Random (not healthy) post

This one is definitely random, and not at all tied to fitness, but since this is one of my all time favorite summer recipes, I just had to share it again (since i’m pretty sure it’s already somewhere on this blog).

051093071-01-blueberry-lemon-bars_xlg

Blueberry Lemon Streusel Bars (courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine)

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1-1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2-1/2 cups room-temperature blueberries (about 13 oz.), washed and drained on paper towels

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the ends. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using your fingers, blend the butter completely into the flour mixture. Transfer 2 cups of crumb mixture to another bowl and reserve for the topping. Blend the egg white into the remaining crumbs and then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a level crust. You can tamp it with the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out. Bake the crust until it starts to form a dry top, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolk. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes; it will begin to thicken.

Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the hot crust and then drop spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the blueberries. Spread gently with a spatula to distribute a little more evenly, but take care not to crush the berries; it’s fine if the lemon mixture isn’t perfectly even. Bake until the lemon mixture just begins to form a shiny skin, 7 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle the reserved topping over the lemon-blueberry layer, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps as you sprinkle. Bake until the filling is bubbling at the edges and the topping is brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack until just warm, about an hour. Carefully lift them out of the pan using the foil overhang and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the foil and cut into 24 bars when cool. The bars may be stored at room temperature for a few hours but otherwise should be kept in the refrigerator.

My tips/thoughts

  • I don’t use the lemon zest.  I’ve never had luck with zesting a lemon, so I leave it out.  The juice is good enough.
  • I use a pint of blueberries, not sure how that compares to the recipe’s measurements, but it works for me.
  • I cut these into way smaller squares because they are sweet and decadent.
  • I prefer them served cold.  Room temperature isn’t bad, but I vote for cold.

I made these just this past weekend for a party.  They are really the best.

Let me know if you try them!

8 – and a new look

Good morning!!!  For some reason I always want to say guten morgen in a German accent (no clue on the spelling there).  It’s weird, but not that weird because I’ve been to Germany a few times and that’s what they say…and I like it. 🙂 It’s Monday. First, the new look.  I once again changed the layout of the blog and included a new photo header.  While it has NOTHING to do with running or fitness, I like it, and it makes me smile.  I was in Belgium (coincidentally part of a trip to Germany) for work and after a storm we saw a full rainbow.  Had I not been with work folks, I probably would have taken a gazillion photos, but instead I only took about 6.  I love Belgium.  I love rainbows. The 8 On the schedule for this week was a long run of 8 miles for Sunday.  While I had every intention to do the run on Sunday, once again, it didn’t happen.  It was raining and I had to be somewhere by 9:30, so it would have been tight.  So we made the decision to push the run out to Monday morning, before work. Running 8 miles when your pace is 10-11 minutes/mile requires some significant time.  Add to that a short drive to a starting location and we’re talking a really early wake-up. The alarm went off at 4:30.  I actually woke up on my own and looked at the clock at 4:10.  I sort of fell back to sleep, but not really.  We decided to snooze until 4:45 although I realized around 4:35 that I wasn’t actually going to fall back to sleep, so I just got up.  It scares me that my body doesn’t mind getting up before 5.  When did THAT happen? We left the house a bit after 5 and probably started running around 5:30.  The beginning of the run showcased a beautiful sunrise and what was supposed to be a cloudy day actually cleared up enough to be a pretty, not too hot morning. 8 The last run we did at the beach, was supposed to be 7.5 but ended up being 4.2, and it was tough.  From the moment that run started, I felt heavy.  Thankfully I felt much better from the start of this run.  My only thoughts today were that 8 miles is looooong and that my stomach wasn’t 100%. I purposely thought carefully about what i had for dinner last night and went with a veggie burger.  Apparently that wasn’t the right choice.  I had planned on bringing leftovers for lunch but after tasting them  all morning (too much?), I’m OK with never eating them again, so I left them at home. I was nervous about my stomach but am happy to say that it was OK.  I did have some nausea and some acidy feelings, but nothing came out of them and to me that’s all that matters. Per my coach’s suggestion, I tried to take a little water every mile. About 45 minutes in I went for fuel.  Today’s fuel of choice brought to you by Honey Stingers. classicgel-gold-web_1 I’m still going through the process of evaluating fuels as I bought three different types a few weeks ago.  This one wasn’t bad but it was definitely sweet. The good:  It tastes like honey, not really much else.  It was a bit thinner that some of the others.  The logo – who doesn’t want a mean looking bee pushing you forward? The OK: I felt like there was more in the package than some of the others.  I’d prefer to consume as little as possible but I’m not sure if this is really a big deal. The bad:  Can’t really say anything about it was bad.  Just sweet.  And no caffeine, but maybe another variety does have caffeine. It definitely helped.  I will say that mile 8 was tough but we got through it and ended up finishing in a little less than an hour and a half. And now, everything is a little sore.  I did some stretching but just may close my door at lunch and do some more at work 🙂 It’s crazy to me that the half is only another 5 miles.  Sounds like a lot and a little at the same time!  According to my sister the running star, if you can do 8, you can totally do 13.  Hmmmm. This is my last week on my current schedule and it introduces some speed workouts.  He calls them something else but I can’t think of it.  I believe it’s a 1/4 mile interval at a faster pace.  Will follow up on that one shortly. As I probably won’t post till next week, I hope all my US friends have a Happy July 4th!  (and a happy Canada Day to any Canadians)

