It’s been a busy week and I’ve really fallen behind on updating my blog, which is really lame. As each day passed without an update, I would feel guiltier and guiltier—especially as I have so many things to discuss!
So without further ado, here are some notable happenings from the past week:
I almost followed my marathon training plan. I ran 15.5 miles of the 18 miles my coach had planned for me. That means I wussed out on my coach-planned 7-miler for last Monday and 5-miler for Friday—but only because the weather was so bloody awful and I didn’t want to run in the dark, driving rain.
I ended up running inside on the treadmill on those days, including a 3-mile treadmill death-slog on Friday when for most of the time I didn’t have a fan blowing on me and thought I might die from overheating.
I also finally did my first hill repeats workout. It wasn’t pretty, though. I was supposed to do my first hills workout the week of February 3 but in classic fashion I wimped out (in that case, because my running partner was gone and I couldn’t run in the dark by myself). This time I was supposed to warm up for one mile then find a (not too steep) hill, run up it at 10K pace, then walk or jog back downhill. The plan was to run the hill 4 times and to try to negative split on the hill and for the entire workout. In other words, I was supposed to run faster towards the top of the hill than the bottom, and the fourth hill should have been faster than the first. It didn’t work so well. I ran a positive split and by the last hill was swearing vociferously and felt like I was pulling a carriage. Well, now I know what not to do the next time I do hill repeats. Which is, unfortunately for me and my running partner, tomorrow.
This week I’m at 10.5 miles so far instead of the 13 my coach had planned for me. I was supposed to run long on Sunday but didn’t because ___________ (insert one of several, go-to excuses here), so I ran long yesterday thanks to the federal holiday. I probably ran the 10.5 miles faster than I should have (average 9:05 pace), but it felt good at the time and I was trying to run away as fast as I possibly could from the rain squall that was chasing me around time.
Is it summer yet?
Last week was a good week for cross training and using my new(ish) gym membership. I went to a mid-week, lunch-hour TRX class and it kicked my ass all over the place. I thought it was going to be easy because everyone in the class looked pretty normal and not hardcore like the majority of the people in the spin classes. How wrong I was! By the end of the 45-minute class I couldn’t even hold a plank, let alone do the push-ups the instructor was telling us to do. Even though she’s a sadist, she might be my new favorite trainer because she cheerful as hell and called me and couple of other classmates “girlfriend.”
After the Friday dreadmill session, my running partner and I went looking for adjacent elliptical machines so we could chat while we worked out. We ended up finding these funny machines, which turned out to be a boon:
It’s called the LateralX by Octane Fitness and it’s an elliptical that allows you to adjust the pedals so that they move laterally. According to the company’s website, the lateral movement allows for higher calorie burn and engagement of the hip adductors and abductors (just what I need to avoid my recurrent leg/hip issues). There was a slight learning curve and I lost my balance a couple of times, but it was an incredible workout and I was sweating like crazy after about 5 minutes. The machine also had interval features where you adjusted your lower body position (e.g., squatting) and/or upper body (e.g., gripping the fixed, center handlebars instead of the regular, moving ones) and/or speed. I used that feature for the last 5 minutes of the workout.
I will definitely use this machine again. It wasn’t boring (even after 20 minutes—and I can’t handle even 5 minutes on a regular elliptical) and it was tough.
I tried to do my eat-healthy-during-the-week-eat-whatever-I-want-on-the-weekend “diet plan” and it worked pretty well. I don’t think I gained any weight last week but unfortunately didn’t lose any either. Big surprise, considering this is what I ate after my Saturday 3-miler:
I will add for the sake of pointing out how ridiculously human and weak I am that I was craving SOS during my run, tried to get someone (anyone!) in my family to go to the restaurant with me, but ended up going by myself because nobody wanted to. Sob.
I’m not looking to lose a lot, just the 5 pounds I gained in December and January. Shedding those should make my running a teensy faster.
