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Flashback Friday – Food Blogger Edition

Thankyousomuch for all the nice comments about my journey to double-digit land! I was surprised by how many of you said you have yet to reach any fitness accomplishments. Bullshit! As I told Ang, some days, just making it to the gym is an accomplishment in itself. We don’t all have to be running marathons here :)

Speaking of which! I do have plans to do a half marathon next spring. I’m iffy about doing one sooner because I’m not too keen on training in the snow and ice. Plus, I think the winter is a great time to focus on strength training and doing those other activities that get neglected while training for races during the summer. I would also love to do a full marathon in 2011. I think next summer will be the season for my half-mary, duathlon and metric century. The summer after that will be The Big One ;)

I thought for this week’s edition of Flashback Friday, it would be fun to look back to the beginnings of the blog. As most of you know, I started The Great Balancing Act in July because blogging at Trying For A Tri felt weird after I finished my triathlon!

To see my first ever blog post go here. It was kind of boring, and the pictures aren’t great. I actually didn’t even tell anyone about the blog until I’d been at it for a week so there would be some content on there first.

I was still calorie counting during those first few months, I gave it up for good in April ‘09. There were some good eats in my first six months as a food blogger though :)

Tofu and fried egg sandwiches…

01-19-09 sandwich

My first ever sushi…

01-24-09 sashimi01-24-09 maki

Experiments in homemade protein bars…

01-28-09 bar

Ginormous mugs of coffee…

01-29-09 coffee02-13-09 coffee 02-18-09 coffee

Alotta almond butter…

01-25-09 almond butter

Oatmeal parfaits

01-23-09 oatmeal

Pre-workout snacks…

01-21-09 banana

…and post-workout shakes.

02-03-09 shake

Luna bars.

 

02-14-09 lunas

02-15-09 luna 2

02-21-09 luna2

 

A lot of pitas.

02-15-09 pita2 02-15-09 pita3

02-15-09 pita4 02-15-09 pita5

Hmmm…I think my favourite of all though was my homemade birthday carrot cake.

01-23-09 cake

Droooool. Can we do this again this year mom? Or maybe…pie!?

I also miss my cute puppies.

01-23-09 rudy 01-23-09 archie

But I do not miss this:

02-01-09 deck 01-21-09 snow

Uugggghhh :P

Okay, that’s enough fun with old blog pictures. Wanna see what I’m eating these days?

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PB&J oats, now pronounced “peeeebjuh”

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp PB
  • 1 tbsp blueberry jam

I “sandwiched” half the PB and jam in the centre of the bowl again. You can see it peeking out a little!

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Dinner was a rather large salad.

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These days, I’m eating them out of a casserole dish.

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Anyone else eat their romaine lettuce by the head? I guess they’re on the small-ish side, but I still feel pretty badass chopping up a whole head of romaine for just one salad.

  • romaine
  • peeled carrot
  • chickpeas
  • roasted sweet potato
  • cottage cheese
  • cajun spice, cumin and pepper

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I ate it all, and still had chocolate after ;)

My legs are feeling pretty good today, so I’m happy a light workout may be in the picture for tomorrow after all! Otherwise, it’s my usual 5am-1pm shift. With no candy, costumes or other Halloween joy. I don’t get trick-or-treaters where I am and I love handing out candy. Anyone in Fredericton care to hire me as a candy-hander-outer tomorrow night? :P

If you are celebrating on Saturday, have fun!! And have a package of rockets for me please ;)

Question of the day: What would be in your flashback Friday food edition? When I do this again another six months down the road, there will definitely be waffles :P

Running, Races and More Ellipticals

Hiya! Totally loved all your favourite salad combos!!! Wow, some of you are creative. I was surprised by how many of you like fruit in your salad. Mainly because I don’t. Okay, that’s not entirely truthful. I like some fruits in salads, like oranges, peaches, apples. But I can’t do berries. Especially strawberries or raspberries. They belong in yogurt silly :P

Anywho, I almost lost last night’s salad running 5k in 27 minutes this morning. Yup,I actually did it!!

