Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Miracle Miles 15K Race Recap

Saturday I ran in the Miracle Miles 15K for the second year in a row, but other than the finish line, everything was different.

 Last year I did this race as a training run for my January marathon.  I was in much better shape and so focused on training.  Very different story this year - all summer I have been running shorter distances and feel beaten up by the heat and humidity, I'm just trying to hang on until the cooler weather arrives.

What a bummer that Saturday was so hot and humid, it sure didn't help me mentally or physically.  I knew I didn't want to go out too fast and I didn't.  I was actually feeling pretty good for the first 5 miles keeping a 9:30-10:00 min pace and then things went downhill.  I was sweating up a storm, the sun was beating down on me and I didn't want to run. From this point on I walked and ran the last three miles.
Hot, sweaty and red faced
I ended up finishing with a time of 1:37:51.  It was only 2 minutes slower than last year, but it felt so different.  I didn't have a very positive attitude heading into the race and that didn't help.  I pretty much told myself I wouldn't be able to run the whole thing and I was right. But I have a feeling if I went into it thinking I could, I probably would have been right about that too.

That wasn't the only difference last year's after race festivities included a food fest with tastes from local restaurants.  Not so this year, it was a bagel from Panera and your typical race tents.

The other change this year was the race course.  I like both courses, but this one did have us going through more of downtown which is fun to run through. It was nice to see it from a different perspective.

Great tech T - one of my favorites!
Got a medal too!

I have some work to do to be ready for my half marathon in January but I have time.  I am even considering trying the walk/run method on some of my longer runs until I get my distance stamina back. I wonder if it's hard to transition out of that?

Have you used the run/walk before?  What is a good race ratio?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cranberry Orange Bread

On one of my visits to Atlanta this summer to see my sister, I had the best piece of Cranberry Orange bread from BreadWinner at the Sandy Springs farmer's market.  It was sweet, moist and so flavorful.  I regretted not buying a loaf that day, but learned I could order them online to be shipped to me.  I have not resorted to that yet, because it makes an already pricey loaf even more expensive, but have had my daughter bring me home three loaves from her recent trip to Atlanta. We got a cranberry-orange, lemon-blueberry and peach.  All were excellent.  I ended up dividing the loaves into thirds and froze the sections separately so we could enjoy them over a longer period of time. Well, all the bread has been eaten and I have no choice but to figure out how to make this bread myself.

 I have become a bit obsessed and want to be able to make this bread myself!  I have been searching for recipes and have tried a few with no luck.   This weekend I baked the best version yet!

 The bread I am trying to recreate is more like cake than bread.  The texture is fine and richer than typical quick breads.  During my research I have found that to achieve this you must have all your ingredients at room temperature and you need to beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until they are lightened in texture and color instead of mixing with a wooden spoon.  The Joy of Cooking refers to this as the Creaming Method.
I can now make this bread whenever the craving sets in. Life is good!

Cranberry-Orange Bread *adapted from the Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch loaf pan.   

In mixing bowl add butter and sugar.  Beat on high for 2-3 minutes.
Add eggs and beat to mix.  
Whisk dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In separate bowl, combine buttermilk, 1/4 cup orange juice and zest.
Alternate adding dry ingredients with milk mixture in 2 parts to mixing bowl.  Beat on low speed until incorporated.  Fold in cranberries.

Pour batter into loaf pan.  Bake for 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
While bread is baking, make glaze.  Brush glaze on loaf once it is removed from oven.  Do not wait for it to cool.  Let loaf  cool in pan about 10 minutes before removing it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brown Bag Challenge Update

I've been making and bringing my lunch to work since the first of September, for eleven days now.  Taking my lunch is not something new to me, I do it the majority of the time, but the consistency of EVERY work day for an entire month is a challenge!  I bring my lunch primarily to save money. Going out everyday really adds up.  It is very hard to buy a decent lunch for less than $5/day so that is a minimum of $25/week, $100/month or $1200/year.  That's a lot of money to spend with nothing to show for it! 

