Faves

Gluten-free faves: Kind bars and granola, Chobani greek yogurts, Almond crackers, Lucy’s cookies.

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I like to add some of the Kind clusters to the Chobani greek yogurt for my post-run snack. The crackers I like to eat alone, with cheese, and with guacamole. Oh, and those cookies are light and crisp, and you’d never know by the taste that they are peanut-tree nut-milk-egg-and-gluten free!

Running fave: Experia coolmax socks with Thorlo pads.

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Love the mix of lightweight with heel and ball padding. As a new runner I can really appreciate the extra cushioning.

Inspirational fave: canvas print from Target.

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I recently hung this in my workout room along with a cork board to add my race bibs and workout plans to.

Note: I received no compensation; I just like this stuff.

C25K W4D1

Found this on Pinterest, and I definitely should give myself this medal today! :)

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Oooh, this one was a challenge alright. I like the whole ease-into-it thing, but week four ain’t messin’ around — the first segment after the warmup is Three straight minutes of running, and the third is FIVE minutes!!! Oh lawdy!

So, the whole workout was: 5 min brisk warmup walk, 3 min jog, 1.5 min walk, 5 min jog, 2.5 min walk, 3 min jog, 1.5 min walk, 5 min jog, 5 min cool-down walk. Plus a little extra walking back to my house.

My lower leg was still a bit sore, but OK once I got going. I did apply some cooling-heating goo to it, which was stinky but helpful. Mentally I just had to go to my happy place and focus on my breathing. Cuz when I wasn’t doing that I was mentally muttering “oh gawd, whhhyyyyy, oh gawd” over and over. My phone stayed in my armband the whole time. I didn’t dare look at my app to see how much of an interval was left because I knew it would psyche me out. The running passes felt like FOREVER loooong before the app alerted me to change, so I knew looking would not help.

Oh, and I got thirsty for the first time. Not sure if it was the upping of the running times or that I got hotter than I have before, but I was really pissed the park water fountain was still off for winter.

It was not pretty at all. And seemingly not very fast either. It sure felt like slow motion. But, I just had to look at it as an endurance thing, not a speed thing. The most important thing is I didn’t quit and completed all the intervals. Wooooot!

And, my Runkeeper was happy for me and alerted me to some new personal records, so that made me feel good, too.

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C25K W3D3 and bike riding

Monday I tried something new: running after 1 full day’s rest. All my other C25k runs have been on at least two days’ rest. Even after Saturday’s taekwondo/running/gardening combo I was still feeling pretty good, so hey, I thought why not.

And it actually went pretty well. The first two running passes were hard – my legs felt like I was hoisting anchors. But I carried on and the remainder of the exercise went well. I got through the hard parts by concentrating on my breathing and distracting myself by looking around the park.

After the beautiful, warm day we had Saturday, it snowed all day Sunday! By Monday afternoon, a lot had melted, but there were still patches in the shade. I distracted myself by looking for the little blue weed-flowers of spring and watching birds. And thinking about how funny the weather is.

Back at home I did the standing portions of my stretching out on my back deck, where the rapidly-melting snow sounded like rain coming off the roof. It was a great contrast, standing covered in what sounds like a rain garden but looking out into a clear day. I saw robins, sparrows, a blue jay and lots of squirrels going about their busy business. It was very relaxing.

Tuesday and Thursday I enjoyed some active taekwondo classes, good workouts. Today’s class was focused on our form, and goodness knows I need to work on that. Whew. More practice needed for sure. Being lazy earlier in the cycle has not helped! But, c’est la vie. I’ll get it figured out.

However, Tuesday I nearly rolled my foot over sparring, and the rest of the week I’ve felt the effects in my leg muscles. First it felt sore around my knee, to the inside of my leg, and has worked its way down to along the inside of my lower leg. Thus, no more running. :/

I got ready to try to run today, but my leg still didn’t feel right once I started bouncing around a bit warming up. I’m hoping for tomorrow. But, no need to get myself hurt. I’ve got a race on the 30th!

I opted to go bicycling with Honey Bear this afternoon instead, for a lower impact workout. This was our first ride in a few months, and I expected for it to be rough. However, I guess running and other cardio is paying off, because I didn’t have any problems with my ride at all! In fact, I would have ridden further but Honey Bear wasn’t up to it, and I didn’t want to risk overdoing it anyway. Sure, my quads felt it, and I’m sure my muscles will remind me about the ride tomorrow. But, breathing/heart rate/fatigue-wise, I had no issues at all. Felt great, what a pleasant surprise!

We rode about 3.3 miles around our neighborhood. The weather was great – warm but breezy. I made an errand out of it and returned some books to the library’s drive-through drop box while we were out. After about two miles or so Honey Bear was staying way behind me, and in the past we have usually ridden pretty close together, so I knew he was struggling. After we made it nearly to our house we stopped to talk to a neighbor, then Honey Bear informed me he felt like he was gonna lose his lunch. So, I sent him on the house and took his bike up myself. Poor dude, overdid it a bit. He turned out to be OK, but now I know we gotta get him back into doing some fitness stuff.

I spent a nice thirty minutes afterward doing some stretching and yoga poses.

Oh, and before I go, a couple of milestones to share. Today I:
* touched my nose to my toes, sitting butterfly.
* touched my toes to the floor over my head, lying on my back.
* wore a medium-sized exercise top I haven’t been able to squeeze into in forever.
* wore on old pair of jeans I haven’t fit into in a year!
Woot, woot! ;)

C25K:W3D2 and flowery metaphor

Today has been full of activity! It started with taekwondo class with Ninjabreadmom, which was fun after I woke up fully. :) Next was C25K week 3, day 2. The three minute running intervals were a little easier than a few days ago, though on the first 90 sec jogging segment my legs felt like lead. Luckily, that feeling worked itself out after I got further into my program.

