Family Track Workout

>> Thursday, May 31, 2012

Remember our Family 4-miler? Well, we've been doing a lot of jogging stroller running lately, but not together. So, this afternoon we decided to change that.

We packed up the stroller and some diapers and headed here:


It was Ada's first time at a track. And I'm hoping it won't be her last. With us. And by herself someday.


THE WORKOUT

#: 1 mile warmup together with jogging stroller (8:10 pace)
#: Ashley: 6 x 400 at mile pace (7:00, so 1:45) with 400 meter recovery (with stroller)
#: Stephen: 6 x 800 at mile pace (4:46, so 2:23) with 400 meter recovery (with stroller)
#: 1 mile cool down together with stroller (8:30 pace)

I did my repeats while Stephen jogged his recovery with Ada. Then vice versa. Stephen chose 800s because he was completing them in around 2:23, which came in just a tick or so after my 400 meter recovery time. And my 400 pace was close to his 800 meter pace. It worked almost perfectly.

Ada was a trooper and fell asleep soon after our warmup mile.


At first I thought I'd like to have the front wheel of the BOB unlocked for going around the turns. But it was all over the place. Actually, keeping it locked was much, much better. To be kind to other runners, we kept the stroller on the outer lanes while we jogged and did our speed in the inner lanes.

DONE!


If you'd like to do this same workout with your significant other or even a friend, it's easy.

  • If you run similar paces, all you need to do is your lap, then grab the stroller from your partner for recovery.
  • If you run wildly different paces like we do, consider running different distances for the repeats (like we did).
  • It wasn't absolutely in synch, but I'd say with each repeat, we only had 20 or 30 seconds of lag time -- MAX.
We're already planning to do this speed session again next week. Good excuse for me to work toward my pace goals.


How do you find creative ways to get key workouts in? We definitely feel pulled in all directions now that we're parents, but we're making training a priority and having fun with it.

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Roasted Veggies on Pizza

>> Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We make a lot of pizza. You all know this from the ridiculous number of recipes we post. Lately, though, we've been going far beyond the usual sauce and cheese. It started with the Mexican Pizza with Tequila Shot Crust.

Now? We can't get enough veggies. Especially of the roasted variety.


STEP 1: Make pumpkin pizza dough, which is our go-to whenever we want pizza or knots. Actually, Stephen steamed some carrots and pureed them versus using canned pumpkin. Turned out great AND we had a spoon-able dinner for Ada!


STEP 2: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Then chop, if necessary, the following ingredients into large chunks and assemble on a large, rimmed baking pan.

  • 1 large summer squash
  • 1 large white onion
  • 15 (or so) sprigs of asparagus
  • Couple handfuls walnuts
Just drizzle everything with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. We also added a lot of red pepper flakes for heat. Then place in the oven for 45 minutes, mixing every 15 minutes until you reach your desired black-ness. Set aside.


STEP 3: While they are roasting, make a tasty sauce. We recommend this one.


STEP 4: Up the oven temp to 425 degrees F and place a pizza stone inside. Divide dough into two balls and save one for a rainy day. Then flatten out and put on your pizza stone (a regular pizza or baking sheet would work fine, too). Bake for 4 to 5 minutes. Then flip over and spread your sauce and toppings. We used half a package of mozzarella and some parmesan cheese.

Bake for for 12 minutes. Then broil for a couple to crisp it up.


Slice and enjoy. My favorite part of this particular pizza? The WALNUTS! What a wonderful afterthought. I am definitely adding them to more pies in the future. Otherwise, roasting veggies has become my new obsession, so look for more recipes like this one in the very near future.

SITE UPDATES:
  • We are still working on synching the comments up. If you visit the main page, the counter by each post usually says "no new comments" because it isn't pulling from DISQUS. But usually there are lots of wonderful comments. So, it's annoying.
  • I added several drop-down menus to the top navigation bar. I think it helps find content much faster than before.
  • This summer I will work furiously to get all newer posts linked to various categories like Recipes, Running, and Life. I just need more time without a crawling 6-month-old grabbing at wires whenever I look away from her.
  • I added a subtle chevron background. But I'm starting to feel like chevron is "so over" -- we'll see how long it lasts.
  • If you have any suggestions, we'd love to hear 'em -- shoot us an email at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

And today on Writing Chapter Three, we've written installment two of the Baby Must-Haves series. This time, it's the 3 to 6 month edition.

