Week 10 – feeling ready, feeling stronger, feeling better

I have to begin by telling you all I had a GREAT last long training run (another 12 miles) this past Saturday. I felt good. I felt stronger and it made me believe I am ready for the October 6 Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon in San Jose, California!

Okay, here’s a look at my week at glance: Monday – ran 5.1 miles; Tuesday – ran 6.1 miles; Wednesday – went to the YMCA and rode bike 8.7 miles; Thursday – ran 4.3 miles; Friday – rest day; Saturday – ran 12.01 miles; and Sunday – ended up being an unplanned rest day, although I hit my 10,000 steps! (It was my son’s 20th birthday and we just hung out at home…it was a BLAST!)

Saturday’s Run

I cut about six minutes off my time from last week’s 12-mile training run, which gave me quite the boost. And although I was totally shot when I was done, I still felt great. A couple of things I learned: 1. Make sure you have enough GU energy gels on hand so you don’t run out when you need it most – on long training runs! 2. Maybe know your route before you start…some areas are much hillier than you think.  3. If you hit your mileage before you get close to home, it can be a long walk back…unless your loving husband comes and picks you up in the car!

On Saturday, I hit the 12-mile mark about 1.5 miles from home. I thought about running at least one more mile, but I was pretty tired. So, I called Al, who happened to also be on a run, but at least he was close to home. I walk about about a mile of it before Al came and got me. When I got in the car, I immediately downed the Zico Coconut Water (MY FAVORITE!) he brought for me (and I didn’t even ask, he just knew I wanted/needed it) and put my seat back and my feet up!

Here’s a look at my route and my pace for Saturday’s 12-miler:

I actually had a couple of negative splits, which I thought were kind of cool!

So, for some reason, I am more excited about this upcoming half-marathon than I was for the one we did last December in Las Vegas. I don’t know if it’s because I actually feel prepared or what, but it kind of feels like my first one. It’s hard to explain. It felt really real when the following email came through:

The countdown is one…13 days until the race!

As for my appetite and nutrition lately, I don’t know what is going on, but I CANNOT shake the whole sweets thing. I’ve been trying my hardest to stay away from high-PointsPlus value, high-sugar, high-fat foods, but it is all I crave – licorice, chocolate donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, scones, candy bars, etc. I have been limiting myself to one treat a day, but if I had it my way, I would eat two, three or four!

I’ve also been craving salty foods, which I typically don’t crave. The other day, this is what I ate for lunch:

At least one part of it was healthy! That bag of chips cost me 8 PointsPlus values (Weight Watchers), but I do have to admit, it was worth it.

At least our suppers are always good and healthy. We tend to have simpler suppers during the week – meat and veggies, taco salads, regular salads, chicken and veggies, stir fry or pork and veggies, etc. We don’t eat a lot of heavy carb foods during the week and most often, the meat, whether it’s steak, chicken, pork or hamburgers, is grilled. Well, actually, most often, the veggies are grilled also. We tend to eat a lot of bell peppers, onions, zucchini, summer squash, sugar snap peas (I usually toss these in a pan with a little bit of butter flavored cooking spray) and tomatoes (baked in the oven with a little mozzarella or asiago cheese on top).

Here’s a good example of what my supper typically looks like – simple, but oh-so-good!:

Well, it’s time to start tapering my training runs (this might be a challenge!) and I will keep working on reigning in my sweet tooth! Until next time, here’s a look at my week in pictures:

Make it a great week!

Week 9 – no races, long run, feeling GOOD!

Three weeks from yesterday (Sunday, September 15), Al and I will be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose half-marathon! I cannot believe it is almost here. What’s weirder is that I kind of feel ready…kind of!

This past week wasn’t that exciting. Well, okay, it was kind of exciting, but not too exciting because we had no races this week. And, we don’t have any races this coming weekend either – STRANGE!

Here’s a look at my week: Monday – ran 5.11 miles; Tuesday – ran 6.11 miles; Wednesday – went to the YMCA and biked 7.5 miles; Thursday – ran 6.18 miles; Friday – rest day; Saturday – ran 12.01 miles; and Sunday – biked 7.06 miles.

