Sunday, July 17, 2011

Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument

Yesterday we didn't quite make it to Pikes Peak, but we drove beyond it and wound up at a park my father had been wanting to check out for some time: the Florissant Fossil Beds. It's a neat little park with a handful of trails between 0.5 miles to 4.0 miles long. The main attraction was the 1.0 mile trail, which looped around to show the park's namesake: petrified redwood tree stumps from 340 million years ago.

Another neat thing about this trail was that after a certain point, you reached a sign that explained that if the entire mile was the lifespan of the planet, this is when a certain milestone of life happened. It helps put things in perspective, which is always fun for me. Then again, the Powers of 10 videos are some of my favorites to watch, too.

After completing this trail, we took a short break, indulged in some avocado chocolate chip cookies I made (so green!), and made our way through another trail at the park.

It was a very hilly trail, which I moaned about because of my run earlier that morning, and my mother had some trouble with them, too. But we pushed through it alright! We hiked a total of four miles, which is pretty good for an afternoon, I think.

On the way home, we found a hole-in-the-wall barbecue place that advertised freshly caught rainbow trout. It was a cute little place with a lot of character.

Mom and I had the trout filet combo, which came with beans and coleslaw. I didn't touch the beans, but the fish and the coleslaw were pretty good!

After we returned to the Springs, we tried out this new self-serve frozen yogurt place that opened up near my apartment, I Top It. It was very good, and I have a new favorite ice cream place! Sorry, Cold Stone, but I'm opting for the lighter option in which I can control what toppings and how much I put on it.

The weekend continues with brunch at the Broadmoor. Another three more hours to our reservation... this banana isn't going to tide me over until then, I think. I might need to eat another avocado cookie!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hilly 12 Miles

Today I was supposed to do a 13-mile run, but considering this:

Elevation Gain:1,173 ft
Elevation Loss:1,166 ft
I think doing 12 miles was impressive enough! This is on top of going to Pikes Peak with my parents later this afternoon, too.

I fueled up with an Amazing Grass Organic Green SuperFood energy bar, which, admittedly, I didn't find too tasty, but it helped me get through the hills pretty well. I don't think I'll prefuel with that anymore, though, if only because I didn't like the taste of it. Maybe I should keep to the biscotti and banana that I ran the Colfax on.

One of the things I made absolutely sure to do was not focusing on my overall time or pace. In order to prevent this, I taped over that part of my Garmin.

This way, every time I glanced down at my watch, all I saw was the distance traveled. It was very helpful, and it allowed me to walk up the steeper uphills when I needed to, guilt-free. I only had to do it three times, which was pretty impressive considering how numerous and how steep many of these hills were!

Considering the hills, I think finishing in 2:15:19 was pretty impressive. That's an average pace of 11:19. While training on hills is good, I need to find flatter land. I don't think the Rock and Roll is going to be nearly this hilly.

After the run, I decided to try my hand at making an okra-salmon omelette. It... turned into a scramble instead.

Truth be told, this was actually really good! Take two eggs, whisk it with a tablespoon or two of Silk, and fry it up with okra, salmon, and feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, and voila!

Now, to finish getting the apartment cleaned up before my parents arrive!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Limited Junk Food Challenge

After stepping on the scale at the end of June and seeing a 5-lb increase, I knew it was time to do things a little bit differently. And so, I instilled for myself a Limited Junk Food Challenge for July. These are rules I should be following anyway, but I will be particularly harsh on myself for the month of July.
  1. No candy! This includes chocolate bars.
  2. No more than 300 calories worth of cookies a week.
  3. Dessert (including cake and ice cream) for special occasions and outings with friends only.
  4. Non-water drinks are for social outings only.
  5. No chips.
  6. Hungry? Take a walk before looking for a snack.
  7. If still hungry after walk, fruits and vegetables to nom on, only!
After July, I'll be less strict on myself, but I'll figure out the Rules for Life later. This is a good enough start for now as I figure out what's too extreme. #1 and #5 seem to be that, but it's been really easy turning them down, except when #6 and #7 come into play, especially during the afternoon crash. I do miss getting an easy chocolate fix when I get my cravings, but it's also keeping my cravings under control.

#2 is the one, true allowance I give myself. I would put it under the dessert rules, except cookies are more snacks than dessert. Anyway, I don't want to be too restrictive in fear of overeating in August!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Long Time, No Blog!

It's been a while since I last wrote an entry! Every time I thought about writing one, exhaustion took over and I opted to stay on my couch to read instead. Luckily, nothing too interesting has been going on in my life.

The biggest thing to note, though: I have been killing my 3-mile and 5K running times! On Tuesday, I took to the hills and managed to run 3 miles in 29'51"! And then yesterday, at the Rock Bottom Running Club, I did something I hadn't done in a couple of years: a sub-30 5K! It's true what I said before: the only reason why I couldn't run faster was because I wasn't running faster. By pushing myself, I'm quickly improving my times!

But, this morning, I struggled. I think it's because I didn't set out with any specific goal in mind. I might also not have gotten the best sleep, and my body might have been too tired. But the time still wasn't bad, and still a lot better than my average 10:30 pace. 2.5 miles in 25 minutes? I'll take it, still!

With 13 miles coming up this weekend, I have to get out of the fast mindset and into the endurance mindset. I'll still aim for an average pace of less than 11:00... for now. I think it's time to determine what I want my marathon race pace to be and really start training accordingly.

Later tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, I'll talk about the July Limited Junk Food Challenge I've instilled for myself, since I'm nearly halfway through. I will say this, though: in some regards, it's easy and wonderful, and in others... oh, chocolate, why must you be my weakness?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fourth of July Weekend, Day 1

Yesterday, Sunny dutifully woke me up at 5am to be fed. Shortly after, I went on my 10-mile run.

It wound up being only a 9.5 mile run. It was hard, and I walked a lot after the 7-mile mark. I think I might have worked out too intensely on Friday? I made sure not to overwork my legs but I don't think that anything else helped. Also, I should have brought gels with me on the run and maybe not have started out as fast as I did. Lessons learned for next week's 12-mile run!

After a quick breakfast of toast topped with sprouts and a fried egg, and a fruit salad, I packed up some things and drove up to Denver for Aimee's daughter's birthday party. Aimee made this beautiful cake based off of Avalon's wishes: dinosaurs! Didn't she do an amazing job?

The birthday girl also got to open one of her gifts early, which was a kiddie pool from her grandmother. She and her sister really seemed to enjoy it a lot!

It was a great afternoon to spend with Aimee and the girls before they go back to Korea on Tuesday. It's hard to imagine that the next time I see them, Avalon will be starting the first grade and Ronan will be three! They're growing up too fast, Aimee. Make them stop. (I'll also get the rest of the pictures I took up on Facebook by the end of the weekend!)

I had to leave early for the first part of my Fourth of July celebrations: a Rockies game (we won!) with fireworks! This is actually the highlight of my weekend, since the rest of it will be spent cleaning my apartment.


Overall, a great Saturday. Now I spend today cleaning my apartment and most likely doing a short workout with Jillian. I thought about going for a swim, but after yesterday's tough workout, I think I need a bit of a break. Swimming tomorrow, then! Also tomorrow, to continue celebrating the Fourth: making tofu burgers and watching Independence Day. Because it's just not the Fourth of July until Will Smith punches an alien in the face.