Saturday, February 28, 2009

I contributed to the Runners' Lounge Book Project - how about you?

Hey guys! Just wanted to remind you all that today is the deadline for the Runners' Lounge Book Project. I've been meaning to contribute since I first saw the announcement but of course, I ended up waiting until the last minute to send in my article, "Ten Ways to Turn Your Lazy Bum into a Running Fool".

For your reference, the guidelines for article topics are as follows:

What would you advise them about what consistently predictably works for your running?


If you could tell them what you know now that you wished you known then about running, what would it be?

Those are pretty broad questions so you could really write about anything! You don't have to write that much, either, the word count is limited to 600 words (I actually ended up a little bit over - oops)

So come on and join the fun - you can find more info on the project here.

On a separate note, I'm glad you all enjoyed the brownie post. A lot of you called me a genius so I thought I should clarify that the instructions for single serving brownies are written on the box of the No Pudge brownie mix. My only contribution is the addition of the PB and whipped cream. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My yummy peanut butter brownie concoction

I don't really talk about "recipes" here (and I use the term "recipes" very loosely) but my cousin was so impressed with my favorite go-to dessert recently that I thought I'd share it with all of you as well.

My disclaimer: I am not a cook. I am not a baker. I am very simple when it comes to the kitchen. I am quite content with a bowl of cereal, buttered toast, grilled cheese, etc. On the rare occasion that I do have people over for dinner, I usually serve them sloppy joe's and mac & cheese (much to their excitement, btw, so I just keep dishing it out). I'd like to learn how to properly cook someday, I just don't have the patience right now.

So if you would like a quick and easy way to make peanut butter brownies without having to be tempted with 12-16 servings at once, read on... (and sorry my pics are not as aesthetically pleasing as those on KERF)

Here are all the ingredients - I *heart* Trader Joe's!

Take a small microwaveable bowl (Pyrex custard cups are perfect for this) and add the following:
  • 2 Tbsp of the fudge brownie mix
  • 1 Tbsp of yogurt

Then mix it so it's well blended:

Here's the tough part. Insert in the microwave (uncovered) and nuke it for 1 minute.

Ta-da! You've got a delicious, fudgy, warm brownie to enjoy! But me, I like to jazz it up a tiny bit more with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter. You can't really spread it since the brownie is still warm so I just sort of goop it all over the top (I actually put too much on this one).

And then top it all off with whipped cream:


Excuse me while I dig in! Yum, yum, especially when it's warm right out of the microwave oven.

So delicious and so easy. And it's not all that bad for you, either... I don't count calories but if you do, I estimated this to be just under 200 calories (if you use the same ingredients).

Also, if you don't have yogurt, you could mix with other items as well. I've used applesauce or Eggbeaters - those work as well but the yogurt will give you the best fudgy effect.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

Lots of random updates today...

I went running over the weekend - just a quick one.

3.0 mi
Avg pace: 10:37 min/mi
Avg hr: 169bpm

So unfortunately, I haven't made any race decisions yet... but I think I definitely want to shoot for the See Jane Run half since I haven't run that one yet.


Speaking of races... I have confirmed that the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge is 85% full, i.e. it is still open (hint, hint, Julianne and Joy!)


I got to interview a couple of bloggers - check out their responses: Holly on the Run and Meghanism. I have to say, I am now very intrigued by both trail running as well as Charlaine Harris novels.


Big THANKS to those that have been checking out my other blog, Pop Culture / Make-Up Addict. It's been so fun hearing your comments and it's definitely been motivating me to update that one more regularly. I recently hit my *400th post* mark over there this week.


Today is the beginning of Lent. I know I'm supposed to be giving up something but really I am using this time to re-focus on taking better care of myself. Nothing major, just little things like drinking more water, adding more fruits and vegetables (as in - any!) to my diet, exercising more, doing some basic strength training moves while watching TV at night, going to bed earlier, getting to work earlier ... I guess you could say I'm giving up being a slug.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Interview #2 by The Running Knitter

Because I know you just can't enough of me! :P I asked Eileen, aka The Running Knitter, to interview me awhile back. What can I say? I guess I love to be interviewed!

