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Archive for May, 2012

Happy Wednesday everyone!

These are actually the ‘highlights’ of what I ate from Saturday to Tuesday. Like I mentioned in my last post, I decided to join the Vegan Challenge over at Blogilates.com. But I don’t really follow the meal plan, as I don’t want to lose a lot of weight, and I prefer my own style of eating. Just minus eggs, dairy, and honey for the next two weeks.

Vegan Groceries

On Friday I bought lots and lots of delicious vegan foods: rice waffles, soy yogurt, agave syrup, rice milk, applesauce, whole wheat bread, canned pineapple chunks (I’m slightly allergic to fresh pineapple), soy cream, ajvar, hummus, non-dairy butter, and tomato paste. And lots of fresh produce that didn’t fit into the picture.

Bibimbap

Whenever I don’t know what to cook, I turn to our favorite Korean dishes. On Saturday we had bibimbap, that’s a big bowl filled with rice and various toppings, like shredded carrots and cucumbers, omelette stripes, sautéed zucchini, mung bean sprouts, sautéed spinach, etc.

Rice Paper Rolls

On Sunday I made myself some rice paper rolls. To be honest, after taking one bite, I scraped out the filling and tossed the rice paper. Gross! I won’t make that again.

Cold Noodle Soup

More Korean food! For dinner we had cold noodle soup, also known as naengmyon. I topped my bowl with zucchini, cucumber, pear, and half a boiled egg.

Vegan Breakfast

And this takes us to Monday, the start of the Vegan Challenge. For breakfast I had my usual whole wheat bread, topped with peanut butter, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and apple butter.

Gimbap Sushi

Monday turned out to be quite a hot and sunny day, so we were in the mood for a cold, light, but still filling dinner. Gimbap to the rescue! I filled my rolls with avocado, cucumber, and roasted sesame seeds. Delicious!

Salad

Lately I’ve been eating lots of salads for lunch. Tuesday’s salad creation was mixed greens, black lentils, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and homemade balsamic dressing. Perfect!

Jigae Tofu Vegetable Stew

After all those cold dishes I was craving something hot and spicy, so I made doenjang jjigae, a Korean tofu stew. My version was a little different from the one I linked to. To make it vegan, I omitted the sea food, and used more vegetables instead. Is anyone interested in the recipe?

Fruit Salad

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I’m a little addicted to fruit salad. A few days ago I ran out of the frozen bagged mix I usually eat, so I just made my own. It contains pink grapefruit, canned cherries, pear, apple, pineapple, and peach. I had it as an after-dinner treat, topped with soy yogurt and cinnamon.

So far, the Vegan Challenge is going really well for me. I mostly eat my usual favorite meals, just slightly modified, and I feel satisfied and never hungry.

Have you ever tried a vegan diet? If yes, how did you feel?

See you!

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Before I start with today’s actual post, I want to point out that the Munich Airport Run guys (sort of) officially corrected the distance! The 10k was actually an 11.6k, which is 7.2 miles! An entire mile longer than originally announced! Considering that, my finish time is pretty awesome, with an average pace of 10:19 min/mile. Holy banana!

Now that my spring race is over, I’ve been wondering what I should work on next. While I sometimes enjoy just doing what I feel like, I’m a lot more motivated to workout regularly when I have a specific goal. There are so many fun ways to be active, like running, biking, Zumba, Pilates, but I don’t have the time or energy for everything I’d like to do, so I have to choose.

The next two weeks are going to be interesting, as I’m taking a little staycation. That means I won’t be able to run with my coworkers. How sad! I probably won’t go to my gym, either, as it is quite a long drive away (only 5 minutes from my office, but 30 minutes from home). So for the next two weeks I plan to focus on short solo runs around my neighborhood, bike rides with my husband, and maybe even some workout videos (via DVDs or YouTube).

I also want to bring back the one hundred pushups challenge. I really loved doing it last year, it’s short and simple and can be done everywhere. And my arms never looked better!

And then? Tough question! First of all, I want to maintain my current running form, by running either alone or with my coworkers 2-3 times per week. There’s a local 10k race on July 13th that I might sign up for if my training goes well. I also hope to do a few longer bike rides on Sundays with my husband. We love riding together, so I really hope for good weather this summer. My weekly Pilates class will also stay part of my workout routine, at least until summer break starts in late July.

What I probably won’t be doing that often this summer is going to my gym. They have no AC and it gets crazy hot in there. It’s just not fun working out there at the moment.

So, these are my fitness goals for the next few weeks. But wait, there’s more!

Cassey of Blogilates.com is hosting a two-week vegan challenge starting on Monday, May 28th. While I don’t intend to follow a vegan diet on a long-term basis, I do enjoy doing those vegan challenges once in a while. Sometimes I let things slide a little too much and need an extra kick in my booty to re-focus on a more plant-based diet again.

