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Sunday, November 3, 2013

III Carrera Popular Subida Castillo Almodóvar del Río

I ran this race this morning. First things first: I came in FIRST PLACE in my category and FOURTH PLACE out of all women who ran!

This is the slip of paper I was given after crossing the finish line.

I look silly because that podium was super shaky. I thought I was going to fall off!

She came in third place in my category.
 This was NOT an easy race. Obviously, I knew there was an uphill part waiting for me. It is called "Subida Castillo..." for a reason. However, I thought that the rest of the race was flat and the uphill stint was just at the castle. Not true.

It was all uphill--my first hilly race. It was also the first time in a race that I seriously considered stopping. Once we had finished a truly steep part we had the final "subida" waiting for us.

The castle is truly beautiful so I had to include some shots of it.

This is us at about 10:15am waiting for the shuttle bus to take us to the starting line.

And off we go!

This picture is here to show you how high we had to climb. Actually, this pic is not even taken at the top where the finish line is!

If you zoom in you can see me running down there.

This was the heart-breaker running the last few meters.

I was seriously struggling to finish at this point.

But I made it!

Glad it's over because it was a killer on my legs but it was so much fun!

I was also surprised to find out that we were giving a race pack. I got a running shirt, a t-shirt (it's too big so the hubby will use it), and a bracelet. 

This was such a nice race and the weather definitely cooperated. Last year (I didn't run that year. This was my first time running this race) it rained and hailed!

It also turned out to be only 13Km, not the 16Km I thought when I wrote my previous race recap in October.

My next race is on November 24th and it is a half-marathon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese 
12 ounces macaroni (I used whole wheat)
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup onion (I used red onion)
1/2 cup chick peas
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
some extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. paprika

Cook pasta, drain, rinse with cold water and then set aside. In a pan add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, beans and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until tender (15-20 minutes). When that is done preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 Celsius). In a blender process cashews, salt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, cayenne and veggies with their water. Process until smooth. Toss the pasta with the sauce, put in a dish and bake 25-30 minutes.

It may seem unbelievable (because it was to me) but this really, REALLY tastes like mac and cheese! I was so thrilled when I made it because it was so easy and so delicious. I made it last week and it was a hit with my husband. 
I actually made it again today (yes, it's that good) and mixed in some sauteed spinach, peas and roasted red peppers. I also doubled the "cheese" so that we had extra to put on top because it's so tasty.

I got this recipe from a website called Feed Me I'm Cranky although a gluten-free version was posted. Please, please try this!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Achieving Six Pack Abs: Month 1 Update

The last exercise for this month was done today right before I had lunch. I have a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout to do every Saturday. But I wanted to do something a little different, and more challenging, than simply doing sprints.

So I did this HIIT program I saw on a new channel I subscribe to on youtube called fitnessblender. It was one of those descending workouts. I started with 10 reps of burpees, 10 side lunges, 10 push-ups and 10 jump lunges. Then with each subsequent set I would go down a rep until I finished with 1 rep of each exercise. Definitely click here to see the workout.

I was sweating like a you-know-what by the end! It was deceptive because I didn't feel ridiculously tired immediately after. However, about an hour later everything was sore and I even had to take a nap! It was great.

Overall, I do notice that my body feels different. My husband says that my muscles are way more defined and after a workout he can see my six-pack peeking through. I don't see any difference in my abs but I can feel a difference all over my body.

Actually, after I did my HIIT workout today I could see my abs as well. I just need them to stay like that all the time! But I'm hopeful that I will have accomplished a lot by the end of December.

On Monday I start weeks 5-8 and for this month I will increase my weight so I'm only doing 6-8 reps for each exercise. 

(I will be doing the same exercises so look at my weight routine to see what I'm doing). 

I will also add another HIIT workout. Currently I only do HIIT twice a week but I will start doing it three times a week. Probably by incorporating exercises I can do in the house to just break up the running routine.

Running has been great. That 7.5K race I did last week, I found out later that day that I came in second place! So I have to get my trophy at some point next week.

On November 3rd I'm running a 16K race that I signed up for today and at the end of November I'm running a half-marathon that the city of Córdoba has every year.

