Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekly Workouts 6/20-6/26

Monday: Two rounds of Blogilates. You know what's weird about ab workouts? They burn SO much during but as soon as you're done holding a move, the pain goes away! I don't even feel like I've done a workout until DOMS sets in.
Tuesday: Elizabeth was leaving for Nicaragua to visit family that evening, so we fit in our last workout together on Tuesday morning. Usually we do speed work at night; it was hard to remember what I like to eat before an early, hard-effort run. I ended up just having a Gu (salted caramel, with caffeine); it's been awhile since I've eaten one and the texture was super gross, but it ended up being the perfect fuel for the morning.

We did 8 x.3 repeats. The first was slow (around 9:25) as we woke up, but after that everything was in the 7:40s. I felt unstoppable; I would have done two more repeats and I regret not going a little longer, but it is what it is.
Between rotations we did upper body (presses, bicep curls, tricep dips, and push-ups) and when I got home I did a few minutes of abs and iced my heel. I've been having a little pain in it that I think is mild, early PF. I've had this symptom before, so I'm just icing, massaging, and stretching diligently. Hopefully it goes away soon!

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: I created a lower body/core circuit and completed it while watching Castle reruns.
I was pretty proud of myself for putting burpees in there because I hate them, but I'm trying to learn to love them.

Friday: I went out for a moderate-paced run without a goal pace or distance in mind. I just knew I had to at least complete a 5k. It was my first solo run in months, and I just wanted to enjoy the golf course, my music, and my thoughts. I paused at one point to take a picture of a rainbow I saw. I ran in and out of the sprinklers. I generally just enjoyed myself.
Even though I'd already donated to the official GoFundMe for the Orlando victims' families, I signed up for this virtual race (the proceeds also go to the Orlando families) as well. Tonight was a good night to run it. I feel like that rainbow was kind of a sign.

Saturday: Lots of errands and work today...I was going to do some core work, but ended up resting.

Sunday: I slept fitfully Saturday night; I think being on prednisone for my allergies this week is messing with me and giving me insomnia. After waking for the fourth time around 3am, I turned off my alarm (which had been set for 4:30) and planned to run long in the evening.

Then this happened:
So in the end, I did a quick circuit instead. I'm really enjoying creating these myself, and I like that they're a fast workout but effective! I like that I can do them at home whenever I want, no matter the weather.
Burgees-In-Progress are hilarious!

This is the first run I've missed in months, and I'm pretty unhappy about that...although maybe I should be impressed with myself for fitting something else in, instead! Oh well; nothing I could about it this time around!

How was your week?


Friday, June 24, 2016

Frozen Desserts: Wink vs. Arctic Zero

You may have seen pictures of these two ice cream substitutes floating around "fitness" Instagram accounts. I am definitely an ice cream binge-eater, and during summertime especially I can polish off a pint without much thought.

That can be a problem considering ice cream's not exactly a health food. Enter Wink Frozen Desserts and Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts. Both of these brands boast lower fat content, lower sugar, and higher protein than regular ice cream. I honestly don't care about GMOs or any of the other "allergen free" stuff, although it's nice to see so many gluten free options.
I was intrigued, so I bought myself some Wink first. Due to cost of shipping, you have to buy at least four flavors at a time. (If you buy six, they ship for free.) All of Wink's flavors are gluten free so I had a lot to choose from. They arrived packed in dry ice and perfectly frozen.
My first impression was kind of a let down. The desserts are definitely not ice cream. They're closer to a granita or Italian ice...very icy and brittle. The flavors aren't as strong as traditional ice cream, and there was a definitely protein aftertaste I didn't quite like.
I tried Cake Batter with a little chocolate syrup and sprinkles, but the texture and flavor still wasn't what I look for in a dessert.
I did find that by allowing them to thaw a little (about 10 minutes) before eating, the texture and flavor improves, but that aftertaste is just a deal breaker for me. Matt doesn't notice it, though! I've always been sensitive to protein-powdery flavors.

The bottom line here: I could totally dig the texture if the flavors were stronger and the aftertaste wasn't an issue.

