Wednesday, October 23, 2013

push through it

Today's 5k training called for a tempo run, which was supposed to be 35 minutes total: 10 mile easy warmup, 15 minutes hard at 10k pace, and then 10 minute cool down. At first glance, it doesn't look so bad.

Until I started running. And then ish got really difficult. My leg muscles were feeling some serious pain through those 15 hard minutes, and so many times I wanted to quit. I'm not too sure why this was - I ran 6 miles yesterday, like I have so many times before. And I can reassure you there has been no super intense strength training. I guess it was one of those days that my body just wasn't in it.

So I ran to Starbucks and got myself an iced chocolate chai. It was so good, and the price was tasty too - $1 holla, courtesy of being a Safeway Club Card holder. So prestigious, I know.

So that's what I got for today! Sorry for the snoozefest - maybe tomorrow I'll share an amazing squash pasta sauce recipe with you that I made for dinner. Squash sauce. What a treat. ;)

What is your ideal dinner?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

5k = one week away

I have to say, training for a 5k is quite different than training for a half or full marathon. No 20 miler? No constant exhaustion? No unsocial life? It's really a pretty sweet deal.

Since I signed up for the race a mere four weeks prior to the race, I wanted to follow the first half Hal Higdon's plan, which has worked out pretty perfectly. I'm feeling like I'm getting some good work in with the weekly speed work, and am glad to finally not be running the risk of over-training. You know, because this leads to injuries, and generally just sucks.

Instagram: mrsbwebbruns

I love how manageable the little 3-mile weekday runs are. I try to fit them in whenever I have to run errands or go somewhere and can get a ride back, which means I get a run and save on gas. Winning!

As I mentioned above, I have a serious problem with running by the seat of my pants (I don't really know if that metaphor fits but it's Saturday and this is how my brain rolls) and by how my body feels. This has led to many injuries and over-extension problems in the past, so I feel like following a training plan is just the right mechanism I need to reign myself in. I've also continued my physical therapy moves that significantly reduce any knee or hip pain I feel. It's pretty amazing how connected and in-tune different body parts are. Like who knew that weak glutes can lead to knee pain? Oh, you did? Well cool, teach me something else... ;)

One things you don't need to educate me on is how to do brunch. I got it figured out.

What's your favorite brunch item? Oh oh, and what is your favorite racing distance?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 things to get you motivated to run

We all have our days. You know the kind of day I'm talking about - your brain is nice and foggy, there doesn't seem to be enough caffeine in the world, and the couch and Netflix marriage is the best relationship you've ever been involved in. It's these days that running is not my first priority - maybe not even my fourth. 

Thanks to the Pacific Northwest beautiful Fall weather we've been having lately, I haven't had one of these sorts of days in quite awhile. But, I am prepared for when the un-motivation strikes with this little bag of tricks, which is essentially me yelling motivating things at myself - you can come up with your own script to target your own weaknesses:

1. Imagine how good you'll feel when the run is over.
No, really imagine. You're covered in sweat and salt, your heart is racing, your legs need to be intensely stretched. Remember what a freaking fantastic feeling that is? Go make it happen. The couch and "Orange is the New Black" will be there for you upon your return. When was the last time you regretted working out? Yeah, that's what I thought.

2. Who cares about the weather?
Sorry to break it to you, but the weather is always going to be around. And whether (confusing) or like it or not, pouring rain (all the time), scalding hot summers, and face-numbing winters aren't going anywhere. If you can't beat it, join it. Do what it is in your power to face the outdoors - put on a hat, load up the sunscreen, start your run at a different time, or wear 3 layers of fleece that are easy to take off as you sweat them off. Think about Scott Jurek ran for days across the desert with the Tarahumara. If he can do that, you can run around town in a little rainfall. When was the last time you regretted working out? Yeah, that's what I thought.

3. Load up your iPod with new music.
 Specifically, tunes with some dope beats. There's nothing like running and listening to your favorite song at the same time, again and again. There have been so many runs when all I listen to is one song on repeat, because that is my magic motivation for that run. That's partially how I got into running in the first place - I wanted to listen to my music, but was sick and tired of sitting around doing so while rocking in a rocking chair (true story-I'm a rocker). If you need some suggestions, you're welcome

4. Remember why you're running.
That PR won't get any more realistic if you continue warming the computer chair. Reaching your goals isn't always easy, but if you put in the work and continue to jump barriers amazing things will happen. Like a PR. When was the last time you regretted working out? Yeah, that's what I thought.

