Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Ramblings

I stayed home from work today because a headache from last night decided to greet me when I woke up this morning and it almost made me lose my breakfast in the kitchen sink (sometimes headaches do that to me). After some serious rest and laziness for most of the morning, thankfully my headache is gone now. Since I've been couped up all day with no one to talk to, I have a few things to ramble about...

1. I'm such an ADD cleaner. After my headache was gone I decided that I was going to go through my extensive magazine collection I've acquired over the past few months and tear out any recipes I wanted and throw them all away. While I was doing so I thought of a great craft project. I cut out lots of running-related words and inspirational phrases from my Runners World magazines and I'm going to use them as the background for my homemade medal hanger. I'm not quite sure about how I'm going to make it yet but let's just say this made my magazine purge take a little longer than it should have.

Then I decided to clean all the junk off of our chair in the office. I was mostly successful and then I was putting something away in a craft drawer in a closet. I spotted some string (the kind that you make friendship bracelets out of) and 10 minutes later I'm making a friendship bracelet. Really? I haven't done this since high school and I don't even know if I will wear it. Whatever. I think making something is therapeutic...

2. I made pizza for dinner last night and I get to have it again tonight. I LOVE pizza, especially when I make it at home because I feel less guilty for eating it since I know it's better for me. Since I had a headache, my husband was amazing and made the dough for me since it involved using the hand mixer (loud noises = not good for headaches).

You can find the recipe I use for my pizza dough in this post.

3. Look what came in the mail today!

I won a nice stash of Gu from Mallory at Sit for your job. Run for your life. Check out her blog and send some encouragement her way for her running and upcoming race!

4. I also received some drink mix from Achiva Native Energy. I was a little skeptical at first but it was delicious in a smoothie! Look for a review and a giveaway sometime this week or next!

5. Speaking of reviews, I only have one more energy gel to review then I'll be doing a giveaway! I want to try all the flavors of this brand (Carb BOOM) and I haven't gotten a chance to yet, so that's why it's taking me a while!

6. My FAVORITE brand of flip flops and "adventure" sandals are Chacos. I have two pairs of their flip flops and two pairs of their Z/2's. They are so comfortable and extremely durable. They are a bit pricey but they last forever (I've had mine since late high school/college and they are still holding strong). I was pretty excited when I saw that The Clymb is currently offering some sweet deals on Chacos. I would really love to add these to my collection for this winter:

These shoes are regularly $125 and they're on sale for $49.98. I want I want I want!

I would really recommend picking up a pair of their flip flops, which are regularly $50 and on sale for $24.98. I wear my flip flops every single day. Or if you're looking for a sandal that you can do anything in, the Z/1 and Z/2 are great and on sale for $44.98 (regularly $95).

Want to join The Clymb and have access to these sweet deals? Click HERE (it's free!). And I get $10 if you buy something. Let's just be honest here...

7. I just ordered my new Road ID that I won from Marisa @ The Pace of My Life! I felt a little guilty for winning because I already have a Road ID (check out my previous review HERE). BUT, my husband's cell phone number recently changed so I needed a new one anyways! Having a wrong number on your Road ID isn't going to do much good if somebody needs to get in touch with your loved ones in an emergency. If you don't have a Road ID, you really should get one! The Wrist ID Slim is only $15.99...a small price to pay for something that could save your life!

Okay...I think that's all the rambling I have for now. I probably lost most of you a while ago!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marathon Training Week #7 Recap

This week went by fast! It's starting to feel a little bit like Fall in the morning and that makes me really excited because Fall is my favorite time of the year. I even saw pumpkins and mums out at the grocery store today!

This week's training was a little off because I juggled around my 4 mile run, cross training, and rest day for scheduling purposes and swapped out my Thursday run for a ride because my foot was hurting. But everything worked out fine and my foot is feeling so much better if anyone is concerned! Here's how this week's training went...

On the schedule: cross train
I made this my rest day because I knew I would be running on Monday.

On the schedule: rest
I ran 4.51 miles of tough trails in 57:27 (12:43 pace...slow, I know). You can read more about my first trail running experience HERE.

On the schedule: run 4 miles
Since I ran 4.5 miles the day before, I made this my cross training day. I did a quick 8.91 mile ride with Andrew in 31:10 (17.2 mph pace). I would have liked to go farther, but it was getting really dark.

On the schedule: run 7 miles
Ran/walked 7 miles in 1:19:20 (11:19 pace...slow again, I know). My left foot was really hurting from Monday's trail run. I ran with my running partner which helped me not think about my foot hurting so much and we walked a lot (mostly up hills)...between my foot hurting and her being exhausted from the first week back at school, we were a rough bunch! We got the miles in, so I guess that's all that matters.

