Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday Musings 11/30

Happy last day of November.  Wait what?  Yes, tomorrow is December 1.  This past week was a rest week after my 5k, and I wanted to spend time with my lacrosse ball, focusing on the area around the knew knot.  I found some exercises that are supposed to loosen up the calf along the shin bone, so I've been doing those before using the lacrosse ball (on both sides), then stretching the calf.  I hope this all helps.  I need to do stuff in between my chiro visits.

Sunday after my 5k I did Pure Barre, then did yoga on Monday.  That was the extent of my workout for the week.  I'm not of the mindset that I have to earn my Thanksgiving meal, and since it's only one meal I splurge, I enjoy it.  Tuesday I baked the second batch of pecan tassies, and I made a blueberry crumble.  Both were hits, and since we had 3 desserts at the meal, I did bring back some of each to enjoy for the rest of the week.

Thanksgiving itself was gray and rainy, so I was happy I wasn't doing a turkey trot.  The rain did hold out, but it was a humid day with the storm coming.  I slept in until 6:15 (!) and then took my time through the rest of the day.  Thanksgiving itself was great!  I can tell I'm getting older though because I could only complete one plateful, and I was too stuffed to even think about seconds.  I had turkey, Swedish meatballs, rolls, green bean clusters wrapped in bacon, cornbread stuffing with pecans, potato gratin, and sweet potato casserole.  I tried to have a light lunch so I could indulge in all of this. Does the meme below sound familiar to anyone?  That was one of my friends - she said she was full then 10 minutes later was ready for dessert.

We wrapped up the day playing a board game and putting Jurassic World on the TV.

Friday I decorated and started on my collection of Christmas movies.  I watched the Muppet Christmas Carol and 2 Big Bang Theory Christmas episodes.  Between the movies and TV episodes, I have to start watching early.

Saturday was a lazy, lazy day, with some quick errands and only going out at 8 to go to a pub quiz with friends.  We used to do pub quizzes by Geeks Who Drink until our pub closed last year.  We were able to get the team back together Saturday and we won the quiz!  Between errands and pub quiz, I didn't do anything.  The weather this whole weekend was gray, rainy, and cold.  Like, low 40s with wind chills in the 30s cold.  I know how to deal with cold, but it always seems colder in Texas.  I don't know why.

Sunday I finally got back on the workout wagon and decided to shock my system with the RW Iron Strength.  Let's see how I feel on Monday!

Weekly Wrap-up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pecan Tassies

A couple readers asked for the recipe, so here it is.  It's a Martha Stewart recipe I got from my Martha Stewart Cookie book.


For the dough:

1/2 cup of ground pecans
1/2 cup (4oz) mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the filling:

1 large egg
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 T pure maple syrup
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 T unsalted butter, softened
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Make the dough: process pecans in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1/2 cup); set aside.  Put mascarpone and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-high speed until well blended.  Add flour, ground pecans, and salt; mix just until dough comes together.  Alternatively, stie together ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.

2. Roll dough into eighteen 1-inch balls, press into bottoms and up sides of cups of mini-muffin tins.

3. Make the filling: whisk together egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter and salt in a small bowl.  Stir in pecans.  Spoon about 1 1/2 t filling into each muffin cup

4. Bake pecan tassies until crust beings to turn golden, about 15 minutes.  Turn pan halfway.  Let cool completely in tins on wire rack.  Umold.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pumpkin Spice 5k

The first-ever Pumpkin Spice race series was held this past Saturday, put together by Run Project and sponsored by my LRS, Run On! Texas.  Even though this race was in Fort Worth (and 40 miles from my apartment), I opted for this one over the other races this past weekend.  I got bling for the 5k, and there was an easy packet pickup location on my side of town.  I love an easy packet pickup because it's one stress aspect that's taken away.  I picked it up on Tuesday and got the race long-sleeve shirt and some sunglasses with the race packet.  I didn't use the sunglasses.

During the week, the weather seemed ideal with temps projected to be in the 40s.  Perfect running weather, right?  Wrong!  Wyoming and Colorado had a weather system move through and we got the wind.  Oh my goodness, it was windy.  The road to Fort Worth is mostly highways/tollways, and my car was being buffeted about by the wind.  I made it to the event center and did not want to get out of my car.  But I had to use the port-a-potties :-/

For the race I was wearing my Nike winter shirt, a UA short-sleeve shirt and a running vest, with running tights and a Running Skirt (no picture).  I threw in a college boathouse jacket to have something to wear after the race, but I ended up wearing that too.  Initially I had my bib pinned to my vest, but that changed when I opted to wear the jacket as well.  I also had gloves and a winter headband for my ears.  When I say it was cold, it was cold.  I know cold, and Texas cold, for whatever reason, always seems to be worse than it should.

