Monthly Archives: May 2009

5.37

I woke up this morning WAY to early, thanks to the dog. She doesn’t know what Saturdays are but really, neither do I. Ever since I turned 25, I have been quite the early bird. But I mean, 5:30 on a Saturday morning is pretty ridiculous, right?!

I was feeling food blogger-ish, so I took a photo of my breakfast…two slices of wheat toast with Naturally More PB and a sliced banana!

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I got on the computer for a bit, watched an old episode of (the original) 90210, the series finale, where David & Donna get married. Can you believe that was 9 years ago? The series ended my last year of high school, I remember it like yesterday, sheesh!

Then, around 8:30, I just got this urge. In the words of Forrest Gump, “I just felt like running!” Haha. I also think it might’ve had something to do with the fact that I had what I usually eat before a race! Magic fuel. I think I was also inspired by all the girls and guys running in races today :)

So I put on my clothes, shoes, sunglasses, iPod, and hit the road. I knew I had 5 miles to run this weekend but I went outside just to enjoy myself and not put a strict requirement or expectation on myself.

The weather this morning was FABULOUS! Its overcast, slightly breezy and less humid than it has been all week. Toward the end of my run, the sun came out but I loved every minute of it.

So…I totally ran 5 miles!

I warmed up walking for five minutes and then started running at an easy pace, picking it up gradually along the way. I just picked a route in my head and only checked my watch when I made it down a long stretch of road. Before I knew it, I had gone 30 minutes and felt like it had only been 10.

When I reached 45 minutes, I knew 5 miles was going to be attainable. I ran until I hit 55 minutes (or 50 minutes of running) since I usually pace about a 10-minute-mile. Then I walked and cooled down for 5 minutes and made it back home. I don’t think a shower has ever felt so good…except for when we got back from Nicaragua (no hot water) last summer, haha.

I decided to check Map My Run (since I still don’t have a Garmin or anything) and found out that my entire distance, including warm up and cool down was 5.37 miles!

I estimated that I walked probably around a half mile, so I pretty much ran almost 5 miles. I’m counting it as 5!

Once I was all refreshed, I rehydrated with this Sobe LifewaterFuji Apple Pear. It was DELICIOUS! This is by far my favorite one of all that I have tried.

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Hope you all are having a great Saturday, I know I’ve started mine off with a bang :)

Three Clif bars are better than one

Before I start I just want to say GOOD LUCK to Meghann who is running a marathon this morning and also to Heather who is running her first half-marathon today! Great job ladies :)

I recently received a coupon for $1.0o off when you buy three Clif bars, which for me, pretty much means get one free since my store usually has them on sale for $1 each!

I used them this week as recovery snacks, which I have found to be quite effective. Its important after exercise to get a good combo of carbs:protein and I believe the Clif bars, while a bit on the heavy side (calories-most are around 250), are perfect for consuming after my mid-morning workouts and to hold me over until lunch.

First up, Clif Oatmeal Raisin Walnut!

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Yes, this tasted like an oatmeal raisin walnut cookie in bar form! But at the same time it wasn’t too sweet or aftertaste-y like some Clif bars can be (banana nut bread, carrot cake, etc). After running 4 miles on Wednesday, this bar really hit the spot and held me over until I was ready for my next big meal.

That brings me to an important point…I have realized after running my last couple of races, that I do not like to eat a big meal after a run (it makes me not feel very good). In fact, my last couple of races, I haven’t been able to eat directly afterwards because I just don’t feel hungry (but I’m doing great at rehydrating). But, I know its important to replenish my energy, so I don’t wait long and I try to have a snack with some serious nutrition and staying power.

Next, Clif Black Cherry Almond!

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This one was probably my favorite of the three, though it is hard to choose because I picked three really good ones. Do you know why? I stayed away from chocolate! I get burnt out really easily on chocolate-type bars and after a while they all start to taste the same.

There were real cherry pieces that you could see and taste! I love cherries but don’t get to eat them too often because they are almost always really expensive (though I’m waiting for a sale since they should be coming in season soon). I also liked the almond chunks spread throughout this bar. It also wasn’t too sweet and held me over nicely after a sweaty strength training session on Thursday! 

Last and most definitely not least…Clif Peanut Toffee Buzz!

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Okay, I lied, THIS one was my favorite :) I never realized how much I like toffee until I ate this bar. While a little sweeter than the other two bars, the flavor was still not so overwhelming. This bar was chewy and crispy and took me a while to chew which means it lasted me even longer! Which, after another 4 mile run on Friday, was a very good thing. Another thing I have noticed about Clif bars, especially these three, is that they taste exactly like what they say they are.

