May 24, 2011

Turkey Tuesday

Another food post! Most shockingly- another post period. I am on a roll. Turns out when you don't have to study there is only so much else you can do with ALL of that time. Easy 3 mile run and 1 hour ride is done, the apartment is clean, and that brings me to dinner...

This is my all time favorite turkey meatball recipe. It's from a page I ripped out of Cooking Light (September 2008). It's super easy, healthy, and tasty.

1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (get whole wheat if you can!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

I also added some italian seasonings (that's literally what it's labeled), oregano, and onion powder. I'm more of a baker than a "cooker" so I don't get real creative but I'm sure there's more you could do if you wanted.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and roll out mixture into about 18 meatballs. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and brown meatballs on all sides at a medium-high heat. Transfer meatballs to broiler pan (I use a cookie sheet and it's just fine) coated with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

You can freeze whatever you don't eat and they are still good after frozen. Just make sure to let them cool all the way before freezing. This makes cooking in advance super easy. The meatballs we are eating tonight I'm going to let sit in sauce for the next couple of hours to soak up the goodness. If you are feeling fancy make your own sauce but you're going to have to ask your mom or your neighbor for that recipe.

This with a serving of whole grain pasta is going to make some perfect fuel for round 2 of speed work tomorrow. Perhaps I'll post a final picture after dinner. OR you could just make them yourself. Enjoy.

May 23, 2011

Rest and Digest

No, I'm not talking about the parasympathetic nervous system or cholinergics, you nerds. Well, okay maybe a little bit.

It's Monday morning and I hobbled out of bed with achy knees, hips, and ankles and I was ravenously hungry. All indications that I wrapped up a great workout week with an ass kicking weekend. This brings me to the beloved rest day. Sometimes I struggle actually resting on these days but today I am welcoming it with open arms. I'm thankful that the skies and forecast are indicating some nasty storms today because otherwise I would be tempted to get out on my bike. All days in training are important but the rest day often goes underestimated. It lets your body repair itself and get ready for what you're going to throw at it next.

Week in review--
Finally getting my mileage back up post metatarsalgia/capsulitis. I'm following the 10% rule in increasing mileage weekly to prevent injury from doing too much too fast. It's a slow process but worth it. Also, I did some legit speed work! Most excitingly, this week my boyfriend and I finally got our bikes tuned up and headed out on the Perkiomen Trail for a ride after my 10 mile run on saturday. It felt great to be back out on the bike and I couldn't believe how well my legs tolerated the ride post-run.  We managed 18 miles AND found where the Schuylkill River Trail meets the Perkiomen Trail. My life is pretty much complete after this discovery. The Perkiomen Trail is great but it turns to a thin gravel trail that I'm not really a fan of. The Schuylkill goes much longer and goes right into the heart of Philadelphia on Kelly Drive (where I ran my first race of the year).

The scenery on the trail is incredible and I could not be more excited to spend a lot of time out there this summer. I have feeling this trail and I are going to become pretty close on my adventure to reaching a BQ. How great will it be to take a morning or afternoon to ride into the city, grab some lunch, have some fun, and ride home!? I am officially in love with this place. Did I mention the Philadelphia Marathon (which I FINALLY registered for, in case you missed that) follows this trail on Kelly Drive for a bit?

The Schuylkill

I thought for sure when I woke up on Sunday I was not going to be able to move after my 2 hours and 45 minutes of cardio but I felt superb. I even managed my 5 mile run on Sunday with only a few minor tantrums from my legs. I would like to thank: Gatorade, compression socks, Zensah calf sleeves, ice baths, and Naproxen for making that possible.

If you need me today I'll be either on the big comfy chair in my living room reading a trashy magazine or a good book because today is all about resting and digesting. Tomorrow is another story.

May 20, 2011

Lesson #4,538 and #4,539 in Running

If you are running with music on a quiet trail (or any route) do not assume it is okay to stop and turn around on said trail without thinking twice. Be sure to move all the way to the proper side, slow down, and look before darting to the other side. This may seem obvious but all of these steps did not cross my mind as I was cooling down and jamming out to some good tunes yesterday. Basically, I came inches from being run over by a cyclist passing through at the same exact moment I was turning around. It was one of those moments where you get so startled you screech and bring your hands to your chest to keep your heart from leaping out.... You can even see the reaction from my HR monitor. 

