That's all for today!
Hey guys! As I've mentioned on the blog before, I am no stranger to injuries. I talked at length about my sartorius muscle when I lived in Australia. I also experience frequent lower back pain and occasional knee and foot discomfort. As somebody who exercises most days and is now training for a marathon, stretching and massaging my muscles is non-negotiable. Here are my favorite therapeutic gadgets that keep me walking (and running!).
This product is not new to me. I bought it years ago when I hurt my leg in Australia. I talked about it here. It has a hard, hollow center that makes it firmer than other traditional foam rollers. The grooved surface makes it feel more like the hands of a massage therapist. The roller that I use is 13 inches, but Trigger Point also makes a 26-inch roller. The 13-inch is more portable if you want to take it traveling with you. I use it on my upper back, lower back, inner and outer thighs, glutes, and quads. Another advantage? It comes in a bunch of fun colors!
I bought The Orb from Road Runner Sports last month. As much as I like the Grid, its shape restricts it from getting into the little sore spots on my lower back. The Orb can get into those spots (on the sides of my spine, of course, since you never want to roll directly on your spine). If I lie down directly on top of The Orb and put my weight on the ball, I can usually find my sore spot. If it's the right spot, it's very painful! I keep pressing until the pain subsides, or my muscle relaxes. The Orb is also good for massaging around the knees and the glutes.
This thing kind of looks like a rainbow and feels fantastic on the feet. I don't get foot cramps nearly as much as I used to (I credit this to custom orthotics), but I'll use it when my feet get sore. It's small enough to tote back and forth with me to work, too, which I've done a bit over the past year. I also use a lacrosse ball for my feet, but I think that the Foot Log feels even better! Plus, it's so colorful.
This device is life-changing. It feels like a deep-tissue massage every time that I use it, and I don't have to lie down on the floor like I do with the foam rollers. My lower back, which usually throbs when I stand for long periods of time, doesn't hurt me anymore. My right knee, which feels weird (not painful, but just feels like it's not attached properly...I don't know how else to phrase it) after running about six miles doesn't bother me. I've done two nine-mile runs since using it around my knees, and I haven't been in discomfort at the end of my runs. The metal balls dig deep into the tissue and work magic. I brought it to work last week for my sore back, and most of my coworkers tried it. One already bought one for her sister. It's the best!
The Bed Buddy is the most cuddly item on the list. It can go in the microwave for heat therapy or can be frozen. It's filled with grains, herbs, and flowers, which makes it non-toxic. It's long and flexible and easily wraps around the body for comfort. I'll heat it and take it to bed with me when I'm feeling achy. I've never put it in the freezer, but I'll have to give that a try.
That's all for today!
My grandfather passed away a week ago. While it was hard to say goodbye, I spent four filled days with my family that made my heart feel so full. We shed tears together, and we also laughed and shared stories.
On Friday night, Al and I drove to the suburbs after work. We greeted my parents and dogs and then drove to my grandparents' home where we spent time with my grandmother, my siblings, and my aunt and uncle and cousin from New Jersey. From there, we went to the Passover seder. This was the first time in my life that my New Jersey family was present, and it was a real treat to have them there. (See a detailed recap of a Passover seder here!)
On late Saturday morning, my mom, brother, and I went to the forest preserve by my parents' house and ran NINE miles. This was a milestone for me! (Appropriate wording, I know. ) I've never done more than eight miles. The best part was that I zoned out and didn't even pay attention to how fast or how far I was running. I've always dismissed the idea of having running partners, thinking it would be too hard to match our paces or that it would be distracting, but I changed my mind after this weekend. I loved having running company.
Now, I'm thinking about signing up for the Soldier Field 10-Miler. Anybody want to join me?
After the run, my cousin Kailee went shopping with me while I looked for a dress to wear to the funeral. We spent the rest of the night at my parents' house with my brothers and their wives, my aunt and uncle, my cousins Kailee and Leia with her daughter Molly, my grandma, and my mom and dad. We tasted wine and ate appetizers and Italian food.
