Workout Recap, 9/9 to 9/14

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day here, hope your weekend’s going well!

Monday: 2.67 mile hike, 530 feet elevation gain. Fun morning jaunt with the pup.

hiking boots

Tuesday: 5 x (almost) 400 meter repeats. 3.14 miles, 11:46 average pace (includes warm up and recovery). Dynamic warm up. Skipped foam rolling/hip strength due to dinner plans (whoops, may have paid for this later).

Split

Time

Distance

Avg Pace

2

2:06.3

0.25

8:33

4

1:36.4

0.21

7:40

6

1:37.6

0.20

7:59

8

1:45.6

0.22

7:54

10

1:52.4

0.22

8:22

This is my first time tackling repeats not on a treadmill. I found a relatively flat quarter mile stretch and experimented with knocking them out. The only time I actually hit 400m was the first repeat. I’d like to blame it on my lack of planning to mark where my 400m ended (excuses, excuses), but really I think it was because I was busting out of the gate a bit too fast (my current PR for a mile is 9:47).

Wednesday: off

Thursday: off

Friday: 6.66 (what a coincidence) long, achy, discouraging miles, 12:27 min/mile. Dynamic warm, 10 min foam roll.

My long run for the week and it felt ridiculously hard. I don’t know if it was my body not yet recovered from the new speed work on Tuesday, the couple glasses of wine on Thursday dehydrating me, or the fact that I was constantly running into or perpendicular to the wind, but the only good thing about this run was when it was over. My hips were aching so bad I wanted to cry (this leads me to think it was too soon after the speed work).

Since I’ve started running farther distances and over an hour, I thought I’d give one of those handheld water bottles a try. I picked one up at Marshall’s on the cheap for around 10 bucks…fail sauce. I felt like I was carrying lead in my hand, even after I dumped a good portion of the water out. Maybe if I had a smaller bottle? Are the waist belts any better?

long run horibleness

I also failed by not bringing along fuel for this run. I’ve just built up to running for over an hour in the past few weeks, so my fueling technique is pretty much non-existent at this point. By the time I made it home, had a quick snack, showered, and was able to make myself dinner, my stomach was so empty that trying to eat food was making me nauseous. Lesson learned!

Saturday: 2 mile leisurely walk with the pup to keep things loose. Was still feeling worn out from yesterday, but comforted myself with a tasty treat…or two.

breakfast at cafe M

Sunday: 2 miles, 11:21 avg pace. Short, easy shake out run. My legs felt fresher than Friday, but not 100%. 

Run total: 11.8 miles

Hike/walk total: 4.67 miles

Overall: I’ve been feeling so confident and capable after increasing my long runs by a half mile to a mile every week for the past month or so, that I think it went to my head this week. I wanted to throw some speed work in, plus do a longer long run, plus shoot for four days of running, and in the end maybe all that was just too much! My head is usually leaps and bounds ahead of what my body’s ready for, and walking that fine line between pushing myself just enough to see continual improvement but not so much that I totally wear myself out is challenging. Next week I’ll be focusing on hip strength, hamstring stretches and IT band foam rolls to try to prevent those achy hips from getting any worse.

Always, Sierra

Do you carry a water bottle or wear a hydration belt when you run? I’m thinking I’d have better luck with camelpak than something handheld.

Thursday is the new Friday

Sometimes I like to go to Starbucks for lunch and feed my coffee addiction pretend I’m one of those cool people who gets to hang out at cafes during weekdays.

Starbucks for lunchHave you tried the Zesty Chicken Bowl? So freaking tasty, much better than the brown rice/kale bowl imo.

Last night, I went to Pasta Pelican with some of my fave gals.

Pasta Pelican

This was my second visit this week. It all started with a living social deal for dinner on Tuesday. The food was delicious, and between the classical music, homey feel and waterfront views, my soul was soothed. I did some ear-hustling while we were there and discovered that Thursdays are $10 wine tastings, all you can drink. True story.

When I hear wine tasting, I think small portions carefully poured into large glasses. Imagine how I felt when I walked in and saw this serve yourself table.

PhotoGrid_1379098819531

I like your style Pasta Pelican. Nicely done.

Just a few days ago I was browsing through the pages of the September issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and there’s an article featuring several health and fitness pr’s and some of their favorite tips. Here are two of my favorites, both dealing with my favorite thing in the world: food!

