NYC Marathon Training Week 6

My last week at CGST has come and gone, along with week 6 of marathon training, and my first skipped run… Whoops. Too many people I love that I was saying goodbye to, too much excitement with Steve coming up to visit, and maybe a little too much booze. I’ll admit it. Today is Monday, and I haven’t run since Thursday. However, I did accomplish a 5 minute plank, and ride a double surrey (with the fringe on the top) in the meantime, so I’ll say it was still a successful week. The most exciting part is probably my 10 mile time trial. Here’s how it went down.

Monday–10 mile time trial in 1:34:45. My half marathon PR is a 9:32 pace. This run averaged 9:28, and granted that’s not hugely faster, and it is shorter, I wasn’t racing. I had a huge breakthrough on this run, in fact! For the first time, I don’t know, ever, I didn’t stalk my garmin. I would check in every song or so, and look at my pace at the mile beeps, which may still sound like a lot, but my face is usually glued to that thing! This time, instead, I ran by feel, and negative split every single mile. Here, let me show you:

  1. 10:42 (mostly uphill)
  2. 9:53
  3. 9:48
  4. 9:45
  5. 9:39
  6. 9:22
  7. 9:14
  8. 9:12
  9. 8:56
  10. 8:14 (mostly downhill)
Who.Am.I.? GAHHH. I learned so much about myself, and how I often set myself up for failure on this run. Usually I go back and forth between “You can never maintain this pace! Slow down, you’re not good enough!” and “Look how slow you’re going! You suck!” It was so amazing to just run, and think “This feels good.” Now if only they could all be like that. In other good news, I felt great the whole rest of the day, and not sore, and exhausted like I had raced, so I feel at least mildly hopeful that I can average a good 20 seconds quicker than that in San Diego.

Wednesday–Track, 1-1-2-1-3-1-4-4-3-1-2-1-1-1. I think there was supposed to be an other 4 in there. Whoops. Didn’t do that one. I did, however, figure out the lap button! I didn’t have to stop and start after every interval. It was magical. If you press the lap button on your garmin when you start a new interval, it will show you your pace and distance on each lap separately. I was kind of lame and walked my easy intervals, but my hard ones went pretty well.

1min–6:29
2min–7:10
3min–7:53
4min–8:03
3min–7:57
2min–7:48<–grrr
1min–6:19<–eeee!!

I don’t care if it was only 1 minute, 6:19 makes me excited. The end.

Thursday–Recovery run. 3 miles. More crawled than ran. There was coffee at the end. That was my favorite part.

Friday–5 minute plank. That was awesome, other than being beat out by my student who set the female record for the summer at close to 7 minutes. I also had a male student do 10. Rude. I want to be a man. Except I like dressed.

Saturday–work, work, work, work, beer. That’s all.

Sunday–Owning that surrey. Steve, Tali, Camille, Xander, and I tried to set the double surrey record on the Steele/Hawthorn bridge loop. I mean, hills are hard with 5 people. It almost felt like exercise ;)

That’s all for me for now, friends. I am in Maui with Steve beginning our honeymoon (a year and a half later…), so I will be taking a real world haitus. I do have an awesome guest post coming to you soon though from my BBFF, and I will be back next week!

Pumpkin Spice Churro Bites

One of my favorite things about going places like Disneyland, well, aside from the fact that I am freakishly obsessed with Disneyland, was always the churro stand.

Crispy on the outside, and warm and gooey on the inside. How can anyone not like churros??? Seriously. They are so soft on the inside, I used to be convinced that there was actually a filling. I didn’t quite understand the depths, and amazingness of deep frying. Don’t worry, I get it now. Deep frying = instant texture success. Sad, but true.

However, we all know greasy, oily, deep fried food and I are not besties, and, clearly, I need churros in my life. These things are the real deal. Crispy and cinnamony on the outside, while still gooey on the inside with a hint of pumpkin. Pumpkin + cinnamon = always delicious.

Also, why are all foods in life not served dipped in chocolate? That sounds like the cure for all things bad in the world. War. World hunger. People you don’t like. Just serve them dipped in chocolate.

Okay, don’t dip people in chocolate. That’s weird. I am, at least it’s definitely weird if you plan to eat them. This isn’t Silence of the Lambs or anything. In fact, I don’t even like scary movies. And this has taken a turn for the weird, so um, where was I? Chocolate. Cinnamon. Pumpkin. Churros. Mini. Oh yes, they’re mini. Which means you can eat 10 churros instead of 1. We all know I like to eat in volume, so that is obviously a plus.

Okay, before we get to the recipe, I have to tell you a secret about how I messed these up the first time. I made the bites, all was going well, but then I mixed the butter with the cinnamon sugar instead of dipping and rolling. Needless to say, it was delicious, but not quite what I was going for. Also messy, very messy. However, if you don’t mind mess, and don’t care what they look like, I would say that is an equally delicious way to achieve churro love :)

Pumpkin Spice Churro Bites adapted from Erica’s Sweet Tooth yield approx 3 dozen

For the churros bites:
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
For the cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 1/4 cup light whipped butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a pan of mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat sugar and pumpkin together. Add egg substitute and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
  4. Slowly alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until just incorporated.
  5. Use an extra small cookie scoop to fill each muffin tin and bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on how small your cookie scoop is), or until just golden brown.
  6. While the churro bites are baking, melt butter in a small bowl and combine cinnamon and sugar in a shallow dish. When churro bites are finished, immediately remove from the pan and dip each bite in the butter and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

NYC Marathon Training Week 5

Hi friends! Week 5 of training was a tough one, but it was great! Here’s a little about what went down.

