Meals for Miles
Mile Repeats & Vitamin A
Remember that gorgeous fall weather we had earlier this week? It has been replaced by gross, thick, humid summery air. The sweat puddles in my apartment after this morning’s 9 miler are no joke. Ew. Come back, fall!
I know I’ve been saying this in most of my posts lately, but this week has been nuts. We had a big program launch for work, and it was great to see months of planning pay off.
Celebration: ABC Kitchen
Summer berry trifle with angel food cake
I didn’t take pictures of every course (i.e., didn’t want to client to think I’m a nutjob), but it was all amazing per usual.
In the early morning hours before this delicious indulgence, I did some mile repeats.
- 2 miles warm up
- Mile 1 @ 7:45 (~3 minutes break in between sets)
- Mile 2 @ 7:33
- Mile 3 @ 7:35
- ~2.5 miles cooldown
Total: 8 miles. I felt pretty good on these repeats, though definitely still a little fatigued from Saturday’s 20 miler. The plan was to do four repeats, but I wanted to end strong and am pretty happy with the workout overall.
So, I’m wondering if you guys will like this. I’m thinking of posting about important vitamins and minerals as I learn about them in my vitamins and minerals class (minus the more scientific details). I’m hoping this will be a good study aid AND interesting to you…
First up is Vitamin A*
What it does (hint: a lot!)
- Plays an important role in vision
- Aids in bone growth
- Is key for cell differentiation and division (which is why too much or too little can cause birth defects)
- Helps regulate immune function
Where you get it
Vitamin A is available in foods in two different forms. The most absorbable form is found in animal products like:
Another form, called the carotenoids, is available in orange, yellow and green leafy produce:
- Sweet potatoes
How much you need
Here’s where it gets a little confusing. Because Vitamin A is absorbed in different forms, the amount you need is defined in an amount called retinol activity equivalent (RAE). Retinol is the active form of Vitamin A once it gets absorbed into our bodies in either of these forms.
- Women 19+ need 700 micrograms/day
- Men 19+ need 900 micrograms/day
Umm, ok. Do I get enough?
Most Americans do get enough Vitamin A as long as they’re eating five servings of fruits and veggies (or close to that), and/or eggs, dairy and the occasional liver. Deficiency is more of a problem in developing countries, where they don’t have regular access to these types of foods.
It’s a fat soluble vitamin, which means it can only be absorbed in the presence of fat. Just one reason why it’s important to get some fat in your daily diet!
The body is great at storing Vitamin A, which is why it can be dangerous if you take supplements with high levels of vitamin A (and it’s not really recommended).
One thing I remember from when I was younger is being told to eat carrots because they were good for your eyes. It’s so true! Carrots contain a high amount of beta carotene, one type of carotenoid, and when converted to retinol they help keep your eye membranes healthy and regulate the conversion of light energy into nerve impulses, which allows us to see. That’s why people that are severely deficient in Vitamin A for a long period of time are at a very high risk for blindness.
The bottom line
Vitamin A is essential! But the good news is that you probably get enough if you eat a well-balanced diet. And what better time to enjoy the delicious, colorful flavors of fall – pumpkin, carrot, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, yum!
Question: Thoughts on posts like this? What’s your favorite Vitamin A-containing food? I heart sweet potatoes.
*Note: This post is based on my learnings from my graduate nutrition class on vitamins and minerals and/or reputable research. I’m not an expert/RD yet, but I will be soon
The Week, Meatballs & Sauce
Happy Tuesday, friends!
I hope your weeks are going well. Mine is a little nuts and I actually had to check my calendar to make sure that it is indeed only Tuesday.
Anyways, a quick check-in on last week’s training:
- Monday: 7.6 miles (2 @ MP, 2 @ MP)
- Tuesday: 6.6 miles easy
- Wednesday: 10.1 miles
- Thursday: 7.2 miles, last four @ MP
- Friday: XT: 50 mins easy spinning/elliptical, lifting
- Saturday: 20 miles
- Sunday: 5.75 miles very easy
Total: 57.25 miles
Woohoo! My highest mileage week to date and I’m feeling pretty good, despite a little lingering quad soreness.
After Saturday’s fantastic long run, I had a big craving for a home-cooked meal. And by that, I mean sauce, meatballs and pasta. But despite coming from an Italian background, I’ve actually never made sauce or meatballs myself.
Because my great-grandma made them better than anyone or any restaurant, and I didn’t think I could ever come close to her brilliant deliciousness. But at the same time, she also inspired me to get my ass in the kitchen and cook.
