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Archive for August, 2011

Braving The Heat

Yesterday I almost published a post titled „Beaten By The Heat”, where I’d complain about the heat and how it keeps me from exercising. Today I’m glad I was too busy last night and didn’t post it. I really don’t like being negative on my blog.

We’ve had an insane heat wave for almost a week now. Temperatures have been around 85 – 93 °F (29 – 34 °C) – feels like 105 °F (40 °C) – during the day, and up to 75 °F (24 °C) at night. Ok, some people might laugh at me right now, but you should know that most buildings don’t have an AC. My office has one (hallelujah!), but my car, my apartment, and my gym don’t! Why? Because we normally don’t need them, but these temperatures are far from normal for this area! So exercising, especially running, has been a challenge lately, and I have to admit, that I skipped a lot of planned workouts.

But not today! This morning I decided to face the heat, so I took an early lunch break at 10 am and went to the nearby riverside trail. Shade, yeah! And I carried some water with me today, that’s a first. Well, it was still awfully hot. After 3 miles things got really tough and I had to walk a few times, but I finished my run.

The Stats:

  • Distance: 5.0 miles (8,0 km)
  • Time: 1:01:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 12:11 min/mile
  • Feeling: Sweaty and proud

Goodness, that was the slowest run in ages! But I’ve realized that this is not the time to set new personal records. Instead I’ll focus on maintaining my current fitness level, and save the challenging training plans for cooler days.

How do you handle the summer heat?

See you!

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Unhappy Feet

Oh boy, this run was the probably the hottest one ever. I guess I’ll have to start my lunch breaks a bit earlier, to avoid running in the midday heat. During the whole run I was really struggling, and I knew that it was going to be a very slow one. After three miles I started to feel a bit dizzy, so I decided to cut that run short and walk back to my office. I really can’t run in the heat. Yikes!

The Stats:

  • Distance: 3.55 miles (5,7 km)
  • Time: 41:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:32 min/mile
  • Feeling: Melting

This scorching hot run was followed by the most refreshing shower ever. I’m so thankful that I can shower at work. Awesome!

Now let’s talk about shoes. Running shoes, to be exact. Three weeks ago I went to a local shoe store, got a video analysis of my running style, and bought a pair of Brooks Adrenaline. I was so excited to finally own a pair of real running shoes. After a few runs in them I noticed a strange pain on the sole of my right foot. At first, the pain went away after a few days, but now the pain is constant. So I decided to return my Brooks. Sad face!

Brooks Adrenaline

Bye-bye Brooks 😦

Until I find new shoes that fit my weird feet, I’m going to wear my old shoes again. They’re not bad, but already almost a year old, and they were very cheap, so I guess it’s really time to replace them. I also hope that this strange pain in my foot is nothing serious and will go away soon.

Wish me luck!

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This is so easy that I’m a bit ashamed to even call it a recipe, but I decided to post it anyway.

I love bananas (some low-carb believers claim that bananas are bad for you, but I’m not one of them), and I also love ice cream and chocolate. It’s probably no surprise that I love love love Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. I also love the company’s attitude towards (mostly) natural ingredients, and environmental and social issues.  But I don’t quite love this brand’s price tag, and calorie and dairy content. So I tried to create my very own, slightly healthier, much cheaper version of Chunky Monkey.

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Remake

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Remake

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Remake

makes one small serving

  • 1 large banana, frozen
  • dash of milk, optional (see below)
  • liquid sweetener (honey, agave or maple syrup), optional
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips

First, prepare a batch of Banana Soft Serve. I’m not sure who to credit for this awesome idea, but I think I saw it first on Choosing Raw. I normally use one large frozen banana, but feel free to make a bigger batch. The original recipe uses only banana, but my poor little blender needs a little help, so I add a dash of milk. I prefer soy milk, but I’m sure almond, rice, coconut, or even cow’s milk all would work just fine. Make sure you don’t add too much milk, or you’ll end up with a smoothie. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, just not what we want right now. If you prefer your ice cream to be sweeter, add liquid sweetener (honey, agave or maple syrup) to taste.

Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips and either enjoy immediately or put it in the freezer for a few minutes to let it firm up a bit.

You could also add half a scoop (about a tbsp) of protein powder and have it as a post-workout snack. That would be totally fine.

Enjoy!

