Monday, March 30, 2015

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say...

I had started to write out a long entry with a dozen complaints but then something happened. I'd write a sentence or two, read them, be disgusted in how whiny I sounded, erase, then try to re-phrase. I did this over and over again until I realized the problem -- I am being whiny. No matter how I try to say it I am a huge whiner.

So instead I'm here to post a picture of what I did yesterday (snuggle with my puppies, drink Apple Cinnamon tea, and watch the Mindy Project on Netflix) and say that I'll be back tomorrow with good things to talk about.

I hope you had a fabulous Monday! :)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Give Me All of the Breakfast

What is it with me and breakfast lately?

I don’t know if it’s the increased training, or the fact that my workouts mostly occur super early in the morning, but my typical breakfasts aren’t cutting it lately.

Yesterday morning my appetite was crazy. I ate my toast and peanut butter before the gym, drank 16 oz of water, came home and ate my protein waffle and berries, drank another 16oz of water and lemon, and was still hungry! I then started snacking on these Big Foot candies I had saved for my long-runs before I came to my senses and made more food. I love sugar but gummy candy at 8AM might be too much for even me to handle.

This morning was the same and I didn’t even get my run in. I drank my lemon and water, ate my protein waffle and berries, and then was dying for my orange not long after, followed by some nuts and had a couple of chocolate covered almonds.By the time my usual lunchtime came around I was finally satisfied and didn’t eat my lunch until later in the afternoon because my entire morning was a snack-fest.

Next week I need to take this into account with meal planning. I think I need to start eating a bigger breakfast and start tapering my meals out from there. Typically I eat a smaller breakfast and dinner, plus snacks, and lunch is my biggest meal. After eating more on Tuesday (remember my three breakfast morning?) and yesterday I didn’t feel stuffed after all that food, I just felt satisfied.

Are you the type of person that three larger meals per day, or lots of smaller meals? I thought I was a smaller-meal person but it looks like I’ll be starting the day big from now on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Run So I Can Eat Three Breakfasts

It’s only Tuesday night but I’m exhausted. I didn’t get in my leg workout yesterday morning so I fit it in just before hot yoga last night. I was soaked with sweat before I even entered the room and when I left my dry-fit gear smelled absolutely disgusting. I apologize to anyone who had a mat near mine.

Seriously. This sweat is only pre-yoga.

After last night I’m surprised I was able to get out of bed and fit in some speed training before work. It took promising myself a coffee and donut to get me out the door but once I was out there my mood and energy dramatically improved. I skipped the donut and went with a third breakfast (is that possible?) and a latte. 

Before my run I had fueled with toast and peanut butter, after my run I ate a protein waffle and some almond milk, and then I picked up an egg-white wrap at Starbucks. Yup, three breakfasts. I really was starving this morning but the problem was I became pretty full and didn’t need to eat much the rest of the day.

Side note: I'm getting better with stretching and foam-rolling. I used to really neglect it in the past but I've been careful to make the time for it. I even fit in some stretching while waiting to leave for work. 

I can’t believe I’m only three weeks away from the Toronto Yonge Street 10K and only five and a half weeks away from my fourth half-marathon. It seems crazy to me that I'm already at this point, but I think I’m ready to make some PR’s. I’ve finally developed a training plan for myself that I’ve (mostly) been sticking to and my only goals are improvement. I don’t care if that’s only by half a minute, I’m just hoping to see change.

I think in the next few weeks I want to write a small series on the things that I’ve learned in the last two years of long-distance training. I’ve learned a lot from my last three races and, although I’m a baby compared to the amount of time others have spent running and training, I feel as if I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I’ve been able to reflect upon and learn from.

When’s your next race?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Fail at Resting

So, remember yesterday when I said I was going to rest? Remember how I was so dedicated and determined I was do this? Well, about five hours in I failed. I took my dogs out for an 80-minute walk. A gray, rainy morning turned into a blue-skied afternoon and I just couldn’t resist. At some point I will learn to rest but it didn't happen this weekend. 

I went for my long run this morning. It was cooler and windier today than it had been lately, and my last 3-4 kilometers was like a wind tunnel. I had on sunscreen but it didn't stop me from getting wind-burn. I'm also trying out alternatives to chews and gels for mid-run fueling so I took a small bag of Big Foot candies with me. I liked them and they agreed with my stomach, but because it was a little cold they got harder than my usual Stinger chews. 

