Week 6 wrap up

Week six of my eight week 10K training finished with a bang. I had to run 5 miles and was pretty nervous about it. Earlier this week I ran two miles with much trouble. After running 4.5 miles successfully last week, I figured “2 miles? Piece of cake”. Well that wasn’t so. I struggled to get through it, but did it anyway. A few days later, I completed a three-mile run and again faced some challenges. What on earth was going on? Because of the trouble I had with my short runs, when my long run came up I didn’t know what to expect.

I decided to change things up a bit to make sure a successful run with minimal struggle. Instead of running the majority of my distance at a 5.8 as I usually would, I ran at a 5.6. I decided to take my speed down a bit and keep a comfortable pace. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Normally I watch my distance throughout the run, but this time I decided to keep my eye on the clock. Last week I ran 4.5 miles in 44 minutes so I figured it would take me about 50 minutes to run 5 miles. I covered the screen of the treadmill with  my towel and keep my eye on the clock on the wall. I had a plan to look at the clock every five minutes and give myself a boost with a count down.

It was exactly 3:00 when I started. At 3:05, I looked at the clock and said to myself “just 45 minutes to go”. Five minutes later, I looked at the clock again, and again five minutes later. This seemed to workout great for me. It took my mind off of my distance, which I never worried about. Usually, I would think “One mile down, three to go”. When I am thinking about how far I still have to go, it seems like it can take forever. When I think of how far I’ve come (i.e.-20minutes down, just a half hour left), time seem to fly by. I maintained a steady pace and didn’t get winded one bit!

I told myself that at my half way point, I would take a drink and stop for 10 seconds to do so. Once I reached 2.5 miles, I didn’t feel the need to stop or drink, it was going so well! I just kept running and felt amazing. I reached just past 4 miles and raised my speed to 6.0, ounces I reached 4.5 miles, I increased my speed again to 7.5. I finally started to get winded, but that was okay, I was almost done!

I am amazed that I finished a 5 mile run (52 minutes total) and did so without stopping, getting winded, or encountering any pain. I have just two weeks left in my 10K training! I am actually going to run a 10K!!

The idea of running a half marathon is no longer so far-fetched to me. After all, a 10K is just half of a half marathon!

If you are having trouble with your runs, keep track of what you are eating. Find what time of day works best for your runs, and try to switch things up a bit. When you are running longer distances (especially for the first time), don’t worry about time, just pace yourself and finish! Even if you have to walk, FINISH!!!!

Trying to pick up where I left off

So, what’s the 411 since my last post? Well, I read the blog of a woman who also participated in the Baltimore Women’s Classic (my last 5K) and found myself motivated. See, for me, this was my second race and for her, the first. She finished with a time of about 45 minutes and I had finished my first a bit after 30 minutes. In no way am I comparing myself to this woman, I don’t even know her. She wrote about her new interest in running and that she had signed up to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) What?! I’ve just been looking for my next 5K and here is this stranger who has run one race and already signed up for a half marathon. I pondered on this for a while. I checked out the race she was going to-the Disney Princess half marathon. I looked at the website and the blog of a woman who had already done this race more than once. Hmmm, could I do this? It’s not for another seven months, I wonder if I could train in time and be ready for this race. They also have a 5K and a kids fun run. My mom could do the 5K and my son the fun run. And to top things off, we stay and go to Disney World the following week. I sat on the idea for about two weeks and really thought hard about it.

I had gone into the gym one evening (I usually go in the a.m.) and hopped on the treadmill. My intention was to run 3 miles. I decided to follow a half marathon training program that I receive via email, just to kind of see if I could do it or where I really stand running wise. I had gone out the night before and had a few drinks, I ate badly that day, and my body was just worn down. Since changing my lifestyle, any time I have a few drinks or eat foods of poor nutritional value, my body notices right away and sends me signals all over the place telling me not to do that again! It’s so strange, I used to eat junk day in and out without a thought of what was going in my mouth, and never noticed any effect it had on my body.

