Friday, September 30, 2011

Giant Marshmallows and Climbing Cats

What do you do when you discover giant marshmallows in your grocery store?

a) Eat half the bag in 24 hours

b) Make giant Rice Krispies treats (with rice chex)

c) Drizzle Rice Krispies Treats with peanut butter and dark chocolate

d) All of the Above

D? You know me so well. Chocolate/PB glazed Rice Krispies treats:

They may look terrible but when they taste that delicious I just don't care. Yesterday ended up being one of those days. I started my run and about 2 miles in collapsed-some sharp pain that caused me to lay down on the treadmill for about 15 minutes. Not entirely sure what is wrong yet, I think a flare-up of some old medical issues (long story, I won't bore you all!) Thank goodness there were sweets in the house so I could eat my sadness on the couch:

Mine are the non-hairy legs.

Now, I may have been stuck on the couch but my cats were ready to start exploring. We have been in the house about 2 weeks and they were ready to explore the final frontier: our exposed trusses. They are between 10-12 feet high, but that doesn't stop our adventurous cat:

Can I just say that getting cats down from that height is NOT easy?! At least, I think it's not easy. I sat on the couch and hubby got them down.

This morning I am feeling MUCH better, less pain and I'll probably head to the doctor's later but I'm feeling much more positive about my little accident yesterday.

What would you make with giant marshmallows--giant smores, giant Rice Krispies treats or just eat them straight out of the bag?
I love plain marshmallows! No surprise there, I obviously have a rather close relationship with sugar. Next time it will have to be smores, because hubby has never tried them in his life!!!

What are your Friday night plans? Please nothing too exciting, you'll make me realize what a sad life I lead.
Friday night = pasta or pizza for dinner, early to bed and long run tomorrow. Be jealous. It gets crazy here in Georgia. 

Have you entered the giveaway for this beautiful Run Like a Girl necklace yet? Ends on Sunday night!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You Are What You Read

My entire life, I have been obsessed with reading. As a child I would read whatever I could get my hands on, whether that was a novel, a textbook or the back of a cereal box. I memorized the backs of shampoo bottles, along with the instructions in French.

Today? My favorite book is this really smooth silver one with an apple on the front. It's pretty cool, because there are a billion pages to read and lots of pretty pictures. Not sure when I'll finish though. It's longer than a Russian history novel.

My beautiful Macbook Air. Someone's else's beautiful photography.

Ok, I'm only kind of joking. The reality is, I still love to read. But a lot of my free time is spent reading blogs and writing posts, which cuts into the rest of my reading time. I've recently discovered that I can walk on the treadmill at an incline and hold a book, which is about the coolest thing since sliced bread. I anticipate spending a lot of my "active recovery" days engrossed in more stories about Ryan Gosling.

TWO Goslings. Hello, boys.

Here's what I read, when I can tear myself away from the computer:

Magazines (I bet you thought I would start with heavy books first, right? Nope, glossies come first!)

Esquire: For a long time I was convinced this was a "lad's mag" because there are often women on the cover. Turns out, it might just be my favorite magazine. Unlike some reads, this doesn't get consumed in under an hour. There are really thoughtful articles on politics, economics, pop culture and fashion. And Ryan Gosling. 

Runner's World: Do I even need to mention this? It should be a given. I try not to read the entire thing when it arrives, but I nearly always fail. Great tips for beginners, helpful recipes for athletes and inspiring stories about runners who beat all sorts of odds.

Fitness: Meh. Yeah, it was a cheap subscription. It's finished in about two and a half toilet trips (don't lie, you know you do it too) and I find myself frustrated about some of the "advice" I read in it. It is a fun read, although I wouldn't take much of it too seriously. 


Ever feel like picking your favorite books is like choosing which kids are cuter in a lineup? No?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
Matilda (Roald Dahl)
Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)
Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)
Jude the Obscure (Hardy again...)
Far From the Madding Crowd (Yep, I have a thing for Thomas Hardy)
Moll Flanders (Daniel Defoe)
The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

I will not apologize for choosing a children's book or three books by the same author. My blog, tough luck. Maybe you can blame the Thomas Hardy obsession on the fact that both my father AND by brother are named Hardy.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go make dinner (gnocchi) and feel incredibly superior because today my post revolved around something other than my usual topics ("Look at me, I sweat!" and "More ways to eat peanut butter"). Apologies to anyone who used those actual post titles in recent months, I really was just poking fun at myself.

What are your favorite magazines? Can you read and workout at the same time?
You already know my top 3, although if I'm at the gym and there is anything to read I would pick it up. I can't run and read, though. Just doesn't work. If anyone knows how, help me out!

