Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Down n' up n' down

I've had a song stuck in my head for a few days. It's not a song I'm proud to know the words to or even admit that I've heard ... but I have to share with you guys - Up n' Down by Britney Spears... you can listen here: Up n' Down - Femme Fatale (Deluxe Version)

Stuck in your head now? Ha! Still in mine too... but I think it's been an appropriate anthem for the past few days.


Yesterday I had a pretty great workout!

Warm-Up

500m Row
Dynamic Stretching

Skill: OH Squats

4 min Tabata
OH Squats 45/35

WOD

4 Rounds
  • 2 Rope Climbs
  • 4 Power Cleans 65lb (155/105)
  • 6 Burpees
  • 8 Front Squats  65lb (155/105)
  • 10 Deadlifts 65lb (155/105)
This isn't your old-school gym class rope climb! It's not all upper-body strength, and there is definitely technique to it!
When I started almost a year ago, I couldn't get up the rope. We have a "scaled" alternate move where you start standing next to the rope, and keeping your feet planted, you "walk" your hands down the rope until your shoulder blades are on the ground, but your butt is in the air. Then you climb yourself back up to standing. Three of these equals one full-on rope climb.

Yesterday I did both rope climbs in the first two rounds! So I ended up with four rope climbs (I'm pretty sure our gym's are 18' high), and twelve alternative climbs. I probably could have done climbs in all the rounds, but I was starting to get rope burn on my ankle from standing on the rope! 

Today's down n' up n' down was not so great...

Warm-Up

800m Run

Dynamic Stretching

For Time:
50 Burpees (4:10)

WOD

For Time:
2000m Row
100 Pull-ups

Notes: You make break up work however you would like. For example, row 250m and do 13 Pull-ups, then repeat until finished.

My strategy for the WOD was 200m row/10 pull-ups x 10 rounds... but there must have been too many down and ups because by 1000m I was starting to feel lightheaded, but I pushed on and got through 10 more pull-ups, albeit taking a good amount of time. I did another 200m, but when I moved to the pull-up bar, I knew I couldn't get up. I had to sit down. My mind felt fuzzy. I felt like passing out.

I got a big DNF (did not finish!) today. And the lightheaded-ness never really went away. I used to have problems a few years ago with orthostatic hypotension (a blood pressure drop upon standing that can cause lightheadedness), but it went away until today.

I've also had a lot of trouble with muscle cramping today - both my feet and hands. I've actually been having progressively worse muscle cramps over the past year and a half, with no relief from lifestyle changes or carefully monitoring my hydration (I get 3-5 quarts of water a day), or CoQ10, or magnesium supplements. A few months ago my blood calcium levels were slightly high, and last week I had more blood work done that still showed higher calcium levels, but also high parathyroid hormone levels. So yesterday I was referred to an endocrinologist (with a receptionist that doesn't feel the need to pick up the phone to schedule appointments!). Hopefully he can help me figure out what is wrong, because I'm very good at Google searches ... not helping my cause here.

With the Ragnar Relay race Mr. Crabs and I are doing in early January, and the marathon at the end of January, I hope I can get my calcium and PTH back to normal so they don't derail my training.

Tomorrow's workout doesn't seem too bad - a 1 mile run, some bench presses, and 400m of walking lunges (no weights!!!) so I will try to keep my mind off of the downs, and on the ups of this week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hot Tamales!

Let me just say that I am a sucker for tamales.

I'm not sure why - they are SO SIMPLE but they taste SO WONDERFUL!

I found some shredded beef ones at Target awhile back (and by awhile I mean about two weeks ago - we've already eaten half of them for dinner last week). I know traditionally there is no sauce for tamales, but my family always put chili on top of the ones my grandma would send us for Christmas. I need something moist to mingle with the masa.

So today I went on an internet search for "tamale sauce" (ha) and stumbled across a forum at chowhound.com that mentioned Bombero Sauce for tamales. Well, that sounded pretty legitimate and a quick scan of the interwebz showed that someone named Tiny Toodles has been spreading their recipe all over the net. Then I looked up arbol chiles - at least twice as hot as jalapeños! - and realized that a cup of them was a bit more than my sissy tastebuds can handle. So I instead made a "wimpy" bombero (which translates to firefighter) sauce instead!
I had few cups of leftover sauce - it looks like someone will be making chicken enchiladas later this week to use it up! :)

Medium Bombero Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 serrano chiles, seeds and stems removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2 chipotle chiles ( packed in adobo)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 oz (1 cup) sour cream
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

  1. Place all of the ingredients except for the oil in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 5 minutes or when all of the chiles are completely pureed.
  3. Heat the oil on medium heat in the sauce pan you were using. Pour the chile back into the sauce pan and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. I may have cooked mine longer to reduce it to a thicker sauce


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Surprise guests and a hurricane party

I woke up this morning and it was SO NICE outside - mid 70's, not too sunny, with a soft cool breeze. Mr. Crabs left on a 45-mile bike ride, and I got dressed and was getting my stuff together to take Grizzly on a run with me when she started whining at the door. Usually when people or cars go down the street, she'll bark so I thought it was a little funny that she just whimpered.

I went to the front door and looked out - there was a black lab roaming around our front gate! I thought it was our next-door neighbor dog that got out but then I saw a brown hound close behind it. They sniffed around the gate and came in our yard! I watched as they sniffed around and came close to the front door. At this point Grizzly was fixated at the front door, her ears pulled back on high alert. The black lab came up the front steps and I could see it had thirsty-foam around its mouth, so I found one of Grizz's old stainless steel bowls and took it out the side door. I started filling the bowl with water from the hose when the hound came bounding toward me and attacked me with kisses. Whew - these were nice dogs (though I did tell Mr. Crabs I wouldn't have gone outside to give them water if they looked agressive).

They both had collars on with tags with phone numbers - the area code was three hours away! I looked up the address on one tag and it was also a few hours' drive. I left a message on the one working number and went and fished Grizzly's old playpen out of our storage room. I got the brown hound in pretty easily, but the black lab was a little wary of my antics. Even bribery with treats only got her front paws in the gate! I was able to pull her in by the collar and close the door behind so I could let Grizz out of the house without worrying about a confrontation.
They were so cute! All they seemed to want were kisses and playtime. I tried to call the Department of Animal Services but they didn't open till 9 (the hound had a tag saying she had a microchip, but no serial number on the tag!). I tried calling the owner again but no luck. I didn't want to turn them into DAS, because if they're not claimed within five days they go to a shelter. I called Mr. Crabs and got a quick "we're NOT keeping the dogs!"

At 8:58 I got a call from the owner - they had just recently moved one street over and their electric gate latch didn't catch right. The sweet dogs were reunited with their family!