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Route Routine

>> Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I get bored with my running routes. Often. I have several 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 mile loops and out-and-back courses I cycle through each month. I string some of these routes together for long runs, too. Most of my miles are logged on "city" streets (we live in a residential neighborhood in a very small-ish city).

Blocks and blocks of houses.
A couple city parks.
The occasional bridge.

It works just fine. But I'd rather be running here . . .


Where I grew up, I could run a 4 mile loop around town and hit the hospital where I was born; the church where I was baptized; my first house; my elementary, middle, and high schools; the house where I grew up; the town library; my favorite bagel shop; and the town park (where Stephen and I married). My life childhood tour, if you will.

And if I ran 2 miles out of town, I'd be here:


Or maybe here:


And a quick drive out of town a little farther would bring me here:


Yes. HERE! (Do you see the path at the bottom of the canyon beside the creek?)


I miss it. That's for sure. I rarely got bored with all the gorgeousness around me. End of flashback. Facing reality. I've been thinking a lot about how to jazz up my current routine. I may not be able to run exactly where I'd like to every single day, but I could make my runs more fun by taking some roads less traveled.

I have some ideas for how to freshen up my usual routes:

#1: Run backwards. Well, the routes, that is. Sometimes all I need is a new perspective. Plus, I know I run some of my loops the "easier" way . . . flipping would give me some challenges.

#2: Learn from what others are running. I haven't used it much, but I did take some time a few years ago to look at what other people are running in my area on MapMyRun.com. I should revisit that site.

#3: Hit some parks. Any maybe trails. There are definitely a few good paved areas around here where I could go and not have to worry about traffic. And I've always been interested to run some of the not-so paved paths as well.

#4: Get in the group groove. I absolutely must do more group runs. I joined some women from our runners club last week and it was absolutely fantastic. I'm going with them again tomorrow . . . and hopefully to a big group long run this weekend.

#5: Go crazy. I think I read this tip in Runner's World a few years ago -- but something about making the route a game. Turning right on every second side street. Or going up and down parallel streets. Something fun like that.

What do you do when you get bored of your routine? I'm sure it happens to most everyone.


Psssst: Check out our little swimmer today on Writing Chapter Three. Our Memorial Day weekend was great and HOT, but definitely went quickly.

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Food for Runners: G-a-r-l-i-c

>> Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last time, we told you all about B-a-n-a-n-a-s -- one of Stephen's favorite foods. Today? Garlic, which is perhaps my favorite food of all. I can't think of many dishes we don't include it in. And it's another white food that's oh-so good for you.

Plus, it's a great grocery item you can buy on the cheap each week to enhance your diet.


Garlic "contains many flavonoid anti-oxidants like carotene beta, zea-xanthin, and vitamins like vitamin-C. Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals." (Nutrition-and-you.com)

Just "one clove a day can lower cholesterol by about nine per cent [and] other research has also linked the pungent bulbs to an uptick in carb metabolism, meaning food gets converted to energy more efficiently." (Runnersworld.com)


Here are some of our favorite garlic-infused recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

Madalene and Ross's Wild Garlic and Goat Cheese Frittata
Our Garlic-Basil French Toast w/ Avocado Butter
Deseree's Chili-Garlic Edamame
Jessica's Roasted Garlic Hummus
Lizzie's Roasted Tomato-Garlic Soup
Our Pumpkin garlic knots (or other varieties)
Heidi's Garlic Soba Noodles
Ashley's Rosemary-Garlic Grilled Corn
Amanda's Lemon-Garlic Kale Pasta
SeriousEats: Braised Eggplant with Tofu in Garlic Sauce
Katie's Grilled Garlic Asparagus Drizzled with Balsamic
Our Crusty Garlic Tuscan Herb Loaf
Emily's Garlic and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Diana's Rosemary-Garlic Farro with Chickpeas
Heather's Garlic Sauteed Kale and Mushroom Baguette


As I mentioned above, I toss garlic into most dishes we make at dinner. Sauteed with a little olive oil, garlic goes well with pasta, tofu, roasted vegetables, and even eggs!

