Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer smoothies...doggie style

Before I even touch that title, I just want to thank those of you who have commented on my last few posts. I have tried to respond on multiple occasions and I keep getting locked out by Blogger. It's done this as I've tried to comment on others' blogs too...not sure if it's me, Blogger, Google ID or what. I'm getting really excited putting together my marathon training schedule and even the anticipation of jumping head first into training (remind me I said this as I'm grunting through my long runs in August!)

Anyone that knows me and Matt knows that Roxy and Bali are like our children. We dress them up for Halloween, had caricatures made of them last summer, and they get a byline on our Christmas cards. I/we just adore our dogs and LOVE spoiling them by taking them on long walks and snuggling on the couch.

Bali will find any pillow available to make one if blankets are in the vicinity

Last week Bali celebrated her 6th birthday! (My "baby" is growing up!) Per doggie birthday tradition in our house, R & B get to eat doggie "ice cream" (which is essentially frozen protein) as a special treat. They LOVE this stuff and it's hilarious to watch them with the little paper cups. Somehow the subject of doggie ice cream came up with one of my coworkers last week and we had a good laugh about it. Well, yesterdayy this same coworker (J) came into my office with a clipping from a magazine. Don't know the name of the magazine but the article is called "Lick the Dog Days" with a recipe for...doggie ice cream/smoothies! She said she immediately thought of me and I knew as soon as I saw the article that I was making these!

I had to go to the grocery store last night anyway so I decided to get the ingredients to make these since the recipe looked SUPER SIMPLE (and I was in a good mood after *finally* getting to run/avoiding the storms).

I texted this to J with the caption "Just call me a sucker" (Her response? "Your dogs OWN you") Guilty as charged...

The goods:
2 cups (organic optional) vanilla yogurt (Can use low fat)
3T flax
and one of the following: 1 banana, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup blueberries or 1/2 cup strawberries
(Reminder from me: Do NOT add any types of grapes, raisins, citrus or chocolate as these can be harmful or fatal to your pet. Same goes for onions and peppers of any kind but don't think you would be adding those to a smoothie)

(R&B love PB so I opted to make the PB version but I had any of those fruits available to me to make as well. We also already had 3 different types of PB in the pantry!)

--Pour all ingredients together in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.
--Pour into small paper cups or ice cube trays and freeze until solid (I used the 3oz. "bathroom size" cups)

Ready for the freezer in just a couple of minutes!

The entire time I was putting this together R & B were going NUTS and was like they KNEW this recipe was for them even though those are all very much human ingredients.
The smoothies were still freezing when I went to bed last night but I let them lick spoons after I was done and it met with a "wet nose seal of approval". (I admit, I tasted it as well and it was pretty darn tasty! Does that make me weird? Don't answer that :) )

Has anyone else done any "home cooking" for their dogs?

"Mommy give me a smoothie!"


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fall Marathon

I think I have my fall marathon picked out!!!! So happy to have things coming into clarity and to begin looking at training plans :) Details on the selection process coming soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Humbled by the Heat

I know, I know…I live in the south. It’s H-O-T during the summer and often extremely humid and at age 31 I should know what to expect by now. However, my running (and general endurance) feels like it’s taking a major hit and last week as I felt like I was crawling back to my car after boot camp I wondered if any of that would return to “normal”. I thought, “I am going to begin marathon training sometime next month…am I f-ing crazy?”

This sentiment was also exacerbated by feeling like I was on the brink of passing out while I was at boot camp. This is the 2nd time something like this has happened within the past 30 days and it (understandably) makes me frustrated and low-grade nervous.

The 1st time it happened, I could tell my heart rate was way too high and that in the 100-degree heat, my blood sugar had TANKED. All I could think of was that I was going to pass out in downtown Birmingham with no ID (I know, BAD BAD), no phone and no $$ and that I was going to end up in an ambulance on the way to the county hospital. All I had on me was my water bottle and my car key b/c since I am running to boot camp, I want to keep things “light” and I also don’t want to leave a “pouch” of things on the side where they might “grow legs”. (Not that I think it would happen, but it MIGHT and since having my purse stolen a couple years ago, I am hyper-vigilant of that sort of thing.) I literally stumbled/crawled over to the trainer at the end of class, as my vision was starting to go fuzzy, and luckily a peppermint was all it took to bring me back to the land of the living. Of course, then I had to walk the mile back to my car feeling like absolute garbage which sucked. (In his defense, the trainer did offer me a ride, but I felt like I just needed to walk it off and I did take it pretty slow on the way back.)

After that incident, I started bringing my handheld (instead of just a normal nalgene bottle), with my ID and sports jelly beans tucked into the outside pocket and filling the bottle with a mix of water and G2 since I know I am heavy, salty sweater. I also do make sure to eat a little something (usually a banana or a couple of crackers) about 45 minutes before I head out for my run to help with my blood sugar. I am already pretty good at hydrating during the day, limiting myself to 1 caffeinated beverage in the morning and drinking about 6 or 7 12oz cups of water during the day. This seemed to work for a couple of weeks...

Last week, I wasn’t at the point of blurry vision but I could feel that my heart rate was abnormally high (for me) and that if I continued to push myself, I was going to cross the line into similar territory. Several of us were not feeling great and I as I was drinking between sets feeling like I was about to puke, the girl next to me turned to me and said “I feel like I’m going to throw up.” I ended up having to do a run 1 block, walk 1 block pattern on the way back because I could feel my heart rate climbing uncomfortably.