Does anyone else get the chills after they run when the weather is cooler? After a hot shower I was still shivering so I crawled under my heated blanket with a Vega bar. 

After I somewhat warmed up I dragged my boyfriend to Panera Bread and grocery shopping. I devoured a small mac and cheese and half of a turkey BLT, a latte, and then half of a chocolate pastry. I'm becoming addicted to this place. Also, I think mac and cheese (the real stuff, not from a box) is my favourite meal after a long-run. I've eaten it after two-out-of-three half marathons.

My meal prep is done for the week and I'm determined to have a strong week of eating and morning workouts. This is my schedule for the rest of the week: 

Monday: Legs - morning. Hot yoga - evening. 
Tuesday: 45 mins speed training. 
Wednesday: Arms and abs. 
Thursday: Easy 10K - morning. Yoga - evening. 
Friday: Full body. 
Saturday: Rest (yeah, right).
Sunday: 16K. Yoga. 

What do you have planned for this week? Any special plans? Sadly, I'm most looking forward to my massage therapy appointment on Tuesday night. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Need To Relax

This week my body decided to have a little freak-out on me. I don't know if it was something I ate, the stress I'm under, or whatever else, but my GI tract was insane. I'm not going to go into details, but by Wednesday I threw away a ton of food and had to construct a new meal plan for Thursday and Friday because I so desperately needed to change. I think the change-up helped, but I was still feeling off so on Friday morning I started munching on Imodium at the first sign of stomach uneasiness because I had a surprise party for a 50th birthday to go to. This stuff is amazing and somehow I made it from working an eight-hour day to getting home from the party after midnight.

Sadly I think I'm convinced it was the kale salad I was making. I don't know if my body doesn't like kale or if I hadn't washed it properly, but every day after lunch that's when my symptoms seemed to get worse.

As I've mentioned before I'm not a drinker but I watched my uncle and sister go shot-for-shot quite a few times. It's funny watching a 116 pound girl think she can out-drink a seasoned man over twice her weight. Myself? I just ate lots of cake-pops. It's funny, even though it was loud and everyone was drunk, I had this feeling of pure appreciation for my family. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that, despite having their issues, truly love and care for each other.

Today I'm taking it easy. My work-weeks always end up being longer than 40 hours, and between fitting in exercise and running other errands I have very seldom quiet moments during the week. Then I always get this idea that I'm going to relax and take it easy on the weekend but then I wake up early, run more errands, go on a long run, and even on the off-chance I don't have anything I need to do I get so stir-crazy that I have to go somewhere. 

I do have to admit that I've already gone out to Panera Bread to pick up lattes, bagels, and pastries, but I swear it's all in the name of a lazy, restful day. I'm even back in bed with my bagel and latte, and the puppies are definitely on board with a day full of napping. I think I'll be good for a while.

Do you have to force yourself to relax?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tea, Grilled Cheese & 10K

Did you celebrate St Patricks Day? Are you paying for it today?

Not me. I’m over my binge-drinking stage. Honestly it doesn’t take much to make me sick and hangovers last about two days. Being 24 is hard, guys.

Instead I went to David’s Tea and picked up a free tea for wearing green. Since I wasn’t going out it was really the only reason I wore green yesterday.

Then my boyfriend and I grabbed a late dinner (by late I mean after 7PM -- seriously, I know I’m only 24 but anything past 6:30 on a weekday night feels late to me). I am never a quick eater at restaurants. I’m always talking about something and end up still having half a plate of food while my boyfriend is finished. I chose a lobster grilled cheese and the first bite was so delicious that I stopped talking and devoured my food.

I didn’t sleep well last night and was wide awake at 5AM this morning. Instead of lying there for another two hours I pulled myself out of bed for an easy 10K. I had only planned to go 5, but my legs were feeling great and I had so much energy despite running on an empty stomach.

I have a bad habit of eating in the shower after longer runs. This morning I drank a tetra pack of chocolate almond milk to get something in my system while I showered. I’m also known to eat energy bars which is much weirder.

