Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekend Roundup and Mid-Week Motivation

I was even worse than normal about taking pictures on this weekend's cross-training hike.  So, I was at the mercy of my friends' timelines for posting pictures before I could bring you these beauties.  That's why this weekend round-up is a little late in the week.

Cross-Training Hike
We started out hiking a Class 1 trail for about 1.5 miles.  After that we scrambled for about a mile along a sandstone ridge.

After the sandstone ridge, it was mostly Class 2 and Class 3 scrambling.  A couple tricky places where the footholds were kind of hidden, so it was helpful to have someone telling you where the good footholds were located.

We even had to climb through a "rabbit hole" - it was a tight squeeze, but it was fun getting through it and helping others in the group get through too.

Eventually, we reached Black Velvet Peak, which overlooks the gorgeous Black Velvet Canyon.  It was a long, long, long, way down to the bottom.

We had a great day with a really supportive group - and, dang, my friends B, J, and D took some *fantastic* pictures!!  It still surprises me when I see such beautiful plants in desert, especially when they're growing out of what appears to be solid rock.
The hike was even more refreshing because, with the exception of an awesome workout at the gym with my friend (let's call her "J.Crew Friend") on Wednesday, I'd had a pretty solitary workout week.  For that reason, it was especially nice to burn some calories with a group of people that love being outside as much as I do.

Final Note - Mid-Week Motivation
It has been a busy week, so I'm in need of a little mid-week pick me up.  My 3-mile run helped a little.  But I've been working so much and trying to fit everything else in that I didn't get to run until 9:00 PM, which means that, despite the gorgeous low-70s weather that we had today, I was relegated to a treadmill run.  However, my Runner's World Daily Calendar reminded me this morning that any day that I run, no matter how it feels, is a good day. 
Each day that we're on the road (or on a treadmill) gets us one day closer to achieving our half/full marathon or other fitness goals!!

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Foodie Friday

I know that I'm not alone when I say that one of the primary reasons I run and exercise is so I can eat more food every day . . . usually this means I run a little longer so I can eat more chocolate (notice I said "more" . . . the fact that I've already eaten some chocolate is a given).

in reality, I run for fun and for ice cream
So, even though I'm a big proponent of the health benefits of all kinds of chocolate (well, mental/emotional health benefits anyway), I'm trying to increase my intake of foods that provide more than just mental/emotional health benefits.

So, to go along my goal of eating more healthy foods, here are a couple recipes I'm planning on trying this weekend:

eggplant and mozarrella melts - of course this is from Martha Stewart

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad via half baked harvest
I'm really excited about this one.  I've been routinely craving buffalo chicken and my go-to fix has been  McDonald's Chicken McNuggets with their spicy buffalo sauce.  I know, I know . . . they're disgusting.  If I had a nickel for every time someone has tried to explain to me what is inside chicken mcnuggets recently...

I have a quinoa thing going on...via theglitterguide
Anyway, trying at least one of these, plus a version of these delicious turkey and feta stuffed bell peppers is definitely on my weekend to-do list . . . that and cleaning up my apartment to prepare for the invasion arrival of my in-laws (I'm only kidding - I'm really lucky because I have awesome in-laws).  

I also have some awesome plans to burn calories and enjoy the sunshine this weekend!

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Running Developments

it's funny because its true
actually, my first thought was "only for three months"?

Two happy running developments to share.

#1   I'm really feel like I've come out of my slump.  In fact, today was the first day on my new running plan to build a solid base and have plenty of time to get my long runs accomplished before the Chicago Marathon!  Technically, yesterday was the first day but Monday is a recovery day from my hike or long run that usually takes place on Sunday.  I'm very excited to have my training schedule posted on my fridge and at work to keep me motivated.

.....running, running, running.....
I also have a pretty lofty (for me) goal for the SeaWheeze half marathon, but I don't want to publicly divulge that one until I figure out how feasible it actually is.  Stay tuned . . .

