I suck at calorie counting

Here I am entering in what I can remember at the end of the day. I know I forgot things and I'm around 2200 calories (of things I remember) with 2700 burned (running 10 miles + basal metabolic rate).  I had a crappy morning run doing 6.5 brutal miles where I just felt like stopping after 2, but then had a nice mid morning run at the gym somewhat tempo getting in 3.5 in 28+ minutes. It felt GOOD.  I also did some abs. Trying the abs 2/3 times a week to see if I see a difference!

What I like best about entering everything in (FITDAY is the site that I use) is that it tells you your nutritional info.  I think it is so much easier when calorie counting to use pre-packaged things, especially power bars and they have tons of vitamins, but I have been staying away from those things. I think I'll buy a box!

I can't believe how much I am eating actually! I used to think 1800 calories was alot and to be over 2000 is kind of crazy, especially since I'm mostly eating when I'm hungry, not engorging myself. Have you ever counted up your daily intake? What did you learn?

I learned:

*I'm low in Vitamin D and Calcium. Calcium is a bad one to be deficient in. Both are in my vitamin, but Calcium is only 15%. 

* I need to eat more veggies. Lately my go to snacks have been nuts and protein powder, and lots of oatmeal based things - pancakes, plain old oatmeal, . I'm good on fruit and have my smoothie w/ spinach, banana, orange, pear.. but I need more variety in my veggies, just not enough throughout the day. Any tips?

*Whoa carbs in the high 300s. Aren't you supposed to aim for 200?  Oatmeal, dried cranberries, fruit, maple syrup - that's where they came from.

Now that most of my custom foods are added in, I think I can try harder on this and see how I do. I am going to go on the scale one time a week and see if there is any difference in weight.

Click these to make bigger. This site - for free - is pretty awesome actually!

Philadelphia Marathon registration opens tomorrow, April 1! I think I am going to sign up for the marathon, even though it's 3 weeks after Marine Corps. If anything, I'll run the half for fun. Here's my history with it - I kind of have to try for the marathon:

2007 - Marathon - not a bad day, 4:26
2008 - Half Marathon 28 weeks pregnant with Nick, walked the entire thing in 3:15
2009 - Marathon, my sister finished it with me and I wanted to die, was burnt out, pregnant with Kara and out of breath - 4:39
2010 - Half Marathon - ran and reported on it - 2:07

See the pattern? 2011 is a Marathon year. We'll make it a goal - maybe a fun run?

And... March food shopping was $542. I tried hard, really I did!  I think February was a low and short month so March had to be high.

Canvas Prints Review

A couple of weeks ago, Megan from Easy Canvas Prints (also Build-a-Sign) contacted me with the opportunity to do a review of a canvas print from the new site.  After the awesome signs (check out my sidebar) that she helped me create for races, I was psyched to have this opportunity!

I started by thinking about what picture I would choose to put on a canvas.  There is a picture of Kara that I have been wanting to do something with, but I didn't know what. It looks like she is doing yoga and it's very calming and adorable so I picked this one: 


When you go to the site, it's very user friendly.  

1- Select the size that you want the canvas to be: I chose 11x14. Then you select the wrap thickness - so the pink part below.  There are two options for the thickness to choose from. 

2 - Upload a picture. You can move it around and center it very easily.

3 - Customize your wrap. You can select mirror image, image wrap or a border color. I selected pink to go around the edges to bring out the pink outfit she is wearing, but I also think it would be cool to have done the mirror image so the sides are part of it as well. 

4 - You can get it retouched (minor or major) and you can also pick color, sepia or black and white. Maybe mine was kind of boring with all of these options, but I love it!  It is in Kara's room and looks great! 

This would have cost around $60 with free shipping which is very reasonable. Right now they are running a deal for 25% off and free shipping on all orders.  Check them out on Facebook! 
I have seen canvas prints on photo websites but they are much more expensive. You can do family photos, baby pictures, kids, anything that you want! Check it out. I think my mother in law is going to want one of these since she is into yoga!


Heart rate & counting

Since I want to get into my best shape for my race in just 4.5 weeks, I started writing down what I'm eating and trying to count it up and inputting my workouts to see how many calories I'm burning. Yesterday I came up with 2,500 burned and 2,000 eaten which is right on track for that 500 calorie deficit so that I can lose 1 pound/week or 5 lbs by Broad Street.  I usually last about 3 days on calorie counting and then I just lose interest and get frustrated. I'm trying hard to do it, but what I find difficult is that I don't eat exact things that are listed, instead, I make things that have random ingredients that aren't even in the system - like pancakes not made with pancake mix, protein powder "fudge," muffins w/ oat flour base, etc. It's kind of tedious to enter in all of the ingredients and tally them up and frankly, I don't have time for it! I'm basically estimating things with a handful of ingredients.  I don't have time to put it into the computer either, but I know it's good to see what vitamins you are deficient in and how much fat/protein,etc you are eating. I am just writing it on a post-it note and tallying it up. Do you know any good sites that make it easy?

