16 miles and counting.

This past weekend was my first 16 mile run. Two hours and a half of running through the city non-stop. I started the run in Coral Gables residential then entered Miracle Mile. I continued on coral way and made my way into the Roads. From there I continued via Key Biscayne and turned around right at the beginning of the Rickenbacker bridge.

It was a nice course. With some lights to cross but the busyness of the city made my run more enjoyable. Most of my long runs are in beautiful neighborhoods but after a while looking at trees may get pretty boring. On this course I found myself being entertained by the different sights and neighborhoods.

It was around 3:30 pm when I started my run. The weather was a bit muggy but then it cleared up to a nice beautiful sunset. Running on Key biscyane by the water is definitely very relaxing. Sometimes we take for granted the views and weather we have in Miami.

One thing I did experience on my long run is all the different pain one starts feeling. The arch of my foot started to hurt but when I reached half way that started to fade away and a new pain would start. It was this way until the end. By the time I got home nothing and everything hurt! I was happy to take a warm shower and head out for a much deserved dinner!

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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

CRUST
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
3-4 tablespoons ice water
FILLING
1 15-ounce can unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can low-fat sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preparation:

To prepare crust: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, swirling the butter, until it’s light brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. Stir in oil. Slowly stir the butter-oil mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork until the dough is crumbly. Gradually stir in ice water, adding enough so the dough holds together and feels moist. Press the dough into a flattened disk.

Overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface, place the dough in the center and cover with 2 more overlapping sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Remove the top sheets and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Remove the remaining plastic wrap. Fold the dough under at the rim and crimp or flute the edge (see Tip).
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

To prepare filling & assemble pie: Whisk pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Add condensed milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake until the filling is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes more. (Cover the crust edges with foil if they are browning too quickly.) Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

So Many Choices…

We have so many choices when it comes to sneakers, it makes it hard to narrow it down and pick the best choice possible. Depending on your type of foot and stride we should all be wearing something for our specific needs. As I have mentioned in previous posts I am easily prone to blisters, specially on one foot where I always have a bruised toe.

I have tried many different sneakers ranging in flexibility and cushioning which are the two main components I look for in running shoes. With all these new minimalists shoes makes me wonder just what is the best. Asics has been a brand to never let me down no matter what style of shoe I pick. New balance were my first running shoes and were great but a bit too heavy. Nike shoes are further down the list but are light, flexible shoes. Today I wear Saucony’s ProGrid Kinvara. So far, so good. This is a neutral running shoe that is lightweight and flexible but has the midsole support I need.

This weekend I will be running 17 miles for the first time and I hope my shoes give me no problems. Running all these miles makes my shoes wear out in about four months. I will continue to read articles about shoes and keep trying new ones as with everything else technology in running shoes in always upgrading.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!! More pumpkin recipes coming soon! 🙂

Key Largo Bridge 13.1 half marathon

It was a beautiful day for a race today. With temperatures in the high 60’s when we started and in the 70’s as soon as the sun came up, made it a comfortable run. Beautiful views from the Jewfish bridge in Key largo made the 13.1 run much easier. It was a small group for the half marathon. Our group was the first to go as there was a 10K (6.2 miles) and a 5K (3.1 miles) that followed.

Personally, I felt great. I was relaxed, enjoyed the views and the nice breeze for the first half. There was a turn around point at approximately 6 and a half miles. At that point I felt my left knee hurt a little. shortly after the pain began to increase and twice I felt my knee give out on me. I had to slow down my pace and walked during the next two water stops. My knee felt a little better after each walking break so I would try to speed up as much as I could. But would always feel some pain. There was the Jewfish/Key Largo bridge along the beginning of the course, which only meant we had to run the bridge towards the end of the course again…

When I’m dealing with pain or discomfort while a long run it is very easy to immediately become discouraged. At this point I knew that I was not going to be able to meet my goal of finishing before two hours. I kept as positive as I could thinking that even with my knee hurting I was happy to be able to finish without walking. I somehow got the strength to pick up my pace with 3 miles left and going uphill on the bridge. I have never been happier then when I was running downhill and 2 miles to the finish.

It was a shame my knee was not cooperating because otherwise I was feeling good. Not too tired, not too hot; I had energy left. However, I am happy to report that I still beat my personal best for a half marathon by almost 4 minutes! My time for today’s race was 2:00:50. I enjoyed the event and I am now enjoying my time by the pool as we are staying in Key Largo for the weekend. 🙂

Jewfish/Key Largo Bridge

What a beautiful view!

Running on the bridge

13.1

Icing my knee right away!

Pumpkin Bread

This version of Pumpkin bread contains egg whites, low-fat yogurt, whole wheat flour and flax seeds for a healthier makeover you won’t even notice!

Ingredients:

1 cup(s) (packed) light brown sugar
2 large egg whites
1 cup(s) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup(s) vegetable oil
1/3 cup(s) low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup(s) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

In large bowl, with wire whisk, combine brown sugar and egg whites. Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract; stir to combine.

In medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, flax seeds, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just combined. Do not 

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert pumpkin bread onto wire rack; cool completely.

What’s your Mantra?

As time gets closer to my marathon I begin to prepare mentally. When running for hours without music I need to keep a positive attitude and keep all self talk positive. I have come across different sayings or phrases that grab my attention. I am writing some of these down in a small piece of paper and carrying them with me through my run. If at any point I start to doubt myself or negative thoughts come to mind, I will have these handy to get me back in track. Hope it works!!

On a quick note; I’m off to Key Largo this weekend for a half marahon. I will report on how it goes…

Now here are some mantras. Please share any you may know!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Confucius

“Anyone can run 20 miles. It’s the next 6 that count.” – Barry Magee

“The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa

“I was pushed by myself because I have my own rule, and that is that every day I run faster and try harder.” – Wilson Kipketer

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” – Les Brown

“No one ever drowned in sweat.” – unknow

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” – Bill Bowerman

“He who is not courages enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

Healthy Mac and Cheese

Carb loading is very important when running many miles in order to fuel the body pre workout and replenish afterwards. One can do this by choosing complex carbs that won’t jeopardize staying on track when it comes to meal planning. Here’s a great recipe I found for one of my favorite comfort foods.

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt
4 ounces whole wheat macaroni
1/2 cup onion-garlic puree (see substitution for Bechamel sauce below)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mist an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set it aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions, drain.
Meanwhile, bring onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in cheddar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.
In a medium bowl, toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Season with salt to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle panko over the top. Top with Parmesan.
Bake until Parmesan is melted and macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes.

Bechamel sauce (a mixture of milk, butter, and flour) plays a starring role in traditional mac and cheese recipes. Instead use this aromatic blend of onion and garlic to build flavor and texture without fat (makes 1 cup).
Step 1
Combine 1 large Vidalia onion, 9 garlic cloves (roughly chopped), and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Step 2
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high 10 minutes.
Step 3
Pour the mixture into a blender; blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. (Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 72 hours.)