Monday, May 30, 2011

Hiking with Cranky Quads

We were just about to drive about an hour over to the Oregon Coast for a little hike when I picked up the manfriend's fancy new smartphone to see what the weather called for. It was sunny at the moment in Eugene and promised to be so for the next few hours. The coast however, was cloudy and soon to be rainy.

We opted instead to stay in town and visit one of our local peaks, Spencer's Butte. It was part of the same trail I ran on Saturday. The trail was pretty sloppy, but there were a ton of people (and dogs) out taking advantage of the sun.


My quads weren't sure which they liked better, the downhill OR the uphill. Both were bad. I guess two days of double digit running will do that to ya! Yesterday I managed a 10 mile run (on flat trail) with some very sore quads.

This morning I rode my bike to Lifeforce Fitness for the 9 am class. Oh the beauty of having the day off - taking a class when I would normally be at my desk!


The 2.4 mile hike up to the peak is all worth it though. The views of the valley are amazing.




I was very happy to see the parking lot. Usually, it's me encouraging the manfriend on hikes, but not today. That 4.8 mile hike wasn't easy, but it was a great way to spend some time out in nature soaking up a few moments of sun.


^My shirt says "Chicks with sticks bring more game" - a reference to women's lacrosse (which I played in college)

We just got home a bit ago. The manfriend had enough time to mow the lawn and crack open a beer before the rain began. Happy Memorial Day!

On a random note: Does anyone have a trail shoe that you absolutely love? I stopped by REI today and tried on the Brooks Cascadia, Vasque and Solomon trail shoes because I need a pair for my training this summer. I'm a pronator, but trail shoes tend to be neutral. I really loved the Solomons, but I'm still deciding.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lemon Zesty Blueberry Scones

If you like blueberry and the summer tartness of a little lemon, then these scones are right up your alley. I bought a huge bag of blueberries last weekend at Costco and I had a lemon that needed to be used so I dreamt up these beauties.

This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows' Royal Wedding Scones.

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oat flour (I processed 1 cup rolled oats in food processor until flour consistency was achieved)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup non fat plain yogurt + 1 Tbsp maple syrup
3-4 tbsp non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup frozen blueberries (or fresh)
1 lemon (1 tsp zest of lemon, 1-2 Tbsp juice)
Turbinado sugar, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat. With a food processor, process 1 cup of rolled oats until a flour consistency is achieved. In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, oat flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Grate cold butter into flour mixture incorporate until just crumbly. Do not overmix.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the yogurt + maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and non-dairy milk. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. If dough is too dry, add another tablespoon of milk. Remove blueberries from freezer (unless using fresh) and stir gently into the batter until just mixed. Be careful not to overmix or they will bleed.

3. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter (or one handful) per scone onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for about 20 minutes at 375F until slightly golden in color. Makes about eight scones.

Like Angela, I didn't go to the trouble of rolling out and shaping these into a "proper" scone triangle. They still taste amazing and I really love the sweet oat flavor they have.



Next time I would try using 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, but I totally forgot I had any. Have you made scones before? I find they're often touchy because they can easily become too hard if you overmix. But these turned out perfectly.

The next scone recipe on my mind is Grapefruit Honey Yogurt Scones from Joy the Baker. Doesn't that just scream summer? Mmm...

And because it's that time of year, The Transplanted Baker's May Day Buns have been popping into my head every few days. Or perhaps it's that 10 lb bag of blueberries sitting in my freezer? Either way, I'm not complaining.

Okay, I'm off to run and then put on capris to will that sun to come out. After all, it is Memorial Day weekend! I have dreams of grilling, but I'm not sure mother nature is going to comply.

*My apologies for the flash full photos. I made these last night and it was dark. No natural night available.

A Lesson in Patience

Within the first mile of today's Ridgeline Ramble 20K, I realized what the lesson of the day would be. Patience, my friends. This race required patience with myself, fellow runners and the course.

I think I will slowly get this trail running thing as time goes on. But today, I learned that you must be patient when runners get stacked up ahead of you. Unlike road racing, there's no need to get antsy and pass the person in front of you as soon as you come upon them. While they may be going a bit slower than you'd like at that moment, it's likely that they are simply conserving energy and will pass you down the path when you're fading.

Instead of getting aggressive, I remained calm and let myself settle into the race and appreciated a slower pace to get my body going. After all, I wasn't looking to win this thing, but simply finish and enjoy a good 12 miles on trail. I was patient with myself and even walked up a few hills to conserve energy. When I did run up the hills, it was clear I wasn't gaining much on other participants, but I was expending a lot more.

