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Movin’ On Up!

Hey guys!

Meals for Miles has moved to a new URL – www.mealsformilesblog.com

So bookmark me, add/change me in your Google reader and come on over to the new site for many more tales of running, sweat and delicious eats.🙂

xoxo,

Kelly

Happy Tuesday, friends!

It’s gorgeous this week in NYC – I think 63 degree mornings are a runner’s idea of heaven at this time of year.

This morning I ran 8 miles, including a great set of mile repeats – probably the best this training cycle!

I’m definitely attributing part of how I’m feeling to last week’s cut-back in mileage. Here’s how it went down:

  • Monday: XT: 35 minutes spinning, 25 minutes elliptical, lifting, corework, stretching
  • Tuesday: 7.25 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 8.6 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7.3 miles (4 @ tempo pace)
  • Friday: XT: 28 minutes spinning, 30 minutes elliptical, lifting, corework, stretching
  • Saturday: 16 miles
  • Sunday: 6 miles very easy; 45 minutes easy yoga

Total: 45.15 miles

So really I just substituted an easy running day for a cross training day on Friday, but I could totally tell the difference during Saturday’s long run and know my legs definitely appreciated the break. So hooray for cutback weeks!

Confession: too many of my meals lately have been eaten at my desk, in front of my computer, at work.

I’ve been super busy, and eating while working is pretty much the norm. Sometimes the “work hard, play hard” mentality that rules the professional world in NYC can get to me.

Ok, for me maybe it’s more “work hard, work harder” as I’ve yet to master the whole “playing” thing. But in a city that’s always go go go, sometimes I feel like I’m not really cut out to handle it. Or like my head is going to explode.

I don’t really talk about my job that much on the blog, but let’s just say working at a New York PR firm is like nothing else. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes it makes me a hot, stressed out mess.

But ramblings aside, what makes it all worthwhile is the great people I work with.

And because we all deserved a break, we went out to Blue Smoke for a celebratory dinner.

Blue Smoke is all about BBQ and Southern cooking. It’s not my favorite cuisine, but when in Rome…

Eat fried things…

There is literally “fried bread” on the menu. The nutritionist in me was a little horrified.🙂

We split a bunch of appetizers, and I had the veggie burger with quinoa, lentils and a tomato chutney with an arugula salad for my entree

It was delicious.

Even though it was only for an evening, taking some time to slow down and enjoy the company of my colleagues (and friends!) outside of the office was a great start to the week.

Back to the grind today!

Question: Tell me about your job – do you work long hours? What’s your schedule like? And/or, how often do you take cutback weeks?

Saturday’s long run was one of those runs that I think can be defined as being “banged out.” There was no high point or low point, but pretty consistent splits throughout and I felt strong.

I ran my usual Central Park/Riverside Park loops, and even though it’s familiar to me and I love it, I am getting a little sick of its predictability. Sometimes running feels easier when I have no idea where I’m going or exploring a new place. Good thing next weekend’s long run will take place in the Bronx!

When I got home, I did the usual stretching, refueling: fresh peach, grapes, walnuts and honey over Greek yogurt

And ice bathing:

Since I’m far too cheap to buy bags of ice each week, I usually just fill the tub with cold water and ice from about 5 trays that I have.  It melts a little quicker, but I think it still does the trick. My legs felt a lot less sore all day and I was able to walk around NYC like a fully functional human being.

Recently, Meggie and I discovered our mutual love for gymnastics. We were both gymnasts for many years and keep up on the sport as much as we can, so we made grand plans to watch the national championships at my apartment on Saturday night.

But first…

We needed to get our 16 Handles fix. Obviously.

It was awesome to hang with someone that “got” gymnastics, and just watching it on TV brought back tons of old memories.

On my recovery run this morning, I was still thinking about the competition and how gymnastics was once a HUGE part of my life.

I never thought I would love any sport as much as I loved gymnastics.

I also thought I’d always be able to do a round-off, back handspring, double-full. HA.

But gymnastics isn’t a sport you can do forever. It basically beats the crap out of you.

It’s funny how cough eleven cough years can change things. Even though the sport taught me a lot and I have (mostly) great memories from it, sometimes I forget I ever was a gymnast.

And interestingly, sometimes it feels like I’ve always been a runner, and I can’t imagine loving a sport any more than I love running.

It’s a different kind of love, though. With gymnastics, I was good. My goal was always to be perfect and win. And I did. Part of my love for the sport came from the medals, trophies and success I had.

With running, I’m pretty sure I’ll never win. Or come close to winning. In fact, the only person that probably cares that I run at all is me.

And I kind of love that. I can run for enjoyment, I can run to PR in a race, I can train hard for a marathon.  I can run for whatever the hell reason I want. And I usually always want to run.

So even though running is something I’ll never technically “excel” at, it makes me feel awesome every day. And if winning against myself counts, then I do it multiple times per week🙂

Question: Is running your first sport? Why do you run?