UNFORTUNATELY... it was already 9:15 and getting HOT - I lost almost two hours to the dogs-capade. So Grizz and I will have to wait till tomorrow for a run... because I had to start getting ready to have some friends over for a Hurricane Party, in honor of Tropical Storm Isaac.

I made some 100% whole-wheat hamburger rolls, my grandmother's guacamole, Jarlsberg cheese dip (though it didn't taste as good as the real thing!), and some whoopie cookies from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook. I did substitute whole wheat pastry flour and honey for the all-purpose flour and white sugar, and demerara sugar for the brown sugar... but there is no "real" substitute for marshmallow creme and mini chocolate chips :) They did turn out pretty awesome. I also made my other grandma's mac and cheese, using brown rice penne from Trader Joe's. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought it was regular wheat pasta!
I am stuffed after tonight's dinner!

Grandma Lydia's Guacamole

- 10 grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 2 small jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- 4 ripe avocados - save the pits!
- Salt and pepper to taste (just a bit)

Mix together all the ingredients until the avocado is as creamy or chunky as you like. Push the pits gently in until the tops are flush with the guacamole. Press saran wrap onto the surface, and place in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to integrate. Remove the pits before serving, but save them in case there are leftovers - the pits help keep the avocados from browning!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Working for the weekend

So glad the week is over!

Today's workout:

Warm-Up

1 Mile Run
15 minuntes of Mobility

WOD

EMOM (every minute on the minute) for 15 minutes
5 Power Cleans 65lb (155/105)
7 Box Jumps 24"/18"

Time left in the min burpees

Notes: Burpees are bonus reps. Total reps in the 15 min is your score. (12 reps x 15 min = 180 reps without burpees)

My total score: 206 reps!

Tonight's dinner:

Scrounging around, feeling too lazy to cook :) 100% whole wheat sourdough bread with peanut butter and fruit spread, and with Justin's Chocolate Hazelnutbutter spread. Almonds on the side. YUM!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thou shalt not covet...

...unless it is brand new CrossFit shoes at the Reebok store!

</WANT>

Closing in on September

And I have a turr-ible post record. :(

Today's workout:

Warm-Up

400 m Run
Dynamic Stretching

Skill

Rowing Technique

4 rounds of
1:00 Row
30 seconds rest

WOD

10 Rounds
3 Deadlifts 135lb (225/155)
6 KB Push Press 20lb (35/25)
9 Bar Jump Over (over and back is one rep)

Time: 12:27


Dinner:

Chimichurri steak fajitas (no picture - sorry I ate them too quickly!)

Layer in a 1.5-qt. crock pot 1/2 an onion, sliced.

Brown 6 oz. of skirt steak in a little olive oil. In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 c. chimichurri sauce, 2 tbs olive oil, the juice of one lime, and salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper to taste (1/8 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1/4-1/2 tsp, respectively). Coat browned meat with chimichurri mix and place on top of onions in the crock pot. Slice one green pepper and place slices on meat. 

Cook on high 2-1/2 to 3 hours; or low 5-7 hours. Chop steak before serving.

Heat up some white corn tortillas and fill with onions, peppers, steak, and cheese (we used cheddar and Boar's Head Chipotle Gouda for a little kick!). Also salsa if desired.

We had Cuban cristianos y moros (black beans and {brown} rice) - leftovers - on the side.


On another note...

I made my weight loss goal of 20 pounds! Actually, I've dipped a little past 20 pounds. Something is working! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grace under fire

Grace: 30 Clean & Jerks (135/95lb) for time. (4:00 flat! at 55lbs)

I don't remember having done a clean & jerk before and after watching a bunch of OLY (Olympic) c&j videos on YouTube, I was more confused about the difference between a clean & jerk and a clean & press. Especially since the Rx was 95lbs - I have trouble cleaning more than 55 pounds (and pretty much can't clean more than 65).

This is why I love my gym: I didn't feel stupid for asking the head trainer, which is good, because it saved me what could have been a lot of misery. A clean and press is when, after you clean and get the bar in the rack position, you dip a little to give yourself momentum to push (press) the bar over your head. In a clean and jerk, once the bar is cleaned into the rack position, you dip and move yourself under the bar (so you end in a half overhead squat).

I was a little nervous about weight setting up my bar - I'd only done 50lbs last week on push presses, but I was feeling good so I set it up at 55lbs since I just had to get through 30. Turns out they are definitely easier than a press - I could have done at least 60lbs, if not 65! I know for next time now...

There were a bunch of bars of varying weight set up for others in the room, so after everyone was done I went around and tried some out... first 65 (no problem to clean!) then 75lbs... and then 85lbs! I cleaned it too!

Tomorrow's workout is a doozy - two separate 1,000m rows with a bunch of squat cleans, lunges, and box jumps sandwiched in! Oh my!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back in the habit!

Sorry for my absence! I got caught up in life, between getting a new computer (yay for no more lost wireless connections!) and then getting ready for and going on

VACATION!

Mr. Crabs' family has a lake house in the Ozark mountains in southern Missouri (pronounced Miz-zor-ah ... ha!)

It was a nice, relaxing break from the stress of work... and the oppressive heat of Florida summers. We really lucked out; they were having highs over 105 for weeks on end until we arrived. The first day was around 95º, but then after that the temps dropped to the mid-80s. We even had one night dip down to 54º!

We left last Tuesday after work, driving seven hours to Tallahassee, and continued on to Missouri and got in just in time for a late dinner. Because I know setting up high expectations for vacations is never a good idea in terms of eating and weight loss, I decided I would not pay attention so much to my fasting (not like I was working out every day anyway), but I did want to keep eating real food. So in preparation, I packed my maple almond butter, Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Triscuits, and a pack of "pancake" and "crepe" mix I made by combining the dry ingredients of the whole-wheat-no-white-sugar recipes I have.

I have to admit, I did pretty well with the food, EVEN WHEN we went out for ice cream, or ice cream bars were passed out for dessert. I did eat too much, but except for the night after I made my one exception for Sharky's Taco Pizza (which wasn't as good as I had hoped), I didn't feel physically bad about the food I had.

Now, back to the fun. Mr. Crabs and I rented paddle board for the first two days, and Grizzly decided to join us.

We had fun on the boards, on jet skis, and even playing Mexican Train in the evenings.

I wasn't totally worthless though! The in-laws live at the bottom of an uphill road, which is 2.38 miles from the main road... so I ran it! I did a few loops of the driveway at the end to come in at an even five miles, and even did a short WOD: burpees and sit-ups, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (i.e. 10 burpees & sit-ups, 9 burpees & sit-ups...). No substitute for the gym, but a nice alternative!

