I’m Such a (Book)Mooch

Yesterday a fun package came in the mail.

A Fun Package

Oooo I love packages! So what’s inside, what’s inside!?

Why it’s a book!

Intuitive Eating

Have you read Intuitive Eating? It quite literally saved my sanity early this year when I was having a tough time with food.

I’ve never really had a difficult relationship with food. I’ve never been a “dietier” per se, and have always known that it’s better to just live an active lifestyle with a regular diet full of the whole foods – instead of eating diet foods, avoiding treats and junk food for a short period of time while you’re “on a diet” to lose weight. Once I figured out the math behind losing weight (calories in < calories out) weight loss came pretty easily. I counted calories to lose weight but what it boiled down to was smaller portions, not going back for seconds and cutting out mindless eating combined with regular exercise. What you don’t find out until after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight (35 lbs qualifies as significant for me) is that maintaining your weight can almost be harder than losing it in the first place.

Last year at this time I’d reached the weight I’d dreamed of for almost 15 years. I'd run my marathon. Awesome! But now what? I was out of goals to work toward and felt like I had nothing exciting to look forward to anymore. I found myself turning to food for excitement and fun. I would restrict and "be good" during the week and then overeat – and as horribly embarrassed as I am to write it: binge on the weekends. Seriously, I want to backspace that last sentence right out but I'm leaving it in because I know now that I'm not alone. I sure felt alone back then though. "Back then" being only 9 short months ago.

I honestly thought I was losing my mind and that I was heading for an eating disorder. I felt like it was almost completely out of my control. Unable to stop eating treats once I finally let myself have even one. I would get caught in that “well, I’ve blown it, might as well go nuts now” mentality. I would feel so guilty come Monday that I would restrict calories all week long to feel like I was making up for what I did over the weekend. I would continue restricting calories for the second half of the week to save up calories so I could splurge the following weekend. But an innocent splurge would almost always turn into eating so much of some otherwise forbidden food that I would reach the point where I felt sick – both physically and mentally. This restricting and binging cycle allowed me to maintain my weight but it did a real number on me from a psychological stand point.

It was nasty cycle. I realized soon that this was not the way I wanted to live. I had to get to the bottom of what was going on, I'd never experienced anything like this before. I knew it had to be possible to have a healthy relationship with food and also maintain my happy, healthy weight. These things couldn't be mutually exclusive!

Enter: Intuitive Eating. I wasn't blogging when I read this book but I have to give it a shout out because it truly turned things around for me. It pulled from me from the vicious cycle I'd gotten myself into. I read this book feeling like it was written just for me! The book describes 10 principles toward eating intuitively and while I found value in all 10 principles the big ones for me we’re honoring my hunger and making peace with food.

I got Intuitive Eating from library earlier this year and didn’t buy it because I got everything I needed from it while I had it on loan. It showed up in mailbox yesterday through thanks to this awesome website called Bookmooch! It’s a site that allows you to mooch books for free from other people – provided you list some books you have and are willing to allow people to mooch from you. All you have to do is pay for shipping your own books to other people and they pay to ship to you. I love Bookmooch and it’s a great way to swap out books I’m done with and get new books I want without having to pay for them OR pay late fees at the library! SCORE! I’ve mooched a bunch of great books and have emptied my book shelves of books I’m done with too.

I’d had Intuitive Eating on my “wish list” for a while and I got an email just recently when someone listed it in their inventory. I logged in and snagged it immediately and it came yesterday. The arrival of it prompted some reflection and lead to this post today. I’m very glad I own it now, and I’m even more glad I didn’t have to pay for it! I want to be able to refer to it if I ever need a refresher and I want to be able to loan it out to my friends and family if they’d like to read it.

Today was supposed to be a juice day but I dawdled too long at the computer this morning and before I knew it I was really hungry. I decided to honor my hunger and eat a bowl of cereal NOW rather than spend a half hour start to finish on juicing.

I was excited to bust out the cacao nibs from yesterday!

Cacao Power!

Yesterday Averie left a comment saying that she found cacao nibs to be bitter, and I thought the same thing when I sampled them straight up.

Sprinkled on fruit cereal this morning though the sweetness from the fruit easily masked any bitterness and they gave the cereal a subtle chocolaty flavor with a very nice crunch! Plus I love that they made the cereal completely raw. (Unsweetened cocoa powder is not.)