5. Wear your favorite running clothes.
When I'm running in my favorite yellow sweatshirt, I feel pretty invincable. It's the equivalent of when I take a little extra time to dress up for work in the morning, and maybe even put on some blush. There's automatically this trigger that boosts my confidence level and makes me want to strut everywhere, until I'm brought back to reality after falling on my ass or spilling food on myself. Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel good, and it will make the run that much easier to start. 

6. Think about your post-run meal.
Food is powerful, and makes me do crazy things like run 6 miles in the rain when I'm really not feeling it. Oooh, fajitas are in sight? Who cares, it's just Azteca (wait for it)....ok, just 6 miles. Or maybe you just bought some new protein powder that you want to try out. Or maybe there's a sweet bowl of Halloween candy that the neighborhood kids surely don't need that bad...

And after all that, if you still don't want to run or don't feel up to it...then don't. Succomb to the couch's sweet embrace and treat yo'self. It will make you even more motivated to get back out there tomorrow.

What suggestions do you have?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

eat out in Pullman, WA: Paradise Creek Brewery

Last weekend my entire family (minus my husband, who decided to go to the Husky game over stepping a foot in Cougar territory) ventured the 6 hours to the other side of Washington. While the rumors are true and there really isn't a whole lot to set eyes on, there is the city of Pullman, home of WSU, home of Cougar Gold cheese.

We went to visit my little brother who moved over this summer to attend school. How he grew into an adult and is living by himself is beyond me - I think trickery is involved, but I'll roll with it for now.

I had never been to the campus before, but whoa. It's beautiful. Granted, there is the Fall factor that lends a hand in making things beautiful, but I think WSU's grounds were pretty even before all the red and orange shades came into play.

While my Dad and brother watched the football game, us laaaaaaadies went to see a movie (Gravity, which fulfilled all my expectations and was awesome) and then grabbed some food at Paradise Creek Brewery. Now, I love breweries. Not only do they typically have great beer, the food is always great and the atmosphere is fun. When traveling to a new town, I always looks up their local brewery. And if there isn't one, I do not go to the town. End of story, do not collect $200.

Paradise Creek did not disappoint. The three of us all ordered different things, and they were all delicious. I got the "southern thang" burger and doctored it up with the lentil patty (amazing), sans bacon. It was really the best decision of my life. Here's its selfie (lighting wasn't on my side):

But yeah, that deep-fried pickle sealed the deal. I could eat this every day and be completely content. Even the salad was phenomenal, and it was a side salad. My mom got the grilled cheese and my sister chose the lentil burger with the mac and cheese as a side. There are no words to describe that Cougar Gold cheese they use. Wait, yeah there are - creamydecadentgooeyomg.

Oh, and the beer wasn't too shab either. ;) Oh Behave was my favorite, which unfortunately I could only handle a sip of thanks to the monstrosity that was burger.

I'll be back tomorrow with more running talk!

What is the first thing you look for when you visit a new city?

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

i signed up for a 5k

YUP! And when was the last time I raced a 5k? Ohh, July, in the hot hot heat of Northern Washington. Thankfully, this time around should be a lot cooler, given that it's at the end of this month and will most likely only be about 40 degrees. It's a Halloween Run, and it actually starts at my Elementary School, which is pretty neat.

I signed up for this race 2 weeks ago, and immediately started following this plan by Sir Higdon (who else would I trust?). I almost taked myself out of not following a plan and just running when I want according to how I feel and I realized that's probably not the smartest way to dive into it. My mileage would be all over the place, I most likely wouldn't get many speed workouts in, and I would probably get injured.

The weather has been gloriously sunny this past week, which only adds to my Fall excitement. This is my absolute  favorite time of year, and nothing beats running in the chilly air under the orange-hued leaves. The outdoor temperature really seems to balance out my blazing physical temperature and makes me not sweat 10 gallons after 2 miles.

My goal for this 5k is finish in under 20 minutes. In July, I ran it in 19 minutes (I forgot to stop my watch so that's a rough estimate - it was give or take a few seconds) so I feel this is a realistic goal given that I haven't trained as much as I had before Ragnar.

