Mar 31, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/31/2014
This weekend, I ate a lot of Latin American food and tried pupusas for the first time. On Friday night, my brother and I went to a Peruvian place that I went to a couple of weeks ago. I really liked it from that first trip because some of the dishes were pretty new to me, like ceviche and grilled beef heart. This time, for an appetizer, we ordered shrimp with fried yuca. It was served with a buttery sauce. Pretty good, but a bit pricey for only 5 shrimp!

For my entree, I got ropa vieja, a cuban dish of shredded beef. It was served in a fried plantain "basket", which I thought was pretty cool, and came with rice and beans. It was pretty delicious, though I wish I had more green vegetables on my plate! Everything was so heavy and filling. My brother got a creamy Peruvian chicken dish. I sampled it and it tasted a bit like chicken pot pie.

On Saturday, I went out again for lunch. There's a pupuseria, called La Casita Pupuseria, near my house that I've been meaning to try. I finally went on Saturday for lunch, and I wish I had gone sooner! They have a variety of items on their menu, and very reasonably priced. They have smaller items like pupusas, tamales, and enchiladas, as well are larger platos such as steak and fish. A pupusa is masa (corn dough) filled with cheese, meat, or veggies and shaped into a flat cake that's grilled. I ordered two pupusas, one bean and cheese and the other with loroco flower (wasn't sure what that is). I also ordered a chicken tamale and a papaya smoothie. They make smoothies with fresh fruit, and use soy milk without charging extra! I ordered wayyy too much, but I wanted to try everything!

The pupusas took a while to cook, since they are made fresh. They came hot off the griddle, and were oozing with so much cheese! The pair of pupusas came with some a cabbage slaw, which was the perfect foil for the rich cheese. Everything was delicious, but I got full really quickly. Good thing I went rock climbing afterwards, otherwise I would've had a food coma.

For Sunday dinner, my whole family went out to eat with my two aunts, three cousins, and grandpa. I chose the restaurant, and decided on one of my favorite local restaurants, Founding Farmers. For appetizers, I ordered fried green tomatoes and two different flatbreads, one smoked salmon, the other apple chutney. The smoked salmon one was my favorite, and the apple chutney was a bit too sweet and sour.

For my entree, I ordered skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Delicious! I also sampled other people's food, so I ended up tasting a reuben, seafood pasta, and some shrimp and grits. Haha the advantages of dining out with a large family ;)

For dessert, I ordered the beignets, which are made to order and served with a trio of sauces. I also wanted carrot cake, but we were all so full that we took it to go. I ate SO MUCH, but it was a satisfying meal.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 3/31/2014
I have been looking forward to my first race of the season! My running club hosts a bunch of low-key races that are included with the membership, and they had their Piece of Cake 10K on Sunday. After the 10K or 5K race, there was a club meeting and award brunch with cake

I kept an eye on the weather forecast all week, but it looked like rain. Although I dislike being wet, I was mentally prepared for a rainy race and was determined to have fun despite the weather. My various weather sources ranged from 30% to 100% chance of rain, and when I woke up Sunday morning, it was raining steadily. I had my coffee and usual pre-race breakfast of French toast, and packed my gear, including an extra change of clothes. I decided to wear my water-repellent cycling leg warmers with spandex, which did NOT work. The leg warmers kept slipping off when I was warming up, so I ditched them. Poor decision :( At least my waterproof jacket kept me warm.

My brother and younger cousin decided to run the 10K, as well, and we joined up with a friend at the start. We were all running at different paces, so we kind of split up immediately. The rain seemed to ease off a bit when the race started, but my bare legs felt really cold from the rain and wind. My core warmed up quickly, but my legs never really warmed up. I really wish I wore running tights, because my legs felt a numb and a bit leaden. 

The course was on the roads through a park, so there were some out and backs. I saw my people a few times on the course and we cheered each other on! The route also had rolling hills, and my strategy was to maintain a consistent effort. At some point, my legs were feeling really heavy because they were just so darn cold. I managed some pretty even splits, though.