Keep a towel in your car. You just never know. Before moving to PA I had never had to go any where but out my front door for a run. Granted, my favorite trail is only approximately 3.5 miles away from my apartment but it's nice to have a towel to sit on when you are sweating from every pore imaginable for those 3.5 miles. You think I would have learned my lesson on this trip to the trail. 

Lessons in summation: 
  • Look both ways before you cross (basic running rule #1)
  • Always pack a towel (in case you didn't learn that from  The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy). 

May 19, 2011

Whether You Think You Can or You Can't You're Right.

I love speed work. Especially when I don't particularly feel like running.. when it just doesn't sound fun. Speed work keeps my short attention span entertained on days when an easy 4 or 5 miles seems like the last thing I want to do.

That being said, I have a confession to make... I've never been to a track and I've never done my speed work outside. I've always stuck to the treadmill, like a 3 year old to a blanky.  It feels comfortable and I know nothing else.  As I've mentioned before, I just picked up running a few years ago and this still all seems so new to me. I love the treadmill for speed work because I have complete control over my distance and pace and it'd be really hard to screw up. It should be noted that you will never catch me on a treadmill unless it is speed work day. There is nothing more miserable than the treadmill for any other type of run. Constantly adjusting incline and pace for speed work keeps me sane. 

Well, last night I made the decision that today would be the day I take my speed work to the streets. I was probably as nervous for this workout as I normally am on a race day. Do you ever have those dreams where you are trying to run and you just aren't going anywhere? (Please tell me I'm not the only one) Well, that's how I envisioned me trying to do speed work on the road... struggling. I literally had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't going to be sprinting until I died and that I've held this pace for 3.1 consecutive miles before and to chill out.  However I did take extra care to remember and put my RoadID bracelet on.. juuuust in case.

On my way to the trail I saw this little guy trying to cross the road. So cool because I've never seen a "wild" turtle before. I believe he made it safely across since he was no where to be seen on my way home. I was hoping it wasn't some kind of sign of how my run was going to go. How ironic, right?

I've got the Baltimore 10 miler coming up in about 4 weeks and I want to have a better plan than I did with my last 5k or any previous race for that matter. I would like to rely less on how close to death I feel in order to pace myself in a race. 

The plan: Warm up for 1 mile, do 4 to 6 1/2 mile intervals at 5K pace (7:14 min/mile) with a 1/4 mile jog between each interval, followed by a 1 mile cool down.

Normally when I do speed work on the treadmill I do progressive intervals from 7.5 mph - 8.0 mph (8:00 min/mile - 7:30 min/mile). So this was a BIG change for me. 

The results:

I ended up doing 4 intervals. By the end of the 4th one I was sucking wind and didn't have too much left to give. I knew if I tried another one I would be disappointed and/or injured. I also did a 1.25 mile cool down after (I had to stop my watch and start over because it was pre-programmed for 6 intervals). Did I mention it was a lovely day with 80% humidity? Talk about sweaty. 

Overall it was a great experience and I couldn't be happier that I finally worked up the guts to get outside with this workout. I have a feeling I won't be jumping back on the dreadmill for quite some time. The biggest trouble I had was settling into the proper pace during the speed interval. Ultimately, I was trying to hold a 7:14 or better and found myself pushing way too fast in the beginning. During the recovery intervals I naturally settled into my easy pace without thinking twice. In fact recovery pace felt like I was walking in comparison to the speed pace. It's a learning process and practice makes perfect! I think I did pretty good on my first try :)

I feel like if I keep doing these consistently I will see tremendous results and be that much closer to a BQ. Next week I'm thinking a tempo run or add another interval to my speed work for a total of 5. Suggestions? I also really, really want to try just running a mile as fast as I can. I have never done that and would love to see what I could pull out. I just have to find a place to put that in my training. 

May 11, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Quick update--

I've got 1 cumulative nursing final, 13 clinical hours, 1 pharmacology exam, and 1 presentation standing between me and one very large sigh of relief. So, I've been a good little student and poor blogger. Next week I'm all yours. Lots to talk about!

My foot is feeling pretty good and I'm back to building my mileage up again. Also, I did it. I registered for the Philadelphia Marathon. I was reluctant given my recent issues with my foot but I decided that I would rather have the opportunity and pass if needed than miss out if it sells out. So now I've got to pick a training plan, a legit start date, and start getting extra serious about this Boston qualifying business.

Coming up:
Trials in minimalist running shoes
The mile?!

6/18 Baltimore 10 Miler

Also, here is a kick in the pants for you.