Today I was back at the box for the first time in a week, and we had some skill work in the warm-up (cleans in preparation for tomorrow's Gracie workout: 30 Clean & Jerk (135/95lb) - yikes!). It was tough, but I felt good during the WOD!

I made a quiche tonight and it was pretty scrumptious; I took pictures and hopefully can have a whole slew of food posts (I just found some artichoke pictures on my phone too...) this weekend. Now it's time to pack for the gym and work and lunch tomorrow!

Today's Workout

Warm-Up

500m Row
Dynamic Stretching

Skill - Cleans

On the minute for 5 min:
3 DL
3 Hang Cleans

Rest 1 minute

On the minute for 5 min:
3 Power Cleans
3 Squat Cleans

I did 45lb for the warmup.

WOD

8 min AMRAP
200m Run
10 Lateral Box Jumps 24/18
10 Pull-ups

2 min rest

6 min AMRAP
200m Run
10 Lateral Box Jumps 24/18
10 Pull-ups

2 min rest

4 min AMRAP
200m Run
10 Lateral Box Jumps 24/18
10 Pull-ups

My total: 6 rounds + 350m (50m/100m/200m in each AMRAP) + 4 lateral box jumps (18"). I used the red band (and ONLY the red band) for my pull-ups. Red is the second-thinnest. Soon I should be down to purple, and then FINALLY unassisted! I'm hoping that happens by the time we go to Maine at the end of next month.

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's been a long week!

Hang on tight... I will be back to blogging tomorrow!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lightbulb moment!

First of all, I want to say that I had this post all typed up on my phone and I tried to post it... and it appears to have gotten lost in interweb limbo. So here's my second attempt; I hope they both don't publish all of a sudden!

Do you have a daily routine each morning to get yourself out the door? I do. Alarm goes off at 4:30, I go to the bathroom and get dressed, brew coffee (the Keurig turns on automatically at 4:30), then go to the fridge for my splash of milk in the coffee, and get out my packed-last-night lunch box so I can add some ice packs from the freezer. Then it's out the door, where I load up the back of my car with my gym bag and put my cup of coffee in the cup holder in the trunk of my RAV-4 - where the optional 2nd row of seats would go if I opted for them! - to drink after the gym on the way to work because it's too hot to drink on the way there.

Do you also ever have a fleeting idea that might disrupt your routine, but possibly in a good way? This weekend, I had a lightbulb-JUST-turned-on-in-my-brain ah-ha moment. By the time I leave the gym, my coffee has been sitting in the back of my car for two hours. It's not too hot, and it's not too cold, but it's not Just Right. But you know what might be really refreshing after a workout?

ICED COFFEE. Genius!

I'm not talking about the iced coffee full of milk and sugar you get in your grocer's refrigerator section, or at the Dunkin' Donuts two doors down from your gym (ahem), but plain and simple coffee with ice.

So I tried it out Monday morning. I made my coffee the night before, brewing it one volume setting smaller than usual. I added my splash of milk, covered the top with saran wrap - I don't need my fridge to reek of coffee! - then put the lid on and stored it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I added enough handfuls of ice to bring the liquid level just below the rim of the cup.

I was a little nervous that it would warm up in the two hours it waits for me (after all, it is already about 80º when I leave for the gym at 4:45), but it was PERFECTLY cold and refreshing! About half the ice had melted, and I was able to enjoy my morning java for once.

So my morning routine has definitely changed - for the better! And if you're looking for an easy no/nearly-zero calorie way to jump start your steamy summer mornings, try it out!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Success!

I left the gym super-pumped today because I did a handstand push-up (HSPU)! I did it kipping (using my body's momentum to propel me up), but when I joined my box last September I couldn't even hold myself in a handstand (once I had someone help me get up there, that is!)
I did all my WOD HSPUs on a box, on my knees, but I will try the higher progressions next time. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Forging Elite Fitness, and my Filthy Fifty

I promised a follow-up post on CrossFit sometime last week, but unfortunately I got carried away painting furniture over the weekend and fell through on that. My apologies!

So, what is this gym cult I've signed myself up for? CrossFit is actually the basis for many police, fire, tactical, and pro athletes' training programs. It is intended to provide a workout not only for these elites, but for your Average Joe as well. Every day, a new workout is available at www.crossfit.com, or you can join an affiliate gym (called a "box") - their workouts usually differ in specific routines and content from the website, but you will see similar workouts over time between the two. 

A workout consists of two parts: the warm-up, and the workout of the day, or WOD (sounds like wad, as in a wad of gum). But it's not usually your relaxing warm-up; our mantra is "Your workout is my warm-up." No joke! Today's warm-up wasn't bad, but usually the warm-up is 20-30 minutes of the hourlong workout.

Today's warm-up:

  • 800m run
  • Dynamic stretching
  • 10 reps of each move in the WOD (named "Filthy Fifty"):
    • Box jumps
    • Jumping pull-ups
    • Kettlebell (KB) swings
    • Walking lunges
    • Knees to elbows
    • Push press
    • Back extension
    • Wall balls (WBs)
    • Burpees
    • Double unders (DUs)
So... in my mind, that's a whole workout! But we're literally just getting started! At my box, the workouts (from here out, "workout" refers to the warm-up + WOD, as opposed to the workout of the day, which will always be referred to as WOD) start every hour on the hour, from 5am to 7pm (gym closes at 8pm). You're expected to be in some stage of the warm-up by the top of the hour. Most people arrive 5-10 minutes before the official start to kick off their workout. Sometimes part of the workout will be timed, but unless indicated, it is do on your own free will. The warm-up always includes some kind of stretching, and sometimes mobility (stretches held for more than a minute, focusing on one or two body parts). The entire workout is always written on a whiteboard in the front of the gym (in the case of my box, anyway). My workouts are also posted online the night before (which, sadly, I like because it aids in clothing choice!).

Then the coaches gather everyone around to go over the WOD. The coaches are certified by CrossFit to coach - there are usually two in each workout (though sometimes only one). They make sure everyone is doing enough weight, but not too much, and that their form is correct. This is one of my favorite things about my gym - they are very good with form instruction, because they want you to get fit, not hurt. 