Happy Thursday, friends!

This week my running has been either one extreme or the other. On Tuesday I could not for the life of me get in one speedy mile and bagged a planned speed workout. Even though it was just one run, I immediately started thinking negatively:

OMG, am I burnt out already? Am I running too many miles too soon in training? Am I on the brink of injury?

Bahh. Sometimes I cannot stop this annoying voice in my head. It was still going on Wednesday morning when I set out to meet Megan, Lindsay and Ali (part of the sweat squad!) for a run. I was totally worried I’d be unable to keep up with them and feel like a big wuss.

I dressed in confidence-building gear (my favorite new I❤ sweat running shirt from Ali’s fundraiser last week!)

I do heart sweat.

And set out for a three mile warm-up before meeting the gals. Once we started running together I finally found a grove and settled into the comfortable pace we set. My legs came alive as we chatted away the miles, and by the time I headed home I was hitting a sub-8:00 minute/mile pace and felt fabulous.

The power of running buddies never ceases to amaze me, and I honestly don’t think I would have had a great run had it not been for the sweat squad. Thanks, ladies!

I tried to continue the momentum into this morning with some tempo miles, and was kind of all over the place with pace:

  • 3 mile warm-up
  • 1 mile @ half marathon pace
  • 1 mile @ 10K pace
  • 2 miles @ marathon pace
Total: 7.3 miles, 8:30/mile average pace. Not exactly where I want to be, but it’s good enough for today.

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin sprouted grain toast, peanut butter, cream cheese and berries

Why I have not tried cream cheese on toast before is beyond me. Delish.

Hopefully I’ve squashed whatever rut I was potentially falling into, but just to be sure, I’m tweaking my training plan a tiny bit more. In addition to implementing cutback weeks, I’ve signed up for a few half marathons in the next couple of months.

Even though I’m not going to be racing them (DO YOU HEAR THAT KELLY? YOU ARE NOT RACING THEM. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT), I love the atmosphere of races and want to change up my long run routes a bit. I think it’ll help break up the monotony of training a too.

First up – the Bronx Half next Sunday. I’m kind of excited to explore the borough, which I’ve only ever visited for Yankee games.

I have a weird track record with half marathons during marathon training, and always injure myself immediately after I run them (and then do not recover in time for the marathon I’m training for).

Case in point: after the Manhattan Half in January, I developed a gnarly case of Achilles tendonitis that plagued me until mid-April and prevented me from running the Eugene Marathon in May.

So not fun.

I repeat: I will not race the Bronx Half Marathon. I will run at my long run pace with a few marathon pace miles during the last half. Hold me accountable, readers. Gotta keep my eye on the prize!

Question: Do you race a lot during marathon training or other training cycles?

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I hope your weeks are going well so far. It’s still kind of rainy here in NYC, but I’d rather have a gloomy day during the week than the weekend!

Plus, a soggy run here and there is good for the soul. This morning I ran about 7.25 easy miles, and actually find the sound and feel of steady rain while running quite calming.

I could do without soggy, squishy shoes though. I guess that’s why I have, ehm, multiple pairs at the ready.

Dear Brooks: Sponsor me? Size 8.5, Adrenalines. K thx.

But backing up to last week’s training:

  • Monday: 50 minutes vinyasa yoga & stretching
  • Tuesday: 7.6 miles (4 @ MP)
  • Wednesday: 9 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles (4 @ “easy” tempo pace)
  • Friday: 5.5 miles very easy
  • Saturday: 18 miles
  • Sunday: 5.8 miles easy

Total: 53.4 miles

I was pretty tired all week, and really felt it on Saturday’s 18 miler. Even though I kept a pretty decent pace, the legs were definitely screaming for a little break (especially my IT band). So this week I’m thinking of cutting back to five running days and 1-2 cross training days, which will reduce my mileage about 20% from last week.

I’m kind of in “be extra careful so I don’t get injured” mode, and think I need to start taking cutback weeks seriously if I want to get to the starting line on November 6 in one piece. So every three weeks or so I’m going to try to cut back on mileage like this to give my bod a little break.

Now, onto some refueling…

The rain on Sunday was a perfect excuse to try a new recipe I found on Shayne’s blog that looked delicious AND healthy.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Prep was pretty easy. And green!

And it turned out delicious

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (source)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2-2/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your loaf pan. Combine the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and combine the wet ingredients, except for the shredded zucchini. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, and then fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Bake for 75 minutes.

I loved that this recipe didn’t even use sugar, and instead of maple syrup in the original recipe, I used agave nectar. I’ve never thought to do that before, but am now intrigued about how I can incorporate it into my other baking recipes.

The bread has a nice, hearty taste, and the chocolate chips add the perfect amount of sweet. Excellent post-run refueling.

Question: How often do you take cutback weeks? Ever bake with agave nectar?

It’s a rainy, rainy Sunday in NYC.

