Thursday, February 23, 2012

run, run, run

I have been keeping up with my training schedule this week and doing some workouts from the Nike Training Club app on my cross training days. The running app is pretty good too although I may switch it up a bit adding km's to my sunday long run here and there. During your run the voice of Hal Higdon gives you little encouraging messages along with letting you know about your half way point, and noting what km you are at. The messages are pretty funny...for example "couch potatoes may not have sore muscles, but they will have a lifetime of other hurts"

We have been really sticking to our meal plan and it has been working really well...definitely saves us money on the grocery bill and makes the annoying task of trying to throw something together with a hungry impatient toddler pulling at your leg a little bit less stressful. And it was so nice to have pancake tuesday this week! I love any holiday that calls for pancakes for dinner!

yumm! we had ours with honey lime zest fruit salad.

And in keeping up with the idea of  pancake tuesday I am giving something up for wheat until Easter. Goodbye muffins, bread, crackers etc. I have been doing great with my workouts but not being super mindful of what food I have been eating so a self inflicted challenge is just the thing.
Basically I am going to be focusing on fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean little packaged foods as possible and no baked goods. I guess I shouldn't have got Ben a bread baking course for Christmas!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I ♥ yummy cookbooks where every recipe is a winner

Isn't it nice when you find a cookbook and all the recipes you try from it are great? One of my favourites is the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook from the lovely restaurant of the same name in Victoria. I like to stop in there for breakfast when I am visiting and it is always yummy and delightful. I have had their book for awhile and have recently been trying out some recipes that I always thought sounded good but had yet to try, as well as some old favourites.

Here are two soups that are really good and pretty quick and easy:

Greek Red Lentil with Lemon, Rosemary and Feta cheese

2 cups red lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lg yellow onion diced
2 tsp sea salt
8 cloves garlic minced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1 tbsp minced rosemary
2 tbsp minced oregano
2 bay leaves
8 cups veg stock
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp minced rosemary
cracked pepper to taste

Rinse lentils & drain. Saute onion, garlic, carrot and spices. Add lentils and stock, bring to boil and reduce to simmer until lentils are falling apart. Remove bay leaves and give it a quick buzz with the hand blender (if you like)
Season with remaining ingredients listed and enjoy! It is also delicious with prawns or whitefish cooked up in it and served over quinoa. (Inspired by our friend who pours it over chicken and bakes it - yumm! and she is also pictured in the book which makes her pretty much a celebrity and expert!)

It freezes really well and is great over brown rice and with a bunch of chopped spinach added while it heats up!

Next up is:

Curried Chickpea with Tomatoes, ginger and cilantro

This recipe is slightly adapted because I am sort of lazy and find it a challenge to follow recipes precisely.

8 cups veg stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion finely diced
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
8 garlic cloves minced
3 tbsp minced ginger
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
1 red pepper
6 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
1/8 tsp tumeric
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 can coconut milk
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped

Saute onion and spices. Throw ginger, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes and pepper in food processor for a rough chop and add to pot and simmer for a while. Add chickpeas and stock and simmer for another 10 min or so. Add coconut milk and mash chickpeas with a potato masher to help thicken soup. Simmer on low for an hour or so. Season with s&p and a big handful of chopped cilantro.

We had it over quinoa and is was really yummy and a healthy filling dinner. It also makes a lot so we kept some out for lunch the next day and had enough to freeze for some busy nights ahead.

I really recommend investing in this cookbook! It is a goody. What are your favourite cookbooks with consistent great recipes?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things I learned at my first kickboxing class

Well, I survived my first kick boxing class! This was not a 'cardio kickboxing aerobics' type class, this was of the 'a russian kickboxing champion has a gym and is going to train you to get in the ring' variety.
I learned several things tonight a few of which I will share with you now.

  1. You don't get to punch people in the first class.
  2. I can not, now nor may I ever do the splits. 
  3. I am actually more uncoordinated than I once thought and deciphering my left from my right proves  to be surprisingly challenging .
  4. Dropping to give you 20 push ups on my toes and fists is not something that I am currently able to do.
  5. My teacher can definitely knock you out.
  6. I really liked it and it was a super good workout.
I think this will be an awesome wednesday cross training class and I hope I can move my legs to do my run tomorrow!

New schedule

I have to say I have been avoiding posting lately because I have been feeling rather unmotivated and I am not sure why. It is silly to not just write about that stuff too because it is a natural part of life and this training....motivation going up...and down.
That said I have decided to follow my original Hal Higdon app that I purchased for the next 12 weeks and it began on Monday. It felt slightly like going backwards since the length of the runs are shorter than what I was doing but the plan is written by a very experienced champion runner so I am just going to trust the program. It includes strength & stretch days, running days and cross training days.

