Weekday Morning Coffee

I’ve posted previously about my weekend coffee ritual. I love making coffee on the weekends because I can grind my beans, do a pour-over drip, and enjoy the process. Weekday mornings are a different beast altogether. I don’t have much time, so I have to go quickly… Enter the Nespresso machine.

Foam on my espresso

On weekdays, I warm my latte milk while getting my coffee pod into the machine and ready to go. Once it’s done, I add the milk and a little sugar… Voila! A few minutes yields a decent latte and gives me time to do all of those morning things that stop me from enjoying my coffee zen style. 😉

It’s a fine latte

Because I enjoy coffee so much, I do appreciate having a quick alternative. I do have a little guilt about the coffee pods, though. That’s a lot of waste. Nespresso recycles the pods – they give you a bag to collect the used pods and they then recycle both the container and the grounds. It’s still probably on the wasteful side, but less than if I just toss them in the trash bin. I’ll pretend my trash is offset by not using disposable coffee cups… Maybe. It does help me make it through my mornings, though… Still prefer my weekend mornings when I can enjoy Illy and Dillanos freshly ground and brewed. 🙂

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Body Sculpting – Ow Ow Ow

I’ve been looking for something to add variety to my workouts. I knew I needed to do strength training, so I hit the gym yesterday and went to a body sculpting class.


I used the lightest bar I could find. And, I used 5- and 8-pound weights… And I am still sore this morning. Wowsers!

Obviously, I need to keep this going because I feel like it was very beneficial, despite the pain. Strength training is important, especially as you get older. Not that I’m getting older. 😉

For the next 4 weeks, I’m going to be mixing it up. I’m planning to run 2 days a week, take cycle class 1 day a week, and take body sculpting 1 day a week. Let’s see if I can make a difference in my arms. They need some definition. Or in the least, they need less flapping. I have some time before I step up my running schedule.

What do you do to mix it up? Let me know in the comments. I’m enjoying something a little different. But, I’m also very keen on making sure I keep exercising. 🙂

Happy Sunday!

Tuneless Training

Run without sound?!?!

Run without sound?!?!

I ran three miles today and decided to do the second half with no tunes. Ok, not really. My earbuds died! Oh, they are plugged in and charging now… Now that it doesn’t really matter. But, hey! It’s something.

As I was running, my bluetooth earbuds gave me the “low battery” warning. I thought maybe I could make it through since it was a short run, but nope! I heard “power off” and then the music died. (Bye bye, Miss American Pie?)

Interestingly, I found that it was helpful to listen to my breathing. I was able to keep a better rhythm, which made me feel better… Which helped me run… wait for it… faster. I do focus on my breathing, but it was different when I was actually *listening* and not just *feeling* the in and out in and out. So, I feel like I learned a good lesson today. It’s perhaps a good idea to sometimes turn off the tunes and enjoy the silence (Depeche Mode anyone?). Thoughts?

Happy Friday!

 

 

And now for something new…

This morning, I got my @$$ out of bed at 5:30 so I could hit the gym’s 6am cycle class. What?!?!

Cycle Class!

Cycle Class!

First of all, it’s been so long since I’ve done a class like this, the name has changed from “spin” class to “cycle” class. Oh my! I wanted a change of pace (haha – runner humor?), so I thought, sure, let’s get up before the crack of dawn so I can pedal a stationary bike and pretend to climb hills. I did take 2 days off after Sunday’s half marathon, so let’s get back to business.

The class was an hour and at the 30 minute mark, I remember thinking that it was BORING. Then, I started thinking that it was hard. Boring + hard? Ugh… I kind of got into it a bit more the second half of the class. It was definitely a calorie burner (~400), but can I do this regularly at 6am? We’ll see, we’ll see… YAWN!

What are some other good classes or exercises to mix things up? Any and all suggestions welcome. I really need to figure out some upper body work… Seriously, now.. Suggestions?

Oakland Running Festival Recap

ORF went well overall… We stayed in Oakland Saturday night to make things easier. Originally, I thought it would be more helpful for my husband and son, but my son is going through a separation anxiety stage with me right now and it was really hard (and loud) when I left the room Sunday morning to head to the starting line. Ah, three year olds!

While the hotel window was a touch warped, still had a nice view from our room:

View from Oakland Marriott City Center

View from Oakland Marriott City Center

The other great thing about our room was that we ran past so my son got to see me while they were getting dressed and packed up. 🙂

The event was mostly dry, but I did get drenched in a downpour toward the end of the half marathon. Oh well, better than it raining the whole time! My performance was definitely not where I wanted it to be. If I can paraphrase Yogi Berra, running “is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” My brain wasn’t cooperating and I broke down and walked for a bit – not because of anything physical, really. It was a mental break that I just couldn’t control. I’ve been kicking myself ever since, but I’ll live… I did this half marathon three years ago and barely finished because of a MASSIVE calf cramp in my left leg. Honestly, it it hadn’t been for the amazing volunteers, I might not have limped across the finish line.

