Monthly Archives: July 2011

Me vs. the Foam Roller

I have a love/hate relationship with my foam roller. I hate how painful it is when I use it but love the results it provides my muscles when they are sore and tight. When I first began running long distances I kept coming across articles about foam rollers but had never tried one before. I am a horrible (and lazy) stretcher which leads to tight hamstrings and knots all over the place in my muscles. Once I learned about what the foam roller can do, I decided I should get one and try it out.

Who knew this foam cylinder could cause so much pain?

The idea behind the foam roller is to literally roll out your tight muscles and knots. It’s important to get these out because if they are neglected they can cause pain, stiffness, and long-term injuries.

Running Times has a great article that explains how to use the foam roller. Basically, you use your own body weight to apply pressure to your knots (or trigger points) to release them. It’s like a really painful massage that feels great once it’s all over. According to Running Times, you should:

  1. Roll back and forth across the painful or stiff area for 60 seconds.
  2. Spend extra time directly over the knot or trigger point itself. (Trust me, you will KNOW where the knots are located. You can feel them.)
  3. Roll an injured area two to three times a day. To prevent injuries, two to three times a week is recommended (I don’t do it that often, even though I should!)
  4. Avoid rolling over bony areas.
  5. Always stretch the area after foam rolling.

I broke out the foam roller tonight while watching Big Brother and asked Kevin to document the process… it wasn’t pretty!

I started with the hamstrings… my hamstrings are sooo tight. I can’t even straighten my leg all the way to stretch it most of the time.

Lifting up one leg will increase the pressure.

Then it was time to roll out the quads.

Ouch 😦

The IT band was next. This. Is. The. Worst!!!

The IT (Iliotibial) Band is made up of tough fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. I never would have known that I had so many knots in it without using the foam roller. You can truly feel the big knots inside when you roll across them.

It is so painful, especially when you stop right on the knot to apply pressure and release it.

But it’s really important to roll out your IT bands (both sides!) because if you don’t those knots can lead to ITBS (IT band syndrome) and knee injuries.

Calves are next. I skip the shins because they are too bony and it hurts a lot. I know some people roll out their shins, though.

Then I attempted to roll out my back but Kevin kept making me laugh 🙂

Whew… glad that’s over!

It truly does make a huge difference though. I know that tomorrow when I run my muscles and legs will feel so much better. Worth it!

Here’s the weekly rundown:

  • Monday: 5 mile run (47:26 / 9:29 pace) + Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Tuesday: 7 mile tempo run- 1 mile warm up, 5 miles @ 7:58 average pace, 1 mile cool down (Splits were 7:57, 7:56, 7:56, 8:01, 8:00)
  • Wednesday: Spin class (1 hour) + Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Thursday: 6 mile run (57:05 / 9:30 pace)
  • Friday: Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Saturday: 11 mile run (1:46:05  / 9:38 pace) – this doesn’t count our many walking breaks! Here’s a recap if you missed it.
  • Sunday: Rest

Can’t believe tomorrow is August 1st! Wow!

The Rollercoaster of Running

I started this blog to document my life and adventures in running – the good, the bad, the highs, and the lows. Today we hit a serious LOW point that reminded me how running and training is such a rollercoaster. One day you can be on top of the world, feeling amazing and confident and strong- and the next you can have a terrible run that makes you question why you even run in the first place.

Our training has been going pretty great so far. We did our first 20 miler a couple weeks ago and rocked it. However, the summer heat and humidity has really been affecting us lately. For the most part, we had been managing it well and pushing through – taking walking breaks when we need it and adjusting our pace. That’s just necessary in the summertime and we thought we were doing a good job handing it.

Until today.

We had our second (of 3) 20 mile run on our training plan this morning. We went through our usual routine the night before – we ate dinner early, mapped out our route and prepared our Camelbaks and energy gels. We were in bed by 9:30 with a 4:30 am wake up call. We wanted to get out early because we knew it was going to be hot and humid.

I don’t think I ever really fell asleep that night. I couldn’t get comfortable and I kept looking at the clock and the hours ticked by until my alarm went off. I don’t know why I had such a hard time sleeping. I think subconsciously I was nervous for our big 20 miler and worried about the heat getting us. We got up, ate our usual pre-long run food and started getting ready to go. We were running by 5:30.

