Running and Music in Assisi!

Assisi is a beautiful city, full of religious history, tucked in the mountains of Italy. Since the town is essentially built into the side of a mountain the city is incredibly hilly and full of steep stairs.
Running here is definitely the COMPLETE opposite of my super flat runs in Texas but I’m sure running here for 2 weeks will definitely help with my speed when I get back to the flat land haha!

My first two runs I ran several out and backs on the long main roads down to San Francesco and back to the Piazza Communale near my hotel.

But the past 3 runs I’ve been using a route one of the fellow musicians discovered when they stalked followed a local runner. It’s a gorgeous 3 mile loop around the upper exterior of the city on some mountain roads and comes back into the city at San Francesco. I ran it twice for my long run 2 days and just a single loop yesterday plus alternating walking and running up the final hill/part of a mile to give my legs a “recovery” day.

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Today I cranked the mileage back up just a bit to meet my 20 miles per week goal.

Musically I’m having an AMAZING experience!

I’ve been working on solo and chamber works, rehearsing with the choir to sing in a Masses during our time here, and practicing for the opera pit. It’s been so much fun making music with old and new friends and realizing how small the music world truly is!

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It’s also pretty cool staying in a hotel and hearing all the music coming from everyone’s bedrooms – like being back in the practice rooms really!

I’m already hoping to find another year to come back and enjoy this amazing festival. I’ve fallen in love with Assisi!

Mileage – 4.85miles, workout challenge, yoga

QOD – “There is an itch in runners.”

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Cajun Sliders Recipe and Tuscan Soup Recipe!

This week I made Cajun Sliders from a recipe I pulled out of a magazine. The recipe called for half ground beef and half ground turkey. But to clean it up I just used a whole pound of 99% lean ground turkey and it still tasted amazing.

Here is an image of the recipe page!

The best part was how easy the meal was. I was done in 20 minutes. I broiled my red peppers in my toaster oven for about 6 minutes while the sliders were done cooking in under 10 minutes. Talk about FAST. I was able to make the meal, serve up Ben’s plate and cover it with foil for him to eat later and wrap mine up and take it to go in no time. I served it with peas because I LOVE peas and the extra red peppers that didn’t fit on the sliders. We used whole wheat slider rolls and I halved the mayonnaise in the sauce to make it even healthier.

Now onto the Tuscan Soup! I’ve been eating soup everyday for lunch for the past 6 weeks or so and the weight I’ve been struggling to get rid of that I gained when I started grad school has just fallen off (more on that another day)!

Soup plus fruit, and sometimes a veggie if the soup doesn’t have a substantial amount of veggies, is my lunch 5 days a week and I think it works wonders. The past few soups I’ve pulled from my Weight Watchers cookbook and I loved them – this week is no exception. Here is a link to the soup I made this week (I used wine instead of water, which is in the cookbook!). I also split this soup into 4 portions and I have only needed to eat this and a piece of fruit to be totally full for hours.

Today’s workout was a 5:30 am Camp Gladiator workout with lots of running, lunges, squats, and resistance. I have a strong feeling my glutes are going to be a little sore tomorrow. Tonight I’m also going to do some yoga because I’m getting a massage this afternoon before a concert and I want to go to bed reaping all the relaxing benefits of my massage. I HIGHLY recommend massages for musicians and athletes alike – I feel like my whole body functions better after an intense full body massage! 

Mileage – CG workout, Yoga for Runners

QOD – Eating crappy food isn’t a reward — it’s a punishment.

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Wind Running

I was woken up by the wind several times last night and I heard it all morning while I was reading, so I decided to wait until midday for my run today. Ben joined me and he wasn’t joking when he came in my apartment and said it was pretty windy. The run was ROUGH when we were running against the wind, it made my mouth and throat really dry and there was a lot of pressure against my ribcage. 

After we ran I decided to check the weather and we were running in 27 MPH winds!!!!! 

I know wind resistance training is really good for training, but I wasn’t sure what exactly it did for runners. So I decided to do a little research and found THIS article on Runner’s World. I guess we made a good choice to mix up the run both with and against the wind! It gets pretty windy in Texas in the spring months in general and preparing for a race here in a week and a half made running in the wind a good choice.