A fellow runner had posted about her Arctic Zero experience on Instagram, so I commented asking if they were creamy because Wink had disappointed me. The next day, Arctic Zero emailed me offering a free "care package" so I could try their desserts. Of course I said yes and requested all gluten free flavors, because unlike Wink, some of theirs include cookie and brownie pieces.
AZ arrived overnight, came adorably packaged, and included an ice cream scooper! Because they were already a bit thawed from their trip (their dry ice hadn't held up quite as well as Wink's), I dove right in to the taste test.
Allergies got my eyes looking rough...sorry about the closeup, guys. Also sorry for the "zero guilt" label...It would be cool if they'd drop that.
First of all, AZ sent five flavors and two aren't gluten free, so I was disappointed not to be able to try those. But I was very pleased with the flavors I could eat. They're definitely creamier than Wink and do not have a weird protein taste at all.
I enjoyed the Cake Batter flavor with a mug cake and it was divine.
Their flavors are again...lighter...than ice cream, but more enjoyable and cleaner tasting than Wink. Because it's best to eat them well-thawed, I found that once I scooped them into a bowl, they melted fairly quickly.

Arctic Zero also boasts a huge product list, including "chunky" pints and bars.
The verdict: Arctic Zero is a nice alternative to ice cream if you don't want to derail your healthy eating. It's not ice cream, but it's a nice sorbet-like treat. Wink is alright if you don't mind that protein-mix taste that sometimes hangs around after certain protein bars and smoothies.

One final note: You can purchase both of these brands in some stores, but they're not easy to find. I was able to find the Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero at a local Publix and bought it myself before I was offered the care package.

There's one last brand along these lines that I'd like to try called Halo Top, but I think I'll eat what's in my freezer before I test it out!

Arctic Zero sent me a care package of these flavors free of charge. I purchased the Vanilla Maple flavor and all Wink flavors on my own. All opinions are my own.

Have you tried any of these frozen desserts?
What's your favorite summertime dessert?
Are you ice cream/FROYO obsessed? 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Marathon Thoughts

I'm not planning to run a marathon anytime soon, but watching all my friends' training has got me thinking! For today's TOTR, I'm reflecting on marathon training and what works best for me.
Despite running three marathons, I can't decide if I've figured out what works best for me. For my first (Space Coast), I felt pretty prepared, but I had no idea what I was actually getting into. I ran a single 20-miler and took an entire week off. Then, I ran an 18-miler and ended up tapering drastically because it took so much out of me, and in retrospect I wondered if I had missed too many runs or taken it too easy too early.
Really, there's nothing like the first one, is there?
For my second (BDR), I went in feeling over-prepared and strong but totally got my ass handed to me by the weather. I only ran one 20-miler for that race, too, but I did multiple 16-18 mile runs and didn't drop the ball on training after any of them. Still, there's no way to know if those extra long runs and the prescribed, gradual taper were good for me or not because of race day conditions.
Smiling, but not really that happy.
For my third (A1A), I used BDR as a training run and did a 20-miler a few weeks out as part of my training. After that, I dropped out of training a bit and had what was basically a repeat of Space Coast's extreme, sudden taper. If you recall, I wasn't even planning to run the full until the day before race day. That marathon ended up being my PR.
Now I can't help but wonder if BDR was an excellent addition to my training plan for A1A or if it didn't make a difference at all!
I think what I'm beginning to wonder about is the benefit of the 20-miler. Other than mental strength, does it do much? Does it actually break down my body too much? Or is it a good training strategy for me, seeing as it seems to have paid off in the last race? Should I actually be looking at doing a 22 or 24 miler as my longest run, to help give my body and mind more fortitude, or is less better?

My runner friends using Hansons seem to like that their long runs top out at 16 miles; the double long runs on weekends mean more overall weekly distance than I've ever put in for marathon training, and I wonder which would work better for my body: running 20 milers but topping out at 35 weekly miles, or keeping long runs shorter but getting up into 40-mile weeks.
I know that for my lifestyle, running six days a week and not having any time on weekends to sleep in (because of the back-to-back long runs) wouldn't work for me. But when I get back to marathon training eventually, I think it would be worth it to really do my research on tapering, maximum weekly miles, and long run times vs. distance.

I love that the marathon is a new beast every time you run one. Even experienced marathoners understand that 26.2 miles leaves a lot of room for error and even if the stars align, you really need to rely on your best training to get you through it. I wonder how many more of these things I'll need to run before I know what truly works best for me!

What are your thoughts on:
-distance vs. time for long runs?
-the 20-miler vs. back-to-back long runs?
-long, intense taper vs. gradual/shorter taper?
-true fatigue/over-training vs. under-training?