Awkward and Embarrasing Race Photos

31 03 2011

Last weekend I ran the D.C. National 1/2 Marathon.

If you have ever run a race or competed in a triathlon that has race photos, you know that the VAST majority of the pictures are not flattering. Not only are they unflattering, they are frequently awkward and catch you at the exact moment when you feel like you are about to drop down to your knees and collapse. So I thought I would share some of my finest moments with you. Enjoy…

How’s that for taking one for the team?? Please…do share your oh so flattering race photos! Every once in a while (only because the race was over in my case) do you get a nice shot. I stood in line… legs aching, heart still racing and with complete cotton mouth to get this nice shot taken ūüôā

Moving on…I started off my week with my head held pretty high! Its not every day you can toss your breakfast halfway through the race and still PR! Tuesday evening however,  I was put back in my place in just 10 short minutes! I joined a gym this winter so that I could continue running and biking spinning despite the D.C. winter weather. Along with the most ridiculously expensive gym membership, I received one free training session. At first I blew off this training session, assuming that the trainer would just have me to some push ups, sit ups, etc. and that I really didn’t have time (or motivation) to schedule a training session. ***I am very aware that strength training is a really important component of triathlon training but have been AWFUL at incorporating it into my training plan! After a few months at the gym however, I met a few triathletes who also were using the gym for their winter training. As it turned out, there was also a personal trainer at the gym who had competed in a number of marathon and Ironman races.  I decided to just go ahead and do it and that is just what I did on Tuesday night. And boy was I right! I did push ups, sit ups and squats.  But boy was I wrong…they were TOTALLY worth my while. Apparently my ability to swim a lot, run a lot and bike a lot does not translate into overall body strength. I AM SORE SORE SORE.

This was the “simple” circuit that he had me do.

Put on a timer or start your stop watch for 10- minutes. For the next ten minutes…do the following…without stopping.

30 squats.

10 pushups.

10 situps.

When I was finished, my arms was shaking, my heart was racing and my legs felt like this dudes:

And the next day…I couldn’t walk. Turns out that just because you can run a 1/2 marathon does not mean you can do a few push ups, sit ups and squats. I think that I will be incorporating this little number into my weekly training schedule.

Moral of my little story: push ups, sit ups and squats are good for EVERYBODY! so DO EM!

Question of the Day: Do you strength train? If not, why? If so, what types of exercises do you do?

My favorite city

31 03 2011

Hello Friends! I’m (Steph) back! It’s crazy to me that I haven’t posted in an entire week! Kudos to Chloe with the help of Elizabeth for writing some great posts while I was out of town! ūüôā

Where was I you ask? Take a peek at some shots I took of my favorite city:

Yup my friends, I was in Chicago! I was attending a conference Saturday through Tuesday in downtown Chi-town. The extra bonus of this business trip was that my college roommate and best friend Leah lives there!

I had a super trip. The conference was great; I attended a ton of interesting presentations. Unfortunately though, I didn’t really get to workout (I’m a wuss when it comes to running in the cold; it was in the low 30s). I did however, walk the 2 miles to the conference site a few twice, since I knew I’d be sitting all day.

Of course, the best part of my trip was hanging out with Leah, even though the time was squeezed in before and after conference sessions. On Sunday night, we went to dinner at this hip Indian restaurant, Veerasway. It happened to be the last night of “Chef’s Week,” which, if you’re familiar with Restaurant week, it’s basically the same deal. We got 3 courses (1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert) for $33. Not bad, considering some of the regular prices!

One of the things I love about Leah is she shares my love of food, so we decided that we’d each order different things and share them all. That’s my kind of friend:)

We got:

crispy cardamom pork belly: duroc pork, upma, raisin chutney, micro cilantro

bindi chat fry: crispy okra, house chaat masala, red onion, fresh tomato, cilantro, lemon

tandoori roasted chicken: bone-in chicken, paprika, yogurt, ginger, cardamom

goan seafood curry: scallops, mussels, shrimp, coconut milk, garlic, serrano, red chili, lime

chocolate cardamom bread pudding

passion fruit meringue tart: cashew praline

We also got some garlic naan and goat cheese, onion & sweet pepper naan. Our waiter also brought us a selection of pickles:

There were pickled cauliflower, pickled mixed peppers, and pickled kumquats:

I think the kumquats were my favorite. They were an interesting combination of sweet, spicy, and sour. You can see a chili in there, and that’s some star anise and a bay leaf.

I also got a mango lassi:

I was really glad I ordered the lassi. Though it was super sweet, it definitely helped cool my mouth after the spicy seafood curry!

All the food was delicious here! I’m a big fan of Indian food, and I liked the modern twist on the cuisine:)

We also went out to eat the night before at The Publican. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the food; we ate it too fast!! I did have THE BEST brussels sprout salad that I’ve ever had. I hope to recreate it in the near future!

I love Chicago. The sights, the sounds, the smells. And, of course, there are all these great restaurants! Something about this city just draws me in. I will be back for sure, you can count on that!

