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Archive for June, 2012

Being on a mostly plant-based diet, I can’t say I normally enjoy most Russian food but, every once in a while I get homesick and crave some of my favorites.  A week ago we hosted a party for Tony’s dad’s birthday and while I love his family (they’re wonderful and have fully accepted me into their homes and lives), it always makes me miss mine.  In an ideal world I would love to have parties with both our families there.  One problem, they’re 5 hours away in Brooklyn, NY while we live in Malden, MA.  As I was planning the dishes for the party, I decided to make one of my favorite zakuska. I have fond memories of always eating tons of Russian salad growing up made by various members of my family (probably explains while I was a chubby kid).

I first started by gathering the ingredients

  • 1/3 lb of turkey bologna (most people usually use regular bologna and probably more of it)
  • 1 can (15 oz) of sweet peas
  • 3 middle size potatoes
  • 4-5 middle size carrots (I used more because I got these smaller organic ones from the farmer’s market)
  • 5 eggs
  • Green and red onion to taste (I used 4 green onion stems and 1/4th medium red onion)
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill
  • 6 middle size pickles (I started with 4 but added 2 after tasting)
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of light Mayo

1. Peel the potatoes and boil the potatoes and carrots and let them cool to room temperature.  Hard boil the eggs as well and let them cool down to room temperature. I peeled the potatoes before and the carrots after boiling.

2. Dice and cube potatoes, carrots, bologna, eggs, onions and pickles.  I use this handy contraption  that my mother got for me a few years ago when she realized I’m more likely to chop a finger off than an onion.  I used the big one for the potatoes and eggs and the smaller one for everything else.  If you’re old school or just not a complete moron like me you can chop them with a modern invention called a knife.

3. Add all the chopped potatoes, carrots, eggs, onions, sweat peas, pickles, bologna and dill together and mix!

4. Add 1 tablespoon of mayo (or more if you love mayo) and pepper to taste and keep mixing!

5. Serve and enjoy!

The recipe makes two of these casserole plates full; if you only need one you can just cut the ingredients in half.

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Tony and I are visiting my parents in their summer bungalow.   Usually we just sit on the porch drink some vodka and eat some pickles Russian style; however, this year we decided to make an effort to do some nature things.  On Friday we decided to actually use our bikes.  We had a similar plan last year but ended up not touching our bikes the whole weekend after dragging them down for 5 hours from Boston.

So Friday we got up, got our stuff together and drove the 70 minutes out to the Catskills Scenic Trail.  In upstate NY, every thing is over an hour away!  The CST is almost 20 miles with an additional 7 miles that have been recently added.  The path used to be a rail line that ran from Bloomsville to Grand Gorge and is no longer being used for freight.  In the 1990s it was reborn through a “Rails to Trails” project.  Similar to what we hope to do with the Bike to the Sea path that will eventually go through Everett, Malden, Lynn, Swampscott and Revere.  The CST is open year-round for horseback riding, bicycling, jogging, walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. With its wide path, gentle grade and durable surface, the Catskill Scenic Trail has become an ideal recreational destination as it traces a leisurely path through stunning Catskill Mountain terrain.

On our drive up, we got a little hungry and stopped by a “General” store.  I tried to order a 6 inch vegetable sub but instead this is what I got served.

Yea, clearly Tony made the smarter choice with his pizza.  Total fail.

Luckily as we continued driving, we passed by something familiar and safe.

Yes, correct this would make it our 2nd McDonald’s stop in 15 hours.  I got an unsweetened ice tea the size of my head and Tony reunited with his Angus Snack Wrap love.  I don’t know how I would survive without extra-large drinks!  Mayor Bloomberg, I drank my heart out!

We did finally after a few confusing turns find the trail head to the Catskills Trail in Bloomsville.

We biked past bridges

Past fields and mountains

We didn’t know how far we would make it up this 26 mile trail as whatever we biked there, we needed to bike back!

After 10.8 miles we finally called it an end and turned back around.  I was also getting paranoid about how my road tires were doing on this mix of rock and packed dirt trail

Tony used a mountain bike while I huffed and puffed on my little Jamis Coda Femme, my baby city hybrid.

Overall we both survived the 21 mile bike ride.  It only took us 3 hours.  I bike slower than I run.  It’s sad, I know!  The Catskills Scenic trail is not a concrete trail so using a road style hybrid was difficult and I was always a bit paranoid.  I did deflate my tires to keep less pressure on them and that seemed to work.