A few minutes into the run, I felt exhausted. I decided to keep going until I hit my first mile and I did, plus more. I started walking, drank some water, and shuffled through my ipod until I found the music that gets me motivated. After a few minutes, I picked up my run again and made the decision to run no matter what, straight through my three miles. Now I had “motivational music” in my ears, and was ready to go. I felt a renewed sense of energy and was on the move. I ran and ran, I increased my speed and before I knew it, I hit my three-mile marker. I wasn’t ready to stop though, my legs were on the go and I increased my speed to 7.5 which is less than a 9 minute mile. I had started out with a pace of about 5.7-over a 10 minute mile. I ran at 7.5 for another mile and stopped around 4.1 miles. I have never run this far or this fast before!

I asked a fellow runner what he thought of my interest in the half marathon. He told me about the first 5K and has helped me out along the way with questions and encouragement. He seems to think that it’s not far-fetched, and since I ran my first 4-miler, he thinks I am ready for a 10K (6.2 miles) in the near future. He told me I could jump right into week four of training, so I did. I am on week 5 now and had to run another 4 miles. Again, I struggled a bit. But unlike the past, I’m not going to over do it on my training, or feel bad about myself if I need to stop for a few minutes. I will just keep on going. My intention is to finish the half marathon and not go for time, but to just complete the race. If I need to walk, I will. In the meantime, I will run a variety of 5Ks and get a few 10Ks under my belt.

Here is the link he gave me for training.

For those of you just starting on your running journey, here are a few things I have learned along the way…..

Find some music that really gets you going. Something that will push you when you think you can’t go any further, music that picks you up when your down and makes you feel strong. For me, it’s Lady Gaga. Her music has great rhythm to it, it’s fast and makes you want to go fast. The lyrics are amazing and make a woman feel empowered. Some of my favs are Judas, Born this Way, Alejandro and Americano is by far the best!! At the end she says “Don’t ya try to catch me, don’t ya try to catch me, no, no, no” It really makes my feet want to fly off the ground. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. Her music may not be for you, but definitely find some that is! Then put all the songs together in one spot on your iPod and have it ready for your run. You don’t want to be fumbling around trying to find it and lose your groove.

ALWAY stretch before and after, especially your legs. There are a ton of different stretches here. I learned the hard way how important stretching is, so please be good to your body and don’t injure yourself!

Push yourself, but cut yourself some slack, what?! Don’t give up on yourself too easily, you can do it! Believe in yourself and push through it. Pain is temporary. I’m talking about “oh, I have a cramp” pain, not a serious injury or pulled muscle. Speaking of cramps, if you get a side cramp, it’s because you are going to fast. Slow it down a notch and it should go away, you can pick up the pace later if you want. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to stop or your time isn’t what you wanted it to be, just finish! And be proud of your accomplishments!

Eat well!!! Nourish and hydrate your body. A car can’t run without gas, can it? Give your body the fuel it needs.

Burning calories from cardio is great, but get in some strength training as well. You’ve got to keep those muscles strong if you are going to be burning so much energy and running long distances!

I would love to hear some feedback on how your runs are going! Wish me luck on my next long run….4.5 miles!

Exploring Raw Treats

For a while now, I have really been thinking of going raw. Ultimately, I would LOVE to have a 100% raw diet, but that seems like a huge challenge-not that I’m afraid of a little challenge 😉 I really REALLY love my cooked veggies! Broccoli and brussel sprouts are my favorites! Sweet and sour cabbage, I could eat it for days!! So maybe I could have a 90% raw diet! Well, either way, this is something I feel like I will need to do slowly. When I became vegan there was no hesitation what-so-ever, and I jumped right into my new lifestyle. I absolutely love having an animal-free diet. My health has improved drastically, my hair is shiny, I’ve lost weight, my mood is better, and life overall feels better. Even though I became vegan for health reasons, my compassion for animals has increased significantly. My research towards a healthier diet has opened my eyes to a hidden world involving animal cruelty, therefore I will NEVER go back to a carnivores diet.

That being said, what food is healthier than that plucked straight from the surface of our beautiful land? Doctors, scientists, nutritionist, dietitians, and athletes will all tell you that pure fruits and vegetables are by far the healthiest, safest food you can consume. I notice a huge difference in how I feel if I don’t eat enough fruits or veggies from one day to the next. I notice it even more now that I am working on building my endurance and training for one 5K after another.