What I learned so far is:

  • Within 30 minutes of working out I need to eat something or I'm going to make bad decisions and start picking at everything. I'm starving.
  • Around 2pm/3pm I become starving if I don't eat a good lunch. Sometimes I am just picking making both of the kids lunches and don't make something substantial enough for myself.
  • Around 5pm, I'm ready to inhale dinner.
  • Around 8/9pm, I feel that I've deserved a dessert or to pick at food even if I'm not hungry.
  • I was surprised that I was eating 2000 calories actually - all of those little pickings add up!

I have been checking out those things where you wear something around and it calculates your calorie burn and heart rate all day. ex: FitBit and Body Media Fit.

I think I want something that I can wear to see what my heart rate is throughout the day. Any suggestions?

Training post race week:
Monday - swim 4000 yds - used flippers, my legs were tired
Tuesday - ran 10 easy miles split up (7ish in the morning and 3 in the afternoon)
Today - 2nd spin class! did 2 miles, abs and arms, then the class = 42 min and 11.9 miles
My legs are still tired and knees a bit sore!


Top Two for Tuesday

These are my 2 favorite things right now:

1- Garmin 405- how would I have done it without the Garmin? I love this thing!!

2 - Vitamix!
I just made pear/apple sauce by sticking some pears and apples in the vitamix. So easy and I love it - use it every day for nut butters, smoothies and baby food purees.

Bill got me both of these items! Vitamix for our 5th anniversary and Garmin for my birthday!

What are your top two items right now?


post race thoughts and race schedule

How cool is it that Laurel emailed me and had a friend whose husband finished right at the same time as me and I was in the pictures?!!!  What caption would you put based on my expression for these pictures? See that hill behind me? You can't even SEE the bottom of it. Heartbreak hill.

just get me to the finish !!!



Ahh.. a flat course and I can do sub 1:45... thinking about signing up for a local half, but it is Memorial Day weekend - too hot maybe?  And I don't know my plans for Memorial Day yet... kind of wish it wasn't a holiday weekend.  The Oddyssey one?  (for anyone local - thoughts?) I think I'll just do it since my goal for 2011 was run the fastest half marathon that I can. Then I will have 3+ tries to do it. My main race is the Philly Distance Run in September for my half marathon challenge and I plan to run the Philly Half in November too.

Should I sign up for a marathon on May 15? 2 weeks after Broad Street? That's 7 weeks away and in 3 weeks is the first tri I'm doing and then June 26 is the Olympic distance tri. Can I train hard enough to do a marathon at a quality time? Probably not.. focus on the half and Oly tri... but it's crossed my mind a couple of times.

I feel decent today. I didn't get enough sleep last night and got up to go swimming. I kind of knew I should rest but wanted to go since I'm only swimming twice a week now (spin class the 3rd day).  I am TIRED and will probably nap!  I am also ready to eat house today. I'm always hungry the day after a race or hard long run.  I think I am going to pass on the group speedwork tomorrow and do an easy run and maybe try for the tempo with the group on Thursday depending how I feel.

What does your week after the race look like training wise?

Kara was proud

and loved having a teether for a moment

breakfast this morning!

Race schedule - trying to hit all of the distances this spring and I need a 10K :) 
April 17 - sprint Tri
April 23- 5k
May 1-  Broad Street! 10 miler
end of May maybe - half

June 26 - Olympic Tri
September - Philly rock and roll half
October - Marine Corps Marathon
November - Philly half


Mama gets a PR! (the long version)

Thanks for the support and encouragement!!  Caesar Rodney Half Marathon
(Wilmington, DE)

1:47:13/ 13.1 miles/ 8:10 pace
32 degrees at the start - clear, sunny day - great weather!

