About Me

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I'm a 24-year-old student scientist, budget gourmet, novice cyclist, long-distance girlfriend, and avid amateur runner. I always said I couldn't have a blog because I didn't have anything worth blogging about. Turns out, I may have been wrong...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Clip In, Clip Out, Repeat

The American Kennel Club National Championships are on TV right now.  So cute!

Hehehehe, the announcer just described the fur of a bull terrier as "smooth like an egg."  Also, according to the expert with the microphone, "Dogs do not wear contacts."  Hahaha, thank you for clarifying.  Silly fluffer dogs.  A Scottie won Best in Show.

So anyway, last Sunday's 12 miler could easily have been a recipe for running disaster.  I woke up nice and early and chowed down on some oatmeal and a PB PowerBar, but then Renata and I were a tad late getting out the door.  Eventually, I strapped on my trusty CamelBak with Fruit Punch Gatorade and off we went!

Unfortunately, my early morning breakfast (probably combined with the meager meal I'd had the night before) was not sufficient fuel for a long run started three hours later.  By mile two, my stomach was growling.  I had committed a cardinal sin of fueling!  I took some big gulps from my CamelBak hoping that the Gatorade would kick in and keep me satiated through my run, but I knew that there was no way I had 1,200 calories worth of fuel in that pouch.  Still, we carried on.

The middle miles of our run took us through the North Fitness Trail, which provides scenic views of the countryside (read: empty fields) and a smattering of fitness stations for your circuit-training pleasure!


Rings, anyone?  How about a balance beam?  Maybe if I hadn't already run 8 miles and didn't have five more to go...

By the time we exited the fitness trail at mile 9, three consecutive days of running (including my four-mile not-so-steady tempo run) had caught up with my legs.  They felt like bricks.  Every step required more mental and physical effort.  Renata had just caught her second wind and was picking up the pace a little.  I, on the other hand, could tell I was running on brute strength, rather than endurance, and I knew I had to keep it up for three more miles.  Torture.

But I pushed through it.  Even though I had to bring my pace down for the last mile or so, and I had nothing left for any kind of strides at the end, I finished the entire run at around a 9-minute split.  I immediately put food in my body, stretched, and iced my knee, and vowed never to underfuel and overtrain prior to a long run again.

All that said, I'm even more excited for my race tomorrow because a) I will be rested and b) I will make absolutely sure to fuel like a champion!  Compared to last weekend's 12-miler, this half marathon should be a snap!

Since Sunday, taper week has really been more about eating than running.  Not that there's anything wrong with that :)

I went a little overboard at the grocery store this week.  I had way more bags than I could carry inside in one trip, and, as I pulled into my parking lot, it was raining yet again.  Fortunately, I spied this little creature lurking beside my dumpster, and it saved the day!

Shopping cart in my house!

One of my overboard purchases was a truly ginormous tub of honey.

I put some in my chai with skim milk Wednesday morning.

One serving down, 107 servings to go...

I roasted an extra value pack of chicken breasts (3.5 lb total) in one cup apple cider, 1/2 cup orange juice, salt, pepper, and lemon-pepper seasoning.  Except the chicken, all of these ingredients were leftovers in my fridge from past culinary endeavors. 


Most of them got bagged and frozen for future consumption.

But one lucky chicken breast became a topping for sweet and savory pizza lunches!

  • Two Boboli whole wheat pizza crusts
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 roasted chicken breast, diced
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

Spread spinach leaves evenly and flatly on each crust.  Fan pears to cover spinach.  Sprinkle with nuts, chicken, and bleu cheese.  Bake according to package directions, until chicken and cheese lightly browned.  Slice and package for lunches.  Enjoy!  Makes 6 servings.

Yay lunches!

Dinners this week were salmon alla vodka with a special twist!
  • 1 jar vodka sauce
  • 1 box whole wheat linguini
  • 3+ cups baby spinach
  • 6 salmon fillets, grilled(-ish... see below)
  • Special twist ingredient!


Can you guess the twist?  Sundried tomatoes!  Heat sauce on medium, stir in 1 package sundried tomatoes.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, place spinach in colander (in sink).

When pasta cook time has elapsed, drain into colander over spinach.  Toss spinach and pasta until evenly dispersed.


Top pasta and spinach with sauce and one salmon fillet.  Flake salmon and mix with sauce.  Eat up!  Makes 6 servings.