Also standing in the way of me losing those 5 pounds: I hosted a Thai cooking class at my house on Saturday night. We learned 4 different dishes from a very nice woman, Orachorn, and her husband, Luke, who have this business, Orachorn’s Kitchen, where they come in to your house and teach you and your friends how to cook Thai food. I took her class a couple of years ago at a friend’s house and had a blast on top of learning how to cook the most useful recipe ever if you like Asian food and go to a lot of parties/bookclubs/etc. where you’re tasked with bringing an appetizer.
Fresh spring rolls! I swear whenever I make these and take them places I start getting a big head from all of the compliments.
Anyway, we had a great time as Orachorn and Luke taught us how to make Drunken Noodles, Green Curry, Pineapple Fried Rice, and Tom Kha Gai (Chicken & Coconut Soup). It truly makes a difference having the lesson and not just relying on the recipes alone, because Orcachorn gave us some invaluable tips. I tried to put my best listening ears on but at one point ended up getting a little too chatty with a friend (I blame the Prosecco) and missed some stuff, so I didn’t get as much out of the lesson as the class from a couple of years ago.
Still, it was a great time and a good lesson. We sat down to eat after the learning was over and I swear I had about 3 servings of the Tom Kha Gai. I love that stuff.
Then on Sunday I went to my favorite Asian restaurant in the world, Din Tai Fung, as the hit parade of eating kept rolling through the weekend. Din Tai Fung is a Taiwan chain that is known for its soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao), the most incredible little pockets of love you will ever eat. They consist of a delicate wheat wrapper encasing a tender and delicious pork meatball and about (what seems like) a tablespoon of hot pork broth. When you bite into the dumpling, the soup escapes into your mouth. YUM.
I think I might love XLB better than Swedish fish. So much so, in fact, that I have a Din Tai Fung keychain. I am such an XLB-nerd.
After lunch at Din Tai Fung, we shopped a bit (including my first Athleta store experience—I might be hooked!) and then I ate again: strawberry balsamic ice cream at Molly Moon’s. Dreamy. In fact, still thinking about it 2 days later.
Shockingly, my XLB and artisanal ice cream gorge-fest didn’t end the weekend of eating. Yesterday, the stormy weather inspired me to recreate an old favorite I haven’t eaten in a long time: Cracker Barrel’s Chicken and Dumplins. Yes, I know I left the “g” out of “Dumplins.” There is a long story behind it, but let’s just say that it took years for me to be able to write—let alone speak—the word “Dumplins” because of the dropped G. I think I only started saying and writing it this way after I moved out of the South and hundreds of miles away from any Cracker Barrel location.
I found a recipe online that looked similar to Cracker Barrel’s recipe, but it wasn’t quite right because the dumpling portion of the recipe called for baking powder, and I think that would make the dumplings too fluffy (CB’s dumplings are dense and flat). The “broth,” really a gravy, looked pretty close to what Cracker Barrel serves, though.
I ended up finding another recipe through Yankee Magazine (isn’t that ironic?!) and made my dumplings with that one because they seemed to better approximate CB’s dumplings. I was right—the turned out dense and flat, really just thick noodles. Then I added more flour to the broth so that the soup would be gravy-like. The recipe was time-consuming (making your own chicken stock and hand-cut dumplings will do that) but it was a hit… with the husband and me. The kids weren’t impressed. (I am so tired of making things the kids will like only to have them turn up their noses.) I have no photo of the finished product because, in addition to being a bad mom, I’m a bad food blogger.
So, in the end, how weird that I ended up not losing any weight over the weekend.
As I ran along the waterfront during my long run yesterday, I saw a Humpback Whale breach less than 100 feet from shore. I have never seen a whale in Commencement Bay (a very busy port) and I have lived by it for going on 25 years. I’ve seen them in Hawaii and Mexico during their annual migration, and never did I think I would see one at home! It was truly stunning. What a treat.
I tried to take a picture with my phone but it submerged before I could snap a photo. Then I accidentally took a few photos of the ground because I was all excited and jittery.
Enjoy and you’re welcome. I plan to start teaching a wildlife photography class at the local community college, so keep your eyes peeled for the sign-up info.
Have a great week!