0

Well that’s an ugly number to look at!!  Maybe it wouldn’t be ugly if it represented something I was trying to stop doing (i.e. rolling my eyes at my boss or eating cookies).  🙂  But for running, something I’m working on doing more, it’s not the best.

Although I can barely even remember last week, I do know it was tough for running.  The weather was HOT and my morning motivation was seriously low.

I think I got two weekday runs in, one outside, one on the treadmill.  So that left me short one “short” run.

The plan was to do my long run EARLY on Sunday since it was Father’s Day and my family was coming to visit.  Saturday was rainy and pretty gross.  We had a pizza event on Saturday night and even though it ended at a reasonable time, standing on your feet for hours is really tough on the body.  I went to bed almost immediately upon getting home and set the alarm for 6a.  When I woke up everything hurt, plus it was raining.

I was literally riddled with conflict as I tried to decide what to do.  Everything hurt, it was raining, and I was tired.  Plus there was lots to do before the visitors arrived.  Ultimately we decided that a run was not going to happen.  I’ll admit I felt incredibly guilty, but it’s not like you can just do a quick 7.5 miles and get it out of the way.  Or maybe you can, but I can’t.  So no run on Sunday.

No run on Monday because it was a long day full of meetings.

So this morning the alarm went off at 4:45 and after a bit of procrastination, we headed out.  By the time we got to the beach it was about 5:30 which was later than I would have liked and therefore making 7.5 tough in terms of me still getting to work.

Rambling aside, this morning ended up at about 4.25.  Not quite anywhere near 7.5.  But still something.

I still feel guilty but it is what it is.  I may or may not get my 7.5 in sometime this week before trying for 8 on Sunday.  While I’m beating myself up a bit, I’m also reminding myself that I haven’t missed one long run in the past 11 weeks that I’ve been training, so I guess that’s OK. Right?

So…..questions….

Do you run in the rain?  If so, are you worried that your ipod or music source will be ruined? (that’s my #1 concern)

What’s your fuel of choice?  So far I’ve used a Clif in mocha and a Gu in lemonade.  I think I prefer the Gu. (edited to say: I think I preferred the Clif, my mistake.) In my belt today was a Honey Stinger but it didn’t get used.

Have a great day!  Work here and then spin tonight…always fun after a 4:45 wake up.  Happy running!

7

Happy Monday!

It was a lovely weekend weather wise and I hope it was enjoyable.

It was a tough one for me.  I had 7 miles on the calendar for Sunday and a pizza event on Saturday night that wasn’t scheduled to end until 11:30.  (not to mention an event during the day)

The crazy schedule meant that on Saturday I was under hydrated and possibly under fed.  I swore I wasn’t going to eat pizza, but since it ended up being pizza or nothing, I went with pizza (for lunch and dinner).