#2   I've invested in some exciting new running music.  OMG am I excited.  You should be too.
I am *so* glad that sexy is back, again.
Workout was a three mile run.  It was an easy run day, just kept it smooth & easy at slightly under 10:00/mile.  My legs felt pretty heavy, but they usually feel that way the first run after a weekend of hiking.  After the run I did some walking cool-down and then a few squats, some lunges (yuck) and of course a plank.

Food was nothing special.  I'm beginning to explore microwaved eggs, I'm sure I'm the last person on the planet that has discovered this but it is pure brilliance.  Also, the amount of chocolate that I ingested today was . . . embarrassing . . . and may or may not have included half a tube of thin mints . . . oops.

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cross Training

In an effort to avoid future burnouts, I've been introducing more cross-training into my routine.  My usual "go-to" cross-training activities used to be spinning or swimming.  However, I have better options now that I've moved to Las Vegas - there is more to Las Vegas than you think . . .

Yes, there is more to Las Vegas than this . . . 
So, now rather than doing my cross-training in a gym on a day when the weather outside is phenomenally beautiful, I spend the day climbing these:

So, this is today's cross-training workout in a nutshell.  First, I met up with my awesome friends of Hiking Las Vegas.  Then, we drove the quick 10 miles to Red Rock Canyon, parked our cars and we were on our way!  The hike involved a 1 mile approach hike over somewhat rocky terrain before the real fun began.  After that we started climbing up and up and up.  We even had to use ropes at one point:

Yes, that's me climbing in there with the rope!!

Ultimately, we ended up climbing up 1,450 feet to a "peak" called Oak Creek Overlook It was so fun and satisfying reaching the top.  There were a few spots where I wasn't sure how I was going to get up, but the folks of Hiking Las Vegas are so incredibly encouraging and knowledgeable about the routes and hiking/rock scrambling strategies.  It. Was. Amazing!
Oak Creek Overlook
and of course . . . once you get up to the top, there is always the problem of getting down.  And, it was a loooooong way down.  It was a tricky hike with some areas with exposure to falling a long, long, long way down.  But, I made it and guess what?  Making it to all the way down was almost as satisfying as making it to the top =)

Me and my homegirl Ann looking at what we have to climb down

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coming back from a burn out

So, last time we chatted, I was in the midst of a little, tiny freak out . . . except it wasn't so little or tiny.  Turns out, it wasn't that unwarranted.  The only positive comment I have about my experience with the Goofy Challenge is that I finished.

Now, just to be clear, Disney is to blame for ZERO of the misery that I experienced that weekend.  However, I did experience a lot of misery - not the least of which was getting up at 3:30am two mornings in a row; coughing for nearly 9 out of the 13.1 miles on Saturday and 15 out of the 26.2 miles  on Sunday; and spending some time with the lovely folks in the medical tent.  I think it is safe to say that the Goofy Challenge is a once in a lifetime experience.

All this being said I WILL do the Disney Marathon again.  It really is an incredible experience.  
I love the cheesy magic that I feel running through Cinderella's Castle.  
I love petting the goats outside of Animal Kingdom.  
I love hearing people cheer as you run through the tunnel of the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios.  
I love the overjoyed feeling of seeing Spaceship Earth (the 18 story geodesic sphere at Epcot), mostly because it means I'm almost done.  
Finally, I am obsessed with and addicted to the feeling of crossing marathon finish lines.  It is that feeling of accomplishment that quickly leads me to the conclusion that I will be out on those roads again soon, putting the miles on my legs to get ready for the next one.

So, after Goofy I didn't run for TWO months!! Now that it's warm again, my legs are getting the itch.  I have a couple races on the calendar.  So, this week, my legs started hitting the road again.  I was scared for awhile that the burned out feeling was going to permanent.  I'm not even sure how I shook it I won't know what to do if/when it hits me again.  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it...hopefully I'll cross it at a 9:00/mile pace =)

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