Half Marathon Training Weeks 4 and 5 (September 4th-17th)

Good evening friends! I am two weeks behind on my training updates…not sure how that happened, but better late than never, right? 😛

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Anyway, before I update, I just wanted to say that I hesitated to post this update because two weeks ago was not a good week and last week was a TERRIBLE week of training for me…lack of sleep, long work days, unplanned events, and motivation made for two very low mileage weeks. I did my not prioritize my health or running, but I pride myself on being honest, so I am posting it anyway.

Sometimes, life gets in the way and I can either wallow in it or move on and promise to do better next time (this week). I want to be real on this blog…despite being a former D1 runner and training at a relatively high level, I acknowledge how hard it can be to balance everything in the real “adult” world. It seems like some many other runners (and running blogs) just show the glamorous side (racing, high mileage weeks, stellar work outs, the perfect life/work/running balance, etc), but I want to show the REAL side. Sometimes you have a sh****y workout or week, you get busy, it’s dark outside, work is stressing you out, you have family stuff, etc. It’s not always fun or easy, but still getting out there (or back to it) is what counts. So without further ado, here’s my last two weekly recaps (with a lot of unplanned rest days). :/

Week #4: Monday September 4th- Sunday September 10th:

Monday September 4th: Day off work, so had a nice afternoon run of 4.1 miles @ 7:46 pace with the hubby

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Tuesday September 5th: REST

Wednesday September 6th: 4 miles in the dark after work at 7:47 pace. Did some hip/glute strength exercises after the run

Thursday September 7th: REST

Friday September 8th: REST

Saturday September 9th: 3 miles at 7:28 pace on the cross country course after the races. This run felt terrible and I was dehydrated from being in the sun all afternoon helping my husband coach.

Sunday September 10th (Long run): 6.2 miles at 7:40 pace. I was worried after feeling so terrible on yesterday’s run, but I felt strong. This was my furthest run since I “graduated” physical therapy in July 2015!

WEEKLY TOTAL: 17 miles

Week #5: Mon. September 11th- Sun. September 17th:

Monday September 11th: REST

Tuesday September 12th: REST

Wednesday September 13th: 3 miles with 2 miles at ATTEMPTED tempo pace on the treadmill since it was late. My goal was 6:30-6:45 pace, but I struggled to maintain 6:50-6:55 pace and my heart rate was high. I was tired from lack of sleep and my legs felt like lead. Glad I pushed through, because the terrible workouts are what make us stronger.

Thursday September 14th: REST

Friday September 15th: 3 miles at 7:25 pace in the dark after work. I realized on this run that I need to invest in some lights/ reflective gear because it’s really hard to see on night runs/morning runs and the days are only getting shorter. I ended up ordering knuckle lights and a reflective vest as per recommendations on Instagram.

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Saturday September 16th: 4 miles in between all the races & cheering at the XC meet. It was really hot out and I’m glad all the races were in the morning. I didn’t take any pictures at the meet surprisingly ! 🙁

Sunday September 17th: This was supposed to be my long run day…but in between my in-law’s impromptu visit to our apartment (to pick up a suitcase we borrowed from them on our honeymoon. lol), cleaning, and errands I did not end up running at all and was not happy about it. I did get a lot sleep, though, which helped because during the week I was averaging 5 hours a night.

WEEKLY TOTAL: 10 miles

My takeaways: My mileage totals were low and the old me would have been really upset/disappointed. I was running at least 50 miles per week in college, so this low mileage is a huge change for me…but I’m just happy to be done with physical therapy, out of my 2016 workout funk, and back to running! With time I will be able to better balance work and running and to eventually bring my mileage totals back up.

I’m getting right back on track this week and not sweating the small stuff! I started off the week strong- I had one rest day and one three miler on my schedule. I ran 4 yesterday and knew I was staying late at work today so I rested. It worked out nicely!

