Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm like Percy Fucking Jackson

I take a ridiculous amount of water aerobics classes - 5 classes a week. Our old instructor had to leave the Y because her husband got a promotion which would have possibly made him her boss sometimes and that's against the rules. Our new early morning instructor is a young guy who has been a lifeguard for awhile. This morning he had us run suicides in the water. A suicide, for those unaware of this ridiculous activity, is to run as fast as you can to a certain point than run backwards back to your start point then back forward then backwards then forwards and backwards... On land I presume they're hard. In the water they're hard, but I liked them because they are hard. As much as I gripe and groan, one of the reasons my old water aerobics instructor was my favorite was because she pushed us.

Oh so the point of this whole post, this morning's water aerobics class was very complementary about my mad skillz in water aerobics. I use the largest "weights" (they're foam and so they want to float while I have to keep them underwater. I'm frequently the fastest at doing the different exercises back and forth across the pool. But on land... not so much. I know that the biggest part of that is my size. Fat floats and it is lighter to be in the water. So that's definitely something I'm having to overcome.

In place of one of my ridiculous number of water aerobics classes, I've picked up a turkey trot training class. For the next 8 weeks I will be training with a group and a real instructor on better running techniques. I'm hopeful this will really help me get where I want to be.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Asphalt Block

One thing I'm having a hard time with regarding all this running junk is running on asphalt or sidewalks. This seems odd, no? I've been doing long runs every Sunday and that's on asphalt. Except I start out running and then walk the whole rest of the time. I don't do well on the asphalt running/walking interchangeably. I can do it on the track or on the treadmill. I think it might be the how much harder the asphalt and sidewalk is compared to the treadmills or tracks. I'm going to try to get up early on Tuesday mornings to practice running on the road. I really hate the road.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pintester Movement- gluten-free chocolate brioche

For my latest post as part of the Pintester movement I'm making Gluten-Free Chocolate brioche found on The Culinary Life. I do not recall ever having gluten-full brioche let alone chocolate brioche but the picture looked delicious. Had I read the full recipe before I started I probably wouldn't have done it but, that makes it even better, right? (Good thing I had nothing else to do this Sunday afternoon)

For this test I decided to make gluten-free chocolate brioche. It just sounded delicious. It also requires about a million ingredients, many of which are expensive (xanthan gum is $14 for that little package). Oh and it also required oil which I didn't photograph and didn't need sugar which I did.
I sifted together the dry ingredients. This is a testament to my commitment to this project. I NEVER sift together dry ingredients. I did have a bit of a xanthan gum explosion which ended up getting it all over the place. Xanthan gum, when wet, is slimy. Seriously slimy. Kind of grossly slimy.  
Next added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. I really love my stand mixer.
Go mixer go!

Then it had to rest for 2 hours. This project took a lot of resting. Please try to not notice my khaki capri clad legs reflecting in the bowl. That made me giggle just now.
Next up - chopping chocolate. Yum chocolate. I love chocolate. That's the whole reason I wanted to do this. Chocolate. (I do have 5 toes even though this picture makes it look like I only have 4).
Using a new bigass kitchen knife I cut up the chocolate to put inside the buns. mmm... chocolate.
I had to buy a new bigass kitchen knife because one of my other ones broke. The blade flew out of the handle while I was using it.  
This is the rested dough. It is SUPER sticky. I thought I put down enough corn starch. I didn't. At least not in the center. I had too much in the edges. It seemed a difficult balance. But seriously it takes a lot of corn starch. Oh and here's where I remembered that the texture of corn starch freaks me out. Something about it. It's just so... weird. This part was difficult for me.
Rolling out the dough with my rolling pin coated in more cornstarch. This is nothing if not a seriously messy project.
You sprinkle the chocolate onto the rolled dough and then roll it into a log. Theoretically this is tightly done but it was seriously sticking to the counter so it probably isn't as tight as it could/should be.  
Once you cut the roll into 6 pieces you roll them into balls and put on the parchment and let them rest again for 45 minutes. This project took the whole afternoon. It is hardcore. Also I'm concerned about the quantity of cornstarch still all over the rolls. Plus they are HUGE. Seriously huge.  
Here's the finished product. I cut one open and ate it. It was DELICIOUS. Seriously. Delicious. I have no idea what gluten-full brioche tastes like but these are very good. Almost worth the 4 hours it took me to make SIX of these. (Wow that's not a good effort to result ratio is it?)  

Friday, September 20, 2013

There's no Crying in Running (Well maybe there will be)

I just finished the book The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women. In it the author describes her training . It is a fairly hysterical read. One thing that has made me a little ... nervous maybe... is how she describes crying while actually running her marathon. Now I am not doing a marathon. I'm only doing a half marathon so maybe I won't cry - at least not about the running itself. Since I am a big marshmallow I'm pretty sure there will be some tearing up. Here's where I expect to tear up a little (or a lot)

1. When I see people cheering. I know they won't necessarily be cheering for me specifically but I know that when I cheered for people while watching them do their marathons they were all total strangers. The people out there cheering us on will make me tear up. I'm a sap like that.

