Jess Finds Balance

My journey to finding a healthy balance with eating, exercise, and life in general

Right On Target October 18, 2010

Filed under: Exercise — jessfindsbalance @ 7:57 pm
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I am right on target for achieving my time goal for a sub-2 hour half marathon on Sunday, November 14. I had planned an 11 mile run on the course that I’ll be running on race day. I figured out last week that to finish in under 2 hours, I need to keep an average 9:10 minute/mile pace. I felt like it was a reach, but something I could achieve. Even still, my best time for a long (+8 mile) run had been 9:15 minutes/mile. Well, I blew that out of the water today with an 11.5 mile run averaging 8:59 minutes/mile! Wahoo!


I had planned to run 12 miles next week, but I’m just going to go for the entire 13 mile run and do it as many (3, I think) times before race day. I’m hoping that I can stick to the pace I set for myself, which felt like a challenge but still very comfortable. It’s amazing how logging the miles really does result in a faster pace.


It probably also helps that I’m fueling myself properly before runs and resting adequately for the couple days before. I feel like I’m really getting the hang of this!


I’m off to rest my tired legs and recuperate from a day of teaching. Hope your week is off to a good start ๐Ÿ™‚


Not to Worry, I’m Still Alive and Well October 12, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 9:20 pm
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Hi everyone. I’ve just been taking a break from the blogging. Last time I blogged, I was having a hard time getting back on track. While I don’t feel 100% back in the swing of things, I definitely feel confident that I am well on my way to getting back there. I’ve been doing a good job listening to my hunger and satiety signals and eating lots of yummy foods.

As an update for my half-marathon training (T-4 weeks and 5 days!), I finally broke double digits yesterday, running 10 miles in 1:33! That’s an average pace of about 9:20 minutes/mile, including walking breaks. I was hesitant to set a time goal for myself, but I’m starting to really belief that I can run a sub 2 hour half. It is a really tough course – I ran about 1/2 of it yesterday – with lots of hills in the middle. I think that from now on, I will do my long runs on the course so I can feel comfortable and get accustomed to the hills.

Tragedy did strike at 3.5 miles yesterday, though, when I tripped over a sprinkler camaflouged by the dust and rocks around it. I think that I might have strained/sprained something on the top of my foot, but running and walking don’t bother it. Only when I twist it in weird ways does it bother me. I did manage to continue the run without any pain, so I’m pretty optimistic that it won’t get in the way of my training!

I made an awesome Indian stirfry tonight. First, I wrapped a block of extra firm in lots and lots of paper towels, then put a plate (topped with four bowls) on top of it to squeeze all the water out. Then, I sauteed the tofu, cubed, in some hot sesame oil until it was browned on all sides.

Next, I added snow peas, chopped onion and sliced shitake mushrooms. Once that was soft, I added some chopped roasted kabocha squash (sliced and then roasted with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for 20 minutes on each side – my fave!) until it was heated through. Then, I added lots of curry powder, ground ginger and some salt. I mixed well to coat the veggies in tofu in the spices and then added ~1/2 cup light coconut milk.


(Sorry for the poor picture quality. Dave put the camera somewhere and he isn’t home right now to tell me where it is!)

It tastes so delicious! I can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

I haven’t seen my kids since Friday, with Columbus Day yesterday and a professional development day today. I might even say that I miss my kiddos and am excited to see them tomorrow. Yay for three day weeks!


Wiped Out October 3, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 4:43 pm

Hi everyone! How is your Sunday going? I’ve had a lovely day. It started off with spinning, lots of stretching and body pump at the gym. My legs are definitely sore from yesterday’s run, so I took it a bit easy during my workout. Even still, I find that to feel my best after a hard workout, I need to move my body. Otherwise, I get stiff and sore.

I picked my sister up from the subway after the gym and we ate lunch at my place. I dug into two different kinds of vegetarian stews that I had leftover: Indian spiced lentils with eggplant and spinach and squash, lentil and chickpea stew.