After only 1 mile I could tell this was going to be a really hard long run. Mentally I just couldn’t get into my normal running mindset and I couldn’t focus. I really believe that 80% of running is mental, so I was struggling a lot because of that. Physically, my body felt like it was drowning in humidity and sweat, I was tired, and it was hard to breathe in the thick air. Every step just felt harder than usual and it kept getting worse and worse. I felt the urge to stop and walk after mile 2 but I kept pushing until mile 4. I asked Kevin if we could stop and walk and he happily agreed. We walked slowly, chugging from our Camelbaks, huffing and puffing and dripping sweat. I asked Kevin if he was having a hard time like I was, and he said he was. We agreed to keep running and take walking breaks every 4 miles. We thought we could handle it better if the run was broken up like that.

WRONG! Only one mile later at mile 5 my body was begging to stop again. I felt weak and the heat was really affecting me. Kevin and I looked at each other and we both saw that we were struggling, so we stopped again. We talked for a minute and decided that we just couldn’t do 20 today. Instead we shortened our route in a way that would make it about 11 miles total.

Now, in the past, this kind of thing has happened a few times before while training for other marathons. I have had to adjust some of my long runs due to weather, how I was feeling that day, and other factors that were out of my control. Normally when this happens I am devastated, disappointed, and angry with myself. And I usually end up crying like a baby. I am guilty of pushing myself too hard sometimes and trying to follow my training plans to a T, no matter what. When I am not able to, I tend to be really hard on myself and feel like a failure. It’s a huge blow to my confidence and it makes me doubt my training.

But I didn’t feel that way today. Once we made the decision to modify our long run I immediately felt 100 times better and it felt like the pressure had been lifted off my shoulders. For the first time I didn’t feel guilty and like I was ‘failing’ my training. I knew that this is what Adaptive Running is all about- listening to your body and adjusting your plans when unexpected things come up. I realized that the fact that we had to shorten our run wasn’t a reflection of how ‘weak’ I was but a reflection of how we are trying to train smart this time around and protect our bodies. Kevin brought up a good point, that we COULD push ourselves to run those 20 miles, but it would be too painful physically and mentally and wouldn’t do us any good. It would only make us hate running and put negative thoughts in our heads about the marathon we have coming up.

Something clicked inside my head – Yes, it was supposed to be 20 miles. Yes, it was an important run. But it’s only ONE run. It’s not the end of the world. I will be okay. I will finish the marathon. And there’s always tomorrow.

This may sound silly to all of you but it’s a big deal for me and a big change in my attitude. I’m really proud of myself for staying positive when things went wrong, since I have a tendency to do the opposite.

The next 6 miles of our run were ANYTHING but easy. We stopped to walk after each mile, literally. But we got through it. We can home, we stretched, ate, and moved on with our lives. So it was supposed to be 20 miles… so what. We did 11 instead and I’m proud of each one of those tough miles!

We had a great day afterwards. We took a nap, hung out with family at a local state park and rode Jetskis, went to Wegmans (my love!), and made a delicious dinner. I am currently drinking some (much needed) wine and about to get ready to celebrate my friend’s birthday.

Life is good, whether or not I was able to run 20 miles today.

🙂

50 States Challenge

After I ran my first marathon and realized that I had to have more, I quickly decided that my goal would be to run a marathon in all 50 states. I knew this would be a huge challenge, but I liked the idea of traveling and seeing the country while running marathons at the same time. Also, marathon entry fees are so expensive that I want to run as many different ones as I can, rather than always run the same race.

I began my journey in November 2008 and as of today I have run 6 marathons in 6 different states. I created this map on Google Maps to show where I have run marathons so far, and what’s up next on my race schedule.

My Marathon Map
(zoom out to view the entire United States)

Blue Pins = Completed
Pink Pins = Upcoming

I also have my own Marathon Map hanging up in our “sports room.” This is our extra bedroom that we’ve converted into a hang-out room with a futon and a TV, where Kevin likes to play his games and watch sports. It’s also where we keep all our race bibs, medals, and football stuff on display (Steelers for Kevin, Penn State & Eagles for me). I saw this canvas map of the United States at Target and I knew it would be perfect in this room. I have been marking the states with numbered stickers. They are kind of hard to see in this picture, but if you look closely you can see little red dots. There’s also one little green dot on there – that’s Kevin’s first marathon in Tennessee!