My cousin and her friend were doing the 15k, and the 15k and 10k runners took off at 8, with the 5k starting at 8:30.  Y'all, there were a lot of 5k runners.  One aspect that needs to be worked out is the running route.  We started on the road, but quickly reached the running trails that were utilized for the race.  It got narrow pretty quickly, and I ended up weaving around a lot of people.  Probably the same people because we all were doing run/walk intervals.  If I was running, others were walking.  Then they passed me when I was walking.  The crowd kept my speed in check, but I did a lot of weaving.

We didn't get a 1-mile marker or 3-mile marker.  Only 2, and I heard from my cousin the 15k course was also missing mile markers.  I couldn't use my Garmin because the GPS was taking forever to link up with the satellites in the waiting corral, and I needed my running intervals.  I have no idea what my average pace was and how much I actually did run.  With all the weaving I was doing, I know I did more than 3.1.  The good news is, my calf spot didn't twinge until the very end.  I just would like to know what distance it was when it started twinging.

 Would I do this race again?  I don't think so.  It was fun, and another race to check out my legs and see how the kinks are faring.  For now I'm going to take a break from races and focus on the right spots.  My chiro's office has massage therapists and I need to take advantage of that to get work done on my calves.  What work I get on one side must be done on the other.  My body's got a great talent of one side joining the other in muscle kinks and pain.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings 11/23

Weekly recap!  The end of last week was tough because part of me has mentally checked out for Thanksgiving.  The only problem is I work Monday-Wednesday this week, so these 3 days are going to be a little tough.  I have everything I need for what I'm bringing for Thanksgiving, including a celebratory adult beverage.  Our tour guide at Schramsberg said she thought the blanc de noir went very well with a Thanksgiving dinner, so I'm taking her advice.  Even if it's not paired with the dinner, it's still really good.

Dessert will be the same as last year since it was so popular.  It's a Martha Stewart recipe for pecan tassies.  It's not a difficult recipe, but there are quite a few steps that will keep me busy.  Since a couple hockey players will be at the feast, I'm making a double batch.  And I might taste test a couple, just to be sure ;-)  I included the Blue Bell to have a small side with the tassies, and since Blue Bell is back, why not?

This week's training stayed about the same, even with a race on Saturday.  I didn't do much before my last 5k and I felt a little tight during that race.  Tuesday I picked up my race packet at my LRS, since the company is a sponsor with the race series.  This was the first year for the Pumpkin Spice run, and there are a few things they could work on.  I'll recap the race tomorrow.

Weekly Wrap-up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.

Monday: yoga

Tuesday: strength training

Wednesday: 2.35 miles

Thursday: Jillian Michaels' yoga meltdown level 1

Friday: rest

Saturday: 3.1+ miles

Sunday: Pure Barre

Friday, November 20, 2015

Favorite Winter Drinks

Friday Five is favorite drinks.  I add in some hot drinks in the summer, and also stick to some staples through the year.  I've already opened a box of hot tea since I really needed help on Tuesday.  Tornado sirens went off at 4am that day and I really struggled to get through the day.

1) Lady Grey tea - my favorite hot black tea.  The bergamot flavor isn't as strong as in Earl Grey, and the citrus balances out the flavors too.

2) Hot Chocolate - I need to get more to start the winter off, but my favorites are Ghiradelli's.  There's was the first to have the mixture with hot milk, and I haven't been able to have water-based hot chocolate since.  The milk adds body to the hot chocolate and is the only way I drink it now.

3) Sleepytime tea.  Sometimes I do have trouble winding down at the end of the day, and Sleepytime tea is the best way I can help with that.  I really don't know if the valerian actually works, but the process of letting the tea steep and drinking something hot with no caffeine seems to help.  Plus the bear in his nightcap is so cute!

4) Champagne.  OK, this is more related to the holidays.  I'm taking a bottle of sparkling wine with me to Thanksgiving and will get it this weekend.  I avoid the stores the day before Thanksgiving because, like the airport, it's chaos.  I make sure I have everything ready to go beforehand.

5) Red wine.  It's not hot, but shouldn't be cold either.  I make some heavy, substantial meals during the winter, soups, stews, casseroles, and I need wine that holds up with it.  I still drink white when I make seafood, but red is definitely a lot more winter.

Friday Five with Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run and You Signed Up For What?! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thinking Out Loud 11/19

Another Thinking Out Loud with Amanda.

