Sunday, February 27, 2011

Necessary Accessories for a Long Run

I'm not gonna lie, it was kind of nice having the manfriend gone. I could have whatever I wanted for dinner, sleep in the middle of the bed, watch a girly movie, be gone for hours at a time doing whatever random errands I chose, etc. But, I am looking forward to having him back.

A few important things were accomplished this weekend.

1. knocked out a 15 mile training run (1/2 of it was on hills) in 20 degree weather
2. took a 10 min ice cold path after said run (holy bejesus it was cold)
3. swam laps (hello, sprint tri, I will not drown!)
4. experimented with homemade cinnamon toast crunch
5. bought a pair of skinny jeans at Saint Vincent dePaul (2nd hand store) for $5
6. spent about 2 hrs doing cleaning and laundry

I thought it would be fun to share with you the necessary accessories I've been using on my long runs. Saturday was one of our coldest days here in Eugene, OR. It was 18 degrees when I was getting ready to leave the house!

I made the decision to run yesterday instead of risking precipitation this morning. It was nice to have it out of the way. Plus, I could meet up with the runners for our usual Sunday run and coffee afterward.

The gear includes: Smartwool socks (best ever), fruit punch Gatorade (yum), old pair of Brooks Adrenaline (don't want to mud up my newer ones on the trails), Nathan handheld water bottle (love the zipper pouch), Smartwool hat (do you see a trend?), strawberry Clif Shot Bloks, Nike running gloves (could have used mittens this weekend), Native sunglasses (feel like I'm not wearing anything) and the ipod (to forget about the misery I'm putting myself through).

*It should be noted that I forgot to add my Garmin to the photo. Whoops! It definitely plays a vital role in my training!

**If you represent one of the companies above, I'm looking for some items to add to a swag bag giveaway to readers! Email me at laurenjpeters at gmail dot com if you'd like to contribute.

One of the interesting things I realized this weekend is that I freak myself out over these solo trail runs even though I've done these distances time and time again for marathon training. Throw in some hills and dirt and all of a sudden it feels like a new ball game! But ultimately, I shouldn't over think these runs because a positive attitude goes a long way.

What running accessories are most important or helpful to you? My Garmin and the Shot Bloks are the two that play the most crucial role on my long runs.

Are you usually excited for your long runs/tough workouts or nervous/terrified?
Even though I know I can accomplish them, I'm almost always nervous.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Friday

This week's been a little random so I thought I'd share.

A Tuesday night spent wine tasting with the girls is extra special because it's Tuesday and heck, I rarely go out on a week night. And, King Estate has a beautiful tasting bar.

And the wine isn't bad either. I ended up taking home a bottle of the 2009 next pinot noir.

Yesterday, we got a bit of snow that the rest of the country sees more frequently. Around here, a few inches of snow closes down most of the schools because we don't have the proper infrastructure to clear the roads quickly and people just don't know how to drive in it. With a little sun, it was mostly gone by the afternoon.

While the snow is no longer falling, we're still having a COLD streak. I did an easy 3 miler this morning in 20 degree temps. Yikes! I know, I know, I shouldn't complain. Next week we'll be back to rain and 40 degree temps.

I made these lemon-blueberry muffins this morning (with a touch extra sugar). Mmm...the perfect breakfast muffin!

This guy is spending the weekend at a bike show in Austin, TX. I'm jealous of the 70-80 degree temps they're having.

It should also be mentioned that this guy ate 18 servings (well, 17 - I had one) of these Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion chips in 24 hrs. Yup, he polished off the bag. Unbelievable.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I'm looking forward to a weekend of doing whatever the heck I want. But don't you worry, I have a long list prepared. Who's watching the Oscars? I'll probably watch, but I have only seen a few movies that are nominated so I'll be tuning in more for the dresses.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finances and Shopping go together like...

You guys love to hate hills, eh?! Well, a few of you actually love 'em. Crazies! It was fun to read all of your responses. Anywho, on to fashion!