So with Nonna looking on from the big Italian kitchen/bingo hall/casino in the sky, I attempted my first batch of meatballs and sauce.
I had all burners on my teeny stove going at once. Good thing it didn’t explode.
My apartment smelled AMAZING in no time.
The end product:
Served over whole wheat pasta and topped with a little shaved pecorino. Delicious. And I think Nonna would be proud
Turkey Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
- 1 lb ground turkey (I used 93% lean. Super lean meat may be a little dry)
- 2 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated zucchini
- 1/4 cup grated carrot
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can (~3 tbsp) tomato paste
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 tsp dried oregano
Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan and add onions. Sautee for about three minutes, until they are a bit translucent. Add garlic. After about a minute, add in tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs and salt. Let simmer and add basil after about five minutes. Continue to summer and make meatballs
Combine all ingredients for meatballs and add in ground turkey. Mix and mash together thoroughly. Form into balls and cook on a skillet (sprayed with cooking spray) until browned on all sides. Then add them to the sauce and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over pasta of your choice and enjoy!
Question: Do you make your own sauce? Do you have any special family recipes?
One 20 Miler Down…
Two to go!
And if they go as well as this one did on Saturday, I’ll be a pretty happy camper come taper time.
Even though the past week completely kicked my ass, I was ready and up before the sun for my first 20 miler of this training cycle. The fact that is was 53 degrees – ideal running conditions – when I woke up made it even better.
I fueled up with my quick go-to pre-run snack: banana and Dark Chocolate Dreams PB
And decided there was no better shirt to wear than my “I Heart Sweat” shirt that Ali is selling as part of her marathon fundraising effort (you can buy one here!).
I think the shirt made me feel kind of badass during the run, and aside from the creeper that whispered “I love sweat too” as he biked by me, I got a bunch of respectful nods and smiles.
Since I loved my run around Manhattan a few weeks ago, I aimed to do something similar and spice up my usual route.
Despite the splits being all wonk on miles 10 (near Ground Zero/One World Trade Center. Which is looking beautiful, by the way) and 14 (under East side overpasses) because of lost satellite signals, I am really pleased with the effort.
My only goal for the run was to get it done in less than three hours, and I did that and felt great doing it. I got into a really nice grove and just let the miles tick by as I took in my surroundings. It’s so awesome to think that on one run, I saw all of these things:
- Sunrise of the reservoir in Central Park
- Chelsea Piers and the Hudson on the West Side Highway
- Ground Zero and the new building at One World Trade
- City Hall
- The view of Brooklyn while heading over the BK bridge
- The view of Manhattan while heading back over the BK bridge
- The Statue of Liberty
- The East River and its parks
- The UN building
It was one of those “I heart New York” kind of mornings, when I actually remember I live here.
Anyways, I had some juice at the end of the run as I headed up First Avenue – must have been the adrenaline from envisioning that section of the marathon on race day! Super proud of that last mile split.
Refueling – sprouted grain cinnamon raisin toast, cream cheese & berries, peanut butter & banana
I wish I could say a ton of relaxing occurred for the rest of the day, but I’m in full school mode! Studying needed to be done. But at least I had a gnarly runner’s high to go along with it.
Question: Do you get a bigger runner’s high from long runs? I seriously feel like I do!
Running. Food. Shoes.
Thanks for all your comments to my last post! It feels good to know I’m not alone with this whole life-figuring out business.
This week has been absolutely insane in the office, and I’m thankful just to have made it to Thursday with my sanity in check (for the most part).
With the new stuff I’m already learning at school and this book I can’t stop reading…
…there are so many things I want to blog about! But, I haven’t had time to put together somewhat smart-sounding posts yet, so instead please find some random updates, thoughts and happenings involving the usual running, food and shoes. But not the shoes you‘re thinking.
I’ve gotten some excellent marathon pace tempos in this week, and on Wednesday morning I woke up at 5:15 a.m. for a mid-week long run of 10 miles – first double digit mid-week run of this training cycle, huzzah! I know I complain about it now being dark out when I head out the door, but nothing beats witnessing an entire sunrise. And something about NYC just seems so different when it’s a little dark out in the morning. I kind of dig it.
Believe it or not, waking up at the ass crack of dawn and banging out a lot of miles energized me and helped prepare for another busy day.
Plus, NYC Marathon registration cards were posted this week! I’m in Wave 1, green corral. Something about this little nugget of information makes me ridiculously happy.
Fact: I have eaten a lot of meals at my desk this week and/or at school. My Tupperware set and I are good friends. Having my stuff prepared ahead of time is a lifesaver – anyone who actually gets a lunch hour or leaves the office at 5:00 p.m., I envy you.