Favorite childhood books or authors? Favorite book today?
First love was the Babysitter's Club series, and I won't apologize. Classics. I also love anything by Roald Dahl, and have from a young age.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Double Digits on a Weekday, and His N' Hers Waffles

Now, I know that I am lucky to work from home and have a pretty flexible schedule. But it still somehow seems impossible to try to get in a double digit run during the week. 2 hours of running before work = I might as well just go back to bed afterwards. 2 hours of running after working? I can barely handle the normal one hour or 30 minutes, and I definitely lack the motivation for any more.

But this afternoon I checked my Run Less, Run Faster schedule--and today was an 11 mile run. So at 4:50 because I work from home and I'm a rebel 5 o'clock this evening I hopped on the TM and hoped for the best.

Success! With 2 hours to think about what I wanted for dinner, I was prepared to hop off the TM and get dinner started straight away. The results: salads topped with chicken, lots of mozzarella cheese and some homemade croutons. (I won't bore you with a crouton recipe, but: cut bread. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.)

Today was also apparently waffle day at my house. My choice was GF waffles with peanut butter and sliced strawberries, and the other topped with local apple butter. Mmmmm.....

Not to be outdone, hubs had his waffles with chocolate syrup and a side of cookie dough. I love that man.

Serious questions today. Waffles or pancakes? Toppings?
It's not even a question: waffles. I love crunchy textures, so waffles are a million times better than soggy pancakes. I love waffles and PB, but apple butter is a recent favorite. I never tried it until a few months ago, but it's fantastic!

What's the average time you spend working out on a weekday? Weekend?
I think the average workout time for a weekday would be maybe 45 minutes. Some days it is longer (say, yoga and a walk) but other times just a 30 minute run. On the weekend I spend more time. A long run is always 2+ hours, and it's the time of week I would go on longer hikes as well.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Running Jewelry Giveaway from The Run Home!

Running has a tendency at times to make me feel just a little less feminine that I might like. The curves might disappear just a little (well...the top ones at least. Bottom ones are still out in full force) and I spend more time fiddling with my Garmin than I do putting on make-up. So I love when I can show my interest in running with a beautiful, feminine piece of jewelry. I recently received two necklaces from the great people at The Run Home.  They have an Etsy store full of inspirational necklaces, bracelets and more for athletes.

I received this beautiful necklace in the mail from them:

A cute running shoe, heart, and a hand-stamped 26.2 charm. In all honesty, I don't think I'll wear this until I have finished the marathon in November. Kind of like wearing a race shirt before you completed the race! But it will make the perfect reward and I can't wait to wear it with pride. The Run Home sent everything to me perfectly packaged--like it was a gift. I loved that:

A personalized letter for me!

Lucky for you all, they also sent me another necklace to give to one lucky reader. I opted not to get one with a distance on it, so it will be great for anyone who loves to run. It is a hammered pendant with the stamp "Run Like a Girl." Sorry boys, but the next giveaway will include you too!

I've kept it all in the box ready to ship out to the winner! To win this Run Like a Girl necklace, here's what to do: (Please leave a comment for each!)

+1 Follow this blog, or let me know if you already do (Mandatory)
+1 Like The Run Home on Facebook and tell them I sent you
+1 Like Gourmet Runner on FB!
+1 Head to The Run Home Store, and let me know which items you like best.
+1 Spread the word! Tweet, Facebook, or blog about the giveaway and let me know.

The winner will be picked at midnight on October 1st (Saturday) so make sure to enter before then! Good luck!

Banjee Giveaway Winner

Last week I did a review of Banjees courtesy of Sprigs. I fell in love with these wrist wallets for running, and I know the winner will love hers too!

There were 181 comments in the entry for this giveaway. Thanks to, the winner was....

Comment #152!

That belonged to Alisa, who writes Runs with Knives. She is a culinary student and a runner, with a great blog! Alisa, send me an email and you will win your choice of Banjee!

Everyone else...don't worry! Head back here tonight for another giveaway. Something beautiful and sparkly, are you excited yet?!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekly Workout Recap and Banana Bread Muffins

Another week, another recap for the blog world! This week's workouts were dominated by my new treadmill. I realized when compiling this post that I was on the treadmill every single day this week. Can't help it. Kind of like when you first fall in love and want to spend every waking moment with that person. I love you, Nordictrack 1750. I hope we're never apart. 