On the schedule: run 4 miles
I decided to listen to my body. My foot was STILL hurting and I was getting nervous about being able to do my long run on Saturday. I took the day off from running and rode 15.12 miles in 59:32 (15.2 mph pace). It was a beautiful evening and it felt good to be on my bike.

On the schedule: rest

On the schedule: run 14 miles
Ran 14 miles in 2:31 (10:47 pace). On my way to meet my running partner my Garmin would NOT turn on. I was kind of upset about this and worried that my Garmin had bit the dust after 5 months, but there was nothing I could do about it at the time! I was just glad that Grace had one. I felt so naked without it, but it was kind of nice not having to worry about keeping track of time, distance, walking breaks, etc. I tried using my iPhone to track my run with the Map My Run app, but between acquiring a GPS signal and streaming Pandora, my iPhone's battery was completely dead by mile 12.5.

Despite my technological failures, this was a pretty good long run for me. This matched my farthest distance ever run. It was crazy to think that I ran a half marathon + 1 mile yesterday. I felt pretty strong except towards the end, but honestly I could have gone another mile or two, which was really reassuring. We took our 1 minute walking breaks every 10 minutes and I'm so glad we do this! Along the way I ate two GU gels and drank 44 ounces of nuun and 22 ounces of water (stopped twice to refill my 22 ounce handheld).

When I got home I refueled with some more nuun and some delicious oatmeal. Then I stretched, foam rolled, and took an ice bath. I tried to plug in my Garmin but the computer wouldn't even recognize it and it wouldn't charge when I plugged it into the wall either (oh no!). My husband, a technological genius...who looked this up online ;-), fixed my Garmin by holding down the mode and lap button at the same time. Apparently this resets it (if you ever have this problem) so my Garmin is back to working again! Yay for not having to drop $130 on a new one...

Next week I'll be entering uncharted territory on my long runs. 15 miles, here I come!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Whole Bunch of NEW

This past Monday I tried a bunch of new things! While I would love to call myself a spontaneous and adventurous person, truthfully I love my routine and I'm pretty shy when it comes to trying something new when I'm not quite sure about the outcome. What I did is nothing amazing or groundbreaking, and I'm sure many of you do something like this quite often. But I totally stepped out of my own personal comfort zone and I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

On Monday I ventured off the road and went on my first trail run. I met up with Gwen from Turner Life Around (we had never met in person before...also something new for me!) for a Fun Run that was put on by our local Fleet Feet. There were almost 70 people there!

new experience of running on trails that I'm not familiar with + meeting a new person + being around lots of people who I don't know and who I think will probably be faster/better runners than me = nervous Lauren

I also tried a new pair of shoes. A representative from Montrail was there to provide shoes for runners to demo. I tried out the Women’s Rogue Racer.

What did I think? Let me just preface this by reminding you that I am not a trail runner, so please take my review of them with a grain of salt. When I think of trail running shoes, I think of shoes that are going to provide more structure and support than my regular road running shoes (Asics Nimbus and Kayano, which are considered "cushioning" and "structured cushioning", respectively).

When I first slipped on the shoes, I noticed how light they were. They are actually lighter than my regular shoes (8 oz vs. 10 oz). Secondly, I thought, “oh my goodness...this is going to hurt.” The shoes felt like they wouldn’t provide any kind of support. I felt like I was in a pair of minimalist shoes (after reading information and reviews of these after I ran in them, I found out that they are in fact considered minimalist trail shoes...I wish the Montrail rep would have informed me of that). Nothing against those, but I’m sure most would agree that the first time to try such a shoe is NOT on your first trail run with sharp rocks and roots all over the place. The toe area did provide some protection, but the bottoms of my feet didn’t feel protected at all and I didn’t feel that the shoes provided any lateral support whatsoever.

The trail we took winds down the mountain for about 3 miles. We got a little behind the rest of the pack but we managed not to get lost! On the way down I could already tell that I was going to be hurting the next day. I was able to run all the way downhill and part of the way uphill. We took a little walking break (by my out-of-breath request!) then kept going. A little father along it started to get really steep and rocky. We were basically climbing 800 feet over 1 mile of trail. So not only was I about to pass out out of breath, I was kind of nervous that I was going to mess up my already weak ankles. So I let Gwen go on and I walked/speed-hiked the rest of the way up the mountain.

When I was done my feet and big toes hurt so bad. To be honest, they’re still hurting and it’s Thursday. It feels like my left heel is bruised and my left arch hurts (it’s tender and it feels like it’s going to cramp up). Surprisingly enough, my ankles feel okay. My calves are a bit sore though. I was able to run my planned 7 miles yesterday. It hurt and I went slow and did a lot of walking, but I was able to run through it (mistake? probably so). Please tell me I didn’t just get plantar fasciitis from this one stupid run. AH!! Why did I do that?!?