Here were my goals:
1 - beat my current PR of 1:53
2 - Sub 1:50
3- my fall goal is 1:45 so see how close I could get
and beat my sister's time of last week (1:48) hehe

pre-race: nut ball (cashews, maple syrup, oatmeal), granola bar (homemade), a couple swigs of coffee, water and a scoop of PB :)
mile 6: took 2 recovery e21 tablets
gatorade and water along the course

I am happy with my time - I didn't feel like there was any point where I was completely dying or not giving 100%. I went out a bit faster than planned but I felt like I was going a comfortable pace until I saw the pace. I have been doing 9:30s for the 1st mile of a long run. I was able to stay even paced until mile 7, when the hills hit!  I don't know what happened during mile 8 and 9 except hills, but I will tell you from mile 5 on, I had my game face on. I was already tired and somewhat worried I went out way too fast. I was looking straight ahead and focused and determined to keep up my pace. I was not smiling at anything, and too focused/tired to change my playlist or do anything but run. Usually I thank the volunteers, smile at people and thank fans too, there was none of that going on.  Once I hit the hills and miles 7-9, I was not looking at my watch, just doing the best that I could to give it all I had.  I played a little game of catching up to certain people, usually by the color of their shirt or someone that I kept seeing over and over. That helped! I wish I could go back to those middle miles and push a little harder to keep the low 8 pace, it messed up my pace!  Damn those hills!

My sister surprised me and came to run with me! She ran with me the first 5 miles and then joined back in for the last 3 or 4. After she stopped running with me, I pumped up the volume on my music and when we started running together again, I couldn't talk to her. I was seriously focused on finishing the race and the only energy that I had my body was using!  It was so nice to have her there: there is nothing like having company when you go to a race alone (and packet pick up is that morning). I had an hour to kill before the race began so it was so nice that my sister was with me! Also, when you finish a race and run a good time, so nice to have someone there to share it with! Thanks Kimp!

8:15 mile 1
8:03 mile 2
8:03 mile 3
8:02 mile 4
8:03 mile 5
8:01 mile 6
8:18 mile 7 hills begin
8:46 mile 8
8:22 mile 9
8:02 mile 10
8:10 mile 11
8:02 mile 12
7:58 mile 13 almost done! rock out!
8:22  the last 0.1  The last 1/4 mile(ish) was a SERIOUS UPHILL to the finish

What is the difference between moving time and elapsed time? Water stops? I bet the serious runner doesn't make water stops. Next time I'll wear my belt. I stopped at 3 water stops, mile 6, 8 and 10ish.  I have stopped using GU, gels and shot blocks recently, finding that I don't need them for a run less than 2 hours. I'll use them again for marathon training, but I tried out the e21 and it seemed to help!

Thoughts: totally wish I could have kept the low 8's pace and hit 1:45 - think I could do it on a flat course, and now I want to find one for after Broad Street.  Broad Street is in 5 weeks and that is THE race I've been training for.  I have some work to do if I want to hit my goal of 1:15 which is 7:30 pace.  I've determined that the next 5 weeks are going to be HARD CORE. I need to lose a few pounds; I have put on a few since being sick last month and I feel it. And after my PMS session that lasted 2 weeks - my goodness, I just feel thick around the middle. I want to be in 100% awesome shape and have strong training under my belt. The last 2 weeks I have hit 33 and 34 miles, highest in a long long time. I am going to keep my mileage up, hit the tempo runs and speedwork, and get ready to meet my goal at Broad Street.

 Thank you to Bill for watching the kids this morning! While it's so nice to see them at the finish,there's something to be said to finish the race and get to hang out and eat food and chill and be worrying about nap and feeding times and putting the kids first :)

Also thank you to Enrique - your song "I like it" is my power song right now. It came on at mile 10 when I really needed it.  : )


Half Marathon PR today (by 6 minutes!)
1:47:13 (8:10 pace). Yippeee!! 

 September 2009 (7 months post Nick) previous 1/2 marathon PR 1:53:39
September 2010 (3 months post Kara) 1/2 marathon 2:07:38
November 2010 (5 months post Kara) 1/2 marathon 2:06:36
March 2011 (8 months post Kara)  1/2 marathon: 1:47:13
How good does that feel after the fall :)



Muffin tin
I bought this so that I could make mini muffins after I saw these - perfect size for the kids. 

Donut Pan
I bought this to make real sized doughnuts and tried out this recipe!

Baby Food Trays
I needed more of these since my other 2 were getting old and cracking!

Bundle Me Lite
I bought the bundle me for the winter and loved it (how did I not use this with Nick!) so I bought the lite one and it is great for the spring to keep K warm!