My stock of fresh fruit!

I have been looking into some easy raw recipes to help me get started on my new venture and recently made a few. I wanted to share some with you. If you are thinking of going raw, looking to incorporate raw into your diet, or just want to try something new, start with these simple and quick ideas.

I have been making banana ice cream for a while now. It’s so simple and delicious too.

Make sure to freeze bananas ahead of time. Slice them and put them in little zip loc baggies. Slicing them will make it much easier on your blender or food processor. Either will work, but I find the food processor to be much easier. Now, I don’t really measure, I just kind of wing it. For plain banana ice cream use about two frozen bananas and blend. That’s it! They will create a wonderful creamy consistency that is sweet and yummy. Since bananas are sweet, you won’t need to add any sugar! You can add a little vanilla or cinnamon if you like.

I decided to take this to another level and make sherbert. I keep frozen fruit in my freezer at all times since I make smoothies on a daily basis.

My frozen fruit stash!

 I used mixed berries and combines with about three frozen bananas. It was soooooo good!!! Here is how it turned out…..

Frozen mixed berries and frozen bananas
Mixed Berry Sherbert

I enjoyed this treat so much that I decided to make more the next day! This time I made cherry ice cream…..

Cherry Ice Cream in the works....

                             My son LOVES cherries so I knew this would go well!

Cherry Ice cream with soy whip and a cherry on top!

What’s great about this? There is NO added sugar and no dairy. It’s a great dessert for diabetics, and those with dairy or nut allergies. It’s low in sugar and calories too so you can have more than you normally would! YUM!!!

 
The next day I decided to try a recipe from Whole Living Magazine for Strawberry Oat Bars. It was amazing and delicious! My three year old son helped me to make it too!
Here is what you will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup of strawberries (I used about 1 1/2), cut and thinly sliced
  1. Pulse the dates, nuts, oats, and salt in a processor until combined
  2. Press the date mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch pan.
  3. Mash half of the strawberries and spread onto the date mixture.
  4. Top with remaining sliced strawberries
  5. Cut into squares.

 

The next recipe I also used from Whole Living magazine, but it is one that I have seen several times before.

Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 avocados
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (I used agave)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  1. Puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey or agave, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth.

                                        2. Sprinkle pudding with salt and serve.

One thing I have learned, is that your tastebuds can be adjusted. We have all been so adapted to overly sweetened and processed foods, that when we taste something real, we just don’t like it. That is a bad sign and a reality check as to why our America is so overweight!

I have started eating many, many foods that I never thought I would. I have adjusted and adapted my tastebuds a lot and very thankful that I have. But, I still have a way to go and this pudding tasted a little off. So, I added a little dairy-free chocolate syrup…..hey, I never said I was perfect, lol.

Try it out for yourself, try them all! Let me know how your ventures go…….

I finished my second 5K with a new PR!

For those that don’t know, PR stands for personal record. It wasn’t the time I was going for, which was under 30 minutes, but I did beat my first time of 30:44 with a time of 30:13! I came in 513th place out of 3,000 people, not to shabby considering I just started running 6 months ago.

 

If you are wondering about the long time gap since my last post, I have a lousy explanation. I just didn’t feel like I had much to say, but more so I was completely frustrated. My injury had sustained itself until a week prior to my second race. During the month and a half in between races, I had run only one mile! I feared any further injury in addition to loss of all the training my body had built up. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really wanted to run and continue with my training. I knew the course for my second race was going to be much easier than the first and that I could bust through my first time. I was eager to run, run, and run some more! For those of you that are runners, you understand the desire to run a 5K every weekend once you have completed your first race. But every time I stepped onto the treadmill and started into a light jog, the pain immediately engaged itself. So do I continue to run and train through the pain in order accomplish my goals at risk of further injury, OR do I stop my training in an effort to recover and risk dramatic loss in my hard earned achievements thus far?

