Marathon Salad Making Continued

photo(1)This week’s salad consists of spring mix, spinach, orange tomatoes, matchstick carrots, roasted potatoes in a curry seasoning, chickpeas simmered with corn and bbq sauce, lightly fried polenta, asparagus, butternut squash, and roasted red pepper hummus. I made lots this weekend and ended up sharing most of it with friends on my back patio. It only took me an hour to make everything so I might be getting faster at cooking. All of my recent salads were inspired by this awesome post and I just keep modifying however I want. Last night, my friends brought over Earth Balance mac & cheese and it was a great addition (not pictured because it didn’t last long..!). I grew up on Kraft mac & cheese and the Earth Balance kind is just as perfect minus the dairy. And by perfect, I mean 0% nutrition, 100% comfort food.

Marathon training is going well too. 331 miles and 69 days till the marathon. Gotta get back to making more power salads for my meals!

This Week’s Veggie Salad

photoI’m still spending each week mutating my new favorite meal. This week I have avocado, cherry tomatoes, and matchstick carrots dressed up in a balsamic vinaigrette alongside barbecue cajun black beans, quinoa and fresh corn, and roasted butternut squash, roasted red potatoes and caramelized white onion. All topped with a heap of hummus and cracked lemon pepper. The combination of ingredients still has not gotten old and I don’t think it will anytime soon. I love that this offers the perfect fuel for training. It’s also a great way to cook pretty much just once a week since this lasts me roughly from Sunday-Thursday.

For my run today, I completed four Yasso 800s at 9:30/minute pace on the treadmill. Treadmills are not my best friend. Like at all. But, it was storming out so I got my work out in the best way I knew how. I conveniently forgot how much easier it is to run on a treadmill so that was the one saving grace. But, I’m still secretly hoping that will be one of my very rare treadmill work outs during training.

BBQ Chickpeas and Roasted Veggie Salad

IMG_0479I’ve been eating this dish pretty regularly and swapping out certain ingredients to mix it up as needed. I always have some avocado, tomato, cilantro and some sort of green as a base. On top, I add roasted veggies, a BBQ’d protein source, a grain or seed such as quinoa, and hummus on top. The original recipe for this used a ranch hummus, BBQ chickpeas, polenta, roasted asparagus, tomato, avocado, spinach, and cilantro. I started off with this recipe then I’ve been swapping out ingredients and adding things to it. I’ve used roasted butternut squash as my veggie and spaghetti squash instead of quinoa, for example. The possibilities are endless and therefore this dish doesn’t get old easily.

I also love how many different healthy ingredients are in it. I’ll typically make this on the weekend then eat leftovers throughout the week. When I have all of the individual components already prepared, it makes it much easier to assemble meals quickly. Did I mention this is nutritious? It’s been perfect as a meal before and after long runs. Today I ran 9 miles with a slightly sore hamstring from my race. My run was great otherwise and I like to think it’s because of this meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 5-6 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of greens (spinach and/or arugula work well)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin slices
  • hummus
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine asparagus, potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil and salt & pepper in a roasting pan.

3. Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cook corn on the stove in a pot with a few inches of water for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat. Cut corn kernels from the cob and add to cooked quinoa.

5. Add the barbecue sauce and cajun seasoning to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Once heated, add chickpeas and cook for 5-10 minutes.

6. To assemble, place a 1/2 cup of greens in each bowl or plate. Top each evenly with the roasted veggies, quinoa & corn, chickpea mixture, tomatoes, green bell pepper, avocado slices, a dollop of hummus, and cilantro for garnish.

7. Enjoy!

Yields 4 salads

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest

Firecracker 6

IMG_0439I ran in the Firecracker 6 this morning and had a great race. I started out a little too fast for the first mile but maintained consistent splits for the rest. I finished the six mile race in 57:12 with a pace of 9:30 per mile which is the same pace I usually run for 5Ks. Last year, I finished this same race in 1:05:22. I was injured last year so I’m thankful to be in better shape this time around. Now it’s time to enjoy the rest of the day! Happy 4th!

Training and Racing: 5 Miles Easy

photo

I’m running in the Firecracker 6 tomorrow. I ran in it last year and the race had the best tshirt and running bib. I like the ones for this year even more. The shirts are the super soft and comfy type (you know the ones I’m talking about) which makes them so good for lounging in. Plus the designs are awesome. After all, the tshirt, medal and bib collection is what matters most in running, right?

