About Me

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I am a former career girl and am now a stay-at-home-mom to 2 amazing little girls. Exercise and "dieting" have never been easy for me. But now more than ever, I am determined to adhere to a more active, healthy lifestyle. I am not dieting - just making smarter, more natural food choices. I want to set a great example for my girls. I starting running last year with the Couch-to-5K running program. I've lost over 35 pounds since last year and I want to lose 60 more. I completed my first race (a 5K) in October and I running a 10K by this summer. My long-term goal is ultimately to run a half-marathon in 2012. I've created this blog to put it all out there and most of all - to keep me honest. I include a tested recipe & inspiring workout song on each post. I am also hoping to inspire and be inspired by you! I would love for you to join me for this journey and become an official follower of this blog!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recent Running Epiphany

Sorry in advance as this post is kind of a long read. I haven't posted in awhile and want to get my internal struggle these past few weeks out there. But if you get bored...make sure to still scroll down so you don't miss out on this week's recipe - it is definitely worth making and is going to go into regular rotation in our house.
If you are stubborn with a type A personality, it is difficult to pull back once you start something that you are truly committed to. I was pushing, pushing and pushing these past few weeks to double my running milage in order to do a Thanksgiving 10K. 

I committed to do it and didn't want to let myself, my family or any of the followers of this blog down. I was increasing my mileage too quickly (not listening to the 10% rule). I was running 5 miles every other day.  I was pushing myself to try to run faster, even though I knew that most runs are supposed to be slower than race pace. I was doing this as I didn't want to have a terrible time for the race. Even though my time for my first 5K was pretty good for a first timer carrying around extra lbs. :)

I was not listening to my body; I was struggling and for the first time since I started running I didn't like it - which was a huge red flag to me. I wanted it to be over as soon as it started. Then on Wednesday morning's run at about 2.5 miles in I had an epiphany - which went something like this in my head ... 

"I hate this; I want to stop. I miss the runner's high I used to get. My shin splint is coming back from increasing my mileage too quickly. But I have to get at least 5 miles in X time if I am going to be able to do the race well. How am I going to do this race? I know I am going to push myself too hard in the beginning. Oh God, what if I don't finish. My shin is really hurting. Wait why do I have to do a 10K in 2 weeks? There's nothing shameful about the previous 3-4 mile runs that I was previously clocking in every other day. I am going to cut back to that not force myself on this timeline as I don't want to end up eventually not wanting to run at all or out with shin splints again. 

After I came to that decision, the last mile of Wednesday's run something like this (which are like my usual thoughts)...

"This is a good song. I really like it. I feel good. Ok so what am I going to get done today? I have to call X, buy new school shoes. That's a nice breeze. Look at those leaves. The colors are amazing....:" And when I was done with my run I knew I had made the right decision.

So important to keep in perspective
I want to be clear that this doesn't mean I am giving up. I am still running every other day and am going to slowly increase my mileage, listening to my body and not worrying about time. When I am confident I will be so ready to rock an early spring 10K's a$$. As I do think that goals are still very important to keep on track.

I consider myself a runner. I am in this for the long haul. I don't want to burn out. I want to enjoy my runs, my alone time, my exercise and getting 3-4 miles in every other day is good for me know and nothing to be shameful about. 

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK:  "Good Feeling" Flo Rida - this is really a good one to run to!
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Don't have one this week. Just trying to get this post out since I've been neglecting this blog and people have been wanting the recipe!
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Baked & Crispy
 Chicken Parmesan. This recipe is slightly modified from the original version found in The Best Light Recipe from Cook's Illustrated. (which is one of my fav. cookbooks!). NOTE - This is really good and was a HUGE crowd pleaser with not only my kids but my husband and myself as well. My friend told me to try it since she knew I had this cookbook. She said her kids call it "pizza chicken" :). 
Browning the Panko breadcrumbs

Baked & Crispy Chicken Parmesan
Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
Olive oil cooking spray
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets*
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. 
(NOTE: You can get the extra LF shredded mozzarella at Trader Joe's that I think works well here and would reduce the fat and calories below.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
*I've found the best way to create even cutlets is to place your hand flat firmly on the top of the chicken breast and cut horizontally - using a VERY sharp knife.
The breading process...
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Note: The oven rack should be in the middle. Heat a skillet to medium and combine the bread crumbs and oil in skillet toasting over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and let cool. Then stir in parmesan.
2. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top (if you don't have a rack that goes with the baking sheet a cookie cooling rack could work), and spray the rack with olive oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.
4. Spray the tops of the chicken with olive oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and is at least 165 degrees, about 15 minutes.
Finished product...
5. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve (optional). 
Nutrition Per Serving:
Cal 310; Fat 8 g; Carb 20 g; Protein 38 g; Fiber 1 g, pp+ 8