I would be more worried (and maybe should be anyway?) if this were happening during my runs but it’s not and my runs are generally going anywhere from 40-60 minutes these days (about 3-4 days a week) often in the same kind of heat. Amy and I ran in 100 degree temps last week and I was sweaty and exhausted but otherwise fine. Matt and I are also taking the dogs out for 45-60 minute walks 4-5 days a week and I’m going to yoga one evening a week right now and while I am sweating and working, they are not at the same heart rate intensity as running and boot camp. I’m thinking I need to evaluate what I’m eating before class and maybe try to eat a little closer to when I am about to leave. (Or even drink one of those Gatorade perform drinks right before I leave for my run). I told Matt as we were walking last night, I sometimes consider scrapping the pre and post run and just driving to class b/c of the heat but then I remind myself it’s ONLY a mile each way and I like the time to decompress. The run TO class never feels painful either; it’s just the run back that often sucks.

Anyone else experience anything like this?

I was really hoping to put a new strategy to the test this week, but thunderstorms have rolled into the area and class is now cancelled tonight. I am really disappointed b/c I look forward to the sweat and the workout! Is it sad that I am thinking about recreating this workout at home? I could run the .75 mile loop of my street, go home and do a Jillian Michaels “Shred” video and then go out and run one more loop. It won’t matter if it’s just raining out! Anything to avoid going to the gym. And I already have plans to run tomorrow and Thursday so I don’t want to do 3 days of “just running” in a row.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More than a "walk in the park"

I mentioned awhile ago about the free classes in Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham and just wanted to follow up and report on how much I am enjoying these classes! If anyone from the Birmingham area is reading this, I would highly recommend the RR Park classes as a great way to work up a sweat! (Not that we aren’t working up a sweat just stepping outside, since the weather angels have decided to grace us with August temps in early June, but I digress…)

I have been taking the boot camp classes most Tuesday nights since then and they are deceptively difficult…using a combination of plyometrics and more “traditional” moves (i.e. push-ups, planks, squats, etc). We are moving non-stop and the 90+ degree temps add to the ass-kicking. I like to think I am adding to my own bad-ass factor (HAHA) by running a mile to class from my work parking lot (after the obligatory Superman quick-change at Newk’s) and then back afterward. No need to even wonder why the run TO class feels SO MUCH SHORTER than the run back and even though it’s “only” a mile, I sometimes wonder if I might not be a tad insane given the temps lately.

Last night on the run back I passed a few runners struggling in the heat. When I was a couple blocks away from my parking lot I happened to catch one guy out of the corner of my eye who was running parallel to me (on the other side of the street). He looked like he was in great shape but fading in the heat. At this point my own legs felt like lead and I wanted to walk SO BADLY but I made it my mission to stay even with him until I reached my car. I am proud to say “mission accomplished” and am happy that the random stranger was there to push me the last couple of blocks. However, I did not envy the runner as he kept pushing up the hill on 20th street!

Smiling or Grimacing? You decide.

In addition to boot camp, I also tried the RR Park yoga class for the first time last Thursday. For me, getting in a weekly yoga session is really important in helping to stave off injury and I love having the opportunity to focus and truly be in the moment. I haven’t been able to make it to my usual class at the gym b/c of the horrible traffic conditions/interstate construction work going on right now so I was excited to try this class. And hey, who needs a bikram class when you can do yoga outdoors in 95 degree heat? (And if I had $1 for every time I heard a version of that statement Thursday night I would be well on my way to a new pair of running shoes. And for the record, I used that statement with a coworker earlier that day, so I did not totally rip off someone else’s bad joke!)

This class is definitely going into the weekly rotation! The instructor had such a great energy and truthfully the heat wasn’t unbearable. Right now, the classes are scheduled to go through November and I am already anticipating how great it is going to feel come fall.

My perspective (I love the historic smoke stacks)

After class

The yogi made a statement during the class that I would like to leave you with for now. It resonated with me completely in that moment and I hope others can find value in his words as well.

(Paraphrased and spoken in a calming yoga-like cadence) As you refocus and rededicate your intentions to this class, think of the things that brought you to this point today. These actions and encounters are in the past and they served you well…or maybe they didn’t…but either way they are in the past. As you stand here, do not think of everything that is on your to-do list for when you leave this. All of those things will be waiting for you in the future. Be focused in the present; be completely selfish and focus only on yourself and this moment; be here with intention…focus on the here and now.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

National Running Day

Temperature FAIL!!

I had grand plans to celebrate National Running Day by pounding out 3-4 miles on my favorite trail last night. After a farily lazy weekend at the beach, I was ready for a good, solo run. Gym bag in the car, water bottle filled and ready to head to Newk's for the customary quick change. However, when I left work and walked to my car cloaked in heat and humidity, I thought, "NRD you are going to have to wait until it gets cooler" That picture above? I even waited a few minutes into my drive to take it, to make sure that I wasn't getting any "my car has been sitting in the sun all day" false reading. (And yes, I know my car is dusty, I plan to get it detailed this weekend!)

Matt and I ended up heading out with the dogs around 7:30 for a mix of walking and running. Matt rolled his ankle while playing basketball with my cousin last Friday night and so he's taking it relatively easy right now. But, when we got to the end of the road that I knew was a mile long, I handed him Roxy's leash and said "Babe, I know you can't run but I NEED to run so I will run to the end and double back to meet you guys." Despite the heat, humidity and bugs, it felt SO GOOD just to run. I hadn't run since Saturday morning (when L & I got together for a 90 minute sweat session) and my legs were so happy to be pounding the pavement.

The weather yesterday reminded me of why I tend to resort to the treadmill during the summer. I used to be exclusively a treadmill runner and trained for my 1st half marathon without ever hitting the road(!!) but I've come to really not like it except for speed work. However, it might be time to make friends again...or at least with some combination of the treadmill and indoor track!