When's your next race? OH! And I need ideas on how to dress up. Obviously it needs to be running-approps, but I want to get in the Halloween spirit a little. I'm terrible at this sort of thing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

i completed a 3-day smoothie cleanse

 and this is my review of the whoooole ordeal. I realize that smoothie cleanses are the weird step-sister to juice cleanses, but smoothies are way more up my alley. They're more hefty, they don't strain out all the magic-for-you fiber, and you get all sorts of food groups in a day so that I never felt like I wasn't getting any essential nutrients (just essential food. More on that below).

Some facts: I used Dr. Ox's detox plan, because you know, he's the guru. It jived with me because there are actual food products in the dang things, and there were enough calories to keep me going throughout the day. I also completed this with 2 other friends, which was awesome because we got to complain to eachother about how hangry we were. Misery loves company, right?

I went to 2 different grocery stores to get the best deal on this truckload of produce, and my grand total per day was about $18.05. PRICEY. But put a price tag on clean innards and I guess that's what you get?

On day 1 I felt ready to tackle these smooths to the ground. I went grocery shopping the day before and got all my goodies, which invigorated me in it's own way. I love starting something new, and I really love challenging myself. Plus, this new, short-term diet of mine called for a bath - now there's something the Atkins diet was missing. Oh yeah, and carbs.

I can honestly say that every smoothie was good. They all had their own unique flavor, which was nice. I expected the green one to be really awful, but it wasn't thanks to the coconut oil and pineapple. My friend was even ballsy enough to say it tasted like a vegetable pina colada.

However, my ambition was short-lived once bedtime rolled around the first night. I was huuungry. And that's when I really started to hate this thing. Sure, I had a headache for a bit and would give my left eyeball for a cup of joe, but I expected that. I guess I had heard from so many people that juice cleanses don't really make you hungry, and I think that's BS because it just felt like I was letting my stomach talk for 2 days straight.

I went to bed on the second night telling my husband that I had to put everything in perspective and that I'm only experiencing something most of the world experiences on a regular basis. Which not only didn't help the situation at all, but made me feel really terrible for our planet. 

Oh, and you know what else makes me hungry? Green tea, which I was supposed to have every morning. It literally makes my stomach feel hollow - anyone else?

Now that I've told you how awful it made me feel, I probably don't have to say that I won't be partaking in such a thing again. I la-la-LOVE smoothies and still have one most days, but 3 days in a row without solid food just doesn't do it for me. I would be curious to try it again with maybe 5 or 6 drinks a day to see if that would be doable, since I know juice cleanses typically offer 6 juices a day.

That all being said, I was surprised with the fact that I still had energy and could keep my job for those 3 days. My brain was a little flighty since it kept reverting back to my stomach (ohh, the hunger!) but work was doable.

So that's that! Have you ever or would you ever complete a juice or smoothie cleanse?

Monday, September 23, 2013

music at McMenamins Edgefield

This past weekend my boy and I took a little day/night trip 3 hours south to Portland, Oregon to accomplish 3 big goals:

1. Eat at Nicholas Restaurant
2. Hang out in the beautiful ground of McMenamins Edgefield
3. Watch The National send their audience into a giant awestruck stare


I've waxed poetic about Nicholas Restaurant before, and I will do it again, hopefully at least another 82 times. It really is the best food I've had in a long time, including Turkey where much of this is the same cuisine. We get their vegetarian grape leaves and their Arabian Vegan Meze every time and I swear it only gets better. Throw in the complimentary pita bread (which they know have a gluten-free version of!) and it's un-for-get-table.

After stuffing ourselves to high heavens, we ventured off to McMenamins at the Edgefield, which is one of the neatest places in the Pacific Northwest. It's a brewery, winery, distillery, golf course, garden, hotel, restaurant, and concert venue all rolled into a gorgeous estate. It was raining off and on, but it didn't matter since there was delicious wine involved.

This was our second time watching The National, and they never forget their passion and love of performing at home. Home boys brought it, and it's definitely up there as one of my favorite concert experiences ev-er. It stayed dry the entire time up until the very end when it poured during the encore. It was very emotional.

What's your favorite band to see live? And have you ever been to a McMenamins?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

fitting it in

This weekend was a leeeeetle bit of a whirlwind. I stayed up the latest I have in a long time (1am. IN THE MORNING) on Friday night which knocked me on my face so good that my 6 hours of sleep felt like 6 minutes.

