Start off the new year on the right foot
There is a local race on New Year’s Day here. I use the term race loosely; it’s not chip timed, but it’s still my New Year’s Day tradition. It just puts me in a good mood to “race” in the New Year.
Ditto to getting back to more normal eating.
Learn how much sugar is okay
I enjoy sugar as much (if not more) than the next person, but I also know that it’s in my best interest to limit it. But how much sugar can I get away with — because I am never planning to give up sugar completely — I’d love to know that!
Learn how to maintain my weight while increasing my mileage Last year I ran more weekly mileage than I have in a long time. This year I’m hoping to run longer, which means even more mileage. And Runger.
I would love some guidance on how to increase that mileage without gaining weight — because yes, I’m that girl: the one that gained weight training for her first half. Sure, I’ve since gone on to lose that weight and then some, but I’ve run enough halfs to know what to do now.
Beyond a half? It’s scary! And I need to fit into my running clothes!
Knowledge is power
I truly believe that you can never know too much about nutrition. Even if you’re not fascinated by it like I am, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll learn something in this course that will help you run stronger.
If there’s one thing I know about losing weight (or just eating healthy), it’s that you need support — whether that’s your SO, BRF, or a facebook group filled with runners who have many of the same issues as you.
Ya feel me? Ya with me? If so use code “CHOCOLATE” when you sign up at this page hereto receive $5 off of the Fit and Fueled Nutrition for Runners course — but hurry — today is the last day to pay $39; the price goes up tomorrow.
So let me know in the comments:
Will you be joining me to learn more about nutrition for runners?
It was both a PW (personal worst) and a PB (personal best) — PW in terms of finish time, PB in terms of #holottafun.
In fact, I’m kind of wimping out even calling this a race recap and posting it, but I guess you’ll need to read on to see why.
Packet Pickup After last year’s long wait in the packet pickup line — read about it here— (not to mention the snow), I got to packet pickup more than an hour early and it was a breeze — later on, indeed, there were long lines.
Every year the “swag” bag gets more and more disappointing. I didn’t run this race back when they used to give out windbreakers, darn it! Just a sad non-technical thin long sleeve tee and a light (that apparently only lasted the length of the race for some).
Which left me plenty of time to hit the bathroom (and again later with Running Buddy C). The first time there was no line at all.
Plan — what plan? My usual plan for this race: have fun, and maybe take a few photos. But no photos outside this year — they just never come out worthwhile, so I’m using Running Buddy’s C photos — except for the snaps of the costumes.
As the other Judy said (several of the Wineglass girls reunited for the race), the costumes are almost the best part of the race.
I even got in on the action with a Christmas/Hannukah beanie and Hannukah socks. I never started my Garmin, so no mile pace info.
So how’d that work for me?
Mile 1: We started out walking. As I discovered when I shoveled the driveway on Sunday, this wasn’t just snow — it was an icy mix. Very slippery. It’s also crowded, and there’s a small section on cobblestone. I’d say probably half of the first mile was walking, and the other half was a slog — there were parts that weren’t so slippery and we ran where we could.
Mile 2: There are some good uphills in this mile. It’s also the mile that goes through the holiday lights in the park. Again, we had to walk some, but slogged where we could. And when we were slogging (which stands for slow jog, by the way), we didn’t walk at all.
Miles 3: It’s downhill to the finish, but it was very slippery (as Darlenediscovered the hard way right at the finish line). Mostly walking. Even walking there were a few close calls for some of us.
Last .1: We did slog across the finish line. Below you can see Running Buddy C and me (I use the term loosely — she’s faster than me, so we never actually run together) looking as if someone asked for our wallets crossing the finish line.
I never consider this one a race, and I never race it. As you can see below, my times get progressively slower and slower but that’s because I end up walking & talking with friends. If it isn’t snowing next year, though, I’m willing to bet I can improve on this year’s time!