The race course is one I've run on before. It includes a lot of short up and downhills, crossing a road every few miles. The miles seemed to tick away quickly. It was fun to see the crazy trail marathoners who were doing an out and back (double what I did) and cheer them on.

The weather wasn't great, but it was manageable. Temps were in the 40s and we had some sprinkles most of the race until the last mile or so when the clouds opened up. By that time, the course was downhill and then flat so I focused on using the rain as motivation to get to that finish line.

Happy

WET

Muddy Brooks - must obtain trail shoes

So, as you know, I'm a bit crazy about mileage. I had my mind set on an Americano after the race. After parking downtown at a coffee shop, I changed shirts and headed out for 2.5 extra credit miles. Not gonna lie, they were a bit fuzzy and rough.

I had plans of pairing that Americano with a pecan sticky bun, but apparently the pastry eating gurus get their coffee before 11 am and snatched them all up. Instead, I was left with an apple cider muffin. Did not meet my expectations.

I had no intentions of purchasing something with a fruit or vegetable in it. Imagine my horror when the muffin didn't taste all that good, but also contained CARROT.

Okay, off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday (and find more tastebud friendly sweets). Happy weekend!

STATS:
Time: 2 hrs
Mileage: 12.18
Avg pace: 9:52
Extra credit mileage: 2.5

Pacing: 11:49, 9:43, 11:13, 8:59, 9:19, 10:30, 11:25, 9:27, 11:26, 8:57, 8:09, 7:52 (flat and fast -get me to the finish!), 8:11 (.18 mi across the road and up the hill to finish line).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Priorities on a day off

I took today off work because a girl needs a little break now and then. Per the usual, I had a list of about 20 things I wanted to accomplish. Some got done, some didn't.

First off, I managed to knock out a 7 mile run (1.5 mi with the dog and the rest on my own) in the sun just before the rain storm began. Then it was on to errands. I've been pining over the LOFT's latest items and am pretty sick of my closet. The first thing on my list was the mall for a little shopping spree. Luckily, I had a coupon with me.


I had intentions of making it to hot yoga, but I was trying on a lot of clothes. You know, priorities.

We'll see what the manfriend thinks of the black and white printed skirt. It's a bit outside of my fashion comfort zone, but it fit really well and is super comfortable. I was thinking it would be good for work and a friend's wedding with a bright top.

A few more errands were completed and then I came home to whip up a little goodness for my tummy. I went a little overboard last weekend on veggies so I wanted to use some up before they went to waste.

I had left the house with the tempeh marinating and had already precooked the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes. When I got home, everything was baked at 425 for about 20 min (sweet potatoes and mushroom only 10 min).


I call this - plate o glory. Ingredients: asparagus, zucchini, crimini mushroom, chickpeas, sweet potato/yam, tempeh marinated in Trader Joe's BBQ sauce.

Are you a big shopper? Do you prefer to buy online or go to the store? Any fun plans for the long weekend?

As much as I browse online and obsess over buying things, it's rare that I splurge for something more than $50. A lot of my purchases tend to be smaller, but it adds up. And then somehow, I can totally justify a pair of lululemon yoga pants. I guess you could say I have a soft place in my heart for spandex and luon. ;)

Our weather is going to be pretty crappy here so I'm helping out some friends with various projects and running a 20K trail race tomorrow morning. Should be muddy! I'm also hoping to enjoy a few moments of sunshine on Sunday if it shows up.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Snapshot (or two)

Things have been busy, although not unusually so. But somehow, I can barely find the time or words to write. I'm sure you know the feeling.

I have however, been making a point to get in my workouts. If there's one thing I don't skip when life is busy, it's my workouts. I know how KEY they are to my sanity.

My morning

My buckwheat bake

My almost favorite nut butter

My latest bar craze

My outfit


P.S. There has been food making around these parts. I have plans to show you some of these things. I just have to dig up some time. Where does it GO? In the mean time, happy Thursday!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Wake Up Call of Gluteal Proportions

Well, I learned something tonight on my run. It's been a long time since I've run up some serious hills. Yup.

Sure, I did that 20 mile trail race and a marathon, but neither of those were too hilly (definitely not the marathon). I'm lucky to live in a place in which I can run on the flats at all times if I want. Unfortunately, it's just too easy to avoid the hills.

Well, thanks my acceptance into the McKenzie River Trail run 50K, I can't be avoiding those hills or trails much longer. The race is said to be fairly flat, but to be well prepared, I definitely want to be running some hills this summer.

I opted to ride last night (26 miles on the road bike - whoop, whoop!) and give the joints a rest so I could run longer tonight. I started off with a few miles of flat bark trail (Pre's Trail) and then ran over to Hendricks Park where there are some lovely hills and mud.