Any weighted activity (such as the box jumps (for height), KB swings, push press, and wall balls), will have two weights listed after them on the board. These weights are called "prescription", or RX, and represent the maximum weight anyone in the group will do. Supposedly these are derived from physiological weight requirements (i.e. under no normal circumstances will a woman ever need to press more than 65 pounds over her head), but regardless, it helps you determine what weight you should be doing that day. Typical RXs (men, women) are:
  • Push presses, cleans, front squat: 95lb/65lb (all barbell)
  • Kettlebell swings, snatches, goblet squats: 55lb/35lb
  • Deadlifts: 190lb/135lb, OR 285lb/205lb (depends on the intent of the WOD)
  • Box jumps: 24"/18" (some days are higher depending on WOD intent)
  • Wall balls: 20lb/14lb
Not many people can do RX though, so you're expected to scale yourself. Right now, I usually do 45lb for push presses, 115lb for deadlifts, and 20-30lb for KB exercises (depending). There are many other routines we do, utilizing the kettlebells, barbells, or even plates (1.2mile plate carry = tough morning!), and we're always doing common moves in different orders to mix things up. At the end of the WOD, there's a board at the back of the gym for you to write your name, and time or score (depending on the WOD) in a sort of wall of fame.

Additionally, the pace of the workout is usually fast, fueled by a "for time" qualifier (i.e. do all the listed exercises as fast as possible, for time), or a directive to do as many rounds or reps as possible (AMRAP) in the specified time. Your score then is either your time, or your rounds/reps. 

Most of the time, the WOD is made up by the head trainer, but from time to time we do WODs that have a name, such as "Fran" or "Murph" - or the "Filthy Fifty". The WODs with guys' names were all named after military personnel killed in action (The Heros), and then there are The Girls. Today was the Filthy Fifty. Remember the list of exercises I had in today's warm-up above? Yup, we did 50 of EACH. For time. So here is today's WOD, with the weights I did (and RX).

Today's WOD:

  • 50 Box jumps, 18" (24"/18")
  • 50 Jumping pull-ups
  • 50 Kettlebell (KB) swings, 30lb (55lb/35lb)
  • 50 Walking lunges (25 each leg)
  • 50 Knees to elbows
  • 50 Push press, 30lb (55lb/35lb)
  • 50 Back extension
  • 50 Wall balls (WBs), 10lb (20lb/14lb)
  • 50 Burpees (I did "sumo deadlift high pulls" - SDLHP due to my rib-scapade - at 35lb).
  • Double unders (DUs)
My time? 35:54. Such a feeling of relief when you're finished!

There are a few exercises that probably aren't universal, so let me explain.
  • Jumping pull-ups: actually easier than regular (dead-hang) push-ups. With your feet on the ground, your hand should actually extend above the pull-up bar when you reach. Hold the bar like you normally would, then hang down into a squat, with your elbows straight. Jump and pull up. Simple!
  • Knees to elbows: FANTASTIC ab workout. Hang from the pull-up bar, and bring your elbows to your knees by folding at the hips. Not too bad for the first five down...but 45 to go? Ouch.
  • Wall balls: these are a CrossFit staple! We used to have separate marks for men and women (at ten and eight feet high, respectively) in our old box, but when we moved, everyone got shifted to a ten-foot mark. Using a large, padded medicine ball of aforementioned weight, hold it like you would a basketball in front of your chest. Take a deep squat (in CrossFit, squats mean your knees bend past 90º by bowing you knees away from your centerline), then quickly stand up and use the momentum to propel the ball to your ten-foot-high mark. Catch, return to squat, throw the ball. 48 more times.
  • Double unders (DUs): Start with a jump rope - cable ropes are best due to the Need for Speed - and have it pass under your feet twice within one jump. Not as easy as it looks! Usually the coaches have people do 4x as many singles (single jumps) when we have DUs listed. Fortunately, this crabby lady can do them! (though after about 20-25 in a row I have to stop for a break).

And lastly, SDLHP: stand with feet wide apart, hold a kettlebell that is sitting on the floor directly in front of you (you look like a sumo wrestler about to start). Keeping your back straight, straighten your legs and move into a deadlift, but once your knees are straight, keep pulling up on the KB until it is at your collar bone. 

Tomorrow's workout just posted:

WOD: Tuesday 7/31/2012


Warm-Up


  • 400m Run
  • Dynamic Stretching

WOD 1

Every 30 sec for 10 min

  • 1 Squat Clean 115/85
  • 1 Thruster 115/85

Notes: You are allowed to rest as many rounds as necessary w/no penalty; score is total rounds completed (ie max score = 20).

WOD 2

4 Rounds for time:

  • 1 Shuttle Sprint
  • 5 HSPU
  • 250m Row


Notes: 1 Shuttle Sprint = 5 yds/back, 10 yds/back, 15 yds/back
Looks like a good one!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself. - Josh Billings

I was getting ready for my scheduled 2-miles this morning, sneaking around quietly while Grizzly lounged by the front door. Mr. Crabs had left about half an hour earlier for a two hour (hour!) bike ride and I wanted to get out quickly while the sun was still below the tree line.

Carefully, I pulled my shoes from the bottom shelf of the rack by the side door and set them on the floor. That must have set off some alarm in a frequency beyond the realms of human hearing because one second later Grizzly was nuzzling up against me.

"No, Grizz. No running." Obviously the only word she took from my effort to lose her interest was "running". She let out a long Wookie growl which I know from previous experience means "let's go RUNNING, mom!". I sighed as she stretched, and tied my laces. No way around it - I was going to have a running buddy this morning.

She has a neon pink harness with reflective paw prints that is joined by a six-foot leash to a padded waist belt for me to wear. I put my half of the get-up on as she ran to the back door and sat patiently, tail wagging in anticipation of exciting running!.

We have a ritual when we go running together, where I ask for her paw to place it in the harness, then she refuses to put it on the ground so I can get her other paw into the harness as well. I'm never sure what she is trying to accomplish, because we both know there is no running unless she is wearing her neon pink gear. After about three or four rounds of this, she gives in and she is leashed and ready to go. Of course by now my GPS watch has lost its signal so we have to pace around the yard until it locks onto the satellites again.

So we're finally out the gate. We turn onto the main road and immediately a fit guy on a nice bike in spandex riding gear passes by in the opposite direction we've just started down. I recognized very quickly that it was not Mr. Crabs (besides the fact that he still had nearly an hour and a half of his ride left), but Grizzly looked at me, confused, as if to say "Dad?". "No Grizz, not Dad," I told her. She didn't believe me.

She turned and tried to follow. I pleaded with her to come with me, but she stood alert, focused on the bike fading in the distance. Finally she reluctantly followed me, but she stayed a few paces behind. Sometimes she'll do this on new routes because she is afraid of the unknown. Today she was doing it so I would turn around and go home. That's worked in the past in her favor, but not today! We were only a third of a mile into our run, after all! I cheered her on until we hit the mile-mark and turned around, and she decided to pick up her pace. Going home! 

I really do love running with Grizzly. I can talk to her and feel not quite as crazy as if I was blabbing away to myself. If I give her a pat on the head and tell her "Good running!", she breaks into a jaunty trot for a few strides. She is always willing to go out with me, even when she's just come in from running around the yard and the heat index is over a hundred degrees (in which case I have to make her stay at home!).

