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Archive for January, 2012

I really don’t understand this whole running thing. One day, it feels great and I’m actually having fun, like last Friday. And then, a few days later, I try to run one easy mile on the treadmill, and I want to throw up. How is that even possible?!

Last Friday I had an awesome Lunch Break Run. It was freezing, so I didn’t push myself too hard, but I ended up running a little bit faster than usual. Eh?

The Stats:

  • Distance: 3.75 miles (6,0 km)
  • Time: 42:10 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:14 min/mile
  • Feeling: Freezing

Our mild winter is definitely over now, and it’s getting colder and colder every day, with highs between 10 and 20 °F. So, instead of running outside, I went to the gym today. First I did a short warm-up on the bike, then I switched to the treadmill for a few easy miles. After one mile I gave up because I felt so miserable.

The Stats:

  • Distance: 1 mile (1,6 km)
  • Time: 11:30 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:30 min/mile
  • Feeling: Nauseous

I’ve always been a science person, trying to find the logic behind everything. But to me running just doesn’t make any sense. And this bothers me, a lot!

Do you understand how running works? Please help me out!

See you!

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Last week, Cassie from Blogilates.com started a fun challenge called “Eat The Rainbow”. You can learn all about the details over at her site, but basically you were supposed to eat at least one color each day of the week, like tomatoes (red) on Monday, carrots (orange) on Tuesday, bananas (yellow) on Wednesday, and so on. Sunday was sort of a ‘bonus day’, where you should try to eat all the colors of the rainbow in one day!

I usually don’t take pictures of everything I eat, but this challenge sounded like so much fun that I just had to give it a try. Remember, I love eating lots of colorful fruit and vegetables anyway.

Plus, this is the perfect opportunity to finally join What I Ate Wednesday at Peas And Crayons. Yay!

What I Ate WednesdaySo here is what I ate last Sunday:

I totally forgot to take a picture of my breakfast, but it was the usual fried egg on whole wheat bread, like almost every Sunday. I also had a glass of orange juice.

Orange Juice

Orange Juice

Lunch was noodle salad with home-made mayo and some sautéed vegetables (zucchini, red bell pepper, eggplant).

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Later I had a blueberry smoothie in a bowl. And an unpictured banana.

Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie

And finally dinner, quinoa mixed with ajvar, peas and sweet corn, once again on a bed of salad greens (those were already several days old, so I had to eat them fast), topped with roasted pine nuts.

Quinoa on Salad

Quinoa and veggies on salad greens

That is basically how I eat every day. And now I have to hurry, it’s time for Zumba!

See you!

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Now that the new year is already three weeks old (um, what?!), I’ve started to think about my race plans for 2012. (Somehow I feel so cool writing that!)

As I’ve mentioned in my New Year’s goals post, I want to run a half marathon this year, preferably in fall. Actually, I’ve already found one that I’d love to do, the Munich (Half)Marathon on October 14th! There are several reasons why this is my favorite: it’s a really big race with several thousands of runners, the course is very scenic and totally flat, the half marathon starts at 1 pm, it’s just a 60 minute drive from where I live, and it’s in October, which gives me plenty of time to train for it. Sounds awesome, don’t you think?

Honestly, finishing a half marathon is quite a lofty goal for me, as I’ve never run more than 6 miles. The thought of running more than twice as much makes me a little nervous. I have no idea if my body can handle this, but I’ve decided that I want to give it a try, simply hoping for the best.

5k Race

But this is not the only race for me this year. I also want to do a 12k in early May. The official site isn’t up yet, but it’s the same race where I ran my 5k last year. There are a few more local races that really look great, but I’ll have to wait and see if I can really squeeze them in. Somehow I enjoy racing, even if I’m still a really slow runner.

Now that I’ve picked out my ‘A-races’ of the year, I need to think about some training plans. There are so many fun activities besides running, like biking, Zumba, Pilates, squash, strength training (ok, that’s not fun, but very important for general fitness and health), but I’ve realized that I can’t fit in all of that into my already busy schedule. I know that if I want to make any progress with running, I need to run at least three times per week. While some people can easily workout six times per week or more, even twice a day, I just can’t. I’m also not one of those badass runners who happily wake up at 5 am to get their long runs in before work or before their families wake up. I won’t do that. Instead I’ll make sure to give my body plenty of rest and sleep to avoid injuries and mental burn-out. In the end, this is still meant to be fun!

Hirschbachschleiferl - 6 mile race

And that’s why I’ve decided to quit Zumba. Even if our weekly class is lots of fun, it’s just getting too much for me, considering that I also want to get back into Pilates, as I’ve really been missing it. In spring and summer I also want to go on a few Sunday bike rides with my husband. Oh, and some strength training would be really good for me, too. You see, my plate is getting quite full. So I have to set some priorities and focus on the things that are most important to me, which is running and Pilates.

My last Zumba class is on February 15th. Until then I’ll just take it easy, doing what I feel like. After that, my official training begins, and it’s time to get serious again. I’m actually really looking forward to it!

Do you have any race plans for this year? Or other workout plans?

See you!

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(Note: I’m not an expert in nutrition. I’m just sharing my personal experiences and some knowledge bits that I’ve found online.)