Fruit Cereal with Cacao Nibs

This morning’s fruit cereal combo was a diced banana, the last beat up pear and three chopped medjool dates all coated in ground flax. Sprinkled with some hand crushed walnuts and some cacao nibs and topped with unsweetened vanilla hemp milk.

Medjool dates in fruit cereal? Bliss. PURE. BLISS! I expected the cacao nibs to be the star but those chewy sweet dates stole the show!

Later this morning I had a couple of almond butter stuffed dates before I headed out for a nice leisurely Sunday long run. Yes. More dates. I’m making up for lost time apparently.

Dates Stuffed with Almond Butter

I was going to run 7 miles but felt so good at the 3+ mile mark that I opted to go the long way and do 8 instead. I was back in just over an hour.

Lunch today was a no brainer! We’ve got salad leftover from last night’s birthday dinner making lunch easy peasy.

No Brainer

Red leaf, carrots, orange cherry tomatoes, green pepper, cukes, alfalfa sprouts and a sprinkle of raw hemp seeds too. Heather told me this morning that she sprinkles hemp seeds on salad, so that’s what I did with the ones I bought yesterday. You can see them in their untidy glory around the edges of the plate. Honestly I couldn’t even taste them. I sampled a small handful before I put them on the salad though and they had a nice nutty flavor.

We’re off now to a picnic with friends to say good-bye to summer and welcome the official arrival of the new season. Autumn is near!

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Saturday Madness

A Saturday full of non-stop action!

I woke up this morning to a balmy 47 degrees (I hope you picked up on my sarcasm there) and decided to post pone my bike ride for this afternoon when it was a bit warmer.

Instead I warmed my hands with a pot of green tea.

Pot of Green Tea

And warmed my soul with a bowl of banana chocolate fruit cereal.

Banana Cereal at Desk

Zak had plans this morning so I schlepped the girls into the car and we ran off to run some errands late morning into the early afternoon.

I hit the Thrive jackpot at the natural food store today!

First, a new foodie toy that I’m totally freaking excited about. Gonna sprout my own beans and seeds! Brendan would definitely approve.

Aww yeah gonna grow my own sprouts

Who wants to do the Bean Sprouting Dance with me? You’ve got to ball one arm up into your arm pit (like a seed) and hold the other arm up in the air (like a sprout) and then you jack the lower half of your body around like a you’re working hard to keep a hoola hoop circling your hips and you can’t let it fall to the ground lest it burst into flames and kill 100 small children in South Africa.

Got it? Good. Now let’s dance!

Next up, I’m excited about “Raw Cacao Nibs” as I’ve read about them in recipe after recipe in Thrive. (I feel like I’m very proper saying “Cacao Nibs”.) I also scored a smallish bag from bulk of raw hemp seeds to try baby! Yes, I’m totally doing this to please and impress my new boyfriend Brendan. I’m That Girl.

Raw Cacao Nibs Hemp Seeds

I also got some amaranth seeds (used in quite a few Thrive recipes) and a bag of alfalfa seeds too. I practically did the Bean Sprouting Dance out of the store to the car.

Post Thrive shopping success, we came home to unload groceries and I threw together a fast veggie sandwich.

Veggie Sandwich

Toasted Ezekiel bread, mustard, tomatoes, green leaf, pickles and sprouts. You might also call this a salad between two slices of sprouted grain bread.

Passing the child-watch torch to Zak, I left on my bike for a 50 minute, 13 mile ride – home just in time to get started on a birthday feast!

Did you know that Ava was born 4 days after my dad’s birthday and Maxine was born 6 days before my mom’s birthday? It’s a fact. I planned it that way. Or at least that’s what I like to pretend.

If you couldn’t tell, that would be my segue into a birthday dinner here tonight for my mom.

She requested vegetarian lasagna for her birthday meal. I’m on it! Veggie lasagna made to order – her vegetables of choice would be zucchini, green pepper, spinach and portobello mushrooms.

I decided to let the portobello mushrooms steal the show and have a layer all to themselves. I peeled two portobellos and sliced them about a 1/2 – 1/4″ thick and sauteed them in extra virgin olive oil until they released their water.

Portobellos

Mmmm mushroom water.