Monday: Ran 7 Miles of Speedwork
Tuesday: Ran 5k (3.1 Miles)
Wednesday: Ran 6 Miles, Tempo Run
Thursday: Walked 3 Miles, 30 minutes of yoga and 100 push-ups
Friday: Ran 3 Miles
Saturday: Ran 12 miles (1 warm-up, 4 mile race, 7 miles on treadmill afterwards)
Sunday: Ran 6 Miles easy

Total Mileage this week: 40 Miles (37 Running)
I'm sad that I didn't get in my 20 miles this Saturday, but with everything else I'm not too concerned.

This is the part where I complain about my lack of abs, even though I haven't done anything in WEEKS that resembles core work. Seriously. The best thing for the abs lately is laughing about the prospect of actually doing ab work. Oops. Speaking of muffin tops....

How gorgeous is this banana bread muffin? I made them yesterday, using Kari's Famous Banana Bread Recipe as inspiration. Head there for the main recipe. I only changed one or two things-replacing half the flour for oatmeal and forgoing the butterscotch chips on top. Instead of a loaf I made muffins, and they were perfect! I may or may not have had four of them last night and pretended that was dinner. Long runs = excuses to eat whatever you want and it doesn't count for 24 hours. True story. 

I haven't baked anything in a while, and it was so fun to make! I feel the baking urge coming on now, and I'm ready for the next recipe!

What is your favorite thing to bake? Want to link up a recipe?
I like making oatmeal cookies best, and getting them really crispy! I am excited to make something using pumpkin soon though. Any suggestions for my next baking mission?

What fitness-related activity are you most proud of this week?
Can I pick two? I am really proud of sticking to my race plan at the 4-mile race and meeting my goals. But I'm also really proud of myself for listening to my body yesterday and taking it easy afterwards.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A 4 Mile Race and a 7 Mile Cool-Down

The best thing about running a random distance race? Automatic PR, baby! The Eton 4-Miler is a tiny little race, but at $25 and only 15 minutes from home I was really excited for it. I started with a one mile warm up and then, naturally, posed for a picture:

Don't let the singlet fool you--it was COLD! Even after the race and the awards it was still 55 degrees. It's definitely fall here! My plan for the race was to stick with 8:45 minutes miles, and gun for a 35 minute finish. I promised myself I would stick to the plan and not go out too fast, which is always my problem. I did it! Within 4 minutes of running I found myself near the back of the pack...EVERYONE and their mother had passed me straight away, but I stuck to plan. Here am I after 1/2 mile (the first part was a loop back to the start):

After the first mile I held my speed and a lot of people slowed down. Loved passing people--it doesn't happen to me often! The race was really beautiful, on rolling hills and so peaceful. Towards the end there was no one ahead or behind me a good 200 yards. I almost forgot it was a race!

When I passed the 5k mark I realized I had an unofficial PR by about 35 seconds...that felt great! Finished the whole thing in 34:17, or an 8:34 pace. Hubs was there to document it, of course. Shout out to him for standing in the cold while I ran. What a sweetheart!

There were some incredible runners at this race. A few really stood out to me: a 5 year old girl ran it with just over 10 minute miles. Wow! Also, this little guy put me to shame with his time. He was truly amazing:

Yes, that tiny little boy raced 4 miles in 26 minutes and 4 seconds. Six and a half minute miles. Insane.
On the other end of the race spectrum we have the overall women's winner, who was 62 and runs...(wait for it)....120 MILES PER WEEK. I can't even fathom it. She came in below:

It must have been a walk in the park for her! It really was a fun day, even if the weather was pretty cold standing around afterwards. Since it was such a small town race, I even got some bling! I was 4th woman overall and first in my age group. Sweet! Here is how I posed, completely calm, with the goods:

And then one to let you know how I was really feeling:


Yesterday I asked for advice about how to run this race but still manage 20 miles for the day. I got a lot of great suggestions, and the didn't listen to any of them because I am stubborn. I ran 1 mile to warm up, 4 mile at the race, and then 7 easy miles at home on the treadmill. I was hoping for more, but my calf hurt and I was just exhausted so I cut myself some slack and considered 12 miles for the day my long run. Lesson learned.

Do you prefer small or large races? Best race you've ever run?
I definitely like small. I am used to running alone so it's just my race and my pace. Plus, as mentioned above...WAY more likely to win stuff. 

What lessons have you learned about running/racing/ANYTHING from the blog world?
I have read so many race recaps where people say they went out too fast, so this race I remembered that and took it slow. Anyone who has ever gone out too fast in a race and blogged about it--thank you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Melons and Some Race Advice Please!

Oh my gosh, not those melons. These melons:

Last night dessert was a massive bowl of cut up watermelon and cantaloupe. Leave it to me to really remember how much I love summer fruit on the first day of fall. Genius.

P.S. Yep, this is what I wear when we have people for dinner. Pure class.