2017: 54:17 (snowing again!)
2014 – 34:27
2013: 38:10 (snowing!)
The weather & dressing It was a cold and the snow was really coming down: North Face Thermoball, Skirtsports Wonder Wool Tee and Skirtsports Heartbreaker Skirt (I’m a Skirtsports Ambassador), and Mudgear Compression socks with Hannukah socks over them.
I was pretty comfortable, but we were really covered with snow and it kept blowing into eyes and mouths and being kind of annoying, although it did make for a very pretty (albeit slippery) “race”.
The double socks help keep my feet dry, until I stepped in a puddle about midway through. Running Buddy J’s feet were wet from the get-go, unfortunately. Maybe next year I’ll get some obnoxious holiday leggings like Running Buddy J (just kidding! — they weren’t obnoxious).
Was the race well run?
Mostly. Perhaps they should have canceled this year? There were a lot of falls. It wasn’t sanded or salted (except for just a few spots in the park). That line for packet pickup got really long again, but if you get there early it was a breeze.
There was also an option for a free parking garage this year, but it was quite a hike from the race start — I had no desire to walk to and from the race in the snow, so I parked in my usual place — the Egg’s Visitor Center’s lot — it costs just $5 and that’s where the packet pickup is; you don’t even have to go outside until the race starts.
We had high hopes for Whole Foods as the food provider this year — when we finished, there were just apples and water. Apparently earlier there had been bananas. Hey Whole Foods — how about some hot chocolate? Some bars? Bagels? Peanut Butter?
Well, we were all headed back to my house for a potluck/bookclub meeting anyway. So don’t get me wrong when I say this race was a PW — we had lots of fun. No one (except Darlene) was hurt, and she says it’s not that bad. The fireworks are really cool, although it would actually be nice if they were a tad shorter — it’s almost always cold out there! Despite the weather, the subpar tee and refreshments, it’s always a fun time and I’ll be back next year — as long as I’m in town.
Last month of 2017. Last “race” of 2017. Nope, definitely not a PR this time, but it was snowing and slippery and we took our sweet time — but we had a lot of fun. When I went to shovel the driveway this afternoon, I discovered just why it was so slippery — it was an icy mix. Oddly the roads weren’t that bad for driving, but they sure weren’t great for running.
Sadly, with the snow yesterday and more in the forecast and the continued unseasonable cold weather (even for December), our running options just got a lot smaller. Once that snow comes down, most paths are unrunnable until almost summer!
I’m joining up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ Misssipppiddlin who just ran a half together again. Seriously, two halfs in two weeks. These women are beasts! And always ready to support the other women of the weekly wrap.
Monday: Dogwalk, 5 miles easy (cold & wind seems a Monday theme)
*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links
Seriously? I don’t remember this run. The only thing I wrote in my journal, other than time, distance & pace, was that I took Bandit with me for the first 2.25 miles. Definitely no negative splits this day.
Bandit didn’t seem interested so I left him to snooze in peace; I figured he figured rain was imminent.
Again, no negative splits — the opposite, although really overall, it was a pretty consistent run. It began to spit the last mile.
Running Buddy J & I met up for our “long” run. Well, she did an 8 mile run (she has a half in February), while I just joined her for the last 5. I kind of wanted to do 6, but it was a very busy chore & errand filled day.
It was super gray, we ended the run running into the wind, but it wasn’t super cold and of course #runningisalwaysbetterwithfriends. And it’s rare I run with someone during the week.
There was no group run in the morning because there was the Last Run 5k in the evening. With snow imminent, and colds making the rounds, people were dropping out.
I’ll save the recap for another day, but despite the fact it was a PW (that would be personal worst time), we had a ton of fun. Five of the Wineglass girls “ran” it — Running Buddies J & C & I took our sweet time, mostly walking, but running when it wasn’t too slippery (yes, it was snowing).