A group of my coworkers decided to join me on this challenge.  We started out strong, but I think all of us have missed at least one day and the month is only half over. For me, the day I missed I had a business lunch/meeting at a restaurant and I didn't feel like I could walk in with my own food, so I did eat out that day, although I didn't have to pay for it.  So I still have not spent any month this month on eating lunch out!  

Some days there are things that go on at work, that just make you feel like you deserve to go out for lunch and this commitment has saved me from participating in some emotional overeating on those stressful days.

I only eat what I bring and I pack extra food for snacks.  A typical day might include:
  • 2 bottles of diet snapple tea
  • large Sigg bottle of water
  • fruit
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Kind bar
  • PB&J on potato roll
  • carrots/hummus
  • fruit strip
Old Faithful - PB&J
I don't always eat all the food I bring, but I would rather have it and not need it, than not be prepared.  I do eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly, but it is one of my favorites and easy to transport.  I don't have lots of variety, but I bring leftovers for lunch when we have them. A few days I  even brought cereal when I didn't have any other food in the house.  

As part of this challenge, I have been trying to branch out and add some new items to my lunch menus.  I have found a couple of great ideas from other bloggers who are taking on the brown bag challenge too.
Bean, onion, tomato quesadilla (SOURCE: Nutritionella)
This great idea comes from Elle at Nutritionella.  I am making it this week!

Pesto Penne Primavera (SOURCE: Healthy Plates)

Tonya from Healthy Plates shared this easy and delicious recipe. It has all the things I like in it.  Why didn't I think of it?

There are ten more days of the Brown Bag Challenge, and my goal is to add at least two new items to my lunches.  

Do you bring a lunch from home or do you eat out?
What's your favorite lunch spot?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Autumn Rock n Run Race Recap

Today was my first race since July 4!  It seems like ages ago and it has been a long HOT summer.  I cannot  wait for the morning I walk outside and the air actually feels cool.  I will sing Alleluia out loud!

Due to the heat I have not been running any longer or faster than I have to, so I did not have high expectations for a great time today. But that didn't matter I was excited to be around other runners and push myself a little harder than I would  running on my own.
waiting for the race to start

Andy and I decided just last week that we would run this race.  It is put on by our local running store Track Shack, but one we had never done before.  When we heard there would be three rock bands along the course and we would be voting for our favorite at the end, it made it even more enticing. I did not get a photo of the two bands along the course because I didn't want to stop running to take them.  All the bands were good and I voted for the first band as my favorite.  They were singing classic rock songs.
Band at the beginning of race
The race started at 7:30 and I so appreciate that they actually started on time.  Andy wanted to PR this race, but I wasn't feeling it.  I was going to do the best I could.  We lined up in the 8 min mile pace group for the start.  As usual there were walkers and slow runners we had to get by in the beginning.  I just don't get those people!!

The first mile felt good and we ran it at an 8:30 pace.  Into the second mile, I knew I wouldn't be speeding up any more, so Andy took off to make his PR.  I finished mile two in 8:30 as well.
Heading into mile three I began to feel fatigued.  I have not been doing any speed work and this is where I regretted it.  I so wanted to walk, but decided to slow down a little instead.  I couldn't belief how worn out I felt.  I told myself I could rest when it was over and trudged through to the end. I ran mile three just a little slower at 8:39.  I ended up finishing with a time of 26:31 (official time). Of course I was glad I didn't stop.
I was a hot, sweaty mess at the end.
After the race they had fresh fruit (grapes & bananas), smoothies and rice crispy treats.  Some of the booths were giving away good stuff. I picked up a work out towel and this cool H2O to go bottle.  
Some race goodies

After race band
Andy did end up with a PR and it ended up to be a good race for me too.  I was satisfied with my time.  If I'm not willing to train the way I need to get better, I really can't complain. My next race, a 9K is in two weeks.  I'm crossing my fingers for cooler mornings.  I'm convinced that's all I need to feel a little peppier.

Here's the breakdown of my run.

Avg Pace

Is it starting to cool off where you live?
What's your favorite temperature to run in?