To be honest though I'm not sure if she really loves running because it's fun, or because she knows when we get home we get to play in the pool...


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Still churning out excellence

Yesterday was a much-needed rest day, and today I got in my gym workout and run! It was 92ºF at 6pm, with a heat index of 115ºF so my run was pretty slow to keep my heart rate down, but I got some good stretching in afterward so that was great.

I'm hoping to do a post on CrossFit over the weekend (when I have time to type - it's almost bed time now and I just got dinner finished and eaten! (home made baked falafel with tzatziki - yum!!!)).

Today's workout:

Warm-up:

  • 400m run
  • 20 burpees
  • 3 rounds AFAP (as fast as possible)
    • 15 push-ups
    • 10 walking lunges

WOD 1:

3 rounds:
  • 1:00 Wall Balls (14lb)
  • 1:00 SDLHP (sumo deadlift high pulls) 45lb (55lb Rx)
  • 1:00 Row for calories
  • 1:00 rest
--2:00 rest after the last round--

WOD 2:

9 min. AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible)

  • 10 GHD sit-up (GHD = glute/hamstring developer)
  • 10 KB snatches (5 each hand) 20lb (35lb Rx)
  • 40 DUs (double-unders)
Total score - number of reps.
WOD 1: 120
WOD 2: 256 (4 rounds + 10 GHD sit-ups + 6 KB snatches)

...and a nice little motivational picture to leave you with tonight...


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rat-a-tat-touille Tuesday!

Another day of double workouts! But I planned for evening runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so dinner was an easy fix. I wanted to use up the rest of the eggplant, as well as zucchini and yellow squash I got at the farmer's market last weekend so by internet magic I came across ratatouille (pronounced "rat - ah - too - ee" in case you haven't seen the Disney movie). Speaking of which... tonight's dinner was based on the namesake dish they serve in the movie, with some crabby modifications, of course!

I started out with some veggies: half a yellow squash, half a zucchini, half a LARGE eggplant (one small one would have been good), half a small onion, half a red pepper, and one whole beefsteak tomato (I think it was already sliced by the time I took this picture). The red pepper was left over from last night's egg scramble. If you have more than two mouths to feed, by all means use whole veggies!
I diced the tomato and red pepper coarsely, and the onion finely. I mixed them in a bowl with FIVE CLOVES of garlic minced. Mr. Crabs was happy to hear that. I drizzled with a little Herbs de Provence olive oil, and mixed well. Then I sliced my squashes and eggplant. If I had a small skinny eggplant, I would have kept it in round slices like the squashes but alas, it was a fattie, and I had to cut the slices in quarters (so the slices were about the same size across the cutting board).
Now it's time to layer! The tomato-pepper-onion-garlic mixture goes in your baking dish first, with a third of a cup of water. I used an 8-inch or so round Pyrex bowl, with sides about four inches high.
Next, add the sliced squashes and eggplants in a scalloped pattern, starting from the outside in, and alternating vegetable. I actually placed a layer of eggplant (since they were not round on all sides) then placed my zucchini and squash slices. Here I have the eggplant layer and part of the squash layer done.
I put al the squash on, but still had some eggplant left, so I placed those around the edges. Cover with a parchment paper "blanket" and bake!

Voilà!
You can serve this over pasta, but tonight I went for my (100% whole wheat) copy-cat Olive Garden Breadsticks. Yum!

Bon Appétit!



Besides my two-mile run after work (check that off my goal!), I went to my usual 5am workout:

Warm-up:
500m row
Dynamic stretching
3 rounds:
  • 10 wall balls (I did 10lb instead of 14lb - they changed our target height from 8' to 10'!)
  • 20 double unders
WOD:
10 rounds, for time:
  • 5 deadlifts (Rx=130 / I did 115lb)
  • 5 box jumps (18")
  • 5 burpees
Finished in 12:14!

Ratatouille


Ingredients

1 beefsteak tomato, coarsely diced
1 red bell pepper, coarsely diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup water
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 small eggplant, trimmed and very thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced
1/2 yellow squash, trimmed and very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or to taste (I used dried thyme I found in my spice cabinet, about 1tbs)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Mix tomato, bell pepper, onion, and garlic with 1 tbs olive oil and spread into the bottom of a 8" round baking dish. Stir in water until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Arrange alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, starting at the outer edge of the dish and working concentrically towards the center. Overlap the slices a little to display the colors. Drizzle the vegetables with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Cover vegetables with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until vegetables are roasted and tender, about 45 minutes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mix-it-up Monday

A little change will do you good!

My gym closed on Saturday because on Friday they moved all of their equipment into a new location (which is much larger, so that is a good move!). Same shopping center, but now instead of being right next to the bar, they're right by Cici's Pizza and Dunkin Donuts. Exactly what I need at 6:30 in the morning when I usually leave! They have their final inspections in the new place today so there are no workouts. Instead, they're having them on the beach, BUT THEY DON'T START UNTIL THE BEACH OPENS AT 8 AM. What good is that to me?

I decided since I didn't do well with eating and working out last week, I would still get up at 4:30 and go for a run. What a great change of pace! It was only 73ºF out, and on the way back I had one of those headwinds that doesn't really push you back, but gives you some nice cool moving air. Perfect! It was a little creepy when I was about half a mile from my street and I saw a shadowy figure bobbing and weaving in the general area of the sidewalk up ahead. Was he heading toward me or away? Was he drunk, or just not paying attention? I slowed down (but my heart rate raced!) and managed not to pass him. I think he was on his cell phone and not paying attention, but he was definitely going away from me. Whew. Mr. Crabs ordered himself a new headlamp and I will be using it on my morning runs for sure - it has a built-in safety whistle so that is nice. I've also got a super reflective LED vest on its way too. Yay morning runs!