If I did the math correctly up there, that means that yes, I got up at 7am Saturday morning, and not because I'm one of those people that can function fabulously on minimal hours of sleep. It was to fit in a run that I knew was important to me to squeeze in before we drove the 3 hours to Portland, OR that day. While I desperately would have loved to sleep in to get those beauty points, getting out and being active won out and I'm really glad it did. I mean, who needs beauty rest when the creasy pillow-face and sour stank morning breath come naturally? These things shan't be wasted on a gorgeous Saturday morning in bed.

Anyway, here's what a girl does when she was up until the wee hours of the morning and needs to get in some mother loving cardio in the later hours of the morning:

1. She lays out her clothes, asthma inhaler and shoes out the previous night.
2. Upon waking, she wipes the drool off her chin, swabs a cotton ball over her mascara-covered eyes to rid them of eye boogers/leftover makeup, and brushes her teeth like a semi-decent adult.
 3. Finally, she stumbles out into the dawn after tripping on the concrete stairs. This girl is definitely not one of the graceful ones.

5 sweet miles later (I know the map says 4.5-dang watch wouldn't connect and I gave in to impatience), I felt no regret and was super happy I didn't listen to my inner sleepy-queen telling me to stay in bed. I was also completely tuckered me out for the drive, but good thing there's a little God-send called COOOFFFEEE. And good thing it was this little thing called FREEEE at the event we were going to.

Speaking of, I'll have more details on our little PDX getaway tomorrow - in involves music, vino and food so you should probably be here for it.

How was your weekend?

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

how to survive a treadmill speed workout

I had my first track workout in roughly 5.6 months this week, and you know what? It didn't suck, which was unexpected. Speed workouts not only exist to make you extremely uncomfortable, but also to build your endurance and to help you run faster. You use muscle tissue that is typically inactive when you go on slower runs, which ignites it to become one with your body to enable you to become more efficient. (cited from this Runner's World article.)

As I was panting along on the treadmill, I started pinpointing exactly what was making it so do-able for me that day. There have definitely been speedwork days that didn't "flow" as nicely, so there were items to compare and change up the next time I hit the treadmill for some Yassos. Keep in mind that these tricks for me, so try a few of them out and figure what works for you.

The sweaty girl that has been banned to the basement treadmill to run.

1. Eat a small, balanced meal 2 hours before you start your sprints.
This gives your stomach some time to digest whatever you ate so that it's not having the party of 1999 while your struggling to get those laps in. This also gives your food time to be utilized for your run to provide energy, which is something you'll be begging for. I have learned that the standard peanut-butter and jelly sandwich or a granola bar & banana combo typically do the trick.

These babies are off Joy the Baker's cookbook, that I love and cherish.

2.  Drink water! All day!
Yeah, I know you've never heard that one, but really it makes such a positive difference in your run. See that shiny face up there? That's all water loss from reserves that needs to be replenished. Water helps your muscles charge up for the workout that lies ahead, so make sure you're sipping constantly all day. I know the bathroom trips are less than ideal (unless you've bought stock in Pampers), but it's worth it. Just make sure there is a restroom nearby or else you'll be wearing out your legs before you even begin your workout!

I've discussed before my love/hate relationship with water, so if you are looking for H20 alternatives check out this article.My favorite non-water beverage of choice is this chocolate coconut water by Zico - I get mine at Trader Joe's.

 3. Get some good tunes going
I can't stress enough how much music enables me to run. When I first started running, that was essentially what got me out on the road - I had some new music I wanted to listen to, but felt like I had to get moving in order to do that. My recent favorites are Wake Me Up by Avicii, Neo Violence by The Tough Alliance, and Not The Same by Tanlines.

4. Wear comfortable clothing
I sweat a lot. I run on the treadmill at my parent's house in the cool basement and I still glisten my fave off after only 5 minutes. I've learned that in order to stay as comfortable as possible I can only wear my sports bra and light, breezy shorts. My hair is tied up and I typically pin my bangs back (I lost all my bobby pins this week), because hair can get hot. It might take some trial and error to get the feel for what wears are most conducive for a good run in your treadmill environment, so start out by wearing a t-shirt and shorts and working your way from there.

5. Keep your mind busy
I have a busy brain regardless if I'm running like a hamster, but I've found that treadmill workouts are the best times for me to plan and come up with ideas.By keeping my mind actively occupied, the sprints fly by a lot quicker than if I'm constantly staring at the screen willing the machine to magically break. I once planned a friend's baby shower in my head, and routinely think of fun weekend plans this way. Then when the workout's over, you can go back to watching Breaking Bad and take a nice mental break. Hallelujah.

