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This week’s dinner menu

by lachicaruns on

menu ideas burger basket finalI’m back to regularly scheduled programming, running and eating better since last week’s recovery week after my friends and I ran the Woodstock 50K.

I even compiled a list of some of the best advice I’ve come across for Tuesdays on the Run.

What I haven’t done is do a good job planning our meals. Instead, I followed my own advice and pulled out a meal plan from another week. You can find previous weeks’ meal plans here, here and here. And you can always pull some new ones together.

As for this weekend, I’ve got an 18- to 20-mile run with my friend Vicki who apparently didn’t think that 50K was a good enough goal and instead also signed up for the Detroit and New York marathons.

It’s great to think that a long long-run is pretty routine. But it also reminds me that I need a plan for life after my big, audacious goal. I’ve spent close to a year leading up to Woodstock and I’m now a little rudderless. Not really sure what to do now. I’ll be sure to let you know when I decide.

Have you decided what to do after reaching a big distance goal? Did you worry about losing your hard-won mileage base?

This week’s dinner menu

by lachicaruns on

I should have been born a woman of leisure. I uncharacteristically took two days of vacation this week with absolutely no plans — and it was glorious.

I ran, yes, and did my stretching and some core work, but I also went fishing with el husbando, painted our garage doors, ran a gazillion errands, cleaned out my closet and baked yummy treats. All that and I still have the weekend to enjoy. Winning!

Lake Ovid

Lake Ovid

Tomorrow should have been my 26 mile training run — the 50K plan‘s longest — before taper, but I’m delaying that until next week. I’m running up to 18 tomorrow with my friend, Vicki, and running the 26 next week when a bunch of friends and I are doing the Lake Lansing Team Marathon and running all the loops. The event is a favorite and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the Black Girls RUN! ladies and, yes, eating a ton of food.

lachica team picture

Last year’s Lake Lansing Team Marathon shenanigans.

I’m amazed that I’ve spent most of the summer training for what may be my first (and only) ultra marathon, with taper just a week away. Tick. Tock. Wowza. Taper for my first half and first full drove me a little loopy, but I think I’ll be just fine this time around because I’m more experienced and because this go-round has been so long and has had me running so very many miles. I’ll check in and will let you know if I’m faring.

In the meantime, here’s a week’s worth of meals so you have more time to run. And this is how I plan my meals in the first place.

MENU IDEAS vegetables for Pinterest
  • Zesty Italian chicken and spaghetti with a green salad and garlic bread
  • Spaghetti and (precooked) meatballs, rolls. I particularly like this Weight Watchers Favorite Tomato Sauce
  • Ground beef tacos, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and guacamole
  • Stuffed manicotti (beef, cheese and red sauce), salad, rolls
  • Turkey panini (on the George Foreman grill), chips, fruit

What’s on your training plan this week? Have you found any new recipes? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this topic before.

“Runger” continues to plague this chica as my mileage groweth. We were on vacation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last week where I got to run to one of my favorite lakes, Perch Lake, north of the great metropolis of Newberry in a small town called Deer Park.

Perch Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Perch Lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The view was so nice, I did it twice, for a total of 18 miles. The training plan called for 24, but I just couldn’t fit it in between the eating, sightseeing and spending time with my brother, who was visiting from Puerto Rico.

I saw a moose on the way to Perch Lake.

I saw a moose on the way to Perch Lake.

I did a couple of other uneventful hour-long runs, finally wrapping up my vacay with enough miles so that I was on track with my plan.

It felt good to head home after such a fun vacation.

It felt good to head home after such a fun vacation.

Speaking of all of the eating we did, here’s this week’s plan so you have more time to run, or whatever. And if you want to make your own, here’s how I do it. You can find a few more plans here, here and here.

How was your week? How do you squeeze running time in when you’re on vacation? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this before.

“You’re crazy” (with its accompanying head shaking) has got to be the most-common response from anyone who learns that I’m training to run 31 miles. For fun.

I often start to explain just how rewarding and fun this whole idea is, but the other person typically either continues to tell me why no sane person would choose to run an ultra marathon or to list reasons why these long distances are bad for me (wear and tear, knee problems and other injuries).

What if they really listened? Could I really articulate just how rewarding all of this training is? How good it feels to be so tired after a double-digit run that all I can think of is a nap (after I eat a donut!)? Just how much more I get out of the run than I expend in time or effort?

