Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Half Marathon Edition

Happy Happy Thursday! I'm having a great week and I feel so very thankful.  

This week, I'm thankful...

...that I finished my half-marathon
...for my amazing support team. It's not an easy thing to do and I'm so very thankful that they spent their time and effort to cheer me on!
Now who's running WITH me next time? :)

...for my Mom's glittery signs! Love you, Mom!

...hummus. It's delicious and makes me happy.

...that I took myself on a date to see The Hunger Games. It was my treat for completing the half and it was awesome! Go see it. Now. Oh, how I love a good beer! I'm also thankful that I stuck to my guns and made it 3 whole months without drinking.  
Hello, IPA. Nice to see you again.

Tell me what's making you happy & thankful today!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Race Recap: 13.1 New York

13.1 miles. Done and done.  Woohoo! I'm a half-marathoner!

Saturday was an absolutely perfect day for a race: 60 degrees and partly sunny.  I was nervous, excited and couldn't wait to get going!  I picked up my friend who was running the 5K and we headed over to Flushing Meadows. 
Congrats on your first race, friend! :)
My family arrived just in time to see me off to the start.  I lined up in the 2:30 corral, hoping I could pace myself accordingly.  Someone sang the National Anthem, the gun went off, and I walked/trotted to the start.  And 4 minutes later, I crossed the start line of my first half-marathon.

Mile 1= all smiles
I spent the first few miles talking to myself.  Telling myself to slow down.  My plan was to run the first half at 10:20-10:30 pace.  According to my GPS, mile 1-5 were consistently 10:05-10:10 instead, but I felt good and it actually felt like I was going slower than I could.  So I maintained around 10:10 for the rest of the race, occasionally speeding up when I saw my cheer squad!
Fist pumping for my crew!

I am so super appreciative of family & friends who came to cheer me on! I know it's not easy to figure out what mile markers to go to, spot your runner and then stand around waiting for them to get to the next spot.  It really does mean a lot to me that they were there and they definitely motivated me!  My mom even made cheesy glittery signs for me!
Thank you, amazing fan club.
So back to the race.  Miles 7 & 8 were a serious struggle for me.  It was a long loop around Meadow Lake, which just seemed endless, especially because you could see straight across the lake to the runners on the other side.  I had my fuel belt on, mostly because it's what I had trained with and I really hate drinking from the paper cups at water stops.  My plan was to alternate my water and Gatorade, take Gu Chomps at Mile 5, a Honey Stinger around 9 or 10, then dropping the belt with my support team and using the water stations as needed until the end.  I did well with all of that, except that I'd never used a Honey Stinger before (I prefer Gu...but I hadn't been able to find the flavors I like when I went to the running store).  I HATED the Honey Stinger.  I've heard people swear by it, but it was just not for me.  I took a quarter of it and immediately threw it out.  And then ditched my belt right before Mile 9. 
Bye Bye Fuel belt!
Mile 9-11 were great.  I was in a routine and felt strong.  I was taking in the sights and really enjoying the race!
And then there was mile 11-12.  Ugh.  I was back inside the main loop of the park, but there were still 2.1 miles to wrap around.  My feet were hurting and I was ready for the race to be over.  I was envisioning the finish line (which wasn't hard to do since I could essentially see across the park to it...) and the delicious beer that I had waiting for me.  I pushed through but it was not fun.
Pretty sure this is mile 12.  Pushing through.

It was an amazing feeling to see Mile Marker 13.  With the supportive screams from my fam & friends, I powered through to cross the finish line! And had this really fantastic photo taken of me:
Ha! 13.1 done!

My only goals for this race were to run the entire distance and to enjoy myself!  Check and check.  But I did also have a time goal in mind, which was 2:15.  And wouldn't ya know...I finished in 2:14:52! Right on target!
After 3 months of training and not drinking, it was certainly time to celebrate my accomplishment!  My cheer squad and I stopped at Queens Kickshaw for the most incredible grilled cheese sandwiches and a few beers! If you're in the Astoria area, this place is a MUST.  It was definitely refueling at it's finest.
Oh, hello beer! I've missed you so!