Something dawned on me the other day as I was browsing through my February Glamour during lunch. I saw all these cute outfits and suggestions for the perfect laid back date outfit (heels, jeans and a cute bomber jacket) and yet, I didn't really want any of them.

Don't get me wrong, I find myself lusting after E of Academichic's new Banana Republic Dress or Linda of Rose a la mode's DKNY watch, Anthropologie necklace and AE jeans but I'm not rushing off to the mall in search of these things. I mean, I already tried on the AE skinny jeans, but they didn't really fit me the same.

Alas, the more serious I become about saving, the more I realize I don't need that STUFF. Sure, I'd like another pair of jeans, but my bank account likes those funds more.

And honestly, I'm trying to woo my fashion envied self with thoughts of a trip to Greece or Italy or Ireland someday! I mean really, who needs another pair of jeans or shoes when you could take the trip of a lifetime?

While my three week European Adventure was amazing, it also left me lusting after more international travel. My dream trips include a) the manfriend and I biking/traveling through Europe during the Tour de France and catch a few days of the action b) hiking around little towns in Greece, soaking up the sunshine and jumping into that bright blue ocean c) traveling through Ireland and d) laying on a tropical white sandy beach, hiking and enjoying fresh food and fruity drinks all week.

It's not like I have it all figured out, but when my cravings for new clothes get bad, I remind myself of a few things:

1. The number of JCrew online SALE purchases that have resulted in things I can't or don't wear often (too big, weird color, not the same quality as it appeared online or in catalog)

2. Instead of searching for hours online, head to the store! When I shop in stores I often find that things don't fit the way I thought they might from browsing online. This means that for me, going into the stores is actually more helpful and results in LESS money wasted because I realize that a specific top or skirt just doesn't fit my body right or isn't worth the price. Additionally, sometimes I just need to get out and try some clothes on. Simply the act of trying on the latest designs makes my heart happy!

3. Remove yourself from their mailing list. Really, it works! I unsubscribed from JCrew and now I don't even think about heading over to their site. Craaaazy! But their catalog is pretty beautiful so I always spend a few minutes to page through it.

4. Your spouse, friends and family are more important. As a single gal, I didn't think much of zipping off to Tar-get or the mall after work/working out because I had no one to get home to. I could easily shop without too much guilt. But now, I'd rather be home with the manfriend and the pup watching House Hunters than sifting through overpriced clothing.

5. There is more than enough clothing at second hand stores or resale shops. Don't make the problem worse. Basically, I give myself a guilt trip about wanting new things. It works.

6. I realize the marketing tool in it all. Whatever the sale is or the gimmick or the buy one, get one half off...I just remind myself that unless I would buy it full price, the sale probably is more a trick than anything.

7. You want to be someone in control of your money so you can travel on that dream vacation someday.

So, those are a few of the tricks that work for me. Some of them might seem pretty ridiculous, but for someone who has been semi addicted to shopping in the past (shopped when I was depressed, bored, mad, etc), these tools have worked. Do you have any great tips of the trade to share?

And with that, my favorite fashion blogs: Kendi Everyday, Rose a la mode, lizzypunch, Academichic & Sidewalk Chic. Do you have any to add to the list?

I also wanted to say THANK YOU again for your reflections on the obesity rate and exercise in our country. I realize it's a serious issue and also find that living in Eugene, OR AKA Tracktown, USA where there are so many people being active and seeking out quality food, it's less obvious although still prevalent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hills: Love or hate?

On my lunch break as I was trudging up a hill to do my short Wednesday trail run, I thought "do I love this right now or hate it?" One second I'm cursing the hill at how slow I'm running and the next I find myself saying "It's okay, this is slowly getting easier." and "At least this is really good for building my glute strength back up." And then out of nowhere "Oh, this is fun!" <--This is usually reserved for the downhills in which I feel like I'm flying.