I like everything that I ordered!  I like that CSN offers such a huge variety of products from all different manufacturers. You can basically get anything that you are looking for there.  Two things that I think they need to improve: the search tool is too broad. You could type in strollers and get about 1000 items, some of which are not strollers.  Also, the shipping needs to be combined. I received 4 different shipments for each of these items on different days.  I think they should all come together.   I also think that if you spend over a certain amount that you should get free shipping. Some items have free shipping and others don't.


it's a girl, race plan!

Congratulations to my friend Julie who had a baby girl: Olivia: this morning! I saw her yesterday at a playdate (our boys are 3 months apart) and on the way home, her water broke. (She never ate a brownie by the way, they aren't magic!!) Unfortunately her labor didn't progress, she had to get pitocin and ended up with a c-section. I feel like it sounds like a similar story that happens to many people. It sounds like a NIGHTmare. I felt so badly for her, but I'm so happy she has a beautiful baby girl!

So Sunday is my race and my usual plan is to just go all out and then I usually die in the end. When I'm not well-trained, I am cursing and saying I'll never do another race again and asking myself why I am there. Well trained, probably still cursing but feeling stronger in the end?  I think I'm going to do that, ha! If I try to hold a certain pace, like 8:30, I don't want to feel like I have anything left at the end. What is your normal race strategy? What suggestions do you have? This is a challenging course because it is hilly - and the weather looks blah, high of 40 with chance of snow/rain.  I'm excited though! I feel well trained for it. We'll see how I do.

My plan for this week worked out well (I'll let you know for sure on Monday though, post-race). Thanks for the suggestions - I feel like I did mini sessions of speed and tempo and it helped me to not feel like I was just doing easy runs (boring).

Monday was swimming and abs
Tuesday was short speedwork
Wednesday was spin class, running and abs
Thursday - today - 8 miles with 2 miles at race goal pace
Friday - plan to swim and do abs
Saturday - easy 2 miles or just rest
Sunday - race day!  maybe a warm up of a couple of miles if I don't do the easy 2 on Sat.

Kara got a hold of some kale last night!  she wasn't a fan!


Not for the faint of heart

Happy 30th birthday to my brother today!!! He's in San Diego and I miss him.

Remember the brownies I made a few days before I went into labor with Nick (for any of you who have been reading that long!)?  A few months later I made them for my friend Julie and I call them labor brownies now. I didn't make them before I had Kara, but I made them again last night for Julie's second baby due any day now. Holy S*%#.   I made them around 7pm last night and had one of them. I swear that my heart was racing and I could not go to sleep!  These were the full fledged normal recipe - how long has it been since I've made something normal, I am not sure. My body couldn't handle it!  Think good thoughts that these move things along and Julie's baby comes along this week.

FIRST SPIN CLASS this morning! I decided I need to make time for the bike, so my goal is 2x/week. I got in extra yardage in the pool on Monday and skipped swimming for spin class this morning. Wow, spinning has come a long way! Last time I went over 5 years ago at a different gym, it was just a bike. These bikes were pretty sweet and complete with a thing that tracks mileage, speed, etc. I couldn't figure out how to change from KM to miles but I was doing the math in my head. I did 17.5 km in 37 minutes. Is that decent?  My legs are kind of tired, but it felt good (except my butt - I hate that)! The race in a few weeks is a 10 mile bike so I should be fine on that, I just want to work on my speed and not suck at the bike since my swim and run are strong.

Yesterday I opted to do an easy run. After 2 miles warmup though, I got bored and added in mild speedwork. I did 2 x 1 minute fast, then 4 x 1/4 mile fast, 2 x 1/2 mile fast, then 1 x 1 mile fast. It felt good. I got in 9 miles yesterday and 4 after biking this morning. For the rest of the week - an easy 7 tomorrow, swim on Friday and an easy 2 on Saturday, then Sunday is the race! I need to make sure I stretch and rest my legs the rest of the week.

I just experienced the longest and worst PMS for seriously 2 weeks. I wanted chocolate every day and I was eating weird stuff - like veggie meatballs and sushi at like 8am... knew I couldn't be pregnant with the level of intensity I've been able to do, but was thinking, what the H is going on!!


Milkeez cookies

When I read about cookies that could help increase milk supply, I was instantly interested. I contacted Karen, the creator of Milkeez cookies to see if I could get a sample to try.  Karen sent me all three flavors to review. All of the opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

The product
The cookies are vegan and made with all of the ingredients said to increase milk supply: brewers yeast, fenugreek, and oatmeal. In addition, the cookies have different spices, whole wheat flour and fruits.  My favorite flavor was the chocolate cherry. I loved the spices and the flavor was just right. 

