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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Foot Update and tomfoolery at the gym

This foot injury is WEIRD! 

I went for a walk with my brother every day this week, except today because I went to the gym with my mom.

 Aren't we cute?

Body combat rules! We might hit zumba tomorrow but I'm not sure I'm up for embarrassing myself quite yet.

Okay, yesterday we went on our walk and I used some old running shoes.

Oh, random moment, here's a nice car we saw:

Oh, and some people have already put up Halloween decorations! Crazy.

You can't see it that well, but yes, it's a pumpkin. We even saw scarecrows but didn't take pics. I don't know what we were thinking.

Anyway, the sneakers aren't technically old. Since you're supposed to swap out shoes, I swapped out those. I really like them so I didn't want to wear them out.Well, I wore them to go walking because they matched my outfit.

So we walked for about 70 minutes and then I went for a run. I only did 20 minutes because I didn't want to put uneccessary strain on my foot. Especially since I knew I'd be going to the gym today.

My foot felt great! Completely fine. I woke up this morning with no-pain-whatsoever! Strange, right?

In body combat today, I felt no pain. My mom and I registered for a 7-day free tryout pass. The monthly plan is pretty decent. It's only $44 a month and since we live at the same address the second person is $30.

Completely high tech: all of the treadmills have touch screens, each elliptical it's own TV... However, there's a gym even closer for only $10 a month, no committment. I will definitely check that place out before I make any decisions.

Tomorrow I plan to run at the gym and I hope to feel no pain. Right now my foot feels great. I don't know what to make of it.

Brooke @ FreeBird Runner had such a great suggestion: do some foot strengthening exercises!

(By the way, you should check out her blog if you haven't. She is super nice and positive and runs in the most beautiful places! If I had a blogroll she'd be on it without a doubt.)

Google is amazing. Once I put together my routine I'll share it with you all but I'm excited about it! Hopefully it will help me avoid this phantom "injury" in the future.

Stay tuned for tomorrow because my mom might just make me do zumba with her...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Long Run Update

I had to let you all know about my long run today instead of the hair update. Mainly because I didn't do anything new with my hair this week and because you all know my foot has been bothering me.

This entire week I've been good. I didn't run, walk, climb or jump on this foot. I figure, baby it a bit and then maybe it will let you run your 6 miles on Sunday. So I did. It was hard. I even got jealous watching other people running (you know it happens to you too!).

Yesterday, Saturday, while doing some shopping with the fam, we made a stop at Walmart. I picked up some of this:
and some of these:

I know, old school stuff. I wanted something to take the pain away and something to massage the muscle.

This is not a "serious" pain but it is a nagging one. 

When I hurt my iliotibial band last year I knew I had an injury and not an ache and pain. I couldn't walk let alone even attempt to run.

This is not that kind of pain. 

It's there, I can feel it, but it's not debilitating. I chose not to run this week to prevent it from exacerbating. I mean I have a half marathon to run in November and a full marathon in February. So I can't afford injuries.

About 4 hours before going to bed I took 1 ibuprofen and then massaged my foot with the cream. I had also been walking around all day shopping. So it was aching a bit anyway. It felt better instantly. So I was hopeful for this morning.

5:55am: I woke up, took 2 ibuprofen, and massaged my foot with cream. I put in my contacts, got dressed, warmed up and stretched, and then got ready to head out the door.

6:45am: I left the house and started running at a slow pace. I felt really good! I was amazed and impressed with my body! Although I had the hope that my foot wouldn't hurt, I didn't actually believe it deep down. I guess I had proved myself wrong!

7:13am: My foot started hurting. I was really bummed but I knew that if I kept running it would just get worse. Afterall, there's no point in finishing this 6 miles if afterwards I couldn't run for 3 months with a serious injury.

7:26am: I was in front of my house and didn't really want to go in. How disappointing. I didn't finish my run. I guess I have what is officially called an "injury". WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME!!!!!  Ok, calm down. My foot doesn't actually hurt right now. What would happen if I tried to run again? Yes, I ran again.

7:41am: I was back at the house after finishing my route! My foot didn't hurt a bit! Success!