This past Saturday, I ran my longest training run – 12 miles – since I began my training program for this half-marathon. And to be real honest, it was actually the first time I have run that many miles at one time. Yes, I completed a half-marathon last December. BUT…I didn’t RUN the whole thing. I have yet, since I began running three years ago, to actually RUN that far without a little bit of walking. It felt good. It felt exhausting. It felt exciting. It felt scary.

This is what I did when I got back from my run and after I walked in the house, drank some water, took a couple of breaths and unloaded my gear:

I really wanted to lay on my couch or bed, but I was drenched in sweat. So, I decided that the blanket would be easy to wash and I just plopped it down on the floor and laid my tired body down. It felt so good – well, after the ceiling quit spinning! :-)

Here’s a look at my splits, which weren’t too bad, I guess:

And, here is a look at the map, which shows my route and my elevation, from my LogYourRun app I use on my iPhone (I did run some hills during this training run, which made me feel good for some reason):

I did have a goal in mind when I set out for this run – I wanted to finish in no more than two and a half hours. I was thrilled with my time when I got back – two hours, 24 minutes and 33 seconds. This made me feel good about my time for the upcoming half. I have a goal in mind – to finish AT LEAST 10 minutes faster than last year. If I keep the pace as I did this past Saturday, which I know is on the slow side, I will be able to reach my goal. I also have a goal to just finish, have fun and take it all in – the sights and the sounds and all the other runners and people!

As far as food and nutrition went this past week, I have to say I felt pretty good. I have tried a couple of new things – coconut water and Kombucha. And even though they both have Weight Watchers PointsPlus values to them, I loved them both and am very willing to spend the 2-3 PPVs on them. I have tried a couple of brands of the coconut water and have loved all of them. There hasn’t been one stand out one yet. They were all good. I have only tried the GT’S brand of Kombucha. I loved both flavors I tried – cosmic cranberry and gingerade. I can see the Kombucha becoming a part of my regular diet. YUM!

Another food item I have become addicted to is gelato, specifically the Talenti sea salt caramel. O. M. G. this is some amazing stuff! Seriously, it is the creamiest, yummiest, deliciousness you will ever eat. I can’t believe I am going to say this, but it is better – WAY BETTER – than my favorite treat at Cold Stone Creamery! It does have a lot – A LOT – of PointsPlus values – 14 PPVs per 1 cup. BUT…..it is beyond worth it. Seriously.

I will admit, I have sworn it off though, until after the half-marathon! I will eat some – probably an entire pint – after the race. At least that is my plan for now!

I have also been addicted to something a little bit healthier than gelato – mock mashed potatoes. I think I may have blogged about them before, but seriously, they are SO good. All you use is cauliflower (I used a whole head of it), fat-free cream cheese (I used two wedges of the light regular flavored Laughing Cow cheese), fat-free sour cream (I used 1/8 cup), shredded parmesan cheese (I used 1/8 cup), some salt and some garlic powder. The whole batch was a total of 3 PointsPlus values. After you cook the cauliflower (I roasted mine in the oven for a little bit and then steamed it in the microwave for a little bit more), you throw everything together in a food processor and process until smooth – or a little lumpy like I like mine! Serious goodness – healthy AND filling! Check it out:

Looks like real mashed potatoes, doesn’t it?

So, here is a look at the rest of my week in pictures:

Make it a great week everyone and thanks for taking the time to read about my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Disgusted and appalled!

This week in my Weight Watchers meetings our topic was portions and portion control. One of my members recently returned from Las Vegas and shared a story with our group. I think the entire time she spoke, my jaw – along with everyone else’s jaws – were hanging on the floor.

Heart Attack Grill.

Have you ever heard of it? I wish I never had. In a world where obesity is now an epidemic and continues to spiral out of control, restaurants such as this should not be able to open. Plain and simple, they should not exist. It is utterly disgusting and repulsive. They celebrate obesity like it’s a good thing.

I mean, seriously, HEART ATTACK GRILL??????? What kind of name is that anyway? You want your customers to HAVE a heart attack? Like this is something good? Obviously, you don’t value peoples’ lives. I am angered by this restaurant. Seriously angered. How can the owner celebrate obesity? How can the owner celebrate an unhealthy lifestyle? Why does the owner wish ill health upon customers?

