Beating the heat!! Working out in a heat wave is hard!!

This heat wave has got to go! Usually, I am a summer chick, but 99 degrees feels like 107 is too much. I don’t remember ever having a summer this hot in my entire life. It is really hindering my work outs … I feel awful. Lethargic, lazy, and cranky. Wednesday and Thursday, I skipped the gym because I was so hot, I could not bare the thought of sweating. And Friday, well Friday turned into a mess. John Paul and I went to the Craft Beer store for a flight and ended up trying all thirty beers on tap. It’s as bad of an idea as it sounds. ‘
Finally, today, Sunday, I dragged myself to the gym for a five mile run. It was fantastic. I felt like I could run forever!!
running

Running in the heat.

I must remind myself of the following to not fall out of working out in the future …. I know what to do. I just have to do it.
This blurb is nothing scientific, just a few things I have figured out through the years that make me feel good.
1. Drinking lots and lots of water, but not too much water … too much makes it hard to run. I start sipping 16 ounces of water before running and continue with a 24 ounce squirt bottle during my run and as much as needed after to no longer feel thirsty.
2. Electrolytes… water is not enough. A Gatorade or v]Vitamin Water post workout does wonders. The calorie free ones … don’t want to undo my workout.
3. A scoop of peanut butter after each workout, but just one scoop. Not the full jar.
4. Sweating cools the body down. My comment above about not wanting to sweat anymore is silly and ridiculous. Just an excuse to be lazy. I would have felt better in the long run if I sweat more.
5. A cool shower. Always amazing after a hard workout.

Runners Beware!! Put Safety First!!

On my way to work this morning, I was horrified to read of two young women among the running community were brutality attacked, raped and murdered while out running near their homes this past week, one only 27 visiting her family in Massachusetts and the other just 30 in Queens New York …. I am deeply saddened for them and their friends and families. As an avid exercise enthusiast, I love running … it is a time dedicated to me. A time to clear my head and just live in the moment! Any attack is awful, however, to be running, free and happy and suddenly, out of nowhere, stopped by a vicious, brutal attack is devastating and so very scary … I shutter at the very thought.

Over this past weekend, there was a run dedicated to these women in New York. Obviously, I missed that, plus it was a little far, however, I wanted to use my blog, which I absolutely love, to make my own small tribute.

According to the Philly Metro, in regards to running, Philadelphia has not encountered any recent brutal attacks … knock on wood. However, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with resources available to us as women in the running community.

Mace

Is Mace legal in Philadelphia and in PA, yes! According to the most recent article I could find, Pepper Spray Laws in the United States, PA has no restrictions. Mace kind of scares me … what if I spray myself in the face? I did some research and didn’t find any tips on avoiding self inflicted harm other than common sense … do not point spray at self and keep the safety on at all times. However, in my search I stumbled upon Pepper Spray for Self Defense … no safety tips, but a very thorough article on the history and effects of pepper spray in addition to a plethora of helpful facts … It’s good. Give it a read.

Where to buy Mace in Pepper Spray in Philadelphia

I Goldberg Army & Navy
1300 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-9393

Rittenhouse Hardware
2001 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 735-6311

Dicks Sporting Goods
Purchase online

Self Defense

Self defense classes are frequently offered through out the city. Here are the first nine I found on Google:

Browse around … check them out! Pick what is right for you.

In the interim, stay safe, pick up some mace and, as always, Happy Running!!

Eating, Drinking, Walking, Exploring Williamsburg, NY

John Paul and I just finished a fantastic weekend eating, drinking and walking with our friends through Brooklyn … I miss it all already!!

We began our excursion reuniting with our friends from Boston and settling into an Airbnb in Williamsburg, NY. With no plan except to find food, we set out to see where the night would go … A bit of exploring, landed us at The Brooklyn Star. Excellent find … the food was incredible! As a table, we shared homemade Corn bread with chunks of bacon. For dinner, John Paul and I split fried steak served with creamy mashed potatoes, bacon and cole slaw. It was perfect. I sort of wish we had ordered the mac and cheese as a table .. I was the weirdo staring at another table sharing it … It looked so good. However, honestly, another dish would have been ridiculous. We had more than enough food. No one even finished what we had!!