Favorites of the week
After Last Run I had invited everyone back to the house (whether you raced or not) for a potluck. I provided the soup and desserts, and told them to bring whatever else they wanted.
Because we were getting more snow than predicted, I told everyone I would completely understand if they just wanted to go home (none of them live close to me), but they all braved the snow. I guess they really wanted that soup.
We also instituted what we hope is not the only bookclub meeting. Although I think most were hoping to discuss a novel, since I was hosting and happened to be reading it already, I chose Mirna Valerio’s “A Beautiful Work in Progress” (Amazon Affiliate link), which just happened to be Wendy @ Takingthelongwayhome’s bookclub pick last month, too.
Most likely going forward the books won’t be about running, but hey, my house, my pick! I have very mixed feelings about the book, and the opinions were quite varied too. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s points of view.
. . . or what I use to stay healthy in cold season
Colds seem to be everywhere right now. And who has time for that? Or loves that stuffed up, can’t breath, I’m gonna hack up a long feeling?
Today I am joining up with the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitnessand Rachel @Running on Happyto share five things I do to keep colds at bay. Disclaimer: this post includes Amazon Affiliate links; you pay the same price, but I get a very small amount of money from your purchase.
Tea & Soup. Lots & lots of it.
I drink tea year round, but when the temperatures dives, I drink a lot more tea than plain water. It’s just so soothing to hold a warm mug on a cold day. Truly most kinds of tea have some antioxidant properties, but when I’m feeling run down, here are a few I turn to:
Tulsi Green Tea. Made from the herb Holy Basil, it can help boost your immune system. I drink some in the morning when I feel run down.
I also turn from salads to soups as it gets colder (although I don’t abandon salads altogether). Matzo ball soup is my go-to if I’m actively sick, but I like to make a pot of soup most weeks. You can find a few recipes on my Pinterest soup board here.
Have you picked up on a common theme here? Tea, soup, green smoothies . . . hydration, hydration, hydration. And not the overly sweet coffee drinks, either.
There are far fewer in season fresh fruits and vegetables available during the colder months. And especially if I’m feeling run down, I just may not crave my veggies. Smoothies are a great way to get in freggies, and you can add a lot of variety with frozen fruits and vegetables that are often frozen at their peak — the produce you find in the grocery store may have been picked before they were ripe and traveled many miles.
Limit Your Sugar I’m not a grinch or the diet police. Of course you’re going to indulge in more than usual sugar this time of year (those coffee drinks, again!), but you don’t have to OD on the stuff.
Pick and choose what is really worth it to you. Get in that tea, regular coffee, the soup, and maybe try a smoothie. Then when there’s a cookie or a slice of pie really calling your name, enjoy every, single, ooey, gooey bite (especially with the knowledge that you’ve already gotten in those freggies).
And if it’s calling just a little too loudly, it’s totally cool to throw it out (or gift to someone else who might appreciate — like my husband’s coworkers). It’s not going to benefit starving children anywhere, and who wouldn’t like to end the year the same weight as they started it (or close to it)?
While there isn’t a lot of science to support the effects of echinacea on a cold, there is more science to support the effect of zinc. I take these Zinc Elderberry lozenges on a fairly frequently basis. Again, if I’m feeling run down, or if I know I’ve been around a lot of people with colds, or again, if I’m traveling.
Of course too much of a good thing isn’t good for you. And per this article from the Mayo clinic (read it here), I’d stay away from zinc sprays.
Although truly meant to ward off the flu if you’ve already got symptoms, I find that if I’m feeling run down and feeling like I’m coming down with something, Oscillo often helps. I do have to take it for a few days before I feel better. I almost always travel with some.
Oscillo is a homeopathic remedy, and as such, most scientists would not support its use. Is it the placebo effect? All I know is that it seems to help me.
So let me know in the comments:
What’s the first thing you reach for when you’re feeling run down?
Any tried and true cold-busing recipes I should know about?