Love 'em or hate 'em, they're supposedly pretty darn good for not only strengthening your hill running but also increasing your speed on the flats!

A few ways to increase speed
Top ten ways to improve your race performance
To race well on hills you've gotta train on hills
How to learn to love hills

I have to thank Michelle for getting me a little more focused on the hilly trails. Because I joined her on some fun trail runs, I was inspired to run more toward and up the hills (than away from them) and ultimately sign up for that 20 mile trail race. While it hurts A LOT at the time, it feels so good when you're done. I guess that's the case with anything that is difficult or time consuming.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Food for Thought

Did you know...

"Between 1970 and 2010, energy intake has increased by over 600 calories per day. Grain-based desserts (for example, cakes and cookies) are the highest ranking contributor to energy intake in the US population, while sodas and sports drinks provide the highest source of calories to adolescents, followed closely by pizza."

Source and more info on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report

I saw this quote in Health magazine and honestly, wasn't that surprised. But I thought it would be fun to share with you all.

My thoughts on it: While we may eat a lot more, I think we're also exercising more as a society (and therefore burning off a lot of those extra cals). Well, as a healthy blogging community anyway. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it feels like exercise has become much more mainstream and expected nowadays. I know our obesity rates are ever increasing, but I think that stems from what people are being taught at a young age.

And soda intake by kids...don't get me started. They should be drinking water or milk! I rarely drank soda as a child. We were a very low sugar intake house (no sugar cereals or little debbies lying around) so I really had no opportunity to get addicted to it. I occasionally had Root Beer during our family Friday pizza night. Now, I probably have half a soda in an entire year. I'd just rather get my high fructose corn syrup elsewhere (or nowhere actually).

So yeah, America, let's work from day 1 to make sure we're setting healthy examples for our kids by practicing what we're preaching.

And finally, those cookies and cinnamon roles are part of my life that I truly value. If I had to give up some of those baked goods, life just wouldn't be as sweet. ;) And we know I make a healthified pizza. It can be done.

What's your take on our increased calorie consumption and America's obesity epidemic? Do you do anything personally to help the cause?

I know as someone passionate about healthy lifestyles, I always try to be encouraging and non judgmental when a coworker or acquaintance inquires about a new exercise routine, general advice, healthy food options, etc. What I know from personal experience is: no one will change because you tell them to. They have to want to change first.

*I'm not a registered dietician, but am simply someone who is passionate in talking and learning about healthy living, nutrition and exercise.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Italian dinner a la Trader Joe's

The manfriend called for a meaty sauce yesterday when we were meal planning at Starbucks. So during our shopping trip to Trader Joe's this afternoon, I picked up the necessities.

We also attempted to mimic this amazing garlic bread we were drooling over on one of the Food Network shows. Ingredients included: olive oil, garlic cloves (an entire bunch!), basil, oregano, parmesan, salt and pepper. The show didn't specify amounts so I just kind of threw it all together and the manfriend carefully spread it inside our whole wheat baguette before baking.

Her version (with a few more pieces of garlic bread added later)

And his version (round 2, post broccoli consumption). Carb load it up!

We both enjoyed this meal, however the meat sauce was too salty for both of us. Because meat like this often has plenty sodium, I'd probably make my own marinara in the future with canned crushed tomatoes and spices.

The garlic bread was mighty tasty (and garlicky), but there's still room for improvement.

When I look back at all the ingredients for this meal, nearly everything but the broccoli and spices came from Trader Joe's. I love when that happens.

Our weekend went by way too fast, but it was nice to see some sunshine around these parts. Saturday we spent most of the day at manfriend's first road race of the season (50 brutal, windy miles). I even did my own brick workout including a 14 mile ride and a 3 mile run while he raced.

Sunday, I ventured off with the runners for 2 hours of trail running. I completed 12 miles, which is just what I was hoping for. Next weekend I'm hoping for a 14 miler. The legs are feeling surprisingly well today after such an effort. Perhaps the slower pace and cushion of the trail had a part to play in my recovery?