Recaps of all of these marathons can be found on my Running page or under the 50 Marathons in 50 States tag.

I can’t wait to add more states to my maps!

Spin, Spin, Spin

On Wednesday mornings I go to cycle (a.k.a spin) class at my gym with my favorite instructor. Her 8:30 AM class is usually packed and today was no different. All the bikes were taken except one! I’ve been going to spin for a few months now so I’m finally starting to feel like I know what I’m doing. This doesn’t mean it’s necessarily gotten easier – the class is always super challenging and that’s why I love it!

I got to class early today and I brought my old little camera in my gym bag, so I decided to take a few pictures and explain the basics of spinning. I’m no expert, but I’ll do my best!

This is the cycle room at my gym. There are 18 spin bikes inside. The instructor is on the bike in the right corner, where she has access to her iPod and the stereo system.

The room is lined with black lights. Some instructors turn the lights off during class so that only the black lights are glowing. It’s actually really cool, but my instructor prefers to keep the lights on so that she can check our form during class. It’s really important to have good form or you could get injured.

There’s a “Rules of the Road” sign on the wall that details safety information, proper form, etiquette, and other tips. This was very helpful for me during my first few classes when I was still learning the ropes!

Next up – the bikes! My gym uses these Spinner Pro bikes. I know there are different types of spin bikes but this is the only kind I have ever used.

When I get to class the first thing I do is set up my bike. It is important to adjust the seat height so that it lines up with your hip when you’re standing next to it. This should make it so when you sit on the bike, your legs are slightly bent at the bottom of your pedal stroke. The instructor helped me learn how to adjust my bike when I went to my first class. It’s also important to make sure that your arms have a slight bend in them when you are holding the handlebars. If they don’t (if they are bending too much or locked at the elbows) the handlebars may need to be adjusted as well. Mine are usually okay.

I sweat like a beast during spin class so I need two towels. I lay one over the handlebars so that they don’t get slippery when I sweat all over them. I lay the other one folded on top so that I can wipe my face (and arms, and neck, and everything else that sweats) during class.

Some people wear special cycle shoes that have clips on the bottom so they can ‘clip in’ to the pedals. It is supposed to make your pedaling easier and more efficient. I don’t have cycle shoes yet – regular sneakers work fine for now.

This is a little part of the bike but I think it’s the most important – the resistance knob. It is underneath the handlebars and controls how hard or easy your cycling feels.

My instructor teaches on a scale of 1 – 10, 1 being the easiest possible resistance and 10 being the hardest and most difficult. A ‘flat road’ is considered to be a resistance of about 4 or 5 and a heavy hill is an 8 or 9. We hardly ever go above an 8.5 in class – trust me, that’s enough to make you work hard! She gives cues when it’s time to turn your knob up and when to turn it down, usually increasing or decreasing by a half or full turn each time (turning it left makes it easier, turning it right makes it harder)- but only you are in control of your own resistance. One full turn will bring you up or down one number on the scale, from a 7 to 8 for example. One half turn will bring you up or down a half number, from a 7 to 7.5 or vice versa.

During the one hour class, you warm up for about 5 minutes then start the hard work. There are three basic positions numbered 1, 2, and 3.

[Source]

Fit Sugar explains the three positions well. Basically, positions 1 and 2 are used when you are sitting down on the bike (or “in the saddle”). Positions 2 and 3 can be used when your instructor tells you to get “out of the saddle”, meaning you’re standing up and cycling. In position 2 out of the saddle your standing upright with your body right above your legs. In position 3 you are leaning forward with your butt hovering right over the seat.

The instructor will cue you when to switch positions and get in/out of the saddle depending on the routine and music he or she has planned. Good instructors (like mine) time these changes in position with upbeat, motivating music, and changes in resistance to make it challenging. In a spin class you will experience long climbs and hills, surges (short intervals of heavy resistance followed by recovery), sprints (going as fast as you can), and combinations where you switch back and forth from positions 1, 2, and 3. The class ends with a cool down and a stretch.