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I tried out a few new things on this run: new location, running capris and an armband for my phone. I liked all of them. My new pants were light and comfortable. My armband was a bit bulky, but I chose that particular one because it could hold more stuff (keys, cards, money, etc) if I needed it to. It worked well and I got used to it pretty easily. The new location is a park near my house with a paved trail around it. It was nice to mix it up and have new scenery. A cute little girl waved at me, I saw a sweet Mini Cooper with the Union Jack painted on the roof, there were kids skateboarding and I saw those pretty blue weed-flowers starting to carpet the grass so I know spring is coming!!!

Even after taekwondo and run-walking, it was such a nice day I decided to get out in my yard and begin sprucing things up. Out with the old, brown, dry, dead of winter to make room for new spring growth. Honey Bear filled the bird feeder for me, and I put some water in the birdbath. I emptied last year’s nest from the bird house in the apple tree, and later in the day I saw a bird flitting around the entrance with new material in its mouth.

I cut back the roses and the blackberry vines that made berries last year, hacked a bunch of overgrown bushes coming through the fence, and cleared out a couple of flower beds. I didn’t do much after the summer, so dead stalks and leaves abounded. The canna stalks were particularly sad looking. I got a good arm workout with all the chopping and pulling.

I was surprised to see that some lily and iris leaves are already coming up! Raking back a thick layer of brown leaves, I uncovered these bulbs and started having a metaphor moment.

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Clearly these iris bulbs are missing a little top dirt. And are laid over sideways. They were hidden under a mound of leaves, which they supposedly shouldn’t like. But despite that they seem to be managing just fine. How fabulous they are! Despite some challenges they are still doing what they were made to do — growing and gathering their strength to bloom.

Gluten-free: Eating out

It’s been 18 weeks since a friend and I made a pact to quit. She quit smoking, and I quit junk food and fast food. That was the original deal. I’ve mostly stuck to that, but I also added gluten to the list. I figured since I was already cutting out a lot, what was one more thing. Obviously there are health benefits to cutting out crap food, but I also was curious to see if eliminating gluten would help my stomach and eczema.

I can’t claim much difference in the skin department; my skin just hates winter, apparently. However, my stomach feels much happier: waaayyy less bloating, reflux, gas, yucky-feeling-ness.

Eating out takes a bit of planning, but in the age of smartphones you can figure out pretty quickly if a restaurant you’re considering going to has a gluten-free menu, or at least some easily-modified options. I hope to post here occasionally about eating out experiences in case anyone else is looking for gluten-free options.

Also, I should note that my daily eating is much healthier than these meals! Eating out is a special treat, so I give myself some leeway. I get enough salads and such brown-bagging it through the week. :)

First up, pictured below, are four cheese GF pasta from The Cheesecake Factory (left) and Mellow Mushroom’s GF pizza.

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While neither of these meals can be considered health food, they both were tasty and did not cause me any tummy distress later on. The latter being the main test of whether something really was GF as advertised. Now, I’m not celiac, and I can’t say if these products might cause a problem for someone with celiac. But with my level of gluten intolerance, both meals were great for me.

The pasta was tender, and there was a liberal amount of sauce and cheese. It was not dry or tacky as other GF pasta dishes I’ve tried have been. The Cheesecake Factory has a separate GF menu, which is nice. However, the menu does note that there is no separate cooking or prep area, and fried items likely are in common oil, so FYI if you are celiac or super-sensitive.

I was super excited to learn about the GF Mellow Mushroom pizza crust. I hadn’t eaten any pizza since going GF, so this was a real treat. I’ve eaten the Mellow Mushroom pizza twice recently with no ill effects. This one was the basic GF cheese pizza with pepperoni added. The crust is tasty and crisp, thin-crust style. It doesn’t taste “weird” or anything, despite what I expected given it’s made out of bean flour and tapioca flour and other such stuff. :) Their website is really good about explaining the product and the measures the kitchen will take to avoid cross-contamination. It says they will use a clean apron and utensils and use a screen pan to keep GF pizza off the stone when baking. The GF crust is available in the 12-inch size.

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OK, so I’m technically not supposed to be eating candy, but I give myself the occasional break. :) Hey, my friend has Chan.tix to help her, so I have the occasional tiny treat and then confess, haha. Honey Bear and I visited a nice candy store, Lolli & Pops, and they had a wall of Jelly Belly, how could I resist getting a few! Buttered popcorn is my favorite! :)

Anybody else doing the gluten-free thing? Got any eating out recommendations?

Note: I received no compensation in return for this post. I simply want to share good food experiences. Eat at your own risk, or pleasure.

Quotes from yours truly

Poor Ninjabreadmom, she has her work cut out for her in taekwondo class with me. Exercise clearly cuts off some brain-to-mouth connections for me.

“I don’t even know why I’m here.” (Looking around, after skipping classes for two weeks)
“Wait, what are we doing again?” (Form, self-defense, exercise, pretty much all the time)
“Thanks for not internally decapitating me.” (Self-defense practice involving head twisting)
“Is my butt OK?” (Planking)
“Shit.” (A lot. During pretty much all cardio)
“I have no abs!” (Bicycle crunches)
“I’m starving!” (After class)