Question of the day: What is your favorite city? Why?

What Type of Yogurt Do You Eat???

30 03 2011

Yogurt…an American food staple since the early 20th century. It comes in all shapes flavors and sizes and is a go to snack for millions of Americans every day. There is an entire section of supermarkets devoted to this item and to the naked eye, it is overwhelming! Do you go with added fiber? lower sugar? what your Mom fed you? zero guilt? whatever that means…cute cartoons on front? or just whatever is 10 for 10$? The options are abundant!

What to do!? What to do?! I won’t tell you what yogurt to go out and buy, but what I will do is give you a little insight into an increasingly common question…what is so good about Greek yogurt?! It is usually double the cost of regular yogurt, so there must be something super special about it…but what? Hopefully this information will help you make sense of the oh so daunting yogurt section! (***I am not a registered dietician. The following information is solely from my personal experience and research)

Is Greek yogurt even from Greece??? The answer is YES! Well, not only Greece. Greek yogurt originates from the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, where it is commonly used for cooking. Greek yogurt, also known as strained yogurt is used in Greek food mostly as the base for the common tzatziki dip. It is also used for a sweet dessert made with sweet fruits and/or honey on top. But besides the novelty of the stuff…why are so many health fanatics (myself included) spending the extra $buck$ at the grocery store each week on Greek yogurt. I’ll tell you why….

  • Greek yogurt can have twice as much protein as regular yogurt.¬† On average, adult females should eat 46 grams of protein a day, while males can benefit from 56 grams.
  • The¬†extra protein from the Greek yogurt will help you feel full and leave you feeling satisfied.
  • Most Greek yogurts at supermarkets, such as Fage and Chobani,¬†often have more than double the protein content of standard yogurt brands.¬†One cup of plain, low-fat¬†non-Greek yogurt usually contains 5 to 10 grams of protein, where Greek yogurt averages about 14 to 20 grams of protein.
  • Greek yogurt is much lower in carbohydrates. ¬†Regular yogurts often have upwards of¬†15 to 17 grams of carbohydrates per cup, where Greek yogurt averages around 9 grams. Carbohydrates are important in one’s diet, but are much more easy to get your hands on than protein. I prefer to get my carb fix through whole wheat toast or oatmeal rather than my yogurt ūüôā

Check out the nutritional differences between a Chobani Raspberry Greek Yogurt and a Dannon Light and Fit Raspberry yogurt.

Chobani Raspberry Greek Yogurt

Dannon Light and Fit Raspberry Yogurt

Chobani is much higher in protein. You may have noticed the calorie differences and thought to yourself, lower calorie is a smarter choice…but if you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, you will be left feeling hungry and likely end up consuming more food in the long run anyway. You may have also noticed the ingredients in Chobani Yogurt. The ingredients for Dannon Light and Fit include: Raspberry¬† Flavor: Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Modified Food Starch, Fructose, Kosher Gelatin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3), Water, Fructose, Contains Less than 1% of Raspberry Puree, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Black Carrot Juice Concentrate (for Color), Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate (to Maintain Freshness), Acesulfame Potassium, Malic Acid, Sucralose, Sodium Citrate. Blueberry Acai Flavor: Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Modified Food Starch, Fructose, Kosher Gelatin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3), Water, Blueberry Puree, Fructose, Contains Less than 1% of Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Aspartame, Red 40, Blue 1, Potassium Sorbate (to Maintain Freshness), Malic Acid, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Sodium Citrate. Contains Active Yogurt Cultures Including L. Acidophilus.

yeah…I don’t think I need to say anything about the ingredient list.¬†I try to stick by the motto: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

Back to some more highlights on Greek yogurt…

  • Greek yogurt can be used for many dishes including savory and sweet. Due to its thick texture and rich taste, many people use it as a substitute for milk, sour cream and even use it for baking.
  • Greek yogurt has a thicker, creamier texture which I really like.¬†Standard yogurt is generally strained two times, whereas Greek yogurt is triply strained to remove more of the whey (the leftover yogurt once the liquid has been strained). When whey is removed, so is water, which creates a thicker, more substantial yogurt product.
  • Greek yogurt promotes intestinal health, improves lactose intolerance, builds stronger bones, enhances immunity, and lowers blood pressure.

So there you have it, a little more insight into the world of Greek yogurt. My affinity for Greek yogurt has opened up a world of possibilities in my cooking/baking. A few meals I have created with Greek yogurt…

  1. Greek yogurt, granola and fresh berry parfait
  2. Mix with lemon juice, salt and pepper for a veggie dip. Especially good with artichoke hearts
  3. Mix with spices to create a rub that turns a regular roasted chicken into a crispy, juicy, delicious chicken!
  4. Use in place of buttermilk in pancakes or muffins
  5. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chocolate chips for a simple yet satisfying dessert.

With so many types of Greek yogurt on the market these days, you are bound to find one you like!

So check ’em out and let me know what you think!