 So there you have it! I would love to hear what helps your speedwork runs fly by while you fly fast.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

fill up: green wraps

Every Thursday I have a standing date with myself to get to our local Farmer's Market. It has really grown the past few years, and now houses many fruit and vegetable stands, along with those selling baked (some gluten-free!) goods, homemade aprons, fudge and a bunch of other neat items that are awesome. Oh, like honeycomb. I definitely got that as a surprise for my man, since he went ballistic when we had it for the first time in Turkey this summer.

Last Thursday I ended up buying a nice 50-pound bouquet of collard greens. It was pretty, it couldn't even fit inside the poor bag the farmer was struggling to wrestle it into. The greens came out of the fight great - the bag, not so much.

When I was in line buying produce like a crazy person, a lady asked me what I planned on making with my greens bouquet that was the size of a petite toddler. I said something about sauteeing and baking, when my friend mentioned wraps. Then all the other things flew to the back of my brain, because wraps? YEAH. I had used greens before as taco shells, why not stuff 'em full of sandwich fixings as well?

These were fast and easy to prepare, and would be even more so if you steam the leaves in advance. If you're eating raw, however, I can see why you will opt out of the steaming action. In fact, when I used them as taco shells I didn't even bother cooking them first, and they were good as long as you don't mind a little extra crunch.

For the filling, I used some vegan cheese, which did its melty thing with the hot leaves and OHMAGAWSH, it was so good with some homemade pesto, tomatoes, and onions.

I will be making these again soon, most likely in about 4 hours. I have a lot of greens to use. 

Good thing greens are always in style.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

mixing it up

Hi, friends! Since returning from our trip, things have been a little shaken up and I haven't been able to follow much of a schedule. The first two weeks after we got back, the weather was very Fall-ish and rainy (which I'm totally in to). Then of course this whole week has been hovering at about, ohh, 85 degrees and I can't drive in my un-air conditioned car without sweat dripping off my forehead. Nice.

Work has also been super busy, along with some random life things that need to get taken care of, which have all played into a very not consistent running schedule. I've been able to sneak some in when I can, even if it's just running a couple miles to meet a friend. Or to a friend's BBQ where I promptly stuff my face with a veggie dog.

One thing I have done differently is attend  a couple of these T25 workout groups with my sister. Her co-worker does it, and I was feeling adventurous and went along. Honestly, I didn't expect much of a workout, but heeeeey jello muscles. The workouts only last 25 minutes, but every second I was sweating and breathing so hard I was afraid a lung would pop. You can pick a different kind of workout every day, which is nice for a little variety.

I've also been able to run a DOG, which is only a dream come true for me. There's something about having a little furry friend with me that is incredibly motivating for me to get running. Even if he does like to greet every single person for a solid 2 minutes while I have to pause my watch and tap my foot and act like I love to stop every 5 minutes.

Oh, and I'm having major vacation withdrawals like whoa. Here's what I whipped up (read: spent 3 hours preparing).

GREEK LIFE FOR LYFE: stuffed peppers, Greek salad, pita brea, tzitzki, hummus, and toasted sweet potatoes. AKA, what I want to eat every day for the rest of my life. Let me know if you want any of those recipes. (Really, all you need to know is do not put lettuce in your Greek salad. No, no, no.)

Did you know that feta, similar to Champagne, can only be called authentic "feta" in Greece? While we were in France, we saw a lot of feta-like cheese, but it sure wasn't called that.

Enough of this nonsense talk - au voir and I bid you a happy hump day!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

get into the groove

After being away from home for three weeks without adhering to any sort of schedule, I was a little invigorated to return home and get back into a steady routine. Traveling is exhausting, in the very best way. The mind is constantly working, soaking up new sights and information, and the legs are always on the go, covering mileage I never thought I would cover when I wasn't running.

Seriously though, there was so much walking. I now think that falling into bed at night with aching, twitching leg muscles and barking dogs for feet is one of that most fulfilling feelings ever. I walked across Athens, and then walked the complete other way across Athens, and then came back and BAM, log those 16 miles in the book.

Give me a coin collector can and spare some change for the tired American girl.
 So yeah, now we're back, and aside from napping (er'ry day), doing laundry (2 tons of it), and scrambling around trying to restock our fridge, I've gotten a few runs in. It hasn't been too deathly hot around here, so I've been able to venture out after work.