The half didn’t start until 9:10 and for some reason, I don’t do so well if I get started after 7am… As you can see, my rationalizations have begun… Sleep deprived because my son hasn’t been sleeping… Didn’t get to finish my bagel… There are a hundred excuses, but I know the real reason is just that my head wasn’t in the game as much as my legs were.

The Oakland police were fantastic. At one point, there was a car whose driver just didn’t care about road closures and was trying to cross through the runners… Yeah, OPD wasn’t having any of it and stopped them super quick. Thank you, OPD for being on the ball yet again. They have been great each time I’ve participating in ORF.

A very good friend of mine lives in Oakland and we went to his place afterward… He let me get a shower (yay!!) and made the most amazing food. It was magnificent. Check out this post-race feast:

Now *this* is a post-race meal!

Now *this* is a post-race meal!

I’m still drooling over how good the bacon and eggs were. Seriously… Mmmmm….

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Here are a few pics from yesterday.

Before:

During:

Yes, that is an arch with flames! Thanks to The Crucible for that one!

After:

And, then I tried to stretch with my foam roller after I got home… I eventually got to do my stretches, but this is what happened as soon as I got on the floor:

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My dog loves me! 🙂

I probably should have lead with the dog picture! He just wanted to cuddle and for some reason, didn’t want to accept my excuses about needed to stretch and avoid leg cramps. Silly dog. Next weekend, I am planning to get my first pair of trail shoes and am glad I have plenty of time to train and get my head in the game before the Yosemite Half in October. Run happy!

My Morning Coffee

Tonight, I am nursing a sore quad and glad this morning’s run was only 6 miles. Next weekend is the Oakland Running Festival and I am running the half marathon. Gotta get this quad feeling better! But, that’s not what I want to write about… I want to write about my morning coffee ritual.

Coffee, you complete me!

Coffee, you complete me!

I have been working hard to perfect my home brewing technique and I am rather pleased with how things have been going. I’ve played around with several different coffees and my two favorites are Illy and Dillanos. Illy is an Italian coffee roasting company that specializes in espresso. Dillanos is a Washington-based coffee roasting company that focuses on speciality coffees. They are both DEELISH!

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Getting ready for my Dillanos!

Weekend mornings, I get to make pour-over coffee and I delight in the process. I love making a great cup of coffee. I grind the beans that morning, and then use a Chemex brewer. My coffee experience starts with putting the water on the stove. Then, I grind my beans at a French press level – somewhat course. When the water is warm, I pour a little through the filter to eliminate any papery taste and to preheat my brewer. After dumping out the excess water, I put the beans into the filter and wait for the water to get just right. You want to get it just after the boil.

Waiting for the water to boil

Waiting for the water to boil

My brew process includes 3 pours – the first is a small pour that lets the coffee beans expand, sometimes called a “bloom.” This takes about 45 seconds or so. A good bloom will give you even water dispersion and your coffee will taste fabulous. The other 2 pours are to get the volume right… When I’m all done, a little cream and sugar and I am one happy camper. I like to make proper lattes, too. My husband thinks I am crazy, but look at this! Mmmmmm…

This coffee is ready to drink

This coffee is ready to drink

Hope there are a few other caffeine and/or coffee addicts out there that can appreciate a good cup of home-brewed heaven. 🙂 I really do love the whole process. There is something calming about it… It’s a strange love affair, but it works for me. Have a great Sunday!!

Seriously, what just happened to my foot?

I am confused! Here is the build up to my foot problem this morning:

  1. I did a 12-mile training run on Saturday. Aside from being soaked because I sweat a lot and ran in the rain, no issues
  2. Yesterday was a rest day. So, I enjoyed a soccer match (Go San Jose Earthquakes!) and relaxed

Now… This morning, I got ready for my 4-mile run… No issues… Until I put on my right shoe. The top of my foot hurt – I actually couldn’t do my run and came back home. I tried both pairs of running shoes, and had the same problem. Pain approximately where I tie my shoes. Only on the top, and only when I put on my shoes. Rubbing and poking and prodding on my foot caused no pain whatsoever.

I decided to give it another try and was able to put on my shoe without pain this afternoon (around 1pm) and do my training run. Yay! But, really…

What happened??? I have no idea. I’m glad it stopped, but how weird!! Anyone have any ideas? Has anything like this happened to you?