An hour later after a lot of hard work and sweat, I usually look like this:

This picture doesn’t even capture how I am literally covered in sweat, EVERYWHERE! When I clean my bike at the end of class it’s also covered, and so are my towels and the mat that’s underneath it. It’s actually pretty gross. But it makes me feel amazing the rest of the day, and I have really seen an improvement in my running since I started cross-training with spinning.

Today in my class there were men and women from my age (twenties) all the way into their sixties and seventies! I know this for a fact because they were very proud of themselves and sharing their ages with everyone. These men and women are there every week and go to more spin classes than I do. So if they can do it, you can too! I used to be so afraid of spin, but I’m so glad I tried it and made it a part of my routine.

This has been my experience with spin and I still have a lot to learn! Feel free to add to what I’ve already said about this awesome form of exercise, or correct me if I said anything wrong.

Try it! You may surprise yourself and love it like I did 🙂

A Few Recent Good Eats!

Just a quick post to share a few good eats I have enjoyed recently! 

Homemade Calzone. Whole wheat pizza dough stuffed with pesto, artichokes, red onions, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, and Daiya (vegan cheese). Marinara sauce for dipping on the side. So delicious and great for eating the night before a long run!

Snobby Joes. This recipe is from the cookbook Veganomicon, but you can see it online here as well. It is basically Sloppy Joes made with lentils instead of meat and tastes exactly the same (seriously!) I put it inside an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin and had extra on the side, along with some baked sweet potato fries and sauteed collard greens (with hot sauce, of course).

Bean and Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado. This is from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I know that I already talked about this recipe once before but IT. IS. SO. GOOD. I don’t care if you eat meat or not, if you like Mexican food you will LOVE this, I promise! Served with roasted asparagus.

Cereal with Fresh Fruit. I’m on a cold cereal kick lately. I mix my usual four (Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Cinnamon Life, Kashi Heart to Heart, and Peanut Butter Puffins) and put some combo of fruit on it – bananas, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries.

FRUIT! Bananas, peaches, mangoes… in addition to the summer berries. I love it all!

Random Huge Salads. I’ve also been loving big cold salads at lunch time. This one had baby spinach, red onion, broccoli, tomato, celery, chickpeas and Annie’s Goddess Dressing (the best dressing!) I usually just throw whatever veggies we have in the fridge on top of some spinach and it ends up being very yummy 🙂 Peach on the side!

Veggie Enchiladas. As I’ve said before, we love our Mexican food over here. This dinner was grilled veggie enchiladas with vegetarian refried beans and guacamole. I put most of it inside the tortilla and extras on the side. The veggies [bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, squash] were marinated in an amazing sauce before grilling. The recipe is from The Vegan Table.

Stir Fry with Mmm Sauce. Kevin and I have been loving this Mmm Sauce recipe for a while now. I made a batch of it a few days ago and today for lunch I put it on top of a bunch of leftover veggies that I sauteed, including carrots, broccoli, squash, zucchini, and baby spinach. I put the veggies over some brown rice, added some cashews on top and then some Mmm Sauce. SO delicious! And it looks beautiful on our new place settings that we received as a wedding gift!

I love food! I will post more delicious eats next week 🙂 Have a good Monday!

16 Miles in a Heat Wave

WOW! It’s been hot here in northern Virginia. All of our runs this week have been super challenging. The heat and humidity hits you as soon as you walk outside, and it feels like being wrapped in a heavy wet blanket. Everything has felt much more difficult, especially keeping my breathing and heart rate controlled while running.

As soon as I saw the weather forecast earlier this week I knew that our long run would be a tough one. We had 16 miles to do on Saturday, and even at 5 am the temperature was 79 with a heat index of 89, and humidity was at 86%! From there it only continued to get worse. We decided ahead of time to do as much as we could stand outside and then head to the gym to finish off our 16 miles on the treadmill (a.k.a. the torture machine). I was not happy about this but I knew it was necessary to keep ourselves safe in the heat.

We didn’t start running until 6:15 that morning, which was later than I wanted to start. We knew we were in for a challenging run and we were trying our best to have a positive attitude.