I think I’m going over to the dark side because I made the decision to go to Tim Hortons instead Starbucks this morning. Anyone that knows me knows I typically loathe TIm Hortons and am a horrible Canadian. I was really craving a bagel with butter even though I had already had a protein waffle with fruit, and I have no regrets. So satisfying. Also, I learned that if I order a large tea I can mix tea bags. I’m sure all other Tim Hortons drinkers know this but I was blown away. They didn’t have peppermint-green tea so they offered to put one bag of each in. Seriously, my mind is blown and it’s embarrassing.

I’m hoping to get another workout in this week but my next couple days are busy with a meeting after work tomorrow and then a surprise birthday party on Friday. We’ll see what happens. I’m really happy with how my longer runs have been going lately so I’m not too worried.

What did you do for St. Patricks Day? Do you have any weird post-run habits?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Healing Properties of Tim Hortons & Fro-Yo

Last week was an off week for me. I made the executive decision to nix all my planned workouts and just rest. I'm not sure what I had but I spent the week feeling absolutely exhausted. My boss offered me more hours one night and I asked her to ask someone else, but if no one else could I would do it. She told my other co-worker I must be feeling sick (I always pick up extra hours, no questions asked) and even offered to let me go home early. If I wasn't picking up extra hours I definitely was not fitting in a workout.

What did I do this week?

I watched a LOT of Happy Endings on Netflix with my mom. Seriously. Almost every night I came home from work you could find me curled up on the couch with her.

I drank four large apple cinnamon teas from Tim Hortons. I'm usually not a Tim Hortons fan but whenever I'm feeling sick I crave them. From Monday to Thursday I picked one up before work before subbing it out for a chai latte form Starbucks on Friday.

One night my boyfriend planned to take me out for a nice dinner and I ended up texting him the morning of to see if we could cancel it. Instead we went out for frozen yogurt because he knows that I love junk food when I'm sick. I think it's a comfort thing. I loaded up four different sugary yogurts with lots of sugary toppings.

Friday night I was proclaiming I need to clean up my eating (again) but by Saturday morning I picked up a loaf of sour dough cheesy bread and ate an apple strudel while driving. I tried to rationalize that the strudel was because it was like a pie, and it was in honour of Pi Day.

I also devoured two huge plates of this dish somewhat randomly thrown together meal mid-afternoon and didn't eat another full meal for the rest of the day.

I still don't feel 100% better. I spent three hours just lying in bed this afternoon. No Netflix, no reading, nothing. Just lying under my heated blanket, curled up with my fur-baby. I finally pulled myself out of bed to run a scheduled 12K outside. I'm glad I did. It was a beautiful, cool day, and the first one I had run outside since the first week of January. Whoops.

I'm hoping I can get my act together for the rest of this week because I have some big goals for my spring races.

What's motivating you this week?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Imbalance & Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

My life feels so crazy lately. I’ve logged 92.5 hours for my next payroll cheque so I’m desperately trying to balance my work life, my training, my relationship, and my downtime and I’m feel like I’m failing all around.

I’m so tired, both mentally and physically, and my body is trying to fight me into taking a break.

My mom and I had plans to go across the border and do some shopping in Buffalo yesterday, but we both woke up feeling exhausted, had upset stomachs, and dull headaches. After going back to sleep for a couple of hours we just hit up our favourite outdoor outlet mall. It was cool so the fresh air helped for a bit, but by the time I got home I was still feeling pretty lousy. I spent the rest of my evening in bed watching episodes of Happy Endings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix.

I woke up feeling better this morning and was excited to get in a run outside. The temperature was mild and the sky was bright blue, but while I was letting my oatmeal and tea digest I started feeling sick again. Clearly I just need to take a break.

I still had to grocery shop and meal prep so I left my house for a little bit. The dash in my car was reading 0 degrees so I rolled my windows down to enjoy the “warm” weather and I was not the only car on the road with my windows down. Welcome to Canada.

Because my mom and I had such a crazy week last week we neglected to eat a lot of our roasted vegetables. Instead of wasting them I turned them into a soup/goulash and it was surprisingly good. It was like a veggie-filled, super chunky, chicken noodle soup.