Even though I really love sun, sometimes a rainy day is just what I need to force me to relax.

But rewinding to Saturday, a.k.a. long run day. I was up even earlier than usual to bang out 18 miles before heading to New Jersey to see a few of my favorite people.

Confession: I’ve been wearing all black on my long runs because it makes me feel a kind of bad ass. And speedier.

My goal for this run was to not be as wiped as I was after last weekend’s 17 miler. I read a while back that Magdalena Lewy-Boulet started taking gels on every long run because she found they helped speed up her recovery and she could actually do things like play with her kids, run errands and feel like a functional human being during the day.

I’ve only taken Gatorade with me on all of my previous runs so far and usually save the gels for my 20 milers, but decided that Magda (an Olympic marathoner) probably knows a thing or two. So I grabbed a mint chocolate Gu (a new flavor for me – I’m partial to vanilla Power Gels) along with some watered down Gatorade to take on the road.

(source)

I took the Gu around mile 10 and a). it was delicious, b). it definitely gave me more energy during the last half of the run.

After getting the first couple of slower, junky miles out of my system, the run felt pretty good. I did notice a few niggles here and there, so I’m glad this coming week is a cut-back one!

Even though the Gu helped keep my energy up during the run, I was pretty pooped afterwards. But I had places to be – New Jersey, to be exact.

My friend Meghan (who got married last September), was having a baby shower for her sister Erin. I hadn’t seen either of them since the wedding and it was SO great to finally hang again.

And eat all of their food (kind of. But that tub of hummus was no match for me).

One of my favorite things about baby showers:

Cake. And pink things (Erin’s having a girl!).

It was refreshing to get out of the city and hang out at an actual house with a yard, a pool, a washer/dryer…

Meghan and I

Sometimes I forget how different Manhattan is from other areas. We have cabs, delivery of anything and everything, the best restaurants, culture and nightlife.

But forget owning your home, peace and quiet, having a backyard, driving a car or having an apartment that could even remotely be called “spacious.”

I guess there are always tradeoffs. Besides, I’m a disaster behind the wheel, get freaked out by total quiet and actually consider Central Park a pretty great backyard.

When I think of New York compared to other places, I’m always reminded of a quote from Sex and the City.

Miranda: Why do I think living in Manhattan is so fantastic?

Carrie: Because it is.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Question: City or suburbs? Why? And, any tips on how not to be totally wiped after long runs?

Intuition & Tempos

Recently, Amazon.com got the best of me and I ordered a few new running books (because who ever buys just one thing when online shopping? Not this girl…).

I’ve been wanting to read RUN: The Mind Body Method of Running by Feel (by Matt Fitzgerald) for a long time – a lot of my running/blogging friends have found it to be pretty helpful towards their running and mindset.

I’m only 80 or so pages in, but am already digging what seem to be the overarching theme(s):

  • Running and training is extremely individualized (i.e., 100 miles/week works for some people, 50 works for others, etc.)
  • Runners can benefit from relying more on their intuition when deciding how far to run and how fast

It seems like a no brainer, but I for one am definitely someone who can get caught up in a training plan and set mileage or speedwork goals for the day or week. Sometimes I think it’s easier for me to ignore what my legs are trying to tell me and push until I’ve met whatever goal I have for the day.

Not that I think we shouldn’t push ourselves during workouts, but what I think Fitzgerald is trying to say is that sometimes our bodies intuitively know how fast or far they can go on a given day. We just need to hone in on that and listen to them more, and understand that deviating from a plan is ok.

Aside from the mumbo jumbo that may or may not be going around about “listening to our bodies,” I think he has a great point. When I set out for a run without any sort of pace in mind, I’m often surprised that my legs seem to get a little speedier as I go along and it doesn’t seem as hard as when I’m consciously trying to run at the same pace.

Has anyone else ever experienced this?

I’m definitely intrigued by this theory, so I decided to try it (somewhat) on this morning’s scheduled tempo run. Instead of following my plan exactly for four tempo miles, I’d run at whatever pace felt comfortably hard this morning.

Interesting… Usually I focus on 3-4 miles at a sub-8:00 min/mile pace, but on this run my legs were feeling a little beat up and there were a lot of hills in my route. I forced myself to not look at the Garmin so much, which was really hard! But I’m pleased with the run overall. I felt pretty strong during most of it, rather than wanting to die after my last tempo mile.

Not sure I’ll do this for every tempo run, but it was a good experiment!

Breakfast – Kashi Heart to Heart, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk

I’ll report back when I finish the rest of the book!

I’m excited to delve into the other one as well – Nancy Clark is a sports nutrition superstar and definitely someone I look up to (as in, I would like her career someday). I want to read this one before classes start in September to get me all excited for lots of nutrition-related studying.

Question: What are your thoughts on running by “intuition” rather than following a set plan? Do you/would you do it? Favorite running book you’ve read recently?