When I started running again my foot felt fine. I'm not sure why. It's like it just needed to get warmed up. This has happened to me before with other muscles. I'm running and then the muscle feels tight. I don`t want to stop, so I don't, and the pain eventually goes away. I guess that's what happened in this case.

When I got back into the house, before stretching, I took 2 more ibuprofen and massaged my foot more with the cream. I then proceeded to stretch, shower and wash my hair. As I type this my foot feels fine. It is tight though. Like how your muscles feel after a really long run or a really good weights session.

Most importantly, based on what happened today, I've changed my marathon training schedule.

It's shocking, I know. But I feel good about it.

  • Instead of running based on miles I will run based on time. 
  • I am also going to run more frequently

So I will run. If after 20 minutes I feel a slight pain in my foot I will stop. Once the pain subsides I will start runing again. I'll do this cycle until I finish my running planned for the day.

This week I will run not more than 40 minutes and then I will increase it the following weeks as I see fit.

I figure this will help me stay in shape while I nurse my foot pain. I plan on running every other day. This week I'll run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. While the following week I'll run Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

After each run I will massage my foot with cream. I'll take the ibuprofen when I need them.

What do you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where to do my intervals?


So this is another mini-frustration post.

I like to include Fartlek, or speed training, into my marathon training routine. I typically do it about every two weeks or so. The last time I did it was in Spain so I'm anxious to get back into it.

However, where do I go? 

There are no tracks nearby, at least none that I'm aware of. So I guess I'll have to do a bit of research. 

Since I don't have my license...yet, I have to depend on Chema to take me wherever I go. 

That means morning runs are out of the question.

We use my moms car, meaning we have to pick her up after work. She is cool about us using it until we get one. 

But that means I won't be able to run until 6pm or later. 

That's not super late. Plus if I find a track somewhere close I don't care where I go.

Then again, I could always run around here...but I don't want to run up or downhill.

That's how I got injured last year. 

My goal is to find a flat stretch of land that will permit me to run 4 minutes at a 7/8 and 1 minute at a 5.

I want to do it safely and with little to no interruptions. Meaning no annoying people, their kids, and/or dogs getting in the way.

I was supposed to do my intervals this week. 

But my foot started hurting Sunday as you all well know. 

So this week I haven't done much of anything except weights. Thankfully, my foot feels MUCH better today. I have to run 6 miles on Sunday so we'll see if it behaves for that.

If I'm injury free I will incorporate my Fartlek the first week in October. I hope I figure out where to go before then...

Anyway, I've been writing all day at work so I'm tired. Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weekly Recipe: Salmorejo

Yes, it's another Spanish favorite! Chema has been making Spanish goodies for my fam since we got back to the States. He cooks, I post, perfect! So look for more recipes each week!

Toppings: olive oil, tuna, hardboiled eggs

Toppings: olive oil, jamón ibérico, hardboiled eggs

6 large tomatoes (feeds 6 generously)
1 large clove garlic
1 loaf french bread (we used 1.5 mini loaves)
3-4 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Hardboiled eggs (we used 5)
1 can tuna
Jamón Ibérico 

Ideally, you want to make this using stale bread. In that case you want to soak it in water to make it soft. If it's not stale you can just take out the insides and add them right to the blender. Peel the tomatoes (that's right, no skin), cut them in pieces and add them to the blender. Add the garlic and vinegar to the blender and then blend. Add the olive oil slowly, as you blend, to the mixture. Once the mixture is smooth, poor it into a tupperware container and refrigerate until cold. Once it's cold you serve it topped with hardboiled eggs, tuna and/or jamón ibérico, as well as a nice drizzle of olive oil. Delicious!

We found jamón ibérico in Trader Joe's, but you can always make it without it. Although, that is the traditional way to have it. Even my niece, who's 8, tried it. She ate all the toppings off it...that's it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New surroundings: pros and cons


It is a beautiful place! 

It's like a city placed in nature, instead of the other way around. Whenever I walk around I feel like an animal will jump out. Sadly, there's always some form of roadkill in the street.

The hubby saw some deer last week and there's always rabbits or something hopping about. There's a lake behind my mom's house so we're in constant view of ducks, geese, turtles and fish. 