The conclusion I came up with was to cross train as many athletes do after injury (not that I consider myself an athlete). So, I started using the upright bike at the gym. A 5K took me about thirty minutes to run, so I figured 20 minutes on the bike would do the trick. It seemed to be going well and I was able to ride without noticeable pain in my groin muscle. I continued to ice and stretch three times a day and after a week or two, I tried to jump back onto the treadmill. Instantly pain would begin as I ran, and I thought I could run at least for a few minutes, but no- not a chance. I had to stop and maintain this routine until I noticed a positive change in my injury, and that I did. Time went by and I got back on the treadmill. This time I noticed that my groin muscle was nearly painless, but wait-what was that other pain? What was going on? My body wasn’t used to biking and it appeared that I had either pulled or just aggravated my hip flexor, aghhh!!!! Can a girl catch a break? I’ve been working so hard to improve my health through both diet and exercise only to be taken aback by constant injury? This can’t be happening!!

With less than three weeks before race number two, my frustration had increased drastically. Even though I had been cross training on the bike, I wasn’t getting the usual amount of cardio that I would during a run. Hecht, I was hardly breaking a sweat! Was I going to be able to maintain my breathing on a 5K run?

I had a conversation with cousin (the personal trainer) and she said something that had stuck in my mind. Her words “it’s an injured muscle, you need to baby it” resonated in my thoughts and still do until this day. Baby it? That was a far, far cry from what I had been doing. I made the decision to stop biking, I continued stretching and icing and then I had a conversation with my sons pediatrician whom is also a runner. She said “don’t worry, you’ll be fine”. “Even if I haven’t run in a month?”, I asked. She replied, “yes, just alternate heat and ice and continue to stretch”. Alternate? In the beginning of my injury I was using heat constantly because it felt so good, then the physical therapists told me to use ice, so I did. His doctor told me she is training for a 10K and if she misses a day of training, she doesn’t sweat it. So, I decided to relax a little. I started alternating heat and ice.

Two weeks from race day, I stepped back on the treadmill and I could run! I did ten minutes pain-free! I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to run again, but I wanted to ease back into things and not take a chance of further injury. Two days later, I made another attempt to run and this time, it was a flop. I was in pain again. What was going on? I got in the car and cried and started asking God what the problem was. I couldn’t understand why I was enduring so much pain when I am finally trying to get my health together. All the years, I had abused my body and didn’t care what had happened, now I do care about my health and am enduring pain. I prayed and asked for him to heal me, I said, “you can heal me, so please just do it”. No joke, I was healed two days later. I got back on the machine just one week before the race and ran the distance of a 5K in just a little over 30 minutes. Not only did I finish it, I was smiling at the end!

A few days later, I ran a 5K on the treadmill again and then rested for the final four days before the race.

                          My son on the way to the race!

Race day had arrived and I was pumped to get back out there. The one thing I didn’t consider was the fact that I hadn’t run outside in over a month and it was now a humid summer morning. Immediately my throat had dried out and the race hadn’t even started. Uh oh……I was off to a good start. After the first turn, we hit a hill! And it wasn’t a short steep hill like all of the ones in my prior race, it was a looooong slow incline. Right at the beginning of the race! The nice thing about this race that I didn’t experience in the first, was all of the bystanders. The first race was on a trail that went through the woods, so it was just us runners and nature. This race was through the streets of downtown Baltimore starting out at the Inner Harbor. There were over 3,000 participants and their supporters and several of bystanders that just happened to be in the neighborhood.

Things were going well, although I seemed to tire quickly. Not too shocking though considering I had barely trained for this event. My throat was completely dried out and it was hot, hot, hot. Once I passed the 2 mile marker, I knew I was close to the finish, but that last mile seemed like the longest mile ever! We had to run past the start line and follow the path we took in the beginning. Then we took a U-turn back towards the beginning. A U-turn that overlapped the route I had already run? I was a little annoyed. Then we had to travel around a building which blocked the view of the finish line. I was already close to stopping from exhaustion and discomfort (although I never would stop), the fact the I had no visual of the finish line kind of frustrated me. I tried to increase my speed in little spurts, but I could feel that salt watery taste in my mouth and had to slow it down a bit. Once I saw the finish line, I stepped it up a notch and pushed through. After I crossed I felt the need to find a trash can immediately. I really thought I was going to toss my cookies. Luckily, the volunteers were there handing out wet towels and cold bottles of water. It was great! I still was a bit nauseous and went looking for the trash can. I found one right next to the food table and spotted some watermelon. I grabbed two pieces and inhaled them. It was perfect, and rehydrated me enough to make the salt water feeling go away.