Tomorrow I plan to run 3-4 miles at a moderate to easy pace. What do you have planned for tomorrow’s workouts? How do you handle a bad week or two of training? 

 

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What time of day do you run?!

If I were to pick any time of day to run, I would run during the afternoon.🌞 Hands down! Afternoon runs remind me of my high school and college running days…just as the day was getting long, I would have scheduled break around 3-330 pm to look forward to. 🙂 Gosh I miss those days! Before afternoon practice, I was well fueled from breakfast and lunch, and then the run would rev my appetite for dinner. Also, the afternoon practices (unless they were really strenuous) would give me a second burst of energy without another cup of coffee.  After an afternoon practice, I felt ready to tackle my long list of homework, assignments, study sessions, work etc.

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Nowadays I do not have the flexibility of afternoon runs except on the occasional weekend day (like above). 🙁 I work full time and commute one hour each way.  I’d give anything to leave my desk for an hour in the middle of the day for an afternoon run. :/  I honestly think I’d return to work much more productive after an afternoon run.

So, what have I been doing lately? Well….I’ve been running in the evening/at night. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter and the time I leave work is not always predicable- it depends on the day’s projects.  I don’t run in the mornings as often, because of my commute time and I like to ease into the work day with a hearty breakfast. I’m not the kind of girl who can just dash out the door after a workout and quick shower with a granola bar. Your girl here needs to EAT! If I don’t eat eat a good breakfast I feel terrible at work, honestly. Team breakfast all the way! 🍓🍳🥞

Anyway, I’m starting to worry about my options for when to run as the days get shorter. It’s almost that time of year when it is dark when I wake up and when I leave work for the night. Not running is not an option on most days…I tried that lifestyle for a lot of 2016 by choice and part of 2014/2015 due to injury and it was not for me…Plus, I am training for a half marathon in November.💪🏻🏃🏼‍♀️

All I know, is that I am happiest and healthiest (physically and mentally), when I am running and sharing my passion for it with others.  Running and nerding out about running is what makes me, me! I even met my now husband through running in high school, but that is a tale for another day. 😛

When do all of you run?! I only have myself to worry about, but I know some of you out there have families, work full time, AND run! How do you do it? When do you run? What time of day would you run if you could at any time? Comment 👇🏻

Half Marathon Training Week #3: Monday August 28th- Sunday September 3rd.

Good evening friends! I hope you all had a great, long Labor Day weekend full of food, family, and friends! I can’t believe how fast this weekend flew by. 😱

My husband and I stayed busy the whole weekend, so that’s why it went quickly! On Saturday, his high school students had a cross country meet, Saturday night we went out for dinner, Sunday we drove to Wisconsin to visit my sister-in-law, and today we drove back, cleaned, and got groceries. I fit in as many runs as I could this week and weekend, but it could have been better. I’m still working on getting more sleep. :/ I’m pledging to make week #4 better for sleep and training!

Sometimes, though, all you need is an extra rest day, vegetarian treats, an impromptu road trip, wine, and some sangria to recharge after a rough week. 😉 Life isn’t all about following your training plan to a “T” and eating healthy- life is about balance! This weekend I decided to indulge a bit and go with the flow and it was 100% worth it! 🙂

Monday August 28th: REST DAY.

Tuesday August 29th: Started the morning with this delicious breakfast before work. It is old fashioned oats topped with berries, cinnamon, and Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla Cereal.

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Then after work, I ran 2 miles at 6:53 pace. I got home from work late and ran at night, so that’s why this run was short. I followed my run with some light stretching.

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Wednesday August 30th: REST DAY

Thursday August 31st: Ran 4.3 miles after work at 7:38 pace as the sun was setting. It was extremely windy, but it felt good to get out there. The beautiful city and lake views were an added bonus!