How’s that holiday shopping coming along — any great deals to share?
Now you’ve decided you want an Instant Pot (buy the 6 qt Duo Plus from Amazon here— Affiliate link), you’ve bought it, it’s sitting there on your counter . . . what will you do with it?
First Things First
First, per the instructions, you do the steam test.
It’s just a matter of putting in some water and creating steam. You do that to make sure your Instant Pot pressurizes properly.
Our First Meal Was a vegan meal. Think an Instant Pot is only for meat eaters? Think again. I made a black bean quinoa dish as our first meal. Mainly because it was a recipe from a food blogger that I’ve followed a long time and trust.
Mr. Judy, who is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, was not real enthusiastic, but honestly, that had zero to do with the Instant Pot. He’s just not a fan of quinoa or beans, but I believe it’s good for him to have the occasional veggie meal, especially after all the Thanksgiving indulgences.
I’m not sure that the quinoa was completely cooked through — it seemed just a tad crunchy — but I enjoyed the meal and then had multiple lunches out of it. You can find that recipe on my Pinterest Instant Pot board here.
If I’d planned to write a post on the Instant Pot, I would have taken a lot more photos! I had no plans, but once I saw how many people were interested, I thought I’d share.
Frozen fish Next up was fish that was frozen. I’m forever forgetting to take stuff out to thaw, it seems. Granted, you can also cook frozen fish in the oven, and I have, but it takes longer. Much longer.
It came out a little dry, but I actually increased the cooking time by one minute because I thought I was making more fish than the recipe called for — I made both salmon and cod, as Mr. Judy is also not a fan of salmon.
This is where that steep learning curve comes in. With some experimentation, I’m pretty sure I’ll get tender, flaky fish from frozen in much less time than it would take in the oven. This will probably also be a great time to explore the pot in pot method — once I have an appropriate pot — for a “one” pot meal (or at least the whole meal cooked in the Instant Pot.
Brisket I have made brisket in a slow cooker a few times. It’s definitely not TX BBQ, but I do throw Mr. Judy a bone, so to speak, every once in a while.
At first I was thinking of just doing a steak, but then the light bulb went off. Basically the whole thing (2 briskets) was done in about 2 hours, including prep (let sit with dry rub on for 30 minutes, sear) and cooking and depressurizing.
The pieces with a lot of fat on them were tender; the pieces with less fat were a little dry. That may just need an adjustment in cooking time. More? Less? I’m still confused about that one. Still far better (and quicker) than my attempts with a slow cooker.
Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Typically, my attempts at hard boiled eggs have ended in green tinged hard boiled eggs. So I just buy them. Except sometimes I don’t eat 6 hard boiled eggs before they go bad.
4 eggs. 15 minutes start to finish (including 5 minutes in an ice bath) and voila! Indeed, perfect hard boiled eggs. And only 4, which is probably just perfect for us.
Brown Rice We have a rice cooker; one of the best things we ever bought, by the way. You can also cook quinoa in it. It takes a lot longer than the Instant Pot does. Technically it cooks rice in 4 minutes, but then there’s the whole pesky pressure/depressure thing. It’s still far quicker than my rice cooker.
We used to make rice in a pot on the stove, by the way — but for whatever reason, it always boiled over on our stove in this house (never used to be a problem). After seeing how much my SIL loved her rice cooker, we bought one.
The brown rice probably came out perfect, except we like our brown rice sticky, not fluffy. I never actually liked rice until Mr. Judy made “sticky rice”. It will again just take some experimentation to find out the right settings for us. I am almost out of quinoa, so that is probably next up. I like to make some to always have some on hand (same with rice). I also plan to be cooking up some dried beans — my first time ever! I’m looking forward (I hope) to saying goodbye to canned beans. Forever.
I am not an Instant Pot expert. Heck, I’ve had the thing less than a week. But since I got a lot of comments on it in my Weekly Wrap post (read it here), I thought I’d share what I do know about it. So far.
