 140 calories
a handful of Power Greens ~ 25 calories

Calorie Total = 285 calories

The salmon was left over from earlier this week, and I heated it up separately from the leftover quinoa. I threw it all together on a bed of Power Greens and mixed it all up! This was quickly scarfed down after my yoga class and was small but filling.

Summer Shape Up Day 4
In the morning, I completed the NTC Beginner Get Toned Shape + Sculpt for 45 minutes after a breakfast of Scrambled Egg Muffins.

Tuna Caesar Salad (my own creation)

2 handfuls of Power Greens ~ 25 calories (didn't measure)
1.5 oz tuna = 38 calories
Detoxinista's Quick Garlic Parmesan Dressing (makes 1/3 cup)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil = 240 calories
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan = 134 calories
  • 1 tsp minced garlic = 5 calories

The dressing alone came to a total of 379 calories. I used 2 tsp.

Calorie Total: 47 dressing + 63 salad = 110 calories

The rest of the day, I ate more leftovers. They were still good as new!

I hope everyone is having a good first day of summer!

June 20, 2014

NTC Review - Updated

When I trained for the Nike Women's Marathon last fall, I used the NTC app for my cross training. After I used it for the first time, I posted a review. Since then, I haven't touched the app - so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to find a whole slew of updates!

They completely changed the app, and I like it so much better now! In my opinion, their biggest improvement is the 10 second mini-break between exercises so you can catch your breath and prepare for what the next move is. Genius!

I completed the Beginner Get Lean Hurricane, and compared to my old post about the same exercise, even the moves are different! I'm thinking that most, if not all, of the exercises on the NTC app have been updated as well.

Do this set twice, with a 1 minute modified plank (on your knees) at the end of Round 2 (before Recovery)
Do this set twice, with 1 minute of Russian Twists at the end of Round 2 (before Recovery)
Do this set twice
Do this set only once
Cool Down
The workout had me sweating within 10 minutes! It was great - not too hard but it definitely challenged me. I could feel my back really overworking itself from this + yoga, so the only thing I omitted were the Broad Jumps. Plus, since the only equipment was the jump rope, I was able to do everything in my apartment!

You can even customize your workout- if I didn't feel like doing modified burpees, I could do froggers instead. Love this feature.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the app to those who had maybe previously tried it and were dismayed by it. It's so much better now! Give it a shot!

June 18, 2014

Summer Shape Up Day 2: Meals, Running, and an NTC Workout!

Scrambled Egg Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

9 eggs = 630 calories
2 handfuls of spinach ~ 15 calories (didn't measure)
1/3 cup skim milk = 30 calories
1/3 cup whole wheat flour = 133 calories
1/4 cup Lucerne Mild shredded Cheddar Cheese = 120 calories
a few shakes of basil
2 scoops of diced tomatoes from a can ~ 25 calories (didn't measure)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

Calorie Total for 12 muffins = 953 calories. Divided by 12, that's about 80 calories per muffin! Not bad, not bad at all!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (makes 2.5 cups of soup)

1 clove minced garlic = 3 calories
1 Tbsp olive oil = 120 calories
a few spoonfuls of diced tomatoes from a can ~ 50 calories (didn't measure)
a few shakes of basil
a few shakes of pepper
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth = 40 calories
1/2 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt = 65 calories

Avocado Toast

1/3 Avocado ~ 83 calories (didn't measure)
1 slice Whole Wheat Chia Bread = 100 calories

Calorie Total = 278 for the soup + 183 for the toast= 461 calories. I made myself a 3/4 cup serving of soup, making it 84 + 183 = 267 calories. 

I admit, this wasn't my favorite meal - soup in the summer is a little too warm for me - but it was a nice blend of flavors and as always, fun to try something new.

3 mile run - not my favorite! For some reason, I felt so sluggish and off. I was happy to get it out of the way.

Mexican Lasagna

I felt so hungry after running, I had to eat! I couldn't resist!! I happily scarfed down another fourth of the Mexican Lasagna I made yesterday after reheating it in the microwave. Mmmm it was so good!

My Homemade Trail Mix

I had this on the way home from my voice lesson! (First one since January!)

Snack #2:
Almond Butter + Toast

2 Tbsp unsalted almond butter = 190 calories
1 slice Whole Wheat Chia Bread = 100 calories

Calorie Total = 290 calories

Exercise, Round 2:
Nike+ Training Club

After my snack, I completed the NTC workout called Beginner Get Strong Pump Station. What a name! It was 45 minutes, made me sweat, and I was happy when it was over. Now I'm all caught up on half marathon training!

Tropical Island Smoothie

3/4 cup Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Milk = 33.75 calories
1 cup frozen strawberries = 50 calories
1 single serving (5.3 oz) blueberry Fage Greek Yogurt (Fruyo) = 140 calories

Calorie Total = 224 calories

Alright, alright. I admit that I jumped the gun on tomorrow's breakfast. But I just couldn't not eat anything - running gave me some more calories to work with for the day, so I went ahead and felt 0 guilt while using them all up in this smoothie! It was SO refreshing after my workout - this might be my new go-to post-workout smoothie! It's that good!

Whew! What a day!