We're only on the 3rd week so I don't know the "ins and outs" yet. Like where the good trails and paths are to walk around. It'll take some investigating but I'm excited about it! Plus, there are tons of running groups, events, and mini races (5Ks) around for me to get involved in.


The negatives are ALL related to running, unfortunately. 

  • I have to adjust to running on asphalt
  • I have to do interval training next week and have no idea where to go! (More on that later)
  • I need a static bike
  • I need a mat to do my weight training on (my mother has carpet! EEEEW!)
  • I have to find a gym/get my membership to the gym here figured out
  • I need a car but I don't have a license. Hence, no way to get to all the cool running groups and events. It's sad, but before you judge let me just say it's because of circumstances. I never took driver's ed in high school. I then went to college for four years and never needed to drive. I'm from a big city (Boston) where public transportation is fabulous. So I never needed a license. When I graduated from college I went immediately abroad where I lived for 4 years. So, I never needed a license. Now I'm in the wilderness that is North Carolina and I need not only a license, but a car! Go figure.

Anyway, I keep telling myself that it hasn't even been a month yet. I know, I know. But when you're focused on something and then it gets interrupted...it stinks. Things will work themselves out but I'm impatient and hoping it isn't a detriment to my training.

Marathon Training: Updates

So this is a 2-week update. I've officially been in the US for 2 weeks.

Week One:

I only ran twice a week this week. It was a hectic week with getting settled and finding running routes. That Wednesday, September 7th I REALLY felt the week or so I wasn't running.

I only ran 30 minutes to get back into it but it was a hard 30 minutes. I skipped Thursday and then ran 45 minutes on Friday.

Sunday, September 4th was my first long run in a couple of weeks. I ran 8 miles and felt great! It was a really nice run.

Last week I ran 4 days. I typically only like to run 3 days a week. But since I have no static bike I decided to substitute that for running. Of course I will see how my body feels week to week.

Week ending: 9/11/11

Monday: 1-hour walk with younger brother plus arm and ab exercises

Wednesday: 30-minute run plus arm and ab exercises

Thursday: 45-minute run

Friday: 45-minute run plus arm and ab exercises

Sunday: 9-mile run

It was nice to get back on schedule and do all my runs. However, Sunday I ran weird on my foot or something and after my long run it was aching.

I didn't go on my walk yesterday or do my weights because it still hurt. Right now it feels better, but still hurts. It's not swollen, red, bruised or anything. It's like a phantom pain.


My body just doesn't understand that I have these 5Ks, half marathons and marathons to RUN! 

Anyway, I'm not going to run in the morning tomorrow like usual. I'm hoping that my foot feels better by the end of the day and I can run then. The good thing is that the weather has cooled down considerably so an afternoon/evening run is doable.

Worst case scenario: I have to take off this week and hopefully feel better by Sunday for my long run.  

If I don't then I will cut off my foot!

Where my mom lives there is a gym. So I'm thinking about supplementing my running with the treadmill.

Perhaps where I live is too hilly or something. I'm also used to training on trails and dirt roads so I know my legs have to get accustomed to running on asphalt. It will come. I just want this phantom pain to go away! I HAVE PLANS!

I need one of these:


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 16 Hair

So this will be a short and sweet post.

I didn't change a thing with my routine except that I got IN the shower this week. The process went much smoother than last week.

Didn't do a protein treatment because I forgot to pick one up from my local beauty supply store. Because of that I didn't even bother to sit under the dryer. 

Well, partly because I didn't have the treatment, and partly from laziness

I woke up and did my run this morning then started cleaning and washing clothes. I did my hair between cleaning, washing clothes and eating breakfast. So at the end there was no energy left in my body.

Plus I've been doing some "homework" for my job. This week and next will be pretty busy so I wanted to get some prep. work out of the way so I'd feel prepared going in on Monday.

Hopefully I remember to get the protein treatment next week!

Oh, and I'm loosely considering coloring my hair. I have no clue what color I would get but I might just do it for a change. We'll see.

Week 17 Hair
  • Shampoo
  • Detangle with conditioner
  • Deep condition
  • Kimmaytube leave in
  • Twists

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weekly Recipe: Spanish Rice (Paella)

Recipe Thursdays are BACK! We're starting up again with an old Spanish favorite of mine. This is our take on the paella. You can add any meat and any vegetables you like. We always mix it up veggie wise. We usually stick with chicken, because I'm not much of a meat eater. But you can add sausage and/or seafood. Typically it's done with short grain, white rice. However, this time we used long grain, brown rice. See? Completely versatile!