7:34, 7:18, 7:36, 7:49, 7:29, 7:38, 6:51 (0.2 mi)

I finished in 47:32, averaging 7:39 pace. I came in 1st for my age division (out of 7 people), and 8 out of 140 females. That really surprised me!

At the finish line, waiting for my friend
Overall, I had a successful race! My primary goal for this race was to run at an even pace and finish strong without fading. I think I did decently in that regard. This race definitely boosted my confidence for my goal race next month. Looks like the work that I'm putting in to develop my speed is working. That makes me more motivated to get out there and do more speed work. I used to dread it, but no pain no gain! Now I'm so pumped for my next race, a sprint duathlon on April 12th!

Soaked, but happy!
After the race was the brunch and club meeting. It started pouring harder and the temperature really dropped. Although we were under a tent, I was just too darn cold to stay for the whole thing, and we bailed early. Unfortunately, they didn't serve the cake until after the meeting, so I didn't get any. Oh well, I bought a huge slice of carrot cake later :P 

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?

Mar 30, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/30/2014

I had a great week of training, doing a variety of workouts including running, cycling, yoga, and rock climbing. I met my goal of practicing a bit of yoga every day and doing a bike and run brick. On Saturday, I wanted to go cycling with a group of friends, but it's been soggy all weekend and we opted to go indoor rock climbing instead. I was in a rock climbing club in college, but I haven't been in a while and am still a noob at it. Since I rarely go to the rock climbing gym, I am not belayed certified and we only had two people who were in our group. They were kind enough to belay for most of the time, but I felt kind of bad. I also went bouldering, which I'm really bad at! I've climbed a 5.10 before, but when it comes to bouldering, I can barely get up a V.1. My arm and grip strength is so weak, and my arms were so fatigued by the end. I had a great time doing something a bit different!
On Sunday, I had my first race of the season with my running club. It was rainy and windy, but I was just glad to race! I planned my wardrobe rather poorly and wore shorts, so my legs never really warmed up. They felt a bit leaden and not very fresh, but I managed to PR! I'll have a more detailed race recap in another post.

Monday- rest day

Tuesday- 40 mins on bike trainer, weights
                  Vinyasa flow yoga

Wednesday- hot power Vinyasa yoga

Thursday- bike/run brick, 30 mins on trainer, 2.36 mi run avg 7:18
                   20 mins yoga

Friday- 3.1 mi run avg 7:40
              Vinyasa flow yoga

Saturday- biking 11.3 mi
                 20 mins yoga
                 indoor rock climbing

Sunday- Piece of Cake 10K, avg 7:33
               Yin/Yang yoga

Totals- Running 11.7 mi
            Cycling 11.3 mi + 70 mins on trainer

How did your training go this week? Do you have a goal race this season?

Mar 28, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/28/2014
If there's one thing to know about me, it's that I love food. And I eat a lot. I wrote a post on the "Run Fast" part of my blog name, and today's post is about the "Eat Lots" part. I'd like to share my philosophy on food, though I must make the disclaimer that I am not a dietitian. I don't think I am qualified to give any one nutrition advise, and what works for me probably won't work for everyone.

Let me start with a little background on my eating habits. Growing up, I was always a voracious eater and my parents tell me stories of how I was always crawling into the fridge! I grew up eating all the junk food that kids in the 90s ate: dunkaroos, Hostess cakes, Fruit Rollups, Cheetoes, Kid Cuisines. As I got older and hit my growth spurt in middle school, I swear I ate more than a teenage boy. I would also eat anything and everything, including vegetables, fruit, junk food, etc. I had a phase where I ate a bagel with cream cheese and Zebra cakes for lunch every day. And then I always ate some of my friend's Chef Boyardee.

In high school, I became more selective about my eating and educated myself on health foods. I decided to become vegetarian, much to my parent's concern. I was an athlete all four years of high school, and played volleyball on both the varsity team and a club team. They thought that I wasn't getting enough nutrition without meat, and since I was so active and still growing, they were really concerned about my health. I responded by going vegan (I was also going through a rebellious phase!) I taught myself how to cook and thought I was eating pretty well since I had cut out most junk food from my diet. In retrospect, I now see that my diet was a bit extreme, and I needed to be eating more for my level of activity. With the pressure from my parents, I slowly reintroduced animal products into my diet, and eventually went back to eating meat after I graduated high school.