This is the only one I took an actual picture of the bar (after a bite, haha):

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I’m really pleased with these three bars and I would definitely buy them again in the future. Each one contains so many vitamins and minerals, not to mention at least 10g of protein (one had 11) and 5g fiber. There are a few more flavors out there (Apricot!) that I have not yet tried, plus the few that I mentioned above might get another go round for the heck of it and to provide an official review.

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far!

Running update!

Hey guys, Happy Friday to ya!

I thought it was high time you got an update on what I’ve been doing to burn off the great foods I’ve been eating, so here it is…

After running my best time in a 5K last Saturday, I was pumped. I even went to a festival and walked around all day and I was not the least bit sore. I definitely think keeping myself in the 5K mode was the best decision I ever made. I can still enjoy running, challenge myself, and not hurt myself or be extremely sore and tired all the time. This is great :)

Now I am working through a program that will help me increase my speed and endurance so that I can hopefully do well in my next 5K on June 20th!

My goal is not to PR but just to finish and hopefully in good time. I’ve noticed that when I set that type of goal, I end up exceeding my expectations. That’s not being a defensive pessimist is it? Haha.

Here’s what this week of training looked like:

Monday : Off, Memorial Day

Tuesday: Speedwork – Ran 10 minutes, Did 2:2 intervals of running hard and walking, cooled down 5 minutes jogging.

Wednesday: Ran 4 miles!

Thursday: Cross training, major upper body strength training and some ab work, we only did one set of squats so we wouldn’t poop our legs out

Friday (today): Ran 4 miles!

This weekend (either Saturday OR Sunday) I am supposed to run 5 miles which intimidates me a little bit because its beyond my current comfort zone but I’m going to try, assuming the weather and my schedule at home cooperate. I would like to add that I do take walking breaks because sometimes a girl has got to catch her breath and let my burning calves rest for a minute.  I used to think you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) stop but that’s a thing of the past.

Next week’s schedule looks a lot like this week’s only we won’t have Monday off :) One of the days next week has “3 miles” listed on it and I squealed when I saw that. Three miles seems like a breeze now, which must mean I am getting used to it! I didn’t get in any yoga this week, so I might try to do a Yoga Download or squeeze in a class this weekend if I can.

I’ve read a lot of posts and comments about people being “jealous” of other runners for being stronger, faster, able to go longer distances, etc. and some from non-runners (or former) who wish they could run. I used to think that I wasn’t fast enough and had to go longer distances, but the truth is, I am not competing with anyone but myself. And I have to keep reminding myself that I used to be a true couch potato who weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes I forget, believe it or not.

I also realize more and more each day how different we all are from each other, whether it be eating or exercise habits, early birds v. night owls, whatever. So there is no need for us runners to be comparing ourselves to other runners or for non-runners to think they aren’t good enough because they don’t run. What is important is that you find something you love to do and do it with all of your heart. If you aren’t physically able to run anymore, find another activity that you enjoy that will be fun but not do harm to your body. If you are already there, kudos to you!

I’m really inspired by Caitlin and her biking adventures, she’s a good example of making lemonade out of lemons. Its not always easy, but it can be done.

Be good to yourselves and have a great weekend!

p.s. For those of you who are new to S.S.E. or are just unfamiliar with my running history, check out my running page!

Challenges, changes, etc.

All of my challenges are still going strong!

No calorie counting, mucho meal (well, dinner) planning, moderate and steady caffeine reduction and best of all NO WEIGHING! Thanks everyone who responded both on my post about no longer weighing myself and the Melissa Joan Hart story. I appreciate all of your responses :)

I love giving myself a new thing to focus on each week. I find that taking things one small step at a time is the best way to make them permanent changes. If I had in that first week, at the beginning of May, said to myself “Starting today, I’m going to not count calories, plan every meal, stop drinking caffeine and not weigh myself” all at once, I would’ve freaked out and been very unsuccessful at most of those things.

On the caffeine front, I have been alternating coffee with tea (both caffeinated) in the mornings. Yesterday morning, I had coffee with milk and this morning, I had Earl Grey tea. Then the rest of the day is caffeine free tea like peppermint or chamomile (my favorites). I have a lot of new brands and flavors to try so the possibilities are endless. I haven’t had any dark chocolate and have had exactly two sodas (ew, I know!) since the caffeine challenge began 10 days ago.

I have still cut back quite a bit from my original intake and I’m not having any weird withdrawal symptoms. I will continue the every other day approach for a while, then gradually switch to every 2 days and then gradually make my way into half caff or decaf coffee land. Because I really do love the TASTE of coffee and couldn’t give it up completely, no way.