Do you make special Sunday dinners? I enjoy picking things that might take a bit longer to prepare and are flavor explosions in the mouth. It's also fun to have my sous chef to help with the preparations and general kitchen atmosphere. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Casual Friday and a Severe Migraine


Have you guys seen the video of the news reporter, Serene Branson who had a severe migraine on camera? As the manfriend and I watched it last night, her gibberish reminded us a LOT of what happened to the manfriend the night we went to the hospital when I thought he was having a stroke.

Very interesting to see all the news and research about it. It reassures me that we did the right thing by going to the hospital to rule out a stroke or anything more serious.

Now on to Casual Friday!

Fridays are caaaasual around these parts. Jeans are permitted so it's fun to mix up the routine beyond the usual black slacks, a sweater and Dansko clogs. And some Fridays, I have a bit too much fun trying to take a good photo of my outfit.

For some reason, I tend to get a bit more creative on Fridays than I do the rest of the week. Maybe it's because I'm more comfortable with these clothes, or maybe it's because I know it doesn't matter as much if the look isn't all put together. I also tend to wear bigger/chunkier earings on Fridays than other days. What different style choices do you make for your Fridays?

This look was from a few Fridays ago when I decided to put my Old Navy plaid shirt dress (tied up in the back to be a shirt) under my short sleeved Ann Taylor wool sweater paired with my trusty Seven jeans. It's fun to mix up patters and fabrics, but I'm NOWHERE near the pro levels of these chics.

Cheers and Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Food should be fun

Oh man, I'm enjoying a serious content belly at the moment. As a result, I thought I'd share some of the good eats we've been having around here.

The perfect chocolate chip cookies (with nearly 2 sticks of butta)

Personal flat out wrap veggie pizzas

Sunday night I made cherry chip cupcakes for the coworkers. I made them slightly healthier by using some yogurt to sub for 1/2 the oil and 1 flax egg for 1 of the 3 eggs.

Manfriend's white chocolate mocha from Perugino Tuesday night. I LOVE when they make a cool design on top.

And finally, last night's ricotta/spinach/onion stuffed manicotti.

The gooeyness makes my heart happy.

After looking at some of these delish eats from the past two weeks, it's a good thing a) I've also eaten a few salads and green smoothies and b) I've exercised a decent amount.

Let's be honest, I love food. I believe meals and snacks should be tasty and fun to make. If cooking for yourself or a loved one feels like a chore, find a recipe you've been drooling over, spend a Sunday afternoon and just get your cook on. Don't stress over it. Enjoy the process and ultimately, the finished product.

Yesterday was flurry of action: biked to and from work on my heavy ole mountain bike (5.75 mi each way), ran 4 miles of trails at lunch and then finished the day with another crazy Lifeforce Fit class. My calves are begging for mercy (or more foam rolling).

What one fun recipe/ concoction have you put together lately?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finances: you will be mine!

I'm feeling better after a little date with my finances on Sunday. Remember how I told you my three finance goals for February?

1. have set up a account for myself (and the manfriend if he so wishes) and will begin funneling all my finance info into that thing and begin understanding the tool.

2. have completed and filed my taxes (seriously, there's no reason for me to wait every year. I have no kids or properties to make things tricky.)

3. have created a budget for the manfriend and I (ex. 30% to mortgage, 30% to bills, 10% to groceries, 20% to savings, 10% fun). Our budgets don't have to follow the same amounts or areas, but will be focused on what each of us needs to put $ toward.

That's right, I finished my taxes! It was surprisingly easy to do online (I usually go the paper route) and I was able to file my federal and state taxes for free. I also have determined what my refund will go toward before it hops into my bank account. No sense letting it sit there to be spent!

The manfriend and I also worked a bit on #3 and have a better vision for where we're headed. It makes me feel so much better. I think we're both sleeping better already.