A gold star goes to anyone who figures out where the hills began...

Mile 1 - 8:25
Mile 2 - 8:11
Mile 3 - 8:11
Mile 4 - 8:27
Mile 5 - 8:58
Mile 6 - 10:25
Mile 7 - 10:22
Mile 8 - 9:52
Mile 8-8.55: 4:34

Let's just say that as soon as I started running UP, the rear was quick to remind me how out of practice it was with that terrain. As a result, I reminded myself to take it easy and not worry too much about the splits. I was simply happy to be able to get in a solid longer run after a long day of work.

Oh and I paid $25 to run the Ridgeline Ramble this Saturday because my glutes need more of a beating and my legs need more time on the trail. I'm hoping to just have fun and maybe run a few extra credit miles if I survive the 13 miler.

Is there a part of your running or workout routine you regularly avoid because you know it's going to hurt? Besides running hills, I like to avoid lunges because they're hard for me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bike Commuting for a Week

Several weeks ago, I recommitted myself to the Business Commute Challenge in which a local organization encourages citizens to bike, walk, carpool or telecommute for a week in May.

Last year, I think I was able to commute three of the five days, but this year, in the midst of moving into a new building, I managed to ride all five days! To be honest, I wasn't sure I could make it happen because of motivation, hassle and timing, but it all worked out. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to recap the week in riding to work and give you a few of my observations.

Because I no longer have a good place to store it at work, I wasn't able to ride my nice bike and instead rode my heavy Giant mountain bike from the high school days. While it's not perfect, it worked just fine and only took me about 5 minutes longer than it would have on my Trek road bike.

Overall, my mornings still allowed for a little exercise (yoga, weight lifting, dog walking), breakfast and lunch prep and a shower. I simply had to be more focused and get out the door by a specific time. No dilly dallying allowed.

The pros of bike commuting include: a relaxed, heart pumping way to get to and from work, not creating carbon emissions and hassle free parking.

The cons: time consuming, sweat inducing, requires minimalist packing skills which I lack, harder to do errands and inconvenient when the weather is poor.

Oh and you look a wee bit nerdy when you get to work. Friday I wore cords instead of athletic pants to ride in.


Supplies for bike commuting:
helmet
tennis shoes/cycling shoes for clip in pedals
athletic wear (so you don't sweat in your work clothes)
backpack
work clothes
wash cloth
hair brush
makeup/accessories
deodorant
ID/$$/keys
lunch & snacks
water bottle

Friday after work, I headed a few miles out of my way just to stop by the commute challenge booth to get some snacks and sign up to win some cool prizes.



One of the tv stations was there filming this kid riding the bike that powered the blender.

Observations this week: Riding home from work is perfect because it allows you to decompress after a long stressful day. I don't like carrying a lot of "stuff" with me. Cycling leads to a slower paced life. I can't just stop at a random store to browse for no reason or pick up extra items at the grocery store. It's all about the essentials.

Riding to and from work each day also brought me a different view of my community and I found myself feeling more in touch with the city and the people because there wasn't the barrier of a car between me and the world.

Overall, I enjoyed my week bike commuting although it won't be a full time method of transportation for me. There are days when I have errands to run after work, dressy meetings or events that require me to have a vehicle. And honestly, I also like the convenience of a car at times. It's what allows me to pack 52 things into one day. ;)

When you use alternative modes of transportation, do you find yourself thinking differently and noticing things you've never seen before? I commend those of you who walk, bike or bus it regularly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Time to Buckle Up

Yesterday I learned what the summer will be like. It's all about fitting in miles when and where possible. I had my mind set on getting in my long run while in Cottage Grove to visit my mentee. As a result, I opted to run 10 miles around Cottage Grove lake before heading to her soccer game.

After soccer, my mentee and I walked around town, smelled the flowers and went through this old covered bridge.



Before I knew it, it was time to head out for my second run of the day along the lake before I got back on the interstate. These legs pounded out 5.5 miles. Don't mind the blurred photos - I must have smudged the lense with my sweaty self.

I was pretty happy with my matchy matchy Garmin and Nike running top.


This flurry of activity resulted in a fairly tired, hungry sass. But the day was busy so I drove back to Eugene to help two friends move. Luckily, neither of them have a ton of stuff.

By the time I was finished, it was 4 pm and all I could think about was pizza. I headed directly to our local gourmet grocery and ordered their take on a Hawaiian pizza and a six pack to go. I'm pretty sure the checkers realized I was in that 'so tired I'm grumpy' stage. It happens to the best of us.