The spinach got promoted from the sauce as well and was transferred to the cheese layer. Congrats spinach! You’ve worked hard and totally deserve that promotion. I used about 4 oz of frozen, thawed spinach in stirred it in with the ricotta (15 oz container), 1 egg and some shredded mozzarella.

Cheese and Spinach Layer

Garlic, diced green pepper and shredded zucchini sauteed in extra virgin olive oil. Once soft I added a 4oz can of tomato paste, a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and about a cup of water. A little S&P, dried oregano and basil to taste.

Sauteed Veggies Sauce

A sauce layer, a lasagna noodle layer and a cheese layer, per usual. Then I added my layer of prepped portobello mushrooms.

Portobello Layer

Back to the standard layering of sauce, noodle, cheese, sauce, noodle, sauce, parm, done.

The birthday girl and my step dad came bearing WINE! My mom asked if I was going to be a party joiner or a party pooper. i.e., was I going to embibe or not. I opted for what was behind door number 1. Someone get mama (and granny) a glass!

Cupcake! How perfect for a birthday party.

Wine

And my mom made and brought her own birthday cake! Doesn’t that rock? She just finished reading A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan and a Sock it To Me cake is not only part of the story but the recipe for it is included in the book too, and she was inspired to make it. I was inspired to eat it!

We admired the cake while waiting for the lasagna to finish.

Her own Birthday Cake

Time to eat! Our birthday dinner spread.

Birthday Dinner Spread

A heaping salad with a square of veggie lasagna.

My Dinner

Post-dinner and presents, it was time to sing to Granny!

Sing to Granny

The cake was cut and served and it was then time to sing to Ava and Maxine too. This has become a tradition in our house – at every birthday dinner, we end up singing happy birthday to the girls too. They understand that it’s not their birthday, they just love blowing out candles. Why not?

Sing to Ava Sing to Max

I know what you’re thinking: it’s cute now, but what’s going to happen when they are 80? What kind of precedent am I setting? A non-screamy precedent, that’s what.

Now I’m off choreograph a Bean Sprouting Dance routine so you can all do it awith me. In fact, I think I smell a new work out DVD in the making. Move over 30 Day Shred, there’s a new bean in town.

One Armed Carrot Jokes

Who doesn’t want a little AliSUN in their day?

AliSUN

Anyone who doesn’t read this blog, apparently.

I ran to the soothing sounds of having New Moon read to me. Finally someone who reads TO ME!

New Moon - Visitor

I set out to run 5 miles and was back in about 40 minutes. I was ready to be done running but not ready to head back inside yet so I hopped on my bike for a 20 minute cool down ride and took advantage of the opportunity for a slightly longer work out today.

Home in time to be joined by a one armed carrot for lunch.

One Armed Carrot

What do you call an elephant with a carrot stuffed in each ear?

Anything you want, he can’t hear you!

I’m sorry. I googled one armed carrot jokes but I got nothing.

Google Carrot Jokes

At least the next person who googles “One Armed Carrot Jokes” should wind up here. Too bad I’ve got nothing. FOOLED YOU!

(If you are reading this post because you googled one armed carrot jokes, please report back with any good one armed carrot jokes you come up with so I’ve got one for next time.)

Moving on.

After listening to the sound of a one armed carrot clapping I enjoyed a giant salad and sound of Jillan yelling.

Jillian

Oh Jillian how I’ve missed you!

The phone rang tonight during bathtime and it was Zachary Green Juice Lover calling to report his motorcycle was out of juice and he needed to be rescued. I pulled my two prunes out of the tub and off we went on a rescue mission.

Rescue

Can you make out Zak in that pic? Are you making out with my husband?? *slap slap slap*

Words from the Weeds on the car ride to save dad?

Ava: Look! A wishing star! I wish I was a princess who never burped or farted! Isn’t that a good wish, mom?

Why yes, that is a good wish. I can’t say I haven’t wished that one myself. For both of us.

After rescuing the man I rescued the leftovers. Can we say bean soup and hummus? I think I just did.

Post Rescue Meal

Do you like that bite missing from the hummus on Ezekiel toast? Are you admiring how perfect my bite is? Two years of orthodontia baby! All leading up to this moment. You can thank my mom and dad in the comments for that.

It’s late and I’m feeling punchy (in case you couldn’t tell) from googling one armed carrot jokes and rescuing men and leftovers and wishing I was burpless fart free princess. I’m wishing that for you tonight too. You’re welcome.