Ingredients in the chocolate cherry:
Thick rolled oats, whole wheat flour, dairy free semi sweet chocolate chips, honey, dried cherries, brown sugar, pumpkin purée, flaxseed meal, coconut oil, brewers yeast, orange zest, fenugreek, baking soda, salt, vanilla and spices.

So how is the taste?

They are delicious! They are very dense and keep you full for a while.  I love the combination of the oatmeal with fenugreek and spices. I tried to recreate something similar using oatmeal and fenugreek and it just didn't stack up!

Do they really increase milk supply?
It is hard to accurately tell.  I do think that fenugreek works after purchasing the liquid drops and adding it to water. I don't know how much of it you would need to help increase supply, and I've only eaten 1 cookie max per day. They are just under 250 calories each, which is perfect for just one cookie for me at this stage in the game. Kara only eats 4 times a day, so I don't think that I need too many extra calories.   They are delicious and full of good things and as such, I have no problem eating one of these tasty delights whether or not I am nursing!

What about for people who aren't nursing?
When I told Bill, who likes sweets, that they were supposed to increase milk supply, he steered clear. I made sure that he knew that it wouldn't make him produce any milk and he did try some and gave them a thumbs up! 

The bottom line
One dozen cookies costs $18.  These are pricey, but no more expensive than what you would find in a bakery - and in these you are getting all natural healthy ingredients and a great taste!

Where to get them
You can order these online here.
They last 2-3 weeks, and you can be on the lookout for a 20% off special on the combination of oatmeal chocolate chocolate and oatmeal chocolate cherry as early as tonight!


Amazing Grass Orange Creamsicle Review

Teri Jo from Amazing Grass sent me a sample of the new Orange Creamsicle flavor and the new shaker which is very cool.   First, I will tell you that I am on the subscribe and save with Amazon for the Kidz Superfood and the Chocolate Superfood flavors of Amazing Grass powder. I get them both monthly!  I use the kidz one and add it to smoothies and yogurt for Nick and the chocolate superfood to make hemp fudge and pancake dip by adding it to coconut oil. I'm obsessed with the stuff and love its benefits. 

Amazing Grass offers a Grass Heads program which I was unaware of - does anyone participate in this? Similar to amazon, you get a 15% discount, free shipping, a free t-shirt and special discounts.  The orders have a minimum of $60 and are sent out every 3 months. On your 4th shipment (so after 1 year) you get a free product. If it worked out to be the fourth month was free, it would be the same cost as amazon, but since it is every 3 months, the 4th shipment ends up to be one free item per year. Amazon is still cheaper, but what is nice about this program is that all products (protein bars, all flavors, etc) are available and you can get the discount on all products. Amazon is limited to the product offering.  If you are interested, use COUPON CODE 'grassheads' at checkout.

I'm not a huge orange person but I like trying different flavors in my daily smoothies. I repeat the same ingredients for the most part - spinach, almond milk and a frozen banana. I added in a scoop of the orange powder and it really gave the smoothie a great flavor!  It will not take the honors for my favorite flavor (chocolate does) but it is definitely a yummy flavor, especially if you are into orange.

Here are the benefits from the website (of all of their flavors by the way):
supports body alkalinity
boosts energy & immune system
vegan and gluten free
mixes well with juice, water or your favorite beverage
One serving = the antioxidant equivalent of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Check out the ingredients:

It isn't available on amazon to date, but can be purchased for $27.99 at Amazing Grass.com.

Melissa and Doug on Joss and Main

There's a big Melissa and Doug sale today on the site Joss and Main. You have to sign up to be a member first to get into the site. Check it out here  - I am a big fan of Melissa and Doug.  Some of the prices are less than Amazon (which I usually think is a good deal) and some are higher - do a price compare!


week before the race training

So this isn't the race that I'm hard core training for - it's just a tune up for Broad Street and I also wanted to see where I am and what I need to do to meet my goal at Broad Street.  My legs have been pretty tired and last week I was kind of feeling blah so I am not going to train super hard this week.  My big question will be whether or not to do speedwork on Tuesday at the track - would you?  Anything you'd incorporate into your week?

Monday - Swim
Tuesday - track or easy??
Wednesday - Spinning
Thursday -  easy run
Friday - swim
Saturday - easy run or rest
Sunday - race day

Congrats to my sis who ran a 1:48 PR today at the Shamrock Half Marathon! Wow, I'm jealous!