Distance: 5.01 km
Duration: 27:13
Avg Pace: 8:44 min/mi
Avg HR: no idea, my heart rate monitor was crapping out on me again

That run was so. hard. I’m pretty sure I hit my VO2 max. I had to stop and walk for 45 seconds on the last kilometre. I was wheezing and sputtering and basically on the brink of death. Of course, at that very moment, some jackass wearing nothing but shorts and a heart rate chest strap whizzed past me on the trail. I tried to yell obscenities at him, but it came out as a gurgle :P

At first I felt like a failure for having to stop and walk. But then I realized it was actually a success. I wanted to push myself to my limits today. I wanted to see just how fast I could go. I also learned a couple things:

1. I run best when I start out slow and sprint to the end. I tried to set a 9:00 pace for this whole run and it didn’t work for me. No shame in starting slow and pounding it out at the end.

2. I need to work on sustaining high heart rates for longer periods of time. I had to stop on that last kilometre because I was over 180 bpm much longer than I’m used to. I’m going to start doing interval work on the treadmill, to slowly increase my ability to push those higher heart rates.

Once I no longer thought I was going to throw up, my jar of almond butter threw up some oat bran.

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1/2 cup dry oat bran cooked with 1 1/2 cups water, 2 tbsp unflavoured soy protein powder, 3 dates, cinnamon. And obviously, whatever was left of the AB. These jar concoctions keep me full for-ever because there’s usually more nut butter than the one tablespoon I typically use. Funny how more calories = fuller longer ;)

Some other highlights of my day included a chilled Luna bar.

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I put this in my fridge to keep it from melting in my sauna of an apartment. Holy moly. So good cold! Try it!!

Smoked salmon sandwich (SSS).

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Smoked salmon, laughing cow cheese, capers, tomato, spinach. On my trusty reporter’s notebook.

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Capers are my new BFF.

Homemade trail mix.

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Pecans, roasted almonds, walnuts, roasted soy nuts, cashews, roasted peanuts, dried apricots, dried mulberries, box of raisins meant for children. Lovelovelove having pre-made baggies of trail mix on hand. So easy to throw in my purse when I’m rushing out the door.

I also got a couple great questions in the comments yesterday that I thought deserved a full answers in a post.

Lara wanted to know if I’m training for something specific right now. The answer to that is, yes. Kind of. There’s a 5k race on September 13 I’m thinking of doing purely because it’s being held later in the day, after I get off work. The race I’m technically “training” for is a 10k on September 20. That will be my longest running race distance and I’m really excited about it!

There’s also the CIBC Run For The Cure 5k happening on Oct. 4. This will be a big deal for me, seeing as I’ve walked it several times and I’ve always dreamed of actually running it. My mother had breast cancer when she was 22 (younger than me now!) so this race for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society has always meant a lot to me. Actually running it this year, will be, well, I can’t think of the words at the moment.

 

Another great question was from April who wanted to know the difference between the arc trainer and other ellipticals. This brought me to my old friend google, who had a lot to say about the matter!

First, I learned that there are three types of ellipticals:

Rear drive elliptical

 

Front drive elliptical

 

Center drive elliptical

The rear driven elliptical was first patented by Precor in 2004 and meant to simulate the motion of running and walking without the strain on your joints.

The front driven elliptical was developed shortly after (mostly because the Precor patent made it tough for other companies to copy it). It has the same circular motion as the rear drive, but imitates the stair climber a little more.

The center driven elliptical is the newest. Their most noticeable feature is that it keeps you centered, whereas the other two either have you leaning back or forward slightly.

Now, for the arc trainer, well according to Cybex, they’re a whole other game.

Cybex says it’s not even an elliptical, claiming it also burns more calories (which I always think is hooey, but a lot of people say they get higher heart rates on it). It has a “reverse arc” motion, that is supposed to simulate more natural movement, often compared to cross-country skiing. It’s also supposed to be easier on the knees, and you can adjust the height, changing how high your knees come up.