                If you look close you can see me crossing the line wearing purple

I wasn’t sure what my time was and thought it was closer to 35 minutes than my actual time of 30:13. I went back to the finish line to look for my mom who had started her running journey just nine weeks prior to the race.

                            She came in with a time of 41:34, I’m so proud of her!!

           My son got to race too!

                                                    We are getting ready to run!

My mother and I received metals for being a mother-daughter team and my son got a metal for his run too!! What a great day!!

My mom told me she had gotten sick right after the two mile marker and had to stop in between two cars to let it all out, if you catch my drift. She even stopped at one point to help an injured runner and she still made a great time! She also told me that the only thing she could think about during the run was how she would never run a race again. Currently I am looking into more races for the two of us and she is determined to jump back in!

I must have broken a blood vessel during my run, eww! I noticed this later in the day after the race.

Well, my training has started for race number three and I can’t wait. Here’s looking towards a new PR!!!

I did it, I finished the race!

So today was the big day! Everything I worked for thus far was going to show in my performance today. Injury or not, I was determined to run this race. Not only did I want to complete it, I wanted to do so without stopping and that’s just what I did.

I went to bed early last night, around 9:30 and managed to get a decent nights sleep. I woke up at 5a.m., in anticipation of today (I had planned to wake up at 5:30). I was nervous to say the least. My stomach was doing all kids of flips and all I was hoping for, was to make it through the race without having to stop for a potty break.

We had a great warm up with a vegan body builder (yes, it’s possible) leading the way. We did 150 jumping jacks, 10-15 push ups, and a variety of stretches.

My son loves to work out with me and came along to cheer Momma on!

Once I got in line to start the race, my nerves managed to calm themselves, I was ready to go! Something I didn’t know; place yourself in line according to your running pace. Faster runners in the front, slower towards the back. I didn’t know this and kind of just followed everyone towards the back of the line. I did jump in somewhere, so I wasn’t completely in the back. I was however, further back than I should have been. This caused my start to go a little slow…..I’m glad to have learned that lesson.

Now, remember all the hills I kept hearing about? They were just as bad as I had imagined, maybe worse. Even experienced runners told me that they had a hard time with those hills. Even so, I managed. I took them in and pushed. I didn’t push as hard as I normally do being as though I still have an injury. I also wanted to have a steady pace so I wouldn’t wear myself down too quickly.

There was a huge thunderstorm the night before and the ground was still wet. Going down hills is when I should have gained the most speed and took advantage of the ability to shorten my time, but I just didn’t feel safe when the ground being wet. I was too worried about slipping, not because I was worried about getting hurt, but because a fall would cost me time on my run! The beginning of the race started out on rocks! Now, no one told me about that! Due to the rain, there were several mud puddles along the way, causing a lot of detours among the runners. While I was attempting to pass along the outside, I managed to get cut off a few times by someone going slower than me simply because they were trying to avoid the puddles. Lesson learned, make sure to place yourself at the starting line accordingly.

I came up to the 1 mile marker and couldn’t believe it had only been one mile! I was already getting tired, oh no! I kept an eye out and never saw a two-mile marker. I received a new running watch for Mother’s Day and my first attempt to use it was during the race. Big mistake, I couldn’t get it to work right and had no idea what my distance was so far. It’s hard to pace myself accurately without an idea of distance traveled. The only thing I had to go off was my time. I knew we had started running at 8:32 and I know that generally it takes me about a half hour to run the distance of a 5K. I factored in the hills, my injury, and the other runners and added on about five minutes and figured I would finish around 9:05 or a little after.

I turned a sharp corner and saw tables with volunteers holding out water cups, this was the moment I really felt like I was running a race! You see it all the time when watching races on t.v., etc. The runners grab the cups without stopping, drink while spilling water everywhere and chuck the cups on the ground. Yup, that’s just what happened and exactly what I did. I guess this is the point that I should have realized I was half way through the race. It makes perfect sense right? The thought never actually occurred to me until later that day when I was thinking about the fact that I never saw mile marker two.

