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!

Accidentally Vegan Brownies

photoI’ve always loved brownies and I’ve found a few decent ways to make them vegan from scratch. I’ve missed being able to make things straight from a box so this is my first attempt at replacing eggs in an already vegan box of brownie mix. There are surprisingly quite a few vegan brownie mixes on grocery shelves and most can use apple sauce in place of eggs. Look for box recipes that require just 1 egg so that the final product turns out right. I brought these in for my coworkers and they ate the entire pan. The taste exactly like normal brownies but they do crumble a little easier than normal. Adding a tablespoon of cornstarch can help these hold together better. Here is what I made but you can basically sub 1/4 cup applesauce for 1 egg in any brownie mix.


  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Double Fudge Decadent Brownie Mix
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 vegetable oil
  • 1/4 applesauce

Follow instructions on the box and replace the egg with the apple sauce. Enjoy!

Lemon Blueberry Loaf


I eat blueberries probably at some point every day. I normally eat them in my morning oatmeal at breakfast but they are also so good in baked goods. Somehow when blueberries mix with lemon it’s like magic in baking. Blueberries have been on sale quite a lot recently so they’ve been ending up in muffins, salads, granola, and now this loaf. I’ve been living off of Isa Chandra recipes lately and this one is definitely a keeper!


  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 4″x8″ loaf pan.

2. Combine almond milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Mix in the oil, applesauce, and sugar. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the blueberries and make sure all ingredients are combined.

4. Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Use the toothpick test to determine when it is done. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches


I’ve had a slight obsession with cucumbers since childhood. I ate a cucumber and cheese sandwich everyday at school. I think my mom could probably make those sandwiches while blindfolded. She easily made well over 2,000 of them over the course of 13 school years. Now, as an adult and avid cheese-replacer, I am loving the discovery of cucumber avocado sandwiches. These are still just as crisp, flavorful and British as my old classic.


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
  • 2 Tsbp fresh chopped dill
  • 12 slices of white bread
  • 1 small cucumber, very thinly sliced


1. Combine the avocado, lemon juice, and salt into a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the cucumber, mint and dill. Process until there are as few chunks as possible.

2. Spread the avocado mixture on each slice of bread. Lay a thin layer of cucumber slices on six of the slices of bread. Close each sandwich and cut the sandwiches into fourths. Garnish with extra dill and mint and serve immediately.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Source: Post Punk Kitchen