2. When I finish the run. I'm not sure I will cry then but it won't surprise me if I do. See above about being a marshmallow.

3. If I don't finish the run. If I get picked up by the damn golf cart of shame I will cry. I may be inconsolable. I'm actually working fairly hard to train for this. If I can't do it, this will represent a HUGE fail for me and I'm not sure how I'm going to react to that.

4. If any music plays at just the right time. When I first started training my calves were killing me while I was running. During one of these bouts Carry On by F.U.N came up on my iPod. So because I'm a weirdo when the line "but my legs are fine, after all they are mine" came on... I totally teared up. And then the lyrics move on to "We are, we are like shining stars, we are invincible..." Seriously. F.U.N can't be on my running on the big day playlist.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mayor of Excusesville

After I ran my first 5k I felt like my left knee was less than happy with me. It's been bothersome enough that I bought a knee brace. It's also been bothersome enough that I didn't run last Sunday. I felt like I wanted to let it rest or heal or whatever it needed to do. I have kept up my short runs. Yesterday I didn't run. I woke up in the middle of the night with stomach issues and decided that running was not going to be the correct answer. That instinct was correct. Although by mid-afternoon my stomach had settled down and I could have run except it is TexAss and I wasn't going to run in the middle of the day here. So I thought this morning I would go before work. Except I woke up at 3:00 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. So no running today either. Tomorrow I'm back on the exercise wagon although tomorrow is water aerobics in the evening and I don't know what in the morning (maybe nothing).

I am a lazy exerciser. I go to classes because I know left to my own devices I tend to not work out as hard as I should/could. I feel concerned that I'm not pushing myself as hard as I could/should. And this knee trouble provides me with plenty of excuses to keep easing off.  On the flip side I have managed to improve my single mile time. I'm down to 18:11 for a mile. So I am pleased with myself for that. (That seems like a contradiction - I'm pleased with my mile time but don't feel I'm working hard enough. It isn't. I am pleased with my single mile time right now but this isn't a single mile run and so far I can't move far enough past the single mile)

On another positive note, I went back to Zumba last week. I still like it and I feel like I was able to keep up with the pace of the exercise although not the actual steps because damn I can't dance.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

First 5k out of the way

I ran my first 5k on Monday. Running outside is very different than running inside. It's unreal how different it is. It's the same air. How can it be such a different experience? (I understand the treadmill vs regular ground running) 

On Friday I went to the gym in the morning like always. I've become a treadmill convert because I can control my pace and watch the time. For the first time ever I ran more than I walked in my 30 minutes. Unfortunately it was actually a slower pace than I usually run but the endurance is important. This isn't a sprint but a long run. Unfortunately this still means I have to improve by 6 minutes by February. I'm still very concerned about that. I have no doubt if given an unlimited amount of time I could walk the 13.1 miles (in one day). Because I know this, it is always in the back of my head that I have to meet a time requirement and I think that forces me to focus on the wrong thing. I need to focus on improving endurance and the actual running and the time will come. I'm just not that patient. Also with Open Enrollment coming at my job, my whole exercise schedule is going to get screwed up completely so there's that to look forward to. 

So back to my first 5k. My sister came out to run it with me. I was glad to see her. I don't think I run well when I'm with her, though. I think because her pace is so much faster than mine I try to go faster than I can/should and get winded too soon and then can't recover from it. Which is what happened on Monday. I think on my next one I'll go on my own and may not do a lot better but maybe walk a little less. As I said on FB, I walked probably 99% of the damn thing because any time I tried to start running I just couldn't breathe. It didn't help that it had been raining much of the night and was raining much of the morning. I think it stopped while we were on the course but now the air was hot and wet which is a breathing nightmare. I was not the very last person to come in on the 5k course. So there's that. Although we were one of the very last people to cross the starting line because I knew I would be slow and in the back of the pack. I did cross the finish line. I did run/walk a 5k. 

In order to try to facilitate my improved lungs, I'm going to be adding more exercise to my days. Currently I do water aerobics Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Wednesday and Friday mornings. I then do my 30 minute runs on Wednesday and Friday mornings too and my long runs on Sunday. I am going to try (emphasis on TRY) to get up early Tuesday and Thursday mornings and adding either lap swimming (crawl only no more breast stroke which I find easy) or this machine at the gym called the ARC trainer. My water aerobics instructor says this is a hard machine and will improve my lungs. It seems like a hybrid between an elliptical trainer and a stair climber maybe? I don't know but she says it is an ass kicking machine and is easier on my joints than true running (which I'm looking for). 

In December I'm going to try a 10k. I feel like in October/November I need to do one more 5k. I have to get used to doing this outside and under the running specific conditions. Plus I kind of want to do one of those color runs where you get doused with flung colored powder. :)