A few fun things around the blogosphere:
Boston Qualifying standards get tougher (there goes my chance to BQ)!
Buying a townhouse at 22!
My latest fashion crush How can you not love that hair and those silver Tom's?
Have fabulous hair by NOT washing it!
How does a week in Paris for your 30th bday sound?!

Coming up: How I'm going to get my rear in gear and train for that tri and 20 mile trail race. Um, yeah. I'm trying to remind myself I prefer to be totally prepared for races, but it's a bit tough when the weather just turned to crap and these things require some serious time outside.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Take it from someone who's been there

For a long time (far too long), I didn't love myself for both what I was physically and who I was internally. For that long period of time, I let that hold me back and believed no one else would love me either. And perhaps I believed I wouldn't be able to let anyone inside the brick wall I'd built around my heart.

But contrary to what some may believe, fear is not the answer.

(card I made for the manfriend)

(birthday flowers I forgot to take to my mom last weekend)

In the name of Valentine's, let go of all your hang ups. Whatever it is, give yourself and love a chance. Believe that what you're searching for is out there. After all, they say if you believe something, it will transpire. The power is yours.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Revelations in Hot Yoga

This morning I met two friends for hot yoga at a newish studio, Zenspot. Audrey (in from Monterey) and Laura were both roommates from college. We went to a 75 minute hot yoga flow class (which I much preferred over Bikram).

It's been a while since I've attended hot yoga, so I was reminded how much mental strength it takes to get through an entire class of 100+ degree temps while bending, flexing, holding and dripping away.

I walked into a class where I knew I wouldn't do everything right. I looked in the mirror and saw someone who was strong and completing the poses to the best of her sweaty ability. I took water/sweat wiping breaks when I needed them. And I was perfectly okay with it. I didn't judge others in the room, I didn't care when I couldn't stay in the pose the entire time, I simply enjoyed the detox to its fullest.

So in the spirit of the impending Valentine's holiday, my suggestion to you is: once in a while, make a date with yourself. Plop down the $20 drop in fee. Do not expect perfection. Smile.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Impromptu 5K

Holla! It's Friday!

Yesterday afternoon our speed coach sent the Fastrunnerz/Flyers a quick email about our workout for the evening changing. As you know, every Thurs (whether I like it or not), I meet up with a bunch of other runners to do a speedy workout lead by a few elite runners (like full time training for the Olympics type athletes).

Well, the new plan had us meeting at a local park by the river to run this 5k put on each month by the local Eugene Track Club (who sponsors some of the elites). My brain and my body wasn't quite sure it was ready for a 5k, but I did what I had to.

I registered with 10 min to go before the race and then jogged around for a half mile so these hamstrings wouldn't be screaming at me 1 mile in. I told myself "you will run this thing easy. no hammy issues tonight."

Alas, the legs took off and I just followed. Mile 1: 7: 24, Mile 2: 7:10, Mile 3.1: 8:30. Mile 3 was a bit slower because I didn't have a headlamp and the final straight before the turn to the finish had a lot of cracks in the pavement and it was pitch black. I didn't really want to face plant BEFORE the finish line.

All in all, a 22:24 for one of my faster 5ks in the dark and unprepared! I'll take it.

And with that, I bid you HAPPY FRIDAY! I have plans for running, finance organization, vacuuming and hanging out with a few friends who are here from out of town on my list for the weekend.

Hamstring update: The right hammy is crazy tight. Foam rolling helps (when I remember to do it), but it feels like I need to begin enlisting serious measures. Like a massage, sitting on a lacrosse ball during work to release the tension, see a chiropractor or go back to my physical therapist.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh my breakfast!

Let's get straight to it. These days I've been a little breakfast obsessed. I'd say it's my favorite meal to prepare and eat every day. Dinner is fun, but a little more complicated because I feel like I have to make something new and creative all the time.

Green smoothies for days I need an extra kick of green (or am going to be eating lots of bread/carbs that day)

Hot or cold oats almost ANY day because I can do so much to change the flavor depending on my preference that day (cinnamon, banana, blueberries, pumpkin, coconut, etc)

Cold cereal with a drizzle of pb for mornings I need to get out the door!