What's your favorite garlic dish? Please leave a link in the comments below to add to the recipe inspiration!



If you hop onto neverhomemaker.com, you'll notice some wild design changes. I'd love your feedback on these. We're still working out the kinks with comments and some spacing issues. Overall, I'm hoping the new design makes navigating all our content easier.

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Technical Difficulties

>> Friday, May 25, 2012

I'm having one of those technology challenged days. Like, I drafted this awesome post about why garlic is good for you . . . in a Word document. And somehow I didn't save it. Yeah. Like a boss. So, that will be coming tomorrow.

But I wanted to say hi tonight. Hi! Here are some things that are coming up next week. In photos.


More important: What are you doing for the holiday? We have a lot of catching up to do. Gardening, cleaning, cleaning some more, and resting. It's been a tough sleep week.

Now, speaking of sleep, you can read about Ada's current sleep situation over on Writing Chapter Three. It's always changing. That's for sure!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Eat Your Colors?

>> Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I've always read that my dinner should be as colorful as the rainbow. Color means nutrients. Good choices. Health. So, imagine my surprise when -- unplanned -- dinner ended up in all shades of white/brown tonight.


Thing is, white doesn't need to be so bad. Especially when you consider the variety of stuff on this plate.

Brown rice is a great grain to accompany any meal.


Our favorite Baked Tofu -- cooked in the oven extra long tonight -- for an entire hour. Don't forget to flip a few times.


And something new! Roasted napa cabbage with onions. Absolutely delicious.

ROASTED NAPA WITH ONIONS

What you'll need . . . 
  • 1 head (is it called a head?) of napa cabbage 
  • 1 medium cooking onion 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (or other favorite oil, we used this stir-fry variety) 
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil 
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
Method . . . 
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Find a rimmed baking sheet. 
  2. Chop the napa into chunks and the onions, too. There's no right way. Then place atop the cooking sheet. 
  3. Mix together the oils, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over the napa and onions. 
  4. Then toss around to coat well. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Then stir. Bake for another 15 minutes. Stir again. 
  5. And continue a bit longer until cabbage is browned to your liking. Serve warm and enjoy!

Ada's been eating solids for, well, a solid week now. Surprisingly, her plate was more colorful than ours was tonight. Check out what she's eating over on Writing Chapter Three.

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Good Question: Miles or Minutes

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kimberly asks: "I am a relatively new runner and looking at training plans for my first 10K. I notice that some plans go by minutes while others go by miles. What's the difference between training with miles and minutes?"


I've always been slightly confused about why some training plans have you running a specific distance versus a specific time. To add to the confusion, the training plan I'm following at the moment has BOTH miles AND minutes prescribed. Easy runs, mostly in the 3 to 5 mile range, are written out by distance. While tempo and long run workouts are written out in time.

Why?!?!

Well, I'll be honest. I don't really know. I'm not a coach. I'm not even what I'd consider a competitive or fantastic runner. I can't exactly speak to why some plans go with minutes while other go with miles. I can, however, share the benefits I see through my experience with each type of training because I have prepared for races using both methods. So, I hope this answer is at least somewhat informative to you all.

I've been participating in road races for over 10 years now. And I found it helpful to train by time, particularly when I was a beginner. Especially for increasing long runs when my longest run ever was like 3 miles. I'm sure there are more technical reasons than this one, but even just mentally, increasing my time by 10 minutes sounded a lot easier than increasing my distance by a mile, for example. I used this method when I was preparing for my first 10K -- completing a few 60 minute runs before race day -- and I imagine that my pace was faster than 10-minute miles.

In other words, I was running 60 minutes, but likely going farther than a 10K. So, the approach prepared me well.

