Running & Eating & Reading, Oh My!
Happy Monday, friends!
I know what you’re thinking: new things, Vanessa? running, eating, reading? That’s basically all you do. And you’re right, but this past weekend was dedicated to mixing things up when it comes to half marathon training, upping my mileage, meal prepping, and eating well.
Here’s a plethora of weekend snapshots that won’t look like my same old photo updates.
A New Lunch Box
Don’t roll your eyes! When it comes to packing your meals during the work week, having a nice, quality, and sturdy lunchbox can ramp up the pack-your-own-lunch enthusiasm factor.
Nick surprised me with this BuiltNY lunch box, something I’d been eyeing for a while. I used it for the first time on Friday, and I’m in love. It zips and folds and is just my favorite. It has the perfect amount of room, isn’t too bulky, and blends in with my black tote bag. Ding! Now snacking and eating right on the go is that much more fun.
Reigniting My Training
Saturday morning the man and I sat down with out post-breakfast coffee and mapped out a good down-to-the-wire training plan for our upcoming Platte River Half Marathon (four weeks away!).
Previously, I’d been following this type of regimen:
- 2 easy runs a week (usually around 2 – 4 miles)
- 1 interval/tempo run a week (solidly 2 – 2.5 miles)
- 1 long run a week (starting at around 6 or 7 and slowly increasing until the race)
Well, that just ain’t cutting it anymore. I want to get a little more serious about my running, which means it’s time to upgrade from 4 runs a week to 5. My new plan:
- 3 easy runs a week (4-5 miles, most likely weeknight Wash Park romps)
- 1 interval/tempo run a week (3 miles)
- 1 long run (starting at 8 miles yesterday)
This past week was the first time I attempted this new plan:
- Monday: 3.1 easy miles in LA
- Tuesday: 4 miles down Rodeo Drive
- Wednesday: OFF
- Thursday: 2.5 miles of my treadmill interval workout
- Friday: OFF
- Saturday: 4.5 miles of easy running (below)
- Sunday: 8-mile long run
I’ll expand upon all of this later in this post! 🙂
New Running Gear!
Nick’s had an Under Armor gift card for a while now and offered it up to me since all my running tights (especially the warmer-weather capris) are a few sizes too big these days. After breakfast and our training-planning session, I needed a few extra minutes to digest, so I perused the Under Armour website.
After much deliberation, I chose the Women’s Fly-By Run Legging. They have great reviews, are light and airy for warmer weather, and they’re a good neutral black to go with various running attire. I can’t wait until they arrive! Once I hit the “Submit Order” button, I had so much motivation to go for my run that I almost sprinted out the door.
A New Outlook on Easy Runs
Like I’ve mentioned here and there, a lot of what should be my “easy runs” have turned into stressful, anxious runs because I’m trying to make every run fast and about pace. It’s had the opposite effect: causing me to not relax and thus sabotaging my progress.
Saturday morning, after Nick went to run at North Table (he’s training for a palsy 100-miler… amateur!), I decided I needed to get my head in the right place before attempting my easy 4.5-mile run around Wash Park.
I Googled and YouTubed “the importance of easy runs” and found a multitude of advocates on the subject. After hearing marathoners and ultra-runners tout the importance of running about 2 minutes per mile slower that race pace on easy runs, I was ready to run with my Garmin and focus on going slowly (10:30 pace).
I am so happy to report that it was one of my favorite runs recently! I relaxed, got into a groove, and had such a runner’s high during the last mile that I was saying “Good morning!” and “Cute pup!” to almost everyone I passed. That’s how you know you’re onto something, folks. And that is why we run!
A New Bagel Combo
One hot shower later, I was ready for a snack. Because I was traveling last week and then staying predominantly at Nick’s place, my fridge was empty… and I mean EMPTY. Thankfully I scored a whole wheat bagel to take home from the office on Friday, and it was calling my name after my run.
I thought I had some eggs in my fridge for a runny-egg-and-bagel scenario, but lo and behold, I did not. It was such a disappointment. I persevered, though, and found some butter and fig spread (left over from our dinner of little things!). You guys, that combo is fantastic. It more than hit the spot… and it was hard to leave the couch in my pink, old-lady robe!
A Very Blue Outfit
I finally got the ambition to get dressed to head over to Nick’s. Enter the most ridiculous outfit you’ve ever seen: a blue Florida Gators pullover (go Gators!), my Christmas-themed Colorado Threads leggings, my neon blue and yellow Asics, and a wet-hair bun. You can only do so much, guys. I had to preserve energy for a massive meal-planning session. The man and I want to get our eating super on-point, both in taste and in nutrition (for running and overall health).
Meal Prep Overload
‘Twas the weekend of gift cards! Nick received a free $100 to King Soopers, which inspired us to load up on bulk pantry items for the long haul.
This page only confirmed our pantry goals. We ended up getting bulk quinoa, barley, arborio rice (for risotto dishes), pasta, ground flax seed (for smoothies), flour, and more:
On top of the nonperishable pantry stuff and our typical breakfast and snacky items, we also chose some fun recipes for our lunches and dinners this week that are completely new to us: a mushroom and spinach lasagna, and a pearled-barley Caprese salad. Yum!
A Nail-on-the-Head Craving
Also on our grocery list were items for that evening’s dinner. Nick wasn’t sure what he was craving, so he asked me what I’d like. My answer came quite quickly: salmon with a whole wheat pasta tossed with zucchini and spinach! Very specific, but also very spot-on.
I put the pasta together while the man made the salmon. I think my time in LA (and that amazing sushi dinner) inspired a renewed love for seafood.
The finished product was beautiful, delicious, and gone in about 3.2 seconds.
Fueled well by pasta and salmon (and starting Travis Macy’s The Ultra Mindset; An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life), Nick and I ventured out to the Flatirons Trailhead near Boulder for our long run Sunday morning. It was a beautiful day, mid-50s and sun shining. However, we didn’t realize the winds would be so brutal. I’m pretty sure there were 40- and 50-mph wind gusts telling us to come back another day. After 1.6 miles, we turned around and went back home.
We finished up the last 6.4 miles with two laps around Wash Park. Sometimes you’ve just got to go where the wind takes you. Heh heh.
My legs were SHOT during that long run. Geez! Who knew adding just one more running day to my week would be so challenging? But the challenge is good.
I’d only read the Prologue to The Ultra Mindset that morning, but Nick had given me the gist of mindset #1: “It’s all good mental training.” What better way to put that mindset into practice than to have to relocate the day’s long run and, also, to run on tired legs?
And what better way to recover from a lot of mileage than with some yummy carby things?
French Toast + A New Loaf
After our long run on tired legs, the man cooked up some Thug Kitchen french toast while I chatted with my mom on the phone. This dish, along with newly acquired legit maple syrup and peanut butter, was music to our tastebuds.
We also needed to taste-test Nick’s brand new loaves of natural-starter homemade bread, straight out of the oven. They were crispy and gorgeous on the outside, and deliciously savory on the inside. Well done, sir!
Well, there you have it, folks. A very long weekend update full of new things and renewed inspiration!