Here is my schedule for this week:

  • Monday - strength & stretch, I am using the Nike Training Club app for these workouts and doing it at home
  • Tuesday - run 4.8km
  • Wednesday- crosstrain, I am doing kickboxing (eeek!)
  • Thursday - run 4.8km
  • Friday - bootcamp
  • Saturday - rest
  • Sunday - run 6.4km

Months and months ago I bought a groupon-y type thing for a kickboxing gym. I just realized it expires in April and it is for 20 classes so I decided to register and my first class is tonight. I am super nervous! It looks like it is at an actual kickboxing gym (as opposed to a cardio kickboxing class at a gym) and is seeming slightly intimidating but we will see!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

done 10k training

It has been awhile! We were housesitting at the in-laws for 5 or 6 days and our little schedule got thrown all off track...I did still do my running but the other regular routines of our life were switched about and the poor blog suffered. It was quite nice though, entertaining, doing laundry whenever we pleased, having a yard for our sweet dog Ivy, lots of space, a dishwasher and a whole new seawall to run and play by...On one evening walk we caught the most amazing sunset.

Arlo & Ben

Ambelside sunset

So, I have now completed the "Ease into 10k" plan and am researching what plan to do next to prepare for the half. The one I was intending to use seems alot easier than what I running now and it doesn't seem to make sense to go backwards so in the meantime I am adding a km a week to my longest run until I decide. Yesterday was my longest run ever! 11km. I wasn't happy with my time but that could have something to do with the fact that I ate ALOT of delicious bundt cake over the weekend. The recipe was from the Whitewater Cooks cookbook and it turned out really well.

Hello yummy apple bundt cake

I had such a great day yesterday! The weather played a huge role since Vancouver is so amazing when it is sunny, especially after a month of rain. I did my 11km run in the morning leaving the house in the dark and coming home when it had gotten light which I love. Then we headed to the park to meet our friends and I walked by some Kuerig coffee promo van and got a free coffee. On the way home I got a message on my phone that I had won 40 hours of free daycare at Buddings Children's Garden and Daycare from the Peak radio station! So great!! I can't wait to check it out. Then Arlo actually fell asleep for his nap after about 5 minutes which has not happened for the last month....please can this continue!  In the afternoon we headed over to check out Matchstick coffee roasters and the cute little strip of shops over by Fraser and 15th. All in all it was a wonderful day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I ran a 10k!!!!

I am just heading back home from great weekend away and I can't wait to see my boys!! This is the longest I have ever been away from my little guy and while it was thoroughly enjoyed, I am so excited to give him a big hug and kiss.
My weekend included much laughing, yummy dinners, wine, an amazing yoga class, going to the movies and doing a 10k run! I was surprised that It was actually not very much longer than what I have been doing. We did a loop around a lake and the km's were marked so it was very satisfying to see the numbers count down as we passed. Now we I have week 10 to finish and then I will start the Hal Higdon half marathon training which will be 4 times a week instead of 3.
Besides the endurance I am starting to notice actual changes in my legs and feeling more muscular which is very motivating.
Another week down and it's practically February!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meal Plan

Yesterday was the rainiest of all the runs I have done yet! It was pouring and super windy so the rain was coming sideways...good times. I was sopping when I got home and was so glad I had worn long underwear and some light rain pants! I have one more run of week 9 which I will do tomorrow, hopefully with Ben since Arlo is going to hang out with his grandparents in the morning.

And the first run of week 10 will be on the weekend in Victoria with my dear friend Jes who is also running the half with us. I am a little excited because I am heading over to visit her BY MYSELF!!! Yup no baby. Wow. It is going to be lovely. I cannot wait to sit on the ferry all alone and read a trashy magazine. Ahhhh....bliss. Also Jes has an awesome run planned for us which is a loop around a lake and we are going to go out for breakfast! Which I love to do, especially in Victoria.

As part of all our goals and ideas of things we would like to change for the new year we have been trying to stick to a budget and part of that is using a weekly meal plan and shopping specifically for it. This week has been working out really well so far. Here is what we have lined up.......

Monday - Veggie Chilli (I made it on Sunday, soaked the beans on Sat)

Tuesday - Spinach Fritatta and Savoy Cabbage Salad (chopped all veg and made mixture during Arlo's nap, which involved absolutely no sleeping)

Wednesday - Coconut Prawn Curry with quinoa (Ben is the curry master in the house so I will chop up the veg for him during naps, sleepy restful naps. fingers crossed.)

Thursday - Miso Soba Noodle Soup

Friday - I am guessing leftovers? Since I won't be here the boys will fend for themselves!