Also, since I first learned how to cook vegan, I still sometimes cook and bake that way, which is why I have some vegan recipes on my blog :)
Vegan yogurt, pretty delicious!
Now, I eat a more balanced diet between the two extremes: I eat a healthy dose of plants along with a sensible portion of less than healthy foods. I consider myself fortunate that I love "rabbit food", and I feel like my meal isn't complete without a huge side of veggies. I am not strict in any way with fried foods or sweets. If I want it, I'll have it. I don't keep track of my calories, though I do check nutrition labels just to be informed of the ingredients. 
My fave pre-long run breakfast
When I am training, I usually eat a carb-heavy breakfast before my workout, and then a second breakfast with more protein, such as Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola or a protein smoothie.

My lunches are usually salads, because I love salads and think they are immensely satisfying. I'm still sometimes hungry if I only eat salad, so I like to have a slice of whole grain bread with PB and jelly.

I also really enjoy eating out a lot, even though it's not always the healthiest food. But it makes me happy, so I don't think there is any harm done.

I strongly believe that eating a healthy diet doesn't mean only eating healthy foods, and excluding everything else. I think most foods can be healthy, despite its nutritional value, as long as you eat a healthy portion of it. A scoop of ice cream is healthy if it makes you happy, because it is nourishing the soul

What matters more to me is to have a healthy relationship with food and not worrying about eating too much of one thing and compensating for it the next day. I've been down that path, and trust me, the emotional toll is so not worth it. Here are a few bullets that basically sums up my food philosophy:
  • Eat mostly plant-based whole food
  • Try to avoid artificial ingredients (HFCS, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, etc.) 
  • Be more selective with animal products (hormone-free, cage-free, sustainably-caught, etc). It's more expensive, but I just consume less of it
  • Buy local if possible, which is more important to me than organic 
  • Indulge in sweets without a side of guilt

And when I indulge, I go big. Like Serendipity 3, $16 sundae BIG. This picture does not do justice to the sheer size of this monster sundae. There is a slice of peanut butter pie hidden under the whipped cream and fudge.
Haha, I devoured most of you and even though I felt kind of sick, IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

In your opinion, what is a healthy diet?

Mar 27, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/27/2014
It's about two weeks out from my first duathlon, and I finally did a brick work out today. I need to get used to the feeling of biking after running, and running after biking. Pacing myself in duathlon is crucial, and I don't want to start the first run too fast. My race plan is to have a steady pace for both run #1 and #2. Since this was my first brick, I was interested to see how my legs would feel running straight off the bike.

Since it's still winter-like outside, I started with a 30 minute bike on the trainer. I went at a steady effort that was comfortable, but hard enough that I was dripping with sweat by the end. I had set up my run gear next to my bike, so after I hopped off, I switched shoes, put on my cap and sunglasses, and a long-sleeved thermal jersey (it was about 30 degrees this morning). I was too lazy to put on the gloves. My trainer is set up in the basement, so I ran up stairs and headed out the door. T1 was about 1:30, though I need to practice transitions that mimic what I will actually be doing. I'll try to get some practice in the next two weeks. 

My legs were feeling great, and since they were warmed up from the bike, I set off at a 7:13 pace for the first mile. That's really fast for me! I couldn't believe that I was running that fast even though my perceived effort was on the low side. Second mile was 7:23 and the last bit was at 7:00 for a total of 2.35 miles. I am pleasantly surprised that my legs were ready to run after biking. Seriously, if biking before a run makes me go faster, I should warm up on a bike before my running races!

After my workout, I made a green protein smoothie with a packet of Vega protein powder. I bought a few single-serving packs to try them out. It's pretty pricey, but if it tastes good, I might buy a tub. I used to drink Spiru-tein, which is a lot cheaper, but I wanted to try different protein powders. 