I warmed a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot, sautéed half an onion and some minced garlic, and then added seasonings, a 28-oz can of diced tomato, and two cups of broth. I brought that to a boil, added a couple handfuls of dried egg noodles, and once those were cooked I added in the vegetables and some shredded chicken breast.

Now that all of my meal prep is done and a bowl of soup is in my belly I’m going to take the rest of the evening to relax. I honestly have no idea how to balance my life right now, but I do know I need a few hours of me-time to mentally prepare myself in case this is another crazy week.  

How do you balance in times of stress and craziness? 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Discovering the Glory of Overnight Oats

I have a complicated relationship with making breakfast.

I am a huge pro-breakfast person and never skip it. I love so many breakfast foods and I’m always up for trying new recipes.


Making breakfast is kind of a pain in the butt. Most of my meals are prepped on Sundays with the exception of breakfast. Besides protein waffles, it’s been hard to find foods I like that I can pre-make and are relatively good for me.

This is my second week in a row making overnight oats in the crock
pot.  After confirming that oats would last a few days in the fridge I started searching recipes to find a common base-recipe and choosing a combination I liked.

This is what I found after pouring through a dozen recipes:

1 cup of steel cut oats
2 cups of milk (I use almond milk)
2 cups of water

From there people added these sorts of sweeteners/spices:

Brown sugar

And these sorts of hearty extras:

Flax seeds/meal
Chia seeds
Hemp hearts
Fresh or dried fruit

My first week I added mashed bananas, dried cherries, and sliced almonds, along with some spices. It was kind of bland and something about the texture was off.

Disappointed Courtney.

This week I grated three apples, used ¼ cup of sliced almonds, ¼ cup of dried cranberries, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 1 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds. So much better!

The one thing I learned about texture is you need to allow it to truly be an overnight recipe. Last week I actually cooked the oats in the slow cooker for eight hours in the day and I obsessively kept opening the lid and stirring the mixture to make sure it wasn’t burning. Wrong. This week I cooked it about nine hours and it was only stirred once when I initially dumped everything in the crockpot. When I woke up in the morning it was perfect. The oats were cooked thoroughly, somehow managing to be moist and fluffy without being soggy.

It was seriously so exciting to come home after an intense, early workout and dig into this bowl (after this picture I had a second-thought and added another huge pile of oats).

What are your favourite breakfast foods? Are you an oatmeal person? 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spontaneous Purchases, Puppy Cuddles, and the Week Ahead

Happy Sunday!

Were you up early like me or did you sleep in? The boyfriend woke up to me staring at him and the following conversation:

Me: "I hope you don't have any plans for Canada Day."
BF: "Why?"
Me: "Because I just bought us Jay's tickets."
BF: "Well I guess I have plans now."

This makes up for not nabbing tickets for the Home Opener.

I also had some morning snuggles with the pup. Part hound and part lab, he's 75+ pounds of neediness and I absolutely love it.

I definitely spoil him.

It's been warmer than usual this weekend (my car read -4 degrees yesterday, a huge charge from the -30 degree weather we were having) so we headed over to the dog park. It was the perfect weather. In the summer we only let them run for 15-20 minutes because they overheat so quickly, but the winter weather means they can play for so much longer.

A Panera Bread opened up in my area not too long ago so the boyfriend and I went to try it out this morning. I was surprisingly full after a breakfast sandwich and latte so I didn't end up having a pastry. Now that it's been a couple of hours and my food is digested I'm disappointed with myself for making that decision.

I still have a bunch of errands to run to get ready for this week. Last week was so busy at work that I only finished my meal plan and grocery list today at breakfast. I love meal planning and am usually so eager that I finish my Sunday grocery list by Friday morning, so I'm feeling really thrown off my routine.

Anyways, here's looking at my week ahead:

Monday: Legs. Hot yoga.
Tuesday: Speed training and cycling.
Wednesday: Easy run. Arms & abs.
Thursday: Cycling. Yoga.
Friday: Full body.
Saturday: Rest.
Sunday: 12 kilometers. Yoga.

I'm taking my training really easy this time around. May will be my fourth half marathon so I'm less worried about building my mileage and more concerned with building stronger muscles and focusing on speed.

How's your Sunday going? Are you a lover of schedules and routine like I am?