STATS
Run #1 : 10 miles @ 8:19 pace
Run #2: 5.5 miles @ 8:04 pace
Total miles: 15.5 miles
Total time running: 2 hrs 7 min

Total servings of Barbara's Cheese Puffs consumed: ~ 3

I'm slowly realizing just HOW MUCH running I have ahead of me this summer. Time to buckle up and hang on for the ride!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Love Grown Friday

Happy sunshine Friday! Last night's speed workout was no joke after Wednesday's four workouts. We did a warm up, drills and then 12 x 400m on the track at 5k PR pace. I actually liked this because it was manageable and we got 40-60 seconds rest after each one.

This morning, I decided to treat my body to a little ab work followed by an easy 30 min run. Sometimes the easy workouts feel like a massage for the body. Know what I mean?

Look what came in the mail yesterday! I heard so much talk on blogs and twitter about Love Grown Foods granola that I just had to snag some. I bought: sweet cranberry pecan, cocoa goodness and apple walnut delight.

By FAR, my favorite of the three is sweet cranberry pecan. It's cinnamony, has a great flavor with the pecans and is full of large chunks of granola. A few great things about this product include: their homemade fresh taste, certified organic gluten free oats, real ingredients and the low sugar and fat content.


^The view from my front yard this morning.

Okay, off for my fifth day of biking to work for the Business Commute Challenge! Any fun plans for your Friday night or the weekend? Have you ever bought anything because another blogger recommended it?

I still can't get over how cute the Buddha Bowls are that I bought from Kath Eats' Open Sky store. I love them, even if they did cost an arm and a leg.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kind of like 4th Meal...

except totally different. You know what I'm referring to, right? Taco Bell commercials. Blech. I used to eat that stuff back in high school. I stopped eating fast food around my senior year and never looked back.

Anyway, rather than a 4th meal, I just got done with my 4th workout of the day. Call me insane, but I know a few of you out there who would gladly join me on all four of them.

So here's the breakdown:

Workout #1: 35 minutes of alternating Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat Boost Metabolism dvd w/ Fitnessista.com's strength circuits (including ~30 burpees, mt climbers, jump squats w/ weights, tricep dips, push ups, abs, etc)

Workout #2: I rode my bike to and from work today for the Business Commute Challenge (still goin' strong on day #3)

Workout #3: 4 mile easy run at lunch (couldn't resist thanks to warm weather)

Workout #4: Lifeforce Fitness (a toughie filled with burpees, lots of shoulders and a killer squat circuit)

In other words, there's a reason I look disheveled, yet satisfied.

We have some cool shadows coming through the house. Gotta love the sun!

Don't worry, I immediately blended up a half pint green protein monster to hold off the hunger beast before the manfriend gets home for dinner.

Inside my smoothie was:
2 ice cubes
1/2 frozen banana
handful of frozen berries
handful fresh local spinach
1/2 scoop rice protein powder
1 T sunflower butter

Random factoid: The manfriend calls me "half pint" because after one beer (or glass of wine), I'm totally done for. What can I say? I'm a cheap date.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

80 and Fabulous!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated my grandpa's 80th birthday on a sunny afternoon with most of my mom's side of the family. I'm lucky to have such active and vibrant grandparents and am thankful for their presence in my life.

At 80 years old, my grandfather Art (gramps to me) takes daily walks with my grandma, can operate his 25' sailboat in any weather, tells a few good (or bad) jokes and even maintains his ministry work with enewsletters, weddings and memorial services.

My grandparents are travelers. While they reside in Corvallis, OR (about 45 min from Eugene), they spend about four months of the year in the Puget Sound where they have a few rustic cabins and an outdoor kitchen. And when they are home, they are often planning a road trip somewhere in the near future.

One of the keys to a good party: easy, delicious food. Gourmet pizza and my favorite Costco turkey cranberry wraps. Mmm...


My mom put a bunch of great photos up of my gramps. See that chubby cheeked orange hoodie kid on his shoulders? That's me!

Bad bangs and crimped looking hair? Me again!

My grandparents love their red wine and celebrate happy hour with fresh veggies, crackers and dip regularly.

It's not a family get together without a little brotherly wrestling.


The grandkids, spouses and gramps


Oh and I almost forgot, this was the afternoon of the day I ran the Eugene Marathon course. Surprisingly, I didn't even feel like I had pounded out 26.2 earlier that day! I'll take that as a good sign.

Happy 80th Birthday, Gramps! I hope to be as vibrant, youthful and embracing life just as much as you and grams do. My favorite part is that in addition to their frequent getaways, they always plan one trip a year to Baja, Mexico to soak up the sun, enjoy daily siestas and eat delicious Mexican food.

Doesn't a beach vacation sound fabulous right now? We're still having rain and cool temps here in Oregon. I'm so ready for summer weather to be here.