Don’t tell Tony but I want to one day return and do the full 52 mile round trip!  Maybe when it’s cooler (it was 85 degrees outside).  Okay I lie, I’d prefer to run it but  I know that won’t happen for a while!

Mountain bike or road bike?  I’m a hybrid type of gal.  I like the versatility and I’m not really a big Lance Armstrong wannabe so I have no desire for speed on concrete unless I’m in my running shoes.

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10.5 miles elliptical

10 mile run 1:25 8:27 average pace of being hot fun and sweaty!

Thursday turned into a 2 part workout.  The plan, all good things have a plan, was to wake up at 6AM, do an 8 mile run and call it a day.  Well like all good plans this want ended with several snoozes and me being in bed until 7:15 and realizing if I don’t wake up soon I’ll be late for work.

Then I was going to attempt a 6 mile fast run during lunch but once again I failed.  I forgot my sneakers, instead my mind this morning thought I needed two sets of workout clothes instead.  My co-worker let me borrow her sneakers so I caught up with the elliptical instead.

After work I ended up with some extra time as I was waiting for a certain somebody so I looked at the clock, grabbed my Hand-held Bottle added a lemonade nuun   (my favorite flavor) and headed out the door.  My run was a mix of 8 and 9 minute miles.  I walked every 2 miles or so to cool off and drink from my bottle.  Even during races I hate running and drinking as the same time.  Either way I eventually ran out of time and cut the run at 10 miles.

Refuel?  This baby.

Sorry fitness bloggers, but sometimes you just really need an Angus Deluxe to test out your arteries!

Also I came home today and I saw a giant box so I thought Tony ordered something fun, instead it was this:

Come on amazon! Stop being so wasteful.  At least Jack has a new toy…

He’s been hard at work lately.

Climbing ladders

Taking a break from all the house fixing he’s been doing.

And how is he fueling for all this work?

I guess Jack, just like his owners loves carbs in bread or granola form!

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Tuesday Run -10.7 miles in total

4 miles during lunch, 3 miles on the TM after work and 3.7 miles with the CitySports run club.  The Back Bay group meets every Tuesday and does 3.5 and 5 mile runs.  I wanted to do the shortest distance possible but I lost track of who was in the group and who wasn’t and just ran my own route.  I guess following directions is not my strong point.  They did tell me the route before the run that must have slipped through my ears.

Since I ended up doing double digits Monday & Tuesday, I took Wednesday off to do absolutely nothing!  Unless you count drinking a beer as a real ab workout.   Speaking of ab workout, I’ve done the Tone It Up Sunkissed Abs 2 days in a row (Monday & Tuesday) and I can now almost do 3 crunches.  Yes my legs are made of steel while my core is made of cheap jello.

The CitySports running club had Zooma as a guest.  Zooma, a women’s race series is having a half marathon and 10K at the Cape on September 23rd that looks like a fun time.  However, if I’m not working I’m going to do the RnR Montreal Marathon and teleport there.    If you’re interested in Cape Cod Zooma race the code CCAMB4 gets you 10 bucks off.  Because of the Zooma promotional event, CitySports gave everyone a 20% off on all purchases made that day and that’s what got me into trouble.  At least Zooma gave us free running tech shirts, a muscle milk sample and the most delicious popcorn I ever had!

Fun for the whole family! Now if only they had a cat size one

Two weeks ago, I went into CitySports in honor of National Running Day and walked out with compression shorts and compression sleeves. I didn’t even think I believe in compression theory that much.  Were they cute and worth it? Yes!

This week, I went to CitySports for the Zooma training run/running club and before I could make it out the door I walked out in this baby:

It all started with a 30% off with an additional 20% off and the only one left was perfectly in my size and before I knew it I was at the register.

I’ve tried to justify it in a few ways

– Its orange, I like orange

– I could use a track jacket/wind breaker

– I like orange?

– I suffered through 90 degree weather after sleeping with my heat on because it was barely 50 the week before to finish this marathon

– This was my first and probably only race I will ever fund-raise for and run for charity.

– Because I’m worth it…

Good enough, and yet somehow before I could even make it to the register I picked up a pair of Tom’s that were screaming comfort.  I was refusing to buy a pair for so long but somehow the 20% off convinced me.  I believe I’m a unique snowflake and I try to look the part.  Tom’s are not unique but they’re very comfy!