I blended up half a frozen banana, raspberries, and spinach with almond milk and a bit of water. Then I added the Vega and some ice cubes. Not the prettiest smoothie, but it tasted pretty good :)

Vega Sport has 26g of plant-based protein, mainly from peas, brown rice, and alfalfa. My smoothie had a slightly gritty texture, which is to be expected from a vegan protein powder. It's also sweetened with stevia, and I could definitely tell by that aftertaste. I'm not too fond of stevia-sweetened things, and I'm not sure if I like it. I have two more packs of Vega, so I'll see if I like those better.

Do you drink protein shakes? What's your favorite brand?

Mar 26, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , | 3/26/2014
After snowing all day yesterday, today is cold, windy, and it even flurried a bit. I did not want to go for a run today, so I went to a Hot Power Vinyasa class instead. The heat was cranked up, and we did a lot of moves that worked the core and shoulders. My arms were already sore from yesterday, so today's class was a bit more challenging. I worked up quite a bit of sweat during the one hour class! It was nice to stretch those sore muscles in the heated room, though. Today was the last day of my introductory week and I took 5 different classes with five different yoga instructors. I really enjoyed the different styles of teaching and I think I am going to sign up for a month of unlimited classes.

Goal #1 for this week- so far so good. Reaching my other goals? Not looking too hot. I was really looking forward to this weekend to go on a nice bike ride to a small mountain near me, but it looks like there will be thunderstorms on Saturday! Also, it might rain on Sunday, the day of my first 10K. I rarely run in the rain (I hate getting wet), and I've been lucky so far with good weather for all of my races. I guess it's bound to rain on one of my race days, so I better get used to it. Or maybe I'll get lucky again!

In other news, I went to Whole Foods yesterday and bought some non-dairy yogurt to try. Lactose and I are not getting along so well these days, and I am putting my beloved Greek yogurt and cheese on the refrigerator shelf for now to see if I feel any better. I eat Greek yogurt for second breakfast, after my morning workouts, because it's really high in protein. Now, I am trying to find a non-dairy substitute.

First up, So Delicious cultured almond milk, with 6g of protein. I rarely say this about food, but this was almost inedible. It had a gritty texture from the pea protein powder and had a really thick and slimy mouthfeel with no yogurt-y tang whatsoever. So NOT worth the meager 6g of protein. I hate to waste food, so I choked it down. You disappoint me, Greek Style So Delicious :(

The other cultured non-dairy product I tried was the coconut milk version, non-Greek style. The flavor was delicious and the texture, though un-yogurt like, was pleasant and like coconut pudding. There was also a very slight tang to it. The downside is that there is basically no protein, only 1g, and it's mostly fat and sugar. NOT the nutritional profile I am looking for as a Greek yogurt replacement. It's also pricey and not worth the expense, even though it's pretty tasty.

As an alternative, I also bought some lactose-free yogurt. Although it's not Greek yogurt, it's still a good source of protein for post-workout recovery. I haven't tried it yet, but hopefully it won't give me pain like regular yogurt does.

Do you eat dairy? If not, what non-dairy replacements do you like?

Mar 25, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/25/2014
This morning, I woke up to gloomy skies, and just as I was finishing my coffee, it started to snow. I wanted to run a couple miles outside before hopping on the bike trainer, but I wimped out and just did my bike workout. I went 40 minutes total, about 25 minutes tempo effort. After the bike, I did some strength exercises with Powerblocks. My arms and core felt pretty fatigued afterwards!

I changed out of my sweaty clothes into yoga clothes and headed off to a vinyasa yoga class. Today's class was fast paced and we did a lot of chaturangas and core work. It was tough after this morning's workout, since my muscles were already feeling a bit fatigued. I worked up a sweat (again), but it felt pretty good after the 75 minute class. 

Road Runner Girl

I'm going to start sharing my weekly goals on Tuesdays with the Weekly Chase, hosted by Road Runner Girl and Molly.

Goals for this week:

1) Practice yoga everyday- after joining a yoga class last week, I am really loving it and want to incorporate a bit of yoga every day. I am trying to go to the yoga studio at least 3 times a week, and the days I don't go, I'll practice at home.