1. What do you like most about living in CA?

There are definitely a LOT of things I love about being a Californian but I think the #1 spot belongs to the weather. I spent the first 21 years of my life in the midwest where I had to deal with both extremes - hot and humid in the summer and brutally cold and icy in the winter. It can definitely get rough and miserable. I think it makes you appreciate things more because you know how bad it can be, not necessarily just with the weather but life in general. Just my personal opinion, of course!

Anyway, I digress - I love the weather in California because I can run and bike and do other fun outdoors stuff all year long. Plus my mood is easily impacted by weather and it's easy to be cheery over here.

2. What made you decide to go all out and sign up for the Goofy Challenge?

I'm easily influenced by my surroundings. Enthusiasm is contagious! When I ran my first half at Nike and saw all the full marathoners finish, my first thought was... I want to do that next year! Same thing with Disney. When I did the full in 2008, the Goofy runners were the rockstars! It looked like fun so I decided then that I would go for it myself. (But needed to take a year off first.) And I like the idea of just being able to finish the 39.3 miles in one weekend as being the chief goal. Who cares when I finish! Have fun and enjoy Disney and the characters on course :)

Also, the Goofy Challenge is one of the big, long-term goals for my running career. That's like an Audrey version of an ultra. The other ones are to run a sub-5:00 marathon and a sub-2:00 half. Those would be huge achievements for me!

3. If you could only pick one TV show as your favorite, which would it be and why?

AGH - these "pick one" questions are so hard! I will go with "The Office" b/c it's HILARIOUS while also being just so quirky and goofy and sometimes unbearably awkward. Plus I love that it's the kind of show that if you watch an episode again, you might notice one of the characters in the background doing something funny that you didn't see before.

4. Would you call yourself a solo runner, a group runner, or a little of both?

I would say a little bit of both. On one hand, I'm a solo runner because I like the flexibility of when I run, the pace, the location, etc. On the other hand, I definitely benefit from running with groups. Running with faster people makes me run faster! It's also much more fun and feels more like a social activity vs "exercise". Group runs are the reason I get up at ~6AM on Saturday and Sunday during Nike training season!

5. Is there a catchphrase that you would use to describe your personality and/or character?


Well, that's it! Thanks, Eileen - very fun questions!

To play along:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions


On a side note, I followed the lead of Maritza and Tara and entered the 2009 NYC marathon lottery this year. This will be year #2 for applying so if I don't get in this year or next, I am definitely in for 2011. (But I would really love to run it sooner!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I need a race

Although I am running again, I'm not really running all that consistently. Last week was just a bummer. I have all these "issues" going on at work that kept me there to 7-8PM every night last week. I was there until 8PM tonight as well. And after that, I just don't have the energy to go to the gym.

The other issue is that I don't have a race planned until July... I can't drag myself out of bed for something that's five months away! (Just keepin' it real, peeps - please don't hate me!)

So I need a race... something to motivate me. Here are some races I'm thinking about:
  • Emerald Across the Bay 12K - March 15th: I actually registered for this last year but skipped it because it was the same weekend as when I returned from a Japan business trip and I was too jet-lagged to get there in time. I do like the opportunity to run the Golden Gate bridge again and the distance is a reasonable goal for me.
  • See Jane Run Half Marathon - May 30th: I've never done this one and I do like all-girl events - girl power! Heehee.
The Santa Cruz Half Marathon (April 19th) could be fun but it's the same weekend as my friend's wedding (that I'm also in). I have some friends that want to do Bay to Breakers (May 17th) but that would be the fun/party version, not the running one (last year's run was enough for me).

If you guys have any thoughts on these or other races, let me know!

In other news, I got my hair trimmed again over the weekend. I think I'm supposed to go every 6 weeks but I usually hold out for 3 months or so which usually means I spend a month with floppy, no shape hair. Now I have my bangs and my "poof" again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Freakishly Flexible 5K

BRRRR.... I know it's not the midwest cold but this morning's run was pretty chilly for me. Mostly because I thought it would be OK to run in shorts and because it started raining on me at the end. So again... BRRRR...