Now Let Play Alison Says

OK boys and girls stand up! It’s time to play Alison Says!

Alison Says… eat a giant salad for lunch EVERY DAY.

Alison Says Eat a Salad for Lunch

Woo HOO still standing!

Alison Says… figure out what to do with this giant winter squash you bought from the farm stand on the side of the road on Saturday.

Big Squash

Ohhhh I can do that! I can do that! Let's make soup.

Alison Says… peel that sucker and cube it up.

Squash

Done and done.

Dance a jig!!

Oh man didn’t get me! Totally NOT dancing a jig.

Alison Says… add a couple of cups of veggie broth and/or water to a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft.

Alison Says… once squash is tender, ladle out about half into the food processor and process until smooth.

Squash in the Food Processor Pureed Squash

Alison Says… put the pureed soup back into the pot and continue to let simmer.

Add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

Oops! I mean Alison Says… add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

Alison Says… saute some garlic and onions in extra virgin olive oil. When soft add them to the pot.

Onions and Garlic

Add some fresh spinach.

WHO’D I CATCH?

Alison Says… add about 8 oz of frozen spinach since you’ve got some in the freezer. Save the fresh stuff in the fridge for salads and sandwiches.

Alison Says… add some salt and pepper and cinnamon too. YES that’s right, cinnamon! You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Time to eat!

Squash Soup

Gotcha! I didn’t say Alison Says!

I LOSE! My punishment? A burned tongue. Ahhh soup season is finally here.

Half Marathon Race Recap

I’m going to spoil the ending by jumping ahead and saying right at the start that today was probably one of the best runs of my entire life.

The day started at 4:55 AM when I woke up a half hour before my alarm was supposed to go off. I slept like a rock and felt great when I woke up. I called Shawn at 5:30 to make sure he was awake and moving around.

Shawn and I went over our strategy last night, but I was still feeling unsure about our approach this morning. Fast at the beginning? If so, how fast? Save it all for the end? How much do I hold back? Maintain a steady pace throughout?

I really wanted to finish in under 1:50 but I just didn’t know if I was going to happen. My dad, an avid runner, had called yesterday to predict a time of 1:48:15. My step dad, an avid cyclist, predicted a time around 1:45:00 when I saw him and my mom Saturday afternoon. I was touched they both had so much faith in my speed, but I was still wary.

This morning I remembered the McMillian calculator, a tool runners can play around with to predict times for various distances based on your best time for a given distance.

I entered my 22:56 5K PR from early August and it predicted a 1:46:00 half marathon time for me, meaning an 8:06/mile average pace. Given that’s about my average pace for a maintenance run, I decided I was just going to go out there and RUN and not give it too much thought.

I was also undecided about breakfast. I thumbed through Thrive for some guidance and decided on a smoothie. Brendan Brazier says (I feel like I start every sentence like that these days!) that whole foods in liquid form save your digestive system the work and basically provides you even more energy. I channeled Angela and decided it was a Green Monster for breakfast.

A Green Monster, and coffee for the road. Yup, it’s been two weeks but I definitely wanted the caffeine boost this morning.

These are a few of my favorite things!

There Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Given how long I’d be running today, I used the same approach to fueling this morning as I used for my last 10 mile training run – aiming for my pre-race breakfast to be 60% carbohydrate, 35% fat and 5% protein.  My Green Monster contained two bananas, a couple handfuls of spinach, a good pour of unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, ground flax seed, and a scoop of almond butter.

Green Monster

This was the best combination of flavors! I’ve been so busy drinking green juice these days that it’s been a while since I’ve had a green smoothie!

While I waited for Shawn to arrive I made a breakfast picnic basket for the family, knowing that they would have little time to get out the door by the time they were awake and dressed… this way they could eat breakfast on the road or once they got there.

Picnic Basket for the Fam

Shawn showed up and we were on our way. The race started at 7:45 and we got there at 7:00.

Alison, Before the Race Shawn, Before the Race

With a big travel cup of a coffee on the ride I definitely had to use the restroom before the race started. We grabbed our timing chips and used the restrooms at the stadium near the finish and then began the 1/2 mile walk to the start.

A 1/2 mile later I felt the urge to pee again. Nothing urgent, but I would have liked to have a completely empty bladder! I guess my cup of coffee was just a little too big.