I run in the elements but not quite as frequently as I should. I do enjoy running in the cold and will often find myself the only person out running on the trail when it is “cold” by Texas standards – however I’m still pretty bad at running in the heat and am hoping to get more consistent this spring and summer running outside. When I ran last summer, I was frequently at the beach getting great breezes off the water, contrasting the very stagnant air and beating sun here in Texas. So hopefully after the half marathon, when the temps creep back up I can focus on shorter, faster runs in warmer weather!
Have you ever run in crazy winds or weather before?
 

Mileage – 3.75 miles, Yoga for Runners 

QOD – There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. 

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I’m Alive – I Promise!!!

I don’t even know how long it has been since I blogged last – but essentially it has been WAY too long. Tomorrow is my first HALF MARATHON of this season!!! I cannot wait to put on that number and feel those pre-race jitters again. I haven’t run a race in 6 months! 

Oh – and my recital is in 1 week…holy *@$%!!!! Hence my blogging absence, I have been practicing like crazy and running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get all the logistical parts done. 

In terms of working out I’ve been going to CrossFit as usual twice a week and tapering my runs, trying to shorten my distances but maintain my speed and intensity. I missed out on my last long run, but since I managed to cross the 10 mile mark in my training I’m feeling pretty good I can run a PR this race. My goal however is to run a sub 2:10:00, which would take over 13 minutes off my first half time.  My season goal is a sub 2:00:00 but I think that is a more logical goal for my March half. 

Although race day looks to be rainy I think the temperatures will be really nice! Pre-race I will be doing packet pick-up since I’ll arrive at my friends’ place past packet-pick up time and since I’m staying so close to the starting line I’m pretty excited about the chance to wake up a little later than usual on race day! Here’s a short little article about what to do post-race

Alright, back to homework and practicing. I promise to get back to the swing of things once my recital is over – because then marathon training begins…..pending I make it out of tomorrow’s race alive haha! 

Mileage – YOGA! 

QOD -A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.

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Clean Cooking Creations!

Over the past 24 hours I have made two delicious new recipes – Roasted Tomato Soup and a Paleo Mug Cake! The roasted tomato soup that I made is AMAZING. I was originally looking up recipes for tomato sauce and decided I would just make soup instead. Here’s how I made it: 

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Place 6 roma tomatoes sliced in halve, 1 onion quartered, 6 cloves of garlic on a baking sheet.
3) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  
4) Roast for 1 hour (or more depending on your preferences) 
5) Put the roasted vegetables in a blender and puree
   – I actually only used the garlic and tomatoes and threw out the onions because I’m allergic 
6) In a soup pot or dutch oven, pour in 4 cups of vegetable broth and heat over medium heat. 
7) Throw in chunks of vegetables of your choice (I used carrots) in the broth as well as the pureed tomatoes.
8) Turn up the heat to until the mixture boils. 
9) Toss in 2 cups of pasta of your choice and boil uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 
10) Turn the soup down to simmer and cover. 

BOOM. DELICIOUS. It made 5 servings for me, my lunch for everyday this week! 

The Paleo Mug Cake was from The Wannabe Chef, and it tasted like a brownie!!! However it was WAYYY too much cocoa powder for me since I’m not the biggest cocoa fan, so I would probably just cut back on that amount for next time. 

Today I went for a run and NONE of my joints hurt. It was a pretty big step for me after the past 2 weeks and it means I can start nailing down a fall half marathon since I had to change my date for my recital. My run today was at my goal half marathon pace too! Tomorrow we are doing squats at CrossFit – which means I’ll have to be super careful to protect my knees and keep them strong. 

Mileage – 4.25 miles, yoga

QOD – If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. 

KeepRunning

Protein Pancake Recipe!

I was up later last night doing some grocery shopping for kale and chia seeds with my friend Sean who is paleo – I had to laugh a little when the other people around us were buying pizza or ice cream and we’ve got kale, chia seeds, and protein powder. This morning is a cross-training day so I had no need to wake up before the sun for a run – thank goodness – and that health food trip had me all excited to try something different for breakfast. 

Today’s breakfast was a delicious pancake creation that was inspired by Peanut Butter Fingers blog – one of my favorite fitness bloggers who always has awesome workouts and recipes. But I have a habit of making recipes my own so after searching through her pancake recipes I came up with my own protein pancakes. 