But anyway, after lounging around all morning, I finally busted out for my FFFK. I pushed my pace again but maybe too much because I felt sick after the end. It was all good after I walked it out, though. I really wanted to finish in under 30 minutes so I was happy that I was able to accomplish that.

Avg pace: 9:33 min/mi
Avg hr: 175bpm

1: 9:30
2: 9:38
3: 9:40
0.1: 0:48 (8:13 pace)

Hope everyone else had a good run! I'm going to go warm up :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interviewed by Maritza & Single digit miles!

Have you been following the Interview game? I think it's so fun to learn more about each other. I wanted to play along so I asked Maritza to interview me....

5 Interview Questions from Maritza

1. If you had to get rid of all your make-up/beauty products except for one item, what would that item be and why?

Yikes! I think I would have to say eyeliner. A year ago I would have said foundation. But in the past year, I started wearing eyeliner everyday and now I feel I look really tired and dull if I don't have any on my eyes. Also, normally, I wear a creme or gel-based eyeliner with a brush but I'm assuming that counts as two items so if I had to pick one only, I would pick the MAC penultimate eye liner in rapidblack. Even a clutz like me can manage that one.

(On a side note, I'm still comfortable to be bare-faced for morning runs and what not. I'm always surprised by the number of women with full make-up on during the 8AM Nike training runs.)

2. Has running changed how you see yourself and why?

Absolutely! To borrow from Obama, running definitely reinforces the "Yes, I can!" attitude in me. I was one of those late bloomers when it came to running. I never really exercised until I was about 27 (isn't that sad?) which is when I first discovered I could run a mile straight. Sure it took me about 12 minutes or so (maybe longer) but I did it!

And with some hard work and careful planning, I ran that one mile and added 25.2 more! TWICE! I never thought I could be a marathoner but now I know anything is possible if you really believe in yourself.

3. Name the one website you couldn't live without.

Well, my Google reader of course! How else would I keep track of all my wonderful bloggers?

4. Tell me about your most perfect race experience and why it was everything you hoped for.

From a performance perspective, I think that would have to be the US Half Marathon in 2006. My very first half marathon was Nike in 2006 - it was hard but I loved it and I found myself crying at the end when I finished from both sheer exhaustion and happiness. I could not wait to do it again. So I decided to run the US Half two weeks later.

It was a similar course in terms of difficulty - started by Aquatic Park then went all the way across the Golden Gate bridge and back. The hills getting on and off the bridge were brutal. But I really wanted to push myself. Nike was like a test run and at the US Half, I wanted to really push my limits to see what I was capable of. I remember being just really pumped and on fire throughout the entire race and pushing myself the entire time - energy that I typically only have in the final stretch of races these days.

Sometimes I wish I could bottle up that "passion" and have it with me for all my race days. I ended up improving my Nike time by five whole minutes (just two weeks later!) for a finish time of 2:08:34. My PR is technically 2:08:13 from the SFM Half in 2007 but I always consider the US Half my real PR since it's only ~20 seconds different on a much harder course.

5. If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and what question would you HAVE to ask him/her?

Ooh... that's a hard one! OK, I could spend days thinking about this but since I don't have days, I will throw out a stupid answer which I think at least Maritza would appreciate. And that answer would be... Robert Pattinson. And it's not like I have the hots for him as a person (although I thoroughly enjoyed his performance as Edward Cullen *wink, wink*), I just honestly think he seems like a very funny and goofy (and sometimes slightly awkward!) kid. My question for him: "Would you dazzle me?"

Thanks for the fun questions, Maritza! It was a fun way to procrastinate from work :)

If you'd like to play along, here are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


By the way, I never got a chance to update my runs from last week. I had some good ones!

Wednesday, I did a quick treadmill run again before doing some weights. This time I remembered to add an incline.

Avg pace: 9:56 min/mi
Incline: 1.0

And then I had a freaky fast Friday, well fast for me anyway. I managed to consistently log three sub-10:00 miles!