We got in line for the porta-potties and it was probably 200 people long! We had 10 minutes until the start. I kept looking at my watch. Looking at the line. My watch. The line. My watch. Eventually we had two minutes until the start and with 20 people ahead of me I realized I was out of time. We jumped out of line made our way to the start.  I figured that when I had to go bad enough I would just use a porta-potty at a water stop.

The timer sounded and we were on our way.  We were among a sea of 1800 people. I started my watch when we finally crossed the start line about a minute behind the official start.

The Start

Shawn very generously offered to carry my camera since the pocket of his shorts were so big. I thought it could be fun so I agreed.

We weaved through the masses and after the first couple miles it thinned out.  Thanks to Shawn’s garmin we knew our average pace was at about 7:30/mile. We both felt great so we held on to the pace, calling it “money in the bank” for the end if we needed to slow down.

Shawn kept running ahead and then stopping to turn around and take my picture.

During

At least he entertained me!

Again

I remember around mile 5 he asked how I was feeling. I told him I felt like I could cry – I was just feeling so good I had a hard time believing it. I honestly felt incredible. I felt fast and strong and from the pace we were holding I started to believe we just might come in under 1:50.

At mile 6 I snagged a Gatorade at a water stop. I didn’t want to stop running – since I wasn’t feeling very thirsty I managed a few small sips and tossed the rest.

Around the half way mark we passed this guy with crazy hair and a funny shirt.  Shawn told this guy he was going to take his picture and fortunately the dude laughed and didn’t care. His hair was in the upswing in this picture!

Zoom Zoom Sucka

We were still feeling great around the mile 7 mark. Our average pace had dropped to 7:50/mile. I decided it was time to whip out the sport beans.  Shawn and I each had two. I didn’t need them yet but I thought it would be better to have a little cushion – because if you wait until you really NEED to refuel you’ve gone too long!

At 8 miles the urge to pee reared it’s ugly head again and I told Shawn I had to stop at the next water stop to hit a porta-potty. I really did not want to stop but I knew I would be more comfortable if I did.

The next water stop came at 9 miles and the urge had lessened some and I thought “ok – 4 miles to go. 4 miles is like a morning run. I can hold it for 4 miles”. Our average pace was now at 8:00/mile and I had my heart set on finishing in under 1:50 at this point. I knew that as long as our pace stayed under 8:23/mile we’d be good, but I just didn’t want to waste a single second in the stupid porta-potty! I could pee after we finished!

Around mile 11 I began to notice how tired I was starting to feel. I could feel my pace slowing too.  I decided to look on the bright side and told myself that if I was feeling really fantastic at mile 11 then that meant I could have pushed myself harder earlier on. Shawn said he wanted to push the pace for the last couple miles so we picked it up, easing off if necessary and then picking it up again.

Just before mile 12 we came off the park path we had been on for the past 5 miles and were back on the city streets. It was at this point I told Shawn that there was a good possibility I was going to pee my pants when we crossed the finish line. I was half joking, half serious.

We saw the the balloon archway for the start of the last mile to the finish and we picked up the pace and held on to it.  It was not easy but we did it.  We decided right about then that we were going to sprint hard as we rounded the last corner for the last .1 mile to the finish line.

I was tired, no doubt, but I had enough in me to finish hard. We saw the finish line and went balls to wall.  (Please note that my step dad took this picture earlier in the race – we did not spot the finish line at 1:35!)

The Finish

I heard my mom and step dad cheering us on as we blew by, their support meant so much! We probably passed 15 people on that last stretch. I’m sure they all cursed us as we ran by. Shawn kept saying “keep going! We’re almost there!” and I needed those words so much, I’m positive that’s what kept my feet moving fast! From Shawn’s Garmin stats that he emailed me this afternoon I can see now that our pace for that last stretch got down to 5:00/mile!  I totally believe we were running that fast, it certainly felt like it!

Sprint!

We crossed the finish line and somehow I had enough wherewithal to hit the stop button on my watch. I hadn’t even looked at the clock because I knew the time would be off given we were about a minute behind the official start.

My Watch Says 1:47!

YAHOOOOO! And I didn’t even pee my pants!!  Shawn’s watch had the same time and said our overall average pace was 8:06/mile.

They took off our timing chips, hung metals around our necks. We walked through the tents and scored some post race food! I bypassed bagels, chocolate milk and pizza and went straight for the boxes of bananas and oranges.  Playing “Brendan Says” yet again, I took his post-exercise nutrition advice to heart and went with simple carbohydrates.  Protein comes later.

