March 2, 2018

Training for Marathon #3

I'm nine weeks into training for my third marathon!  My first one was the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in 2014, finishing in 4:17.  My second one was the NYC Marathon in 2016, finishing in 4:28.  My goal for this one is to finally break 4:00.  To do so, I'm focusing on three areas: Nutrition, Running (form; speed), Cross Training.

I am putting the largest focus on nutrition.  With my knowledge of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan plus listening to what my body needs, I'm making a conscious effort to fuel by body with as much clean, unprocessed foods as possible for the 16-week training program.  Here is what I'm eating:
  • Protein
    • Meats - chicken, salmon, shrimp, beef, ground turkey (after reading The Dorito Effect**, I try to choose grass fed, free range, and wild caught as often as possible.)
    • Eggs
    • Protein smoothies
  • Fat
    • Peanut and almond butters
    • Avocados
    • Butter
  • Carbs
    • Oats - oatmeal is my go-to breakfast before long runs
    • Starches - Sweet potatoes and Yukon potatoes, gluten free pasta, brown rice + quinoa, corn tortillas (preferably GMO free)

I have a major sweet tooth that I've been making a conscious effort to kick. It is a work in progress but I've found fruity gum (Extra Watermelon & Trident Tropical Twist) after a meal has worked best for me.

Water - I'm trying to drink at least 70 oz. a day.  It's been a challenge with being so cold here.

**Other excellent books I've read in this category are:
  • Grain Brain
  • Wheat Belly
  • Sugar Crush
  • I have Gut on my shelf but haven't read it yet.

Some of my favorite recipes have been Superhero Muffins (p. 42) from Run Fast Eat Slow:

Fish Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa (p. 136).  I'll change these up by adding shrimp, pico, pineapple, white cheddar... whatever we have on hand.

Hummingbird Muffins from The Runner's World Cookbook:

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Stuffed Peppers - One of my absolute favorites! I've made this recipe quite a few times.

Firecracker Pineapple Chicken - I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free flour instead of Tapioca Starch because I already had it on hand. On the blander side but still very good.

Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef - I served this over rice for added carbs. Great weeknight dinner because it is so simple and my Crock Pot does all of the work!

I joined a training team, something that I didn't do for my first two.  We have about 15 people training for a spring marathon and our coach has been great at personalizing the training to meet each of our specific goals.  The training team has been great accountability for me, meeting 2 nights a week and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Two to three days a week, I take a 6:00 AM strength/conditioning class.  I've been attending this small group training since June 2017 and have never looked or felt stronger.  This has had a great impact on my endurance.  I ran my last half marathon (November 2017) in 1:54, only running 2-3 days/week and cross training here 3 days/week.

Barefoot training (well, in socks!)

I also have made it a priority since December to get monthly deep tissue massages.  I feel SO GOOD afterwards and know that this has helped my muscles recover.  If I ever win the lottery, I'm getting weekly deep tissue massages!

January 31, 2018

Washing Our Pottery Barn Slipcovers

A few years ago, we ordered our sofa and loveseat - the PB Comfort Roll in Parchment Twill - from Pottery Barn.  Eight weeks later, they were delivered as we moved into our first apartment together in NJ.  You can ready more about those details in this post.

With family coming over for Christmas, I knew they were way overdue for a washing but with no pets or kids, they weren't looking grimy.  We also don't eat on them anymore since getting a dining table and we are a shoe free house.  To be honest, I was intimidated to wash them. What if they shrunkWhat if I couldn't put them back on?  When we got a new washer and dryer this past summer, (our washer broke in July and the dryer was on the fritz during the home inspection) I specifically wanted a top loading machine with no agitator for the sole purpose of washing the slipcovers!

I had some PTO to use at the end of this past year, so one of the days was spent washing the slipcovers.  As they washed, I cleaned the rest of the house in preparation for Christmas Eve. (You can see more pictures post-wash here.)

It wasn't bad at all! It did take a good portion of the day, as I washed them in 4 loads:
  • 4 loveseat cushion covers
  • loveseat slipcover
  • 4 sofa cushion covers
  • sofa slipcover
Before they went into the washer, I vacuumed them, checked for any stains, and pre-treated the stains with Shout.

I followed the washing instructions for my fabric, as shown in the image below.  They washed beautifully.

After washing, I placed them in the dryer on medium heat for 40 minutes, removing them while they were slightly damp.

For putting the slipcover back on, I referred to this Pottery Barn video for help: How to put on a slipcover.  I then went over any wrinkles with my steamer.

Overall, it was fairly simple AND I got a good workout in, running up and down the basement stairs all day! 😉 Going forward, I plan to wash them quarterly, using this schedule: March, June, September, December, as the seasons change.

December 25, 2017

Christmas Home Tour

Merry Christmas! We have a white Christmas here in New York. About 4-5" of snow fell overnight, a serene sight to wake up to.  Yesterday, we successfully hosted our first holiday gathering, Christmas Eve dinner. You can read more about the menu and planning here. It was so much fun having our family over and 100% stress-free thanks to the Holiday Planner and Schedule, linked in my Christmas Eve post.

And photos from Christmas Eve dinner last night :)

Gingerbread place settings - a tradition my paternal grandmother had when she hosted!

Bayberry wax comes from boiling the berries and skimming off the precious wax coating.
It is the rarest and most prized of all candle waxes.

According to tradition, to bring good luck, you must burn a Bayberry Candle on Christmas Day.
If the flame burns bright and the light shines clear, then heaven will bless you throughout the year.

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2017

Hosting Christmas Eve Dinner

A dream of mine is finally coming true this weekend - getting to host a holiday dinner! I've been collecting/inheriting dinnerware + serveware for about 10 years.  Now that we are in our first house and have a dining table, it was the perfect opportunity.  We'll be having Mike's family over for Christmas Eve dinner on Sunday since he has to work on Christmas Day.

I finalized the menu last week and the timeline earlier this week.  Here is what is on the menu for 8 people:
King's Arm Tavern Sweet Potatoes recipe (from Colonial Williamsburg)

And this is how I've kept my sanity all week!  This schedule and checklist were a lifesaver.  Literally.  Dinner Planner and Setup Checklist (via Jenny Steffens Hobick)

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas! Do you have Christmas tradition(s)? What are your plans for Christmas this year?