The last hill was the worst, and while I was climbing it I prayed, “God, please let this be the last hill, please!” And it was! Once I made it to the top and noticed all the runners ahead of me picking up the pace, I knew that the end had to be close. I rounded the corner and saw daylight peaking through (the trail was in the woods) and I knew I was almost there! I picked up the pace a bit, and then wished that I had picked up my speed much sooner.

Coming up to the finish line!

I had attempted to go around the man in the green, but he managed to jump out in front of me before I could. No where else to go but straight ahead!

I did it!

My goal while I was training was to finish the race in under 30 minutes. When I started running and shared my goal with my husband, he told me there was no way I could do it. He said I would be lucky to finish in 40 minutes and that 45 was a more likely time. Of course, I was determined to prove him wrong. But this wasn’t about that, it was about proving to myself that I could do it. I’ve never been a runner and was never good at it. Even when I was younger and played school sports, the one mile run killed me and I remember several times that I didn’t finish it. If it wasn’t for my injury, I just know that I would have finished in under 30 minutes!

Race results, I did better than I expected! 30:44 (to bad my husband wasn’t there to see it!)

I finished in 127th place out of 287

Team B.A.R.N, Baltimore Animal Rights Network, we took 4th place!

Top four running times for our team and my son.

When it’s all said and done, I am proud of what I accomplished with just a bit of disappointment. If I had only pushed a little harder I would have accomplished my goal of finishing in under 30. That’s what happens when I listen to other people saying “take it easy”. Better safe than sorry I guess, don’t want to make my injury worse than what it is.

I loved this experience and have another race set for the end of June. In the meantime, I am on the hunt for more 5Ks to sign up for!

I pulled a muscle and the race is two days away!

It’s been a while since my last post, so sorry I have just had a ton going on! Let’s start out with the fact that I pulled a groin muscle a few weeks ago at the gym……ugh, so discouraging. I went to use one of those thigh machines, the one that you sit on and squeeze your thighs together. I love this machine! I can’t stand my thighs and this machine was one of my favs. I would get on it three to four times per work out in rotation of my circuit. I could actually feel muscle building up in my thighs, which sadly to say is a first. Up until now my thighs have virtually been all fat, ewwwwww.

The last person to use the machine had left the leg pads in the open position. When I sat down and lift my leg to put it on, I heard and felt something tear (or similar to a tear). Never-the-less, I continued to do my exercise on the machine along with the use of other machines. The following day I continued with my 5K training and completed my 3.1 mile run with an effort to make good time. I was in a bit of pain after the run, but continued with my work out that day and the next, only to follow with my next day of 5K training. This time running was a bit more difficult and I ran slower but finished the 3.1 miles. This time I was extremely sore after and decided to take it easy the next few days. On my next run, I ran just a mile and continued the use of the strength machines. Still no signs of recovery of the course of a week.

I was so worried, there was only two weeks left until race day. I wanted to continue my training, I have been working so hard for this since January. So, do I continue to train and risk further damage or do I continue to rest and risk losing so much of what I had worked so hard for?

I decided to do a combination of both…..use the strength training machines for upper body, rest my leg for a few days and on the days I decided to run, I only ran a mile on a much lighter speed than I had worked up to.

Finally, I asked one of the gym trainers what his thoughts were and he recommended that I rest it entirely for at least three days and it should be fine. For the following days, I focused my workouts on my upper body. I felt as thought there was improvement, until I started running again. I ran another 3.1 miles and immediately after felt the pain. I decided it was time to call the Doctor who referred me to a sports physical therapist. But not after she advised me to take it easy over the weekend, which of course I didn’t. I ran another mile.

I was now down to my race week and four days prior to the race I had decided I was going to run a complette 5K. I needed to know that I was ready and my temporary gym membership had ended the day before 😦

I headed back to the park I previously ran at (you remember, the one with the hill?). The path around the park is .8 of a mile, so I knew if I ran it 4 times around that I would have completed a 5K, plus .1 of a mile. Since going to the gym and using a treadmill, I had discovered that my pedometer was way off. So this was a more accurate way of determining my run distance.