Protein Pancakes!
Makes 6  small pancakes (2 servings)

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Ingredients
– 3/4 cup of oats 
– 1 6 oz container of plain non-fat greek yogurt 
– 1 packet (usually 30g) protein powder
    *I used strawberry but I bet vanilla would be delicious too! I also chose this brand
      because it had 26g of protein and 1g of carbs, plus I haven’t found a favorite yet*
– 2 egg whites 
– 3 tablespoons (maybe 4) whole milk 
– Delicious toppings: Banana, almond butter, strawberries, syrup, etc. 

Directions
1 – Grind the oats in a blender or food processor. 
2 – Combine oats and protein powder in a bowl
3 – Whisk in greek yogurt and egg whites until all ingredients are combined together
4 – Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking between, until the batter is the desired consistency 
     *I used 2 tablespoons of milk and my pancakes were a little denser than usual* 
5 – Heat a lightly greased (or buttered/cooking sprayed) pan to medium heat and pour batter in 1/4 cup dollops
6 – Flip when small bubbles are forming around the edge of the pancake, cook until golden brown on both sides. 

Serve with your favorite toppings! I used banana (for that strawberry banana flavor) and  some almond butter because I’m not a syrup person – I don’t even own any – but I’m sure they would be delicious with anything. I’m not the biggest “sweet” person so the flavor is definitely a little tangier than usual flapjacks, but substituting a fruity yogurt or adding a sweetener like honey would counteract that I’m sure. 

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Nutrition Facts (roughly! per serving)
Calories – 250, Fat – 2.7g, Carbs – 30g, Fiber – 5g, Protein – 26g

Mileage – Cross-Training, yoga 

QOD – Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake. (Julia Child) 

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Homemade…EVERYTHING.

I was incredibly inspired at Whole Foods on Sunday when I went shopping (plus there was an amazing deal on avocados aka most DELICIOUS green food ever), so I decided to go for the gold and make all sorts of things that I usually buy there from scratch instead. I also meal planned the hell out of this week, which hopefully means I can keep this up throughout the semester. 

Yesterday I:
– prepped mangos to freeze and store on my own
– cooked chicken for salads all week (mild seasoning so I can top it with anything)
– portioned and packaged goat cheese 
– made salsa from scratch
– made homemade pickles (still fermenting away) 

Today I:
– made guacamole (some for tonight’s salad and some portioned to freeze)
– made hummus from scratch!!!
– baked eggs for the rest of the week’s breakfasts

Tonight’s dinner is salad with 1/2 a chicken breast, chili goat cheese, homemade guac and salsa, and lime juice! An amazing meal entirely clean – and mostly paleo. Some people argue about goat cheese being clean or not but I see it ALL the time in clean recipes on a variety of well versed websites so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

The recipe I’m going to share today is my guacamole recipe so here goes: 
Ingredients
– 2 large ripe avocados, halved and pitted 
– 1 clove finely minced garlic 
– 3 dashes hot sauce 
– 2 or 3 Tablespoons lime juice (usually juice from 1 lime fresh, to taste) 
– 1 – 2 Tablespoons minced pickled jalepenos (optional) 
– salt (to taste) 

Directions: 
1) In the skin cut the avocados into cubes by making vertical and horizontal cuts down each halve, put into a bowl
2) Mix in 2 Tablespoons of the lime juice and the hot sauce, smashing and slicing the avocado as you mix 
3) Stir in the garlic, jalepenos, and salt – mix evenly and make avocado chunks your preferred size 
4) TASTE! Add more lime juice, hot sauce, or salt to your liking! 

I’ve got a few more recipes up my sleeve for this weekend plus more of the recipes mentioned today to share so stay tuned haha! 

Mileage – 4 miles, yoga 

QOD – “I liked the energy of cooking, the action, the camaraderie. I often compare the kitchen to sports and compare the chef to a coach. There are a lot of similarities to it.”

 

EHWO

Guacamole!

Guacamole!

Lifting and Compression Socks! (Photo Day too!)