On the flip side, years and years later, I often don't run with a watch. As a result, I've been training by miles more and more. Mapping out routes and sticking to them is easy because it's simple to remember my two favorite 4-milers and 5-milers and my three best 8-milers. When I trained for my most recent half marathon, I depended on distance. I didn't want to dwell on my pace because coming back from pregnancy has been hard on my times. Instead, I felt the most accomplished by number of miles run and chose to ignore the speed at which those miles were completed.

But then there are those times I'm between plans and just running to run. So, I do neither.

Overall, I think I toggle between the two depending on my mood. A sort of "whatever works" scenario. If I'm feeling motivated by running 13 miles, I'll map out a route. During marathon training, if I had a 20 mile run ahead of me, I'd break it down by hours and live half-hour at a time until I reached around 3 hours total. Even with training for shorter distance races, I find I can win the mental game by training miles OR minutes day by day.


I try my best not to get hung up on either of the two and, instead, to train my best for how I'm feeling. I may not break the sound barrier, but with keeping a positive attitude -- thereby actually completing runs versus dreading them -- I've consistently improved my race times. Again, I'm not incredibly competitive, though, so you may find the following resources a bit more helpful.

Nike: Training Tip: Minutes versus Miles
Runners World: Minutes vs. Miles
COMPRESSPORT: Run Training: Measure by Miles or by Minutes?

How do YOU train? Miles or minutes? Or BOTH? I'd love for you guys/gals to weigh in.


Pssst: Check out a great sugar-free peanut butter cookie dough recipe today on Writing Chapter Three!

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Vegan Stuffed Eggplant

>> Monday, May 21, 2012


VEGAN STUFFED EGGPLANT

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 medium eggplants 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 small cooking onion, chopped 
  • 4 cups chopped red Swiss chard 
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2 portabella mushrooms, washed and chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 cup tomato puree 
  • Several tablespoons olive oil

Method . . . 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, spritz with some olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Cut off the stem of each eggplant, then cut in half. Scoop out a good amount of the meat. Then rub the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the garlic and onions and cook until glassy. Add in the tumeric and cook for a couple minutes. 
  4. Toss in the mushrooms and swiss chard (I didn't include stems, but that's just my personal preference) and cook until wilted. Then turn off heat and toss in the kidney beans. 
  5. Stuff each eggplant with a portion of the mixture until all of it is used up. Then place in the oven for 15 minutes. 
  6. Take out of the oven and spoon tomato puree atop each -- as much as you'd like. I also sprinkled ours with some nutritional yeast and more salt and pepper. A bit of olive oil, too. 
  7. Return to oven and cook for another 15 minutes or until the eggplant is softened, but not mushy.
Here's a close-up of the stuffing. It's delicious!


Of course, you can stuff the eggplants with anything you want! I'm really into stuffing veggies lately -- if you missed 'em, I posted a recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Portabellas. It's just another great way to make a cheap meal as nutritious as possible.

What's your favorite stuffed recipe? I'd love some suggestions!


Today on Writing Chapter Three is more information about my decision to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. Mostly budget stuff, but there's a lot more to write on the topic. If you've ever considered being a SAHM but don't think it's possible, I hope this post helps!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Demand and Supply

>> Saturday, May 19, 2012

One of the most frequent questions I receive related to my running these days is about increasing mileage and breastmilk supply issues. I thought it'd be helpful to post all this information, as I see it ringing true, in one place.


When I was pregnant (at 32 weeks, I think -- above), I took a breastfeeding class and asked a question about running and supply. The lactation consultant sort of looked at me blankly and said she didn't know, but thought probably a half marathon wouldn't be in the cards while EBF (exclusively breastfeeding).

By now, we all know this isn't true -- I've done several races these past 6 months, first chilly 10Ks to hilly 15Ks. So, how have I managed to continue breastfeeding exclusively AND train for a half marathon?