Today's workout (including warm-up and WOD, or "workout of the day" as we call it) is at the bottom of the page - I think I'll start including those to up my fit cred :) It was a tough workout, but I'm glad I went. It was nice to get some sun, and the change of scenery was pretty awesome! And the best way to end a mixed-up Monday? Breakfast for dinner. Sausage (which I didn't like so I only ate one); 100% whole wheat waffles with 100% pure maple syrup; and eggs scrambled with red pepper, onion, jalapeños, green Tabasco, and spices. YUM!
I also want to start doing weekly reflections, mostly to hold myself accountable for improving myself. This past week -

Things that went well:

  • My fasting - no major hangry moments
  • Quick comeback from my rib injury (not 100% yet but MUCH better than five days ago)
  • Good finds at the farmer's market! I'm excited to go back next week
  • I tried a new vegetable, and liked it too!
  • I tried a new activity (SUP), and Mr. Crabs is going to try it with me soon
  • I lost one pound
Things that could have gone better:
  • I had pizza and cookies on Friday (and cookies on Saturday and Sunday). And not whole-wheat no-white-sugar ones either. I'm talking Little Caesar's and Tollhouse cookies! And I didn't feel so great yesterday.
  • Saturday evening was the company's family fun event at a waterpark. I ate their catered food - pasta salad, pulled pork, and Italian ice - and really felt sick that night.
  • I was not good about stopping eating when I felt full, or with eating even if I wasn't hungry. Need to work on that.
Goals for the week:
  • WODs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
  • Runs on Tuesday (2mi), Thursday (3mi), Saturday (2mi), and Sunday (4mi)
Send me some good fitness vibes!


Today's workout

Warm-up:
  • 800m run (on the hard-packed sand)
  • Dynamic stretching
  • 4 rounds, every minute on the minute:
    • 25m bear crawl (in the soft sand)
    • 10 squat jumps
WOD ("Workout of the Day")
7 rounds, for time
  • 100m sprint (in the soft sand)
  • 7 burpees (in the soft sand)
My time - 11:45. Not great, but my car said it was 97ºF when I left the beach. So hot! And no wind! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

This week's challenge - it's not an egg...


... but it is a plant. I love living in Florida because the growing season is 365 days a year. Which means we have farmers' markets every single weekend. But unlike up north, farmers' markets are more common in winter than in the summer. In fact, I had to go online and see to where the one I used to go to had disappeared. Turns out it's inside a Lutheran church. I'm glad I went though! My bounty only cost me $22.50 (and I forgot to pull out five onions and two Hass avocados from my bag before I snapped this picture:
Not too shabby! Bananas, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, a zucchini, a squash, banans, peaches, new potatoes, spaghetti squash, a green pepper, a red pepper, and, of course, an EGGPLANT!
I went into the produce stall hoping to find a good vegetable to cook with this week, something that I would have to do some research to find a pretty awesome recipe. I quickly spotted the eggplants and knew that would be the perfect vegetable to challenge myself. 

I think I've only had eggplant once - in a slimy lasagne from the freezer section. So I was a little nervous not knowing what it actually tastes like, and the only other food I could think of that uses it (besides slimy freezer lasagne) was eggplant parmesan. Not exactly appealing when I'm trying to cook healthy, real foods. But then my friend Google recommended an Eggplant Parmesan Pizza from eatingwell.com. THAT I could get on board with! 

I started out by slicing the eggplant (I did NOT know it was so pale inside - what a contradiction!), and slicing tomatoes (side note: I DO NOT like tomato seeds. So any time I slice a tomato, I dump the seeds. Feel free to leave the seeds in if you're cool with them though). 
Then on to the grill for the eggplant!
I sliced the eggplant both lengthwise and longwise, and snuck a taste - kind of like squash and zucchini. I felt much better about the pizza at this point!


Then I rolled out the dough, and layered on the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic (Mr. Crabs' favorite vegetable, hence four cloves instead of the original one), basil, and some pepper to taste. Finally the eggplant went on, then the cheese. (another side note: our local Publix grocery store did not have a great cheese selection. I could not find any Parmigiano-Reggiano so I ended up picking up a Pecorino-Romano since it was also a hard Italian cheese. I realized how bad the cheese selection really was when I went to open the wrapper and noticed it had a sell-by date of April 26, 2012. That would be pretty much three months ago. It smelled okay though so onto the pizza it went!)
Nekkid pizza dough 
Add tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil...

...and eggplant and cheese!
The pizza baked in the oven for about 12 minutes, then I transferred it to a pizza board so I could cut it. It was really good! I'm sure it's no comparison to a good Eggplant Parm from Little Italy in Cleveland, but it was a great, fresh pizza (we're both LOVING the sliced tomatoes instead of marinara or pizza sauce). It was messy to eat, but Mr. Crabs enjoyed it so much he asked if it was easy enough for me to make when we go on vacation with his family in Missouri next month. Um, yeah! 
Eggplant parmesan pizza!
Since I only used half of the HUGE eggplant, I also found a recipe for ratatouille for later in the week... stay hungry!

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, (I used 1/2 of a large one)
  • Yellow cornmeal, for dusting
  • 1/2 pound Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough (mine was from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried basil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, (still good with Pecorino-Romano)

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Grill, turning once, until marked and softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then thinly slice into cubes.
  3. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel or large baking sheet. Roll out the dough and transfer it to the prepared peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the dough is completely coated with cornmeal.
  4. Lay tomato slices over the dough, covering as much as possible (since there is no sauce, you don't have to leave a "crust" portion if you don't want to)
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle on garlic, basil, and eggplant.
  6. Top with cheese and bake 10-12 minutes, or until crust is browned.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

'SUP, brah?

After my nice, slow run this morning, I tried out a new activity: Stand-up Paddleboard (otherwise known as SUP). I signed up for a "newbie" class at the beach. We didn't go far (one person didn't get past sitting on the board), but I had a great time - and what a good workout! I can already feel my poor obliques...
It was difficult to get the form down, and even harder to balance, but I am proud to say I did not fall in the water (on accident) once! The instructors were pretty impressed, but what can I say? Three years of rowing in college finally paid off!
Ignore the fact that my left hand is no longer on the paddle handle...
I would love to do this again! The head instructor today teaches a "Paddle Fitness" class on Sundays but it's on Sunday when I should be in church, or when I will have my LSD runs this fall. It does sound like a nice change of pace from the gym though - we do sit ups and push ups and yoga on the boards (on the water, of course).

Mr. Crab has a boat (a small flats boat, for fishing in the backwaters of the Everglades). Sometimes when he goes out fishing I tag along and fish a little but spend a much larger percentage of the time laying out and catching rays. I think it might be fun to launch a SUP trip from the boat!

Believe it or not, this day got even better. I came home for my first meal - it was nearly 1pm by the time I stopped at Bed Bath & Beyond then got home - and I had some new foods: Wasa multigrain crispbreads topped with one-ingredient peanut butter and some Hero brand Fruit Spreadables I ran across at Super Target. The crispbread was very crispy and pretty tasty, but the cherry-banana spreadable I picked out was super-awesome! The fruit combination was perfect (I LOVE me some cherries), but the spread has no artificial flavors or colors, and no high-fructose corn syrup, and it's a super-spreadable consistency (probably why it's called a "Fruit Spreadable"). Check them out next time you're in Target's PB&J aisle - you won't regret it! :)


She-Crab Dictionary WOTD*: Four-mile fun run

*Word of the Day:

(n.): the little happy feeling you feel knowing that your {runner's} toes match your shoes


Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm not a doctor, but I've stayed at my fair share of Holiday Inns.