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Friday September 1st: REST DAY. This was an unplanned rest day, but was very wiped out from my lack of sleep over the entire week. My husband encouraged me to take the extra rest day. Plus, I knew I was getting up at 6 am on Saturday for the cross country meet. I learned this week that I do not function well on 5-6 hours of sleep per night. 😂 I have no idea how I functioned on so little sleep most of college! This girl does best on 7 or more hours of sleep. 😛

Saturday September 2nd: 4-5 miles throughout the day/in between high school cross country races. It was so fun to be on the other side of a cross country meet. I definitely felt nostalgic for high school and college cross country meets on Saturday. I can’t wait to help out at more meets and see my husband’s team grow this season! 🙂

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The meet was pretty long and we did not get home until almost 4 pm. :/ My husband and I were wiped out, so we got some chai lattes and rested. It was nice! Then we went out for salad, veggie pizza, and red wine at Calo Ristorante. That is the classic combo if you know my husband and I! We love going out for pizza- I’d saying we go out for pizza once a month! It is Chicago, after all, and there are so many tasty options. Maybe one day I’ll list and review all the pizza places we’ve been to! Today is not the day for that, though. 😛

Sunday September 3rd: REST/CROSS TRAIN DAY. My husband and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my sister- in-law. She took us to an awesome taco place- BelAir Cantina Madison. My sister-in-law and I got the roasted veggie and kale tacos. I also got white peach sangria! 😛 My husband got the veggurito bowl and a margarita.

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I highly recommend BelAir if you ever find yourself in Wisconsin (they have locations in Milwaukee and Madison). It is an excellent option for vegan/vegetarian tacos! 

That’s it for my half-marathon training week #3 recap. I hope you all have a good night! 🙂

What was your favorite thing you did over the weekend/ Labor Day (if you live in the United States)?! My favorite part of the weekend was eating those roasted veggie and kale tacos (pictured above).

Half Marathon Training Week #2 (12 weeks until the race!): Monday August 21st- Sunday August 27th.

Good evening! I hope all of you had a fantastic weekend full of fun, exercise, food, and time to relax! 🙂 My weekend was pretty low key, but it was just what I needed.

The week of training didn’t not go quite as expected, but I will just roll with it. My mileage was pretty low, but it’s better for me to ease into training with my history of injury. Plus, until these last two weeks I was not running much. My goal is to run 20 miles per week next week and continue to bring down my running pace. Slow, but steady wins the race for this previously injured girl! I have some time goals for my half marathon (1:30), but when all is said and done I just want to toe the line healthy. 🙂 So, now let’s recap this last week of training with some random pictures and thoughts from the week for good measure. 😛

Monday August 21st: REST DAY. My coworkers and I watched solar eclipse in the middle of the work day, so that was cool. It was definitely weird wearing solar eclipse glasses over my regular glasses, but I had to protect my eyes! See below for a cool picture my dad took of the eclipse. I didn’t try to take any pictures because we didn’t get the best views of the eclipse in the city.

Tuesday August 22nd: REST DAY

Wednesday August 23rd: 3 miles at 7:35 pace after work. Felt strong, despite the lack of sleep early in the week. I got an amazing view of the sunset on this run too. 🌞

 

After the run, my amazing husband made us chickpea stir fry and it was delicious. It’s one of our staples during the work week, so maybe I will share the recipe here one of these days.

Thursday August 24th: REST DAY

Friday August 25th: 3 miles at 7:52 pace after work. I felt really sluggish on this run. The lack of sleep during the work week probably caught up to me. I definately need to prioritize sleep as my training ramps up. Im not doing the greatest with this, as it’s already past midnight as I write this post. 😛

 

Saturday August 26th: Hips of death circuit” for hip/glute/ core strength. This is a circuit my husband does with his high school cross country/track athletes. I’d share it here, but it’s hard to explain all the moves in writing. It’s a lot of body weight moves, so it’s nice when I don’t feel like going to the gym or have access to a gym. Each week I aim to do AT LEAST one day of glute/hip/core strength due to my injury history.