And we played. We played Hike & Seek and Tag.
Then, we played Musical Chairs in the kitchen.
Just like any day at my parents' house, dogs were present.
Sunday was the longest day of them all, because it was the funeral and the shiva. We went to a beautiful service. All present grandchildren were pallbearers. After the service at the grave site, we went back to my grandma's house and stayed there for the rest of the day and night. Like other shivas, we ate and ate and greeted friends of my grandparents. Unlike other shivas, we only sat for one day. Others go on for days.
We drank coffee and wine, peeled through family photos of my mom and uncle's childhood, played games with Molly, went on walks since it was like a beautiful summer day, and we bonded. Despite the sad situation that brought us together, it was a perfect family weekend.
The rabbi something beautiful during the ceremony (which I will paraphrase): It's not about the money and fame that we achieve in our lifetime. It's about the people we love and who love us back. This is so true. My grandfather was a quiet and often irritable man in his older age, but he loved us and we loved him as well. My brother Ben, who spoke at the ceremony, remarked on how my grandfather was very proud and stubborn but accepted help when he couldn't walk or move around by himself so that he could go to our birthday celebrations, family holidays, and weddings. He never missed anything if he could help it, because he wanted to be there with us. That's how I'm going to remember my grandfather.
Before I end this, I want to capture the true spirit of Passover and share one of the best recipes out there: fried matzoh. The picture is from a few years ago and doesn't look very appetizing, but this stuff is amazing. Who needs regular French toast when you have this?
Here is there recipe!
Our family time spread into Monday afternoon, and with the funeral/shiva going late into Sunday (and after feeling so emotionally drained), I didn't post anything Monday. The bi-weekly posts will resume next week!
Hi friends! Does the title of my post look like I'm taking about updates for both citrus salmon and running OR like the citrus salmon and running updates are two completely separate topics? Writing is amusing at times. Depending on where you put your punctuation marks and word placements, meanings can change. As it is, I do NOT have any pressing updates on citrus salmon. I just want to share a positive culinary experience I had with salmon, Halos, a gigantic lemon (that actually wasn't so gigantic-it just had thick skin on it), and some other small things.
I came home from grocery shopping on Monday night knowing perfectly well that I needed to use up some Halos that we didn't consume last week. I made a simple citrus salmon with just two salmon fillets, lemon slices, Halo slices, basil and mint leaves, and scant portions of salt, pepper, and olive oil. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, sprinkled either salmon side with salt/pepper/oil, then I layered in the following order: lemon slices, fish, mandarins, leaves. I wrapped everything in foil and then slid it in the oven for about 25 minutes. I also could have wrapped the fillets individually, but it turned out fine!
The citrus infused well into the fish and gave it great flavor. I ate one piece for dinner and brought the other to work the next day. As always, I ate it cold. I like cold salmon, and I also fear that people will secretly hate me if I heat up fish in the microwave at work.
In general, cooking fish in foil packets takes only minutes of hands-on work. You can also throw veggies in there, like potatoes or asparagus!
Now, I'm going to transition away from fish and into the running talk. Overall, running has been going great. My "training" system of doing one short run during the week and one long run on the weekend is working well for me. I have enough days in between to recover. I'm not overdoing it, but I'm also slowly increasing my mileage so that I'll be comfortable when I do my half marathon this summer. Last weekend, I did eight miles. This weekend, I plan to do nine.
I also signed up for something that is completely insane. I blame my dog-loving, marathon-running mother for this.
My mom has ran the Chicago Marathon for the past six years now. I find her somewhere around the 25 mile-marker every year, and we hug, and I run beside her until I get kicked off the course. I have pictures from the past four years.