Normally I like to taper before a run so that I can do well. Since I’m racing during training, I’m pretty much not doing anything differently with my training and just including the 6 mile race as a replacement for my 6 mile run this week. I’ll probably run easier tomorrow as a result but it’s much better than just running 6 miles on my own time.

Today, I ran 5 miles easy. It was drizzling and about 65 degrees out which is not typical July weather in the Midwest but it was perfect for running in. I ended my run at the packet pickup for my race tomorrow. I almost couldn’t wait to finish my run so I could see the awesome shirts. I may or may not have a nerd-like obsession with running shirts. In other news, my hip is feeling back to normal after resting yesterday. With a good bib and pain-free hips in place, I should have a great race tomorrow. Happy 4th!

 

Yasso 800s

IMG_0402Sunset at the end of today’s workout

Speed work isn’t typically recommended in marathon training for first timers. However, I’ve been doing speed work regularly for over ten years so I feel comfortable doing a few light and easy speed workouts. In my off-season training, I did a few Yasso 800s for practice. I had heard of them before but never tried them or really understood what they were until just recently.

The basic idea behind the work out is to run 800 meters in your goal marathon time listed out in minutes and seconds as opposed to listed in hours and minutes. So, if you want to run a 3 hour marathon, you should be doing the 800 meter repeats in three minutes. I want to finish in roughly 4 hours and 45 minutes so I do my repeats in 4 minutes and 45 seconds. The theory states that if you can do 10 repeats of 800 meters at this pace, then you should be able to finish your marathon in your desired pace. To work up to 10 repeats, add one more 800 repeat each week or every other week until you can do ten repeats at goal pace. You should try to reach ten repeats 2 weeks or so prior to the marathon.

Today I ran a 1 mile warm up at a conversational pace, ran three 800 meter repeats with full rest in between each, and cooled down with a half mile easy jog and a half mile walk. My first 800 meter repeat was at 4:45 so right on track. The second was a little slower (4:55) and the third repeat was a little faster in 4:42. My hip is not feeling 100% today so I did some dynamic stretching and foam rolling. Tomorrow is a rest day then back at it on Thursday!

First Day of Marathon Training

IMG_0348View from my run today

I am definitely not a morning person. I feel no shame when I lay in bed on a Sunday morning until 11 AM. However, marathon training during summer months in the Midwest requires me to run when it is cooler out. In other words, somehow I woke up at 6:45 AM this morning to run. Or rather, my alarm went off at 6:45 and then I managed to crawl out of bed closer to 7:05. Still better than usual.

I finally got out the door around 7:45. So not only do I struggle to get out of bed, but I’m also slow moving in the morning. It honestly just takes me a while to do my hair and pick out my clothes as ridiculous as it sounds. I love running clothes. Buying new shorts, tanks, running tights, sports bras, shoes, socks… I love all of it. And I like to French braid my hair so it’s out of my way while I run. Typical girl, I suppose. It makes me think of how men and women differ when it comes to running.

I keep reading marathon tips from men and it’s clear that they’ve never thought about what it’s like to run as a woman. For example, one guy suggested doing training runs while it’s raining in case it rains on race day. Great advice and honestly it’s something I need to consider. It was freezing rain two years ago during the marathon I’m doing so it’s a huge possibility and I need to prepare for that. However, running in the rain means coming home with 15 inches worth of nappy, frizzy, tangled, soaked hair knotted up in a hair tie. I don’t wash my hair everyday particularly because it takes too long to wash, de-tangle, blow dry, and style it. After I come home from a run in the rain, it takes even longer to untangle and wash. Most men come home from a rainy run and can be showered, dressed, and ready to go in 15 minutes. Women? Um, an hour later maybe? If we’re lucky?

Heat is another tricky factor for female runners. The same guy with the rain advice also suggested running before work since it’s the easiest way to make sure it gets checked off your to do list for the day. Also a great idea if you’ve never tried to put on make up and get ready for work after an 8 mile run in 80 degree heat. Even after the coldest shower and even with an ice pack on my neck, I still can’t seem to figure out how to reduce sweating immediately after a run (and granted, you probably shouldn’t try too hard to stop sweating since it happens for a reason). I end up heading to work with a mixture of sweat, foundation, blush, and powder on my face. Super attractive.

So today was just one step closer to the marathon. And if I get any steps closer to figuring out how to look halfway decent as a female while marathon training, I’ll let you know. In the mean time, I’m going to go figure out what to wear for my race on Friday!