All in all I'm pleased with the program and I can't wait to see what my body looks like at the end of November! I will take pics at that point and post them to the blog.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

XXX Carrera Popular Cross San Rafael de la Albaida

As I stated in my I'm-turning-30-next-year post, I have a running goal of doing at least one race a month.

This morning I ran a 7.5 Km race in a neighborhood near where I live. There were tons of people, as there always is for shorter distances. However, it was a very low-key race. My bib number didn't even have my name on it. Then again, it only cost me 1€ to sign-up!

It was part asphalt and part trail and it was definitely challenging. Most of the race was uphill with me trying not to stumble over rocks and such. I had a great time and can't wait for my next race in November.

A friend of my hubby and his girlfriend.

The finish line (or la meta) !

I'm near the end now!

I fought to cross the line before those two women!

And yes, I did beat them.

Breathing hard here.

This is one of my students.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Achieving Six-Pack Abs: End of Week 1

The 27th of September is the date I started my weights, abs, and back routine for my Achieving Six-Pack abs goal.

So I felt that I should come in here at the end of Week 1 and talk about how I'm feeling and how things went etc.

Even with some rainy weather I managed to get all my workouts in. My separate running goal is to run 5 times a week but I was only able to get out 3 times with the weather. However, I still got my distance in by just doubling up on the days I was able to go out.

I have to admit that I was exhausted at the end of the week. My body was ready for a break by Thursday/Friday but I still had HIIT to do on Saturday morning. I'm hoping that I don't feel as tired by the end of next week, which will mean that my body is getting stronger.

My ab muscles are getting firmer to the touch but there isn't any real noticeable difference in appearance. Actually, right after a workout my abs look superb but then go back to "normal" an hour later or so. Then again, it's only been a week. There should be some weight loss by the end of October.

Overall I'm enjoying myself and enjoying how, not only my abs and back, but also the rest of my body is responding to this new regimen.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

I got this recipe from a website called Vegan Magic so please go to her website and check out the actual recipe. It explains in great detail what type of ingredients to use.

This is my version of it using the tools and ingredients I had available to me in Córdoba.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

2 400ml cans coconut milk 
(The only brand here is Goya but I would recommend using a better quality one. It's the main reason I had to use 2 cans. Again, see the website above for more detailed information)
18 soft, natural dates
1/3 cup cocoa powder
a few drops vanilla extract

Before beginning the recipe place your can(s) in the fridge so that the coconut cream and the coconut milk can separate. (I placed them in overnight). Open them and save the liquid to use in another recipe. (I used it to make some strawberry smoothies!) Scrape out the thick cream and place in a bowl. Put two tablespoons of the cream and the dates in a blender and blend until smooth. Then mix in the rest of the cream, the vanilla and the cocoa powder. Place in the fridge overnight so the flavors can blend. Then enjoy!

The quality of the coconut cream really makes a difference. Mine did not have as high a fat content as the original recipe but the mousse still came out thick. I really recommend taking a look at the original recipe as she suggests ways to improve the mousse. But for my first attempt it came out really decadent. This recipe will definitely impress your non-vegan friends!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vegan Falafel Burgers

Vegan Falafel Burgers
400g bottle of chickpeas 
a handful of dried parsley
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
(I used a seasoning that has a mixture of Indian spices in it like turmeric, curry and coriander. Just use what you have in the kitchen.)
1 lime
some salt to taste
2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
1 small red onion, chopped in small pieces
1 garlic clove, minced

Put about 1/4 tsp. sunflower oil in a pan with the garlic and onion and cook until onion is soft. While that is cooking mash up the chickpeas in a bowl. Once they are mashed add the spices, lime and flour. Mix until well blended. Once the garlic and onion is done add them to the chickpeas and mix again. Shape them into about 4 patties and fry with the 2 Tbsp. sunflower oil. Fry on one side until golden brown, then flip once to brown the other side. Serve hot.

I've wanted to make falafel for awhile now and I am very happy with the results. I made this vegan dish once before using a recipe I found on Google+ but it didn't have enough flavor. So I remade them adding my own spices and changing how they are prepared. The lime is a must as well as cooking the garlic and onion separately. This recipe is so easy that you don't even need a blender!