We didn’t get home until after 1am and probably didn’t fall asleep until around 2.  I let myself sleep in a bit and got up a little after 7.  By the time I got organized and motivated and we headed out to run, it was around 8:45 or so.  In other words, too late.

By the time we got to the beach it was quite sunny and warm.  Not miserable, but just a reminder that we should have been out earlier.

I definitely wasn’t feeling this run.  In my head I knew that I was a) tired b) a bit dehydrated c) warm and d) hungry.  Not the best of conditions.  Plus, once I had those thoughts in my head, it was kind of tough to push them out.

But off we went.  We don’t usually run together, but this time we did and we found that being together helped us to keep going.  The first three miles were tough.  We did two loops at the beach and then headed out on to the road.  After 3 I actually said “I have no idea how I’m going to do 4 more”.  But I did.  It was slow, but it happened.  I walked for about 30 seconds at one point but otherwise, it was slow and steady the whole time.

It wasn’t a pretty or fast run, but we did get it done.  7 is on the calendar for next week too, so hopefully I will be in better shape for that run.

7 is more than half of a half.  Crazy!!!

I’m a bit short on time today, but will try to post again later this week.  Till then!

New Look – Hot – Pain

Nice title, right?

You may have noticed that I updated the theme of the blog.  We’ll see if this one sticks.  So there’s the first part of the post title.

On to the next….Hot

Yesterday I had 3 miles on the calendar.  My plan was to get up and to the 3 before work.  Fail.  Some days I just can not make myself get out of bed.  It’s almost like it’s easier for me to get up early on nights that I don’t sleep well, which doesn’t make a ton of sense.

So 3 miles after work it was.  Too bad it was like 80 degrees and 1000% humidity.  I waited until after 7:30 and then just had to go for it.  It.was.miserable.  Miserable!  We did it but it was a bit sluggish and not at all fun.  I brought water and also needed to take a walking break.  I started to feel human again around 2.75, just in time to be done 🙂

I got home and started sweating even more, so I jumped in the shower.  Post shower I was still red faced and sweating.  An hour later, still sweating.  I hope I never have to run in conditions like that again.  It should be enough to get me out of bed in the morning.  Should.

And…PAIN

I was hobbling around this morning with a strange pain that I’d almost describe as very lower back and hip pain at the same time.  It’s strange.  It hurts when I bend over.  I tried stretching but wasn’t even sure what to stretch because I can’t pinpoint where the pain is.

At lunch time I went to the gym.  My original plan was to run my 3 miles but I figured it would be good to stretch and try to fix whatever this was.  So I stretched.  I felt OK so I figured I’d try for a mile.  Surprising thing was that I felt better while I was running than sitting, standing, or even walking.   Makes no sense.

So I did an incredibly sweaty 3 miles on the treadmill, did a little more streching and called it a day.

I’m curious to see how everything feels tomorrow on the spin bike.  Fingers crossed!

Have you ever had a similar pain?  If so, what was it?  Please help!

And that’s it from here.  HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!!  I’ve got 7 on the schedule for Sunday and I’m scared.

6

Good morning!!!

It was quite the weekend and I am glad that it’s Tuesday!

My sig other has a pizza trailer (kind of like a food truck, but it’s towed) and this past weekend he had three events.  I help out with events when I can, so most of the weekend was taken up by pizza.  Not a bad thing, just exhausting!  I took the day off on Monday since I knew I’d lose my whole weekend.

Sunday was the official end of week 10 in my training.  I had been in touch with my coach with some questions and learned a few things that I wanted to implement prior to my long run.  First, I need to carry water.  He told me that any run above 3 miles should include water.  Noted.  Second, any run over 45 minutes (I think) should include fuel.  Also noted.  So I need water and fuel.  He told me to look into a handheld water bottle.  Or not.