2) Do a few brick workouts (run/bike and bike/run) to get some experience with transitioning for my duathlon in less than two weeks!!! I was planning on doing this a couple weeks ago, but that just didn't happen.

3) Have fun at my first race of the season- I have a 10K this Sunday, and my primary goal is to enjoy it. It's a low key race to celebrate my running club's "birthday", so it'll be a fun affair with brunch and cake afterwards. Maybe I'll PR just to get to the cake faster ;)

4) Log some miles cycling on my new bike- need to start breaking in my new bike before my cross-country bike trip this summer. So far, I've only ridden it about 10 miles. Let's hope this snow melts really fast so I can get out and ride!

What are you focusing on this week?

Mar 24, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/24/2014
This weekend has been filled with food, cycling, running, and yoga. On Friday, I started the day with a healthful bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a salad and smoothie for lunch.

Then things got crazy and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch basketball with from friends. Got a Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout, a few wings, and a melty, cheesy dip with a huge basket of chips. The beer was delicious (brewed with Berger cookies!), and wings were okay, and the chips and dip were meh. The chip to dip ratio was pretty terrible; way to many chips for such a small amount of dip. I'm also not a huge fan of wings. Oh well, I usually go to BWW just for a beer anyways.

On Saturday, after my bike club ride, I went to a triathlon expo with my friend to hear Merinda Carfrae give a talk. By the time we were done, it was past 2pm and I was past the point of hunger. I was ravenous. My friend and I decided to get pho, and since I was so hungry, we got stuffed grape leaves for an appetizer and I got a large taro bubble tea. And devoured it all so fast that I forgot to take a photo.

On Sunday, I woke up early to get an interval workout in before heading out to a local park to watch a friend race. This was the first cycling race I've spectated, and it was really interesting to watch. The course was a little over a mile long, and the finish was up a really long hill. I watched the Cat 5 men's race, and situated myself right next to the finish line on the top of the hill. The men did 7 loops, for a total of about 10 miles.

 It was a sufferfest on that hill! Quite a few riders dropped off from the peloton after the first couple of laps. 

My friend looked really strong and was in the top 10 in the final few laps. He said he made a few mistakes on that final surge up the hill to the finish, and lost a few places. 

Number 1 crossing the finish line (above) and number 2 (below). What a tough finish!

 Bike racing looks so exciting, and it is something that I want to try some day. 

Watching all those cyclists hammering out there made me hungry, so for dinner, I went out to an Italian restaurant to use a Groupon. I totally ate a lot, including a few slices of bread from the bread basket, fried calamari, a Caesar salad, and most of my shrimp-covered linguini. Best way to end a fun-filled weekend ;)

What was the best meal that you had this weekend? 

Mar 23, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , | 3/23/2014
This week, I started taking yoga classes, ran a few speedy miles, and biked a bunch of easy-ish miles. I've been telling myself that I should start practicing yoga for years, and this Thursday, I finally decided to try a yoga class. It's been over 5 years since I took a yoga class (which was a high school gym class), and I've been doing a little yoga on and off in between. Thursday was my first real yoga class in a yoga studio. I was a little intimidated at first, since I wasn't sure what the class would be like, but it was very enjoyable! I went to another yoga class on Friday which was faster paced. I was able to keep up and felt so much better after all the stretching.

On Saturday, I went on my first bike club ride of the season. My friend invited me to ride with the Reston Bike Club, which was kind of out of the way for me, but I'm glad I went. I rode with a group of about 40 people, which split up into 3 groups. I went with the more relaxed paced ride and had an enjoyable, social ride. Since I wasn't familiar with the area (I live in Maryland, so Virginia roads confuse me), I just followed the group and didn't really think. We ended up riding 44 miles, and the time just flew by! The day started off pretty chilly, but by the end of the ride, I was really starting to sweat.

Afterwards, my friend and I went to check out a triathlon expo. We mainly went to hear Merinda Carfrae, the 2013 Ironman World Champion, and her husband, Tim O'Donnell, give a speech. It was pretty exciting to hear from the best of the best in Ironman! They talked about how they became triathletes, their races in Kona (the Ironman World Championships) and what it's like to be married to a triathlete.