I also enjoyed this delicious bowl of berry, cinnamon, and raw hemp seed oatmeal prior to my workout.

Sunday August 27th: Solid 5 mile run at 7:34 pace with my husband. He was definitely thrilled to take the photo of me running below. 😂 After the run, I did some stretching, but I need to be much better about stretching this week.

 I hope you all have a good night! Also, if any of you are on Instagram I just got an one for this blog! My handle is @blackbeanqueen. Follow me if you want you midweek training updates or to see random food pictures! 😜

How was your weekend? What are your exercise and running goals for next week?

Half Marathon Training Week #1 (13 weeks until the race!): Monday August 14th- Sunday August 20th.

Good evening friends! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! My husband I are staying up late doing laundry and he’s finishing up his lesson plans for the week, so I thought I’d blog:) My half marathon training does not offically start until tomorrow, but I wanted to start my weekly workouts feature for fun and to hold myself accountable.

I’ve only run about ten times in 2017 and one of them was a 5k race that I ran without training…I have a history of not properly training for post college races. I did a half marathon in summer 2014 where I started training one month ahead of time. I only ran 3 days per week and my longest run was 8 miles. I think I was burned out from college and college running- I shouldn’t have signed up for the race in the first place. Anyway, I ended the race with yet another IT band injury and was unable to properly run without issues until I went through intense physical therapy in spring 2015. You can read more about my injury history here.

I will not allow myself to put anymore meaningless things before my favorite hobby or to run anymore races without training. I am officially committed to training properly for this half marathon! I am following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan plus 2 days a week of strengthening exercises to protect/strengthen my hips/glutes/IT band. Despite my experience as a D-1 XC/track athlete, this is a good choice for me because I have not really been running this year and I have a history of injury, so I want to play it safe. Here’s the link to the training plan I’m using. My ultimate time goal for this half is under 1 hour and 30 min, but my realistic goal is 1 hour and 35 min.

So without further ado, here are my weekly workouts for my half marathon training. As a note, this was not the best week for me personally or training wise. My grandfather broke his hip 2 weeks ago and then unexpectedly passed away on Monday. 🙁 I found myself unmotivated and sad early in the week, but then I found solace in running later in the week. Here’s a picture of my grandpa and I dancing at my wedding last month. Sorry for the low quality picture. Regardless, I am fortunate for this happy memory with him!

Monday August 14th: REST

Tuesday August 15th:
REST

Wednesday August 16th:
REST

Thursday August 17th:
3 miles at 7:53 pace (according to my Garmin) followed by stretching and hip strength exercises (see examples of what I do under Saturday’s training)

Friday August 18th: A late 2 miles after work at 7:51 pace

Saturday August 19th: hip and glute strength exercises at the gym:

-band walks (side to side and forward/backward): 3x 20 reps each side
-walking lunges: 2x 20 reps each leg
-squats with the large resistance band: 2×20 reps
-foam block balancing and raises: 3×10 reps each leg
-tipping bird: 3×10 reps each side
-clamshells with resistance band: 3×10 reps each side
-bridges with resistance band and 2 second hold: 2×10 reps
-leg raises with resistance band: 2×10 reps each side
-foam rolling and stretching: 10 minutes

Sunday August 20th: REST

Today’s questions: How was your week of training? What races are you training for? Do you use a training plan when you sign up for a race?