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I’m a fan of sharing plates and taking home leftovers too when I eat out, but that whole eat an apple thing never works for me. I finish the apple and I’m just as hungry when I get to the restaurant.

Sometimes if I’m headed to happy hour (or all you can drink wine-tasting), I eat a meal at home before I go. Usually whatever I fix myself is going to be much healthier than what I’d end up indulging in while out, plus this helps me avoid drinking on an empty stomach and helps me save money. Last night I made a quick kale and ham saute with lots of veggies before I met up with the girls and then shared a bruschetta appetizer when I got there. Pasta Pelican’s bruschetta is on soft bread which I loved! I always feel so awkward when I eat the crunchy bruschetta. I’ve got a bit of a fear of dentists and imagine all of my teeth cracking with every bite. Hi, my name is Sierra and I’m neurotic about my teeth lol.

Do you have any favorite eating out tips? Have a great weekend!

Always, Sierra

 

Maple Fig Chia Seed Pudding

Yesterday was magazine day! Call me old school, but I love coming home to these glossy pages. Browsing magazines with a glass of wine = ultimate indulgence.

magazines

Recently, I picked up some chia seeds at Marshalls on the cheap. I tend to be a toe dipper when it comes to the latest healthy food fads, but chia seeds have been calling my name. They’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, contain 18% of the daily amount of recommended calcium, and give you super human powers contain a good amount of protein. But don’t take my word for it, Dr. Oz says they rock, so it must be true!

My mission: turn Fall into a chia seed pudding. (Turns out when you mix them with liquids, they create a gel like consistency, much like tapioca pudding.) So I consulted one of my favorite books for a little inspiration…

Flavor Bible

Multi-tasking at it’s finest: researching flavors while icing my knee!

I’ve been having a bit of a flirtation with figs every time I go to the store or farmer’s market. I am not a fan of fig newtons at all, I think they’re pretty gross, but these weird little fruits have been enticing me with their odd shape and murmurs of sweet/savory flavor possibilities.

And so, a pudding was formed.

Maple Fig Chia Seed Pudding

Maple Fig Chia Seed Pudding 

  • 1 cup Coconut Dream Milk (or liquid of your choice)
  • 4 figs
  • 1 to 1.5 Tbsp maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon  (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds
  • toasted walnuts for garnish (optional)

Directions: Combine figs and coconut milk and blend until smooth (I used an immersion blender, but either kind would work).

Add in the maple syrup in increments, blending and tasting as you go. Some varieties of figs are sweeter than others, so you may need less sweetener in the long run.

Add in 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and blend, if desired. This tastes great without the cinnamon, but the aroma of the cinnamon really makes it smell and taste like Fall to me.

Once you’ve combined all ingredients and are satisfied with the flavors, add in the chia seeds and blend. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, and stir. Let sit for a few more minutes, stir again. This to avoid the gel-like chia seeds clumping together to create a weird consistency.

Once you’ve stirred a few times, let the pudding sit for 30-60 minutes before eating (or overnight if you plan on eating it for breakfast). I stuck mine in the fridge because I love cold pudding, but if you were going to eat it soon, it could also hang out on the counter for a bit.

When I was ready to eat, I topped with a bit of toasted walnuts because I love nuts.

Maple Fig Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 2 breakfast-sized portions or 4 small snack-size portions.

Enjoy!

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite flavor of pudding? I love a good home-made banana pudding! And by home-made I mean jello haha.

New to making chia seed pudding? Check out this post.

Hiking Redwood Regional Park

I spent maybe 30 minutes yesterday evening preparing for today. I figured out where I wanted to hike and the trails I was going to take. I fleshed out a few blogging-related tasks, and I even made a grocery list for the kitchen projects I’ve been wanting to work on but never get around to because I don’t know what I need.

grocery list

With all the decisions made last night, my day has been smooth and productive, and I’ve avoided being sucked into Netflix or my phone. It’s amazing what a little preparation does.

I promised Pita a hike yesterday, she was feeling particularly moody and cabin fever-ish. It’s been hot here in the Bay Area (our summer always seems to come in September/October), so we ate a quick breakfast and headed out.

breakfast

Greek yogurt, half a banana, handful of blueberries, flax seed, shredded coconut

Redwood Regional Park is one of my favorites in the East Bay. It has an extensive trail system spanning its 1830 acres, making it easy to create hikes of all lengths and to explore new trails as often as you’d like. I usually park at the Skyline staging area because there’s no fee (it gets super crowded on the weekends, so get there early!). If you park at the main staging area off Redwood Road, there’s a $5 fee for cars and $2 for dogs on holidays and weekends.