Of course, the very first question is do runners need an Instant Pot? Seriously, no one needs anything. But I think most runners who actually cook for themselves could definitely benefit from the time saving abilities of an Instant Pot. And for the meal preppers, this is an awesome tool.
Be aware, though, that there’s a relatively steep learning curve for it and you need to be willing to experiment. Although I think that’s part of the fun.
As I mentioned, I bought Duo 6 quart Plus Instant Pot on Amazon here(Amazon Affiliate link). It was a Cyber Monday deal and a lot cheaper. Be patient and I’m sure there will be more good deals soon.
What is an Instant Pot? An Instant Pot is a programmable pressure cooker, but it’s also a lot more:
Pot you can saute in
Cooking food under pressure allows it to cook much quicker than conventional methods.
Yes, sometimes I wonder if there’s something it doesn’t do, but of course there is: despite the saute function, if you want a nice crisped turkey you’re going to have to finish it off in the oven. But it will cook that turkey way faster than roasting it in the oven.
Is it scary like my grandma’s pressure cooker? Yes and no. Apparently most people get it and leave it on their counters for a while because they’re scared of the thing. I got mine and used it the very same day it came, which doesn’t mean I wasn’t a tad scared of it.
Unlike old pressure cookers, though, you are very unlikely to blow yourself up with it; there are far more safety measures. In fact, I had one of the huge, older pressure cookers that I used to can with (and in fact, an Instant Pot isn’t a canner, although I’ll bet there’s a hack for that).
You do have to be careful opening it and moving the steam vent. Yes, it’s possibly to burn yourself, but if you take the proper precautions — don’t lean over it when opening the lid or moving the vent from sealed to venting, tilt the lid away from yourself when opening it, use a wooden spoon to turn the knob from sealing to venting, you’ll be just fine.
It doesn’t make a lot of noise and it doesn’t move around.
Will it really save me time? Yes, but it’s not “instant” — it’s a catchy name, but definitely not true. Instant Pot recipe cooking times don’t include the time it takes to come to pressure and release that pressure when your food is done cooking.
Typically it will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure (about the time it takes to boil water). Releasing the pressure when your food is done cooking can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
There are various ways to release pressure. You can let it release naturally, which takes the longest time. You can let it release naturally for a while then open the steam vent. Or you can open the steam vent to quickly release pressure.
I haven’t had it long enough to figure out which method is best for what I’m cooking, so I just follow the recipe’s directions.
Lest you think “well, what’s the big deal then?”, last night I cooked brown rice in my Instant Pot. Full disclosure, I have a rice cooker that I love and use frequently. It took me about 30 minutes to cook the rice (including the pressurization & depressurization time). It would have taken at least three times that long to cook the rice in my rice cooker.
Yes, it will save you time, and once it’s sealed and pressurizing, you can sit back and relax. And of course it uses far less energy than your stove, and since it takes far less time, too, you’re saving on electricity.
I have a crockpot. Why do I need something new? Of course you don’t need something new. But an Instant Pot is a crockpot, too. One review I read said the crockpot function didn’t work on their particular model, but I don’t remember what model that was. I haven’t yet tested out that function on mine, but I plan to this week.
There are many accessories you can buy for your Instant Pot, and apparently a crock is one of them. Be aware that my model (and most, I think) do not come with a glass lid, but it’s an accessory you can buy (useful if you’re using your Instant Pot as a crockpot). I’ve read that if you can find a glass lid from a pot that fits it, you can just use that — that’s my plan. Pretty sure I have a 6 quart glass lid but we’ll see.
How big an Instant Pot do I need? I thought I wanted the 8 quart version because I already have a 6 quart crockpot and I know that occasionally it’s too small for the job at hand. Tuns out the same crockpot and Instant Pot are different sizes, as you can see above.