All in all, this was a fantastic experience!  I set a goal, trained for it and successfully accomplished it!  I'm very proud of myself and can't wait for my next running adventure! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday: 2 days left!

So it's Thursday again. Woohoo! The sun is shining and the birds are chirping and we all have lots to be thankful for, right? I thought so.

Today, I'm thankful...

...that I was able to make it to Manhattan in time to pick up my race bib today! Because I like to always be prepared (ya know, like the Boyscouts taught me...), I get stressed out if I have to get my bib on race day.  So I'm happy I made it to pick up my bib, which even has my name on it like the pros! And I got my fabulous shirt, which is surprisingly nice material and they're different for women! Finally! A race shirt I can run in! 
Bib & Shirt!
[Also thankful for the new quilt that t-shirt is laying on.  It's definitely a perk that the roomate works in the home goods dept. at Macy's. :) ]

...that I'm running my first half-marathon in 2 days!

...fro yo. After my trip to get my bib, I stopped and had a small vanilla frozen yogurt in Union Square. It was perfection on this beautiful day.

...sweet potatoes. SO delicious, so nutritious! I just can't eat enough sweet potatoes lately!
Baked sweet taters and spinach!

...not running today or tomorrow. In case you didn't know, I'm running 13.1 miles on Saturday, so I get to rest until then.

...Hoboken. If you've never been, you should go.  Some pretty awesome people live there and it's got some pretty awesome views of the city.

Now, what are you thankful for today?! :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Sunshine and Sleeping in!

Well hello there! It's Thursday and I'm not in the greatest of moods! So I think it's time to talk about happy fun things! This week,  I'm feeling thankful...

...that it's basically summer already. What the beautiful weather this week?! I'm loving it. I got my sunglasses and flip-flops out and I'm ready to go!

...that I worked for 1-hour yesterday.  I had to give a quick presentation for National Nutrition Month, but otherwise I got to sleep in and leave early! Woohoo!

...for presents for pretty girls
Who wouldn't love to see this in their inbox?
My Dad sent me an iTunes gift for the new live Decemberists album.  Which is awesome by the way.  And so is my Dad. :)

...for my life partner-aka my roomate.  [It's the big joke that since we're both single and have lived together for oh, about 6 years, we should just admit that we're in a relationship and get married. Ha. Ha. Ha.]  But really, although she drives me absolutely nuts sometimes, I'm thankful to have her around.  Because she has really cool ninja skills.
Meet Ninja roomate!

Just kidding.  But I am thankful for her and our ridiculous relationship.  Last week, I walked into the apartment and urgently demanded that she remind me what ended up happening with Corey and Topanga.  Without skipping a beat, she recapped the finale of Boy Meets World and moved on to another topic.  Just like that. No questions asked. Thanks, Goof.

...that Rocky and I have the apt all to ourselves this weekend.  I know, I know...I just said I was thankful for Goof.  But sometimes it's nice to have time apart too!

...for new nail polish colors.  I can never have enough! It's Kabuki Queen by OPI-perfect for this summer weather we're having lately! Thanks, cuz!
No, I'm not playing with my iPhone instead of doing work at the library...

...that I'm not an insomniac. Unlike some poor souls I know, I'm great at sleeping.  Except of course when I decide to stay up until 3 am reading the Hunger Games. This is why I should not break my "not reading anything but textbooks during my DI" rule. Oops.

Okay, that's all for today...back to being a crankypants!

 What are you all thankful for today!? 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

10 Days and Counting

First, let me say Happy Registered Dietitian Day! March is National Nutrition Month and today is the day to celebrate nutrition professionals.  Let's all hope that next year on this day someone will be wishing ME a Happy R.D. Day! :)

So it's officially 10 days until my half-marathon.  Most people in NYC are buzzing about the NYRR NYC Half-Marathon coming up this Sunday.  And although I do eventually want to run that race (the course just seems SO cool, starting in the park then hitting up Times Square sans the tourist mess!), I'm so relieved I registered for the 13.1 Series Queens Half instead.  It just seems not as big, not as much pressure.  In reality, I'm the only one putting pressure on myself, but even just the fact that my race is in Queens seems less intimidating.
10 days until we meet again, Unisphere.