I’m icing it when I’m at home and I’m going to skip today’s 4 mile run and bike instead (if it will stop raining and thundering). Tomorrow is a rest day and Saturday we’re supposed to run 14 miles. I really hope it’s better by then...this potential injury crap scares me!

The good news is that I won a free hat! Yay!

And it was a beautiful night and I got to enjoy the beautiful area where I live!

Even though I'm paying for it now with my foot hurting, I’m still proud of myself for doing something that was out of the norm for myself.

I do want to eventually get into trail running because there are a lot of great trails around here and Mountain Junkies (the same folks who put on my first 5k) has a great Non-Ultra Trail Series that I would really love to be able to participate in next Spring. I do know that I will be purchasing some NON-minimalist trail shoes whenever the time comes for me to venture off the road again (Christmas present, perhaps?).

But for now, I'm off to ice my foot and hope it gets better before Saturday...

Anyone have any suggestions for the foot pain?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: A View I Love

This was taken at the start/finish of Monday night's Montrail Trail Fun Run (my first ever trail run!) put on by our local Fleet Feet. I'll do a more detailed post about my first trail running experience later this week! Let's just say I'm hurtin'...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Marathon Training Week #6 Recap

Another week down! This was a cutback week on the long run before we kick it up another notch next week. I'm very thankful for these weeks! Not only do they provide a physical break from building mileage, they also provide a mental one, too.

Running farther and farther each week can be a little mentally draining for me. I get worried that I won't be able to make it as far as the plan calls for, and I have to make sure the rest of my life is planned around my long runs...I have to plan to make some kind of pasta on Friday night, don't go to bed too late, and don't plan too much for Saturday afternoon to allow for proper recovery (refueling, stretching, foam rolling, ice bath, shower, and maybe a nap!). It's not that it's a hassle or that I don't want to do it, because I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't truly love it and want to do it. It's just something that I have to think about because I know I won't be able to wake up and run 14 miles without a little planning and preparation.

Can anyone relate to this shirt from One More Mile Running Apparel?
"Sorry honey, not tonight...I have a long run in the morning."

So anyways, when I see that I have a cutback week I can take a deep breath and relax because I know it will naturally be a little easier than the harder weeks before. I still can't eat pizza and stay up until midnight, but I probably wouldn't want to do that anyways (okay, maybe the pizza part...).

Here's how this week's training went...

On the schedule: cross train
Rode 15.11 miles in 1:03:43 (14.2 mph average speed) with Andrew. It was a nice easy ride to stretch out and loosen up my legs after the 12 miler the day before.

On the schedule: rest

On the schedule: run 3 miles
Ran 3 miles in 27:51 (9:15 pace). This was a fast run for me. I started out slow and my last mile was in 8:48! I know that's a snail's pace for a lot of you, but that's really good for me and it made me happy that I could push myself!

On the schedule: run 6 miles
Ran 6 miles in 1:01:41 (10:16 pace). I met my running partner extraordinaire for this run in a hilly neighborhood in between where we live. It was a good run and we pushed ourselves up some tough hills. The last 2 miles my knees, shins, and ankles started to hurt. I think I was coming down on them too hard and not focusing on being light on my feet.

On the schedule: run 3 miles
Ran 3.01 miles in 29:39 (9:51 pace). My ankle was still bothering me from Wednesday's run (and it has kind of been nagging me for a while). I was going to swap out a bike ride for this run, but it rained so it kind of screwed up my plan! I went to the gym and got in 3 miles on the treadmill instead. I wasn't expecting it to be any good due to my ankle and because I was running after dinner, but it was! I'm glad I pushed through and got my miles in.

On the schedule: rest

On the schedule: run 9 miles
Ran 9 miles in 1:39:28 (11:03 pace). Since it was a cutback week and we were only running 9 miles (never thought I'd say "only 9 miles"...), Grace suggested that we run up Mill Mountain! I was game, so up we went!

Considering our 842 feet of elevation gain and taking several walking breaks over miles 2-4 (and again at miles 7 and 8), we felt great and we were happy with our pace.

We both felt relieved after this run because it was a really good run for both of us. I think we've both had a few discouraging runs recently so this helped us feel better about training.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's My Runiversary!

This morning was the 15th Annual Fab 5K put on by Mountain Junkies. While I didn't run it (because I had to run three 5ks today), thinking back on when I ran it last year made me happy and proud.

Last year's 14th Annual Fab 5k was my first "real" 5k and it was what first sparked my desire and love for running. I had done a few mud runs, but to me those don't really count as a real 5k, even though they are rather challenging. My friend Ruth (pictured above) invited me to do it. I had been running a little bit, but it was usually less than 3 miles. I remember the week before the race I ran 3 miles on the treadmill just to make sure I was capable of going that far! My time was 30:31, which included starting off too quickly and needing to walk a few times. I'm sure I could shave off a few minutes if I ran it now!