And no my mini shopping spree did not end there.  It continued onto Wednesday when because I wasn’t working out I had nothing to do during lunch which led me onto Newbury St and Second Time Around, a fairly nice consignment shop.  I’m not joking when I say I work out more for my budget then my health! Runch = less mindless store browsing.

One score, Nanette Lepore Deep Sea Strapless Top, I’m not in love with a giant fish swimming on my belly but I love the cut of it!  Second score, a pair of PETITE! comfy True Religion jeans.

Do you take a lunch break?  What do you do on your break?

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Monday Run – 12 miles on the hamster wheel – Average Pace? No idea as I quit this 4 times in about 2 hours.  6 at incline 3, 5 miles at incline 2 and 1 amazing mile at incline 1 for cool down.  All I can say is my endurance is not what it used to be but it felt great to be running for a while

I know Monday is technically week 3 but I wanted to start the post on a positive note before I whined a bit.

I’d like to say I had a great second week of training but things fell apart after Wednesday’s hot run. I had planned to run 48 miles last week.  I had planned a 10 and a 13 milers for Saturday and Sunday and as of Friday I was on track.  However, Saturday I slept in a bit, got my running shoes, my Nuun frozen water bottle and headed out the door.  Miles 1-3 felt great and then suddenly the front of my ankle started to hurt.  By mile 4.5 I was barely running.  By mile 5.5 I was barely walking.  Finally in 6.3 miles I made it back home (I did an in and out 3 mile loop).  And there went the rest of my running weekend.

Sunday – My foot felt fine but after the agonizing pain I felt Saturday but I decided I should be smart and not stubborn.  Therefore, I took a full day off (and maybe a small excuse to do mininum housework.)

Saturday6.3 miles that barely got me home.  I even contemplated calling Tony to pick me up half-way as my mind was freaking out. I was ready to cry and I only wanted to cry one other time on a run in the past year (maybe I’ll share that story one day.)

Friday – A quickie 5 Miles between the Y treadmill and running to the Y & Back.  I stayed on incline 3 and pounded out a few 8 minute miles in between rests.  (Speed hill workout of the pseudo kind)

Thursday4.5 easy miles to recover from Wednesday’s run

Wednesday11 miles in the heat outside @ 9:05 pace, things were looking good!

Tuesday – 2.3 mile sprint on the Treadmill

Monday – 6.1 miles @ 8:51 minute pace on incline 3 during lunch which actually felt comfortable!

Total Miles for Week 2 ~ 35 miles

Although a failed long run weekend, what you don’t do, you can write about instead!  I got three posts in this weekend, some that even had words in them instead of just low quality iphone photos.

How to run in 95 degree weather or just hot weather… Part 1 of 2

How to run in 95 degree weather or just hot weather… Part 2 of 2

A weekend of salad making 

So I guess my weekend wasn’t a complete running waste!  So onto week 3 and trying to attempt to run 48 miles on a week where for half I’ll be away in the Catskill Mountains, NY.

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On Saturday, Tony and I had our first party at the new house, our house.  We were celebrating his Dad’s 75th birthday.  We debated how to go best about serving food and in the end decided to make it ourselves.  Tony made two types of humus (from chickpeas and black beans), as well as Italian roasted fries, buffalo chicken, turkey and hamburgers.  I on the other hand stuck to what I know, produce.

I stopped by the farmer’s market on Friday at Copley and brought those cool rainbow carrots, chives, and cucumbers which I forgot to use!  My first task was to cut up some veggies for the humus.  I picked celery, yellow pepper, zucchini, those yellow Sunkist tomatoes.

Next came the salads

Baby Spinach, Red Onion, Orange and Red Pepper, Sunkist Tomatoes, Celery & Dill dressed in an Olive Oil Vinegar mix

Then I got busy on my current summer addiction!

Baby Spinach, Orange & Red Peppers, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Dill, Chickpeas, Goat Cheese drizzled with a little bit of Olive Oil

And ended with my favorite Russian Salad!  I’ll share the recipe but for now all I’ll say is that it involves pickles!

I wish I had pictures from the party but once the guests came I was too busy making sure things were up and running to be a paparazzi!