I’ll report back with details on that challenge and how I’m feeling once I’m a few days into it.

See you!

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Yesterday I finished my third race, the Munich Airport 10k. You may or may not remember that I ran the 5k distance of that race last year, as my very first race ever. But you have to know that this year’s race was totally different! They changed the location of the start and finish, which meant we ran a totally different course.

Munich Airport 10k Course

Click to enlarge!

Yes, we ran right through the entire Munich Airport! Unfortunately, this course map does not tell you that we had to run through several tunnels, over bridges, and up and down a few stairways! In short, this course was a beast, and I had no idea.

Munich Airport 10k

Still clueless and optimistic

At exactly 2:15 pm our pack of 10k runners started the race. I had found a former co-worker (he transferred to a different department), who offered to stay with me for a while. So I had somebody to talk to. Yay!

Right after we started I realized that this race was much tougher than I had expected. It began with several long climbs that took us straight to a stairway that we had to run down. Are you kidding me?! A freaking stairway?! And that was just the first mile. I tried my best to ignore the thought that I had to get back up that stairway at the very end of the race, but I was getting a little worried.

After a little more than a mile, my running buddy left me to find his own stride, and as I was going quite slowly, I was practically alone at mile 2. There were very few distance markers on the course, but as I knew the area I had a rough idea where I was.

At about mile 2.5 I saw a very fast guy running towards me. He was already on his way to the finish! In my opinion, that’s the not-so-fun part of an out-and-back course.

The sun had come out a few minutes before our start, and it was getting quite hot. I was really looking forward to the water station, that should have been at mile 3.5, shortly after the turning point.

When I finally reached the turning point, I looked down at my watch and saw a time that was much slower than what I had expected. I was going at a moderately challenging pace, so I was a little bummed, but blamed it on the hilly start.

And then I finally reached the water station. I was handed a cold (!) cup of water and quickly realized that I simply can’t run and drink at the same time, so I walked for a few seconds. Those few sips of cold water were exactly what I needed at the moment, and gave me a little boost to keep going.

At around mile 4 I heard someone huffing and puffing behind me. I was one of the half marathoners, that had started 15 minutes before us. He literally flew by and left me in the dust. Wow!

A little later I saw two women in the distance in front of me. I was determined to catch them! I didn’t want to go all out as I still had more than one mile to go, but I tried to run just a little bit faster. And I did get closer to them! After the dreaded bridges, tunnels, and stairways (grr!), I had almost caught up, and I knew that we had less than half a mile to go.

I stayed right behind the two ladies, and shortly before the finish line I tried to pass them. But they wouldn’t let me! So I crossed the finish line right behind them. I was done!

Munich Airport 10k

I got my medal!

Official time: 1:14:20 minutes

My #1 goal for this race was to finish strong and not come in last, and that’s what I did. But to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed with my time. It was a very, very tough course, I know, but still!

After the race, I heard some rumours going around that the course was actually longer than a 10k, and I somehow felt the same during the race. So when I got home I mapped out the race course with a handy little tool, and it ended up being around 11 kilometers! That’s almost 7 miles! I’m not entirely sure what the exact distance was, but I’d like to believe that I’m not that slow.

Anyway, despite my lousy time I’m quite proud of myself. I kept going even when my legs were screaming at me to stop, and I finished strong and left a few people behind me. And I even had fun! I will surely race again.

Munich Airport 10k

Cheers!

See you!

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In Germany, the days from May 11 to May 15 are called ‘Ice Saints’, as these days are rumoured to bring a brief spell of colder weather. I’d like to think that this is just an old urban myth, but the past few days have really been freaking cold! I’m talking about freezing ground and snow during some nights. In May! I’m so not amused.

As usual, this nasty cold (and rainy) weather has made me crave soups, stews, and other comfort foods.

Breakfast

My usual breakfast. No, I’m not sick of it yet, I’m still loving it. A lot.

Cheese Pancakes

I don’t know why, but I have been craving pancakes lately. German pancakes are quite different from the American version, as they are thinner, bigger, and a little bland. They are like a blank canvas, ready to be filled with all kinds of delicious things, either savory or sweet. This time I decided to fill them with cheese, served with a quick tomato salad on the side. Believe it or not, I even have a recipe for my favorite pancakes!

Pancake Soup

Whenever I make pancakes I like to make a really big batch, so that I have leftovers. What the heck do you do with leftover pancakes? You cut them up and put them into soup! I know, the idea of pancake stripes floating around in vegetable broth sounds weird, but it’s delicious, I promise. And guess what, I also have a recipe for pancake soup. Tadaaa!

Fruit Salad

In my opinion, a day is not complete without dessert. A while ago I found a frozen fruit salad mix at my local grocery store. It contains mangoes, peaches, grapes, plums, raspberries, and maybe some other fruits that I can’t remember at the moment. I does not contain any added sugar, but is sweetened with concentrated fruit juice instead. That said, it’s still very sweet, so I always mix it with some plain yogurt. I guess my sweet tooth isn’t that sweet anymore. Fascinating! (Not really.)