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Back To Back

My goal for this month is to increase my speed. So far I’ve been focusing on increasing my mileage, but now that I know that I can run six miles, I want to get faster. After some online research I’ve decided to add one interval run per week. Even though I hate the treadmill, I think it’s a good tool to make sure you’re staying at a certain speed for a given amount of time.

So, yesterday I hit the treadmill at my gym to try some intervals. I’ll spare you the details, but during the first speed interval I thought I had to barf. Somehow I managed to suppress that urge and finished the worst run in a long while.

The Stats:

  • Distance: 3.1 miles (5,0 km)
  • Time: 34:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 10:58 min/mile
  • Feeling: Nauseous

I honestly hated every second of that run. So to redeem myself, I decided to do a leisurely Lunch Break Run today. I usually avoid running on consecutive days, as my legs don’t like it at all, but today I wanted to give it another try. And this run felt much better!

The Stats:

  • Distance: 4.9 miles (7,9 km)
  • Time: 55:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:13 min/mile
  • Feeling: Relaxed

Sure, this run was even slower, but at least I enjoyed it. Running twice in two days wasn’t as bad as I expected, but now my legs feel really tired. I think I’ll give them a total rest day tomorrow.

Do you have any good tips on how to run faster? Specifically on the 10k distance?

See you!

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We actually call it „Zucchini Bread“, but I thought that would be confusing. This is one of my favorite cakes, quick and easy, but also fluffy and delicious. And a great way to use up all those huge zucchini (3-4 lbs each!), that currently flood my parents’ garden.

Zucchini Cake

Zucchini Cake

Zucchini Cake

Makes 1 loaf

  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g sugar
  • 50 g canola oil (or other neutral tasting vegetable oil)
  • 200 g zucchini
  • 220 g flour
  • 80 g ground nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • vanilla extract (optional)

In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and oil and beat until fully combined. Scrub or peel zucchini, grate roughly and squeeze out as much water as you can. Then mix into the batter. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ground nuts to the bowl and fold in gently.

Grease a loaf pan and preheat your oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Pour batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes (do the tooth pick test!).

Remove the zucchini cake from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before trying to get it out of the pan.

If you like, you can top the cake with powdered sugar or your favorite frosting. I like it plain, though.

Enjoy!

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Honestly, I couldn’t stop sweating after yesterday’s run. It wasn’t even that hot, but very damp, it felt like a swamp out there. Yuck!

So, yesterday was the first time I worked out since Sunday’s race. It was due to a combination of being sick and lack of motivation. I almost wanted to skip yesterday’s run, too, but thankfully co-worker and running mate Rob ‘forced’ me to join him for another Friday Lunch Break Run.

The Stats:

  • Distance: 3.85 miles (6,2 km)
  • Time: 44:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:25 min/mile
  • Feeling: Steamed

It feels so strange that I consider this a short run! Only a few months ago, I couldn’t imagine running almost four miles and calling it a ‘short and easy’ run. Isn’t it amazing how perspectives change?!

This morning we went to a local farmer’s market and bought a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables and some awesome bread. I love that place! I’m determined to turn this into a weekly habit. The produce is insanely cheap, too!

And now it’s time to get busy in my kitchen. A few days ago I got a new book, Peas and Thank You by the amazing Mama Pea! Which recipe should I make first? I think it will be something sweet. Cookies, maybe? We’ll see.

Have a great weekend!

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Yikes! My workout recap for July is so late! The past few days I’ve been literally knocked out by some kind of stomach bug. I’ll spare you the details.

Back to the workouts! July was a great month for me! I’ve continued my strength circuit training at the gym, I achieved some personal distance records, and even ran my first 6 mile race.

Running

  • 9 times
  • Total distance: 35.1 miles (56,5 km)
  • Total time: 6:28:45

Biking

  • 2 times
  • Total distance: 10.5 miles (16,9 km)
  • Total time: 40:00

Other workouts:

  • 6 strength workouts (3:45 hours)

No Pilates this month because of Summer Break. Meh! My Pilates class is the only reason I’m looking forward to October.

I’ve been really consistent with my strength training last month. I don’t really see or feel any changes, but I still want to believe they’re happening.

There wasn’t much biking in July. The weather was exceptionally nasty. Oh well, you can’t get them all.

This month I’ll try to keep up with my workout schedule, but there’s some very stressful personal stuff going on in my life right now, so I’m not sure how many workouts I will be able to squeeze in.

See you!

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