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Eat Your Vegetables

Whew.  A relatively busy week combined with getting back into my work routine after almost two weeks off has left me tired and with a quiet blog this week.

I did work behind the scenes for a few minutes here and there.  I added a Recipes tab up at the top and changed my header as I’m still in all-out peppermint mode. 🙂 I bought light peppermint ice cream at the store last weekend and have eaten more ice cream this week than I have in the last year.  It’s all Tasha’s fault. 🙂  It’s certainly not nutritious but it is delicious and I think it’s important to enjoy junk food guilt-free sometimes.

I have a Hamburger ‘N’ Beans recipe to share as well as a meal plan tonight and a post later on how I was able to recover from months-long knee problem to run several races this fall.

(Image from Cooking Light)

CSA

D and I have decided to purchase a share in a local Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA).  It is actually the largest CSA program in this area.  I mentioned a couple of months ago that we were looking into joining a CSA but had yet to run the numbers.

Based on my calculations this week, participating in the CSA will not only save us a little bit of money each month, but we will also know that the produce was locally, organically, and lovingly grown.  We will know that while we are enjoying incredibly fresh, nutritious produce we are also supporting local agriculture.

In addition, it should reduce our need to grocery shop, which will reduce the liklihood of my buying unnecessary extras that add up over time.  Finally, it will challenge me to create meals with ingredients I’m not used to using – bok choy, beets, eggplant.  This should be interesting. 🙂

I plan to photograph my CSA box of produce each week to give you an idea of what I’m getting, how much, and the variety and condition of the fruits and vegetables.

We are actually splitting a half share of the veggie CSA with our friends to cut down on costs.  A half share normally produces about 197 pounds of 30+ types of vegetables over a 32-week growing season (mid-May to mid-December), depending on weather and other factors.  We receive deliveries for 29 of those weeks.  That’s an average of almost 7 pounds of veggies per week, so almost 3.5 pounds per couple.  That may not seem like a lot, but keep in mind that this includes some very voluminous things like spinach and various lettuces.  Plus, we are adding a fruit CSA onto that!

This particular fruit CSA is sold in full shares only.  Each couple will receive a half share for 17-18 weeks (late-May to mid-September).  Each week’s bounty will be 4-8 lbs. of various combinations of 10+ fruits, not including varieties of each fruit (i.e., different types of apples).  That’s 2-4 lbs. per couple.

Therefore, we expect to receive 5-7 pounds of produce each week from late May to mid-September and 3-3.5 pounds of produce from mid-September to mid-December.

Broken down, the monthly cost of this is a little bit lower than what we pay now for produce at the grocery store, some of which is organic (who knows if it was locally grown) and some of which is not.

Stay tuned for details on our experiences with this CSA and Sam’s Adventures in Cooking Weird Vegetables!

Exercise

As with the rest of the country, it has been extremely cold here lately.  On Friday it was 16*F and felt like 2*F.  As a result, I have not run outside in over a week.  The cold winds and icy ground with frozen-over snow that doesn’t melt make for miserable, unsafe running.  I have managed to maintain my strength-training indoors, however:

Monday – 30 minutes strength-training, 3 miles run on indoor track

Wednesday – 30 minutes strength-training…I didn’t stick around for cardio because we had a movie date with some friends to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  It was adorable and very entertaining.  I highly recommend it!

Friday – 30 minutes weights, 10 min. elliptical, level 7, 5-6 speed, 1 mile of treadmill intervals, 2 miles easy run on the indoor track

Sunday – I’m about to head out for what I hope to be a 5-6 mile run.  I just need the wind to cooperate and the ground to be relatively dry!

Exercise Log

Friday – 30 min. upper body weights + abs

Saturday – Jingle Bell 5K.  So fun!!  Met up with friends and we wore matching jingle hats & scarves that one friend had made last year.  The course was rolling and I was very focused on not destroying my still-puffy ankle so I didn’t PR.  My Garmin showed mid-26’s and the chip showed low 27’s.  However, the company was fab, the post-race snacks were excellent, and one of the girls in our group won first out of all of the women, w00t!  I can’t wait for next year. 🙂

Thanksgiving 5K Race Report

I did our local 5K on Thanksgiving morning with 7,500 other people and their dogs.  It was a perfect morning for running – chilly but not unbearably so, clear, and calm.  The course was reasonably flat with mostly small hills.  Running through the quiet, peaceful downtown felt like running through a movie set. 😀  Or through residential Venice.  The only people along the 5K route were runners and their families & friends.