Since we weren’t sure how much we would be able to run outside, we wanted to stay nearby our house and the gym, which was 2 miles away from our house. First we ran down to Belmont Bay where we are getting married. After only 2.5 miles we were completely soaking wet with sweat. We stopped for a minute to take a picture and the lens immediately fogged up.

The air was so thick it was unbelievable! We tried to take a picture of ourselves and failed- but it pretty much sums up how it felt to be running outside at that time!

We started running again, but started needing to take walking breaks after every mile or two. We made it from Belmont Bay to Occoquan. At that point we needed a little bit of a longer break. We were 7 miles in and we were losing steam.

We stopped by a little pond to rest. I could tell it was just getting too hot and that we would be heading to the treadmill soon. I was dreading it!

It looked like I had just jumped in the pond! My shorts were the worst. It felt like I was wearing a wet diaper… yuck!

Before running to the gym we ran through the town of Occoquan, then stopped again by the water at mile 8.

Kevin started feeling a little bit nauseous and I wasn’t feeling good either. We knew we needed to go inside to the air-conditioned gym.

Luckily, the gym was only a little over a mile away. We arrived there after running 9.32 miles. I knew we would have to run 2 miles home, so we planned to run 4.68 miles on the treadmill to bring our total to 16.

Those 4.68 miles were TOUGH. Treadmill running is very hard for me. I feel like I can’t get comfortable and I always stare at the screen the whole time. I couldn’t wait for it to be over and it felt like it never would be. I was thankful that we managed to run so much outside and didn’t have to run more than that!

Once we were finally done, I wrung out my soaking wet clothes in the locker room, put them back on (so gross!) and we left the gym to run 2 more miles home. Kevin was not very happy about that.

Only 2 more miles to go – we can do it!

So we set off running…

And those 2 miles were extremely hard. Our bodies were so tired, and even though we drank a ton of water we felt dehydrated. We had to stop and walk after each half mile that we ran. It was frustrating to know that the heat was beating us down so badly, but we finally made it back home into our air-conditioned apartment. I immediately changed out of my gross clothes, drank an electrolyte replacement drink and sprawled out on the floor. I was so proud of us for doing what we had to do to get our long run in on such a hot day. It wasn’t pretty, but we did it!

The run itself took 2 hours and 33 minutes, but we took a lot of untimed walking breaks so we were really outside/in the gym for a little over 3 hours. The running portions were broken down like this – Outside: 9.32 miles (1:29:08), Inside: 4.68 miles (45:15), Outside: 2 miles (19:19).

Surprisingly, I felt fine the rest of the day and even managed to stay up until 3 AM at my friend’s bachelorette party! I did get some stomach cramps that evening, but I think it was due to the heat and dehydration from earlier. I drank more water and they went away.

Here is my weekly run down:

  • Monday: 7 mile run (1:04:56 / 9:16 pace) + Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Tuesday: 7 mile tempo run- 1 mile warm up, 5 miles @ 8:01 average pace, 1 mile cool down (Splits were 8:05, 8:01, 7:59, 7:58, 8:03)
  • Wednesday: Spin class (1 hour) + Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Thursday: 7 mile run (1:06:11 / 9:27 pace)
  • Friday: Body Pump (1 hour)
  • Saturday: 16 mile run (2:33:42 / 9:36 pace), dancing, mechanical bull riding 🙂
  • Sunday: Rest
Hope everyone has a great Sunday evening! I’ll be spending mine on the couch with my hubby-to-be 🙂

Katie & Kevin’s ABCs of Food

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve seen this “ABCs of Food” questionnaire floating around the blog world lately and I thought it would be fun to do it, since I get asked a lot of questions about my diet. I also thought it might be interesting to have Kevin answer them too because he has his own opinions on what he likes. I filled this out earlier today and then I “interviewed” Kevin after he was finished work to get his answers. I typed exactly what he said to me, so some of it is pretty funny. I didn’t show him my answers until he was finished and it was fun to see what we agreed/disagreed about. Enjoy! 🙂

A is for Apple: What’s your favorite variety?

Katie: I love Gala apples! They are my favorite and the only type that I buy for myself.

Kevin: Pink Lady because they’re big, sweet, and juicy. 

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?