#1: I increased my mileage slowly. True, I started running 3 weeks postpartum. But I kept it in the 2 to 4 mile walk/run range -- it was more for mental sanity than physical fitness. The first 6 weeks of breastfeeding are particularly important because that's when supply is established. To be honest, I couldn't shouldn't have manage more than what I was doing at the time anyway.

After 6 weeks, I still didn't train with any structured plan. But I did increase my mileage with a weekly long run. It was helped to not sign up for a big race too soon after giving birth. Instead, I gave myself almost 6 months so I wouldn't need to rush into running. I did a few 10Ks in January, but with the idea that time didn't matter. I sincerely think this relaxed approach to training helped me build my supply AND ease back into being a runner without encountering injury or absolute depletion.

#2: I let Ada call the shots. Sure, it was hard in those early days with the cluster-feeding. There were times when I felt like I was glued to the couch for the entire afternoon and evening. I love hyperbole, but I'm being entirely serious. Glued. So, I would feed Ada -- no bottles -- during those times like it was my job. Which, sort of, it was. Waiting to run until Ada was done and then sneaking in shorter bursts of running on those cluster-feeding days (and, yes, skipping my workout sometimes) meant my body was getting the cues from Ada to produce more milk.

After all, that's what the cluster-feeding is for. It's the baby's way of telling your body that he/she needs more food. Supplementing with bottles of expressed milk in the first six weeks isn't terrible by any means -- but to play it safe, it's best to put baby to breast as often as possible because he/she is the most efficient at expressing milk and sending the signals to the body for HOW MUCH to produce. (In the early days, I wasn't able to pump much -- nor is pumping entirely advisable while things are regulating.)


#3: I guzzle water and when I'm full, I guzzle more. My water bottle is now an extension of my body. Hydration is absolutely key to maintaining good breastmilk supply. It's that easy.

#4: I consume enough calories and choose particular foods to fill my tummy. Training for a distance race taxes the body of a normal person. Training for a distance race taxes the body of an already taxed new mom and breastfeeding mom. Like whoa. I am hungry all the time, so I eat all the time. I mean it: All. The. Time.

If you've been following the blog, you know that I am not back to my pre-pregnancy weight even at 6 months postpartum. I haven't at all tried to diet, restrict calories, etc. while breastfeeding AND training. It would be silly. I desperately need the fuel for both activities, so I don't count calories and I listen to my hunger cues. I may not always choose the best foods, but I'm trying.

I also try to incorporate the following lactogenic foods into my diet:
  • Oatmeal (I observe a HUGE difference when I eat oats. HUGE!)
  • Fenugreek 
  • Garlic 
  • Nutritional yeast 
  • Fats, like olive oil 
  • Dark beer on occasion 
  • Here are some more good foods, spices, etc.
#5: I get as much rest as I can. Luckily, Ada isn't a terrible sleeper. Sure, she has her moments, but I'm usually able to get at least 7 hours of (almost always interrupted) sleep a night. I've never been much of a napper, but these days -- I can doze even when the sun is shining in my face. If I'm tired and have the time, I do take the opportunity to rest versus catching up on emails or blogging. And sometimes rest means skipping workouts.

I'll be the first to admit that my training for the most recent half marathon was far from perfect.

My plan had me running 5 days a week, but I -- instead -- averaged 3 or 4. When I had time and energy, I tried to make up some of the long runs I missed . . . but I often skipped the other miles entirely and didn't look back. I still finished in a respectable time and got my fitness to a level closer to my pre-pregnancy days.


Overall, I treated running these first 6 months as a second . . . or maybe a third, fourth, or fifth priority in my life. My health and well-being came first. I'm sure some of you are thinking: "Shouldn't the BABY come first, Ashley?" No. The way I see it, if I'm not healthy and thriving, she won't be either -- especially since we have this symbiotic relationship right now. I make the time to eat and take care of myself so I can do the same for her.

Of course, she's a very, VERY close second priority. And then running comes in somewhere after that . . . along with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g else.


You may have already read, but today on Writing Chapter Three I posted about Ada's first adventures with solid foods. I wouldn't exactly call her a foodie just yet . . . but she's getting more used to tastes and textures as each day passes.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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