First of all - if you don't have access to an awesome, licensed, massage therapist, please do yourself the biggest favor and find one. I see a great one once a month for a general massage, and was able to get an appointment with her specifically for my injury. By the end of the hour I could take a deep breath without prohibitive pain.
 
Now that the general inflammation has died down a bit, I have been able to pinpoint my pain to two places: on my back, between my spine and shoulderblade (which feels like a dull stabbing pain); and on my chest a little below my right collarbone (which feels like a bruise, but when I push it my back hurts). So now I'm pretty sure I did get hit in the chest - which makes sense as I was lying on my back when the dumbbell catapulted into me - and I think I subluxated my second rib based on my highly qualified internet research. Basically the weight on my chest caused the head of the rib, that articulates with my spine, to pop slightly out of place (not a full dislocation though - like a half dislocation).
 
I woke up this morning with a bit of pain when I take a deep breath (still in the back, still a dull stabbing), but since our workout today at the gym was a 5km row, I went. I was only about a minute slower than in college so I was happy with my performance, and I didn't have trouble with my back/rib. Certain movements still aggravate it, but it's not unbearable; I'll keep working out and if it gets worse in the next week or two, I'll have a professional check it out :)
 
Till then... I'll keep on truckin!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Crabby Patties for this crab tonight!

I spied some crab meat at Trader Joe's last time I was there. I like crab cakes. Mr. Crab likes crab cakes. So I quickly plunked it in my cart and proceeded to buy about half the store (which is pretty easy since they're not that big).
I found a recipe for the Best Ever Crab Cakes at allrecipes.com, and proceeded to ignore the instructions. (Blasphemy!). They are still the best crab cakes I ever had, and they were super-easy to make.

Mayo (we don't have any in the fridge? But we did have a bottle of Boar's Head Pepperhouse Gourmaise - yum!), onion, egg whites, lemon juice, seasonings, and crab are helped out by some fiberful 100% whole wheat bread crumbs.
Mix everything except the crab and bread crumbs in a bowl and stir well. Then add the crab in CAREFULLY or else you'll break apart the lumps. And this is one time you want your finished product to be lumpy.




Add the bread crumbs, then form into patties. My recipe made three good sized cakes. Heat some butter in a skillet (a skillet that is more than large enough to fit all your crab cakes is best, but I thought I would only end up with two. Surprise!)
Cook 5-6 minutes on each side, until GBD (Golden, Brown, and Delicious, as Alton Brown likes to say). Serve with something delicious on the side, like roasted purple potatoes. Say THAT three times fast!
MMM... nice and flaky! 


Enjoy!

Crab cakes: Makes 3 cakes


  • 1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1-1/2 Tbs Mayonnaise (plain or fancy)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 2 light shakes red pepper flakes
  • 3 oz. crab meat
  • 1/3 c. + whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 tbs butter
In a bowl, mix the onion, egg whites, lemon juice, mayo, Old Bay, cilantro, and red pepper; mix well. Add in the crab and mix, being careful not to break the crab meat into smaller chunks. Add in the breadcrumbs and mix. You might need to add some more so that the consistency allows you to form patties (three of them).

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the patties and cook until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New gear = Happy Hump Day!



I lost my running hat and ordered a new one online - it came in a day early! It's magenta pink, in case your monitor is not calibrated properly.

No run yesterday, and no gym or run today because of the pain from yesterday's mishap. I do have a massage scheduled for tomorrow after work; fingers crossed it helps the discomfort. o.O

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“We kids feared many things in those days - werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday School - but they all paled in comparison with Brussels sprouts.” - Dave Barry, Miami Herald columnist 

I remember having Brussels sprouts in preschool: boiled, slimy, cabbage-y lumps of sadness. I think my mom was raised on the same recipe because she refused to eat them (and therefore cook them for us). This past Christmas, however, a miracle happened... we had Christmas dinner with a friend who roasted them. And they were delicious! So scrumptious and tantalizing in face that I took it upon myself to google "roast brussels sprouts in the oven". Now I'll save you the step and help you make some awesome roast Brussels sprouts!


Let's be honest - these look pretty questionable. Kind of like a cross between a cabbage, a brain, an alien, and a lucky rabbit's foot. The ones above look even more suspect, because I bought them fresh and froze them and thawed them. The good news is, if you buy them fresh they aren't quite so neon and look a bit more palatable.

First thing's first - preheat the oven to 400ºF. 

Take your sprouts, cut the nubbly stem off the tip (you may lose an outer leaf or two), and cut them in half lengthwise. You can leave them whole, but they cook faster (and are crispier) if you halve them.

Next, prepare your roasting vessel. I use a cake pan that I line with foil because I don't want to scrub roasted oil out of it. Then pick out a GOOD olive oil (because you do want these to taste good). We have a local company that sells fused olive oils (as opposed to infused. Not fully sure of the difference but they were snobby about the fused ones being better so I'll take their word for it). Right now we have bottles of Chipotle, Garlic, Tuscan Herb, and Lemon Citrus. I always use the garlic olive oil because the sprouts turn out tasting like garlic fries. Yum!

Drizzle a bit of olive oil whatever you're roasting in and place the sprouts in the pan. Shake the pan a bit to coat them - you may have to flip them manually - then sprinkle with seasoning. Tonight I used black pepper and red pepper flakes. I don't usually put salt on them because they have their own saltiness. Shake the pan again to be sure both sides of the sprouts are seasoned.

Turn them all on their backs and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. They will start to change color, and they will start to smell fabulous!


Flip them all over on their bellies...


... and pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes (or 15 if you like them to have a full char like I do!). Enjoy them hot!

Okay, you got me - the Brussels sprouts are not the highlight of my dinner tonight! They're sitting alongside some barbecue ribs and a baked sweet potato. Far out, Brussels sprout!

Roast Brussels Sprouts (serves 2)

You will need:

  • 8-10 Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbs olive oil (I used garlic fused olive oil)
  • 1/2 Tbs chili pepper flakes (or up to 1 Tbs of the seasoning of your choice)
  • Black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Drizzle olive oil in roasting pan, place sprouts in pan, and shake to coat. Sprinkle chili pepper flakes over sprouts and shake again to coat. Pepper to taste. Arrange sprouts flat side up and roast for 20 min. Flip sprouts over and roast for 10-15 additional minutes.

Serve hot.