We found my mom and step dad in the crowd and they took our picture while we regaled our tale. Having Shawn as my running partner was amazing – everything fell perfectly into place and unfolded beautifully. He could have ran faster but stayed with me and pushed me along – but without pushing me too hard either. It was exactly what I needed and was a huge part of what made today’s race so fantastic.

Done!

I devoured my second orange while we waited for the results.

Second Orange

My jaw almost dropped when I saw the clock time on paper. My dad’s prediction was 3 seconds off!

Results

Shawn’s time is on the top and mine is on the bottom. That bastard finished 2/10 of a second ahead of me!  We were 298 and 299 of out of 1800+.  I’m still unsure of my official chip time or age group results and won’t know until later tonight or tomorrow when the official times are posted on the race website.

UPDATE: My official time was 1:47:15. 19th in my age group out of 146. 297 out of 1716 finishers. 77th of 967 females.

We met up with Zak and the girls and the 4 of us we’re on our way home. I was tired but not nearly as tired as I was last year after the marathon. Besides some mildly sore quads I was feeling fabulous. And HUNGRY!

I got home and immediately whipped up a huge salad and some of my mom’s gazpacho that I demanded she share with me she gave me yesterday afternoon.

Post Race Meal Mom's Gazpacho

Although delicious, I knew I needed some protein too and had a little dried fruit and nut combo for dessert.

Dried Fruit Dessert

A shower and food – what came next? A NAP!

I could not be happier with every aspect of today’s race. The weather was picture perfect. I went into this race feeling well trained, well rested and well fueled. I’ve spent the last two weeks following the principles in the Thrive Diet diet as closely as possible. I fully believe that a largely raw food and mainly vegan diet had a huge impact on how fabulous I felt today. Vegetables are where it’s at baby!!

I want to THANK ALL OF YOU for your encouragement and support, both on and off the blog!  I swear to god that I brought to mind all the fabulous, sweet, supportive comments from yesterday when I was hurting at mile 12. Thanks to everyone for cheering me on! And a huge thanks to Shawn for being the best running partner a girl could ask for.

We’ve just finished an unphotographed dinner (any more pictures in this post and I think it just might burst!) and now we’re off to get ice cream.  Shhhhh don’t tell Brendan!

Re-Runs

With the girls with Aunt Ellen for the day, I spent yesterday chained to my desk. A forgotten pleasure.

Friday Salad

I unlocked the chains long enough to make a big salad mess. A far-from-forgotten pleasure. A re-run I’ll happily enjoy day after day.

Before the girls came home last night I ran to the marathon expo with my running partner Shawn. Well, we didn’t really run, we drove. You never can tell so I figure I better clarify.

This year I took advantage of the sneaker recycling program they offer and brought my old sneakers to donate to this “Re-Runs” Program.

Re-runs

Those are the sneakers I ran the marathon in last year! I probably should have had them bronzed. Could be cool but then it would just be one more thing to dust.

Dropped Off Sneaks

Bahahaha who am I kidding I never dust.

This is the journey any pair of running sneakers of mine are destined to take:

First, they are born. Born to run.
Then, they run many miles and grow old. A new pair is born and they are free to retire for walks and visits to the playground.
Next, when a third generation is born, they graduate to lawn mowing.
Eventually, they are left to live in the garage due to grass stains and clipping stick-age. Spiders lay eggs in them and they are thrown out.

Thrown out, or in this case donated to needy people. Don’t ever say I don’t do my part for the community.

OK, just kidding. That pair never made it to the Land of Lawn Mowing and Spider Eggs. I tried to donate a lawn mowing pair but when I reached under the bench to grab them without looking I didn’t realize until it was too late that I grabbed two right shoes. (I have two of the exact same retired pair out there in Spider Valley.) I think a higher power intervened and was trying to tell me not to be an idiot. I tossed them and now have two left shoes in my garage that are being converted into spider condos.

This would be me posing with my tech shirt! WOOT one of the first 1500 to register and get a free tech shirt! Wow, a race shirt I’ll actually be able to run in – go figure. (Cotton is the enemy! Hisssss!)

Tech Shirt

Zak pointed out once that I always cock my head to the left when I’m getting my picture taken. Why do I do this? Someone tell me why!