One year later and I've done two half marathons and I'm training for my first full marathon. If you'd told me that then, I would have thought you were BONKERS. It's just a great reminder for me to never put a limit on what I think I can do, because I'm capable of so much more than I think!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday!

  1. My left ankle hurts. I’ve been having left ankle issues off and on for a few weeks now. I don’t feel like it’s anything to seriously be worried about (because I can run/walk without a limp) and there have actually been two different spots where it hurts; one on the outside towards the back, and other on the outside closer to the front of my foot. I’m putting off running in my new pair of shoes to save them from getting too many miles on them so that I won’t have to get another new pair before the marathon, but that is one suspect for the cause of my ankle pain. Another suspect is that yesterday towards the end of my run I felt like I was being lazy and that I was just pounding my legs too hard instead of focusing more on landing gently. I was tired, hot, and ready for my run to be over. I was going to swap out a ride for my 3 miler tonight, but it rained and now I'm not so sure that's going to happen. So I'll probably hop on over to the gym and subject myself to torture run on the treadmill for 30 minutes

  2. I found this cool website today called The Clymb. They offer sweet deals on running/outdoor gear. Their deals come and go, but earlier today they were offering some GU and 2XU products that were deeply discounted. Here is a personal invitation for you to join (it’s free!): CLICK HERE!

  3. It’s time for me to be honest with you. I haven’t been sharing this with you because I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m ready to lay it all out there. Are you ready for this?

    I’m a 100 Push Ups Challenge DROPOUT. I failed. I gave up. I quit. The 6 week program defeated me earlier this summer and I’ve been avoiding it ever since. I only got through week 3. I don’t have an excuse for why I couldn’t push my own weight (ha!). I just kind of stopped doing it when we went to the beach and I never looked back. I have still been doing a few push ups here and there, but honestly they feel harder now than when I was working through the program. I’m not going to attempt to conquer the challenge again right now, but I’m not saying I won’t ever give it another try. Are there any other 100 push up challenge dropouts out there?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fuel Sampling #3: Chocolate #9

During my 11 miler earlier this month I fueled with Chocolate #9 energy gels. I had never heard of Chocolate #9 until recently. They were recommended to me by a reader and I had also heard a few other people talking about them on the blogosphere. In any case, I am very happy that Chocolate #9 and I crossed paths because oh. my. goodness. They were so delicious!

I really could just go around eating these all the time. This might actually be okay because John from Chocolate #9 told me in an e-mail that "Chocolate #9 is a great energy gel for athletes and it also is a great Chocolate treat and can be used in many cooking recipes that call for chocolate sauce." I guess that makes it perfectly acceptable to stash a few in my purse for when I need a chocolate fix? That might be a little weird, but I could definitely see myself squirting some on my ice cream or as my running partner suggested, dipping some strawberries in it!

Here's some more information about Chocolate #9 energy gels from their website...

Chocolate #9 is different from other energy gels because it:
  • is sweetened with only organic agave
  • contains no refined sugar or other high glycemic index sweeteners
  • has been tested and certified as having a low glycemic index (GI)
  • reduces the negative effect of repetitive insulin "spiking" during sustained exercise
  • won't cause a sugar high or a sugar low (bonk)
  • is an excellent energy choice for endurance athletes
  • is suitable for most diabetics; used by Team Type I
  • is an excellent choice for those not wanting to eat refined sugar
  • is vegan, low fat, and gluten free
  • contains no synthetics, has no unpleasant aftertaste, and tastes great
  • contains no "mystery" ingredients, colorings, or preservatives
  • is easy on the stomach

Nutrition facts: 70 calories, 1 gram of fat, 75 mg sodium, 15 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and <1 gram of protein.

Ingredients: organic agave, breakfast cocoa processed with alkali.

Cost: One box of 24 is currently $32.49, and 2 boxes of 24 is $54.99. You can also get trial packs of 3 for $4.99 or 7 for $9.99, if you want to try them out before you buy a whole box. All of those prices include free shipping!