You can read more here:
http://www.arctrainer.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptical_trainer
http://www.fitness-equipment-source.com/elliptical-guide/front-vs-rear.htm
http://walking.about.com/od/treadmilling/a/elliptical_3.htm

 

So there you have it! To be honest, I never even noticed all these differences before!! Looking at this, I realize I love my Reebok Body Trec so much because it’s a front driven machine. For whatever reason, the rear drive ones just bug my knees. But now that I know I can adjust my knee height on the Cybex, I may give it another go (longer than two minutes this time? :P )

 

Phew. This was a long post. I think I’m subconsciously putting off packing. Time to get to it! Lator gators!!

Rolling rest days

Hello everyone! Uff, I was up for a good chunk of last night due to crazy thunder and lightning storms in my area. Even with my fan on jet-engine high, and my black curtains, I could still hear and see it. I’m a little zombie-ish today!

Luckily it’s my rest day, so my body is very happy with me. One of my favourite things to do on rest days (besides eating, that’s um, recovery, right?) is foam rolling. Some of you may remember I bought a foam roller back in May to help with a hip injury.

Foam rollers are basically like your personal massage therapist. It’s a cylinder of dense foam, so quite light to pick up, but hard to the touch.

To use it, you just lay whatever muscle you want to massage on it and roll back and forth. Sometimes, it feels really good, sometimes it can be quite painful!

The foam roller is most commonly used for your back, calves, hamstrings, quads and IT band. All types of athletes and non-athletes use foam rollers to massage their muscles at home. For more info, check out reviews on Runner’s World and Bicycling Magazine (my two bibles).

There’s also the question of when to foam roll. A lot of people like to do it right after activity to loosen up their stressed muscles. Personally, doing this usually leads to muscle cramps for me. So I like to wait until before I go to bed and just spend 5-10 minutes rolling out my muscles.

I especially like doing this on rest days, when my muscles are usually the most tense. I do a combo of rolling and stretching, especially my finicky IT band. It also helps loosen up my muscles for my upcoming days of planned activity.

Foam rollers are also relatively inexpensive and easy to transport and store. So it’s definitely something worth looking into if you suffer from a lot of muscle soreness and stiffness! I bought mine at a local running store.

I don’t credit my hip recovery to the foam roller, but I think it definitely helped. Hopefully regularly rolling out my leg muscles will help keep my hip from seizing up on me again :)

Question: What’s your favourite way to soothe sore muscles?

I also ice like a maniac. The slightest pain after exercise immediately gets the iced pea treatment! :P

 

Eats!

Just a few eats for today. I started off with a glorious batch of blueberry protein pancakes. It’s how I cheer myself up after a bad night, or when I have a rough day ahead.

100_6455

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax

All blended up! I’ve been making super fluffy batches lately. I think it’s a combo of the extra baking powder and fat from the flax.

My grocery store also started stocking one of my favourite Luna flavours again.

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Munchmunchmunch.

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This used to be my favourite flavour, but S’mores has taken over in its absence. My store only stocks three other flavours – Toasted Nut n’ Cranberry, Lemon Zest, and Caramel Nut Brownie. Decent flavours, but probably the lamest ones!

You’re going to be shocked by my dinner…

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Tempeh burger with butternut squash and almond butter. I got lazy, and the squash and fresh jar of AB were calling my name. If you haven’t tried this combo yet, I highly suggest that you do! Since I don’t cook with oils (cooking oils hurt my tummy) this is a great way to sneak in a little fat with my dinner :)

I’ve also progressed to 90% chocolate without the peanut butter.

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Straaaaaight up. This is so rich, all I need is a little piece after dinner to satisfy my after-meal sweet tooth (yes, I have something sweet after every meal, usually a hard candy). Now my 70% stuff just doesn’t taste right. It’s kind of like when I switched to drinking black coffee. Bitter at first, but now that I’m used to it, I can’t go back! I’ll be at 100% a la HEAB soon ;)

That’s all for me folks! I’m thinking of switching to doing two posts a day. I used to do it back before exams and term papers forced me to one update a day. But now that I’m only working 40 hours a week (it’s such a luxury now!) I’m thinking of going back. For me, it actually takes less time to do a couple shorter posts than one big long one. It’ll take you less time to read too ;)

See ya tomorrow! Maybe in the a.m.!! Until then, I’ll be twittering away ;)

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