Lunch – Greek yogurt, oats, cantaloupe, figs and Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
Dinner – salmon cake, quinoa, greens and veggies with hummus
I’ve also eaten mass quantities of oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies.
My baking can barely keep up with my ravenous beast of an appetite.
Sometime in the past couple of days, this happened.
Hey, being in front of a computer for 42094628 hours a day does allow for a few seconds of online shopping. I’m just proud that I’ve purchased a pair of non-running shoes!
Question: What was the last pair of shoes you’ve bought? Running or non?
The Week & Ramblings
Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope everyone is having a good week so far.
But rewinding to last week really quick, let’s review the training:
- Monday: 7.25 miles easy
- Tuesday: 8.3 miles (4 x 1 miles repeats)
- Wednesday: 6.5 miles easy
- Thursday: 7.6 miles (3 @ MP)
- Friday: rest/50 minutes easy yoga
- Saturday: 16 miles
- Sunday: 6 miles easy
Total: 51.6 miles. Not bad with some quality speedwork and a semi-decent long run. I’m feeling good about this week, which will include my highest mileage thus far and my first 20 miler of this cycle. Bring it!
This is also my first “full” week of the work/school schedule, and I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been looking forward to it. Sometimes when I think of juggling it all, I automatically associate it only with stress.
However, a few months away from the classroom and books almost made me forget how much I love this stuff. My classes this semester are Pediatric Nutrition and Advanced Vitamins and Minerals – both of which I am extremely interested in (well, if I wasn’t then maybe we’d have a problem and I would be $430698304689 in debt for nothing…)
Even though it’s super early in the semester, I was actually excited to start studying and working on a case study this past weekend. When it’s stuff I dig, spending long hours with my books and laptop almost doesn’t seem like work.
When accompanied with a ginormous salad from the Whole Foods salad bar, even better.
$14 later. Oops.
On my way to class last night, I was almost jealous of the undergrads gallivanting through Washington Square with years to figure out who exactly they want to be and what they want to do.
And what better place to do it? With New York at your fingertips, anything seems possible.
Based on my own personal experience (and that of many others, actually), I kind of think college and beyond is just a starting off point to figuring this whole life thing out. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated with a journalism degree a nice handful of years ago.
It seemed interesting? But I never wanted to be a journalist. But I LOVE the news. Overall, unwise major, Kelly.
While I fell into what would be a pretty long career (going on ~7 years in the PR world), I still had no idea who I was and was still developing so many new passions and interests. It’s kind of hard to decide what you ultimately want to do when you’re still figuring so many things out in life.
When I finally realized what I wanted to do with nutrition, it was kind of like a lightbulb went off in my head – DOH. It made so much sense. But the time it took me to get there was essential.
I became a runner, learned to cook, realized I liked fruits and vegetables (a lot) and discovered how much I care about the health of others enough to want to do something about it.
Sometimes I get discouraged that I’m not exactly where I want to be career-wise compared to friends and colleagues my age, and even feel too “old” to be embarking on a new career (well, not yet but soon). Reminding myself of the long road it took to get to where I am now usually helps. I guess everyone moves at their own pace, and this just happens to be mine.
Plus, the fact that I’ve spent so many years in the communications business can only help my future as an MS, RD (Spokesperson? Talks? Books? Articles? Expert(ish) manager of stressful situations? Sign me up!).
Thanks for listening to my ramblings!
Question: Did you figure out what you want to do in college? Before? After? Or, are you still figuring?
On 9/11 and 16 Miles
We all know what today is.
But first, I’m going to rewind briefly to Saturday and my long run. The goal: 16 miles with at least 5 at marathon pace.
Achieved. Sort of. While I’d like my marathon pace to be at around 8:30, 8:35 – 8:45 was the reality of this run. I was feeling a little under-fueled and had some gnarly stomach issues, and to be honest I was just a little tired.
I’ve had some great quality workouts this week, so I’m ok falling a little short of my goals for this run. Next up – my first of three 20 milers on Saturday!
What I did after the run is reflective of what most of my weekends will consist of until December.
Ate figs… (caramelized with walnuts and brown sugar over Greek yogurt and topped with honey)
Ok, maybe the figs will only be around until October-ish, but these will be my constant companions until around December 15:
Oh index cards, class notes and long hours at Starbucks, how I’ve missed you.
Being in NYC for an anniversary of September 11 is always very somber. Being in NYC on the 10th anniversary of when all of our lives changed seems so much more significant.
