Current Workouts, Half Marathon, and Say Your Name

After getting back from Atlanta, I started putting a bit more effort into my workouts. As I’ve mentioned several times, I kind of fell off the wagon for a bit…BUT I’m back! And this is where my type A personality and love for structure come in handy!

When I got home from work last Monday, I printed out monthly calendars for October 2014-January 2015. I also printed out Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon training plan. And then I got to work.

Half marathon plan
After double and triple checking my ability to count back 12 weeks from January 25, I put a star next to October 27. Eek – the day my training begins! That brings me to my current workouts.

Current workouts

In my mind, October 6-27 equals a pre-half-marathon warm up period. This is my time to prep my body for what’s to come. I honestly hadn’t been running as much as I wanted over the past month, so during these three weeks, my plan is to ease my way back into regular runs and strength training workouts. So far so good.

Here’s what last week looked like:
Monday – 3.25 mile run
Tuesday – Full-body strength workout + 20 minute incline walk
Wednesday – REST!
Thursday – 3.25 mile run
Friday – Full-body strength workout + elliptical/rowing machine
Saturday – 4.5 mile run

And here’s what I have planned for this week:
Sunday – 3.25 mile walk
Monday – Full-body strength workout + 20 minute incline walk
Tuesday – 3.25 mile run
Wednesday – Full-body strength workout + elliptical
Thursday – REST
Friday – Fitness Blender Barre workout
Saturday – 4.5 mile run

And I’m hoping week three looks similar.

I’ve been logging all my runs in the Map My Run app. When I first decided to run this half, I didn’t really care about my time. I just wanted to run the whole thing. But now a part of me wants to get a little faster. I’m averaging 10 minute miles right now. My goal is to bring that down to 9:30. We’ll see how that goes!

And as far as strength training is concerned, I’ve been searching the web to find new, fun, and short workouts (YouTube, DVDs, blogs, etc.). This one is my current favorite!

Half marathon training

Miami Half Marathon
As I mentioned, I’ll be following Hal Higdon’s training plan. I was really happy with how it prepared me for my previous two runs so why mess with a good thing!

I will, however, be making small tweaks this time around. The weekend long runs will stay as is, but how I structure the week will change. I definitely want to continue with my strength workouts and some form of cross-training. As of right now, I’m thinking no more than 2-3 runs during the week.

Say Your Name

And finally, my mom shared an NPR article with me last week titled “Why Saying is Believing – The Science of Self-Talk.” The article addresses some really interesting research on how self-talk and the words we use impact how we see ourselves.

Towards the end of the article, the researchers talk about how referring to yourself in the third person has a powerful effect on performance. It turns out that we’re a lot more supportive and kinder to ourselves when we say our name versus “I.”

I decided to put this finding into practice during my next run, which just so happened to be the 4.5 miler on Saturday. Around the two mile mark, I felt the urge to walk. So I said to myself, “Come on, Parita, you made the decision to run the entire time today. You can do it!” And then again, at the 3.5 mile mark I really felt like walking, but I didn’t. Instead, I said to myself, “Parita you are stronger than you believe. You can do this. Only one more mile to go!”

And guess what. I didn’t walk at all. I ran the entire 4.5 miles at a pretty decent pace. As crazy as it seems to refer to yourself in the third person, I see why it’s so powerful. When I did it during my run, it felt like someone else was cheering me on – a much nicer person who really believed in my capabilities.

I know it sounds a little kooky, but try it…perhaps during your next workout or before an important presentation/test/interview/meeting.

Do you have any races coming up?
Do you plan out your weekly workouts or do you prefer to go with the flow?

Fun, Productive, and a Little Lazy

The title of today’s post describes my weekend perfectly.  This was our first full weekend back in Miami together so I wanted to spend time with Vishnu, run some errands, and take it easy a little.  I’m happy to report that I was able to do just that!

Friday evening started with Presley’s Stability Ball Circuit three times through. I also went down to our gym with the elliptical on my mind.  After quickly realizing that the machine started over every time you changed directions, I jumped off and made my way to the rowing machine (for the first time in years).  I selected the 2000m workout and…ummm…it was hard.  I wanted to quit halfway through but pushed on.  I definitely paid the price all weekend.  Between rowing and the circuit workout, I was so sore!

After showering and getting ready, it was date night – dinner and a movie!

Ann Taylor Maxi
Before I go on, I have to mention my new Ann Taylor maxi dress.  Bottom line…I freaking love it.  I bought it online with a friend while in Austin after seeing one of the other girls wearing it.  Mine is petite and the perfect length (I’m a little over 5’2”).  The style and cut are super flattering, and the material is very soft and flowy.  LOVE!

Ok, so back to date night.  Vishnu and I went to LoKal Burgers and Beer for dinner.  My veggie burger and green bean and bruschetta side dish were both awesome.  And Vishnu really enjoyed his burger and fries.  We will definitely be back.