Momma always said, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Do you ever wish you could rewind yourself back about fifteen seconds, to prevent yourself from doing something dumb? That was me this morning. I'm still trying to recreate the sequence of events in my mind but it's not playing out right. Long story short, I ended up catapulting a 35 lb dumb bell into my back, knocking the wind out of me. Fortunately only two people saw. I was supposed to run 3 mi tonight but that might get put on hold seeing as just breathing is excruciating. We shall see...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Did I mention I committed?

To the 2013 Miami ING Marathon!


This will be my first FULL LENGTH marathon, and I'm lucky enough to work for a company that is starting its first "Marathon Challenge" which means it's paying my race entry! I've registered through work and once their deadline passes they will get a special promotion code that I can use to register with the race itself. Since Mr. Crab also works for the same company, he is using the opportunity to register for the half marathon. This will be the first time he's raced 13.1 miles withOUT having swam and biked immediately beforehand!

The guy heading this up for HR is a former ultramarathoner and Ironman Hawaii finisher so he's been a great resource for training and preparation. I did, however, decide to purchase my own 16-week training plan through Runners World Magazine: the Break-4:30 Marathon Plan. Because if I'm going to go all out for 26.2 miles I better have a motivating goal time!

So starting October 8, I will be running four days a week (sometimes five, but in those cases one day will be very short and fast). I'm going to try to keep up with four days a week at the gym as well, but scaling back the weights and focusing on my speed in the workout.

I did scan through the runs in the training plan (they build up to 18~20mile runs pretty quickly!) and it offers the option of a 12 mile long, slow distance run (LSD) or a half marathon race on December 2 - I'm pretty sure I'm going to opt for the race! It just so happens the Palm Beaches Marathon and Half Marathon is that day... we shall see if it is in the cards :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

You're doing what?!

Intermittent Fasting.

Technically we all do this each and every day - we go for an extended period of time without eating (a fast). Because unless you're a sleep-eater (I don't doubt that some people are), you're not eating while you're getting shut-eye. So realistically, you're already fasting 8-9 hours a day! (or probably at least 6-7...)

I did a lot of research on the interwebz and read a lot of articles some by or about Dr. John Berardi, PhD; one by Dr. Andrew Weil of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and a bunch of random peoples' blogs (Leangains, Mark's Daily Apple, the IF Life). 

This is the point in my explanation where I put on my Responsibility Hat and remind all of you that just because someone is a doctor, or has extra letters after their name, or has a website where they write anything they feel like writing for the universe to read, does NOT mean that person is qualified to tell you how to live a healthy life (myself included)So please take this blog of my life with a grain of salt and do your own research if you think this is something you're interested in undertaking.

The basic premise of Intermittent Fasting (IF from here on out - that's a mouthful to type!) is that our nomadic ancestors did not get to plan out three meals a day and were lucky to have one. So we benefitted from a metabolism that wouldn't shut down because we had to go a day or two without food. So we can manipulate our metabolisms into increased fat-burning, while consuming the same number of (quality) calories you would anyway.

You can intermittent fast almost any way you want. You can start with 12 hours of fasting followed by a 12 hour eating window. That's not so bad if you think about it - stop eating after 8pm, and don't eat again till 8am the next day. Easy? I thought so too. So I bumped myself up to a 14/10 pattern - fasting 14 hours and eating during the remaining ten. I did read a couple of websites that referenced studies showing that women could experience detrimental effects if they fast too many hours in a day (more than 16 hours/day) because of how their hormones react to this "famine" mode. I may go up to 16/8 but for now I'll stay at 14/10. 16 hours a day may seem like a lot, but you can go up to a 24 hour fast - just make sure to leave a non-fasting day in between.

One thing to note: during the fasting stage, you can have any non-caloric drink you like: water, tea, coffee (it's okay to put a splash of milk. I'm not sure who made up that rule but I can't drink mine black so I'll take it!). When you're in the feeding stage, your food should be quality food - this is *not* a time for feasting on Dunkin Donuts (though an occasional lapse in nutritional judgement will not be the death of you!). Don't force yourself to eat because you think you'll be hungry during the fast. You might be at first, but I promise it goes away quickly (especially if you're drinking water).

How do I do it? Does somebody have a case of the Hangries?

So far this life choice has been good for me. I stop eating at 8pm (last week it was 9pm due to dinner taking longer to make than I had planned for!). I get up at 4:30am three or four days a week (usually four) to go to the 5am workout at my gym. I make a cup of coffee (thank you, Keurig!) and leave it in the car until I get out of the gym, between 6:30-6:45am (depending on how long the workout takes and how long I take showering and getting ready!). I drink the coffee on the way to work, then nothing but water until 10am (or 11am if dinner ran late last night).

I pack my lunch the night before so I just have to throw ice packs in my lunch bag to keep it cool all morning. I pack a variety of things, but they're pretty simple foods: hummus with celery sticks or Ak-Mak crackers; grapes with cheese from Trader Joe's; organic apples with one-ingredient peanut butter; breakfast burritos I made over the weekend and froze individually; tomatoes and fresh mozzarella ciliegine with a little olive oil (and basil if I have it on hand). Or this past weekend I made a batch of whole wheat crepes to use up a gallon of whole milk I had on hand (I started to take pictures to post to the blog but only three crepes survived due to my bad flipping technique!) so tomorrow I have packed two of them, one with some peanut butter and cherry preserves I found in the fridge and the other with a drizzle of honey and cherry preserves.

Anyway, I'll eat a little before I go home over my lunch hour to let the dog out, then I'll have one of these snacks left for 2/2:30-ish (when that 2:30 feeling doesn't hit anymore). I leave work between 4:00 and 4:30 (as I get in around or just before 7:00). I either go for a run or run errands or play with the dog or start dinner (or all of those - ha!). We eat dinner, and soon after my fast begins again!

In all fairness, I've only been at this a week, but I have stopped drinking diet pop (I'm down to the one K-cup a day), and I don't feel like I'm dragging by 1:30 like I was before. I don't feel weak during my workouts or runs (right now I'm at 8-12 miles per week)

I don't feel grumpy, and I don't have food always in the back of my mind. I don't feel as stressed about food, because now that I'm technically skipping breakfast and my morning snack, I don't have to worry about how many calories I have left to eat for the day after I've only been at work for two and a half hours. In fact, I stopped counting calories completely last week. I eat until I'm not hungry anymore (not until I'm stuffed - but until the hunger is gone) and because I'm eating whole, quality foods, I don't feel hungry for hours.

I know this was only a week, but it makes me optimistic about the weeks to come. I spent the weekend baking breads and making waffles to freeze (again,  a gallon of whole milk to use up...) so I will have a new post or two, with pictures and recipes this time, coming soon! I think I'll have another glass of that milk before I start my fast in an hour...

And, oh. I still lost two pounds last week.