Don't get me wrong-I'm super excited to run this race.  I can't predict how I'll feel that day, but I'm going to do my best to just run smart and ENJOY the run.  I do have a certain goal time in mind, but in all honesty my goal is to run the entire time. And to not be injured at the end or the days to follow! Earlier in my training, I revised my plan to ward off injury.  I cut back my weekly runs to just 3-4 days, allowing 2-3 days for cross-training like yoga or cycling.  Oh and let's not forget the day (sometimes two) of rest! 

My training last week.

Training has definitely not been easy.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of physical energy.  But lately, I've been concentrating on the mental side of it.  During my long runs, I use the miles where I'm struggling to talk to myself.  I repeat mantras like "one foot in front of the other" and "I run because I can".  I might look crazy, but I don't care.  It helps.  And as much as I hate to admit it, yoga has been helping a lot.  The stretching and sweating does wonders for me after hard run days.  Also, I'm starting to get better at this whole breathing thing.  You'd think I'd have that down by now since I've been doing it my whole life.  What has been most helpful is picturing my breaths.  I like tying my biology knowledge into it, so I picture the breath bringing oxygen into my blood and distributing it to all of my muscles.  Weird, I know.  But it works for me. 

What do you do to stay mentally strong during training/racing? Any tips or suggestions for me?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lentil Loaf Recipe

Yesterday, after my 10 mile run to Manhattan and back, I got cookin! I made the lentil loaf I've been meaning to make for some time now.  What's a lentil loaf, you ask? Well, it's just a Meatloaf made with lentils instead of beef.  ;)

As I usually do, I searched around the internet for recipe ideas and then made up my own. It's delicious, super healthy, SO easy to make and inexpensive! What's not to love? 

So here's my recipe (makes 2 loaves):

2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables 
1 can peas, rinsed
1 sleeve whole wheat saltine crackers
2-3 Tablespoons Applesauce
1/2 cup ketchup
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Combine cooked lentils, onion, garlic, vegetables, and peas in a large bowl.  Mix (mash) together until well combined.
2. Stir in crackers and applesauce.
3. Season with salt & pepper.
4. Pack into loaf pan, top with ketchup as desired.
5. Bake in oven at 350F for approx. 45 minutes.  

That's it! So easy and yummy-enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Ran to Manhattan

After a beautiful 9 hours of sleep last night, I was ready for the 10 miles on my training schedule today.  My half-marathon is 2 weeks away and I can't wait! So after a big breakfast of yogurt, blackberries & granola, I got set for my "long" run.  It's a little windy and chilly out, so I layered up with an Under Armour turtleneck, light zip up jacket, running tights and an earwarmer.  And let's not forget proper hydration:

Rocky kindly loaded up my fuel belt with one bottle grape of Gatorade, one water bottle and one Vanilla Bean Gu.  And since I can't fathom running 10 miles in Astoria, I planned to run over in Manhattan.  At first, I thought I'd run the mile to the subway and take it over to Central Park for a few loops.  But then my pretty cousin friend suggested I run the Queensboro Bridge into the city.  Great idea, Cuz! 

As those who have run the ING NYC Marathon are well aware, the QB bridge is a pretty steady uphill climb to the middle and then back down to 59th Street/2nd Ave.  I ran the 3.5 miles down to Queensboro Plaza and got started...

Starting out at QB Plaza
It was pretty windy up there, with some scary views down (I'm terrified of heights), but it was also beautiful.  It's an awesome feeling to run from one borough to another!

the lovely East River
I covered just over 10 miles running down to QB Plaza, across the bridge, almost to Central Park and back.  Below is a screenshot of my route.  I have no idea what the GPS was doing over in Manhattan, because it definitely looks like I was drunk.  (Promise, I wasn't. Remember, I haven't had a drink since January 1st!)

