May 16, 2013

Spontaneous long run

The weather looked so nice this morning when I woke up, I was actually looking forward to going for a run. After I got the kids on the bus I made breakfast. I made the same apple mixture I made a couple of days ago (this time adding some dried cranberries to it), and used it to top my oatmeal. Then I drizzled a little bit of almond butter over the whole thing. It was a huge bowl, and very filling.

Yes, there actually IS oatmeal underneath all the topping ;) I had breakfast and tea, and then figured I'd better get out and run if I was going to, because it wasn't getting any cooler outside.

I really wasn't in the mood to run around here, and Eli was actually on a field trip at the Metropark today, so I decided to drive to the Metropark to run. (When I signed the permission slip for him, I asked if he wanted me to chaperone, and he told me no. I guess I'm not "cool" enough to hang around with his friends!)

Since I was driving all the way there, I wanted to make it worth my while, and figured I'd do 6-8 miles rather than the 4 I had on the schedule today. Because of the heat, I brought my handheld water bottle with me. I wanted to keep my heart rate in Zone 3 (70-80% of my max, which for me ends up being 141-156 bpm).

I probably only ran about a tenth of a mile before my heart rate was in the zone. The heat definitely plays a big factor in my heart rate training; on cold days, I was struggling to get it up high enough.

The first mile today, my legs were feeling good, and I could have sworn I was running about a 9:30/mi pace, but when my Garmin beeped after mile 1, it read 8:38. That usually means I'm going to have a good run day (when I feel like I'm running much slower than I am, because it's not such a struggle).

My heart rate was on the upper end of Zone 3 for the majority of the run, and I kept consciously trying to slow down, but my legs were feeling so good that it was kind of hard to find the right pace. I really had to go to the bathroom, thanks to all the water and tea I drank before I left, so I ran to the tip of the park--the bathroom was there, at mile 3.45 of my run.

After using the bathroom, I figured I might as well run down the road until I hit four miles, so that I could turn around and make it an even eight when I got back to the car. Mile five felt really easy--I wasn't breathing hard, my legs felt great; and then when I saw my pace, I realized that was why I felt so good! I was running a 9:30 pace for that mile.

The last three miles, I ran as fast as I could without making my heart rate go into Zone 4. I actually wasn't nearly as miserable about the heat as I thought I would be--probably because it wasn't humid at all. The humidity in Michigan during the summer is KILLER, but today wasn't bad. The temp was still much higher than I like, but I expected it to feel worse than it did.

I got back to the car just in time to hear the beep of my eighth mile.

The good part about the higher heart rate is that I burn more calories with a slower pace that I do with a faster pace on a cold day. I burned 741 calories, where on a colder day (or on the treadmill), I would only burn something like 600.

I really wanted to spend my Activity PointsPlus on something good today, but I am going to try and save the PP for the family reunion on Sunday. Since I did an 8 mile run today, I'll probably do 4 tomorrow, and then a mid-length run on Sunday, like 6-8 miles. Tomorrow, I'm going on a field trip with Noah's class (HE thinks I'm cool, at least!), so I'll probably have to get up early tomorrow to get it done before the boys wake up.

Dinner is getting more and more creative as the month goes on. It's only been 16 days since we started our no-grocery-shopping-in-May challenge, but Jerry and I are seriously having so much fun with it. You would think it would be stressful, not having certain ingredients, but it just makes me stop and think of doing something differently than we're used to.

Yesterday, I was going to make lasagna, because there would be a lot of leftovers for lunches. I remembered we didn't have mozzarella cheese, so I figured I would make a "Mexican" lasagna, with taco meat, beans, and cheddar cheese. When I looked in the pantry, we didn't have any lasagna noodles. And all the other boxes of pasta had 2-4 oz. max in them.

I weighed out 16 oz. of dry pasta, all sorts of different shapes to use up what we had (I emptied five boxes!), and then cooked them all in one big pot. Then I made a layered casserole, using the Mexican lasagna idea. Pasta, taco meat, refried beans, corn, salsa, and cheddar cheese. It ended up turning out really good! I got two casseroles out of it, so I put one in the freezer.

Today, after looking through the pantry and the freezer, I decided to make stuffed shells. I had some cooked turkey sausage in the freezer, so I added that to a container of ricotta cheese, threw in an egg, and a handful of parmesan cheese. I cooked a box of large shells, and stuffed the shells with the meat mixture. I didn't have any jarred spaghetti sauce, which is what I normally would have used, so I made some sauce out of tomato paste, water, sugar, and Italian seasoning. I poured it over the shells, and topped with a little more parmesan.

I baked the whole thing for about 30 minutes, made some garlic toast out of homemade bread that was getting stale, and (again) dinner was great!

I never really thought about us being in a dinner "rut", but now that we haven't been grocery shopping, I realize that we pretty much eat the same rotation of dinners over a two week period. I'm glad I was forced to come up with other options, because now we have ideas for the future.

Here's an idea of how my summer is going to go...