Here are my thoughts on Chocolate #9:
  • Chocolate #9 only comes in one flavor: heaven in your mouth. Obviously I love the way these taste, but if you're not a fan of chocolate, well, I guess you're not human you're out of luck!
  • The consistency is great. I easily consumed them during a walking break on my long run.
  • The packaging size was standard as far as energy gels go. It wasn't necessarily easy to open, though I usually have a hard time opening any gel due to sweaty hands (I usually end up ripping them open with my teeth).
  • These didn't cause me to have any stomach issues or feel like I was having a sugar high/low.
  • I like how they are sweetened with organic agave and certified to have a low glycemic index. While some people might not be searching for these qualities in an energy gel, I definitely think it is something to consider or try, especially if you have diabetes or if you just have issues with sugar highs/lows (I sometimes do).
  • They are vegan and gluten free. Personally, I don't care if my energy gels are vegan or gluten free because I'm not vegan or gluten free, but I think it's great to have something on the market for those who are vegan or gluten free.
  • The nutrition facts are something to keep in mind. Most of the other energy gels I've tried have closer to 100 calories and 20-25 grams of carbs whereas these have 70 calories and 15 grams of carbs. It's not a huge difference, but it might mean you have to consume more of them to stay properly fueled (darn).

Bottom line: I'd definitely fuel my long runs with Chocolate #9 energy gels. Shoot, I'd eat these things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I could, too!

I will be including three Chocolate #9 energy gels in my Fuel Sampling Giveaway (date/details TBD...but I have a feeling I will only review 1 or 2 more things before it happens!). That is, if I don't eat them all first.

If you missed my previous Fuel Sampling reviews, check them out here:
Fuel Sampling #1: Clif Shot Energy Gels
Fuel Sampling #2: Gu Energy Gels

The opinions expressed above are my own. I was sent 7 free Chocolate #9 energy gels by request to try out and review on my blog.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week #5 Recap

It's so hard to believe that we've already been training for 5 weeks! Only 13 more to go! I know the worst is yet to come majority of my miles are still to come and I'm already trying to mentally prepare myself for the rest of training.

On the schedule: cross train
Rode 14.63 miles in 1:01 (14.3 mph pace) with Andrew. We went about an hour before sunset and it was so beautiful with the sun setting over the river as we casually rode along. It's nice to take it easy and enjoy the scenery.

On the schedule: rest
Rested! I went to the pool and listened to two dumb rednecks debate morality, evolution, and conspiracy theories for 2 hours. It was mildly entertaining but I wanted to slap them in the face for being so dumb.

On the schedule: run 3 miles
Did 30 minutes of weights/core work then ran on the treadmill in my new shoes for 3 miles in 28:28 (9:28 pace). I liked my new shoes! I will have to run in them a few more times before I decide that I LOVE them. I'm trying to put a few more miles on my older pairs so that I can save my new ones and not have to buy another pair before the marathon.

On the schedule: run 6 miles
Ran 6 miles in 1:00:40 (10:06 pace). I ran in a semi-unfamiliar neighborhood near where I live. I ran down all of the cul-de-sacs and the change of scenery made my run go by quickly. There were lots of short, unexpected hills, so it turned into a nice hill workout, too (476 of elevation gain)!

On the schedule: run 3 miles
Ran 3 miles in 30:05 (10:01 pace). I tried to take it easy because my legs were a little tired. I expected a slower pace when I "took it easy", but a 10 minute mile is pretty decent in my book. It was really nice outside and it got me excited for fall!

On the schedule: rest
Rested! (I've got this part down)

On the schedule: run 12 miles
Ran 12:02 miles in 2:08:06 (10:39 pace). Even though our pace looks a little slow, this was a good run, in my opinion, because even though it was difficult, I never felt like dying or quitting.   We might have started out a little too fast which caused us to slow down a bit in the end.  I was really happy to be running with my running partner extraordinaire because it makes the miles go by so much faster, even when we run out of things to talk about! The run was also made less boring because I was a human jukebox! I cranked the Pandora (Hip Hop and Pop hits) on my iPhone speakers and let it play from my iFitness belt. I felt a little weird about this at first (and yes, I'm sure we got a few weird looks), but I really liked it and I'll probably do that from now on. Whatever gets you through the miles, right? We took our one minute walking breaks on the 10's, and we stopped twice to refill our handheld water bottles and to take in some fuel.

The run was pretty uneventful until mile 10.5 when we almost got run over by a really inconsiderate biker. We were running on the right side of the path and allowing plenty of room for someone to pass. There was another biker coming towards us, so momentarily there wouldn't be any room to pass. Some jerk comes up from behind us and yells "COMING IN" and I look down and his wheel is literally right in between us. Clearly he decided that this was the best alternative instead of slowing down and waiting until he could pass us and say "passing on the left". Then he gets all upset and yells at us for being in the way. I was completely at a loss for words and all I could get out was "runners have the right of way!"...which is totally not what I would have said if our paths had crossed again (which is probably a good thing). It really made both of us super mad for the rest of the run.