Here’s another interesting development…I know I have touched on this once or twice before. But, I have not had a single bite of meat since last Thursday?! That’s a whole week! I have just found myself not wanting it at all. I haven’t avoided it or chosen junky foods in order to not eat it. I’ve just been eating lots of veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, beans, etc. and haven’t had the need for it. I’ve often called myself “The Accidental Vegetarian” and I believe I have become her again for a while. But you know what’s funny, I feel great! I might have to keep this up.

Since I’m still in Beatles mode, here is a random pic of Paul McCartney related to the subject…

Here’s the neat thing about blogs. It was almost exactly this same time last year (it was June 14th) that I wasn’t eating meat and noticed. Hmm…

My husband hates it when I do that because meat to him is like peanut butter to me, can’t live without it. But I’ve noticed that I can live without it, plus it saves money because meat by far is the most expensive thing we buy at the grocery store. And, even though I don’t do it for ethical reasons alone, there’s always that to think about too. So, why not? We’ll see.

I’m also trying to get out of that “I have to have this with that” mentality which is how I end up eating meat in the first place. I thought for a long time that you had to have meat with dinner. Well, heck, if I’m in the mood for it, I could have cereal for dinner! Its all about balance and every day does not have to be perfect.

This morning, I had a green monster and then packed my lunch which contained no vegetables. Oh well, I thought, at least I’ll get them in at dinner, totally forgetting I’d already had some with breakfast. Its important to get the appropriate number of servings for each food group but not necessary to force yourself to add something to a meal that you really don’t want to eat. So my lunch remained veggie free!

Hope you all are enjoying this short week! I still have lots to share with you (I’m so behind) so stick with me ;-)

Hollywood likes numbers

Since this is my challenging week (plus) of no longer weighing myself, imagine my surprise when I see this article on People.com:

Melissa Joan Hart Reveals Her Bikini Body

Melissa (I still think of her as Clarissa), according to the article, has lost 42 lbs, down from 155 to 113. Now to me that seemed awfully low, but she is 5’2″ with a small frame (or so I tell myself). The point is that articles like this place a lot of emphasis on the numbers. When we see SHOCKING stories of celebrities’ weight gains or losses, its almost always matched with how much. I suppose in some ways, its Hollywood’s and the magazines’ need for those precise numbers to draw people into their stories, but also perhaps its for us because lots of us here in America are focused on numbers.

I would’ve enjoyed this article more if it had simple kept the title (which was fine) and mentioned in the article that she has lost weight (and reached her goal) from healthy eating and exercise, and NOT mention how many pounds or how long it took (although I do think her 14-month program is very realistic). I believe this puts pressure on a lot of people who will compare themselves and feel they don’t match up or they aren’t doing as well as the person in the article. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do that once in a while.

That being said, Melissa is a breath of fresh air after seeing so many of these “get thin quick after having a baby…” celebrity stories.

But, at the end of the day, how a person feels about him or herself should come from within and hopefully the future generations will grow up being taught to love their bodies for its uniqueness and not compare it to others because we were all made differently.

What do you guys think? Should a person’s weight (in numbers) be kept private?

Challenge #4…what’s next?

A few weeks ago I decided to give myself weekly “challenges” in the form of changes that I would eventually like to make permanent in my lifestyle. Here are the previous three in case you missed them:

1. No calorie counting

2. Meal planning (trying new recipes)

3. Caffeine awareness/reduction

Its amazing to me that I have not slipped up once in any of these things. Well, the caffeine has been challenging and is sort of still in the experimental phases. Right now I am drinking green tea instead of coffee at work!

And now…number 4, it’s going to be a tough one!

4. No weighing

JUST SAY NO!

JUST SAY NO!

Now obviously its not going to be hard for me to go an entire week without weighing myself, the real challenge is going to be extending it beyond that week. My weigh fluctuates in a 7 lb range (147-154) up and down and I’m always wearing the same clothes, so I don’t think going up and down a pound or two here and there is something to really monitor even on a weekly basis. If a problem arises, it will become obvious to me by how I’m feeling, my clothes getting tighter, etc.

We all know how discouraging the scale can be. So, when I get home today, the dumb thing is going in the closet!! I don’t even want the temptation to step on it right there in my face. Its true that I would like to eventually lose a few more pounds (tone up if you will) but I would rather judge that based on how I feel, how my clothes fit and just by observing myself. Not by that number.