A crockpot is a simpler gadget but doesn’t do as much as an Instant Pot. Pay close attention to the dimensions when you’re looking!
I’m also intrigued by the smaller 3 quart Instant Pot. It seems the perfect size for things like rice, oatmeal, quinoa.
Can I cook multiple things at once? Why, yes, yes you can. You can actually make one pot meals — but you do need a pot that goes inside your Instant Pot, which they sell, of course. I do not have one so I have not tried this yet.
Supposedly if you can find a pot that fits, you can go with that — but apparently if something happens to your Instant Pot, that could potentially void your warranty.
How hard is it to clean? Easy peasy. Wash with soap and water or wash in the dishwasher. Like a crockpot, of course, the inner pot does take up a fair amount of space. I’ve been washing mine by hand.
The inner pot is also far lighter than a crockpot, by the way.
I’m going to try to put together another post for tomorrow with more photos and talking more about what I’ve made so far and the results I got, as well as links to more resources.
*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links
Monday was super windy; again. And although it “warmed up” as the day went on, the wind kept it feeling damn chilly. So I bumped up my pace a notch on the treadmill and got it done in the morning.
This one — not so much negative splits. It was so windy. So tired of wind. Every day they tease us with warm temps, it seems to be extremely windy (and gray) and therefore feels cold.
I took Bandit with me for the first 2 1/2 miles, which he seemed to enjoy, although he thought he should be done when we made the turn that can either go up to our house, or around again. He clearly didn’t want to go around again.
Again with the wind and cold (even if it was technically in the 40s, it sure didn’t feel like it). I came real close to another treadmill run, but I sucked it up and head out with Bandit for a mile & a half to warm up. And felt pretty grumpy about it, I must admit. Damn wind.
I dropped him off, and my pace continued to drop, as well. Another negative split run without trying for one. But when all was said and done, I felt happy that I got out there and did it.
Darlene, Running Buddy J & I mostly ran together today. Most of the speedier runners couldn’t make it. Running Buddy J will be “flying” south for the winter before I know it. Still just maintaining my base . . . which will be the theme for many months to come.
I had hoped to do a Jingle Bell 5k with a friend today, but in the end she couldn’t go and I didn’t feel like going on my own (even if it would have allowed me to relax more in the morning).
Favorites of the week
I can’t really blame my lack of presence on social media on being busy anymore, although there was yet another vet appointment for Lola (and yet another one next week, too). If you’re friends with me on my personal FB page, though, you know that I bought a new toy on Cyber Monday: an Instant Pot.
There’s a steep learning curve, but it’s far less scary than the monster pressure cooker I used many decades ago to can stuff. Nowadays I just pour hot stuff in mason jars — kind of a poor man’s canning (lazy man? woman?).
I made a quinoa and bean dish, frozen fish (as in it was frozen when I put it in the pot), and today am working on brisket. And of course I had to create a new board on Pinterest that you can find here.
I bought the 6 quart Duo Instant Pot Plus, which you can buy here(Amazon Affiliate link). It was a much better price on Cyber Monday, but you can try to use Camelcamelcamelto get sent an alert when the price drops again — I’m sure at some point it will.
We went out for breakfast after our “long” run (I definitely use that term loosely), but I was saving myself for the dessert above that evening, so I just ate a snack I had brought with me when we went out for breakfast.
And finally, I am deeply appreciative of the ladies who dropped off my wallet. I had no idea it had somehow fallen out of my bag, so I never had any angst about it — in fact, I still have no idea how it happened. The pocket I normally keep it in was zipped shut and I don’t remember ever going into it (or can imagine a reason I would have to).
Not only did some ladies find it, they actually drove to my house to return it (I was still out, but thankfully Mr. Judy was home) — it’s a good 15 minute drive from where we were running. They refused a reward and nothing was touched.
This is actually the second time I’ve had such an incident, although the two incidents were many years apart (over a decade). Thank you, whatever angel is looking out for me.