We were really glad when we were done. I came home and ate some loaded oatmeal (my new favorite breakfast/meal: old fashioned (non-instant) oatmeal with raisins, flax seeds, banana, honey, lightly salted cashews, 1 packet of splenda, and vanilla soy milk...since it was post-run I also added a 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein good!). While I was refueling I stretched, foam-rolled, then took an ice bath. Iwas tired, but I felt pretty good for the rest of the day and on Sunday.

Have you ever been run off the road/path by a cyclist?
This was really a first for me. My husband is a cyclist so I know that not everyone is like this, and other people around us at the time totally faulted that jerk for almost running us over.

What's your favorite thing to refuel with after long runs?
Right now, loaded oatmeal (see above). I also like chocolate protein powder mixed with vanilla soy milk, and/or a blueberry bagel.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

AC Designs Headband Winner

The proud new owner of this headband is...

Comment #28, which belongs to
Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run!

Congratulations Carrie! Send me an e-mail with your mailing address (therunningcook (at) gmail (dot) com) and I'll send you your new headband!

Thank you Aimee from AC Designs for supplying the headband! And thanks to everyone who entered! If you didn't win, Aimee's bands are very reasonably priced, so be sure to check out her Etsy site and pick one up for yourself.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Foodie Friday: Fiesta Bean Chicken Soup

I've been on a soup kick recently. I'm a big fan of leftovers because I don't have the time or energy to cook something new every night. I love making a big batch of soup because it's so easy to just heat up the next night (and the next night...and for lunch the next day...) without really tasting like leftovers.

This recipe is adapted from one I got from doing a Bible study called Apples of Gold, which was part Bible study, part mentoring program, and part cooking class (with dinner!).

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."
Proverbs 25:11

This soup is delicious. It has just the right amount of "kick" to it, the texture is great, and it's pretty filling.


  • 1 jalopeño pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (heaping) tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies (undrained)
  • 1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 28 ounce can fat free refried beans
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans (drained)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 instant chicken flavor bouillon cube + 1 3/4 cups water (or 1 14 ounce can of chicken broth)
  • 1 2 lb rotisserie chicken (already cooked from the deli, torn into bite-sized pieces)
To make:
  1. Sauté the jalopeño, onion, and garlic in the olive oil about 5 minutes or until tender.

  2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

  3. Serve as is, or top with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, green onions, etc.
I put the ingredients into My Fitness Pal to get the nutritional info for this recipe. I'm not quite sure about how many ounces of chicken I had, so these numbers might be off a bit! This recipe made enough for 7 main-dish servings (in the bowl pictured). Per My Fitness Pal, each serving has 380 calories, 47 carbs, 11 grams of fat, and 28 grams of protein (these numbers do not include any toppings).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Headband Giveaway + Week #3 and #4 Recap

Happy Monday everyone! Monday is one of my rest days, so it makes the most dreaded day of the week slightly better. Not that I dislike running, but I really love my rest days!

I just wanted to give a quick reminder about my Headband Giveaway from AC Designs. If you missed it last Wednesday, be sure to check it out! It goes through this Saturday.

I forgot to do a recap of week #3 of marathon training, so it's getting put in with week #4. I know this is boring to some of you so you can stop reading now if you want.

Week #3
on the schedule: cross train
rode 25 miles with my dad in 1:44 (14.5 mph pace). My calf was sore from running the previous day, but it was a good ride.
on the schedule: rest
on the schedule: run 3 miles
did 30 minutes of weights/core work followed by 3 miles on the treadmill in 28:39 (9:32 pace)
on the schedule: run 5 miles
waited until later in the evening to run a great 5.08 miles in 49:53 (9:48 pace)
on the schedule: run 3 miles
ran 3 miles on the treadmill in 28:45 (9:35 pace)
on the schedule: rest
on the schedule: run 6 miles (cutback week!)
I waited too late to start running and it was miserably hot and humid. I also didn't fuel properly the day before. It wasn't a good run and it made me doubt if I'll be able to add 20 miles to this distance. I considered taking out the walking breaks because it was a shorter run, but I left them in because I was feeling so poorly. Oh well. I ran 6 miles in 1:03:39 (10:36 pace).