Long run, PR'ing, biking

For today's long run, the goal was 6 miles at 8:30 (goal race pace) and 2-4 easy, total 8-10 miles. I woke up not feeling like running so I told myself I'd just do 8 miles knowing that if I was running with the group, I'd probably do 10 anyway. It was the same route as 2 weeks ago, and similar to last week too -  a hilly 6 mile loop of Valley Forge Park and then out and back on the river trail. 2 weeks ago I did about 12.5, last week I did the second part on the bike path and did about 13.5 and today I ended up with 11 miles. Here is how my attempted race pace middle miles turned out:
the river trail is so scenic and pretty!

rain took over the area in front of the parking lot and some geese took advantage of this

warmup 9:29, 8:42
 6 miles at 8:30 (goal): 8:26, 8:40(very hilly), 8:30, 8:58 (running over the bridge always kills me), 8:32
cooldown: 9:06, 9:01, 8:53

Average pace was 8:49 which was the same as last week's run and a little slower than 2 weeks ago. While my goal pace for this 1/2 marathon coming up in my mind is 8:30, I was thinking today that I'm probably looking at around 8:40's.  My PR is 1:53 and 1:53:50 is an 8:42 pace.  Kind of a bummer.. maybe I'll run faster at the race though than in training runs. We'll have to see.  I reached 33 miles this week, highest weekly mileage in a LONGGGGG time.

So here is Abby's bike:

I haven't been out for a real ride yet, but did go around my complex a couple of times. I'm kind of afraid to go on the roads, and to get it in the car requires me to take out a carseat (kind of a pain). I was training to put it on the trainer and I don't know how with this lever in silver pictured. Anyone want to help me out with that? In addition, I have questions. For running, they tell you to dress like it's 20 degrees warmer. For biking, is it the opposite? I was FREEZING with the wind blowing at me! I know I would have eventually warmed up, but what's the temperature rule for biking? Also, I think I have about 3-4 weeks till the pool swim triathlon - will adding in one spin class a week be sufficient do you think (or one outdoor ride if I can swing it) to get me through 10 hilly miles on the course?
 I'm thinking of cutting back on one swim day and adding a bike there.


Favorite food items of the week and I got BIT

 Better than chocolate chip cookie dough - raw chocolate chip cookie balls.

 Blueberry Coconut Buckwheat Pancakes - recipe coming soon, I have to measure next time :)
  - coconut butter baked right into the center, yum yum!

Meatfree meatballs - Philly.com - these are great with tomato sauce or Vegan Vodka sauce!

4 ounces unsweetened tomato paste
2 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup seitan (wheat gluten)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the first eight ingredients in a medium bowl. Add bread crumbs and mix until well-combined.
Divide and shape mixture into eight 1-inch balls. Place the balls in the center of the parchment paper on baking sheet; fold paper over balls to enclose them entirely. Arrange wrapped balls folded side down.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Unwrap and coat with barbecue sauce. Bake unwrapped for 8 more minutes.

Carrot/Broccoli Orzo with Walnut Lentil Burgers and Dill Roasted Chickpeas (used a mix of leftover dill dressing), yum yum!

I'm pretty sure what I'm going through is - lack of sleep, PMS and hard workouts :) Thanks for the support and comments. No, I'm not pregnant!  I wouldn't be able to get through the hard workouts (a** kicking or not) if I was.  The nut balls above helped and I think a single lady cookie would help too if needed!  To add to my hormonal fun, Kara got 2 teeth at the beginning of this month (7 1/2 months) and today while eating she bit me.  I lost it completely and was hysterically crying and laughing at the same time. Oh boy!  Fun times.

Happy St Pattys day - did you make anything special today? I went to Wegmans for dinner - it was one of those days! 

Kara at 8 months old! the outfit was a little tight!

Nick at 1 month and 1+ weeks

happy st pattys

ready for a jog


I'm craving BAAAAAddd stuff - why?

Oh my gosh - the last few days I have been craving bad cookies, eating bread with butter and cheese (my pregnancy cravings!) and wanted to bake like mad (I baked some somewhat normal cookies last night but they weren't worth it).  I have to say that hemp fudge and oatmeal "cookies" aren't really doing it for me this week!  I've been as good as possible and made a smoothie when I was starving at 5pm today, but by 7/8 pm I just want a big warm chocolate chip cookie.  What gives?

This week I'm also kind of feeling the burn. I'm tired. My body is tired. I've been getting up at 4:30 so that I can get in an extra little session of weights or abs before swimming. Monday was arms, and the swim kicked me in the butt.  With the time change, it was a small group, and a faster guy swam with me and had no mercy. I was DYING.  Tuesday was the hill workout. Again, I got my a** kicked.  I actually got frustrated and wondered why I was there. What a fast group!  Today was legs and swimming - I felt sluggish this morning then had a strong dualie run with the kids in the nice weather. 
I was thinking the dualie was not worth it, but with this weather I think I am going to love it.  I was pleased to be running at a decent pace with them today!
10:11/9:36/9:13 were my mile splits for 3 miles and average pace of 9:45.