Every year, I think about how amazing it would be to do this race with my mom. Then, when the spring of the next year comes along and it's time to register, I'm unmotivated. This year, my mom tried to convince me to do it. I complained about my temperamental lower back, my sore knee, my flat feet, and my dislikes for waking up before the rising sun on summer weekends and being outside during a downpour. To this, she brought up a point that was so good that I couldn't argue with it: since I will be conditioned to run 13.1 miles by July, I will deeply regret NOT going for 26.2 miles in October. She was right. If I keep saying that I will think about running it the next year, I may never do it. An elephant could sit on my foot, I could start a family, or I may move somewhere far away where it's more fashionable to be very, very fat and running could interfere with that. I think you get the picture. This is the year.
For reasons that I can comprehend but am still only just beginning to grasp the consequences of what I've done, I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon. That's not the only exciting part. I'm also part of Team Paws. I'm running for homeless dogs and cats in Chicago. I signed up to run for PAWS a few weeks ago for the half marathon, and then I upgraded.
PAWS is a no-kill animal rescue group that is very near and dear to my heart. The number of animals euthanized at Chicago Animal Care and Control (Chicago's pound) has decreased significantly since 1997 when PAWS was founded in part as a result of their rescue and adoption and spay/neuter programs. I think this video beautifully sums up the work that they do and WHY they do it.
I've been an active volunteer with PAWS since last year. I started as a Level One Dog Handler (walking and cuddling puppies- they start you with the easy ones) at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center. I'm now an adoption counselor, meaning that I meet with adopters before they take their pet home, educate them about what to expect (especially if they're a first-time pet owner!), and go through the forms with them. The best part is watching the dog or cat leave with their new owner. As an animal lover and somebody who strongly believes in the "adopt-don't-shop" philosophy, I am so proud to run and raise money for PAWS. My mom, as you can see from the pictures, is also very involved with PAWS and Team PAWS.
Stay tuned for so many more posts about running. I'll also post a link to my fundraising page once it has a picture of me and some content.
Happy Monday, good friends! Our weekend was complete thanks to the candy bars that we received from Al's parents all the way in Australia. Between Al's family and my cousin who spends a lot of time in England, we get spoiled with packages of Cadbury chocolates. Although we can get some of these goods in the States (Snickers are quite abundant here, but they are one of Al's most-liked candy bars), we can't get them all. We don't have Cherry Ripes or Picnic Bars. I talked about some of my Cabury faves (or favourites) in this post a few years ago.
Now, on to the vegetarian part of my blog post (even though these scrumptious candy bars are mostly, if not completely, vegetarian). I had the pleasure of attending a University of Illinois at Chicago alumni event for my College of Applied Health Sciences, where I received my masters in Nutrition, over the weekend. One of my friends from my program now teaches a class for nutrition majors at UIC called Food as Medicine that is a part-lecture, part-cooking class. It educates about therapeutic diets that include gluten-free, ketogenic, diabetic, low-sodium diets, and more. I took this class as a student, and it's exciting that one of my friends now teaches it. On Saturday, she led a continuing education class (all RDs must get 75 continuing education credits every five years) for UIC alumni that focused on a vegetarian diet. Each station was stocked with cooking supplies and vegetarian ingredients. We were instructed to split into groups and create our own dishes.
Our group made a variety of dishes. One of our group members made black bean "meatballs" and used bread crumbs as a binder (instead of eggs) so that they were vegan.
Other foods for our spread included quinoa "fried rice" (different from the recipe I made last week and was also delicious), edamame hummus, salt-and-vinegar roasted chickpeas, and a creamy Greek yogurt dipping sauce for the black bean "meatballs". In true fashion of some of the cooking classes that I took at UIC, we tried everyone's dishes after we presented them. People made great things!
Our teacher friend provided food for us to snack on while we were creating our dishes, including veggies and dip and these amazing peanut butter cookies and brownies made with only black beans and brownie mix.