I can’t hold things when I run.  Well, I do hold a tissue.  But a tissue and a water bottle are very different.  One day I tried to hold my ipod in my hand.  That didn’t work very well.  So I talked to a friend who uses a belt.  I wasn’t convinced of the comfort but definitely recognized the benefit of being able to carry stuff.  She swore that it didn’t creep up and she barely even noticed it.

On the calendar for Sunday was 6 miles.  I knew this was not going to happen so I figured I’d do the run on Monday.  I also knew that I should have hydration and fuel for this one.

Monday morning came and I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  From two days of being on my feet, everything hurt.  My feet ached.  I was tired.  Motivation = zero.  So we decided that we’d push the long run to lunchtime and buy supplies in the morning.  Lunchtime came and we were still doing errands.  Then all of a sudden it was 2pm.  I was hungry but knew that if I was going to run I couldn’t eat.  So I stayed hungry.  It got a bit later and I realized that realistically a 6 mile run was not happening.  Too hangry. 🙂

Around 4:45 or so I went out for a shorter run.  I figured I’d aim for 2+.  I ended up at 2.7 which wasn’t too bad considering my complete lack of energy.  I was disappointed in myself for not getting the 6 in and told myself that I’d wake up early on Tuesday and do it then.

The day wasn’t a total waste, I got this nifty belt, and a hat.

belt

I set my alarm for 5am and called it a night.  Unfortunately I had a lot on my mind and couldn’t fall asleep.  I tossed and turned for about two hours before finally getting some sleep.  I woke up at 3 to look at the clock.  When the alarm went off at 5 I was anything but motivated.  He said he wasn’t getting up, I said me neither and went back to sleep.  But I still couldn’t sleep.  It was now 5:15 and I was wide awake.  I figured I might as well run.  I needed to clear my head.  If it wasn’t going to be six, that was OK, but I needed to get out there.

I put on my belt and grabbed a gel and at about 5:45a I was out the door.  I felt pretty good but did second guess my choice to wear a long sleeved shirt when I passed a guy with no shirt on.  )Not that I’d ever take my shirt off on a run.)  Since I was feeling good, I figured I’d go for six.

elevation

Poor route planning on my part.  Take my longest run to date and make almost the entire second half uphill.  Nice work Jess.  It.Was.Tough.  Like really tough.  I took a quick walking break around 5.1 or so (right after a particularly tough hill).

But I did it.  Plus I used my belt with my water and gel.  Having never used any sort of fuel before I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but I did know that I needed to have water after.  Did I have enough water?  No clue.  Have to ask the guru.

It felt good to complete and as usual, I love being out in the early morning when things are quiet.  It’s so peaceful.  And also, it definitely helped clear my mind, which was much needed.

As for the belt, it was a bit dicey at times, but overall I think we ended the run on good terms.  I wanted to wear it on my hips where it would be most comfortable but predicted that it would try to ride up to my waist.  For the first 3 miles I fought with it, constantly pushing it back down.  Around mile 4 I just let it settle closer to my waist and then tightened it.  That seemed to work.  Phew.

I’m taking a rest day tomorrow since tonight I have class.  Then 3 on Thursday, 3 on Friday, and I think 6.5 or 7 on Sunday.  Yikes!!!!!!!

TGIF!

I don’t usually write on Fridays but today I felt like I had a few things I wanted to mention (for the 2 or so of you who are reading). 🙂

I’m so glad it’s Friday!!  (always am!)

Yesterday I received the next four weeks of my training plan.  For the week ending July 5th, my long run will be 8.5 miles.  Yikes!!!  Thinking about that is daunting but at the same time there’s a part of me that knows I can do it.  Guess it ties to the part of me that can’t believe I went from 1 mile to 5 miles in 9 weeks.  But I did.

The next four weeks continue like the past 10, with moderate runs during the week (3-4 miles) and a long run on Sunday.  Toward the end of the last week, he’s adding in strides, which I would have called speed intervals.  Here’s his description:

If you have 3 miles with 4 strides, you would warm up for approx 1 mile. After that turn the treadmill up or speed up outside to a pace that is equivalent to what you think you could run a 5k at. If you are not sure, just run as hard as you can while still maintaining good form and breathing. These only last .10 so push hard. After the stride slow down as much as needed to recover for .25, then on to the next stride. When you are done with the last stride use the remaining miles to cool down at a nice easy pace.