A nice little message.

Run Happy

Actually, I prefer to Run Angry. WHY WOULD I RUN HAPPY?? TELL ME WHY! Don’t boss me around! Jerk.

*Ahem*

I’ve been contemplating my mid-run fuel and have opted to go with Sport Beans because I’ve used them before. I like dried fruit or could make some of Brendan‘s fuel recipes, but I’m sticking with the “nothing new on race day” approach and going with what I know works.

I picked up these beans up at the expo. The watermelon are mine and the cherry are Shawn’s. He gave them to me so he wouldn’t forget them. Nice. So if we both bonk tomorrow it’ll be all on me. They’ll have gels on the course but the beans are easy to keep in your shorts pocket and pop a couple as needed. Less messy and that little bag fits perfectly in the inside pouch my running shorts too.

Sport Beans

I’ve never had the caffeinated sport beans though. So I guess that will be new on race day. Oops. I haven’t had a cup of coffee or any caffeine for that matter for the last two weeks. When I go a while without coffee I can really feel the effect of caffeine. Caffeine can definitely be a performance enhancer. I fully expect these to turn on the turbo boosters and allow me run like someone said “Free Larabars at the finish!”

So I’m going to segue now into a bout of seriousness and honesty. I know, I know. Humor me here.

In the past I would totally splurge on a fun dessert leading up to the race, like cake or ice cream for a pre-run treat/carbo load! Yes, even two nights early. It’s not that I feel like I “deserve” it, more like “I’m excited about a big event let’s do something fun!” And I totally felt that pre-race excitement/sugary instinct last night! But after reading Thrive (and I’ve still got a full review coming, I promise) I’ve come to understand that this is pretty far from what you might call a good idea.

Brendan writes that processed foods can actually hamper your performance. Refined sugars and carbs put stress on your system, and it takes a lot of energy and taxes the body to digest these foods. This is true no matter when you eat them, but going into a big race? The last thing I want to do is waste precious energy digesting food!

In the past I would totally think “oh, I’m running XX miles this week, I can totally have a piece of a cake. I’m carb loading!” A piece of cake is fine now and then and I certainly allow room for treats in my life, but I now fully realize that if there’s any time to focus on WHOLE foods that are easily assimilated into the body – the days leading up to a race or big event is definitely the time to do it. If it were a 5K I might be a little more lax, but considering I want to really perform well tomorrow I’m taking this very seriously.

Home after the expo I snacked my way through some carrots, banana chips and dried apples and then realized I better make something. I didn’t want to have to tell Zak we were having banana chips for dinner. I ended up going with the same black bean burgers I made on Tuesday. Another re-run but that’s how you know it was good! This time I wanted to add a little flour to the mix but I didn’t have any.

I remembered a comment left by Shawna from Balancing Me on my Tofu Cakes post from Thursday. Shawna reminded me that you can make your own oat flour by processed some rolled oats.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Oat flour

In the bowl: 1 15 oz can of (rinsed, drained, mashed) black beans, 1/2 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup chopped (in my mini chopper) sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped sunflower seeds.

Mush

In the pan dusted with a Misto‘d with a little olive oil, it’s already getting a thumbs up because I know how good it’s going to be!

Thumbs Up

On a toasted Ezekiel bun with mustard, spinach and a pickle. The oat flour definitely made this even sturdier than the one on Tuesday. Zak and I agreed that these were the best home made veggie burgers yet!

Black Bean Burger Kiss It Goodbye

Oh yes you can totally kiss that sucker good bye.

Zak went out to lunch yesterday with his coworkers and brought fortune cookies home for the girls, and even one for me. I found meaning in my fortune.

Fortune

So I lied, I guess I did eat some processed grains and sugar yesterday! Crap I’m such a hypocrite.

This morning after I dreamed of becoming somebody, I awakened to make my vegetables become something. Juice.

Red Juice

The usual crowd: Romaine Jackson, Coolio Cucumber, Sir Beet Feet, Apple of My Eye, Ginger Rogers and Lemon Lemone.

Later this morning, the re-run I’ve been waiting 24 hours for… Chocolate Banana Fruit Cereal.

My two bananas, diced and coated in ground flax and cocoa powder.

Breaded Bananas

The exact same breakfast I had yesterday.