Tomorrow I might run easy instead of tempo to listen to my tired body!  I don't know what's going on - maybe I need to check my nutrition and make sure I'm eating the right things and enough of them.

What causes you to have cravings? What do you crave?


Key workout & almond butter

Less than 2 weeks till the half and I'm trying to plan out my training for the next 2 weeks. I was thinking for my long run this weekend I would do 8 to 10 with maybe 6 at goal pace?  How much would you run for your long run the weekend before the race? 8 was in my head because I always do 8 the weekend before a marathon, but my training hasn't been grueling so maybe 10?

In addition, I got into the habit of doing a key workout the Monday before a marathon - some kind of speedwork. I'm not really tapering or anything so would you do the normal hill/speed repeats that Tuesday but an easy run on Thursday instead of tempo?  What is your week before the race plan that has brought you success? 

I saw this and made it immediately.  The last batch of almonds we bought from Costco were raw and I didn't notice, and the almond butter they make it way too dry.  I guess the hint is to roast the almonds with some maple syrup. I tried roasting them but it didn't help. Whoa! Roasting them gives the almond butter such a great taste!  A recipe to try for sure!

Maple Almond Butter adapted from OSG.
I recommend you try her recipe which has more things in it - some that I didn't have and some that I just forgot to put in (vanilla, cinnamon). I omitted the salt.

  • 2 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp whole flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup 

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat. In a large bowl, mix together the almonds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Spread out almond mixture onto baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and allow the almond mixture to cool for a few minutes before placing into a food processor. Process for about 10 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30-60 seconds as needed. The mixture will be very drippy and smooth when ready.


Confidence Building Long Run

Bumper stickers coming your way - Karen, Abby and Andrea. Send me an email with your address to mail it to - tosha25italia at yahoo.   Thanks for commenting!

Today's long run turned out to be super! I was debating my plan all week. My goal was to run 9 minute miles.  If I ran with the group or my fast friend from swimming, I'd be tempted to go out too quickly with the faster people to get done faster. If I ran a slower pace, I'd probably be impatient and disappointed. I opted to run by myself - it's been so long since I've done this for a long run, and I was kind of nervous at to what pace I would hold on my own, not being motivated by a group.  I decided to do a similar run to the group run last weekend with some hill training and out and backs. At 7am, I headed out to do a loop of Valley Forge park - great hill practice for the 1/2 I'm doing in 2 weeks.  My first mile was 9:32 and I was like, oh great, this is going to be a long morning! Then I got into a groove: 8:42, 8:50, 8:43, 8:47, and 9:06. I don't know what was up with the last mile there, I felt like the GPS was wrong, I didn't feel like I slowed down!

I thought about doing one more loop of the park, it was such a gorgeous morning, but I opted to head back to where the bike path is and look for the group that arrives at 8am. My running group offers long runs starting at 7 in various locations and shorter runs at 8am always at the bike path/running trail. The running trail was too soaked to run and the group was out to do 7 miles - 3.5 out and 3.5 back. I wasn't hugely excited about this, but I knew once I got to 3.5 I would just have to turn around and go back, so it was ok.

Most of this group is training for Broad Street as beginners, so I was in the front. There was a pair of runners who took off running probably 8:15s but I kept my pace even and ran 8:57, 8:49, 8:52 and then started to fade. I was picturing a cup of gatorade and water and knew I had not drank enough water!  I didn't carry it with me and my goal was to get to the finish where there would be cups of water and gatorade!  I was fading - 9:06 then 9:05. Then I could see a shadow of another runner behind me - I didn't hear him, but I turned my head to see a guy with the barefoot shoes on.  He was my GODsend! He said I was his fish and he was chasing me down for miles... and that he was going to run with me for a bit. I ended up trying to stay with him as much as I could and finishing with him. He kept me strong - 8:56, 8:30 and 8:48 for the last half mile.  I finished feeling great! I am excited for this half marathon, I feel like I just need someone to run with me for the last 5k! I think that I can definitely run around 8:45 pace, but I think my goal might be 8:30. I think I can do it!  The only negative was I had some calf and knee pain around mile 6 - and my calf still is kind of tight. I guess stretching?