So, what is this restaurant all about? Well, for starters, if you weigh over 350 pounds, you get to eat for free. Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. There is a scale to weigh the customers and it’s not in private. Oh no, it’s in-your-face in front of everyone so people can cheer you on, hoping and wishing you tip the scale over that 350-pound mark so you can eat for free. And by the way, cheering heavy people on? What? What the hell is this world coming to? Utter disgust.

The waitresses, apparently, are dressed in nurses outfits. Really? Like if someone had a heart attack they would know what to do. Don’t think so. And speaking of that, apparently some guy had a heart attack in the restaurant recently and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. Really? It was publicized like it was cool. O.M.G!!!!!!!! Give me a break. Luckily, the guy didn’t die.

Shouldn’t this be a wake-up call? Come on people…QUIT patronizing the restaurant!!!!!!! Quit celebrating obesity!!!!! Quick celebrating an unhealthy lifestyle!!!!!!

I found some pictures, via the restaurants website, that I thought I would share with you all. Really, I can’t even find the right words anymore to explain how disgusted I am. It truly is repulsive. Plain and simple.

Check ‘em out:

The outside of the building

Yep, here are the waitresses (I'll keep my comments to myself on this one!)

Apparently, this is called the quadruple burger. For real? I wonder how many Points Plus Values this has?

The outside of the menu

The inside of the menu

Can you feel my blood pressure rising? This is so utterly ridiculous. But I guess it fits in Vegas, doesn’t it?

Like P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps? Try these!

Last week, one of my Weight Watchers members gave me a recipe for lettuce wraps. The recipe was supposed to be similar to P.F. Chang’s signature lettuce wraps. Well, I am here to tell you…they were DELICIOUS! And yes, very close to the ones at the wonderful Chinese restaurant.

My guess, however, is that these are just a wee-bit healthier!

My awesomely, wonderful chef-of-a-husband made them for us today. Because I enjoyed them so much, I thought I would share the recipe with all of you. So, here you go…ENJOY!

Turkey mixture

1 lb extra lean ground turkey

8 scallions, white & green part chopped

1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained, rinsed & chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped fine

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp ginger (either from a jar or freshly grated)

1 tbsp water

2 tsp sesame oil

1 large head butter lettuce, washed, dried & leaves separated

Sauce

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp ginger (either from a jar or freshly grated)

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp garlic

1. In a large pan, brown the turkey, breaking up the pieces. Pour into a colander in the sink and drain the fat. Return chicken to pan. When cool enough to handle, break the turkey into pieces until minced.

2. Add the scallions, water chestnuts, red pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, water and sesame oil. Cook for a few minutes until the scallions and red pepper are soft. Keep warm.

3. In a small bowl, add all the dipping sauce ingredients together and mix well.

4. To assemble each wrap, spoon about 2/3 cup mixture onto one lettuce leaf, top with about one teaspoon of sauce and then roll it up and enjoy!

Makes: 8 lettuce wraps – Use about 2/3 cup mixture, one lettuce leaf & 1 tsp of dipping sauce per wrap

PointsPlus Value per serving: 2

Lettuce wraps

A couple of recipes for you to enjoy!

Hello everyone. I guess last week kind of got away from me. I had promised to post the recipe for Kale Chips and never did. Sorry about that. Well, I am posting it now, along with a  recipe for Cranberry-Orange Relish that is excellent and would make a great side dish to Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal.

Enjoy the recipes!

KALE CHIPS

2 cups fresh kale leaves

Non-stick cooking spray, preferably butter flavor

Salt, to taste

1. Preheat over to 425º.

2. Place kale leaves on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Spritz leaves with the cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.

3. Bake in the oven until crispy, about 5-8 minutes.

Makes: 1 serving.

PointsPlus values per serving: 0

This is what the kale looks like before you bake it.

This is what the kale looks like after you bake it. So delicious!

CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH

12 oz fresh cranberries

1 medium orange, cut into chunks (save half of the peeling)

1 cup Splenda

1 piece fresh ginger root (about 1 inch)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Put cranberries, orange, orange peel, Splenda, ginger and cinnamon in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.

2. Scrape into a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. You can make this relish up to 5 days ahead of time.

Makes: About 3-4 cups

Serving size: 1/4 cup

PointsPlus values per serving: 1

Cranberry-Orange Relish (photo courtesy of realmomkitchen.com)