I had so much energy my first day back at work, which was really unexpected given that I had only slept 9 hours after being awake for 30. (It must have been the outcome of eating all those calories I consumed while riding in planes the entire 2 days before.) That energy stuck with me on my first 6 mile run that evening, which was ab-so-lute-ly blissful - I didn't want it to end! It was one of those runs where everything feels fresh, from the air to my legs to my tunes. I had to tell myself to slow down a few times so that my thighs could be guaranteed to still work the next day.

It feels strange not training for anything at the moment, and simply running for the love of it. To have such a simple outlook on when and how long and why to run is pretty refreshing at this point, when I'm back at home and trying to get a routine going. I might just bask at this point for a little while longer and see what happens!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

France-y Pants

My feet are tired. My eyes are dry, from wearing my contacts for hours and hours and hours. My brain is both tired and wired, from not sleeping and trying to sort through all these new experiences and sights. 

But, my heart is happy. My camera is chock full of pictures, from trying to capture every last thing I pay eyes on that I just can't forget. 

These past 5 days have been a busy, fulfilling blur. We have been walking all around France, or so it seems. We've walked at least 45 miles alone since Wednesday, and it doesn't seem that we will slow down anytime soon. There's too much to see and feel. 

Sure, we have had some fantastic food since we landed in Paris on Wednesday morning, sleepy-eyed with hollow stomachs. With Scott's gluten intolerance, it has been tough finding him a balanced meal, or at least one that doesn't focus solely on French fries (but hey, they are French, oui?) We have had our fair share of quick food, when hunger strikes after walking 12 miles and dinner still isn't for another 3 hours. 

But the best meals have been our picnics.   We focus on he basics: bread, cheeses, lettuce, fruit, vino. Maybe some pre made quinoa salad. And then we sit on my scarf-gone-blanket and talk about how it can't really get better than that. This

We leave for Turkey tomorrow morning for 6 days. France has been invigorating, and while I'm sad to leave, I know there will be so many other experiences to be had in Turkey. Like hot air balloon rides and sleeping in a cave. Seriously, I think I'm ready for that. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Euro-trip 2013

Hi, friends! Sorry for the lag in updates, but there really hasn't been too much running going on my way after Ragnar. I've logged in some summertime evening miles whenever I've felt like it, which has been really lovely. 

We're leaving for a vacation abroad today (!!!), so I made sure to get lots of exercise yesterday to try and tire myself out. While the effort was there , it proved to be futile as my excitement completely negates any muscle tiredness I'm currently feeling.  

We will be flying into Paris about 14 hours from now, and will be posting an update soon! I tried to find a race to run in one of the three countries we are visiting, but it was a loss. Even in Greece! 

Alright, I'm off to board our first plane. Paris, here we come!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ragnar Northwest Passage | Race Recap COntinued | To-Do for Next Year

... or whenever I decide to throw myself into the throes of the madness that Ragnar is.After I detailed my experience in recap 1, I got to thinking about how different of an experience this could be every time I participate. The team, the  different legs, the events - it all makes a difference and can quash any prior expectations I originally had going into the whole thing.

That being said, there are definitely a few bullet points I want to remember for my next Ragnar. While they may or may not end up happening (like should I decide to just forget drinking water or pack all. the. snacks. wait, that will never happen), at least I will feel a little less anxious and more prepared about running at 4am.

1. Packing! Pack all my running outfits in separate Ziplock gallon-sized bags, with the leg map printed out with them. This worked out great, and I was incredibly thankful for an easy pull-out-the-outfit-without-looking move, as well as having a place to put my sweaty, stanky clothes that I had just ran in. While there was nothing that I didn't bring that made my time any less great, there were a couple items I wish I had brought:
  • Warm clothes for the night runs - leggings, sweats, or a sweatshirt. I brought a zip-up, but  ended up having to borrow my friend's thick leggings as well, since it was pretty chilly. 
  • A bag for all the swag! Mine ended up being shoved under the seat in front of me in an extremely disorganized fashion. Minor detail, yes, but I wanted my free Cliff shot blocks to be well-contained so I know exactly where to hunt them down the exact second I need them! #Ragnarspoiledbrat
Other than that, I think I did a pretty good job of appropriately packing. Baby wipes were a definite lifesaver.

2. Expect ZERO sleep. I had thought I would at least get a few hours, but that definitely did not happen. I got a solid one, which turned out to be fine since my adrenaline and the aforementioned shot blocks were running in my veins, making me an un-sleepable mess anyway.

