Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gingerbread Protein Smoothie {Recipe}

Anyone else sick of sugar cookies and egg nog? Not yet? I've had a few raging sugar hangovers recently due to the influx of Christmas-y social commitments and all I've been craving is green salads. I was desperately missing my sugar fix before a recent workout, but instead of hitting the cookie jar, I opted for this smoothie.

It's packed with a whopping 25 grams of protein so it's a satisfying snack. And the natural sweetener from the blackstrap molasses actually has some surprising health benefits. It has a lower glycemic index and grater nutrient density than regular molasses and it contains a ton of good-for-you minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium. The fresh ginger soothes upset stomachs (calming our sugar-overloaded digestive tract) and really makes this smoothie have an authentic gingerbread flavor.

Gingerbread Holiday Protein Smoothie
Serves 1 or 2

1 scoop Pure Matters® Vanilla Pea Protein Powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
granola (optional)

1. Blend all ingredients (except granola) together until smooth.

2. Pour into a glass. Top with granola. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vacationing in Wine Country + Philly Half Marathon Training {Weeks 1-4}

So, a couple things since we last chatted.

Fall arrived here in New York! And I was so ready for it. It's gradually becoming my favorite season. Summer used to trump all the others, but muggy just does not look good on me. I'm looking forward to chunky sweaters in earthy colors, knee-high boots, circle scarves, wine-colored nail polish, root vegetables, hearty soups, Central Park covered in leaves, perfect running weather and of course, all things pumpkin.

Before that, though, I spent a blissful week in Napa Valley with my family and Tom to celebrate my little brother's 21st birthday. Punk. I also decided to call this trip a 4-year belated celebration for my 21st birthday.

As you can imagine, it was absolutely beautiful. Seriously, they don't make clouds in Napa. Or humidity. Just really, really good wine and food and scenery.


Tom's uncle is a chef at an incredible new restaurant in Sonoma Valley called Glen Ellen Star, just a little ways away from Napa Valley, so we got treated to a VIP dinner one night--and I don't think I've ever fit so much good food into my belly in one sitting. His uncle even said it was the most food he's ever made for a five-top table. It was all so damn good. Still dreaming about that meal...

During this fabulous time in Wine Country, however, my first week of half marathon training started. Note to self: don't start training for a race on a vacation that involves drinking wine at 10 a.m. every day. Against those odds, I did still manage to get in a scenic 3-mile run while I was there (and another 3-miler the day before I left for my trip).

Since then, though, my training has been less than stellar. I'm hitting my long run every week but I am only running once a week, twice if I'm lucky. I keep comparing my training for this race to my training for the Broad Street Run, which was much more consistent and effective. And I think there are two major reasons why I'm not in the BSR training mindset:

1. I'm now at a job that doesn't give me the flexibility to work out in the middle of the day. At my last job, I was able to go for a 6-mile run at 2 p.m. in Central Park or go downstairs to the gym for a lunchtime yoga class. I'm now at a job that I love, but that I'm still adjusting to--there's a bigger time commitment, more conference calls throughout the day and about a million more things on my to-do list. Running during work is out of the question, so I need to run either in the morning before work or in the evening after work which can be unreliable and unpredictable with my current work schedule.

2. I've fallen out of a consistent non-running workout routine. I've been traveling every weekend (in addition to my Napa vacation) for literally the past 6 weeks. When I'm not in a routine at home and feel like there's disruption, I tend to let (extremely important) things like going to the gym regularly and cooking healthy meals go by the wayside. When I was training for BSR, I was running three times a week and doing strength training classes or cardio classes in addition two or three times a week. I notice  a difference in my speed and endurance now that I'm not doing those as often this time around.

I'm not trying to claim these reasons as excuses. But I've been using these reasons as an excuse for the past four weeks of training. And I'm sick of it. I read Theodora's post last weekend as I was literally sitting on my bedroom floor at my parents' house in my pajamas deciding whether or not I should do my scheduled 7-mile run. And running through every possible excuse for why I shouldn't run. My parents' neighborhood is much hillier than mine in Brooklyn so I'd probably be slower. I was tired so maybe I should drink some coffee and eat something before I decided to run. I was actually sitting there reading fitness blogs in hopes that I'd get inspired when I came across her post. I then got pissed off at myself for wasting time trying to get inspired when I could have already been outside running. I shut off my iPad, got changed and left.

This is something I need to make my running mantra:

It was 7 sloooow miles. And even during my run I had an internal battle with myself to either quit halfway or keep going. But I told my ego to shut the hell up--and I finished.

And as usual, I was much happier with my decision to run than to not run.