My legs felt pretty strong throughout the run, and I tried to go slow (I ended up averaging a 10:13 pace).  I took the Gu around mile 6 coming back over the bridge, which was a perfect timing, because it really helped me through the last few miles.   

When I got back home, I enjoyed a delicious post-run chocolate milk for recovery. A nice little reward for my efforts!
Yum! If only it was a Smuttynose instead ;)
Now I'm off to stretch and make a Lentil Loaf [recipe and post to follow soon! :)] 
Happy weekend everyone! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oh's Thankful Thursday!

Oops. It's late in the day and I almost forgot to post about my happy things today.  I'm thankful for...

...this ridiculous weather. I woke up this morning in an instant good mood, simply because it's nice out. And because I woke up to this face:
Hahahaha, his ugly mug never gets old to me!

...that my parents are crazy Disney people. (Dad, planning the December trip to Disney in March is just a little bit ridiculous.) I look past their craziness though, since they take me on vacations to the most magical place on Earth where I can hang out with princesses and go on really crazy rides, like the Teacups! 
I haven't seen this guy in a whole 1 1/2 years!

...beets. I don't understand people who don't like beets. They're so fun with their purply-pink color and so delicious and so very nutritious! I need to make these beet chips ASAP.

...Crest Scope Outlast toothpaste.  This stuff is no joke. You will have minty fresh breath ALL day. 1/2 marathon being only 16 days away! Woo!!! This also means 16 days until I have a drink! ;)

and on that note...I'm thankful that there's a beer garden following the 13.1 mile race.

Happy Thursday y'all! It's almost Friday, which means it's almost the weekend! WOO! What are you feeling thankful for?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

NYC Vegetarian Food Festival 2012

On Saturday, I went to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival.  I had heard last year was very popular, so I purchased a Living Social deal for VIP guaranteed entry.  As it turns out, this really means a guaranteed 45 minute wait in line in the pouring rain. 
This was the VIP line.  There was a separate super-long line for general admission.  I feel bad for anyone on that line...I doubt they even got in at all!
Of course, just as the rain started clearing up, I made it inside! There were a ton of vendors...lots of well-known vegetarian and vegan brands and some newer up-and-coming products! I sample almost everything, just to share with you all! I'm tellin ya, it was tough work! 
First, I started with a sandwich made with "deli meats" from Yves Veggie Cuisine.  I believe it had "salami", "ham" and "turkey".  It tasted pretty good, but I personally am not into the fake meat products and don't plan on buying them anytime soon.
Of course there were a lot of animal rights groups and animal sanctuary tables throughout the venue.  I do have opinions on animal rights (especially in the U.S. food industry) and it is a big part of why I am a vegetarian, but for the purposes of this blog I won't go into that. 

Let's just focus on food!  Next, I came across the Cedar's display.  I love all things hummus, so of course I grabbed samples of their hummus dip and hummus chips.  Yum.

Next I stopped at "The Regal Vegan" to try their Faux Gras, a toasted walnut lentil pate.  Let me tell you, it was delicious.  As far as nutrition, it is only 50 calories per serving with lots of protein, fiber and healthy fats.   It's a little bit pricey at $7.99 for the 8oz. tub, but I'd argue it's worth it.

And for dessert, Sweet & Sara Vegan Marshmallows! And by marshmallows, I mean Rocky Road brownies, Smores, Peanut Butter Smores and Rice Krispie treats! Dangerously delicious.


Since I was already starting to fill up on vegetarian and vegan snacks, I was excited to come across Wired Up Creations. A friend of mine had been given one of these bracelets made of beets, and I have been longing for one ever since.  My pictures definitely don't do them justice, but the jewelry is so cool and completely vegan.  

The bracelets are a little too pricey for my dietetic intern budget, so I just bought a ring! It's made from dragon fruit and it super colorful and fun!