I promise I made an awesome dinner, but um...we had people over. And I was busy getting everything together and forgot to take pictures. BOO. I made some baked chicken tenders, a mix of roasted potatoes (plain and sweet) and some broccoli. So good, and since hubby got thirds of the chicken I think it's safe to say I will add it to the ol' dinner rotation.

And now to pick your brains about running and racing. I am running a 4-miler tomorrow morning. There are NOT a lot of races in my area, so this is really exciting and only 15 minutes from home. BUT I also have a 20 mile run on the agenda tomorrow. What's a girl to do? Here was my thought:

Warm-up: 1 mile
Race: 4 miles
Eat, stretch, stay on my feet for an hour or so and then head home
Run: 15 miles on the treadmill

So the total for the day would still be 20 miles. Do you think it's a bit much to try to race, and then run 15 miles? Should I take it easy on the race, or can I push it and still bust out 2+ hours of running later on the day? Any and all advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

And now, because it had to be done, the pose with melon pictures. Except, um...I may have got the idea well after they were eaten. Oh well, they're probably even more ridiculous this way. Enjoy.

And now, because I don't believe in false advertising, a more accurate representation. Yep, those are mini jawbreakers. The truth hurts.

Plans for tonight include as little movement as possible, catching up on some Jersey Shore with hubs, and carb loading in the hopes that my legs hold out tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Tomorrow there are some lovely ladies racing...Paige and her hubby Geno are running the 4-miler with me tomorrow, and Wells L. is racing the Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon. Head over to their blogs to wish them luck, and leave a comment if you are racing tomorrow too!

Did you do any special to celebrate the first day of fall? 
Does dreaming about a Pumpkin Spice Latte count? Then no. But tomorrow I may bake something special, so stay tuned!

Have you ever tried running after a race?
I don't race often, so I have never tried this yet. Curious to see what your thoughts are!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tips for Staying Motivated

I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning the first thing I think about it not, "YES! I get to work out today." Maybe some of you guys think that, but most of us normal people don't. I definitely rely on different motivational tips and tricks to keep me working out most days.

I wrote a guest post for A Healthful Gluten Free Life  today about how I stay motivated each day to stay fit. Check it out! She has a really great blog featuring some amazing recipes and photos. Yesterday's creation? This little (edible!) jewel in honor of Lion King 3D:

Also--yesterday's post on touching thighs got a range of comments, and made me realize the following:

1. 99% of you have thighs that touch. Thanks for the support.

2. Body Glide must make trillions of dollars each year. It seems like they could charge $60 for each tube and we would still all buy the stuff. I <3 Body Glide.

3. Rose is freaking hilarious. Her slogan about the issue? "Boys don't mind if your thighs touch. They just want to touch your thighs." True.Story.

That's all for today folks! Check back tomorrow for your regularly scheduled programming. And don't forget to check out my guest post HERE!

Have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet? Slacker! Get to it!

Any tips for staying motivated to workout?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Thighs Must Love Each Other...

...because they are ALWAYS hanging out. Besties. Never leaving the other's side. I'm pretty fit, enjoy healthy meals, love to run...

And my thighs touch.

left thigh.right thigh

In high school, I would thumb through clothing catalogs and try to understand how in the H-E-double hockey sticks I could have legs that didn't touch. I blame Victoria's Secret models for my teenage obsession with getting the thighs to separate.

I blame her.
I remember my mom once telling me that thighs weren't supposed to be apart. They were supposed to touch at the top. Ok mom, whatever. You find me a 15 year old girl who listen to what her mother says about body image. 

So why did this random thigh topic come up today? Well, today I had another run on my treadmill. I busted out some new shorts that haven't been worn in close to a year, and did 6 tempo miles:

While running, my thighs were literally "eating" my shorts. You know the feeling? Where they start riding up in the front-heading somewhere we don't talk about on this blog?

Well today, instead of thinking..."geez, these thighs!" I though..."gotta get some new shorts!" Because these thighs aren't going anywhere. And they're not supposed to. I love 'em.

Good thing, too, because I'm not about to stop eating the delicious meals I have been making lately. Some of yesterday's eats--
 Exhibit A: gluten-free pasta with veggie sausage, tomato sauce, broccoli and parmesan cheese:

Exhibit B: baked potatoes with greek yogurt, black pepper, broccoli and parmesan cheese. 

Do you use greek yogurt in place of sour cream? Any advice/suggestions?
I usually make my greek yogurt with fruit, cereal or sweeter mix-ins, but this was perfect! Even hubs loaded up with lots of yogurt and said it was just like sour cream. P.S.--this might seem obvious, but genius over here opened up vanilla. Not so much. Always use plain!