Anyway, the Ice Saints are over now, and I really hope that the weather will warm up a little, so that I can show you some pretty and tasty salad creations next Wednesday.

See you!

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This Friday I will toe the starting line of my third race, the Munich Airport 10K. (Not really, I’ll probably start from the back of the crowd, as usual.)

That’s only five days away! Dang, I’m getting really nervous!

To be honest, I feel a little unprepared. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been struggling with some minor injuries in the past few months, so I skipped more training runs than I feel comfortable with. While I do believe that I can finish that distance, I’m a little worried about being the last one to cross the finish line. That almost happened to me in my last race, and I was really bummed about it.

Why do I even care about that? Actually, I’m a very ambitious and competitive person, and while I know that I will never ever win a race, I do care about my performance and want to be proud of myself.

Anyway, I’ll try to stop worrying about my upcoming race and instead focus on having a good time running with my buddies, enjoying some free food (yay!), and giving my husband lots of sweaty hugs.

And I do hope for a little more luck and health the next time around. Yes, there will be a next time. I’m stubborn like that.

Please, keep your fingers crossed for me on Friday!

See you!

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Oh boy, what a weekend! One of my best friends got married last Saturday, and threw an epic party. They had a belly dancer, a crazy-awesome rockabilly band, lots of fun games and speeches, and of course copious amounts of delicious food!

I know some people like to starve themselves before going to a party, to ‘save their calories for booze’, but I prefer a different approach. I eat normal, healthy, and filling meals the rest of the day, as I can’t handle alcohol on an empty stomach. And I don’t want to pig out on all the heavy party food because I’m so freaking hungry.

Breakfast

The usual weekend breakfast: whole wheat toast with various toppings, including a fried egg. Lunch was a quick, light, and unpictured salad, as I was running quite late.

Wedding Food

The party began with several glasses of mimosas (thank goodness I had eaten before!), and continued with an Italian five course meal, consisting of antipasti, three different kinds of pasta (inhaled before I could take a picture), mixed salad, steak with black pepper sauce and potato balls (TWSS!), and wedding cake for dessert. Yikes!

After the first two courses I was already quite full, so I only nibbled on the other dishes. But I had to try the wedding cake, of course. To be honest, I didn’t really like it. It was way too sweet and heavy and a bit dry. I liked our own wedding cake a lot better. Oh my, I’m still dreaming of that cake: a creamy and fruity black forest cake, covered in a lovely marzipan blanket. Drooling!

Breakfast

After getting home very late on Saturday night, I thankfully got to sleep in on Sunday morning. I still felt a little stuffed from the night before, so I just had a very late breakfast and skipped lunch.

Risotto

After taking a crazy long nap in the afternoon, I made risotto for dinner. It was actually a packaged mix, to which I added some dried tomatoes, frozen peas, and freshly grated parmesan. It was just ok, so we probably won’t have it again.

Bizookies

I wanted to have something healthy and delicious to snack on during the week, so I made Oatmeal Raisin Bizookies. I found the recipe on the blog Spoonful of Sugar Free, and those little bites are indeed a highly addictive cross between a biscuit and a cookie.

I used whole wheat flour instead of oat flour, as I don’t have any issues with gluten, added about a tablespoon of ground flax seeds, and doubled the amount of applesauce. They turned out incredibly fluffy and slightly sweet, despite the fact that they contain zero added sugar or other sweeteners. Amazing!

How did you spend your weekend?

See you!

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This current training cycle is just not going well. First I was dealing with some mysterious food pain, that thankfully subsided after taking some rest and getting new shoes. But sadly, that’s not the end of the story yet. Last Monday, after this year’s longest run (for the record, 5.85 miles!), my right shin started to hurt. As the pain was still there two days later, I decided to take a week off of running. I really don’t need a case of shin splints right now!

What was the cause of the pain? I can only guess, but it was probably a combination of inconsistent training, increasing my mileage too fast (that means, too fast for me!), and a rather long run on hard pavement. Maybe it was also related to a little supplement fail during the past few weeks. Who knows?

My angry shin was also one of the reasons why I changed into sneakers half-way through Saturday’s wedding party. No, they did not match my dress, yes, people were making comments about my checkerboard sneaks, and no, I didn’t give a damn!

Anyway, my legs felt a lot better today, so I attempted a short treadmill run tonight after work to test things out. So far, my legs are feeling quite alright. In the next few days I’ll do a few more short runs either on the treadmill or on soft trails. That’s not exactly an ideal preparation for my upcoming 10k race, which is in less than two weeks, and I have no idea how I’m going to survive that race, but I’ll just hope for the best and try to finish it with a smile on my face.

Please, wish me luck!

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