I’m reminded of the refrain “those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still” but just can’t help myself. So here’s my list of reasons for why long distance running is actually good for me:

  • Running has given me the most active social life I’ve ever had. Becoming a runner has expanded my circle of friends. I also get to do something fun just about every day of the week, whether it’s running at 5 in the morning or getting roped into doing a 31-day plank challenge (I’m looking at you, Jessi).
  • Running has made me more active. I’ve never been a slacker in the active department (camping, hiking, fishing, biking and tae kwon do come to mind), but now I find even more reasons to be active. I do take rest days off, but I enjoy my fitness-related activities more and am a lot more likely to stick to my schedule.
  • Running has encouraged me to set new goals and to push myself. Planning my runs, working on my training plan and, yes, shopping for new gear give me a sense of contentment. But it’s the big-hairy-deal goals that bring me the most feeling of accomplishment. I never imagined I’d be running a half marathon, let alone training for anything beyond 26.2 miles. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
  • Running has gotten me to try new things. The phrase “I don’t do winter” was part of my vocabulary for more than 20 years. Now I run outside no matter the weather and no longer feel like I live in the Michigan tundra against my will. And I’m running through parts of town I’d never even seen before, whether on trails or pavement, giving me a bigger appreciation for my adopted hometown.
  • Running has helped me make better choices about my health. A chica can’t run 20-plus miles on a stomach full of donuts, so I’ve learned to make better food choices, am drinking at least twice as much water as I ever have, am taking my vitamins and am getting more sleep. (I’m doing that last one mostly because I can’t keep my eyes open past 9:30 at night, but it still counts, right?)

And here’s this week’s menu plan so you have more time to run. If you’re new, here’s how I make my list.

What else would you add to the list of reasons why long-distance running is good for you? Add it to the comments below. Feel free to include a link to your blog if you’ve written about this topic.

MENU IDEAS for your family so you have more time to run

I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest time-sucks has always been grocery shopping. With seven people (often more, depending on how many extra teens are hanging around), I have to go to two stores; sometimes twice a week.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw that my local Kroger grocery store is offering a new service called ClickList where you can order groceries online and then pick them up without leaving your car.

Here's how Kroger's ClickList service works.

Here’s how Kroger’s ClickList service works.

In a word: Wowza. I found it to be easy to use and a huge time saver. I’m sharing my experience here in the hope that you have a similar service where you live so you have one more way to find time to run or workout. I am not at all affiliated with Kroger and am sharing my experience after using the service last weekend.

How ClickList works:

Visit kroger.com/clicklist. You will have to sign up for a free Kroger account if you don’t already have one. It’s super easy and gives you several other options, including online coupons, the week’s flyers and an online grocery list.

I found the user interface to be a little clunky, but was able to figure things out once I selected the ClickList button. I had to specify which local store I wanted to pick up my groceries, add items to my list by either searching for them or browsing through different categories (think dairy, meats, breakfast food), and then choose a date and time for pick up.

There’s a how-to video on the site, but I couldn’t get it to work on my tablet.

Once I arrived at the store at my designated time, I parked at a parking spot with the ClickList sign, which instructed me to call a number to tell the store that I had arrived. Each spot has a number so the Kroger team members know where to bring your groceries.

Customers can park at the Kroger store's ClickList spots to pick up groceries they ordered online.

Customers can park at the Kroger store’s ClickList spots to pick up groceries they ordered online.

Two team members came out almost immediately, pulling my bagged groceries inside plastic crates on a wheeled cart.

Kroger cart

My groceries were wheeled to my car, already bagged inside these black crates.

One of the women unloaded all of my groceries into my Subaru’s trunk; the other chatted with me about my order, answered a few questions and used a tablet to process my credit card payment.

My view before leaving the Kroger parking lot after using the new ClickList service.

My view before leaving the Kroger parking lot after using the new ClickList service.

The whole process took about six minutes and I didn’t even have to leave my car. I will definitely be using ClickList again.

A few lessons learned/tips:

  • You have to order for the following day or later. There’s no same-day pickup option.
  • The service costs $4.95, but the first three orders are free.
  • The service offers customers a one-hour window to pick up their order.
  • The food was bagged with cold items together and still very cold and/or frozen.
  • You can choose to allow Kroger to provide substitutes for your items. My order had two substitutes: a larger size of the olive oil and a different brand of the baby back ribs I ordered (the ones they included were on sale).
  • The system saves your orders and brings up favorites so you can add them to your cart.
  • ClickList will automatically apply any of the Kroger online coupons you load onto your account; employees will take your paper coupons inside to scan them in, if you want.
  • I placed my original order on Friday and added items on Saturday and Sunday with a Monday pick-up.

The week’s menu plan so you have more time to run:

  • Chicken fajitas (I thaw frozen chicken in a zip-top baggie with Zesty Italian dressing, grill it and cut it up for the fajitas. I also cut up onions with red and green peppers, wrap them up in foil and grill them. Serve with cheese, salsa, guacamole and tortillas.)
  • Enchiladas, shredded lettuce, tomatoes
  • Arroz con pollo, red beans, green beans, fried plantains
  • Baked Chicken Parmesan with pasta, green salad, garlic bread
  • Eating for Life Caribbean Chicken Salad
Caribbean Chicken Salad recipe.

Caribbean Chicken Salad recipe.

How do you find time to work out? Have you ever used a grocery order/pick-up service? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this before.