Avg pace: 9:44 min/mi
Avg hr: 178bpm

1: 9:52
2: 9:36
3: 9:43

Then on Saturday, I decided to go for a more leisurely 4 mile run.

Avg pace: 10:24 min/mi
Avg hr: 165bpm

1: 10:50
2: 10:44
3: 10:14
4: 9:50

But this week, not so much running... yet. Definitely want to participate in the Freakishly Flexible 5K this weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Slave to the Garmin...

Got my new shooz!!!

Just wanted to thank everyone for your comments on my last post. Like me, it sounds like most of your readers are the blogger community as well and not necessarily your "real-life" friends (and sometimes that's intentional). (And just to clarify, of course we are all *friends* out here in blogger land!)

I also opened accounts on Buckeye Outdoors, Map My Fitness, Daily Mile, and Breaking the Tape. Now I'm not bored or crazy enough to update all of them but I still need to play around with the tools and see what I like best. I'll let you know what I come up with.


I didn't really have a stellar week in terms of workouts but I did squeeze a few in.

On Wednesday night, I totally procrastinated in getting to the gym. I stayed late at work to finish up a few things (that's when you know I'm really getting desperate.) The gym is close to one of the malls so I decided to stop by there first to get some gifts for friends and ended up getting some things myself. Does anyone else do this? For example, when I hit the mall during Christmas season, it usually ends up with me buying one thing for dad, one thing for me, one thing for my brother, one thing for me, one thing for my sister, one thing for me... and so on. It's very dangerous for me to be at the mall.

Anyway, it's now after 7:30PM and I know there's an 8PM cardio dance class that I used to go to all the time. Sometimes parking at this gym can be tricky during the evenings because it's right in the middle of all these popular restaurants/bars. So I tell myself that I will at least venture over there and if I find parking pretty easily, I will go to class. If I can't find parking, then I'll leave. (And yes, I have actually driven there and if the parking is a nightmare, I'll just head home.) I'm just one of those people that has a serious motivation issue. When I'm there, it's cool. It's just getting there that is really challenging for me.

And luckily enough, I found a parking spot right at the front! Even I can't deny that it was meant to be and that the workout gods were reaching out to me. "Join us, Audrey, get off your lazy butt... your DVR will record American Idol for you."

So off I went... lots of step touch and single, single, double and grapevines and mambos and body rolls, etc. It actually was a pretty decent workout for me as I noticed my heart rate monitor blinking at me every now and then if I went over my max aerobic rate which I think is 162 or something. Of course, if I used this watch while running, it would be blinking constantly. But this was my Polar one which I only use for the gym. I use my Garmin strictly for biking and running.

Anyway, I decided to record these workout numbers as well. Note that I turned off the HRM when we started our cooldown.

Avg hr: 152bpm
*SYB = Shake Yo Booty

I went for a 4 mile run on Saturday and I don't know what my deal was but I was so sluggish! Things finally fell into place by the last mile and I felt I had a more comfortable rhythm going on. I know I just need to keep up with my runs and it will eventually get easier.

Avg pace: 10:42min/mi
Avg hr: 171bpm

1: 10:44
2: 11:05
3: 10:50
4: 10:10

On Sunday, I went for a three mile run in between making Puppy Chow Mix and Chocolate Chip cookies for Superbowl Sunday.

I would have thought my numbers would be slower since the sun was out more and it was kind of warm plus I had to deal with a bit of a side cramp for part of the run. But I actually did OK overall.

Avg pace: 10:15min/mi
Avg hr: 169bpm

1: 10:17
2: 10:22
3: 10:07

Is anyone else a slave to their Garmin? Lately, mine hasn't been doing too well with quickly grabbing a signal. And since I am really interested in tracking my progress as I rebuild my running base, I can't bear to run without having the data behind it. So I will just stand there on the sidewalk staring at the little black bar on my watch as it slowly locates the satellites. Sometimes I'm waiting for a while, too. Does anyone else do this? Or maybe everyone else's Garmins are far superior to mine?
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