It is NEVER too late to begin (blogging) again

Wow…Where to begin?! It’s been over two years since I update this blog! 😱You were all starting to think I forgot about it, right? Wrong! Don’t worry, some things have not changed! I am still a vegetarian who loves running, black beans, and healthy food! 😛 It has been an eventful and busy two years to say the least, but blogging has been on my mind the whole time. It was just a matter of actually coming back here to blog in the midst of the good, the bad, the busy, and the unexpected. Words can’t adequately describe the way I felt over the last two years, but I will try…

 I am nervous about doing this, but I decided to get personal with all of you today.😬

To put it briefly: I am not proud of how I took care of myself the last two years. I feel like I switched from a glass half full to a glass empty kind of girl in a matter of months. I was not running or working out very often (and if you knew me a few years ago, running was my life!). Furthermore, I was not eating enough or very healthy some of the time. Instead of living in the moment, I was focused on the future and what might or might not happen. I was not doing things I enjoyed as often (i.e. this blog, cooking, running) and I was using every spare moment to write lesson plans, apply for jobs, think about the future, or to feel sorry for myself. By the end up summer 2016 I would wake up in a negative mood more days than a positive one. I just was not myself…It was a gradual change from spring to summer 2016 and some of it was because of the things that happened, but more of it was because of HOW I reacted to what happened.

When I was feeling low, I would compare myself to others and feel crummy when someone else reached a milestone I wish I had reached. Comparison is such a waste of time! Imagine what would happen if we all built each other up and celebrated each other, instead of comparing and competing?

Anyway, reflecting back on the last two years, MORE positive things happened than negative ones:

1. I student taught honors science classes at an amazing high school in spring 2016.

2. I earned my Master’s degree and won an award for being a promising new science teacher in spring 2016.

3. I applied to more teaching jobs than I can recall and even scored some interviews.

4. I did NOT get a teaching job.

5. My boyfriend (now husband) got an amazing teaching & coaching job in summer 2016.

6. I got engaged at the Chicago marathon in fall 2016. My then boyfriend ran and I volunteered/watched. I can share our story in the future if there is interest. We met in high school through running so it’s a cool story (at least I think so 😂). 

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7. I got a full time job in winter 2016/2017. It is unrelated to teaching, but I love it.

8. I planned my wedding.

9. I got married and went on my honeymoon in July 2017.

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10. I decided to prioritize my overall health again in August 2017

Notice that the only negative is #4, but at the time it was a HUGE deal for me…I have always prided myself on working really hard and achieving the things I worked for. This was one of the first times in my life that my hard work did not result in the desired outcome. I was confused because I did well in my classes, did well in student teaching, and won an award for being a promising new teacher at my graduation, but then I did not get a teaching job. I felt like a huge failure. 🙁 I felt like I wasted my money, my education, and my time. I was also worried that I let my professors, my family, and my friends down. It is hard to convey exactly how I felt back then, but I hope this clarifies things a bit. Luckily, I am in a much better place today! 🙂

So, why am I even blogging again? Well, it is because of number 10 on the list. How will I make number 10 a reality? The first step is to workout/run 5-7 days per week because I signed up for half marathon with my husband in November! 🙂 The second step is to eat balanced meals everyday to be healthy and have training fuel. The third step onward are yet to come…stay tuned.

Takeaways over the last two years:

Just because life gets in the way does not mean we should neglect to take care of ourselves. We cannot be the best version of ourselves in our relationships, in the work place, or in our hobbies if we do not treat ourselves with love and respect. The best thing we can do, is to do things that make us happy. 🙂 Remember, things are never as bad as them seem!


So, please join me on this blogging journey (take 2) as I navigate “adulting” as a twenty-something newlywed while making health, happiness, and hobbies a priority.

Today’s questions: How did you/do you deal when your life goes in an unexpected direction? If you are a runner are you training for any fall races?

Tasty Tuesday #7: Tempeh and Black Bean Taco Bowls

Good morning! I hope all of you are having a wonderful morning and a great week. 🙂 It’s hot here in the windy city, so I got my run in early this morning. I am so happy I did, even though I have the day off work, because holy cow it’s getting humid! I had another good run this morning of 3 miles at 7:35 pace.  🙂 I have a ways to go before getting to where I was before my injury, but I am starting to feel more like my old self. I still have to build up my mileage slowly and continue my PT exercises, but at least my run pace is starting to come down as I get back into shape!

