Winter running

Even though I live in snow country, I am a total newb when it comes to cold weather outdoor running. The only time I ran in the cold was last March. It was only my second 5k race, and I hadn’t yet built up a collection of techy athletic cold. It was fucking cold. I remember feeling cold even as I was running.

That same race is coming up this Saturday and since it’s only 5k, I’ve just been running on the dreadful treadmill or indoor track. The weather “warmed up” and our sidewalks are finally cleared of those 4 foot snow banks, so I figured I should get outside. On Monday, it was 40 degrees which I considered “warm” enough to go outside. I put on just boot cut workout pants and on top, just a Columbia Omni-Heat Baselayer. If you haven’t heard of this line, it’s pretty neat. The inside of the fabric is covered in shiny material to reflect & trap heat. I got it as a gift and I never really wore it until now because I was paranoid that I’d be sweating up a storm. During my run however, I still felt cold. I definitely needed another layer on top. Oh also, I wore some cheap stretch gloves and no hat.

Today I got out and it was 45 degrees. I put on some cheap Old Navy running tights plus pants over that. On top, my thinnest long sleeve tech shirt plus an Old Navy GoDry top that was a cotton blend, plus the cheap gloves. I normally don’t like doing any heavy sweating in the “GoDry” material because it feels too heavy and swampy, but it was just right as an outer layer in the cold. I found a winning combination! I ended up taking off the gloves halfway through, and strangely my belly/hips area felt cold so during my walk breaks I hiked up the waist of my leggings way up to keep my belly warm.

Saturday is supposed to be in the 40’s so far, so I think I will settle on the Columbia Omni-Heat top with another long sleeve shirt over it. I think a hat is overkill for 40 degrees, but my neck was a bit cold. I also bought some arm sleeves but they almost seem too warm if I wear that and two layers of shirts. I may use the sleeves to help keep warm before the race though.

What else might you wear for cold (40 degrees and under) runs? I saw someone mention fleece-lined running tights but a) fleece seems so icky, and b) I can’t be spending $80 on running pants! I don’t even have real pants that cost $80! Anything else I’m not thinking of?

Winning Week

I’m high on life this week.

Monday – 2nd day in a row where the scale said 139. I have not seen the 130’s in about 5 years!
Tuesday – Weigh-in day at the gym. My weight at the gym was 1 pound heavier than last week, but I didn’t care because of yesterday. I’m sure it was just based on whatever I ate during the day. I also got measurements. The trainer measured me at the beginning of this program, 6 weeks ago. According to her measurements, I lost tons of inches despite just 3 lbs in pure weight. I know I lost some inches, but I am also skeptical that I lost as many as her measurements stated. I look at her numbers and they just don’t match with mine. Luckily, because I often knit and sew my own clothes, I do have my own  body measurements to compare. My bust, underbust, and biceps are most definitely smaller. I think my waist is only about a half inch smaller.
Wednesday – Early valentine’s day celebration. At the hotel spa, I ran a few miles and right after that went into a cold shower, then hot jacuzzi, then steam room, and another cold shower. It felt amazing! It’s like I got a bunch of toxins out all at once. And then we had a phenomenal dinner at Craftsteak.
Thursday – My first official Valentine’s Day as a married lady. I had lunch and a museum date with my sweet. I also got my 2 year summary from a university health study that I’m doing where they’re researching young adults and weight maintenance. I’m so happy with the results. (More on that later)
Weekend – I went to my very first spinning class with my sister! Five minutes in and my butt was killing me, but it was nice to try something else and exercise with my sis. I also had quality family time and did some epic shopping.

Doctor’s Notes

Back to that health study I’ve been doing: Over the period of 2 years, I only lost 15 lbs but dropped 4 inches from my waist. My bloodwork looks great. One exciting thing was that my triglycerides level started at 98 mg/DL, which is well within normal range (anything under 150 is normal), and after my 2 year checkup my triglycerides are now 49 mg/dL. Wow!

Part of the study involves wearing an armband device that calculates your calories burned based on things like sweat, pulse, body temp. I wear it for one week at periodic times. Before the study started, I was so sedentary that my average calories burned was 1300 per day. After 1 year and continuing throughout the 2nd year, I am now burning average 2000-2100 calories per day. Yay!

All of this info made me so happy. That is why I’m doing this. I wanted to live longer, be healthier, and take better care of my body, and enjoy being fit. The information they gave me is a measurable way for me to see that my new life is worth it, it’s paying off. It’s passed the point of being a diet or a fad. I even voluntarily exercise when I’m on vacation! Even though I’m not losing much weight, I am proud of the fact that I have really changed my lifestyle and that I find pleasure in my physical milestones.

I have a physical exam next week so I’m going to bring her my report to show her that I am improving. I’ve only been with this doc for a year, so to her I’m just fat. Hopefully I can convince her that I don’t sit around eating cheetos all day.

Iron Chef: Sunflower sprouts

What the heck is that?

What the heck is that?

I belong to a CSA farmshare. In short, this means that I pay around $20 a week to get a mystery basket of fresh veggies from a local farm. What I get is totally dependent on what the farmer has and I don’t get to choose anything, so I am always challenged by some of the crazy vegetables that show up in my weekly basket.

Last week, I got those funny looking sprouts above. Luckily I get an email each week that describes what I’m getting so they told me it was sunflower sprouts. When I looked up what to do with them, most hits said to eat them raw, but those leafy guys were thick. Like bean sprouts. Look at ’em! I tasted a piece and just wasn’t feeling it. Too much texture for my preferences. I left them perched by the window until I could figure out what to do.

As you might have heard, we have a little bit of weather problem right now.

On the first morning after being snowed in, I snipped off all the sprouts. It was about 3 cups worth of greens and I steamed them with a little chicken broth (which I made the day before while it was snowing). They cooked down to this little handful, about a half cup.

cooked sunflower sprouts

cooked sunflower sprouts

I mixed in an ounce of reduced fat cream cheese and plopped it into an omelet. Half an omelet with a slice of olive bread – a hearty breakfast to fuel some heavy duty shoveling. Ahem. Not that I did any shoveling that day.

a sunflower omelette

a sunflower omelet

What did the greens taste like? When it was raw, it had a vaguely nutty taste. I guess like sunflower seeds? Though that could just be placebo because I knew it was from a sunflower. In the omelet, I couldn’t put my finger on it but I thought it tasted very savory, like something you would taste in Asian food. Meanwhile, my husband thought it tasted like seaweed – which incidentally can be found in Asian food so there you go. I can’t say that I would seek them out and buy them regularly but I am always excited to try a new ingredient and will keep it in mind if I ever need to forage for food Survivorman-style.

Half Marathon training

Yikes. The excuses are starting already. My half marathon is just 4 months away: the first week of May. The Furman half marathon program requires you to jump right in at an 8 mile run the first week. I’m just not fit enough right now and I don’t have enough time to work myself up to 8 miles before doing it.  However, since I already know that I want to do another half marathon in the Fall, I decided that I’m going to do Jeff Galloway’s schedule for time goal runners for the May race. This way,  after that race I will be prepared to go right into the Furman training for my Fall race and hopefully get a big time improvement.