My first 10K of the season is in a week, so this week I will do more speed work and a tempo run. Can't wait to race!

Tuesday- 45 mins on bike trainer + weights

Wednesday- 3.1 mi fartlek

Thursday- hatha yoga class
                  cycling 7 mi

Friday- running 5 mi tempo, avg 7:39 min/mi
             vinyasa flow yoga class

Saturday- cycling 44 mi with bike club at a relaxed pace

Sunday- running intervals: 7 x 400s avg 6:40, total 4.68 mi
              Yin Yang yoga class    

Running- 12.78 mi
Cycling- 51 mi

What was your favorite day this past week?

Mar 21, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 3/21/2014
Happy Friday and happy second day of spring! Wishing you beautiful warm weather for the weekend :) 

Here are 5 things that are making my day awesome:

1. Started my day with a 5 mile tempo run. It was hard, but I was feeling good in general. My first race of the season is next weekend, so I am stoked that my times are improving!

2. I went to another yoga class this morning, this time bringing my aunt. We did a vinyasa flow class, and it was faster paced than yesterday's hatha class. It felt so good, and I worked up a bit of a sweat!

3. Had a salad and a blueberry banana smoothie topped with granola for lunch. So good!

4. Yesterday, my bosses at work gave me a donation for my 4K for Cancer ride. They put it in an envelope decorated with stickers. So adorable and sweet of them!


I've been checking the weekend weather all week, praying for no rain on Saturday (there was a 30% chance). Looks like my prayer's been answered! I am going cycling Saturday morning with a bike club, so I'm excited to meet new people :)

Anyone racing this weekend? Name one thing that put a smile on your face today!

Mar 20, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/20/2014
Happy spring equinox! I woke up to a foggy morning, but then as the sun rose higher, the mist burned away and revealed a bright sunny day. The sky is a brilliant blue, dotted with fluffy white clouds.

It is windy today, though a lot warmer than it was at the start of this week. My backyard was covered in snow on Monday, but now it's all melted.

Today, I wanted to try something new. I've been wanting to start practicing yoga for a long time, but I kept putting off finding a yoga studio. I was recommended to Yoga Bliss Studio by a friend, and I finally signed up for a class. They have a introductory week deal for $20, so I am going to try as many classes as I can. The studio offers a variety of yoga classes, including hot yoga, vinyasa, and hatha yoga.

This morning, I took a hatha yoga class. The studio was an open, brightly lit room, which comfortably accommodated the 7 people in my class. This was my first real yoga class since high school, and I really enjoyed the deep stretches and relaxation. 
We ended the class in savasana, eyes closed,  and listened to the instructor reading us a poem about spring. I forgot who it was by, but the poem was about how spring symbolizes new beginnings and fresh starts, letting go of fears, coming out of your comfort zone, and doing something new and different. I thought it was a perfect coincidence that she read that poem on my first day of class, it almost felt that she was reading it directly to me. 

I am probably going to a vinyasa flow class tomorrow, and try to go at least twice a week for the next two months before I leave for the summer. I'm really glad that I finally tried out a yoga class. Sometimes, I get lazy, or feel uncomfortable trying something new. Today was a good reminder to overcome that initial anxiety and just go do it! 

Have you tried anything new, recently? 

Mar 19, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 3/19/2014
My blog is called "Run Fast Eat Lots", if you haven't noticed the large header on top of the page. I've always lived up to the second half my blog's name, but I wasn't always what you would consider a fast runner.

The first version of my blog header

When I started running and writing this blog, I was slow, and probably logging 10 minute miles (why I still called it Run Fast Eat Lots, I don't know. It had a good ring to it?) Heck, when I did the mile run test way back in middle school, I think it took me 14 minutes! Granted, I wasn't even trying because I hated it. Gasp! Yes, there was a time when I actually hated running.