Week #4
on the schedule: cross train
rode 15.1 miles with Andrew in 1:00 (15.1 mph pace, for those of you who can't do math with time)
on the schedule: rest
on the schedule: run 3 miles
I woke up with the worst stiff neck of my life. I couldn't look down or tilt my head to the left for a good 2-3 days (I still don't have complete range of motion, but it's slowly but surely getting better...I think. I really don't know what happened, but I'm guessing I slept on it really weird because I didn't get rear-ended or anything.). I decided to go for a run, but I walked a good 1/2 mile of my run just because I was afraid of hurting my neck any more. I upped the distance to 3.5 miles to take into account my walking. It took me 39:10 (11:11 pace...I was just glad I wasn't stuck on the couch!).
on the schedule: run 6 miles
My neck was still hurting, but this was a good run and it made me forget about my neck for a while (as long as I didn't turn it too quickly). I waited until later in the evening when it was a little cooler so that I could run outside. I started out slow and gradually increased my speed. I ran 6.03 miles in 1:00:17 (10:00 pace). I had to take a 6 hour test at work this day so it was a great way to relieve some stress!
on the schedule: run 3 miles
It's not that I didn't want to run or that I was injured, but I wanted to ride my bike SO bad. So I did. For 20 miles in 1:11:39 (16.9 mph pace - NEW AVERAGE SPEED RECORD!). I don't want to make that a regular habit, but it's nice to have the freedom to go for a ride if I want to. I don't think missing that 3 miler (and riding 20 miles instead) is going to hurt me that much (it may have actually helped me). Sometimes I worry about getting burned out with running, so in my opinion I think it's okay to swap out a short run for a ride every now and then.
on the schedule: rest
on the schedule: run 11 miles
I was running partner-less, so it was a long, slow, lonely, sweaty 11 miles. It was overcast and it misted a few times. It was cooler (75°-80°), but still close to 100% humidity the whole time. When I was done my shorts looked like I had just gone for a swim in them and I literally squeezed sweat out of my shirt. It was a good run though, and when I was done I felt like I could have gone a little further, which was all the redemption I needed from the terrible 6 miler the week before. I ran 11.03 miles in 1:55 (10:27 pace) with 1 minute walking breaks on the 10's (I found that 9:1 intervals is easier to keep track of than 10:1).

Do you love or hate rest days?

Do you ever swap workouts if you don't feel like running?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Foodie Friday: Oreo Peanut Ice Cream Delight

If you are dieting, trying to watch what you eat, don't understand the meaning of the phrase everything in moderation, or want to stay conscious after you eat something, then this recipe is NOT for you.

If you're looking for an amazing dessert recipe that's perfect for the summer and is sure to impress (and maybe cause a sugar-induced coma), this is your recipe!

Last weekend we celebrated my mom's and grandmother's birthdays and I was responsible for bringing dessert. I almost went with some key lime cupcakes (also delicious), but I thought that an ice cream dessert would be better since it's summer and a million degrees. I remembered a recipe I had gotten at one of my wedding showers a few years ago and decided to give it a try. It was definitely a good choice.

I don't have a great name for this dessert, but Oreo Peanut Ice Cream Delight has a nice ring to it, so we'll go with that. It sort of reminds me of a Snickers Ice Cream bar, too.

  • 1 package Oreos
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, solid
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups spanish peanuts
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 1 container of cool whip
The steps in this recipe don't take a lot of time, but I would recommend spreading them out over 2 or 3 days because you have to wait for the dessert to freeze again before moving onto the next step. It soudns like a hassle, but the actual steps take very little time. And it's totally worth it in the end!

To make:
  1. Crush the oreos and mix all but 3/4 cup with the melted butter.
  2. Pat the oreo/butter mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan to form a crust.
  3. Freeze for 1+ hour. (Go for a run!)
  4. Soften the ice cream (you can do this while you're waiting on the crust to freeze) and spread over the oreo crust.

    Try to avoid doing this:
  5. Freeze (I would recommend doing this overnight)
  6. After the ice cream is frozen, combine evaporated milk, butter, chocolate chips, and powdered sugar. Boil for 8 minutes and stir while cooking (this is important!).

    Make sure it changes color. Your house will smell amazing!
  7. Wait for this to cool to lukewarm (go for another short me, you'll need it if you're going to eat this dessert).
  8. Spread the peanuts over the ice cream.
  9. Pour the chocolate mixture over the peanuts.
  10. Freeze (again, I would recommend this overnight)
  11. Spread whipped topping over the sauce.
  12. Sprinkle with the reserved oreo crumb mixture (if you're freezing it a while before you serve, you may want to wait until you serve it to sprinkle on the Oreos!)
  13. Freeze again! Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.
This makes about 14-16 servings, depending on how big you cut them.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

AC Designs Headband Review + GIVEAWAY!

I recently found Aimee's Etsy Shop, AC Designs, when I was looking for a cute headband that would stay put when I was running. I have seen a lot of these in running stores, but I never bought one because they were usually $15 and up.

I was attracted to Aimee's bands because they are not only adorable, but they are more reasonably priced at only $8 for the medium width! Her thicker bands sell for $10, and she also makes some reflective headbands (great for all of you early morning/late night runners!) for $12. She also makes and sells interchangeable flip flop flower bling and gerber daisy hair clips.

It took me a while to decide which headband I wanted, but I finally chose the green with pink and white polka dots.

Look how well it's holding back my hair!