I switched my Instagram account to private to cut down on the spam likes and followers.  I got tired of seeing Russian names with, ahem, revealing pictures.  Yes, it's my blog Instagram, but I'm tired of blocking these types of accounts.  If you want to follow me, please do :-)


There is finally a Pixar movie I don't want to see.  Has anyone seen the trailers for the Good Dinosaur?  They remind me of the Land Before Time.  I used to watch the first movie as a kid, but the GD doesn't interest me at all.  I'm actually a little saddened since I love Pixar movies (except WALL-E).  I even have my phone case with a Pixar character.


I'm very much a "holidays as they come" person, but I bought my Christmas candy.  Ghiradelli now makes their peppermint bark with dark chocolate, and I couldn't pass it up.  The squares will be my dessert from now until they disappear at the end of the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Running Soundtrack

"What is dinner without a little music?"

For me it's what is running without a little music.  I've always loved running with music, and I have plenty of playlists to keep things fun.  I have a standard running playlist that I change up, but I have other themes.  I've got a Christmas list, Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, Patriotic, an all women-playlist, Disney, movie soundtracks, the instrumental soundtracks, '80s, you name it.

Music's always been important to me, and I love playing around and figuring out which songs are best to run to.  I use my phone as my iPod so I have both music and phone, in case I need the phone.  When they were separate, I felt weighted down because I was carrying extra stuff.

I have run without music, but I prefer not to.  The trick is to be responsible.  I do keep the volume down, especially when I'm outside, so I can be aware of my surroundings, but I get bored if I don't have my iPod with me.

Tuesdays on the Run with Patty, Erika, and Marcia.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Musings 11/16

Thursday I didn't do any cardio and instead watched videos of cardio and yoga.  Yeah, I wasn't feeling motivated, and the cat snuggled next to me on the couch.  "OK, I'm done, and going to lay here until she moves."  That was my Thursday.  I'm still experimenting with a different schedule, but since Thursdays are rather blah days most weeks, I'm thinking of going back to running on Wednesdays and using Tuesdays and Thursdays as strength days.  I still have weaknesses that I need to focus on, if my chiro appointment last week was any indication.

The reason why my calf is tight along my shin bone was my hip was tight and I was out of alignment.  He had to use Graston to get those calf spots to loosen up, and he said running on banked surfaces during the Showdown 5k was enough to pull me out of alignment.  The whole second mile was on a highway access road that banked down to the right, and only one lane was closed off.  That meant I couldn't move to the center of the road to get away from the slope.  If that was enough to pull me out of alignment, I still have a lot work to do.

Since I no longer have my gym membership, I've been looking at different workouts and combining shorter ones to help me on my strength days.  I've upped Pure Barre to 3 times a month, and even splurged on a class package.  That should last me a little over 3 months.  I have DVD workouts I add together, and I've been looking at workouts from Muscle and Fitness Hers, plus a video I found from Pilates Happy Hour and some of the Oiselle Dozen.  I don't do all 12, but combine them with exercises from the other workouts, and it's fun to do.  I've been doing two reps but might up it to three.  I've even found more yoga routines to do.

As a side note, I mentioned to my chiro I have another 5k on the 21st and he said to come in before that to make sure I'm in alignment.  When I looked at the calendar to make that appointment, I realized the 5k is this coming Saturday.  What?  When did that happen?  It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving and it's this coming weekend!

Weekly Wrap-up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.


Monday: yoga

Tuesday: 3 miles (treadmill)

Wednesday: strength training

Thursday: extra rest with foam rolling and extra stretching

Friday: rest

Saturday: 2.6 miles (track), lower back yoga

Sunday: Pure Barre, lower back yoga (my lower back was tight this weekend)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Healthy Holidays

As I was reading this article yesterday, I thought it well-timed for my reading, since the article was published a couple weeks ago.  I am one to turned towards comfort food in the winter, and in fact, I made a goulash casserole last weekend and had enough for 3 meals during the week.  Now, it has tomatoes, so that counts, right?  I did pair it with fruit, like raspberries, to try to stay a little healthy, and I made 3 portions to have a smaller amount for each meal.

1) I'm fine through November, then it's all those Christmas parties.  One Thanksgiving day isn't going to throw off my eating, but all the Christmas snacking is a challenge.  If I don't want it in the home, I don't buy it.  It's a lot more difficult to do that kind of control at work.

2) I've been doing this for a few years now, but when I cook, I buy the low-salt variety of anything for broths, taco mixes, and other spices.  Americans consume way too much salt, and instead of salt I use herbs to add extra flavor to a dish.

3) I stay consistent with my workout schedule.  I don't participate in any holiday challenge because I also find comfort in routine, and my workout schedule gives me rest days and yoga days when I need them.