Saturday, I got up early to go to Abhyasa Yoga, but missed the 8am class due to lazziness and didn’t want to to be the jerk holding up the rest of our group by going to the 10am class. I settled for a run … just a thirty minute jog … it was like a getting to know the neighborhood during the day jog. The morning continued with a breakfast at Bagel Smith, a bagel shop around the corner. I scarfed down lox and cream cheese on an everything bagel with an iced coffee … it was delicious, but, the best part of this stop was the woman handing out cookies at the door. She barely spoke english and wore no type of clothing indicating who she who she worked for and was accompanied by a strange man lurking in the corner. She handed out scrumptious light wafer cookie in the shape of a tube filled with caramel … I have no idea if her presents was authorized by the Bagel Smith, but I am glad she was there.

Following breakfast, we began wandering though the Hasidic Jew section of Brooklyn towards Fort Greene Flea. It was an awesome walk. Being the Sabbath, everything was closed, but it was interesting to take in the culture of the neighborhood … buildings and buses with Yidish writing, heavy traditional clothing even in the heat of the summer and children’s toys strewn through the safe streets of this seemingly tight nit community. After winding our way for about five miles, we took a break at Moot Bar for a round of Megaritas. They were strong. Very strong. So, a now slightly tipsy adventure team made it to Fort Greene Flea. It was alright. A parking lot partly filled with random abandon items. I know that is what a flea market is, but I was more expecting a closed off street with a lot more of something.

2016-08-08 21.09.45

Anyway, after the flea market, we ended up at a record store, where John Paul found a record with a magic eye cover for our Airbnb host … no, we do not know him, but it just seemed like the perfect addition to our hosts decor. And, we purchased a smurf album for 1 dollar that we will hang in the blue room of our house. It is perfect.

smurf

Exhausted, we ubered it to our next stop, Zona Rosa!!! Amazing. I had Tacos De Pollo con Mol, which I selected because the menu description mentioned “chef secret family mole recipe” and I feel like it’s difficult to go wrong with secret family recipes … I was correct!

tacos

We all accompanied our meals with the special, frozen watermelon margarita served in a watermelon. Very refreshing. And, at the end, we scrapped the margarita soaked watermelon from the grind … good idea!

watermelon

We spent the rest of the evening in the airbnb drinking Titos and playing games!!

The next morning, we slept in and started off the day with a Bells Two Harded. We weren’t going to carry it around and couldn’t let them go to waste. We continued on with Brunch at 10 Devoe Pizza. Another gem we randomly stumbled upon on our Brooklyn adventure. The whole menu looked fantastic … I went with 10 Devoe Hash: slab bacon, roasted brussel sprouts and onions, and two sunny eggs over a thick slice of spicy toast and washed it down with a mimosa. It was even better then it sounds.

Sadly, the conclusion of brunch, meant the departure of our friends. It was time for John Paul and I to go our separate way. Left to our own devices, we opted to walk from Brooklyn to Penn Station via the Williamsburg Bridge … with our suit cases! Our walk included crazy stares from fellow pedestrians and honks from cabs both perplexed by our decision to truck around the city with rolling suite cases. But none of that mattered … the walk was gorgeous and we had a blast!! It was the perfect ending to a fantastic weekend!

bridge

No rest days in August … #cfgstreak

This week has been a really fun!! I didn’t make anymore new dishes after my sucessfull smoothie and salad endeavors on Monday, but, as previously mentioned, I’m doing the City Fit Girl Challenge (#cfgstreak)…. 31 days straight of physical activity through the month of August. I’m not going to lie, it has helped me immensely. I understand this may sound dramatic as it has only been five days, but there have been several occassions throughout the week where I would have taken a rest day and didn’t. I pushed myself to get up and keep moving. It also got me to take more pictures, which I often forget. But, in this instance, I was motivated by fear. Fear of being the chick with the boring tweets .. Worked like a charm!!!