Fruit Cereal Re-Run

On any other day I would have just skipped posting about the meals from yesterday, but I thought I would share my new Thrive-inspired approach to fueling for a big event. Veggies! Healthy Fats! Fruit! More veggies! We’ll see how it goes.

The race starts tomorrow at 7:45AM. My goal is to come in under 2 hours. A time of 1:59:59 means an average pace of 9:08/mile. I hope to run much faster than that but I’m glad to have a minimum pace in my mind.

In a perfect race day world, I would love to come in under 1:50. A time of 1:49:59 means an average pace of 8:23. I believe I’ll be able to finish in less than 2 hours, but less than 1:50? I’m not so sure.

The whole fam is heading over to Shawn’s house tonight for dinner and to finalize our race day approach. It will be another day of re-runs. Veggie burger for lunch, a huge salad for dinner. No pre-race pasta ritual for this chicka! Not this time. I’ll be on the Veggie Highway.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a full race report! Send me all the fast mama vibes you’ve got, I’ll take everything I can get!

Water Snacks and Pink Shoes

We had an errand to run this morning, and fortunately it landed us very near the library, so we stopped in for a visit. First stop: the bird cages.

Checking Out the Birds

Be sure to check out Maxine’s self selected ensemble. I just got those shoes for her at a thrift shop ($2!!) and no other shoes have been worn since. I kid you not that she threw a complete fit last night when I told her she could not wear them to bed.

Maxine's Ensemble

Home from the library, I was thrilled to get the mail and find the new Runner’s World waiting for me!

Runners World Oct 2009

I’m especially excited about this issue though because yours truly is mentioned in one of the articles this month! Do you get Runner’s World? Be sure to check out the article “Run for All” article by John Hanc. When I attempted to train for the marathon in 2007 I had to stop because I wasn’t ready, but I still volunteered at the race that year and it made me more determined than ever to do it in 2008. The article is basically about how running can do much more for you than just shedding some pounds.

Breakfast was so late this morning that I wasn’t really hungry for lunch, but I felt like I should eat a little something and cut up a (Washed! TWICE!) apple for a mid day snack.

Big Apple

Later in the afternoon while I made a late lunch for myself the girls were ready for a “snack”. This would be Ava’s recipe, hold on to your hats.

Water popsicles.

Water Popcicle

They were so excited for ice cubes on a stick it made me wonder why I ever buy them cookies. Ava made these a while ago but found them today when the snacks I offered (an apple, a banana) were unappealing to her.

Someone remind me why I spend so much money on organic food.

Magenta Popcicle

During water popcicle fun, my I enjoyed a sun filled salad with the left over white bean dip smeared on a piece of Ezekiel toast.  My beast of a salad was comprised of red leaf, spinach, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli and carrots.

Sunny Salad

After water snacks Ava and I sat down on the couch together to read a book about volcano’s and Maxine crawled up into my lap to listen, but apparently we bored her to sleep.

Sleepy Max

Tonight for dinner I was in the mood for something new. I was going to try one of Brendan Brazier’s pizza recipes but when I realized it was getting kind of late and the pizza recipes in his book take 45 minutes just to BAKE (not even including prep time) I decided to save it for another night and went with a new spin on black bean burgers instead.

Tonight’s All Star Ingredient? Why sun dried tomatoes! Thanks for asking!

Sundried Tomatoes Mini Prep

I put about a 1/2 cup of jarred sun dried tomatoes packed in oil into my mini prep and chopped them up to mix into the can of rinsed black beans that I had mashed up. I then chopped up about a 1/2 cup or so of sunflower seeds in the mini prep and stirred it all together. I added a little minced garlic on a whim, formed into patties and cooked on each side for about 4 – 5 minutes.

New Burger

Sun dried tomato burger on an Ezekiel roll with pickles, mustard and red leaf lettuce.  This turned out so great and held together the best of all my veggie burger experiments yet!  Served with steamed broccoli topped with Nutritional Yeast. I usually use parm but Brendan talks about the benefits of nutritional yeast in Thrive and I’ve had some in the cupboard for a while now, not knowing what to really do with it.   I whipped it out tonight for a broccoli topping and it was good. It’s got a very nutty, almost cheesy flavor and is a good source of protein. I liked it and will use it again.

And now I better prepare myself to fight the Pink Shoes Bedtime Battle again tonight, I’m sure. Wish me luck.