Now, for the real reason I am here…Tasty Tuesday! This week’s Tasty Tuesday is a taco recipe because I am a little too excited about Taco Tuesday! I know, I know I already shared a taco recipe with all of you last week….BUT tacos are so tasty and this recipe is different! I love both recipes, but these tacos are a little more filling than the black bean and quinoa ones from last week. Plus, I absolutely love meals in a bowl and anything that is made with black beans, if you guys could not tell. 😛 These tempeh and black bean taco bowls are tasty, filling, full of protein, healthy, and last, but not least they are vegan. Bonus points for how quick they are to make! So do yourself a favor and make tacos tonight! I do have to confess that I made these last night…I could not wait for taco Tuesday! haha. I really want to make them again tonight because they are so delicious…. Without further ado here is the recipe! 🙂

Tempeh and Black Bean Taco Bowls

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Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 packet taco seasoning (I used mild, but if you like things spicy I’d use medium or hot) 

1 cup rice of your choice (I used Jasmine rice)

1 package of tempeh (I used Lightlife original)

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

1 cup of frozen peppers

canola oil (as needed)

Optional: red pepper flakes, salsa, pico de gallo, tortilla chips

1. Prepare the rice according to the directions on the package.

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2. Mix the packet of taco seasoning with water, according to the package directions. Set aside.

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3. Cut the tempeh into bite sized pieces.

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4. Let the tempeh marinate in the taco seasoning mixture for 5-10 minutes.

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5. Sauté the tempeh in canola oil and spoon some of the taco seasoning mixture into the frying pan for added flavor. Fry until the tempeh starts to brown ( ~ 10 minutes).

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6.  In the meantime, sauté the peppers in canola oil. Add the drained and rinsed black beans once the peppers are almost fully cooked (~10 minutes.). Optional: for more flavor add some of the taco seasoning mixture to the pepper and black beans too.

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7. Once everything is fully cooked, serve! Spoon the rice into bowls, add the tempeh, black bean/ pepper mixture, and any desired toppings (salsa,red pepper flakes, pico de gallo, etc). Mix it all together! If bowls aren’t your thing, serve in a warm tortilla! YUM!! 🙂

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I hope all of you have a great day and more importantly, a happy Taco Tuesday (am I the only one who thinks of the Lego movie?)!

Today’s question: Any fun plans this week or weekend? I’m going to Lollapalooza this weekend and I cannot wait! 🙂

Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Good afternoon and happy Sunday friends! I hope all of you had lovely weeks filled with fun, time in the sunshine, and some exercise.  I know I did!  Exercise-wise this week was a bit of roller coaster. It started out rough with a crappy four mile run, then a good run, then an okay run, then a wonderful bike ride, and finally best run I’ve had post injury. I think I am being too hard on myself with my runs. I was injured for 5 months, have only been allowed to run/walk or run for a month, and I just finished Physical Therapy a week ago, so of course I am going to be slow and feel out of shape. Sometimes, during a run, I forgot those things and wonder why 7:50 min/mile feels so hard, why my form feels off, and why four miles feels so far. I need to remember that patience and going slow (in terms of pace, miles per week, and number of runs per week) is important to prevent an injury relapse or a different injury.

Getting back into shape is going to take time and preventing an IT band injury relapse is going to  take dedication to my post- physical therapy strength exercises and to a slow return to running. I am up for this challenge! I need to remember that I am LUCKY to be running now. In March I would have given ANYTHING to be where I am today. I may not get back into shape, run my usual pace, find my running rhythm, or be able to race for a while. But I know I will eventually. I always do. Running is not always about the destination, sometimes it’s about the journey. I need to embrace my own  journey of getting back into shape and to be proud of how far I’ve come. 🙂 I will be back to my old, running self in no time if I am patient and grateful.

Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Monday July 20th: Rest day.