Fact: I didn’t live in NYC when the towers went down.
Also fact: I did live in NYC until about two weeks before September 11 in 2001, on the 14th floor of NYU’s Hayden Hall with a perfect Southern view of the Twin Towers.
I fell asleep every single night looking out at the Towers that summer, and each time they looked more and more magical as I fell in love with the city I would one day call my own.
I was only 19 at the time, and taking summer classes at NYU (i.e. an excuse to live in NYC and party like a rockstar. Yes, there was a point in time when I did indeed, party) while in between semesters at Northeastern.
It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had – I felt like I had the world at my fingertips, and finally found the place where I felt I belonged.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was asleep in my childhood bedroom (counting down the days before I headed back to Boston) and was awakened by my sister’s phone call, telling me to turn on the Today Show. Like most, I was horrified, devastated and scared. But I also felt such a need to be there. In the city I had just discovered to be mine, with people I had come to know and love.
What’s more, the place that was going to make all of my dreams come true was in shambles.
Fast forward ten years, and I’m here. A lot of my dreams have come true, and I’m the New Yorker I’ve always wanted to be. Well, for the most part.
Still, I’m not going to pretend I was here that day, and I can’t imagine how those that experienced 9/11 firsthand or lost loved ones lived through it and the days that followed. And I also have no idea how they’re feeling today.
But I can tell you that now as a New Yorker, I feel fiercely protective of my city. It never ceases to amaze me (good or bad), and I’m more proud to live here every single day.
Today, fellow New Yorkers are catching each others eyes a little more than usual, giving a nod and a knowing smile. Because we all get what today is, and when it all comes down to it, we know we’re all in this together.
Question: Are you doing anything today to recognize the 9/11 anniversary? I’m not doing anything in particular, other than hanging out in the greatest city in the world.
Rainy Repeats, Food and Energy
Fact: running in the rain is a great way to speed up your pace and get dirty shoes clean.
And it’s a good thing I’ve come to like it, because we’ve had rain every single day this week in NYC.
Mile repeats were on tap for Tuesday morning, and since the reservoir track was totally submerged and puddly, I hit the (hilly) Central Park roads to knock them out.
- 2 miles warm up
- Mile 1: 7:53 (ginormous hill here)
- Mile 2: 7:22 (lovely downhill here!)
- Mile 3: 7:49
- Mile 4: 7:48
- Mile 5: 8:19
- ~1 mile cool down
I was really happy with this workout. I thought I’d be much slower with the rolling hills in CP but actually felt really good – even after the fourth repeat!
So hooray for confidence-building speedwork – I definitely needed that one.
I’m trying to be better about “easy” running days after long runs and harder workouts, so Wednesday I ran a very easy 6 miles with Ali and Lindsay around the bridle path. We chatted, dodged puddles and the run was over in what felt like 30 seconds. We were among the few runners that had ventured out in the rain that morning, and it felt weird yet awesome to have the bridle almost all to ourselves.
Breakfast (it will be relevant in a second, I promise).
One of my work buddies asked me the other day if I thought her fatigue was due to her diet, and she asked if there were any foods she could eat to increase her energy.
I don’t think there’s a particular food that can give you an instant pick-me-up, but I’m a big believer that overall diet affects how we feel and plays a big role in energy levels.
To me, eating whole, unprocessed foods helps keep my energy levels up and fights fatigue.
Whole Foods salad bar FTW.
I guess that’s one of the reasons why I like to cook and bake for myself so much, because I use simple ingredients and know that there are none of the preservatives or chemicals found in store-bought stuff.
Besides eating an overall well-balanced diet, here are some things that help keep my energy up:
- Complex carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, and they’re especially important during marathon training when we’re expending a TON of energy. I think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and mine always includes quality carbohydrates
- Protein is essential for all of the body’s cells, and among its many functions helps build and repair tissues. Getting a decent amount of protein helps with muscle recovery after tough runs, and my favorite sources are things like fish, beans, nut butter, Greek yogurt, etc.
Salmon cakes with quinoa and mixed veggies = dinner of champions
- Hydration – being dehydrated can contribute to an overall feeling of fatigue and tiredness, and can decrease running performance. I make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and get in my electrolytes after long and sweaty runs.
- Snackage - I don’t think I could survive the day without snacks! Running a lot of miles = hungry Kelly. I usually snack on fruit like an apple and a handful of nuts or pretzels
Vitamin deficiencies can also contribute to fatigue, which is another reason why eating a variety of foods (and plenty of fruits and veggies!) is key.