3. Embrace the finish line. At this point, our whole time was sorta just "over it." I think had we all been closer friends, we would have been more into the fun finish line vibe of "let's get the pizza and beer and hang out and recap for hours," but maybe not. It's a long 2 days, so maybe this one just isn't bound to happen. We did manage to grab out medals (duh), more swag, and a legit Ragnar team picture.

4. Get everyone's contact information. More specifically, their phone numbers so that everyone can stay connected with whomever. This was something we should have done, and learned a lesson when one teammate was supposed to text another when I was finished running leg 12 to let them know to meet us, but accidentally fell asleep instead. Total first world problems, true, but it was a whole TWENTY MINUTES OFF OUR TIME! J/k, it was fine. Just another thing to take care of for next time.

5. Stay hydrated and nutritioned. This sounds like a dummy, but after having our captain visit the hospital for dehydration it's worth tucking away as a future reminder. While it may not even be hot out, your still running and putting your body through different habits that you probably aren't too accustomed to. The best thing to do is make sure it gets the water it requires (and lots of it) and good nutrients that won't make you feel like poo. I honestly felt like I was eating the whole dang time, but not once did I feel sick. The body runs on fuel, fuel that is what is going to help you woman-handle those three legs like a champ.

Speaking of's important to wear a wrestling singlet while running Ragnar. #buyasmallertankyouidiot

I hope this little series was of some assistance to you future Ragnarians! I truly had a great time, and the Northwest Passage route was drop-dead gorgeous. Feel free to drop me a line with any questions!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ragnar Northwest Passage | Race Recap

Well, I made it! We made it. Team 12-pack/Team Ragnarasauras (yeah, somehow we ended up with two different names. We went with it). It was a fun, wild, eventful weekend that made me appreciate the regular occurrence of sleep I get in my life, and in a bed to boot!

Thanks to it being 94 degrees, conditions we are certainty not accustomed to, our fearless captain ended up in the hospital with dehydration after her first run. I ended up taking her second run, which was 8.9 "very hard" miles at 4am, a mere two runs after I had ran my 5 miles at 2am. It was seriously one of the most physically rewarding things I've ever done, mainly because I really didn't think I could do it.

Instead of giving you a breakdown of times, conversations, bat and rat run-ins and cray-cray 4am fog, I am going to spit out a couple posts: things I learned on this wild adventure and things I will be putting into play next year.

Lessons Learned:

1. Adrenaline pushes. It's no secret that you run faster on race day, when you're completely immersed in the whole experience, but I didn't think it would be like that on my third (of four) legs at 4:30am going uphill in fog. My legs felt like rubber bands at that point, and I was wide awake and ready to run past any sucker that happened to be in front of me. Except there wasn't anyone, and that would have been a bad idea because man, my body was secretly exhausted at that point.Adrenaline was also the stinker that got me a 19:45 5k my first leg. Oops...not a good idea. There were black spots.

2. Team participation is key. Especially after the first legs, when the whole shebang gets real. You need support through and through - a driver, a navigator, a waterer, someone who won't fall asleep when the other team needs to be informed that they are on deck to meet us at the next exchange for their legs. Ragnar is great, because it turns an independent sport into a team activity, and having those 11 ladies backing you is crucial to making this a positive experience.

3. Night running is awesome. Um, yeah, la-HOV-ed it. My first night run I felt like I could have kept going forever (which I sort of felt like I was doing 2 hours later). Running in the dark is so much different than the day - there's so much more silence and serenity. The temperature was a million times better than it was during the hot, hot day, making for a very comfortable run.

4. Be flexible! There a thousand and one things that will not go the way you had planned, and it's important to move past it and figure out plan B stat. Sometimes even plan C. Sucky, but Ragnar lives on and will leave your team in the Northwest wilderness if you don't, so figure out a solution and get to it!

Flash? No flash?

Stay tuned for the next segment of Ragnar NW Passage Gone Wild: Next Year Do's, which includes a whole lot on packing and food stuffs.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekly Rundown & 2013 Northwest Passage Ragnar Countdown!

How is Ragnar staring me in the face already?! I feel like it was just four days ago that I started packing. Oh was. Don't worry, only a week in advance. Anxious much?