I’ve unofficially done these on treadmill runs, so I look forward to giving them a try and having something to mix up steady state running.

I’m still having a hard time with my stomach and figuring out just what it is that triggers my pain.  So far it’s wildly inconsistent and I can’t seem to make heads or tails of it.  For lunch yesterday I had a salad and a few rolls (oops!  but I was hungry).  I could tell the salad dressing wasn’t sitting that well with me but I was hoping it would resolve itself.

I had three miles to do so after work I changed and headed out.  It started OK but about .25 miles in I got a really bad pain in my lower left abdomen.  I kept going and it got worse.  With each hit of the pavement it was giving me some sharp pains.  I just might have been moaning in pain, but I told myself to just push.  What was I going to do if I ended up with a stomach ache the morning of the half?

So I slowed my pace, focused on my breathing, and just kept going.  It was tough and anyone who drove by me might I have thought I needed help (or was a miserable person) based on the grimace on my face.

Amazingly, somewhere around 1.5 things improved.  I honestly don’t know what happened but all of a sudden it was so much better.  Still not 100% but a huge huge improvement.  I was able to finish my 3 actually feeling good, which was such a pleasant surprise.

This was really my first example of just pushing through and it felt good!

Years ago someone also told me that if I had stomach pain while working out I should focus on the usual in through the nose and out through the mouth but really force out the air on the exhale.  This is not to be done in a crowded spin class because you kind of sound a little nutty.  That said, it’s perfect for running, especially if you’re alone.  I don’t know if it truly helps, but I feel like it does.  Ever heard this?

And last.  I bought new headphones and figured I’d give them a mention.  I had been using the earbuds that came with my iPod and while they were OK, they had a tendency to fall out if I moved my head or was sweating too much.

I decided to give wireless a try, however I refused to pay the steep price tag that comes along with most quality bluetooth headphones.  So I went with these:

headphones

I was a bit skeptical due to the price but the reviews were pretty favorable.  I found a review on CNET which pretty much said that if they fit you right, they’re a good value.  Granted, the sound isn’t Beats or Bose quality, but for my runs, it’s just fine.

I’ve only used them once and they did take a little getting used to, but so far so good.  Not having a cord hanging down was quite nice!

So that’s what’s on my mind today.  Have a wonderful weekend!!!

5 – Again

Good morning and happy Monday!

The weekends always go by way too fast!

This past week was an OK running week.  I got in three of my four runs.  Friday I just felt incredibly blah and my stomach was really off.  I just couldn’t imagine running, so I didn’t.  I did think about trying to get my miles in before my class on Saturday but thought that might hurt my long run on Sunday.

Long run this week was five again.

I think I’ve said it before, but 5 miles is far!  It’s really hard for me to pick a route of that distance.  I do a mile loop at the beach and then head out onto the roads.

5

I usually leave the beach around 1.1 so my plan is that I go out for about 2 and then turn around and retrace, so I end up finishing at the beach at 5.  It worked well this week, it was just far.

This week was the first time I actually had to stop and walk.  It was odd because all of a sudden I just got tired.  My legs actually felt OK, as did my breathing, but I just had to stop.  I walked for exactly one minute and then started again.  I wondered if perhaps I needed something to fuel me.

I woke up around 7 but didn’t run until at least 9, so I was up for two hours and had coffee, but nothing to eat. I need to investigate the fuel thing a bit more.

I finished my 5 feeling a bit tired (it was HOT!) but good.  My average pace was 20 seconds above last week, but that was the walking, so overall I was pretty pleased.

Next week is 6 and I’m thinking multiple laps at the beach may be in the cards for me.

I’m also getting ready to sign up for a bunch of official races, just to get into that again.  Since my one and only 5K was an interesting experience, I need to improve on that.

And with that, it’s time to start the work week.  Have a great week!  (whether you’re running or not)