Tuesday July 21st: Warm up: clams, band walks (side steps and forward), and 5 minutes walking. 4 mile run at 8:04 min/ mile. It was a hot day and my legs felt heavy and I felt lethargic. Not a good run. 🙁 Cool down: walking, stretches with the stretch out strap, foam rolling, and 3X30 sec planks (front, right side, and left side).

Wednesday July 22nd: Warm up: same as Tuesday. 3 mile run at 8:14 min/mile. Felt pretty good on this evening run after work, even though it was slow. :/ Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and 2X 1 min front planks.

Thursday July 23rd: Rest day.

Friday July 24th: Warm up: The usual PT exercises plus walking. 3 mile run at 7:56 min/mile. Even though it was very hot and humid on this run I felt pretty good! Cool down: Walking, stretches, and foam rolling.

Saturday July 25th: 16 mile bike ride. I paced my boyfriend on the bike and carried water for him on his long run.  This was hands down my favorite workout of the week! It was a beautiful day and got to see some parts of the Lakeshore Trail I had not seen before. I of snapped a few pictures of my lovely views (see below). I am inspired by my boyfriend’s dedication as he trains for the Chicago Marathon this fall. He is also fast, but probably doesn’t want me to brag here. 😉 I am one proud girlfriend and am glad we both love to run and stay active together! 🙂

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Sunday July 26th (today): Warm up: the usual. 3 mile run at 7:37 min/mile. I am finally running a bit faster and feeling closer to my old self. 🙂 This was a good run and it felt effortless! Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and planks (3×1 min. front planks and 3x 30 sec. right and left side planks)

Totals: 13 miles running + 16 miles biking

I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday! I am looking forward to some time to relax and read before the work week starts again tomorrow.

What books are you currently reading this summer and recommend? I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and I highly recommend it! I loved it because it was unpredictable! Today, I  just started Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and hope it’s as interesting as Dark Places. I can tell it will be a quick read though, so I’d love some recommendations!

Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bowls

Good evening friends! Here in the windy city, the weather is dreadful. :/ I even got poured on my way home from work. 🙁 I hope all of you are experiencing better weather, though! I thought sharing a new recipe would be just the the thing to brighten up this dreary evening. It is a black bean recipe (of course)! With a blog called Black Bean Queen, I really have not been living up to my name. 😛 This recipe makes up for my lack of black bean recipe posts, I promise!

Last night after work was one of those nights where my boyfriend and I were lazy, indecisive, and hungry.  I asked my boyfriend: “What do you want to make for dinner?”  He said: “I don’t know, what do you want to make?” Then I said “I asked you first…” Then he said “Maybe we should go out to eat”. Me: “No, we have plenty of food here and we need to save our money…” I could not take our indecisiveness any longer. I’m sure we are not the only ones!! After along day of work or class,  I often wish I could snap my fingers and have a tasty and nourishing meal appear. Last night, I took that as a challenge to make something new, fast, and simple.

I had a serious taco craving last night, so I looked around the apartment for random taco-like ingredients. This recipe is a random assortment of ingredients that, luckily, came together really nicely. These black bean and quinoa taco bowls are quick to make, simple, nourishing, and delicious. Honestly, they were the bomb.com!  My boyfriend LOVED them! He even said to me “I think these might become a regular in our meal rotation now!” I hope all of you like them too! 🙂

Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bowls

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Yield: 2-3 servings (2 if you live with a very hungry runner  or 2 😉 )

Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa & 2 cups of water

~1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 cup frozen peppers

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 packet of taco seasoning ( I used mild)

Optional: red pepper flakes and salsa

1. Measure and rinse the quinoa with a mesh sieve. Do not skip the rinsing step as quinoa is coated in a bitter substance called saponin.

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2. Bring the rinsed quinoa to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until all the water is absorbed and white rings are visible within the quinoa, this will be approximately 15-20 minutes.

3. Put ~1 Tablespoon of canola oil into a separate saucepan and start sautéing the frozen peppers. Once the peppers are nearly cooked, add the canned of black beans and cook for another three or so minutes.