13.47 miles 1:58:55/ 8:49 pace
I wish I took pictures but I was too focused on keeping my pace! It was a gorgeous morning!


Build-a-Sign Review & Giveaway

Megan from build a sign contacted me about doing a review of a product on the site. 

My Experience
I designed 2 signs and Megan made bumper stickers for me. The signs were really fun to create, you can customize the colors, the font, the design: basically everything to make it a personalized item.  The process was really fun and easy, & the signs and bumper stickers are fun. The sign is my favorite. I had seen Rae's sign and loved it and her's was my inspiration. This was a yard sign 18 x 24 made of corrugated plastic (one sided).  It is quality material and is estimated to cost around $25.  I am super psyched to look out for it at my races this spring! Megan designed the bumper stickers that say "I'd rather be running" and have my blog address at the bottom.

My Running Signs
running signs...

The company
All of the products are 100% guaranteed. The process is made to be easy with fast shipping.  It was a pleasure to work with them!

Megan has graciously provided me with 4 bumper stickers to giveaway. Want to win one?
Leave a comment below telling me what you would create at build-a-sign.com and how much you would be willing to pay for a large sign.  Ends on Saturday - winner to be announced on Sunday.

winner - camelback and Lent

Congratulations #14 - J - selected at random by Bill (chose a random #) - please email me to claim your prize!

tosha25italia at yahoo.

Lent begins today with Ash Wednesday. I grew up going to church every Sunday, k-12 catholic school and prayers before dinner. In the last 2 years I have been at church 3 times - 2 baptisms and my cousin's wedding.  I'm not sure what kind of role model in terms of religion I want to be for my kids, but every year I do try to work on something for lent. This year my lenten things are:

* be aware of complaining and try not to do it!
* work on being a positive person as much as possible

Do you celebrate lent? Are you going to give up something or work on something? Share...


On training, vo2 max & vegan "vodka" sauce

I have been telling myself that I will sit down and make up a training plan for the upcoming races and haven't done it. Since my goal is to PR at Broad Street in 8 weeks, I'm trying to figure out how to fit in some triathlon training for the pool swim tri in 6 weeks. Honestly, I think I will bike a few times and that will be my first tri. I'm in great shape for the swim and decent running shape. After Broad Street, I can focus on the Philly tri - end of June- and try to get in an open water swim, but for now my main focus is a PR at Broad Street.
side tracked by this picture of my boy eating oat "cake" out of the PB jar

This week starts my 8 week training plan. I want to make it hard core. I feel like I have been working hard since coming back from being sick, both in the pool and on the run. In the pool, I feel like I am working hard all 3 days. Maybe I should tone that down to 2 for now with one easy day.  As far as the long runs, I want to get out there and crank out the miles and get home so they have been on the faster side.  My last two weeks of long runs have been moderate to hard efforts, and I've done both speed work and a tempo run as my other runs during the same week. I think I need to incorporate at least one or two easy runs if I am doing speed work and tempo - one can be the long run and then maybe a shorter day in between the other 2 workouts.  I can't decide if I should do speed work and a tempo run each week or maybe vary the tempo to every other week. Usually I use smart coach and they have me doing one or the other each week.  
What do you do?  What helped you to get fast? What's your ideal schedule?

My thoughts are to try to do both in the same week and see how it goes, then slow down my long runs a little bit and see how I'm doing.  I also want to make time for abs and lifting.. hmm..this could only mean getting up earlier to do so.

Monday - swim and abs
Tuesday -speedwork run
Wednesday - swim and arms
Thursday  - tempo run
Friday - swim and legs
Saturday - long run
Sunday - off

 The next challenge will be to find the time to bike. I think I'll try to fit in 2 bike rides of whatever the race distance is (oops, I don't even know) before the triathlon in April. Then in May and June I'll get in more to prepare for the longer bike ride in the Philly tri.  I'm not motivated for this at all. I just got the bike back from the store and it's ready to go!! 

One of the local colleges is doing trials for Max vo2 research. I'm not sure if I will do it - have you done it? I believe they are having anyone who participates pay for the results, so I'm not sure that I'm into giving up my time for it.

I'm a really bad food blogger. My pictures are terrible and probably don't make you want to make what I'm showing you but what can you do.

Vegan "Vodka" Sauce inspired by Sarah's recipes.

3 T nutritional yeast
1 1/2 c tomato sauce
1/3 c cashews
1/3 c almond milk or water
salt and pepper

In the blender, grind the cashews, then add water/milk until liquidy. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. I put this atop bowties and added mushrooms and black beans. It was tasty!