After dinner, we made our way over to the theater to see Gone Girl.  Both Vishnu and I really enjoyed it!  I read the book a while ago and was excited to hear that the movie followed the book almost to a tee.  Everything was spot on and just the way I imagined it – the acting, the setting, the suspense.  A must watch if you ask me!

The movie didn’t get out until 12:45 am, so of course that meant we started our Saturday a bit later than planned.  And by later I mean 11:00 am.  I was a little thrown off the rest of the day but still got a lot done.  I went to Target, the mall, and Costco, which ended up taking over three hours!  We needed quite a few things, so it was worth it.  I also fit in a 4.5 mile run before dinner (will be blogging about my current runs and half marathon plan soon).  And then Vishnu and I made pizza using crusts I bought at Costco.  The outcome was delicious!

Pizza night
Sautéed onions, mushrooms, and green bell pepper/jalapenos/barbecue sauce/mozzarella

Sunday started bright and early with a trip to Trader Joe’s!

Trader Joes
I surprised myself a little with how much stuff was in the cart.  But no one was more amused than my cashier.  As he was ringing me up, he asked if this was a restocking trip.  I said kind of and laughed a little.  He then asked if I had kids.  I said no and then he started laughing.  My response – “My husband and I love food and prefer to eat in!”  It’s the truth.

I spent the next couple of hours cleaning and organizing.  I know I sound crazy, but it was so much fun.  Our apartment was a little too messy, dusty, etc. for my taste.  I finally feel settled and back to normal!  And just as an FYI, I am still using a homemade vinegar based cleaning solution for pretty much everything (counter tops, the floor, wood cabinets, etc.).  This stuff is amazing.  I highly recommend trying it out.  Life changing.

The night ended on a high (and sweet) note with homemade molten chocolate cake!  I followed this recipe and made a few tweaks.  I changed the serving size to 2.  I also swapped 2 tablespoons raw cane sugar for powdered, whole wheat white flour for all purpose, Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips for bittersweet chocolate, and glass bowls for ramekins (because I don’t own any).  And finally, I only baked my cakes for 9 minutes (instead of 14).  Ooey gooey perfection!  The only thing that would have made this dessert better is ice cream…next time for sure!

Molten Chocolate Cake
And finally, I have one other weekend highlight to share.  I got a new hair straightener!  My almost seven year old CHI stopped working early last week, so I had no choice.  I did a little research and narrowed down my choices to the Sedu and the GHD.  I decided to go with the Sedu purely based on the fact that Roshni owns one and highly recommended it.  And the reviews were pretty much split between the two brands, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong either way.  And so far so good!  I used it last night for the first time and loved how quickly my hair went from coarse and wavy to straight and silky.  Even Vishnu was shocked…his exact words – “I don’t think your hair has ever been this straight!”

And with that, I wish y’all a very happy Monday!

Creamy Eggplant and Potato Shak (Recipe)

*Shak is a generic north Indian term for vegetables in spices.

While in Chicago, I learned a lesson in Indian cooking from my friends Roshni and Ankita.  Keep it simple!

You see, I have the tendency to overcomplicate my Indian food with too many vegetables, spices, etc.  But after watching them make delicious dishes using one or two vegetables and just a few spices, I quickly realized I was doing it all wrong.

And Vishnu agreed.  After eating Ankita’s cauliflower and potato shak one night, he looked at me and said, “See, you have to keep it simple.”

Well, that’s what I plan on doing from now on!

In fact, I made a dish last night that was simple enough to prepare but didn’t lack in the flavor department.  This potato and eggplant shak is creamy, comforting and perfect with a side of rice and yogurt.

I can’t take all the credit though.  When I mentioned my new “keep it simple” rule to my mom, she told me about a sauce she makes that pairs well with all kinds of veggies and beans.  I even got her to email me a loose “recipe!”

And that, my friends, is how this Creamy Potato and Eggplant Shak was born!

Eggplant and Potato Shak 206

Without further ado…

Creamy Potato and Eggplant Shak

For the sauce:
2 cups water
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small green chili, cut into several small pieces
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/3 cup raw whole almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala

Heat water in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add all of the ingredients to the water, except salt and garam masala.  Stir to combine.  When the mixture starts to boil, reduce to medium heat and allow to cook for 10 minutes.  Drain the mixture, reserving the water.  Place onion/tomato mixture in a blender and puree until combined into a thick paste.  Place saucepan over low heat and add olive oil.  Pour onion/tomato mixture back into the saucepan. Add salt and garam masala.  Mix everything together, cook for additional two minutes and set aside.

For the vegetables:
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium eggplant, diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add cumin seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes until they are deep brown and fragrant.  Add potatoes along with 2/3 cup reserved water [from sauce].  Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are almost cooked through but still firm to the touch.  Gently fold in eggplant.  Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes until eggplant is cooked through.  Add turmeric, salt, and red chili powder.  Mix well.  Cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the sauce to the vegetables along with 1/3 cup reserved water [from sauce].  Gently mix everything together, cover, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Add additional salt if needed.

Serve with naan/rice/quinoa and yogurt.

Happy Friday!