I ran up that hill and it was much easier on my legs than it once was! Initially, I noticed some pain when running but once I got going and managed to shift my weight, I was doing alright. I finished the total distance in 31 minutes and I was surprised by my time and did better than I had planned.

Following the run, I noticed an increase in pain which continued throughout the day. So much so, it was becoming difficult to walk. I called the physical therapist and made the appointment and managed to get in the next day (today). Things went well, the therapist advised me to ice three times a day and showed me some stretches to work on. She asked me, “why didn’t you come in two weeks ago, we could have helped you”. I guess I felt silly going to therapy for a pulled muscle, when there are people with major injuries that need help. The therapist stressed that I don’t need to run the race (of course I do!) just as the doctor recommended that I run strictly to finish the race as opposed to running for time. I suppose that I should be proud to just finish the race considering it’s my first ever and I just started running four months ago! And let’s not forget that I’ve got an injury too. I just fell like it’s not good enough, I strive to do better than okay.

I have however, signed up for another 5K coming up in a month and a half, so I have some time to heal and train to do better at that one. I will keep you posted on my healing process and my race which is now less than 36 hours away! I am spending these few days before the race just resting and hopefully it will help. I just feel like my muscles are melting away due to lack of exercise. But I am looking forward to a good workout on Monday (the day after the race)!

Wish me luck and Happy Running!

Easter Post

Easter was great! I found a few recipes online that I tried out for the first time. I think everything turned out wonderfully. If I may vent for a moment though….I know that everyone has different tastes, etc. etc. And by no means do I expect everyone to be vegan (although the world would be a much nicer place if that were to happen), but I find it so frustrating that people won’t at least try new foods! Vegan or not, try new things! I guess because I have been blessed with the ability to travel most of my life, I have been more open to trying other options. When you’re in France and don’t speak french, it gives you very little say over what you are eating, hahaha. There is a lot of effort, love, and of course money (lets not forget time) that goes into making vegan foods and I would love for people to just try! Of the 16 people that attended the Easter dinner that I was invited to, a mere handful took a taste of what we brought with us. It was frustrating to say the least. And this isn’t the first time that this has happened, this is the norm. I always take foods with us when invited to other people’s house because a.) it’s polite to take something with you and b.) I know there probably won’t be any vegan options for my family. Maybe I just shouldn’t expect people to try what I take. But when you go through all of the effort to make enough for everyone, it can be a bit of a let don’t when people go straight for what they know and completely overlook everything else. Honestly, I don’t understand the fear of trying new foods. What’s the worse that can happen? They won’t like it……..

Okay, enough of that. Here is the menu which I prepared and took with us….

Easter Pie

(peta.org)

2 cups all purpose flour1 cup dairy-free margarine

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup water1 lb veggie sausage, crumbled2 lbs firm tofu (I just used 2 packs of tofu)

1/4 cup soy parmesan cheese1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced1/2 tsp ground pepper 1/4 tsp. cayenne1/4 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor, combine flour, margarine, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt. While the machine is still on, add the water until the dough forms a ball.

Divide the dough into two balls and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sausage, tofu, soy parmesan, parsley, remaining salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and fennel seeds.

Place on circle in a 10-inch pie pan, spread the filling mixture in, place the other circle on top and pinch the edges together. Bake for one hour or until golden brown.

                                                                                                                                                                             

I used the excess dough to make the cross decoration.    Easter Bunny Cake (reciperenovato.com)

Isn’t he so cute?  I made this one because I thought my three year old son would love it and he loves to help cook!

The person that posted this recipe said that it’s easy to make…….. I encountered some issues. It was more like glueing together a puzzle, but instead I was using icing to paste together cake. In the end, it turned out great looking and was yummy too!   Ingredient list:

1 8″ or 9″ cake pancoconut oil

 filtered water (like I would use any other type of water, lol)

egg substitute2 t. coconut flavoring (alcohol free, I used an extract)shredded unsweetened coconutflaked unsweetened coconut (this will be used as the grass, so make sure to get this in addition the shredded as the size is different)green food coloring (please note that I highly dislike food coloring)vanilla frosting (see recipe below for ingredient list) 9-10 toothpickspink and purple jelly beans (or any two colors your prefer)white card stockpink paper or pink crayon    The day before:Make the frosting, bake the cake, and color the “grass”

Make the cake adding in two t. coconut flavoring and bake for the time recommended on the box. Cool completely on a wire rack (very important!)- you’ll soon see why. Cut the cake in half Follow the illustration showing how to cut and assemble the cake.

