September Miles and a Brick Workout

September Miles.

My long runs were longer, so I tried to keep my easy days easy.  I worked hard this month.

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Track Tuesday called for a Brick Workout!

Track prep.  This was my first time trying the new Chocolate Huma Chia Energy Gel.  The flavor isn’t as rich as the Chocolate Gu, but I love the chia seed texture and I like that it’s not as thick as Gu.  I imagine it would be a little easier to swallow during a race.

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Lots of math!

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The point of this workout is to start out at tempo pace, and get faster with each distance on tired legs.  It literally makes your legs feel like bricks.

I did a 4 mile warm-up/ drills

1 x 1600 w/ 1 minute rest (7:25)

4 x 800 w/400 recovery jogs (3:26, 3:25, 3:25, 3:24)

4 x 400 w/ 400 recovery jogs (1:38, 1:39, 1:38, 1:35)

1 mile cool down

Swiftwick Compression Socks for recovery after an ice bath and shower.

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I was craving eggs all day (which is rare for me).  Maybe I needed the protein….so for dinner we had kitchen sink salads and gouda and mushroom omelettes!

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And…flourless chocolate cake for dessert!

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Can you believe it’s October?!!!  I think of this quote every year 🙂

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Do you keep up with your monthly/ yearly mileage?  This is my first year keeping track of it.

Do you wear compressions during your workout or for recovery?

#choosejoy

12 Taper Tips

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Preface:

Let’s be completely honest.  I am writing this list, because I am the worst at tapering.  I love to run, so I am not a fan of forced rest.  However, after this round of Chicago training…I’m actually looking forward to dialing back for a bit.  I am not addressing nutrition specifics like carb depletion/loading or specific mileage numbers.  Do what’s best for your body.

That said…here’s to avoiding the Taper Tantrums!!!

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1.  Cut back your volume.  There are lots of differing views on how much to taper your miles, but most runners start reducing their weekly mileage two weeks before the race.

2.  Resist the urge to try something new on race day.  With your newfound free time, it’s so easy to start researching new products.  Stick to the shoes, nutrition, pre-run routine that has worked for you over the last few months.

3.  Don’t be surprised if you feel some new aches and pains during the taper.  Your body is repairing itself from your months of training.

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4.  Prepare your race plan.  Review the course map.  Visualize the race.  Think through your race morning routine.

5.  Sleep is an important part of the taper.  Shoot for 8 hours a night.

6.  Do not try to cram in a missed long run.  Training hard this close to your race will not improve your performance.

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7.  It’s ok to keep some intensity in your training, but nothing too extreme.  Add a few miles at race pace to remind your body what it feels like.

8.  Don’t drastically slash calories during the taper.   Yes, you are running less, but you don’t want to feel weak on race day.

9.  Catch up on tasks that you’re behind on, but DON’T do any strenuous projects. This is not the time to paint the house or plant a garden. Your social life may have become non-existent during training.  Take this time to get together with friends and catch up on new movies.

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10.  Make sure you’re hydrating properly.

11.  Don’t add any new workouts/cross-training.  If you didn’t do tempo runs during your training, don’t do one now.  This is also not the time to try that new kickboxing class.

12.  Trust your training.  It’s so easy to second guess yourself.  Did I run enough miles?  Did I hit my paces?  You put in the work.  Have faith in the process!

 

How do you handle the taper? Share your tips and stories!

#choosejoy

8 Things Runners Should Know About Coffee

Happy National Coffee Day!!!

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8 Things Runners Should Know About Coffee from Runner’s World

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Caffeine (in coffee or otherwise) improves performance… Hundreds of studies have shown that consuming caffeine before a physical challenge likely helps subjects go farther and faster than when they go without it. This effect holds true in studies of both endurance athletes and sprinters.

…but it works best when timed right… A study last year indicated that the best time to take caffeine for a performance boost is an hour before your event begins.