I previously shared my Monday workout, so I begin my post with Tuesday … my girlfriend and I had a dinner date. I was lucky, ordinarily dinner after work means an early morning wake up to exercise, but she is a workout machine. We decided to go to go to CorePower Yoga before our outing… we took corepower 2. It kicked my butt. By the end, I was dazed from the intensity of the workout … my hands were waterlogged and my hair drenched in sweat. I loved it, but was sure I would be sore in the next day or two.
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Wednesday, I wasn’t sore at all!! However, as the day moved on, I got tired. So much so, I may have ordinarily taken a I rest day, but I pushed through and took a little two mile run after work. I’m so glad I did. I didn’t need a rest day at all. Three minutes in, all the tiredness washed away and I was trucking!!
Screenshot_2016-08-03-19-49-30
I celebrated Thirsty Thursday with a post work happy hour. However, this time, I was with folks unwilling to join me for an intense sweaty yoga class before the bar … that means I had to get up at 5:30 am for kettlebells in my family room. This serves as another example when I may have nixed the workout, turned over and gone back to sleep, but I’m too damn competitive for that… Sadly, my kettlebell photo is not uploading … http error. I can’t fix it now as I’m on a train, but I can describe what I did… I used a routine previously mentioned in this blog from Be Well Philly.
Try it!! It’s full body … My favorite:

20 kettlebell swings
10 squat thrusts with high pull
20 reverse lunges with kettlebell
10 pullovers
20 kettlebell crunches
10 lateral lunges with overhead press
20 kettlebell chest presses
10 lunge rows
20 ab twists
Repeat!!

This morning, I got up for a quick mile run … that counts according to the CFG Streak criteria …
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Now, John Paul and I are on our way to NYC to visit some friends. I brought my workout clothes in hope the opportunity to exercise presents itself. Im looking for a yoga class or quick run … maybe even my own workout in the airbnb, otherwise, I will pick up where I left off Monday … looking forward to a fantastic weekend!!!

City Fit Girls Work out Challenge … #cfgstreak

It’s Monday and my week is already off to a fantastic start! Yesterday, I dragged myself to the gym … I did not want to go. It has been so hot that I just want to lounge in a pool and drink margaritas. But, I forced myself to go to the gym and, as expected, I’m thrilled that I did … I started week six of the couch to 5k program … Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then: Jog 5 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, Jog 8 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, and Jog 5 minutes … I cooled down with a walk home from the gym.

Today, I began the thirty one day fitness challenge from City Fit Girls. The goal is to workout every day in the month of August and then post your workout via social media with #cfgstreak … workouts include running a mile, a half hour tabata, an hour of yoga, a spin class, boot camp, kickboxing etc. So, after work, I went back to the gym where I was supposed to start with a brisk five minute walk followed by 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, and ten minutes running, however, I felt so great after 10 minutes that I just kept going … 20 minutes total. No walking. I proceeded to a 60 minute still yoga at Soujourn. First day of the CFG challenge down, thirty more to go … I posted both my workouts together on twitter.

In addition to a couple of great workouts, I started Monday off with a smoothie of kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, blueberries, pear and a tablespoon of honey. It looks disgusting. I tried to make it more appealing by garnishing it with a few blueberries, but they kept sinking.

smoothie

Regardless, this smoothie was delicious. And, I have left over ingredients to make more tomorrow … John Paul doesn’t like green smoothies so it is all for me!!!

For lunch, I made my own version of a super food salad…..

chicken

Kale, romaine, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, dried cranberries, a quarter of an avocado, and four ounces of chicken. I mixed in Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado dressing. It was awesome!

Couch to 5K …. Week Five. Four weeks to go!!!