We have been making big batches of almost everything and eating leftovers for lunches or freezing for those days when you just don't feel like it or have time. I use 3 cup rectangular glass Pyrex containers which I love and stack super easy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

confession here's the thing...
I haven't ran since tuesday. Baaaaa! I know, it's terrible.
I even snuck a post about soup in there and you were all distracted and didn't even notice.  But it's true. I don't know why but things all fell apart this week in the way of fitness...I did go to bootcamp on Monday and the gym on Wednesday so it wasn't all bad but I am ready to get back on track for this coming week.

I ran at the seawall on Tuesday, in the snow. I swear. Here's proof.

Also, I saw this super cool tank art sculpture which I think I read was made to purposely decompose as part of the installation.

So there you have it. Next week is going to be a good week. The meal plan is written and shopped for, all workouts will be completed and we are trying a daily cleaning schedule experiment so it is possible that the house may not even be a total disaster! Yay planning ahead. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 20, 2012

runners yoga

A few weeks ago I checked out a free 'Yoga for Runners' class at a local community centre. It was really good! And although my fitness budget has reached it's limit with bootcamp right now, I am really glad I went. I picked up some good tips and was reminded at how terrible I am at remembering to stretch when I get home from a run. Normally, I am distracted by Arlo and focused on getting my morning coffee and then later in the day when I feel a little tight, I remember that I skipped that important step. One tip I remember was for that stretch where you grab your foot in your hand behind you and stretch your quads...the instructor suggested pushing your foot into your hand instead of pulling your foot into your butt. Just a little adjustment that really seemed to make a difference.
Maybe I should look for a stretching app! I have gone a little fitness app crazy. The 10k training, Nike Training Club, (has anyone tried it? Great workouts with video instruction and it's free!), 100 push-ups and next the half marathon app.
Well, I am on the ferry headed to Victoria and on the way to my friends apartment we are stopping to do a 10k! It sounds like a a really pretty run and I am going to remember to stretch!

season of soup

There is a big soup kick going on at our house. Between the weather, meal planning efforts and trying to stick to grocery budget all things are pointing to soup. I made a pretty tasty on the other day - Creamy Vegan Broccoli. I think from years of cooking for a living I sometimes, well most times have a hard time following a recipe or keeping track of what I put in. I have made some tasty soups that I could never make again from adding a pinch of this or that and then having no idea what was in it if I tried to write it down....But this time as soon as I was done and tasted it I sat down and tried my best to remember everything. Of course the measurements are my best guess but it should work out.

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup

In a large pot I sauteed:

1/2 cup onion
1 small zucchini
1 and a 1/2 cups chopped carrot
2 stalks celery

Then I added:

6 or 7 cups chopped broccoli
3L water
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 or 2 tbsp miso paste
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
generous sprinkle sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

And cooked until veg is mushy. Then buzz up with the hand blender and there you go. Stick a few jars in the freezer for those days you don't feel like cooking and you still have enough for lunch and leftovers.

I also made a great and easy black bean soup. I had bought a big container of Que Pasa salsa from Costco and I needed to use it up so I cooked up 2 or 3 cups of dried black beans which I had soaked over night and drained them. Then sauteed up what ever random veg I had, some celery, onion, carrot and little peice of zucchini, and added about 1 and a 1/2 cups fresh salsa, 1 tsp or so of cumin, the cooked black beans and veg stock to cover and simmered for about 15 min. Then I gave it a buzz with my trusted hand blender and added a little water to reach the right consistency, some s & p and there you go!
Top with some plain greek yogurt, a spoonful of salsa and some chopped cilantro. Delicious!

Monday, January 16, 2012

running in the snow

I was a little slacker in the weekend and didn't do my run on Saturday. Well guess what? I didn't really want to do it on Sunday either but it had to be done so off I went...Except once I got out there it was super slip-slidy-icy and since I have already had one ass over tea kettle experience on a run I chose to head to the gym.

Apparently I wasn't the only one feeling this way, it was packed! There was a 15 min wait for a machine so I did some stretching and finally got an elliptical and did the first two sets of the run....okay so maybe it wasn't exactly a run but I had to improvise. There was still a wait for a treadmill so I headed home at a jaunty pace and called it day.

Tomorrow is the last day of week 8 and I may head down to the seawall again where hopefully all the runners before me have cleared the trail.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vancouver sun

I just finished the first run of week 8. We are now up to 3 sets of run 17 min, walk 1...they only snuck in 2 more minutes per set from last week but I sure felt them today! I decided to drive down to the seawall for my run again and I am so glad I did. It was so beautiful to be by the ocean, see the sun coming up and the beautiful mountains covered in snow.

Look at my beautiful view!