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Check out what I saw at the staging area, I didn’t think payphones existed anymore!

pay phone

From Skyline Staging Area, we headed out on the West Ridge Trail. West Ridge is mostly exposed, but I was surprised by how warm it already was at 9 a.m.. This trail is really popular with trail runners, dog-walkers and cyclists, so be prepared for a busy trail in the evenings and on the weekends.

Redwood Regional Park, West Ridge Trail

We followed West Ridge until the junction with Tres Sendas, which we turned left onto. Tres Sendas is all downhill in this direction (my knees were a little grumpy about this after my long run yesterday), and it takes you down into the under-story of the Redwoods. When you cut away from West Ridge Trail and into the middle of the park, there’s usually fewer people on the trails. This is the part of the park I love the most, the cool stillness of the woods.

Redwood Regional Park, Tres Sendas Trail

We continued on Tres Sendas until we hit Stream Trail. The spot where the two trails join is a lovely place to sit for a while, enjoy lunch and listen to the flow of Redwood Creek (which is all dried up this time of year, womp womp). When the creek is running, it is one of the most peaceful areas in the park. It’s also a protected habitat for rainbow trout, so dogs need to be leashed in this area and no fishing allowed.

If it had been cooler, I would have turned right here to make a longer loop, but since it was already heating up, we turned left and took Stream Trail back to the staging area. I love the smell of pine needles warming in the sun, but Pita is not her best in hot weather.

Redwood Regional Park, Stream Trail

The entire loop was about 2.67 miles, and took us just over an hour at a meandering pace. I’d call it easy, with the down-hill portion of Tres Sendas possibly challenging for those with knee/hip/back problems, and the majority of Stream Trail being gently uphill. Bring water and sunscreen if the sun is shining.

Redwood Regional Park, 2.67 mile loop

At a few spots along the trail I saw bags of dog poop left on the side.

Redwood Regional Park, dog poo

I generally carry Pita’s poo bags back to the staging areas and toss them there, but every time I see bags on the side I always wonder, do people do that because it’s accepted? Does someone with the Parks Department come and pick them up? Turns out not so much. Don’t forget to pack your pup’s poo out! Extra points if you pack all the poo out.

Even though it’s hot as a monkey’s bum, I’ve been craving cold weather food and I’ve got a mixed-bean, lentil and ham soup simmering away in a crock-pot. If it turns out delicious, I’ll be sharing soon.

Happy hiking!

Always, Sierra

Workout Recap, 9/2 to 9/8

I’ve been seriously lagging in the blogging department for the past couple weeks. I took on some new responsibilities at work, and as much as I’ve enjoyed the challenge, the days have been wringing me out like a wet towel. Lately I’ve just been glad to find the energy to get my runs in! I do miss the blogging though. When I’m able to post regularly it always seems so much easier to find my motivation to run, live healthy, do meal prepping, etc.

Monday: off

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 3.89 miles, 11:16 min/mile. Dynamic warm-up, 10 min foam roll. Hip strength 3 x 12, bridge and clamshells 3 x 25. Much warmer than I was hoping for, but I didn’t give up the ship!

don't give up the ship

Thursday: 3.88 miles, 10:49 min/mile. Good pace but my legs were tired from the day before and felt heavy. Dynamic warm-up.

Friday: Off, the Mr. got us tickets to the A’s game, they won!

A's game

Saturday: off

Sunday: 6.21 miles, 11:18 min/mile. Dynamic warm-up. 10 min foam roll. It was an early wake-up call for this one, not only to beat the heat but also because I had brunch plans with the girls at Brenda’s French Soul Food. So delicious! The crawfish and the granny smith apple beignets are a must, but everything we ate was tasty. Oh, btw, they put little jars of peach cobbler filling on the tables to top your biscuits with. Yeah, it’s that serious.

Brenda's French Soul Food

Run total: 13.98 miles

Overall: I was hoping to add in a fourth day of running this week, but between Labor Day, work, and social funness it just wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I decided to up the mileage on the runs I was able to get in. Running back-to-back days of almost four mile runs was definitely new for my legs, it’s been a while since they’ve felt so leadish. Here’s to another week of good runs!

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite brunch place? Your favorite brunch food?