Before we started cooking, she gave us a brief lecture on the best vegetarian sources of protein. This inspired me to put my own post together. It's important to understand that you can still get significant protein in your diet without eating meat, poultry, pork, or fish. While animal flesh can provide our bodies with good nutrition, it's expensive and doesn't need to be eaten every day. Here are other ways that you can eat good sources of protein that are completely vegetarian:
While meat products generally have more protein than vegetarian products, you can still easily meet your requirements by eating a variety of these foods. As we saw on Saturday, we made outstanding and nutritious meals without eating meat. I like eating vegetarian a few days a week for many reasons, and two of them are that you can eat your food before you cook it (like when we tried the black bean "meatballs" before they went into the oven) and you don't have to obsessively scrub your hands and utensils clean after interacting with raw chicken or meat. Of course, there are also ethical reasons for avoiding meat products. At the end of the day, vegetarian meals are budget-friendly, have endless possibilities for creativity and deliciousness, and can be nutritious. I already have a lot of vegetarian recipes on this blog, and I promise you will see more in the future!
It's funny how this title has two foods that are entirely different, but they share similar themes: I made them (separately) this week, and they were altered to be healthier! One of the best parts about making these foods from scratch is that you, as the Head Chef, get to pick exactly which oils and seasonings to use.
The tortilla chips were incredibly simple to make. I already had the corn tortillas. I just needed oil and seasoning. If you own a tortilla press, you can go another step towards making things from scratch and whip up your own tortillas! I've made them in my cooking classes while I was studying nutrition, but I've never made them at home. I buy the El Milagro yellow corn tortillas (I'm pretty sure it's the first product on the top left).
I made a simple vegetarian taco salad with black beans, quinoa, avocado, corn, and olive oil dressing earlier this week. The homemade tortilla chips completed the salad.
The next night, I wanted something that I could throw together quickly. I already had so much leftover quinoa, and I decided at the last minute that I wanted to make a variation of tofu fried rice. Thai curry was on my menu that night, but I'll save the coconut milk and try it next week! I had to listen to my cravings.
The end result was delicious!
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Tofu Fried Quinoa (makes 2 servings)
On Saturday, I did the unthinkable. I, a self-proclaimed hater of the treadmill, ran on this machine for a whole hour. Even 15 minutes is usually unbearable to me. I've worked up to 30 minutes, and I'm finally comfortable doing that. I always prefer to go outside, but when I looked out the window on Saturday morning and saw snow on the ground, I knew that my long run was going to be on a treadmill. My goal was eight miles, but I settled for six. Eight will have to wait.
Running on the treadmill is great exercise, and yet so many people loathe running in place on a conveyor belt with no change of scenery except for the digital numbers on the machine. One of the best things about the treadmill, though, is that the workouts can actually be versatile and fun. I learned this when I was shaping up for my wedding and looking for high-intensity interval training workouts. You also don't have to run the whole time, or at all, to get your butt kicked (in a good way). These workouts go by quickly and can get you in better shape no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Here's a roundup of some of some challenging but (potentially) fun treadmill workouts:
30-minute Bun-Burning Power Walk from Freeing Imperfections
Intense Incline Treadmill Walking Workout from Peanut Butter Fingers
The New Runner Treadmill Workout from Popsugar
40-Minute Run/Walk Intervals from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life
ADVANCED HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING WORKOUTS
30 Minute HIIT from Melinda's Fitness Blog
3-2-1 Run! Treadmill HIIT Workout from Your Trainer Paige
Advanced 30-Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout from He & She Eat Clean
While I usually prefer to make my own menu plans for the week and go grocery shopping, I do like using the occasional home cooking delivery service (ex. Blue Apron). It takes the stress out of having to plan and prep my meals, plus the food always tastes good since it is perfectly portioned and has already been tested. When Meez Meals, a Chicago-based home meal delivery service, asked me if I wanted to try their meals, I of course said yes.
Meez Meals is the only certified DIY Meal Kits Green Restaurant in the country. Since all deliveries are local, the delivery bags can be reused. These insulated cooler bags are packed with reusable ice packs and keep the ingredients fresh during delivery and while they're waiting to be brought inside. People who use this service can keep these bags and ice packs until they order their next delivery service. The delivery person takes them when they drop off the new package. The bags also collapse for easy storage, and the ice packs can be kept anywhere since they don't need to be kept frozen.