I arrived with about 20 minutes to go before the start.  I walked around to keep myself warm and saw this guy:

Yes, those are ties.

Once the clock hit 9am, they fired the gun and off we went.  Shuffle…shuffle…run!

It took a few minutes to get past owners with excited dogs who wanted to run criss-cross down the street and wrap themselves around light poles (true story).  Finally I was on my way, albeit a bit fast.  Around .6 miles I started to feel it.  Yikes!  My watch showed a 7:25/mile whereas my goal was to stay within an 8:10-8:30/mile.  I slowed down.

Suddenly, at mile 1.2, my ankle rolled.  No reason.  The ground was completely smooth.  I didn’t trip.  Maybe the muscles around my ankle were tired and simply failed?  It was a full-out, ew-I-think-I-felt-things-crunch ankle roll that left me seriously limping and wondering if I’d just broken something.  I pulled out of the crowd and over to the side to assess the damage.  Walk-limp, walk-limp, walk-limp.  I realized I was freaked out and in shock so I got a grip and told myself that I was okay.  Nothing’s broken.  I might not have to pull out of the race.  Can I walk on it?  Hmm…yes.  Okay, good.  Can I jog on it?  Yes.  Can I run?  Let’s try.  Yes, I can.  Okay, cool.  Go.

I got back into the mix and eventually revved back up to about a 7:50-8:00 pace for the rest of that second mile.

We hit a few small hills and one steep hill during the third mile.  Plod, plod up the hill. I took advantage of any downhills and was careful NOT to roll my ankle again!

The finish line was at the end of a straight-away so as soon as I saw it I locked my eyes on it.  Focus – you’re almost there.  Keep up your speed.  During the last .2 miles I continued to pick up my pace and sprinted in.

I actually remembered to stop my Garmin this time (first time ever in a race!) and was so pleased with the results.  I had beat my PR.  By a minute and a half.

Official chip time: 25:24.

W00ttttttt.  I killed my holy crap goal.

Final stats

554/2375 Total
(not sure why this total's not closer to 7500?)
24/161 Age Group
128/1155 Females
25:24 Chip time
25:42 Gun time
8:17/mile

My ankle was very sore and swollen for the rest of the day and felt really “off” the next day.  It’s a bit better today although not fully healed.  I will probably be off running for at least another 2-3 days.  I have a 5K that I’m doing with friends as a part of a team in two weeks but don’t expect to beat this new PR since I will probably have a newly-healed ankle.

My half marathon running plan is supposed to start on Monday although I will obviously be delaying it.

Yesterday a couple of my girlfriends invited me to join them on their road trip in April to do the Nashville Half Marathon.  I may do that instead of the Shamrock half, which would allow me to push off my training for a few weeks.  I hear this trip is a total blast so I’m leaning toward it. 🙂

Happy post-Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday.

Wednesday

Gotta say, today was a hard day to be trying to eat healthfully.  My coworker brought me Starbucks, although I just got a nonfat misto so I did the best I could there.  I had a business lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, but stuck with water, a light side, and ate the innards out of my delicious tuna burrito.  I had the Snickers bar from D that of course I had to eat!  And after work we had a welcome-new-employee get-together, which involved obscene amounts of fattening appetizers, a free round of drinks, and good company.  I sampled most of the apps., went a little overboard on the cheese fries, nixed the alcohol and stuck with ginger ale.  After an hour I made myself leave to hit the gym for some weights work.  Later I was glad I did but it was def. hard to do at the time.

30 min. weights – everything felt good for the most part although the arch was a little sore (hopefully will clear up with new shoes) and my lower back around the sacroiliac joints was sore.  I think I’m mostly but not fully healed from that irritation of a few weeks ago.  As soon as these races are over I’m going to do some serious rest to get back to 100%.  Speaking of which, I’m taking a break from weights until next Wed.