Sometimes I think this strategy is the only way I make it through the day without falling asleep at my desk and/or making any giant work or school mistakes. Corny as it sounds, I truly believe in the saying, “you are what you eat.”
Now you tell me – do you think your diet plays a role in your energy levels? What do you eat to help keep your energy levels up?
18.5 Miles Around Manhattan
Fact: there were people stumbling home from da’ clubs when I woke up on Saturday morning for my long run.
Also fact: I was not jealous in the slightest.
Going to bed early to get ready for weekend long runs is definitely a necessary part of marathon training for me, but let’s be serious, I can’t hang like I used to in the partying category.
So, happily, I was up before the sun and ready to get my run on.
I’ve been getting a little tired of my usual route, so my plan was to log some serious miles using a new non-route, and just kind of explore my way along Manhattan.
I made sure to pack my Metrocard and a credit card, along with a vanilla bean PowerGel, just in case I ended up lost in, um, New Jersey or something?
I started out in Central Park but headed south and out of the park to the West Side Highway, and ran down to Battery Park through the southern tip of Manhattan, up and halfway over the Brooklyn Bridge and then up the East River Path and First Avenue until I arrived home.
Whew! I never bring my iPhone on my runs, but totally wished I had been able to take a few shots. Especially on the Brooklyn Bridge – the view of the skyline never fails to take my breath away.
It felt great to mix up my routine a little bit, and just looking at the map and knowing I covered that much ground with just my legs is kind of cool.
As I headed up First Avenue around mile 17 of the run, my thoughts immediately went to the fact that I’ll have a similar amount of miles behind me in that exact spot during the marathon in just 62 days – eek!
My legs will definitely be more rested and ready on November 6…
I was pretty happy with the pace, but for my remaining long runs I’d like to incorporate more marathon pace miles. I think marathon pace runs are going to be key in getting me comfortable with the pace and that I can handle it for the better of 26.2.
What exactly is my marathon pace?
Hmmm… Right now I’m thinking between 8:30 and 8:40 pace is an attainable goal, even though the magic pace of 8:23/mile (i.e., Boston Qualifying pace) is always in the back of my head. I’m going to use this month to really focus on my goals for the race based on how training is going.
Anyways, post-long run plans involved a little surprise birthday celebration for Ms. Megan down near the South Street Seaport at Keg 229.
Sofia brought mini cupcakes from Billy’s Bakery
Sitting and catching up with friends was a perfect way to spend the afternoon and rest my achy legs.
Post-long run exhaustion and hunger caught up with me a little later, but not before a quick visit to a near-empty 16 Handles.
I always consider it a win if there are minimal children in the store when I’m there. Don’t get me wrong, I heart kids, but not 39523687 in a small enclosed space with obnoxious Upper East Side parents.
Hope everyone is having a great long weekend!
Question: How do you pinpoint your marathon pace? Favorite kind of cupcake? I’d have to say red velvet is at the top of my list.
On Rotating Running Shoes
Can you ever have too many running shoes?
My answer, obviously, is usually no. But whenever people come over to my apartment, they are either perplexed and confused (non-runners) curious but not surprised (runners) or horrified (my sister) upon seeing my obnoxious line-up of running shoes.
But I swear, I have a system!
After seeing my collection, Meggie asked me to explain my shoe rotation system. I thought I’d share and risk a few of you thinking I’m certifiably nuts.
Very new pair (less than 50 miles): wear once per week for long runs only
Two middle-mileage pairs (around 150-200 miles): wear each twice per week for core weekday runs between 7 and 10 miles. Holy bridle bath dirt, batman!
Two higher mileage pairs (275-300 miles): wear each once per week for easy runs between 5 and 6 miles.
I wear Brooks Adrenalines, and they usually last me about 350 – 400 miles tops. Once a pair gets to that point, I add in a new pair for long runs and “cascade” the rotation down.
I’ve read plenty of articles saying that rotating running shoes allows them to “recover” from workouts and helps them last longer. Running in “fresh” shoes can also help reduce injury risk. I used this system last year during marathon training with maybe three pairs and I got to the starting line injury-free, so I’m a big fan of this theory!
Maybe I’m also somewhat addicted to buying new running shoes, but that’s another story.
I don’t know about you, but I am SO READY for a long weekend. I’ve also got lots of miles waiting to be logged, including an 18 miler tomorrow morning (where I will attempt to venture out of Central and Riverside Parks!).
Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and happy running!
Question: Do you think I’m nuts with my shoe rotation? Do you rotate shoes? Please share your system!
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