Spanish Rice (Paella)
2 cups brown rice (feeds 6 people)
About 4 cups water
1 onion
1 green/red pepper
1 medium to large tomato
3 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
A mixture of assorted veggies like: peas, green beans, mushrooms, squash, zucchini...
Saffron (we used yellow food coloring instead for only $1!)
Seasonings to taste: pepper, salt, rosemary, oregano
1 lemon
Olive oil
Choice of meat (we used 6 drumsticks)

Dice up the onion, red/green pepper, tomato and garlic and sauté until soft with the olive oil in a pot. Once soft add the white wine. When it has cooked down a bit, and slightly looks like a sauce, add the chicken and the seasonings. Give it a stir forabout 2-3 minutes. Just to give the chicken some color. Then, add enough water to cover the meat and cook the rice. After that add the veggies and the saffron (or food coloring). It's done when the meat is cooked, the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed. Adjust seasonings to taste and squeeze with lemon and serve.

The only thing we measure when cooking paella is the rice. Simply to make sure there is enough if we're feeding a lot of people. Other than that we just put as much of the above ingredients in as we like. Experiment!

Walking with the 16-year-old

He's my brother before anyone gets nervous!

We went on a walk earlier this week as part of my recovery session after my long run. I usually do 30 minutes on the static bike but I had to leave it in Spain. *sad face*

Instead, we went on an hour long walk. I'd only planned to do 30-45 minutes but we got to talking and time flew. Not surprisingly teenagers have a lot on their chests.

Afterwards I did some arm exercises and some abs. I don't have any weights yet so I did old-fashioned pushups.

  • Normal ones
  • Hands wide apart ones
  • Hands close together ones
  • And the new hands in a diamond to work the triceps more

I also did chair dips, and a bunch of ab exercises. All in all it was about 15 minutes. Not bad.

If people think you can't work your muscles without weights, well, YOU ARE WRONG! Because my arms and my abs are SORE! 

I feel like I haven't done anything these past two months and I have! 

You guys know I have!

So if you don't do pushups, do them!

Ok, random post over.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Things I'm Loving (September Edition)

So I've decided to introduce a new idea to the blog: monthly loves

I plan to add all types of new things I've tried and like for the given month.

No, I didn't invent the idea. I know. But I figured it would be a nice change from marathon training updates, hair updates, and fitness stuff. 

Plus, it helps me stick to my budget. There's always tons of non-necessity things that I want to buy every time I go to the supermarket. Limiting myself to a few new things a month will keep me in check....hopefully.

September's edition starts with FOOD!

When I was in Spain I had been CRAVING this like crazy! I wanted some cashew butter as well but haven't found it yet. I need to locate a Whole Foods near where I live because Trader Joe's (at least the one near me) only has almond butter and peanut butter (yucky!). 

These have to be the sweetest and softest raisins I have ever eaten in my life. I think it's because it doesn't have vegetable oil added to it. If you notice, most raisins have it because it makes them shiny and so they don't stick together in the package. These don't!

I love shredded wheat! This stuff is great and I've tried the other two flavors in my grocery store (cinnamon and vanilla). As you all know Kashi is great when it comes to all-natural ingredients. This cereal has only whole wheat and cane sugar in it. This is my power breakfast when I add some fruit and nuts.

These are SO delicious! They are easy, portable, sweet potato patties! It hits the spot when I want something sweet and still want to be healthy. There's only 8g of sugar per patty. I usually eat about two.

This is some dense bread. I only need to eat one piece to get full. Each slice is only 100 calories (not that I count calories) and is nice and thick. When I have lunch I like to have salty and sweet. So I cut a slice in half. The first half I spread with almond butter, sprinkle with some raisins and a drizzle of honey. The second half I eat with some cheese, and non fat turkey slices. Or, like today, with one of my veggie hotdogs (see below).

Here's a close up of this delish bread. I'm a bit nervous about the salt content so I'll probably try something else when it runs out.