Today at dinner, Noah tattled on Eli for calling him names. Then Eli tattled on Noah for tattling on him. Noah's response to Eli: "It's not 'tattling', Eli, it's 'informing Mama'".

...and so it begins ;)


  1. Hmm, not sure about pasta and beans mixed together, but if you say it was good, I believe you :). Your dinner tonight looks so yummy I'm a sucker for pasta and anything stuffed. When my kids start to bicker too much we have what I call bedroom time (they are too old for naps). If they bicker too much I tell them they must need a break from each other so they get to spend an hour in their bedroom doing whatever is available to them in there (they don't have screens in their bedrooms other than a handheld game). Just the mere mention of bedroom time helps them get along, most of the time. I enjoy bedroom myself ;).

  2. Those dinners sound yummy! I really need to come up with some new stuff. I'm a very adventurous eater, but my kids are not at all. Especially my daughter. There are few things that kid will eat, and it makes me nuts cooking dinner and then they won't eat it. My husband isn't home 3 nights a week, so usually those nights I fix them things they like and then make myself something. I love to cook, but I wish my kids would eat it, so I am not wasting food and money.

  3. AnonymousMay 16, 2013

    We've done the no shopping for a month challenge before. It's amazing what you can come up with with some simple pantry staples. We love Mexican lasagna, but I make mine with tortilla's instead of pasta. We also like a rice, beans, and rotel combo. (That was discovered at the end of our challenge) :) Currently, I am on a once a month shopping challenge.

    As far as a glimpse into your summer with the boys tattling... a friend of mine shared what she does with her kids... She has a big picture of an ear taped to her pantry door. They call it the tattling ear. When one of her kids comes to her with that whiny "Mama!" (that you just know is going to be followed by something you don't want to hear) she tells them "Go tell it to the tattling ear, I don't want to hear it" So if they just HAVE to tattle, they have to talk to a giant ear taped to a door. Honestly, it didn't work with my kids, but it works with hers. :)

  4. AnonymousMay 16, 2013

    Such a smart boy! Ha!

    You're really making me want a heart rate monitor! I'm getting ridiculously curious about what my heart rate is during runs.

    I thought the Garmin would be good, no need for the fancy stuff, but you make it sound runner nerdy in all the best ways.

    Keep going on the grocery challenge! I need to do the same thing!

  5. AnonymousMay 17, 2013

    I have a question....I have been running just since January, but to get my heart rate up to 158, I have to be doing HIIT and feel like I'm gonna die when it gets there. So, I am blown away by you talking about keeping your heart rate there. 158 is 90% for me, but still! Is it just from practice or am I missing something? I enjoy your blog very much and check t every night. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Well, you really don't want to get your heart rate up to 90% for a regular workout! That should be for really high intensity intervals (like when I do my hill intervals, it might creep up to 90% toward the end). Most of my runs are between 70-80%, which is much easier to maintain!

  6. Your version of the this challenge: look in pantry, cobble together ingredients and make something delicious you would have normally never made.

    My version of this challenge (I haven't been shopping in a month probably): look in pantry, not want to think of some formula of cobbling that random crap together, heat up sketchy frozen Trader Joe's Indian meal that's been sitting at the back of the freezer for over a year.

    I guess I am clearing out my freezer? :)

  7. Your breakfast looks yummy! I have a question about almond butter. I have binge problems with peanut butter (don't keep it in the house anymore) but haven't tried other nut butters. Do you find that almond butter is "safer" for lack of a better term? If so, any idea why?

    1. For me, the almond butter is definitely "safer" to have around! I don't think I've ever binged on almond butter. I'm not sure why that is, because I really like the almond butter; but peanut butter is HEAVENLY. ;)

  8. AnonymousMay 17, 2013

    Nice speedy long run!!!

  9. Your oatmeal and pasta both look so tasty! Good job with improvising---I need to try that. I go to the grocery store too often and spend too much money.

    Did you see they have added binge eating disorder as a recognized illness that can be treated and covered by insurance? At least I think that's what the story on The Today Show was about.

    Loved the story about Noah telling Eli "It's not tattling, it's informing mama." That is one that should make your family lore. We have a lot of that--little phrases that bring back memories of times when the kids were little. Last night I was out in the shed and my hubby was just outside in the yard playing with our darling granddaughter. He has Sirius radio in his shed and plays the oldies channel all the time. The song came on, "Money can't buy me love." The lyrics in there are "Momma don't want me....Daddy don't want me..." and years ago when my now 35-year old son was quite young, he was in the backseat of the car when that song came on the radio. He was listening closely and suddenly blurted, "Momma don't want me? Daddy don't want me?" as if he was destitute at the thought. So that's part of our family lore. And it makes me so sad to think someday much too soon, hubby won't be here to share those wonderful memories with me. Enjoy this time of your life Katie, it goes so fast.

  10. I did the whole don't grocery shop for 3 1/2 weeks. It wasn't by choice...but it did allow me to be super creative too. I kinda liked it. There were things I hadn't used before that I found a way to use. I'll have to start doing that more often!


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