I discovered my love for running when I got sick of being a couch potato in college, and decided to sign up for my first half marathon in my senior year. Who cares if I've never ran more than 5 miles and had never even ran a 5K? I was determined to run the entire 13.1 miles and worked hard for my goal. Finishing my first half marathon in 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 10 seconds on October 21, 2012 was really life changing. I don't mean to sound cheesy or be profound, but seeing the success after I put in the hard work really changed my perspective of my abilities. Endurance running makes me feel bad ass, which gives me the confidence to be bad ass in other aspects of my life.

By the way, I averaged a 10:14 min/mile pace during my first half marathon. For my next one in the spring of 2013, my one goal was to come in under 2 hours. And I crushed that goal in 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 53 seconds. My most recent half marathon in the fall of 2013 was even faster: 1:44:39. That's a 7:59 pace.

I certainly didn't start off as naturally fast runner, but I have made pretty large strides. The thing is, running fast is all relative. If I compare myself to an Olympian, I am practically a turtle running for its life (though still a turtle). I am pretty sure that I will never be as fast as an elite marathoner, but I'm okay with that. I love running because it allows me to strive to become the best I can be.

My most recent 10K and half marathon have both been PRs, and I am currently aiming for another PR in the 10K. It's thrilling to see my times getting faster, and that's what makes running and racing exciting for me. However, I am aware that not every race is going to be a personal record. Getting faster is great and all, but I am not going to let that define my success as a runner. I find great joy in the simple act of running, and I never want it to become a chore. If that means going back to ambling at a 10 minute pace, at least I can slow down to smell the flowers :)

Mar 18, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , | 3/18/2014
I have been eating out every day for the past few days. On Friday, I went out for pizza. Saturday, I went to a creperie and a Peruvian restaurant. Sunday, I went out for dinner to celebrate a birthday, and yesterday, I splurged on an Indian lunch buffet. And today, I grabbed lunch at the salad bar at Dawson's Market. 

I try to eat healthily most of the time, but weekends is when I tend to over-indulge. Lunch buffets are my weakness, and I always leave feeling too full. Last week, I went to a sushi buffet and an Indian buffet. I am a glutton and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

But seriously, I need to pay more attention to what I'm eating. As much as I dislike the term "clean eating", I am going to try to eat more greens, less sugar and fried foods. After a hard work out, I tend to feel endlessly hungry, and I grab whatever is convenient and yummy. Such as apple pie, cookies, bread, muffins, froyo. I don't make the smartest food choices :P 

But I'm not a dumb person and I can change my gluttonous ways! Case in point, I made a superfood and protein-packed green smoothie for my post-workout snack today. I added some Amazing Grass Green Superfood to my smoothie, which has wheatgrass, alfalfa, broccoli, probiotics, cocoa, acai, and a bunch of other healthy-sounding stuff. It's chock-full of antioxidants, which is important for recovery after a hard workout. I also added some fresh spinach and Greek yogurt for protein. It tasted sweet from the banana, which helped mask that green taste. 

I call it the Super Hulk Smoothie because it has superfoods, it's green, and it has protein so you can bulk up like the Hulk ;) 

Super Hulk Smoothie

1 banana
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2/3 cup milk (dairy, almond, soy, etc )
Handful of spinach
1 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood
1 cup ice 

Add the banana, yogurt, milk, and spinach in a blender. Blend until very smooth and add the super foods powder and blend again. Add the ice and blend on the highest speed until there are no more ice chunks. 

Enjoy a refreshing and super healthy smoothie!

Mar 17, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , | 3/17/2014
Happy St. Patrick's Day! We had yet another snow day today, so it was a nice three-day weekend. I spent the day shoveling snow, having a snowball fight, eating lunch at an Indian buffet, and playing poker. I was wearing a green sweat shirt, so the luck was on my side and I won! As much as I want spring to hurry up, it's still nice to have an extra day off to spend with my family :)

I don't really celebrate St. Patrick's day, but I will have a beer in honor of it. Maybe I'll even color it green. Here is a recipe round-up of green (ish) foods to celebrate! 

My Green Smoothie Formula (customizable!)

Chinese Chive Turnovers

Sushi with Avocado

Spinach Alfredo

White Lasagna with Spinach and Sausage

Did you run a St. Patty's day themed race this weekend? What are you eating/drinking to celebrate?


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