Katie: I’m definitely a bread girl. Most of the time I like bread that is thick, whole-grain with good texture. Wegman’s Whole Wheat is really good. But I think my all time favorite bread regardless of nutritional value is an everything bagel! THE BEST!

Kevin: An everything bagel. I guess that’s bread?

C is for Cereal: What is your favorite kind currently? (just one!)

Katie: There’s no way I could pick just one. I love cereal and when I eat it I always mix at least two kinds. Right now my current mixture includes 4 different types! Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Kashi Heart-to-Heart, Cinnamon Life, and Peanut Butter Puffins. And always with fruit on top. It’s SO GOOD!

Kevin: Cinnamon Life. It’s been my favorite since I was a kid and I love cinnamon.

D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?

Katie: I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate a donut, but I used to love plain glazed ones fresh and hot off the Krispy Kreme conveyer belt. Mmm now I want one!

Kevin: Apple cinnamon filled from Dunkin Donuts.

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?

Katie: I grew up loving eggs, especially the “eggies” that my Dad would make for me in the microwave. When I decided to eliminate meat from my diet I also stopped eating eggs because they seemed totally unappealing to me. However, recently I started to want them again so I’ve been eating them occasionally. This may be kind of weird but I still prefer them the way my Dad made them for me in the microwave! Especially on an English muffin or a bagel with some hot sauce 🙂

Kevin: Fried sunny side up in a sandwich like you made me last week.

F is for Fat Free: What is your favorite fat free product?

Katie: I just went to look in my fridge and pantry and I honestly don’t own any fat-free products. When I ate dairy I would choose skim milk and fat-free yogurt but now I eat soy yogurt and almond milk, both which have a little fat in them. I don’t agree with many of the fat-free products that are in stores because they are usually over-processed and the  fat is usually replaced with chemicals. I’d rather eat the more natural things that contain some fat. Plus, fat is a necessary nutrient, especially for runners because it helps to keep joints lubricated and makes you feel more satisfied.

Kevin: Chobani greek yogurt. Strawberry.

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?

Katie: WEGMANS! It’s the best grocery store, hands down.

Kevin: Wegmans because they have a great variety.

H is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?

Katie: Definitely coffee. I need coffee in my life every morning. Although lately I have been drinking it iced because it’s so hot outside, and the last thing I want when I come back from a hot and sweaty run is a hot drink.

Kevin: Ew. I don’t like hot drinks. But I guess coffee, especially the white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. 

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

Katie: Vanilla with cookie dough and Reese’s peanut butter cups… YUM!

Kevin: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with chocolate syrup on top.

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor?

Katie: Love a good PB&J sandwich. I  usually stick to preserves though. We buy a 3 pack from BJs of Polaner All Fruit preserves that includes blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry.

Kevin: Strawberry preserves. I eat it every day on my PB&J sandwich for lunch.

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?

Katie: Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal. I also love their Roasted Vegetable Crackers, and they just put out a new line of pita crackers (The salsa flavor is amazing). I can’t pick just one!

Kevin: Kashi Go Lean Crunch because it’s amazing in my mouth.

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?

Katie: All I wanted for lunch today was cold food since it’s 99 degrees (with a real feel of 114!) and I had just gotten back from Body Pump. So I had a big salad that contained baby spinach, chickpeas, broccoli, red onion, celery, tomato, avocado, and Annie’s Goddess Dressing (my favorite). I also had a sliced up peach on the side. Later on I had a snack of crackers and hummus 🙂

Kevin: You know what I had. The same thing I have every day. PB&J, yogurt, and a peach. And a Larabar for a snack.

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?

Katie: Oatmeal! I know many people make it on the stove but we use the microwave. I eat this almost every morning except recently I’ve been craving cold cereal.

Kevin: Hungryman dinners. Just kidding. Oatmeal!

N is for nutrients: Do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?

Katie: I am such a carboholic it’s not even funny! I love bread, bagels, cereal, crackers, pasta, rice, etc. I crave soft pretzels and tortilla chips on a regular basis. I do love my healthy fats though, especially avocado and nut butters.

Kevin: Fat because it’s the best tasting. 

O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?

Katie: Mainly extra virgin olive oil. We go through a lot of it actually. 