Monday–5.21 miles, 10:21 average pace, 314 ft elevation gain. I don’t really know how to measure elevation gain or what that really means in the scheme of things. I do know that Coach Susan prescribed hills, so every time I saw a hill I yelled to my friends “HILL!!! We must run that way!” I also know that it was hard, but that could just be because I’m a wimp. Okay, it probably is because I’m a wimp, but I felt the opposite of wimpy afterwards, and I felt like my pace was decent, all things considered.

Tuesday–2.9 miles including 6 hill repeats. I warmed up at basically a crawl, found a hill closer than anticipated, so decided my .7 mile warm up was sufficient, then ran up the hill a bunch of times walk/jogging down. The hill was shorter than I think it was supposed to be. Only about a tenth of a mile, but it had 33ft of elevation gain–whatever that means–and it felt like a good challenge. I averaged about an 8:30 pace running up, and definitely got slower as I went on rather than faster. Whoops. My first time with a hill workout, so I’ll try to not positive split the next time :)

Thursday–11.1 miles, 10:20 average pace. This run was not bad. Really, it was actually mostly good, but after running pretty challenging workouts Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all in a row, and then just the combination of that with dancing all day, and not sleeping enough (I know, that’s a huge change, right?), and I just felt not quite 100%. It felt hard. Not impossible, just hard. Still managed to run the last mile in 8:45, though!

Saturday–4 miles. 10:56 average pace. I have a secret. A surprise of sorts. Are you ready? It’s shocking, and ground breaking. Recovery, actual recovery, is AWESOME!!!!! Running slow is FUN! You get to look around, and not feel like you’re gonna die, and people watch! Plus, it’s a really nice mental break to not let a number that flashes on your watch dictate how you feel about your run. I use my recovery runs to recover more often. You’re welcome for the brilliance. Stay tuned for more ground breaking discoveries.

Sunday–Actual rest. Lovely, as usual. I have never appreciated rest days as much as I have this summer!

 

Spoiler: Week 6 is off to an AMAZING start! Can’t wait to share it with you at the end!

Skinnified Sunday: S’mores Brownies

My girl Nicole knows her brownies, and when she posted her recipe for her favorite S’mores Brownies, I almost ended my friendship with her because she didn’t share any with me knew I had to make my own version!

Okay, so don’t go look at her blog, because hers are sooooo much prettier. We all know that presentation is not my forte, but they were delicious, so you know…

Honestly, with gooey, browned marshmallows, chocolate and graham cracker, how could that be bad???

These had everything I love about s’mores combined with everything I love about brownies. I had to send them all home with Jason, so I wouldn’t devour them in one sitting!

No, I don’t think it’s weird to add more chocolate to a brownie. I think you’re weird if you don’t always enjoy the idea of more chocolate.

Original Recipe:

via Nicole @ Foodie Misadventures

My swaps:
  • Nonfat vanilla yogurt for butter (-fat, -saturated fat, -calories, -cholesterol)
  • Turbinado/Splenda combo for sugar (-sugar, -calories)
  • Egg substitute for whole eggs (-fat, -calories, -cholesterol)
  • White whole wheat flour for all purpose (+fiber, +protein)
  • Whole wheat graham crackers for regular (+fiber, +protein)
  • Natural dark chocolate for Hershey’s bars (-sugar)

 

Skinnified S’mores Brownies

yield 16 brownies

  • 3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 6 whole wheat graham cracker squares + crumbs for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup all natural dark chocolate chips
  • 5 oz marshmallows (regular or mini)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F°. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together yogurt, vanilla, egg substitute, Splenda, and sugar until thoroughly combined. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.
  3. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Layer graham crackers side by side over the top of the brownie batter until completely covered. Next pour chocolate chocolate chips evenly over the graham crackers. Then lay the marshmallows out over the chocolate. Pour remaining batter evenly over the marshmallows, spreading with a spatula if necessary.
  4. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Gluten Free Cannoli Bars

When I was a little girl, my dad and I would always eat cannolis at the pizzeria near our house. I love cheese. I love dessert. Cheese + dessert? Done.

I remember one time the pizza place ran out of shells, and I didn’t even care, because honestly, I just love the filling. I used to scrape all of the filling out and leave the shell behind, like weird people do with oreo cookies. That I don’t get. The cookie part of the oreo is the best!! I wish they made them with no cream. Just cookie. And cannolis with no shell. Wait, I made that last thing ;)

All of the delicious flavors of this decadent Italian treat, on top of a brown sugar and oats crust that beats any flavorless deep fried shell I’ve ever tasted. Plus, I love things in bar form. Cheesecake, cookies, you name it.

Also, can we just talk about ricotta cheese for a second? Why is it so freaking good? I could seriously eat it out of the tub with a spoon, and I have. Don’t judge me. I’ve eaten a lot of cheese by itself in my day. Chomped on a block of sharp cheddar, ricotta by the spoonful, it may or may not have been kind of a…problem…

These bars however, are the perfect dessert solution to that problem. That’s me, a super awesome problem solver. Figuring out ways to eat lots of cheese, and not feeling guilty about it always and forever. As Terra would say, you’re welcome the world.

 

Gluten Free Cannoli Bars

yield approx 3 dozen bars

  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs light whipped butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 40 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz light whipped cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • crushed pistachios for topping (about 2 tbs)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon. Press into the bottom of 9×13 pan, and bake for approx 25 minutes until golden. Set on a wire rack to cool
  3. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread ricotta mixture onto completely cooled crust, and sprinkle with crust pistachios. Let set for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.