One of my favorite things about this service is that it's not a subscription service. You order when you want. Your credit card won't be charged if you forget to opt out for the week.
To place an order, you must submit it by noon on Friday (for a Monday delivery). You can peruse the menu and customize your food based on your diet preferences or allergies when you set up your account.
You can also customize your account to leave out ingredients that you don't like, such as onions or cilantro. You can pick whichever entrees, salads, sides, or snacks that you want to make for the week. The more servings you order of a menu item, the less you pay per portion.
My freezer bag full of fresh food was delivered to me on Monday afternoon. I got an e-mail telling me that it was on my doorstep. My first meal was a Sweet Potato, Kale, and Rice Bowl with peanut sauce. All ingredients were packed with love and beautifully rolled into a brown paper bag. I only needed the food that you see below, plus olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The instructions were clear and easy to follow.
The meal came together in about 40 minutes (only 20 minutes of hands-on time).
Nothing seemed too challenging. I think somebody with limited cooking experience could make this. If you have questions about cooking, though, Meez Meals has a Dinner Hotline service from 5-8 pm every day.
The bowl was delicious (I was licking the peanut sauce with a spoon...ugh). I ordered two servings of this dish, so I used the second portion for lunch the next day. I had a pretty enviable lunch.
For the other meal, I wanted to make something with meat. I ordered three servings of the Mexican Steak Taco Bowl. I don't think I've ever cooked steak before (unless maybe I did for Blue Apron?) and the instructions made it so simple to do.
The salsa was pre-made; the only preparation needed was to to mix it with some olive oil. The spice rub was also already prepared and just needed some salt and pepper to go on the meat. This only took about 20 minutes to make. Cooking the rice was the longest part.
The steak was approved by Picky Al, so it was a winner. I also liked how the recipe card gave tips on making the meal lighter in calories, such as skipping on the tortilla chips or making the dish into a salad with romaine lettuce. For lunch the next day, I used a bunch of baby spinach and went light on the rice and tortilla chips.
Overall, I really liked using this service. Here are my many pros:
I also want more information on the ingredients. For example, from where did the meat come? I know that the food is local, but just how local? Most of the food is conventional (minus some items like tofu, which are organic), although I don't have a problem with that.
Overall, I would use this service again. It was a very good experience. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to try it!
Now, dear Chicagoans, it's your turn to try Meez Meals and save $30 on your first order! Go to the website www.meezmeals.com, pick your meals, and enter the code thelittlejogger30 at checkout to receive your discount. Meez Meals delivers to many of the Chicago suburbs (see the FAQ section for more information).
Disclaimer: I was provided with a discount code by the company to try the product and provide feedback. My views are entirely my own.
Happy April! Running season has officially kicked off in Chicago with the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday. I was thinking about registering for it late last year, but then I pulled my lower back and didn't want to stress myself out physically and mentally with training for a race in early 2016. In retrospect, I could have done it!
I'm starting the week off with a post about my favorite running clothes. I was planning a post on this last week, but I got too wordy talking about my six-mile run. Without further ado, here are some of my most coveted wearable jogging possessions.
Favorite running capri: the Relay Capri by Athleta. These capris are comfortable and breathable and hold up pretty well for all of the wearing and washing I've done since acquiring them in January 2015. Like many of the nicer capris and leggings, these have an inner (invisible) drawstring that makes it easy to tighten your pants if they feel loose (or if you're wearing them to Pilates or yoga and don't want them to slide too low at inappropriate times). Another one of my favorite features of these capris is the back zipper pocket that makes it easy to stash my keys when I'm out for a fun. I have them in black, but I really like the purple too!