Yesterday was a strength training day. My workout roughly like this:

Warm-up
Back squats
  – 60%-70%-80%-90% of max, dropping my reps by 2 for every set
Hanging snatch
  – work on form (light weight – this is still the move I’m most uncomfortable with)  
Chest to Overhead 
  – 45 lbs 3 sets (10-12-15)
Pull-up Work
  – jump and dead hangs 
  – jumping pull-ups (3 sets of 10) 
Stretch

This morning when I woke up I was pretty positive my glutes and quads were rebelling against the rest of my body – it was ROUGH. I had decided I would go to the gym and maybe do a little elliptical work and keep it nice and easy. But really who am I kidding? My dad asked me to go on a run so I laced up….with my new compression socks!!! The run was brutally hot in the sun and I did have to walk for a few minutes because I could feel myself getting really over heated. But surprisingly I don’t think the socks had anything to do with it – if anything they helped a ton on the killer hills. My calves certainly feel fresher than my upper legs (but that could also be because of squats). We finished up at the gym where I did 3 rounds of 10 box jumps, 10 push-ups, and 10 KBS. I could feel yesterday in my arm but it was good to crank up my work out a notch. 

Tomorrow will probably be a well deserved rest day full of stretching and yoga because half-marathon training officially starts on Monday! 

Mileage – 3.5 miles, jumps, arms 

QOD – Just because you are close to your goal, it doesn’t mean you should stop. 

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Image^Looking a little rough after today’s run/workout! Had to rep JMU with my new socks! ❤ DUKES! 

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Dehydration.

Saturday was supposed to be a 9 mile day, but I moved that to Sunday. Unfortunately I woke up a little too late and suddenly found myself attempting 9 miles at 9:15am.
My plan was to stay close to my condo and do a couple of shorter loops in case I needed water, however I got lost and ended up 4 miles away from my condo desperately needing water. So I found a local diner, which has DELICIOUS food by the way, and cooled off my head and neck with some water in the bathroom and head back out.

Around 6.5 miles I realized I had stopped sweating in my joints and my mouth was dry, which means by this point I was officially dehydrated. I made it home in 8 miles and decided to sacrifice the last mile. I was proud though to have made it as far as I did. 

After my run, we carried corn hole to the beach and I stood in the cold water for awhile. I will never give in to taking cold baths. I hate them!!! However, the ocean makes the cold a little more palatable. We played corn hole all day and I definitely got an extra good leg work playing paddle ball, beach sports, and walking yesterday. Plus I got in day 11 of the Squat Challenge. 

Today I went for a recovery run, did some push-ups, and tried to stretch hardcore. Alas the weather doesn’t look too great but it should be an alright day for catching a few rays through the clouds before the storms! 

Mileage – 2.5 miles, yoga

QOD – Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.

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My Mama (and my cold)

So for those of you who know MamaFav, you know she is in amazing shape. For those of you who don’t know my mama, she works out frequently, eats well, was a high school and collegiate athlete, and is in overall great shape. My mom loves to play tennis, go for walks, take kickboxing or BodyStep classes, or just do her own workout with cardio and weights. But my mom hates running. She will be the first person to tell you she hates it, it’s a big mental roadblock for her. 

A month or two ago my mom bought some running sneakers and went on a couple of walk/jogs herself, but it never caught on. Tonight however, my mom laced up her shoes and went running with me! I was willing to walk when she needed or go a little slower thanks to my crummy head cold- but I barely had to!  We ran 2.4 miles, mom walked .5 or .6 miles of it, and the rest of the time we ran! Sitting around a 10:41 average for the whole run, my guess is that we were running around a 9 mpm – NOT BAD FOR SOMEONE WHO HATES RUNNING! I was thoroughly impressed and proud of my mom, especially when she ran her way up some longer, tough hills. 

Friday – mid morning today I have been suffering from a dumb head cold and wasn’t able to run, particularly on Saturday and Sunday. So clearly my run streak will not be 39 days straight but here’s to hoping for 31 straight from here on out, and successfully running 36 of the days. I used to think running with a cold was no big deal, but I’ve read several times now that running with a cold can be a bad decision due to weakened immune systems, poor breathing, and coughing or wheezing. So this trip around the sickness block I tried to take it easy and give myself a break. I think I was much better for the wear, but I will definitely admit, I feel better in general when I run and it’s a crummy feeling not to be able to go out, especially when my legs feel great! 

Tomorrow I will get to run to my heart’s content hopefully, AND babysit 3 of my favorite kiddos on top of having nearly all day to practice my bass. I am thoroughly excited for my day off. 

Mileage – 2.5miles, stretch 

QOD – Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.

Me and my Mama (at Dallas Stadium of course!) 

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And I LOVE this awesome motivational picture haha!!! So great! 

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