Kevin: Olive oil is good on everything. I also have a spoonful every morning (he’s kidding).

P is for protein: How do you get yours?

Katie: Oh protein, the topic of conversation whenever I tell people I’m a vegetarian. I get plenty of protein through the whole grains, beans, nuts/nut butters, and veggies that I eat. People are always surprised to learn that there is such a thing as plant protein and that vegetarians can get all the protein they need through a balanced diet. I don’t eat dairy because it hurts my tummy, but I have recently started eating eggs again which also helps me get protein. I try not to eat too much soy, but I will eat soy yogurt, veggie burgers, and energy bars that contain soy. I try to limit myself to one serving a day though, because of health and personal reasons.

Kevin: Peanut butter, oatmeal, bread, greek yogurt, cheese, beans, chicken and fish.

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?

Katie: I LOVE OATMEAL! To make it, I combine 1/2 cup of oats with 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup of water, cinnamon, and a sliced banana. I like to cook the banana in with the oats because it gives it an even more thick delicious taste and texture. I cook it in the microwave for 2 minutes then take it out, stir it, and add raisins, blueberries, or raspberries. Then I cook it for one more minute. Once it’s done I stir in about 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter. PERFECTION!

Kevin: In a microwave. Hot. With cinnamon and banana and almond milk and raisins. (He makes it the same way I do).

R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast? 

Katie: Potatoes, definitely. My favorites are baked sweet potato fries and roasted fingerling potatoes. So good!

Kevin: Broccoli with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. (I forgot about the broccoli! It’s so good!)

S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?

Katie: I love making sandwiches or wraps that are packed with spinach, hummus, avocado, and other veggies. I love a good veggie burger too.

Kevin: PB&J.

T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?

Katie: Planning ahead and packing lots of healthy snacks. I need to eat every 3 hours or so or else I get super cranky. I always bring fruit, bars, crackers, trail mix, sandwiches, etc. when we travel. When it comes to eating out, we try to do some research beforehand to find good places that will have vegetarian options. But I have also learned (through many challenging experiences) that I need to just go with the flow sometimes and make the best of certain situations. Even if it means being creative sometimes with what I order at places where my options are limited. I try not to stress out about it anymore, and I always make sure to have a Larabar or something in my purse in case.

Kevin: Horribly. I eat like a pig and eat out more than we usually do. 

U is for unique: What is one of your weirdest food combos? 

Katie: I really don’t know. The only thing I can think of is that I love ketchup and put it on everything. I really love mixing ketchup into macaroni and cheese and dipping grilled cheese into ketchup (it’s kind of like tomato soup, right?)

Kevin: (He couldn’t think of any but I think it’s pretty weird that he stirs peanut butter into his chili).

V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?

Katie: I take a vegetarian multi-vitamin – NatureMade Multi Complete with Iron. Occasionally I will take an extra B12 supplement if my diet has been more on the vegan side without any dairy, eggs, or fortified cereal.

Kevin: None. What are vitamins? (I’ve been trying to get him to take a multi-vitamin!)

W is for wasabi: Yay or nay?

Katie: Yes please! Love it with sushi, and wasabi peas are amazing too.

Kevin: Hell nay.

X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?

Katie:  My breakfast which was cereal with fruit, and my lunch which I showed you in letter L 🙂 

Kevin: My lunch and a Larabar.

Y is for youth: What food reminds you of your childhood?

Katie: A lot of things – my dad’s eggies, my grandma’s homemade macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and tomato soup, hot dogs, fish sticks, roasted chicken, my dad’s spaghetti and meatballs… How did I grow up to be a vegetarian?! We did eat veggies too, I promise…

Kevin: Cinnamon toast crunch.

Z is for zucchini: How do you prepare it?

Katie: I love zucchini! I think my favorite way to eat it is grilled. It’s great as a side dish or in a veggie sandwich. I also recently made zucchini cakes that tasted exactly like crab cakes, and they were DELICIOUS! 

Kevin: Chopped and sauteed with spices.

Well that was fun (for me at least!) Hope you all have a great weekend! We have a 16 miler on the training plan for tomorrow morning, then I’m going to Baltimore for my friend’s bachelorette party! Can’t wait 🙂