And my most recent expiriment - Ashley's breakfast bake!

Oh and do you remember how I did NOT enjoy overnight oats last spring? Well, surprise, surprise - I actually prefer them to hot oats these days! I usually prep them when I wake up and eat them an hour or so later.

What's your oat preference: hot or cold? What is your favorite weekday breakfast?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

So, I guess I should train...

Last week, in the matter of 15 minutes, I signed up for TWO upcoming races. One I have been planning on running. The other, I had no intention of doing.


But the time has come, I'm going to do a freaking triathalon if it scares the hell out of me. Granted, I'll be swimming a wee 500m in a pool and then hopping on a bike for 12 miles and running a 5K. But in my book, this counts as a triathalon. If I never want to do an open water tri, I don't have to. Case closed.

This tri is a pretty big local race just 45 minutes north of Eugene. A lot of the runners have done it before and love it. And the thing sells out in less than 2 hrs so when the manfriend emailed me to say "WHAT HAVE I DONE?!" I jumped on the bandwagon.

Now on to the running race. The one I feel semi prepared for mentally and physically.

I'll be running my first LONG trail race ever. 20 miles. Peterson Ridge Rumble, here I come.

The website claims it's a gradual 10 miles uphill and then 10 miles back downhill when you turn around, but frankly I'm totally prepared to have my as$ handed to me. Thank the lord I'm not doing the 40 mile race!

Anywho, I've been running long(ish) on the weekends so I guess I better really start upping the miles if I want to run this thing without wanting to hurl or phone a massage therapist mid race. Oh and I almost forgot to mention, these races are just a week apart in early April!

And on that note, I realize I've been less workout/running focused these days on the blog. What do you guys think about it? More running? Less running? Tell me what you want!

Also, my stomach has been a hungry beast today. I have no idea why. I only biked to and from a coffee shop yest (took the day off work), did an hour of Dave Farmar yoga, and ran 5 FAST miles with the manfriend and runnerz. Today was a semi rest day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Portland Tour de Food

This weekend we headed up to Portland for a little getaway. My brother lives there so it's nice to be able to see him and get a free night's stay. Friday night we headed north and made it in time for some delicious fresh pasta and relaxing with the bro and his girlfriend.

Saturday was a day of delicious eats. The four of us started the day off right with one of my favorite restaurants, Mother's Bistro. We shared one of their gooey cinnamon rolls (I can't resist) before ordering our meals.

We took a little walk to the mall to digest the food and get some duds (pants for the bro, sweatshirt for the manfriend and shoes for me). Then we headed to the Hawthorne area for some walking and more FOOD. I grabbed some fresh red pepper pasta from Pastaworks and an apple while drooling over their gorgeous displays of fine food. I don't know how you big city livin' people stay away from all of these temptations!

After a little Por que no? (delicious shrimp tacos and salad), we checked into our hotel downtown Portland so we could walk around and enjoy the city more. Weather was a bit cloudy with mild sprinkles, but not enough to stop us.

A dinner of appetizers and sweet views was enjoyed from the Portland City Grill's bar. Eats included pork sliders for the man, chicken rice bowl, california roll and salad rolls to share.

Then on to Henry's (I love this restaurant) for a few more drinks, a casual yet classy tavern atmosphere and a margherita flatbread pizza. Tummies happily stuffed. :)

I do love me a big city lit up at night.

The next morning I was in serious need of water and a decent sweat. Rather than heading out in the drizzle, I went to the awesome hotel gym to crank out some running miles, elliptical work and some abs. The heat was on in the room so I got a serious sweat on and it felt sooo good.

And no Tour de Food would be complete without one final carbolicious breakfast before leaving the city. Creme brulee french toast for him and blueberry pancakes for her. Coffee for both.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more running to do. I'm not looking at the scale until next week. :)