4) If I do go to parties, sometimes I'll make a lighter appetizer.  I already have one party on my schedule, and I'm making a Mediterranean appetizer for finger foods.  Puff pastry, tomatoes, olives and basil and oregano provide a lightness while also adding flavor.  The cheese provides plenty of salt (see #2).

5) Lastly, I don't cut myself off from all the temptation.  Going cold turkey means more control than I'm willing to deal with.  If I want some chocolate, I'll have some chocolate.  I'll get the Ghiradelli peppermint bark squares so a single serving is easy to stick with.

 Friday Five with Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run and You Signed Up For What?! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Three Things Thursday 11/12

Between random thoughts or general life, there are a number of things I can write about for Thursdays.  They seem to have become the day for random thoughts.  Today's will be TV.

1) Anyone watch Sleepy Hollow the show?  The actor who played Jeremy last season was cast as Papa Holmes on Elementary.  He showed up right at the very end of last week's episode, and my jaw dropped.  Apparently ads for the new season included him, but I didn't see them.  I can't wait for tonight's episode.

Yeah, I'm not kidding when I said my jaw dropped (I paused the DVR and took a picture).  And just in case he looks familiar but you can't place him, he was also in the Lord of the Rings.

2) Now with Elementary airing, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my big TV nights, with nothing else on during the week.  Once Rizzoli and Isles returns in February after its usual fall break, I'll have another show to add back to my Tuesday DVR schedule.

3) Finally, anyone watch Dr. Who?  I started watching past episodes this summer and am now watching the current season as it airs, or rather, recording the two-episode blocks and watching them together.  Each story line has had two episodes each so I save the first episode until the second one has aired.  I didn't understand why some of my friends hate the Doctor's current companion, but I get it now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrate a Race

How do y'all celebrate a big race?  It's easy at Disney since there's so much to do, and I normally celebrate with either a Dole Whip or a Grand Marnier Slush.

Anybody try the citrus Dole Whip?  I've only ever gotten the pineapple whip.

Other adult beverages at Margaritaville Orlando is always good too.  If you can't tell, I mostly celebrate with a treat or adult beverage (or it could be both in one go).  Training is difficult, and after my culinary treat, I give my toes a pedicure.

Tuesdays on the Run with Patty, Erika, and Marcia.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Musings 11/9

Darn this falling back an hour.  I had one outdoor run during the week before the time change, and I had one (very successful) run after work this past week.  It was almost dark by the time I got back home, so just when it's super nice in temperature after work for me to run outside, I have to move on back inside.  How is that fair?

Tuesday I bought 2XU calf sleeves, which provide more support than my Zensah sleeves.  Granted, it takes some elbow grease to get the sleeves over my calves, but they feel more supported, even if they do feel like a sausage casing.  I did 3.25 miles Wednesday with 1/1 intervals and felt good.  I'm not past the front calf problem yet, but I found the magic button.  It hurts for sure, but the lacrosse ball is getting down into the knot.  I also see my chiro this week so I hope to at least get a plan of attack.  I'm still experimenting with intervals and speed, shoes, sleeves, trying to find a winning combo.

I think we're now moving into weather that brings out the New Englander in me.  Sunday was in the 40s when I woke up, but the temp was deceiving.  When I got outside for my run, the wind hit 1/2-a mile into my run.  My poor ears.  They were frozen by the time I was done, and I need to get to REI to ge t a headband.  Not only will that limit the wind hitting my ears, I'm hoping it'll cut down on the sound of the wind that can over power the volume of my music.  And maybe some gloves too.  My hands were chapped because of the wind.

And finally, look at what's back in North Texas.  Ta-da!

Weekly Wrap-up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.


Monday: yoga

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: 3.25 miles

Thursday: strength training

Friday: rest

Saturday: Pure Barre

Sunday: 2.25 miles

Friday, November 6, 2015

Race Signs

It's Friday!  We have gorgeous weather coming up this weekend and I'm excited for it.

Today's Friday Five is race signs.  I don't remember many signs because of runner's brain, but I remember some.

1) Punch here for power OR high five for power.  I've high-fived kids with those signs and they're so excited when runners do.

2) "You trained for this longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage."  Yup, I saw that during my first half.  Good thing it wasn't at a water station or water would've come out of my nose.

3) "You're NOT almost there."

4) During my last half, I was behind a retired veteran who listed out all the injuries he sustained in combat.  It finished with "If I can do this, so can you."

5) Finally, a staple at Disney races for so many years, Peggy Sue.  She had her spot and runners knew to look for her.  "Hello complete stranger.  I'm proud of you."