Got those baby wipes! Since I have already decided that I will not be showering (there's just too much involved), I have a feeling these babies (har har) will come in handy multiple times a day. More for my van mates benefit than mine, that's for sure.

Also key - the ziplock bags. I printed out each leg map with the outfit I'll be wearing into each bag to try and keep the whole thing organized and the post-run smell contained.

My mileage last week crept up slightly from the week before, which I'm happy about. My knee is feeling beautiful, and my runs have been pretty much pain-free, aside from the standard niggle here and there.

I've grown to really l-o-v-e running in the mornings when it's all quiet and stuff. Bonus: endorphins flowing all day long. Not a bonus: I'm physically more tired the rest of the day, which means I seem to rely way more on caffeine these days. This makes me feel like a sissy, but I'm alright with that.

Tuesday: 7.11 miles, 9:02 pace
Wednesday: 5.23, 9:9:22
Thursday: 3 miles, 9:27 pace
Friday: 4.36 miles, 8:27 pace
Sunday morning: 6 miles, 819 pace

 Grand total: 25.71

It's strange not following a training plan and having a set workout for the day. I'm so used to thinking I have to run a certain number of miles at this pace, or do a track workout of sorts but it's a nice change to just take it day by day by what my schedule and body can handle. Especially during the summer, when I like a little more free time to hang out like this:

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vegetable Lasagna (vegan | gluten-free)

I'm here today with a recipe that stemmed from a serious problem - too much zucchini. I know, it was a toughy to work through, but I think I found the best solution possible.

My parents have always had a garden. As long as I can remember, my dad has planted and provided the required TLC to grow tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and herbs. The resulting bounty gets used pretty quickly, but sometimes they need a little help putting it all to good use, which is lucky for me.

I have adopted this gardening tendency,  and while I'm not nearly as successful with it as my father is, I have been able to keep my tomatoes, lettuce, onions, rhubarb and beets alive this year. I harvested my first round of beets this week, and I felt so cool. Little did we all know that Dwight Shrute had it figured out a long time ago that beets are totally the way to go. So did Doug Funnie.

Instagram: brittawebb

So last night, I had two fat zuccs and three hefty beets sitting on the counter, and we had a little brainstorming session on what their fate would be. After crossing off a simple saute (too boring for these beauties) and zucchini bread (I needed dinner), I decided that the zucchini's lengthy physique would not only make for fantastic "noodles," but they would pair quite nicely with those beets when nestled together in some Italian flavors.

I instantly remember this cashew "cheese" recipe my sister and I had used for our pizza, and realized then and there that a layered casserole of sorts would have to come into play. And oh MAN, it played hard. I can't wait for leftovers today.

This cashew cheese is so good. It has the same texture as ricotta, which makes it quite perfect for this dish. I found myself dipping leftover zucchini bits in it, so it makes a great dip as well. I also loved being able to use the entire beet, from the greens to the actual flesh. I don't particularly love the taste of beet greens, so this covered that up well so I was able to get all their amazing nutrients.

Lemon Ricotta Cashew Cheese
From Lunchbox Bunch

1 1/2 cups soaked and drained raw cashews (soak in salted water overnight)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cloves of raw garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup water + more as needed
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
dash of pepper
dash of cayenne
1 tsp mixed dried Italian herbs (optional)
a few dashes of ground flax seeds (optional)
small scoop of nutritional yeast (optional)

For the lasagna veggie portion
Based off this recipe

1/2 block firm tofu, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
2 Tb minced garlic
red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
Italian spices
3 beets, cooked and cut into chunks
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup diced kalamata olives
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch strips
beet greens, torn into chunks
1/4 cup green onions

1. Make the cashew cheese sauce, and refrigerate.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. In a skillet, cook the onion, tofu and a splash of water over medium heat until the onion softens. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and continue to cook in low heat for 10 minutes to let the flavors mingle.

4. In a medium bowl, mix together the beets, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and olives. Add in 1/4 cup of the tomato mixture and stir all together.

5. In a casserole dish, pour all the tomato mixture into the bottom. On top of the tomato mixture, add in half the beet greens. Layer on zucchini slices, then cover with half the cashew cheese - I just sort of dolloped and spread it on each zucchini slices. On top of the zucchini, layer on half the beet/tomato/chickpea mixture, followed by the remaining beet greens, then the last layer of zucchini, then the cheese, and finally the remaining tomato mixture.

6. Cook for 40 minutes and let cool for 10. Garnish with green onions.