Thank goodness it’s the weekend. I am ready for some relaxation after a busy week. Workout wise, I finished week 5 of the couch to 5k. Day one was described in my earlier blog post … day two was a brisk five minute warm up walk, 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking and 8 minutes of walking. I walked home as my cool down and did a lot of stretching. The third and final day of week five had to take place at 6am Friday morning #dedication. It’s actually because I bailed on working out on Monday, which messed up my schedule and I needed to squeeze in my workout … Day three was a brisk five minute walk followed by twenty minutes of running and a five minute cool down walk. While i made it through just fine despite some muscle stiffness of the early morning, I felt like this was a large jump if you have never run before. I am used to training programs that start with running as much as I can whether it be three minutes or three miles and slowly add on more time every week. This training schedule has been effective for me in the past, but I wanted to try something new so I am sticking to my current regiment.

In other news, I went to Apollo Grill in Bethlehem Friday. It was fantastic. I had the Superfood Salad and my mouth is watering just thinking about it now …. Spinach, kale, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, blueberries, toasted almonds, crumbled blue cheese, strawberry- and a light lemon vinaigrette. I wanted so very badly to take a picture, but I was at a work lunch and felt it may be inappropriate. I will just have to try and recreate this salad in the near future and take a picture of my own salad then!!

As the week ended, I promised myself I would relax all weekend, however, it occurred to me this morning that I did no weight training this week. So, I felt obliged to make it up with early morning Flow at Sojourn. It was hard …. dragging myself out of bed early, but completely worth it. I feel great. Now, I plan to add some bailey’s to my coffee to take on a walk with John Paul … it is that kind of day.

Spinach and Tortellini Salad

On Monday, I got up at 5:30am to start week five, day 1 of the couch to 5k workout, but a severe thunderstorm hindered my ability to get out of bed. I tried to get up so early because I was supposed to play tennis with my dad after work, but, due to excessive heat, we ended up drinking wine and eating sushi … it was fun. So, since, due to excessive weather trouble, Monday turned into a rest day, I went to the gym promptly after work Tuesday for for a brisk five-minute warm up walk proceeded by the following: jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes. This puts me at 15 minutes of running … half way to a 5k … exciting!! I cooled down with a walk to the Craft Beer Store to meet up with John Paul for some wind down beers.

beer

After a beer or two, I had every intention of going home to make Spinach and Tortellini Salad from the website, 3 Boys Unprocessed, but it turned into something more like this ….
Ingredients:
1 package of Sausage Tortellini
1 carton of Cherry Tomatoes
1 bag of Spinach
4oz log of goat cheese
3 tbs Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Directions.
Cook Tortellini according to package. My package called for salt … I left it out as I am trying not to put extra salt in my diet … the tortellini was still delicious. Drain pasta and let cool in fridge. While pasta is cooling, cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop spinach into bite size pieces and crumble goat cheese. Mix all mentioned ingredients thoroughly. Add Cilantro Avocado Dressing, or any dressing of your choice and mix thoroughly.
Finished product (dinner and lunch):

Finished productLunch

It was fantastic! And, I had plenty of left overs for lunch for me and John Paul for the rest of the week. I don’t ordinarily like having pasta for lunch, especially tortellini, but tortellini mixed with spinach and tomatoes and a minimal amount of cheese is a perfect mid day meal! I would love to try the originial recipe provided by Dana, the author of 3 Boys Unprocessed, but for now my altered recipe is another idea to store in my recipe index!

Lunch at Terrain

The second half of my week was jammed packed with physical activity. Wednesday was my rest day, but my building at work had yoga at lunch. I attended with my co-workers. It was more like bed yoga … relaxing, stretching yoga, but it got me away from my desk and moving in the middle of the day.

Thursday, I got up at 5:30am and went to the gym to complete day two in week four of the couch to 5k program Brisk five-minute warm up walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes. I warmed down with my walk home from the gym. I wish I had the motivation to get up that early everyday … once it is over, I feel great for the rest of the day.

Friday, after work, I went to Yoga Sculpt at Corepower Yoga. Amazing class that combines, weights, yoga and cardio in one quick hour. And, it was the third yoga class I was able to attend this week.