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4. Prepare the taco seasoning  as indicated on the packet (usually you just add some water and mix). Add 0.5- 1 whole packet of taco seasoning to the quinoa, once all the water has been absorbed. (I only added half of the taco packet). Let simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

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5. Serve and Eat!

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My boyfriend added red pepper flakes to his to make them spicier (I am a wimp and only like mild taco seasoning :P). I topped my bowl with salsa and it was amazing!

I am sure they would be wonderful in a whole wheat tortilla or eaten as a “dip” with tortilla chips acting as scoops. The toppings and ways to eat these bowls are endless! 🙂

Have a wonderful evening friends! Fingers crossed that tomorrow is my very last Physical Therapy appointment, so I can say I am officially over my injury!

What is your favorite quick, healthy, and easy weeknight dinner lately? I’d have to say ginger and soy tofu stir fry is my favorite, but these black bean and quinoa taco bowls may be serious contenders! 🙂

Weekly Workouts #1: July 6th-July 12th, 2015

Good morning! I have the day off of work and should be working on my finals for my summer class…So naturally, I decided to procrastinate and blog instead. 😛

Anyway, now that I am FINALLY healthy and running again, I thought I would do my first ever weekly workouts post. Even though I am running slower and much less than in the past, I am just happy to be running. Period. I am not training for anything particular since I am just finishing up my injury rehabilitation. I’ve only been running for a couple weeks, after a five month injury and I still have to take several rest/non-running days a week. I know I need to be patient. I thought weekly workout posts would be a fun way to document my progress and connect with other runners, though!

I think documenting your workouts is a great practice. You can see where you may have gone wrong in your training and also relive your favorite races and moments. I bought the Believe training journal by pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettingan-Dumas back in January for the purpose of documenting my runs. Now that I am running three+ days per week, I can finally use it.

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(I was one of the lucky few who got a journal autographed by Lauren Fleshman. 🙂 )

I love this training journal because you can set weekly goals (THIS WEEK’S FOCUS) and each week has a new aspect of your training to comment and focus on. I also like that it does Monday-Sunday as a running “week”. That’s what we did in college too.  I aim to document my workouts/runs both in the training journal and here. 🙂

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(I have TERRIBLE handwriting. I feel bad for my future students…Thankfully, there are SMART boards and PowerPoints for those of us who are blessed wonderful handwriting. 😉 )

Without further ado, here are last week’s workouts and runs for Weekly Workouts #1!

Weekly Workouts #1: July 6-July 12, 2015

Monday July 6th: Rest day.

Tuesday July 7th: Warm up: PT exercises (band walks and clams) and five minutes of walking. 3.65 miles. Felt some tightness in my glutes and not the best run. Cool down: walking, stretches with the Stretch out Strap, and foam rolling.

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Wednesday July 8th: Rest day.

Thursday July 9th: Warm: up with PT exercises (band walks and clams) and five minutes of walking. 3 miles. I felt much better on this run than Tuesday. Cool down: walking, stretches, and foam rolling.

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Friday July 10th: Physical Therapy appointment. MY PT said next week should be my last appointment. I will probably be doing glute and core exercises for life though, haha.

Saturday July 11th: 14 mile bike ride at an easy pace. My boyfriend is training for the Chicago marathon, so I biked to pace him and keep him company. 🙂

Sunday July 12th: Warm up: PT exercises and walking. It was hot out, but I felt pretty good on this run. 3 miles. I’m slowly feeling like my old self again. Cool down: walking, stretches, and foam rolling.

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Totals: 9.65 miles + 14 miles of biking

I have a lovely 3-4 miler planned for today. First, I should probably work on my summer class finals, since they are due Friday. 😛 Have a wonderful morning everyone! 🙂

Do any of you use a running journal or app to track your workouts? If so, what do you use? What kind of workouts do you have planned for today?