Are you a genetically blessed freak whose thighs don't touch, or one of the real people?!
Oh, I'm joking! I know we all come in different shapes and if your thighs don't touch, more power to you. No hate mail please. As for me, they touch all right. I think I would have to positively skeletal to get them apart.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Banjee Review and Giveaway!

So excited to bring you all another giveaway. While this one is definitely an amazing product for runners, it's also great to have with you...anywhere! If you are anything like me, before you set out on a run you have to figure out what you need to carry with you, and where to fit it. Between gels, chews, keys, even a phone--I need a small purse. I've tried things to fit around my waist--and they just don't feel right. So I asked Sprigs if I could try out their Banjee wrist wallets on some runs and review them here.

Success! Sprigs makes these wrist wallets in a ton of styles/sizes/colors, which I love. Each one is reversible, so you get a more solid color on one side, a fun design on the other. I even got one that is reflective in the dark--perfect as the sun sets earlier and earlier now! The smaller ones are perfect for a gel and some keys, and they DON'T move around when you run. Bonus. 

I also got to try one of the larger ones, which I thought would be perfect for a phone. I have a pretty big phone, but it fit in nice and snug. I think it might annoy me for a long run of 3+ hours, but on short runs it was really convenient. Can you believe I can run with a huge phone on my arm and be ok??

I got to try three different Banjees, and each one was for a different purpose. I think I may have to invest in a few more...obviously I need one to match every running shirt I own. I also thought these would be great when you're traveling--stick it under your sweater and you don't have to carry around a purse all day. Hooray! As a note: I have tiny wrists, so I pushed mine up on my forearm, where it stayed in place perfectly. 

So...ready to get your hands on your own Banjee? You'll be in great company--aside from me, they were also worn by some of the lovely ladies on Nuun's Hood to Coast team! The lovely folks at Sprigs have graciously offered to send the winner any Banjee they choose, so get excited! Here's how to win (leave a comment for each entry):

+1: Let me know you are a follower of Gourmet Runner, or become one! (Mandatory)
+1: Like Sprigs on Facebook HERE and tell them Gourmet Runner sent you!
+1: Visit their WEBSITE and pick out which Banjee you would like best
+1: Spread the word about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, or twitter, and let me know!

The giveaway will run until Sunday, September 25th at midnight, so get your entries in!

I received these items from Sprigs at no cost, but the opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My New Best Friend!

Guess who showed up on my doorstep this morning? If you've been paying any attention lately, you know I've been waiting for a special delivery for a few weeks and the waiting has been driving me crazy. But today my true love arrived....

Getting a little frisky...
You know what they say about when kids get christmas presents, and they end up more excited just playing with the box? That was me. Hubs was working so hard putting it all together and I just kept interrupting for photo breaks with the freakin' box. In my defense, it was propped up against the wall and looked JUST like a mummy's sarcophagus and then a vampire coffin. Promise.

After playtime I had to try out the treadmill out myself. I got the Nordictrack 1750--thanks to Kari's recommendation. Already happy with my choice. I did my speed work on the treadmill today, and it looked like this:

2 Miles easy - 9:42 pace
1 Mile HARD - 8:11 pace
400 meter recovery (walk/jog)
2 Miles HARD - 8:20 pace
800 meter recovery (walk/jog)
1/2 mile HARD - 7:55 pace
400 meter recovery (walk/jog)
1/2 mile HARD - 7:55 pace
1 Mile cool down easy

Total: 7 miles in 63:51. I'll take it. 

I totally don't have the hang of all the technological stuff yet, but I'm working on. 

P.S.--HOLY calorie burn! Did you see that in the photo? 1062 calories my sweet ass. I don't think so. Can I use that to justify two desserts tonight? Awesome. 

Also: when I'm bored on the weekends, I browse blogs and watch movies made for tweens. Hubby spent his Sunday building a table. I feel incredibly unproductive. 

Update! Tim built this table back in 2011. It was okay, but he has moved up in the world. He now runs a mid-century modern furniture restoration and sales business called Trystcraft. If you're into mid-century modern and vintage design, he has some incredible stuff you'll want to check out.

Hubby's handiwork (the table, not me)

How do you judge calorie burn when you run? HR Monitor, guesstimate, or not track at all?
I usually just estimate. Daily Mile puts me WAY too high, as do most treadmills. When I wear my HR monitor, it's much more accurate, around 75 calories per mile of running easy.

Do you have any special skills/talents/abilities to make anything?
I can come up with (very bad) songs or poems that rhyme on the spot. THAT COUNTS, stop laughing! Seriously, if anyone wants to hire a jingle writer I could come up some real gems. Just saying.