Saturday, I completed day three of week four in couch 2 5k. Then, my mom and I went to Terrain in Glen Mills for lunch. The food and atmosphere we perfect. We sat inside and shared the Quinoa Salad (spinach, olive, feta, olive oil and salmon) and the Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad (burrata, arugula, white wine vinaigrette and shrimp). We completed our meal with Triple Berry Buttermilk Cake (lemon curd, vanilla bean buttercream). Way too much food, but worth it all!!

SALMON2 Shrimp 2

Post lunch, I went too burn some of it off with swim in my friend’s pool … it started raining shortly after I arrived, but it was fun while it lasted.

I didn’t cook or prepare or make any food for the week except for overnight oats. Instead, I finished off the weekend with a swim on Sunday afternoon followed by a long walk to hit my 10,000 steps on fitbit.

Sojourn Yoga and Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats

Tuesday began week 4 of the couch to 5k work out: Brisk five-minute warm up walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes. The entire sequence takes 26.5 minutes. I added an additional 3.5 minutes to make it an even thirty and= to cool down … I have noticed this workout training guide does not include cool downs … I imagine stopping abruptly is not advised and, have been adding a cool down to all my runs even if it is just walking home from the gym. Immediately following, I went to a 7:30 flow class taught by Marilyn to Sojourn Yoga in Drexel Hill to stretch myself out. Sojourn is my absolute favorite yoga studio … it’s so peaceful. And, the owner, Liz, is the person who introduced me to yoga … she is the best. It’s just a nice place to be and I felt great upon leaving.
At home, we had mac and cheese left overs … not a good idea. The dish was much better the day of.

However, my attempt at healthy cooking did not end with mac and cheese. Every day this week, I have been making overnight oats with peanut butter and banana for breakfast. I picked this recipe up from someone in one of my fitness classes, but it was so along ago, I don’t remember who or when taught me. It’s slightly high in calorie, but keeps me full all morning.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup natural whole grain old fashion oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter
1 banana

To make:
Mix all ingredients together in a small container of your choice. i use Tupperware so i can bring it to work in the morning. Let mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, stir mixtures, heat in microwave, stir again and enjoy. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I add an equal packet.

Healthier Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese in 15 Minutes

Woo hoo!! This week was fantastic! I got right back into the routine of working out and trying to cook healthy meals. Due to my missed week of training, I busted out week three of the couch to 5k in two days, Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then two repetitions of the following: Jog 90 seconds, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 3 minutes, Walk three minutes. The first session, as previously mentioned, was on Sunday followed by 4 sets of Tabata. On Monday, I repeated the sequence twice and nixed any weight training.

I went home and made 15 Minute Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese from Ambitious Kitchen …. Slightly modified. I was thrilled to find this recipe. I am a huge mac and cheese lover, but always try to stay away from it because it is so unhealthy, but this recipe offered a great alternative. I put a link above to the original recipe, but here is what I did:

16 oz whole grain Rottini (only because this is what we had in the house and I have been wanting to use it).
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 package GO Veggie! Lactose and Soy Free Cheddar Shreds (about 2 ½ cups)
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 head of broccoli
Several dashes of Garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Cook noodles according to package directions in a large pot. This is important … I accidentaly used a small pot and it was a disaster. I recovered, but it was irratating. A few minutes before pasta is finished cooking, addd chopped brocolli. Drain cooked pasta and broccoli and pour back into the pot. Return to heated stove. Reduce heat to low and immediately add in butter, almond milk and GO Veggie! Cheddar Shreds. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until cheese begins to melt and form into a nice and thick sauce … If the sauce is to thick, add more Almond Milk. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. And, finish with pepper to taste. Makes about 7 servings.

I loved it and so did John Paul … the cheese was gooey and delicious. However, my girlfriend hated it …. she and her family thought there was a funny after taste to the cheese … She added a ton of hot sauce and it all worked out. I didn’t detect an after taste, but she also did not include the garlic, bread crumbs and pepper. I will be adding this to my recipe index for future use.