So there you have it, I’m taking the fourth step toward my ideal life and it feels so great :)

Happy Tuesday!

p.s. Hangry Pants is having an Element Bar giveaway, go check it out!

Greatest Saturday

Yesterday was awesome!

I ended up making Matt’s Muffins on Friday night (and tried one to make sure they were edible for Saturday morning), only with lots of modifications:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I don’t have any all purpose)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (had no white)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (no canola oil in me casa)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 really ripe bananas, mashed (well, only one of them was really ripe)
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    There’s nothing wrong with his recipe, I just went with what I already had at home so I wouldn’t have to buy that much. They are slightly on the bland side but very dense and thick and perfect with a little peanut butter spread on. I think next time I might add some honey and maybe chocolate chips ;-)

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    That led to this…

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    I don’t have an “official” time yet but here is the time I got when I crossed the finish line! WOW :)

    If this counted, here’s what my stats would be:

    Time: 29:27

    Distance: 3.1 miles

    Pace: 9:30/mile

    Edit – Found the results, they have me at 29:28, so that’s pretty close. I still can’t believe I broke the 30 minute and beat my PR!

    I’m not going to lie…it was a tough race and if it weren’t for my friend pushing me, I might not have done that well. But I still did it and I’ll take it! I can’t wait to start working on my speed and training for the next 5K coming up in June! I love running short distances, I’m not sore at all today!

    (I’m actually more sore from a pilates class I took on Friday, it was awesome.)

    After the race, I went to Barnes and Noble to use a gift card I got for my birthday! I ended up picking up a tall decaf latte from the cafe while I was there. I’ve gotten to where after races, I don’t want to eat anything, but a nice beverage from Starbucks is always good :) I purchased a cookbook called “Vegan Planet” that has some really great recipes in it that I can’t wait to make and share with you guys.

    Then I went home and took a shower to get ready for Abbey Road on the River, a ginormous Beatles festival that we have here every Memorial Day weekend. Its so much fun, lots of live music, food, exhibits and t-shirt booths. Not to mention the ice cream (aka frozen custard):

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    My friend Beth’s ice cream looked pretty good too! Mmm, sprinkles…

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    It was a beautiful day…warm, plenty of sunshine, it just doesn’t get much better. Here’s a pic of our favorite dancing lady, this woman goes non-stop all day long, all weekend long. I’d love to know how many calories she burns!

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    After that, I went back home to take another shower (got a bit sweaty!) and then we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for the UFC pay per view. I got the veggie burger with fries, it was glorious. I think I had sun stroke though, haha, just kidding.

    I’m so glad Matt Hughes won against Matt Serra and even though there’s has been an exciting rivalry, I was glad to see them hugging and shaking hands afterwards, I hope its over now. I’m one of those people that likes to see others make up, haha.

    Rashad Evans got knocked out and while I have nothing against him, it was sort of nice to have the guy who has taken out two of my favorite fighters get a loss. But it was a great fight to watch, that’s for sure. The rest of the PPV was boring except for the two matches I mentioned.

    Hi my name is Sarah and I love the UFC.

    It was a great (if not the greatest) Saturday, I have plans for a great (uneventful and relaxing) Sunday and then we still have one more day off?! Woo hoo!

    Hope you all are enjoying the weekend :) Be back soon.

    It’s almost time!

    My big 5K is tomorrow!!

    Okay, so its not really that big when you think about everything else I have done. But I have been training with a friend of mine for a month now and I’m ready to go out there and do my best. The last time I did a 5K, I had not trained too terribly well and even though I beat my previous PR, it wasn’t much fun.

    Tomorrow is going to be absolute fun! And I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel like I can totally smoke my PR now, even though I hadn’t planned to. And I will have a friend running with me which is an almost totally unheard of phenomenon.

    Saying goodbye to this training schedule…

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    After the race tomorrow (and a rest on Sunday!), we are going to start working on speed and see just how efficient I can be. It feels good to just focus on the short distances and not wear myself out or give my knees and the rest of my body more than it can handle. The next 5K will be June 21st, exactly 4 weeks away!

    I will be reporting to you all tomorrow on the results!

    Thanks to all my new readers who stopped by and left comments for me today…that really means a lot to me and helps me continue this blog with renewed enthusiasm.

    Happy Memorial Day weekend!

    p.s. I’m thinking about making some of Matt’s banana muffins for breakfast tomorrow…hmmm…

    Recent product reviews

    I have been making it a habit of mine to try more new products these days but unfortunately (or fortunately?) that has left me with quite a backlog. Anyway, without further ado, here is a round of recent new products I have tried and what I think of ‘em:

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    Near East Whole Grain Wheat Couscous – Original Plain

    I decided to try the original plain flavor first just to get an idea of whether or not I would like the product. I have had couscous before but I had been on such a big brown rice kick lately that I had almost forgotten how many other great whole grains there are out there to have with dinner!