Honorable mention: the Fabletics Salar Capri. I like having a Fabletics membership for a bunch of different reasons, but the Salar Capri is one of my favorites. They're $45 (and select colors go on sale), which is not bad for a well-made capri. They come in a bunch of different prints. I currently have three. They fit well and are flattering. I never expected these pants to hold up during a long run, but they've been extremely comfortable for my previous six and seven-mile runs. Granted, I'm not sure if I'd want to wear them on a hot summer day. They seem to be suitable for cooler spring/fall runs. They're also cute enough to wear while running errands, too. I'm a big fan.
Favorite running socks: Balega and Feetures. The first sock picture is of my foot in a Balega Second Skin sock. I have one pair of the Hidden Comfort socks (second photo) and one pair of the Second Skin Ultralight No Show socks. I want to get 100 more pairs of the Hidden Comfort socks because they're lightweight but make your feet feel like they have several extra layers of padding. The Second Skin sock, as you can probably guess, is thinner and hugs your foot more tightly than the Hidden Comfort. Both socks have a heel tab that prevents the sock from migrating down into the the running shoe and have mesh panels for ventilation.
I also have two pairs of the Feetures Elite Light Cushion No-Show Tab socks. These socks are anatomically correct, meaning that there actually is a Left sock and a Right sock. Per the website, this is for maximum comfort and decreasing incidence of blisters (and I have never had a blister while wearing these!). They also have sweat wicking technology. Like the Balega Second Skin socks, they hug my feet and keep them snug and dry on longer runs.
Balega photo source
Feetures photo source
Favorite running shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32. I've been running in the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus shoes for a while now. They're comfortable and leave me blister-free. A visit to a podiatrist last spring confirmed that I do indeed have flat feet (I've been told that I have flat feet AND high arches in the past, so it was nice to have a doctor set the record straight). While my arches appear to be high, they collapse when I put weight on them. I need good support in addition to my shoe, so I get custom-made insoles at the Road Runner Sports stores. This was a much-welcomed alternative to spending $500 on a custom-made pair of insoles through the podiatrist (which my insurance wouldn't cover), and they work wonders. They have significantly decreased my foot cramps that I used to get when running. They're definitely worth it for me!
Favorite Running Bras: Moving Comfort Rebound Racer (left) and Moving Comfort Juno (right). For larger-chested ladies, having a supportive bra is non-negotiable. As somebody who once needed to wear two bras for adequate stability, I can say with full confidence that only one bra is required when wearing these. They're also relatively reasonably-priced, come in fun patterns, and have the racerback for the no-show effect (depending on what kind of shirt you're wearing). I love these bras and so far have not been able to find anything that I like better.
I did my seven-mile run on Friday. My average pace was a 9.38-minute mile, and I was tired for a lot of it. Ugh. I'll do my eight-mile run this coming weekend, and then I'll be in uncharted territory after that. My goal is to go at a comfortable pace and to not obsess about speed. There will be good runs and bad runs, and only ugly things will happen if I push myself too hard.
I also signed up to run for a charity! I'll reveal more on that later once I set up my fundraising page. The charity will be a no-brainer if you know me well!
Total miles run last week: 10 (3 on treadmill, 7 outside)
Aches and pains: None while running. Lower back is achy.
Goals for next week: Do yoga stretches for back (I did it twice last week) and stop obsessing over my speed!
Until next time!
Here's something about me I bet you never knew: I am an expert in making lasagna. When I was in graduate school, we had to take a food science class. Our final project was picking a recipe and altering the ingredients every week. My group's recipe, or "control" recipe, was a basic vegetarian lasagna. Our "experiment" was changing something about the lasagna every class. One week, we experimented with fillings. Instead of ricotta cheese, we tried tofu or butternut squash. Another week, we switched out the tomato sauce with pesto or a basic store-bought sauce. Another time, we played around with the noodles and tried no-boil, butternut squash (lower-carb), and whole wheat noodles. There were other options for each week, but I can't remember them all.