(photo credit:Divine Dinner Party)

At this point your cake should be on the serving platter. You may use wax paper around the edges of the cake to catch the excess coconut. I didn’t do this since I knew I was putting the green coconut flakes on top and they would hide any of the excess that fell from the bunny. Now frost the body and use extra frosting over the seams of the cakes to help keep them together. You may use toothpicks to hold the tail in place (I just used the frosting). I did however use several toothpicks to hold the two halves of the cake together! Using a spoon, apply the coconut on top of the frosting. Remove wax paper once finished.

Cut out the ears and fold them in half. Color the center pink or attach pink paper.

Cut one jelly bean in half and use each half for the eyes. Or just use two separate jelly beans. Cut three toothpicks in half. Create your bunnys face with the jelly beans and then add the toothpicks as whiskers. Then add the ears.

The grass-place in a container or zip loc bag, add green food coloring and shake it up! Place the grass around the bunny and then add Easter candy to the grass for decoration. I used jelly beans to resemble eggs in the grass.

Side view

It’s not as bad as it looks! haha

Vanilla Frosting

1 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

3/4 C. dry soy milk powder

1-2 T. coconut flour

1/4 C. agave syrup

1 T. vanilla extract (alcohol-free)

1 1/2 C. coconut oil

2 T. fresh lemon juice

Come the first five ingredients together in a blender on high for 2 minutes. While it is still running, add lemon juice and the coconut oil. Alternating them until all is fully incorporated. The coconut oil should be melted before adding in. Pop it in the microwave until it turns into liquid.

Pour the mix into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours until it sets. (This may also be used as a sauce if you let it sit at room temp. Use as a substitute for whipped topping, frosting, or as a sweet butter). The recipe calls for pulling the icing out of the refrigerator about an hour prior to use and adding 2 T. coconut flour to get the proper consistency. I just used it right out of the refrigerator and had no problem at all.

 Vegan Creme Eggs

(recipe-vegweb.com)

I used to LOVE Cadbury creams eggs prior to becoming vegan. A few weeks ago I passed by them at the store and made an immediate decision to find a vegan creme egg recipe. So here you go!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1 T. margarine

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

3 C. powdered sugar

1-1/2 t. vanilla

1 12-ounce bag of vegan chocolate chips (I recommend buying two bags in case the first one doesn’t work out like it did when I made it)

1-1/2 T. vegan creamer

In a large bowl combine first three ingredients.  Slowly add in powdered sugar until smooth. If you want to add some sort of flavoring, now is the time. When I was combining these ingredients, my mixture became very thick, almost like bread dough, so I decided to add some creamer at this point (1-1/2 T.) Then it was too creamy! So try it out and find your medium here. If it’s too dry, it won’t stick together. Too creamy and it will stick to your hands making it nearly impossibly to form into a ball. As you can see from my photos, they are lacking the “round” quality. I wound up using a spoon rather than my hands since my texture was a little bit creamier.

With clean, cold hands roll mix into small balls and place on a greased sheet. Freeze for at least two hours.

In a medium bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave (or melt over the stove). Remove immediately and whisk in the creamer. At this point, I encountered a problem. Adding the creamer caused the chocolate to harden immediately! Luckily I had an extra bag of chocolate chips in my pantry, so I tried again. And again, once I added the creamer, the chocolate hardened. The first batch was in better condition, so by adding a little water and mixing it in a pan over boiling water, the chocolate came back to life!

Use a toothpick and dip each ball into the chocolate then place on wax paper. Freeze until hard and then wrap in foil. My balls managed to freeze to the paper. I used a little warm water over the paper and was able to peel it off of the balls.

These turned out to be super yummy, but really high in sugar! Having detoxed all week and then tasting while preparing, I quickly got a headache and started to feel really ill due to sugar overload! The next day I was able to enjoy all of my treats. I gave a LOT  away, I didn’t want it all sitting in my house or I would have eaten everything!!!

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