As if I wasn't already enjoying myself, I came to the Peanut Butter & Co. table next.  As you know, I love peanut butter.  It's my Achilles Heel.  Peanut Butter & Co. has a huge variety of flavors, including Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Raisin and Honey.  They recently put out a new flavor called "The Heat is On", which contains chili powder, cayenne peppers and paprika.  I had to try this! I was pleasantly surprised.  This would be really good with veggies, pretzels or crackers as a snack.  I definitely recommend at least trying it!
Thanks for the PB samples, monkey man!
Oh and I picked up this little treasure.  It's like it was made for me!

I also sampled and really enjoyed the products from the Saratoga Peanut Butter Company.  I particularly liked "The Trifecta" which was a chocolate almond butter with dried cherries.  Yum!

A few other things I really liked:

Simply7 Lentil and Hummus Chips:

TheSimplyBar, which I don't have pictures of.  They're made with 9 or less ingredients and offer 16g of protein and <3g of fat per bar.  I tried the Peanut Butter Chocolate (duh!) and it was a little dry but tasted good.

Honest Tea.  These guys are pretty well known, and have a really great line of products if you're looking for something tasty and a little bit sweet.  I usually stick to water, but I really enjoyed the new Pomegranate Blue Honest Ade. 

Let me finish with the one thing I really disliked.  Tumeric drinks from Tumeric-The Elixir of Life.  Tumeric is a spice commonly used in Indian foods.  It's also what gives our mustard that bright yellow color.  There is a lot of research has focused on curcumin, the active ingredient in tumeric and its anti-inflammatory properties. 
I don't discredit the idea that tumeric (and many other herbs and spices) may have health benefits. But this particular drink was disgusting and I would not pay $5 per 12-oz bottle. Why not just eat a well balanced diet including herbs and spices to taste!
No, thank you.

I also sat in on a few of the speakers, including Brendan Brazier, a vegan triathlete and author of Thrive. 
He was a good speaker, but I have to be honest...I get very frustrated listening to people speak about nutrition if they are not a Registered Dietitian or have some credential/degree in a nutrition-related field.  He can absolutely share his extensive experience in fueling and eating as a vegan triathlete, and I'm sure he has gained plenty of insight over the years.  However, I don't feel it is appropriate for him to be giving advice or recommendations, especially if it is not evidence-based information.  For anyone reading out there,  I encourage you to always take nutritional advice with a grain of salt [ ;)] and to look for the source of the information.  Remember, Registered Dietitians are the experts.

Enough about the speakers. This post is getting ridiculously long! 

All in all, I had a great day and tried out a lot of new vegetarian/vegan food products! Do you have any favorite products you swear by?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday: I'm Not Dying (yet)

Happy Thursday!  Today I am thankful for...

...not having a serious illness (knock on wood).  Working with people who have cancer, leukemia, sepsis and heart disease all day can be depressing.  I feel lucky everyday to not be IN the hospital myself. fellow interns. (Hi guys!<3 you!)  It's nice to have other people who know just how challenging and often frustrating the DI can be! If only I had a copy of our awesomely awkward first day photo-shoot pics to post!

...this bully. He's so motivated to workout!

 Unlike SOME bullies I know! Ahem, like this guy:

....winning the pool at the fam Oscar party! 
This is a big deal, because #1-I never win anything [except for that time I won some Chobani yogurts :)] and #2-I NEVER "gamble".  Okay, it was only $10 to vote...but still, $10 is a lot of money to me.  I mean it's like 4 1/2 subway rides, or 2 loads of laundry, or 20 Gatorades! I'm a pretty competitive person, so if I'm going to gamble $10, you know I'm going to fight for it.  I did a little pre-party research on all of the nominees, which apparently paid off because I kicked butt.  Woo!

...drop-off laundry services.  Sometimes I just HATE the laundromat.  And since our friendly neighborhood laundromat is somehow SO cheap (compared to other places I've lived), and I have been super busy lately, I've been taking advantage of the drop-off service.  FYI, they fold your underwear.  Kinda weird, kinda amazing.
Perfectly folded laundry.  And yes, apparently I've been wearing a lot of NYY gear for spring training...

...Sophia Grace and Rosie.  (And Ellen for always have them on her show for my entertainment.)
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....that my knee is healing nicely and I'm heading out for a run right now! Bye!

What are you thankful for today?