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In my last post I argued why running in blistering heat is good for you!  In the second part I’ll talk about some tips I’m using or plan on using this summer.
They say in running all you need is a pair of shoes.  As I and every runner out there looks at their closet, we all know that’s not true.  Aside from vanity outfits and fancy watches, every drastic season requires its gear.  I think true fall and maybe spring (not that I know what spring is since Boston goes from snow to 95 degrees) are the only times of the year where I can take my sneakers, throw on any capri & shirt and just go running.  Summer; however, just like winter requires some extra thought before I head out.

Hot Weather Essentials – What  I found I need to survive a hot run

1. Water Device – This is a must when it’s really hot.  Some people stash water bottles or rely on water fountains but if it’s 95 degrees out there, you should play it safe and bring your own on you.  They say you should drink at least 8 oz. of water every one to two hours on your run. Usually that means taking a sip here and there every 15-20 minutes for me.  There are tons of options out there!  My choice is a handheld. I like how it’s easy access to water at any moment.  Only annoying part is I have to carry it.

This one on amazon seems pretty similar to mine.  I like to put my iphone in the side pocket and that works for me.  Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 10-Ounce Hand-held Bottle.  Tony on the other hand prefers his fanny pack like this Nathan Speed 2 Waist Pack with Two 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks one.  I personally find them a little annoying to manage and the bottles bruises up my hips.  Regardless, get one that you find comfortable and you’ll use all the time.   I saw a bunch of them at Marshalls for around the same price as Amazon so check them out there.

2. Electrolyte replacement – I hate to break it to you but no matter what you’re going to sweat and it’s going to be a lot.  With the water bottle above you’ll be able to replace some of the water you sweat out but not electrolytes.  If you’re going outside for just a 30 minutes run I think you should be okay.  Again I’m no doctor or expert but that’s a small rule I follow for myself.  For longer runs I use 1 nuun Active Hydration Drink tab.  I haven’t worked up to 20 milers in the summer yet but I think once I get up to that I might use 2 Nuun tabs by refilling my bottle on the second part of my run.  They sell the single tubes at running expos for about $5 and running stores for like $6 a tube.  My favorite flavor is the pink lemonade followed by the ice tea one.  Some people also mix Gatorade or Powerade with water and take that on their runs.  My stomach wants to punish me badly every time I go near Gatorade so it’s not for me but others enjoy it.  Other suggestions I read was carrying pretzels or some salts packs on you. Play around with different things on your shorter runs until you find some electrolyte balancing method that works for you and use it!

3. Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock – Skin cancer is bad mmmkay…. wrinkles are even worse (jk, kinda haha).  Either way for vanity or health wear at least SPF 15 pretty much everywhere. I just ordered Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 45 Twin Pack 3.0 Fl Oz from amazon to bring one bottle to my parents house because they have this theory that sunblock doesn’t expire and use some stuff they brought a decade ago. Speaking of which, sunblock expires!  Don’t buy a Costco bulk unless you plan on using it all up in one season.   While expired sunblock won’t hurt you, it won’t be protecting you either.  If you use coupon code SUN58965 on the amazon link you get an extra 20% off. I wear that stuff on my face too but I guess you can buy face specific sunblock as well… I have to admit though I’m one of those girls that in the winter, I decide that the SPF in my moisturizer and make-up is enough, but in the summer I don’t play that game.  Sunblock! Sunblock!

4. Great Socks – For the most part I can run in any type of sock and don’t have issues unless it’s hot and humid.  Blisters suck! When it’s humid and hot there’s only so much moisture most socks can take.  I know some people bring an extra pair and switch.  I hate carrying things so I try my hardest to avoid that.  I did find a pair by accident and so far a year later it has yet to fail me.  I only have one pair and I only use it on race days and long runs when it’s above 80. I ordered ASICS Women’s Hera Quarter Running Socks on amazon last year and didn’t realize that for $11.99 you only get one pair. However, after the 5 hour nightmare that was the Boston Marathon, I don’t regret it. In the winter I used these Thorlo Unisex Experia CoolMax Mini Crew Sock (I got them at Marshalls for half the price) but I find the thick bottom and top too hot for the summer.  Tony doesn’t have this issue but I guess I just sweat at ton more than the average human.

