Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Michie Tavern Downtown Mile

I decided to do a race*! This was a last minute decision, considering both the nearness of the race, and the lack of training I've been doing lately. This Thursday (July 24th), the Michie Tavern Downtown Mile will take place as part of the Runners Love Yoga Healthy Expo. I'm pretty excited about it! The Expo goes from 5-8:30 at the Downtown Pavilion in Charlottesville. It will include vendors, food, the race, and a FREE post-race yoga class led by Ann Mazur, the founder of Runners Love Yoga, and my favorite yoga instructor at the UVA Aquatic & Fitness Center. The entire event will benefit the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, and it is being organized by Notus Sports.

One great thing about the race, is that there are different start times for different groups of people. This will make each start time much less crowded! The Team Relay will start things off at 6:30. Next includes the non-timed events of the Family Race and the Non-competitive Run/Walk at 6:50. The Middle School Mile starts at 7:10 - this is such a great idea to get kids out and running. Finally, the Elite Downtown mile for competitive runners starts at 7:30 for women and 7:40 for men. This set of races comes with cash prizes for the first finishers!

As I mentioned, I have NOT been training. I've gone on maybe one run a week in the past few weeks, and before it was even more sporadic than that. Every time I've run outside, the heat and humidity just kill me. Last week I planned a 3 mile run outside, and told myself that I would walk whenever I needed to - no judgement. I ended up walking for 2 minutes after the first mile, and for another 2 minutes somewhere after the second mile. Last night, I ran on the treadmill, since the air basically felt like pea soup outside. Lately I've been listening to books on tape while I run, but I had unfortunately just finished the book I had on my phone. So instead of going at a steady pace while listening to a book, I did what I used to do (before I knew anything about running) - I just listened to music and let that dictate my pace. During a faster part of a song, I would increase the pace, and then bring it back down to recover. We all know that intervals are good for us, but sometimes we get caught up in the intervals being a specific amount of time at a specific pace. I just did what felt right, and I think it worked out well for me. I wasn't keeping track of the time, but my steady pace was 5.6mph, and my fast pace ranged from 6-7mph. I did 1.25 miles running, walked 0.25 miles, did another 1.25 miles running, walked 0.25 miles, and ended with a 1/2 mile jog at my steady 5.6mph. I left the gym feeling wiped!

My plan is to do a light run/walk outside on Wednesday, and not much more than that. I don't want to wear myself out too much with running, since I haven't been doing much of it lately. I'll probably try to do some light lifting as well, to help strengthen my muscles.

For the race itself, since I haven't been training, I don't want to have any major goals in mind. I know that I'll only end up disappointed if I hope for a time that I don't succeed in getting. I think that I'll say that I hope I can finish in under 10 minutes. That sounds completely doable (it isn't much below my steady pace).

All in all, if you're in Charlottesville this Thursday, you should come out for the run! Whether you are an experienced or novice runner, a mile is such a good starting point. In conjunction with the Healthy Living Expo, the Downtown Mile will be a remarkable event and a fun way to spend a Thursday evening. Plus, you get a shirt for doing the race (tech tee for the last events, I believe a regular shirt for the others), and who doesn't love shirts??

*Disclosure: I am being offered a free entry into the race, if I promote the event and write about my experience here. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Treat yo' self right

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I haven't been treating myself all that well lately. I don't think it's that I've been doing anything horrible, it's just that I haven't been doing anything great.

I've let my workouts slip a bit, and that always affects multiple aspects of my life. There's the direct effect of just feeling lazy and out of shape. Working out usually makes me feel strong and healthy, and I'm always proud of myself once I finish. I think that I've also been feeling more stressed lately. That's part of the reason I haven't been working out as much - I've just been really busy in lab, and haven't had as much extra time. I do think though that working out generally helps to lower my stress levels, which means it should be even more of a priority during high stress times. The last thing is eating. In the last few weeks, I've been bouncing back and forth between days when I barely remember to eat (busy busy in lab) and days when I don't eat anything real (potato chips and snacks all day long). When I have a workout routine, I am pretty strict with what I eat and when I eat it. I make sure I get enough fuel for my workout, which means I don't let it get to 4:00 by the time I remember to eat lunch. That just won't work if I'm trying to go on a run or do a kettle bell workout an hour later.

All of this has been going on for a while, but I think this past week has been the worst. I was away this past weekend, and ate crap the whole time. Saturday night, I woke up in the middle of the night and was physically sick. I don't know if it was what I ate, or something else, but I was miserable. The worst part was that once I stopped being sick, I completely broke out in hives. You would think that this would give me the kick in the butt to take care of myself a bit better, but I've already had two days this week when I didn't eat lunch until 4pm or later. Yesterday, I was so hungry when I came home at 4, that I ate my lunch, followed by cheese and crackers, followed by a muffin (that probably had almost no redeeming qualities), and then wasn't hungry at all for dinner. I developed a bad headache between the cheese/crackers and the muffin, that came back right before bed.

By now I know that this sounds ridiculous. I'm whining because I forget to eat my lunch sometimes. I'm just realizing that I need to make some changes. Stress from lab/work isn't going to go away, and is probably going to get worse now that I'm getting closer to graduation. I need to make sure I have a proper outlet for it, and that I'm doing everything I can to make sure I'm healthy.

What do you do when you're stressed out? Better yet, what do you do to relieve that stress?

On a different note, the blueberry muffin I had yesterday was kind of disappointing. I've had some delicious bakery-style blueberry muffins lately, and this was just not one of those. It put me in the mood to bake some muffins, and I realized that I've never made blueberry muffins before. What is your favorite blueberry muffin recipe??

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic and Tomatoes

I made this dish a while ago, but wanted to share it since it's really delicious. I usually roast my shrimp, since they always are cooked perfectly, and it's really quick and convenient. This doesn't take much longer, and as long as you keep an eye on things, will also cook them perfectly!

Recipe: Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic and Tomatoes
Adapted from Mark Bittman

2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 cup diced tomato (I like using grape or cherry tomatoes, and halving them)
1/2 lb shrimp

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden - don't let it burn! Add tomatoes, and cook until they start to burst. Add shrimp to the pan, trying to arrange them so they are in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip them over. Continue to flip over every couple minutes, until they are pink all over and the tomatoes and garlic are bubbly.