This was my try veggie meat experiement. I've tried sausages before (don't remember the brand) and they were delicious. These smell horrible. Like chemicals. However, I got past the scent and tried them and they aren't bad. I'd buy them again. They are really chewy but taste faintly like smoked meat. These are small so if you want to make it a meal you'd have to eat two and a side dish!

I had to get my tea fix! I LOVE tea! I don't discriminate: I love white, black and green tea. I prefer loose tea but these tea bags aren't bad. It tastes fresh and like authentic green tea. I've been drinking it three times a day since I got it!

That's it. I've also been enjoying some old favorites like cottage cheese (non fat of course!), apple cider (I love the fall!) and greek yogurt (also non fat). I also found a wonderful farmer's market not too far from where I live. It sells wonderful, fresh fruit and veggies as well as nuts and plants. The next time I go I give a tour for the blog. But I'm loving it! I wonder what's in store for next month...

Oops! Almost forgot! Pecans we got from the friendly, local, farmer's market! They are nice and freshly picked tasting. Gotta love the farmer's market.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 15 Hair

Adapting to new surroundings is not only hard on the mind and body, but also on the hair!


Last week I had to use my Bear Fruit Hair leave in conditioner because I didn't have a chance to pick up aloe vera juice for my kimmaytube leave in. (It sucked) That kimmaytube leave in works like magic.

Although I do really like Bear Fruit Hair products. At least the ones I've tried are amazing.  The Desert Moisture leave in and the Banana and Avocado deep conditioner are incredible. I will probably try something else once I finish with them but I would definitely buy them again.

I'm almost out of the deep conditioner actually and have no idea what product to try out next.

So all suggestions are welcome. 

I'm thinking of purchasing a Giovanni product online. I love their light moisture conditioner as part of my kimmaytube leave in.

Anyway, I bought some aloe vera juice last week and made my mixture yesterday. That all went smoothly.  

What didn't was the entire hair washing procedure. 

Since I had already showered I didn't want to get in again just to wash my hair. Instead I had to lean over the tub. We have a super tall tub and it doesn't have one of those removal shower heads I've grown to cherish in Spain.

So that made washing annoying. I had to detangle at the sink, which was messy. It also took me twice as long. From now on I'll just have to get in the shower.

A good thing is that my mom has one of those hair dryers. I've been wanting to use one since I started my HHCJ. This weekend I'm going to buy a protein treatment from my local beauty supply store and sit under the dryer for 30 minutes or so. I plan to do this every week for a month. After that, if I see results, I will continue to do it twice a month.

I'm not experiencing breakage but I haven't been incorporating protein into my routine. There has to be a balance of protein and moisture and to date there has only been moisture.

My twists are in now and I hope to stretch them until Friday like I did last week. I did one of my updo styles on Friday for work and also on Saturday since I went out.

Almost forgot...

I changed my shampoo and conditioner. I had to leave them in Spain when I moved so I purchased the Trader Joe´s Tea Tree shampoo and a Suave conditioner as my detangler.

They are ok but once I finish them I will probably try something different. I do, however, like the Trader Joe´s Nourish Spa conditioner as a detangler. It is so nice and creamy. That will be purchased again.

That's all for now folks.

Week 16 Hair 
  • Shampoo
  • Detangle with conditioner
  • Deep condition
  • Kimmaytube leave in
  • Twists

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!

Yes I'm back, alive and well and settling in! My goal to start training again was postponed a few days but I'm getting back on track. I ran for 30 minutes yesterday to ease back into it and I can tell you that I definitely noticed the 1-week of no exercising at all.

Today and Friday I plan to run 45 minutes. Plus I have my 8-mile route all ready and prepared for Sunday. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to find a new route. It helps that I'm somewhat familiar with the area. Right now I'm staying within the known areas. Once I feel more comfortable (and the mileage gets higher) I will branch out.

But I'm feeling good and happy to be writing again. I've missed you all! Just a quick hello before I head to work to let you all know I'm baaaaaaaack!!

Here are some pictures of an African American Cultural Festival I went to on Saturday.

Plus some things that reminded me of Spain...

and some things you can only find in the USA!

Yes, this is a Pizza Hut car!

The best frozen custard on the planet!