    This product was very easy to make 1-2 servings of at a time, which is good for me because I have not gotten Josh to eat it just yet.

    Its also fairly inexpensive, I believe this box cost me less than $2 and that equals 4 servings.

    I liked the addition of olive oil (which you add yourself before cooking) because I’m always looking to get more healthy fats into my diet in hopes of raising my HDL cholesterol, I can’t wait to get that checked later this year, I’ve been trying very hard!

    It cooks very quickly both in the microwave and on the stove…

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    The taste is great too! Its very light, fluffy and flavorful even for being just the original plain version. I will definitely buy this product again but first I think I will try some other varieties/flavors :)

    Up next…

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    Boca Savory Mushroom Mozzarella patties

    When it comes to veggie burgers and patties, I typically chose Boca brand because its 50 cents cheaper than Morningstar (my grocery store doesn’t have much variety) and they typically have fewer strange sounding ingredients than some of the other brands out there (or so I thought). I previously did a post on Veggie Burgers that opened my eyes a bit to these fake processed meats.

    I went into this one with good expectations. But I have to say, as much as I do like mushrooms, the flavor of this burger was way too strong for me. I prefer fresh mushrooms rather than mushroom-flavored things. But nevertheless, I trekked on getting through two more and they were pretty good, just not one that I would buy again.

    In preparation for writing this post, lo and behold, I have another reason to not buy this product again. Check this out:

    Ingredients: WATER, TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MUSHROOMS, ROLLED OATS, LOW MOISTURE PART SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), ONIONS WHEAT GLUTEN, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF MUSHROOMS POWDER METHYLCELLULOSE, BROWN RICE, YEAST EXTRACT, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, ONION PUREE, CORN OIL, GARLIC PUREE, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, NATURAL FLAVOR (NON-MEAT), DRIED SOY SAUCE (SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), THYME, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, OREGANO, ONION POWDER, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED AND SOYBEAN OIL, DEXTROSE, LACTIC ACID, WHEAT. CONTAINS: SOY, MILK, WHEAT.

    What…the…heck?!

    We all know that’s code for trans fat. I thought I could trust the Boca brand but it makes sense now. Processed foods are just bad in general. Even the ones that are less processed than others often have a few choice ingredients that I’d rather not consume. So I think this has sealed the deal. I want to make my own burgers and not buy this crap anymore!

    That being said, I’ve seen some products on VeggieGirl’s site and a couple of others that would be better so I would definitely give those a try.

    That’s all for now, much more to come so stay tuned!

    Adventures in caffeine reduction

    Happy Thursday blog readers :) I can’t believe we’re already on the downward slope of this week!

    So, today is Day 4 of my caffeine acknowledgement challenge and subsequent attempts to reduce my overall intake and eliminate dependency altogether.

    Yesterday (Day 3), I had my normal 1 cup of coffee in the morning but then, in the afternoon, I had a cup of decaf chamomile tea. The only difference I felt was that I was not quite as “alert” as I usually am when I drink caffeinated, but I had no headaches or erratic mood swings that I know of ;-)

    Day 3 total = 141 mg caffeine

    Day 2 total = 186 mg

    Day 1 total = 236 mg

    I also had a cup of decaf peppermint tea at the girls’ night potluck. One thing I did not know is that both chamomile and peppermint are herbal teas and thus naturally decaffeinated requiring no removal to take place. Even cooler! Those are my two favorites anyway.

    As you can see, I have already reduced my daily intake by almost 100 mg since Monday!

    Today, I have had a cup of coffee already and at this moment am contemplating some tea. I still have two bags of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride left over from the holidays so I think I will use one of those…decaf!

    Tomorrow (Friday, yay) I will most likely repeat today but on the weekend, I’m going to try English Breakfast tea in the mornings and see how that goes. If I can make that change, even just on the weekends, it would mean 40 mg of caffeine vs. 130’ish. WOW.

    **Once again, I want to point out that I am not against caffeine. I am a huge coffee and tea lover with no plans to give them up. What I am doing is an experiment, meant only for me, and not trying to get you to stop drinking it yourself. Caffeine does have some AMAZING health benefits and when taken in moderation, it can be very good for you. My consumption had just become borderline (over moderation) and I wanted to nip that in the bud before it got too far. Thanks!

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