…and it’s possible to have too much. Research shows that about three to six milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is all you need to see benefits. (For a 150-pound person, that’s roughly 12 ounces of strong coffee.) Higher doses don’t do more to improve performance, and you run the risk of developing negative side effects like dizziness, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

Coffee boosts your brain. A review published earlier this year examined the difference between the effects of caffeine on its own and the effects of consuming it in coffee. Coffee contains a number of substances (including polyphenols) that have been shown to help people with dementia, stave off Alzheimer’s disease, and positively influence brain health.

Coffee isn’t proven to dehydrate you… Studies have found drinking up to about five cups of coffee has little to no effect on hydration. (However, if coffee tends to “get things moving” for you before a run, consider replenishing what you’ve lost with an electrolyte-rich drink.)

…but you may not need to swallow it to reap benefits. A recent study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism suggests that receptors in your mouth can sense the presence of caffeine and boost your performance, even when you spit out the drink. Might be helpful in the later miles of a long race, when you’re not feeling up to ingesting any more gels.

Coffee may help post-exercise recovery, too. One study had cyclists ride hard for two days in a row to put them in a glycogen-depleted state. Those who drank a recovery drink with carbs and caffeine rebuilt their glycogen stores by 66 percent more than those who drank only carbs.

You can do more than just drink coffee. If a morning cup just isn’t enough, try topping your pancakes with coffee butter, whipping some coffee into a smoothie, or freezing coffee with herbs for a cold, caffeine-laced treat.

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Interesting coffee stats…

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Some stellar coffee shop signs…

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How to order at Starbucks…

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Here’s my morning cup of joe…a Nespresso soy cafe au lait:)

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And remember…

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Are you a coffee drinker? Daily?  How many cups?
What’s your regular order?

#choosejoy

18 Miles and a Birthday

Friday:

Run mail is the best mail. The Chicago Marathon Participant Guide makes it feel so real and after studying Jack Daniels, I’m super excited to read this book!

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I made this pasta to “carb-up” for Saturday’s long run.

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The hubs contributed by bringing home this big as yo face slice of chocolate cake.

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Saturday:

I woke up at 2:30am and thought it was time to run. I ate a Picky Bar, realized that it was stupid early, and went back to bed.  Don’t you hate it when that happens?!! I woke up to proof on my nightstand.

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Long run with the awesome Run 4 Others group! Loving the Athleta Powerhouse Tank.

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Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator is a must after my long runs.

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Family birthday dinner at my step dad’s house.

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What did I get the man that has everything? Birthday Bubbles!

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His chef prepared a special birthday menu,

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And he was so kind to make individual eggplant lasagnas for the vegetarians…delish!!!

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His home has beautiful downtown river views from the rooftop.

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And lastly I had to show off my elevator skills.  Jason just laughed and took pictures.

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Sunday:
After some high mileage weeks, my body is feeling worn out.  I kept today’s run at a nice and easy recovery pace.  I ran without my Garmin, so I could run by feel.  My hubs joined me for the first 5 miles…

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And I met him for breakfast afterwards!

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I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!!

Did you race or have a long run this weekend?  I’d love to hear about it!

What’s your favorite recovery product?

#choosejoy

Pasta with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is a light and fresh pasta.  It’s simple to make allowing a short list of quality ingredients to shine.  I used a fresh angel hair, but I have also used a boxed quinoa pasta.  Use your pasta of choice.

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Start by cooking your pasta according to the package directions.

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While it’s cooking, warm the oil in your saucepan.  Saute the garlic for one minute.

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Add the sliced tomatoes, salt, and cook for 4 minutes; covered.

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Turn heat to low and stir in the basil and pepper.  Fresh basil is so pretty!

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Simmer to desired doneness.  (I don’t like raw tomatoes, so I let mine simmer for around 10 minutes.)

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Add the cooked pasta to the tomato mixture,

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And combine.  Garnish with parmesan and some fresh basil. (I like to roll up my basil leaves and then cut them with kitchen scissors to get nice ribbons.)