Anyway, we had classmates in other groups taste our food and rank their favorite combos each week. (Many of us agreed to be tasters for multiple groups and we basically had to be rolled out of class because we ate so much.) For the last week, we compiled everyone's rankings and made a dish with the most popular filling, sauce, and noodle. Our final lasagna had a pesto sauce, butternut squash filling, and the no-boil noodle. I also had frozen lasagna filling up my freezer for weeks after taking home leftovers. In conclusion, nutrition school is fun.
To my knowledge, there was also a type of "noodle" that we never used for our experiment: spaghetti squash. Being the lasagna expert, I decided to create this in my own home. I hope that you try this, because it's incredibly easy and makes a lot of food!
P.S. The shot above is a pre-oven photo. My post-oven pic didn't turn out well!
Easy Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
*If you can't find a good store-bought sauce (which means no added sugar, soybean oil, canola oil, excessive sodium, or a long ingredients list that you can't pronounce), you can easily whisk one together at home. All you need is 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 6-oz can of tomato paste, 1/2 red onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (chopped) or 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 handful of fresh spinach, and any spices or herbs that you like (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, chili powder, etc). Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and saute onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. You can simmer for longer to get the flavors to meld together better. That's it!
Happy Monday! I hope everybody had a wonderful, warm Easter Sunday. Right now, I'm missing living abroad in Australia and having Friday and Monday off for Good Friday and Easter Monday (although I feel like it doesn't make a difference when you're working in a hospital since the doors never close there). It has been perfect spring weather for the past few days in Chicago: sunny, breezy, and not cold. I'll take it.
I completed my longer run of the week on Saturday. Like last week, I did six miles. When I turned around at Castaways on North Avenue Beach, though, there was no wall of wind fighting me.
Except for some big sand patches on the running path on North Avenue Beach (when the lake washes up on dry land during storms), the run went almost perfectly.
In fact, I learned something about myself on Saturday. I learned that I can run faster than I thought I ever could. I downloaded the Run Keeper App before I left the house so that I could get a better idea of my average running pace. My goal was to try to maintain a 10-minute mile since this is how fast I guessed I could run, and it's my consistent treadmill pace. The app announces your time and average pace every five minutes, and I was shocked to hear my pace decreasing every time. When I found out that I was into the 9-minute-mile range, I almost cheered out loud.
Miles 2-6 (my first mile was slower since I walked for a few blocks to warm up) were under a 9.5-minute mile. I wrote last week that I would never be able to run under that pace, and I find myself eating my words now. Big time. And who knows if I can regularly maintain this pace? The weather was cooler, the wind wasn't fighting me, I ate pasta the night before, and the Run Keeper app was motivating me to go faster and harder. Everything seemed to be in my favor on Saturday. Time will tell how I can perform on other days.
A few years ago, I could barely run three miles. That was the crazy summer when I moved back to Chicago and started taking my prerequisites to get into a dietetics program. My sartorius muscle was giving me grief, and I was stressed out beyond belief. I had a Garmin running watch that estimated my running pace, and I was usually running a 12 to 12.5-minute mile and feeling like I was hyperventilating. I think that my short treadmill runs and very gradually increasing my mileage over time have helped to get my pace down.
To finish the expression in my title, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Thank you for those brilliant words, William Edward Hickson. This proverb can be applied to so many things in life, and this really hit home this week. For those are you who are discouraged with your running, keep in mind that you will get better if you try. Just keep going, one foot in front of the other.
I was going to add another section to this post about my favorite running gear, but I think I'll end it here. Stay tuned for more posts on running and delicious recipes!
Total miles logged this week (and last week since I forgot to post that): 9 (3 on treadmill; 6 outside).
Aches and pains: lower back and right knee.
Goal for next week: do yoga exercises for lower back and sign up to run for a charity!
ABOUT jennifer Martin, MS, RD, LDN
I am a Chicago-based Registered Dietitian working primarily in Acute Clinical Care. I started this blog in 2010, before I even knew that I wanted to be an RD! Now, as an active dietitian, this blog will become part of my life again. Read about my current healthy habits, but please peruse my old posts (from 2014 and before) to read about life as an RD student and my previous years in Australia!