Friday Five with Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run and You Signed Up For What?! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

3 Things Thursday 11/5

I had a great run yesterday!  It was one of those runs that I really needed for my psyche, and it happened.  Outside.  After my Halloween run ended in frustration, yesterday was redemption.  Why?

1) New shoes
2) New compression sleeves
3) New running intervals

All new stuff, but yes, I used my new shoes for the first time, I bought 2XU compression sleeves on Tuesday to try out, and I adjusted my intervals to 1/1.  My legs are getting used to the outside terrain and my faster speed.  I have to adjust to let them adjust.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bookworm Wednesday

Yes, I'm bringing it back, for this week at least.  During the last 1.5 weeks of October, I plowed through 3 books of a mystery series, and have forced myself to take a break.  I tried reading this series back in '09, but I think I needed a break from mysteries at that point.  How else can I explain not getting into the story then and needing to catch up on all the books and novellas right here, right now?

The series is the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn, and I've read Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, and Silent on the Moor.  The series does take place in the Victorian era, and I realized a lot of series I've read take place in that era (which spans quite few decades).  The mysteries are complicated, and I've found myself surprised in the first two books... I did figure out the third book, but not motives.  Each one is filled with layers that add to the story and the characters.  There's so much more to the stories than just the mystery and investigation.  Obviously, I couldn't put the series down.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Racecation Packing

If you love racecations, you probably have the packing down pat.  I pack more running gear than I do regular clothes, but usually I'm only away for a long weekend.  If I'm at Disney, I can manage with one pair of jeans and some shorts.  Running shorts are perfectly fine to wear in the parks.  Heck, if it's cool enough, good luck getting me out of my running capris.

A little advice goes a long way, so if you're looking for some tips, here you go :-)

I always take carry-on and never check luggage.  I have all my gear with me on the plane and there's no chance of my being separated when I need my running gear.  If you're packing gels for energy, they're fine in the liquids bag.

Remember, if you're in any city, there will be grocery stores.  Unless your pre-race breakfast is strange, most places will have cereal, bagels, peanut butter, you name it.  Not to mention grocery stores have their travel sections.  If you forgot a liquid, you can buy it.

The Stick might pose a problem at TSA.  I did manage to get mine through in 2013, but I haven't tried it since.  Instead, I have a travel-sized, very mini foam roller, but my trusty lacrosse ball works better than the foam roller.  I need time with the lacrosse ball after flying since I'm a little tense on the plane and my muscles get tight.

Finally, if you're sight-seeing, don't overdo it before the race.  You want to try to go into the race with fresh legs, then walk around the city afterwards.  Your lights might be tired after the race, but walking around post-race helps flush the lactic acid from your muscles.

Tuesdays on the Run with Patty, Erika, and Marcia.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday Musings 11/2

Today I get my flu shot.  I really really REALLY hope it works this year and I can enjoy Christmas.

Friday was fun.  We had a Halloween open house at work and then Friday night, PBS had a special with Danny Elfman.  Anyone else fans of Tim Burton movies?  All the scores performed are from Tim Burton films, finishing with Elfman himself singing songs from Nightmare Before Christmas.  He did sing for Jack in the film :)  It's online if anyone missed it and wants to watch it.

I got outside twice this past week for runs.  The first one was 2.25 miles and was good, the next one was 3 miles and my calf spot flared up again.  Ugh.  My chiro appointment is on the 11th and I want to get to the bottom of this.  I'm also thinking it might help to start using the new shoes I bought last month.  It's certainly much earlier than I would've liked, and they don't have that many running miles on them, but I'll give the new shoes a try.  I also might need some tighter compression on my calves.  I use Zensah calf sleeves but they may not be supportive enough.

This weekend again was gloomy weather.  Gloomy weather makes me want to cook.  Last week was tortilla soup, this week was spaghetti sauce.  Sunday I watched the NYC marathon, then started up the cooking around 2.  The sauce has to simmer for 3 hours once all the sautéing and mixing is complete.  My apartment smelled like Italy :-)

While the sauce was simmering, I did an intensive 30 minutes of strength training.  I'm trying something out (while trying to figure out my new flare up) since the Galloway plan for Think calls for 3 runs a week.  that means I'd need to switch things up and have 2 strength training sessions.  I don't know if that would be enough strength sessions, so might as well try them out now.  If they don't work, I know I need to stick with my schedule while trying to build mileage.

Weekly Wrap-up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.


Monday: yoga

Tuesday: 2.25 miles

Wednesday: 35 minutes strength training

Thursday: 2 miles hill walking

Friday: yoga

Saturday: 3 miles

Sunday: 30 minutes strength training