The inside of the band is made of a soft velvet material, which helps it to stay put. A stretchy elastic back makes it the perfect fit for everyone!

The band is really great at keeping my "whispies" (as I like to call them) out of my face. It also never felt like it was slipping backwards and it stayed put during my run! I also wore it under my bike helmet last weekend and it prevented the dreaded "helmet hair" I usually end up with afterwards. I could also see myself wearing this to work on days when I'm running late or just don't feel like doing anything with my hair.

Aimee graciously agreed to include an additional headband in my order for me to giveaway to one of my followers! One of you can win this adorable headband:

I've got to say, I'm kinda jealous of the person who wins this because it's super cute and I would really like to keep it for myself! But, that wouldn't be very much fun or very nice, would it?

Here is how to enter:
Note:You must leave a comment below to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry for them to count!

  • Become a follower of this blog (or let me know if you already are!) (+1 comment)
Bonus Entries:
  • Check out Aimee's Etsy shop (AC Designs) HERE and let me know what your favorite headband or other accessory is (+1 comment)
  • Like AC Designs on Facebook HERE (+1 comment)
  • Like The Running Cook on Facebook HERE and/or follow me on Twitter HERE (or let me know if you already do!) (+1 comment each)
  • Spread the word! Share this giveaway on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter (include @therunningcook in your tweet) (+1 entry each)
This giveaway will run through Saturday, August 13, 2011. A winner will be chosen using and will be announced via blog post.

The opinions expressed above are my own. I purchased my band and an additional band was sent to me for free in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Is it just me, or...

have running clothes gotten a little ridiculous lately? I'm all about a pop of color and coordinating outfits, but some of the colors and patterns out there are CRAZY. So crazy that it seems like it's harder to find anything that goes with the stuff you already have (being fashionable on the run is critical here, people!).

When I was at Dick's Sporting Goods trying on some shoes last night, I had to try on a few clothes even though I wasn't looking for anything in particular. I may or may not have a slight addiction to new running clothes. Sadly Thankfully I'm also cheap so it doesn't get out of hand at all too much.

Anyways, I saw these crazy pants and I just decided to try them on for fun to see how ridiculous they would look on me. WOW. I know some of you might be able to pull this look off, but really...did Under Armour expect to sell a ton of these?

This might be okay if you're running in a race and you want your family and friends to spot you, but I wouldn't be buying any of those race pictures! I think if somebody ran past me in these I might laugh a little inside. You may also want to wear these for the intimidation factor - people might be more likely to get out of the path of a charging zebra.

I'm sorry if I just totally offended someone who owns these pants. I'm the one who can't pull this look off. If you can, more power to you. By all means, rock it, zebra sister.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Need Shoe Advice - FAST!

It's inevitable that I'm going to need a new pair of running shoes soon because my old pairs are just getting to the point of having too many miles on them and I have a lot of marathon training left to do.

I have a sweet 25% discount at Road Runner Sports, but it expires TODAY so I'm trying to make a last-minute decision about whether or not I should get these shoes.

Asics Gel Kayano 17

My last three pairs have been the Asics Nimbus 11 and 12 and they have worked pretty well for me, though I'm not sure they are the best for me, and the ones I get are probably a 1/2 size too large. I kind of picked them without knowing too much, but they have done their job and gotten me through 2 half marathons. I've started to experience an annoying left ankle pain (not too painful to keep me from running) and I've read that can be from over pronating. I used to think that I was under pronating because when I would look down at my feet it looked like I was going to come down on the outside of my foot. But after looking at race pictures, it looks like I am indeed an over pronator. Per the Asics Shoe Fit Chart, the Kayano 17s are good for neutral and over pronators. The Nimbus is good for neutral to under pronators (what I thought I was).

I'm wondering if anybody has had any luck with the Asics Kayano 17s? I know every runner is different but if you can speak to their durability/comfort/stability, I would love to hear it!

I really loved the cushion in the Nimbus, and as you can see, I'm brand-loyal with the Asics. I know too much cushion can be a bad thing, though. The Nimbus is classified as "cushioning" whereas the Kayano is classified as "structured cushioning".

I tried on a pair at Dick's Sporting Goods this afternoon and they felt really good just walking around, but I won't really know how I like them until I run in them. I would have gone into my local Fleet Feet, but I just couldn't bring myself to ask for their advice then walk out the store and buy them online (I really do like to support my local running store because they are awesome, but this is a savings of $35 on $140 shoes! I also have to support my wallet...sorry Fleet Feet).

So, should I get them and try them out? I guess I can always send them back if I don't love them. I kind of need to know ASAP. Like, within the next 2 hours (9 PM EST - that's my bed time!). Thanks!

Update: I ordered them. Thanks Nicki, Christina, and Sarah for the comments on here and Facebook!