5. All your other clothes – I have to also confess, I like running in cute silly logos and quote cotton t-shirts and when I go to the gym for just a 5 mile run I still do; however, not for outside.  Instead when running outside in really hot weather, I look for light-colored, loose-fitting wicking running gear. Technical apparel will allow moisture to pass through them to be evaporated, keeping your cooler and your pores unclogged. Back acne will never be sexy. I buy these tech shirts at target in every colour when they become last season and become half the price.  For bottoms as you call tell from my other post, I’ve become quite the fan of searching Marshalls for running skirts (except Fila, don’t get those, they’re funky sizing at Marshalls).

6. Other things that are highly recommended – Sunglasses I hear are comfortable and would probably prevent my eyes from being closed in every racing photo; however, I don’t own a pair and have no advice to give on which ones work.  Hats are good too to cover up your dome. Sometimes, but not as often as I should, I wear this white cap I got somewhere.  It’s something like this ASICS cap  and really helps out on those days where there’s really no shade.  Only advice I can give is make sure it’s white.  I have a black one from the colder days and I can tell you one thing it’s not good for, reflect the sun.

Now that you have your clothes, socks and most importantly water with some electrolytes you’re ready to go outside!

Hot Weather Running Tips

1. Adjust your speed!  The American Running and Fitness Association recommends that on your first run in the heat you should cut your intensity by 65 to 75 percent. Then over the next 10 days, slowly build back to your previous level. I’m not sure what that means but I know my race speed is about 7:35 min mile, my regular run speed on my own is 8:05 and when it’s hot I’ve been running between 8:30-8:45 and feeling the burn.

2. Plan Ahead – Make sure you have a way out if you don’t feel well or have a water stop around or store (bring cash).  Carry a water bottle as I mentioned above and I usually break up my runs into 2 smaller loops vs. 1 giant loop to be closer to home in case I need more water.

3. Don’t forget to drink.  I know this is repetitive but by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

4. Acclimate yourself by working yourself up to long runs as you get used to the heat.  It takes approximately two weeks of consistent running in the heat and humidity to acclimate to warmer conditions. Indications of dehydration include elevated heart rate during and after your run and dark, golden-colored urine. After your run, keep drinking fluids until your urine is clear.  I know I can’t be the only runner out there whose favorite thing to do after a long run is to check out her pee.

Running in extreme weather is risky and while I highly advocate working through this obstacle you should still be careful and be aware of the risks involved.  Marathon Guide has this cool chart that I am borrowing for this post.

Apparent
Temperature
Heat Stress Risk with Physical Activity
and/or Prolonged Exposure
90° – 105° Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible
105° – 130° Heat cramps or heat exhaustion likely Heatstroke possible
130°+ Heatstroke highly likely

Check the Heat Index Chart for apparent temperature. This is the number that calculates the air temperature with the relative humidity to determine what the temperature feels like and if there is a risk of a heat-related illness.

Marathon Guide lists the following SIGNS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS

1) HEAT CRAMPS
Causes: Loss of electrolytes and accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.
Conditions: Muscle cramps and/or spasms, heavy sweating, normal body temperature.
Treatment: Drink water and sports drink, slow down, massage affected area.

2) HEAT EXHAUSTION
Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition and loss of electrolytes.
Conditions: Profuse sweating, possible drop in blood pressure (less than 90 systolic, the top number), normal or slightly elevated body temperature, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, decreased coordination, possible fainting.
Treatment: Rest in a cool place, drink water and sports drink, if BP drops below 90 systolic, call EMS, avoid activity for at least 24 hours, refrain from running or exercising in the heat for at least one week.

3) HEAT STROKE
This is a medical emergency!
Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition, older age, dehydration, obesity, wearing heavy clothing, running in the heat when you have an infection or fever, certain drugs such as amphetamines, diuretics, beta blockers, cardiovascular disease, poor acclimatization, high blood pressure.
Conditions: High body temperature (106 or higher), lack of sweating characterized by dry, red skin, altered consciousness.
Treatment: Call EMS! Rest in a cool place, remove clothing to expose skin to air, apply ice packs or cool water to groin, underarms, neck (stop if shivering).

Other things of interest, while researching hot weather running I found this article from Running Times I though some might enjoy – Myths about running in the heat

That’s all the essentials that I can think of that I use, what are yours?  Where do you get them? When I lived in Brooklyn or Somerville, I used to go to stores to buy things but after dating Tony, Amazon prime membership came with him so with free 2-day shipping I’ve become one of those Amazon ordering freaks.

What are your other tips for running in the heat?  Any advice and lessons from the run?

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