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Ingredients:

1 (9 oz) package of refrigerated fresh pasta

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic; minced

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes; halved

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh basil leaves; torn or cut (set aside a small amount to garnish)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup parmesan

Instructions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions.

2.  While pasta cooks, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic to pan; cook one minute, stirring frequently.

3.  Add tomatoes and salt; cover and cook four minutes.  Turn heat to low, and stir in basil and pepper.  Allow to simmer to desired doneness.  (I don’t like raw tomatoes, so I let mine simmer for 10 minutes.)

4.  Add drained pasta to tomato mixture; toss well to combine.

5.  Garnish as desired with parmesan and additional basil.

#choosejoy

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

The Friday Five

1.  I’m really particular about my pumpkin candles.  This Pumpkin Chai from NEST is my favorite!!  I bought mine at The Iron Gate in Franklin, TN…gorgeous store!!

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2.  Do you get excited when the new Fall TV Shows come back?  Here are a few of my favorites and a couple of new ones that I’m watching!

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3.  I know that we are all about pumpkin in the Fall, but it’s Honeycrisp Apple Season and they are heavenly.  Go and buy some right now!

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4.  This week I pre-ordered Lauren Fleshman’s new Believe Training Journal.  If you order it through the Picky Bars website, you get 6 Picky Bars with an autographed copy.  My fan girl is coming out!

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5.  This list from Ultra Runner Joe cracked me up!  I picked a few of my favorites to share…

How to Tell a Trail Runner from a Hipster

*Due to the athletic, muscular build of their legs, a trail runner cannot fit into skinny jeans.
*A trail runner showers in the creek or with baby wipes; a hipster showers at the YMCA or not at all.
*A trail runner drinks whatever beer is available at the finish line, but will wax poetic about craft beers on non-race days. A hipster will wax     poetic about craft beers, but will drink PBR at any given time.
*A trail runner has a well-groomed beard; a hipster has a…who am I kidding, their beards are equally out of control.
*Hipsters only eat free range organically grown food. Trail runners eat whatever you put within reaching distance.
*Hipsters wear tacky sweaters to make a statement. Trail runners wear tacky sweaters because they forgot how cold it is on the top of a mountain and that’s all they could find in the abandoned shed.

What Fall TV Shows are you excited about?

What are you up to this weekend?

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!!!

#choosejoy

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This recipe is a great tortilla soup base.  You can add a meat or other veggies.  Use your imagination!  However you prepare it, it’s a perfect fall recipe.

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Heat olive oil in a large soup pot and start to saute your onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

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Add the spice mixture of chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin.

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Stir to combine.

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Add your broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.

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Rinse and drain your black beans and add them to the pot.

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Bring to a boil and then simmer (covered) for 45 minutes.

While it’s simmering, make your cornmeal paste…

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by adding a little bit of water to the cornmeal and stir.  I know it’s a weird ingredient, but it gives a nice little corn flavor and adds some texture to the soup.  Just trust me:)

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Add the paste to the soup and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Season to taste, add the frozen corn, and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

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Garnish and serve!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

3 cloves garlic; minced

1 (10 oz.) can Rotel with green chiles

32 oz. (or 4 cups) vegetable broth (you can sub chicken broth if you prefer)

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups hot water

2 (15 0z.) cans black beans; rinsed and drained

1/2 cup frozen corn

3 Tablespoons cornmeal

(optional toppings: tortilla chips, avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, etc…)

 

Instructions:

1.  Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, red bell pepper, and minced garlic.  Sitr and begin cooking, then add the spice mix.  Stir to combine.

2.  Pour in tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, water, and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes; covered.

3.  Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water to make a paste.

4.  Pour the paste into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

5.  Check seasonings and add more salt, paste, etc…to taste.  Add the frozen corn.  Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.

6.  Garnish as desired.  Enjoy!

#choosejoy