I really can't complain about spending some time on my own by the ocean in the that made it easier to suck it up and keep on going! It's also part of a decision we made to make the most of Vancouver everyday while Ben is working away at applying all over the place since we don't know for sure if we will be moving down the street or out of the province. We want to make the most of the time we have living here and if it turns out we are staying than we will be reminded of all we love about it!

Yesterday my exercise attempts were thwarted. My thighs were so sore from the bootcamp squatfest on Monday and then my run Tuesday so I opted out of bootcamp yesterday morning. I bargained with myself that I would make up for it by going to the free cardioboxing class that I had signed up for at Trout Lake Community Centre as part of their grand opening. So I reluctantly got changed into my workout clothes and drove there only to find the class is NEXT Wednesday! So I have to admit I came home, made some Paleo Brownies (thanks Tansy) and watched a bunch of Sons of Anarchy. Ahh well, I guess I needed a rest day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

week 7 complete!

With some convincing of the slightly obsessive side of myself I have continued on a weird schedule of running that doesn't match up with the days of the week. Here it is Tuesday and I have just finished week 7! My schedule got a little turned around over the holidays and I did miss one session somewhere in there but we are back on track.

This past week was 3 sets of run 15, walk 1. It was pretty tough but I did have a really nice run on day 2 in West Van down at the sea wall. I got to run with Ben which was great and I beat my fastest mile at 9:49 and my fastest average pace overall at 11:09. Next week is 3 sets of run 17, walk 1.

I also started bootcamp this week after a break for the holidays and was so sore this morning! It was a squat-o-rama.  Of course when I woke up I immediately started making excuses about why I should skip my run today but I am really glad I went and got it done.

I just bought the next app for the half marathon training which I will start as soon as this 10 week 10k training is done. The program is Hal Higdon's 1/2 Marathon. This is a 12 week program which will finish giving me one week off before May 6th. It also recommends doing a 10k race which is timed perfectly with the Sun Run on April 15th so I will be signing up for that as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

change of pace

Yesterday I woke up to pouring rain and was feeling really unmotivated to head out for my run. Even though I was going to wear my new running toque I got from my sweetie for christmas, and even though it was only the 3rd of Jan and all the good intentions and goals and resolutions are still fresh in my head.

 So I decided to get in the car and drive down to the ocean. I sometimes take for granted how nice it is to be able to do that, and it was the best thing for me. It felt really good to run somewhere new and it is always peaceful to be by the water. It was nice to see so many other runners too, it made it easier to keep going in the yucky rain.

I really like that the app I am using tracks your average speed and distance of each run. I have started to pay attention and am trying to work on my speed as an added challenge. So far my fastest mile is 10:15. That is probably a slow jog for some people but I am working on it!

I keep waiting to really start loving running...don't get me wrong, I don't hate it. It's okay and some times I really enjoy it. I am always, every single time, without fail, happy that I went...but I can't say I love it. Maybe I still will. It would be a good activity to really love since it is so inexpensive and can be done just about anywhere. I'll keep trying, maybe it will surprise me!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello 2012!

Our new year is off to a lovely start! We had a really nice brunch with friends and an afternoon of visiting and letting the dog run wild chasing our friends adorable white boxer. Last night we sat down and wrote out some ideas and goals for the new year and just let it soak in what an incredible year it will be!
Alot of big things are in store for our little family in the coming months. This year we will be moving, getting married, starting new jobs and thinking about having another baby! I am feeling lucky having so much to look forward to.

I checked out a cookbook I hadn't picked up in awhile the other day and found a few recipes to try out. It's an oldie but a goodie ~ Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favourites (of course they spell favourite without the "u" since that is how they roll in the states, but I just can't)

I chose three dishes to make for dinner and they were quite good and went together very well, as the book suggested they might.

First up was Garlicky Black-Eyed Peas'N'Greens

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 lb collard greens (on sale at whole foods sparking this whole menu)
1 tbsp olive oil
2-4 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper

cooked brown rice
chopped green onions
lemon wedges

Rinse the peas. Place in soup pot with the garlic cloves and enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover and cook for 45 min, until tender, adding water occasionally as needed. The black-eyed peas should be moist but not soupy, it is ideal when most of the water has been absorbed at the end of cooking. When they are tender, if most of the water has not been absorbed, lightly drain them. Cover and set aside.
Rinse the greens and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the minced garlic and thyme for 1 min, stirring constantly. Add the damp greens and continue to stir until they are wilted but still bright green. Stir the greens into the black-eyed peas and mix. Add s+p. Serve on rice, topped with green onions and lemon wedges.

We had this with Cucumbers Vinaigrette and Baked Sweet Potato Salad with Yogurt Cilantro dressing. Yumm!

I am looking forward to trying a lot more new recipes this year!