Healthy eating is probably one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions every year. But what does ‘Healthy Eating’ mean? Some say carbs are bad for you, others say fat is evil, some say you have to eat every 2-3 hours, others say you should starve yourself for up to 24 hours, some say you have to eliminate salt, others say you have to eliminate sugar. It’s so confusing!

But there is one thing that almost all diets agree on: Vegetables are good for you!

Most dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least five servings of fruit or vegetables a day, depending on your usual caloric intake.

One serving equals:

  • 1/2 cup of fruit
  • 1 medium piece of fruit
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables

(Source)

A few weeks ago, I joined the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. Part of this challenge was to aim for seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day. That sounds like a lot, but I quickly got used to it, and it’s even become natural for me now.

So, how do I do it?

First you have to find your favorites, in other words fruit and vegetables that you truly enjoy eating. My current personal favorites are apples, bananas, clementines, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. On the other hand, I really despise celery, fennel, and beets, and I’m allergic to kiwis. I won’t force myself to eat things I don’t like, and in my opinion, you don’t have to, either.

The next step is going to the grocery store and buy those fruit and veggies. That’s kind of obvious. In order to be able to eat a lot of vegetables, you have to buy them first.

The key to getting in seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day is to have one or two servings with every meal or snack. Squeezing all seven servings into one single meal is practically impossible.

Here are some sample meals and snacks, based on my recent eats (that is actually what I ate on last year’s Christmas weekend):

Breakfast with vegetables and juice

Breakfast with vegetables and juice

As I prefer a savory breakfast, I usually add some raw vegetables (cucumber or carrot sticks, tomatoes) and a small glass of 100% fruit juice to my usual sandwich. That’s at least two servings of produce already.

Soup and Salad

Lunch - Soup or Salad

For lunch, I prefer something light, like soups or salads. Depending on ingredients and portion sizes, that’s about two or three servings of vegetables per meal.

Betchussam and Kidney Bean Curry

Asian dinners

We often have Korean or other Asian dishes for dinner. That includes exotic sides like seaweed salad, mung bean sprouts, and kimchi (spicy pickled radish). I’d estimate that most of my dinners contain about two servings of vegetables.

Smoothie and Fruit Salad

Smoothie & Fruit Salad

Whenever I get hungry between meals, I snack on some fresh fruit (clementines, bananas, apples) or I make myself a smoothie with frozen fruit or defrost a fruit salad mix. That’s one more serving of fruit.

As you can see, it all adds up. With a little practice, eating lots of vegetables and fruit is not that hard. And it’s delicious, I promise!

How many servings of produce do you eat per day? Do you try to eat more vegetables?

See you!

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Windy Friday

After feeling a little off and very tired for the past few days, I’m proud to announce that I did in fact run 5 miles today. Against strong headwinds half of the time. It was quite chilly out there today, and the last 2.5 miles were very tough, but I’m so proud that I finished this run.

The Stats:

  • Distance: 5.0 miles (8,0 km)
  • Time: 58:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:35 min/mile
  • Feeling: Breezy

Not that bad for my current fitness level, I’d say. I’ve just noticed that my average pace has been very consistent lately, that’s interesting. My legs are totally shot right now, I’ll probably pay for that run tomorrow.

Speaking of fitness, on Wednesday night I went to my very first Zumba class! Yes, my little village has finally discovered the trend and is now offering a few classes. As it is technically a beginners’ class, I expected it to start slowly. Boy, was I wrong! While most of the moves were relatively easy to follow, I was gasping for air and sweating buckets within minutes! Our instructor is just plain nuts. He’s a professional dance instructor by day, and I’ve never ever seen a guy moving his hips like that. Crazy!

That class was definitely a great cardio workout, but it actually wasn’t the big, fat party that I had expected. Oh well, maybe it’s just me. I’m very shy. Let’s see what the next few Wednesdays will bring.

On that note, happy weekend!

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Last Friday was the last day of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011, and I’m actually a little bit sad that it’s over.
Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011The challenge went quite well for me. I hit the goal of eating at least seven servings of fruit or vegetables almost every day, and I found the time to workout three to four times a week (except the week before Christmas, sigh!). Unfortunately, I did gain a little weight over the past few weeks, but I guess it would have been much worse if I hadn’t joined the challenge.

Now that the HBBC is over, I hope to keep the momentum going. I will still try to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and exercise several days per week. A few days ago, I received a new workout dvd. After I’ve finished it, I’m going to write a recap. And next week I’ll go to my first ever Zumba class! I’m so excited!

The year 2012 is going to be awesome, I can already feel it!

See you!

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New Year’s Run

Honestly, I didn’t exactly run on New Year’s Day. Our New Year’s Eve party was epic, I had way too much food and booze, and went to bed at 5:30 am. I’m too old for this! So I needed a few days to recover. But I did run today, for the first time in 2012, and it was awesome!

The Stats:

  • Distance: 4.1 miles (6,6 km)
  • Time: 47:30 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:35 min/mile
  • Feeling: Breezy

Our pleasantly mild winter continues, and today we were even treated to some sunshine, so I just had to go running. No excuses!

As usual, I started out slowly, making sure to not burn out after just one mile (been there, done that), and I even had lots of energy left when I was done. It always feels great to finish a run strong and with a little ‘sprint’.

I really hope that there will be many more runs like this in 2012!

What was your first workout of the new year?

See you!

 

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