I need to comment on the salmon that I used in this recipe.  Always the frugalista, I purchased three boxes of frozen "classic grilled" salmon fillets by Gorton's.  The ingredients included more than just "salmon," but I'd had luck with frozen fish in the past, and these were on special at Safeway.

Flame grilled, eh?

These "fillets" were curiously the same size and shape as kitchen sponges.  I prayed that they tasted like salmon...

But, microwaved according to package directions, the salmon tasted like salmon and proved an excellent combination with the other ingredients!  I probably won't buy this packaged fish again, but at least now I've learned my lesson - if you can't see the actual fish, leave it in the store.

For desserts, I had fat-free chocolate sorbet, which was very rich.  A great substitute for ice cream!

Tiny bowl!

Breakfasts were variations on egg whites and/or banana toast!


Twice this week, I dined on food not prepared by my own hands!  Exciting!

Faced with statistics-induced plummeting blood sugar levels, Shannon, Jimmy, and I made an emergency dinner run to the Black Bear Diner during a late-night study session on Monday.  I had a Small Volcano, which consists of two 7-grain almond granola pancakes (ah-may-zing) topped with an egg (not pictured... because I ate it), a strip of bacon, and a sausage link.  Nom nom nom!

Stricken by a major caffeine headache during my office hours on Friday afternoon, I ran to the campus coffee shop and grabbed a small hazelnut coffee and a totally sinful carrot cake.  I believe I finished that cake in about three bites.


And now for some big news...

Although I am a dedicated runner, and hope always to be a runner, I have decided to become more serious about cycling

I have the bicycle for it, I have the endurance, and I certainly live somewhere that supports cyclists - the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is located right downtown!  Additionally, I believe that incorporating more cycling into my training will only improve my running, while preventing exacerbation of my overuse injury.

So, as a first step towards becoming a real cyclist, I made a little trip to my local bike shop for one very important upgrade...

Bikeypoo smooshed into my trunk, seat folded down, front wheel detached, ready for travel.

En route, I passed a golden-clad statue of the official state animal.

After inspecting my equipment options with the help of the staff (the same guy who sold me the bike, in fact!), I made my selections and dropped BikeBike off for installation. 

Bikemonster awaiting service inside the store... It was like dropping my baby off at daycare (I should imagine).

I had to leave him there for over an hour!  Boo hoo!  Meanwhile, I took care of some errands (that's right, another grocery store).

Trader Joe's, how I missed thee!

Finally, I picked up my big blue bike, complete with new parts, and brought it home to play!

My upgrades...

A top bar-mounted bike computer!

On just a brief spin around my apartment complex, I reached a max speed of 19.1 mph!  YES biking is awesome!

Reversible "Campus" pedals!

Platforms on one side for commuting and city rides...

...and SPD clips on the other side for super-fast training rides!!!!  

And clip-in (a.k.a. "clipless," ironically) pedals naturally lead to...

My very first pair of cycling shoes!!!!

They're pretty girl ones (even though I don't have a pretty girl bike).


The cleats on the bottom need to line up with the ball of your foot to secure you to the pedal in optimal "power transfer" position.  Listen to me, using real cyclist terminology!

Per the bike guy's advice, I set myself up in a door frame to practice clipping in and out. 


Oh my gosh oh my gosh!  I'm clipped in for the first time!

 I'm going to wait to take the new pedals for a real spin until after the race tomorrow - I can't risk a clip-induced accident that might prevent me from running.

Stay tuned for my Davis Stampede Half Marathon race report - as well as an exciting announcement about future race plans!

And... wish me and my race buddies good luck for our big day tomorrow!

Today's Question:  Do you own a bike?  What kind?  Do you use it more for exercise, transportation, or decoration?


Emily said...

Thoughts: :)
1) Shopping cart in your house....hilarious!
2) Love that you fix all your lunches early on.
3) That salmon REALLY does look like a kitchen sponge...interesting!
4) Clip-in pedals are really hard to learn to ride with, but make the biggest difference!! Good luck with them!!

Amanda@thegrainsofparadise said...

Love the idea of adding sundried tomatoes to vodka sauce....Must try! Love blue cheese and apple pizza, always a good call :-) Yummy!!

Tyler (healthyandfun) said...

I love all your make ahead meals! That pizza looked GLORIOUS!!! And WOOT on your 12 miler, the half will be a breeze for ya!!!