Weekly Recap: December 15 - 21

Happy first day of winter! It's crazy that it's late December and it hasn't snowed here in Pittsburgh. We've had flurries a few times, but no snow on the ground. Knock on wood.

This was a great week, where I was in a nice groove with my workouts. I'm starting to ramp up my weekly mileage and my long run mileage, so this week I got 18 miles in. I also got four sessions of strength training, three of yoga, and two of plyometrics, so I met all my goals. Here's how the week went down.

Morning: 40 minutes plyometrics & strength training
Evening:  30 minutes yin yoga

Morning: 3 miles in 33:17, 11:05 pace
It was 43 and raining, but not too hard when I went out. The rain kept fluctuating from light to heavy but overall wasn't too bad. I wore my Lululemon Spring Forward Jacket, which technically isn't a rain jacket but is rain resistant, and it worked well at keeping me dry. This was a pace run, with miles 1 and 2 spot-on at 10:58 each. But I felt really depleted after that. I've been closely following Weight Watchers--unlike the past three months where I hadn't and am now above my goal weight. For the first time ever, I had to pay for a meeting two weeks ago! (Lifetime members--those who reach and maintain their goal weight--do not have to pay if they are no more than two pounds above their goal weight.) Having to pay definitely motivated me to get back to my goal weight. But the result is eating less at night, and thus having less energy in the morning. I ate my half of a banana and drank my five ounces of fruit juice like I always do before morning runs, but by mile 3 I was feeling drained, and my stomach was even rumbling. Mile 3 was at 11:19 pace--much slower than my 11:00 target. I posted about this on Daily Mile, and one suggestion was to eat pretzels as a snack the night before a morning run. I think I'll try that.

Evening: Essential Yoga for Runners from Runner's World

Morning: 30 minutes strength training with focus on core and arms

Evening: 30 minutes plyometric cardio workout on the Bosu ball

Morning: 25 minutes strength training with focus on legs and butt

Evening: 4 miles in 47:36
This was an easy run after work. It was 26 degrees but not bad. I ran past the stadiums and saw the holiday lights at PNC Park, which are really pretty. I wore the Athleta Polartec Power Stretch 2 tights I mentioned last week, and they were soooo comfy and cozy. I have to admit that I've been living in them all week to take the dog on his morning walks, but this was the first time I ran in them. No complaints!

Rest day! Not even yoga!

Pace run: 3.01 miles in 32:45 for a 10:54 pace
It was a comfortable 29 degrees, and I ran on the river trail out toward the 40th Street Bridge and back. My splits were pretty good, but I have to be honest. It was a little tough. I was breathing fairly heavily. I started to think "I cannot imagine running this pace for 13.1 miles" but immediately put a halt to those negative thoughts. I haven't even begun training yet, and I can't let the "I cant's" into my thinking! I'll get there. Splits were 10:52, 10:55, 10:56.

After the run I did a quick 15-minute strength training routine. 
Lululemon Wee White Stripe Base Runner Hoodie,
Deep Zinfandel Speed Tights
White Mini Check Pique Fleece Ear Warmer
That night, my husband and I walked to and through Downtown to check out the holiday lights. It was very cold--29 feels much colder when you're not running!--but a lot of fun. Downtown was brimming with people going to restaurants and shows and checking out the holiday displays. Afterward we ate at Nicky's Thai Kitchen. I got the pumpkin curry. So amazing!!!! Here are some pictures of the lights my husband took.

The Creche display in USX plaza
Close up of the Creche
Tree at the City County Building
Tree in Market Square
Christmas Village in Market Square
Tree in PPG Plaza with an ice skating rink around it
Tree on the side of the old Gimble's building (now Highmark)
Close up of the tree on the side of the building

Long run: 8.03 miles in 1:33, 11:39 pace
I met Amanda at North Park for a long run. It was 29 again and not bad at all. We did the typical five-mile loop around the lake, which is hilly to begin with, but we also added the big hill on McKinney Road (that's part of the Just a Short Run course). Whew! Overall it was a good run and, as always, nice to talk to Amanda and have the run done before we know it.
Amanda and me after our run
Afterward I did the recovery yoga video from Runner's World and then finished my cookie baking! Yay! Oh, and if you're wondering, vegan cookies taste no different than regular cookies. The dairy and eggs used in baking are used for a chemical reaction and don't affect the taste (have you ever bit into a cookie and said, "Wow, the eggs taste great!"?) In fact, many non-vegans say they think vegan cookies and desserts taste better than regular. I agree. :-) This weekend I made three different kinds.

The first is Magical Coconut Cookie Bars. This is a vegan version of the recipe found on the side of graham cracker boxes. It is amazing--one of the best, for sure. It has a graham cracker crust with layers of chocolate chips, coconut, and chopped pecans. A mixture of coconut milk and dark brown sugar is a substitute for condensed milk, making the bars ooey gooey and so delicious. 

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars (before being cut into bars)
I also made Toasted Coconut Cookies, which combine a brown sugar cookie with flaked coconut I toast on the stove. They may not look like a lot, but they are divine.
Toasted Coconut Cookies
Last but not least is Sugar Cookies. These are my favorite to eat and least favorite to make because of the rolling and cutting. This year, my dough turned out really sticky. Even chilled, it was simply too sticky to cut into shapes. So I have no wreaths or snowmen or trees like I usually do and instead just made circles and frosted them. Not as cute, but it saved a ton of time.

Happy running, working out, and enjoying the holidays this week!

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