45 min. ride with Grant staying mostly in zones 1 & 2.  Had a hard time getting my heart rate up without really working it, but my goal was to stay aerobic, stretch things out, and just enjoy getting the blood pumping while rekindling my relationship with my bike.

Doing some laundry tonight in preparation for this weekend’s trip to my race.

Tomorrow’s plans

No exercise, or if I must, just a ride on the trainer

More laundry

Grocery store to stock up on goodies for me and food for D while I’m gone

Pack all of my sports gear for the race

Get out my weekender bag and preliminarily throw a few things into it to set my mind at ease

Get gas

Relax with D

The weather is supposed to be perfect for racing this weekend!

Tuesday

Monday – My legs were fairly sore from Sunday’s run so I took it easy and just did 30 min. lifting at the gym. I got lightheaded while working out even though I’d eaten a cup of yogurt + almond butter + farmer’s market granola + flax seeds + banana beforehand (and had steadily snacked before that). I think my body was still recovering from the six miles on Sunday (my longest so far) and needed more fuel than usual.

Tuesday – My left thigh has been slightly achy around the IT band off and on for a few weeks so I’ve been keeping an eye on it. It’s still a tad sore today and my back is also sort of achy so I’m going to push my easy 2 miler to tomorrow.

Probably being overly cautious but the last thing I want to do is ignore pre-injury signs and then get an injury right before my last two races of the season. I’m going to err on the side of too much rest over the next few weeks and will probably need to relax my race performance expectations. It’s all good, though.

However, I’m still hitting up swim practice tonight!

Garage, meet Dining Room Table.

I bought a gently used bike trainer on Craigslist. It’s a CycleOps Mag Trainer plus climbing riser block and training DVD. I haven’t gotten it yet but I’m excited about using it and building quads of steel.

Because I live in a small townhouse, my lovely dining room table, which I never use, will be relocating to the garage. That way I can do my riding in view of the TV and annoy D while he’s playing video games. Home decor takes one for the team.

I really wanted a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine but those things are crazy! pricey so this will do for now. Maybe it’ll be an option one day once I’ve proven to be a dedicated little triathlete.

It’s been 4.5 days since I last exercised (with the exception of some WWS – walking while shopping) due to my back. I’ve handled it pretty well aside from eating a lot of pizza and dessert. The back is feeling much better now although my right leg still feels a bit off. We’ll see how it does tomorrow. I’m not really sure how to ease back into my running training plan after missing one tempo run and one long run? I guess I’ll try an easy 2 miles tomorrow and upper body weights at the gym and go from there. Tuesday will be swimming, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Hiccup

Ugh, I hit a hiccup in training this week.

It started during lifting on Wednesday morning. My lower back started to ache a little on the right side. I tried to stretch it out as soon as I noticed it and modified the rest of my time at the gym to work around it. Showered, went to work, didn’t think anything more of it.

A couple of hours into work I realized the pain was getting worse. I couldn’t sit comfortably and getting up from my seat hurt like a b*tch. I tried walking it out, stretching it out, icing it off and on all day. Late in the afternoon my right leg started to get partially numb and a little tingly if I sat in one place for very long. Since I was leaving town the next day with a four-hour drive each way I decided to see the Dr.

She said it’s sacroiliac joint inflammation. Not overly serious in the grand scheme of things but it would put me off running for 1-2 weeks. UGH. She said I can basically run once the pain is gone. She’s a runner herself so she gets it – said to contact her in a few days if it doesn’t improve and she’ll get me in to see a physical therapist to get me back in shape for my races. I should be able to swim and bike.

While I was gone on Thursday and Friday (a friend of mine is a PhD student and was going out of town for research; I tagged along for a break from work/routine), I did a good deal of walking. The pain has traveled now. It’s less noticeable in my back and now more noticeable in my leg joints – hip, knee, ankle. My gait feels “off” when I walk and sends pain up the side of my ankle as if I’m stepping wrong.

Today I am listening to my husband and resting completely at home. I got plenty of sleep last night, will be icing all day, and sitting on my butt. This sucks. I am so antsy to get back to my training – I’ve missed two runs so far and I’m not even sure I should be biking or swimming right now – but will hopefully have better news in a day or two.