Then we were off to apple picking! We went to the same place Dave and I went last month. We got tons of Empire, Mutsu and Jonagold apples. I’m excited for applesauce, apple crisp and just plain ole apples!

I’m so beat from my day full of activities and yesterday’s run, so I’m hanging out on the couch watching South Pacific. I had seen it when I was in elementary school and when my Mom went to see it on Broadway, I knew that I wanted to see it again. I hope that you’re enjoying your Sunday afternoon!


Stressed, Tired and Struggling October 2, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 1:48 pm
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Hi everyone! Sorry for no post yesterday. After Thursday night’s epic day (I left home at 6:30 AM and didn’t come back until 9:15) I was pretty beat last night and just needed to decompress. It was a very long week and I was tired! I never did recover from the poor night’s sleep I had on Tuesday, when I was sick in the middle of the night. Not to worry, though: I slept for 11 1/2 hours last night! I swear, I have reverted back to my adolescent years.

The last two days have not been exemplary ones for me. I had a good day of eats on Thursday (the day of open house at school) until I got home, when I ate a whole bunch for no reason. Well, I guess there was a reason, since every action we take seeks to benefit us in some way. The same thing happened yesterday, during which I was doing great until I came home after the gym and ate way too much again. I have started to notice a trend that the week before Auntie Flow arrives, I am more prone to stress and therefore more prone to overeating. I will definitely be vigilant for the next few days and next month at the same time, reminding myself that when I want to binge, it’s an attempt to escape whatever feelings are overwhelming to me and that there are better ways for me to deal with it.

In an attempt to get back on track, I decided to go for a long run this morning. The weather is absolutely beautiful today: a high of 63 and not a cloud in the sky. I also realized that only 6 weeks + 1 day stand between me and my half-marathon on Sunday, November 14 and it has been about 2 1/2 weeks since I did a long run. I figured out that if I want to run 13 miles before the race, with a taper week beforehand, I have to run 9 miles this week, 10 miles next week, etc. so that I get to 13 miles with no more than 1 1/2 weeks before the race.

After waking up at 9:45 this morning, I ate my typical pre-run breakfast of two pieces of toast, nut butter, sliced banana and cinnamon. I also took a couple excedrine (it has caffeine in it) to get rid of my sleepy-head headache and for a little bit of a boost.

My legs felt great for the first 6 miles or so of my run and I was doing great for time. I’ve decided that I am going to let the timer run during my walking breaks so that I have a realistic idea of how long it will really take me to finish the race. Here are my splits (including walking breaks):

  • 1st mile: 9:29 minute/mile
  • 2nd mile: 9:21 minute/mile
  • 3rd mile: 10:20 minute/mile
  • 4th mile: 9:57 minute/mile
  • 5th mile: 9:30 minute/mile (a few really big hills)
  • 6th mile: 9:50 minute/mile
  • 7th mile: 10:24 minute/mile (starting to feel really tired here)
  • 8th mile: 9:57 minute/mile (I found a second wind!)
  • 9th mile: 9:55 minute/mile

Total: 9.05 miles ย 1:29:17

So I think that my goal for the race is to keep at or below a 10:00 minute/mile pace and finish in less than 2 hours and 15 minutes.

With a long run behind me for today, I’m confident that today is going to be the first of several back on track. I have been doing a pretty good job with intuitive eating, although the last few days have definitely been anomalies. I’m committed to getting back on the wagon, though!

My plans for the rest of the day include grocery shopping and then going out to dinner with Dave and lots of his friends at a Chinese restaurant. Hopefully I have an appetite again by then! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Saturday ๐Ÿ™‚


Southerner for the Day September 29, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 9:05 pm
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Hi everyone! I’m relaxing with Dave on the couch, in preparation for hell day tomorrow: open house. What it means is that I will be at school for over 12 hours. I will be taking a break from school and heading to the gym for a bit after school. I tried staying at school until open house at 6:30 my first year, and it was possibly the worst day of my life. I am kind of looking forward to having some extra time at school so that I can get lots of grading done!

Some good news is that I’m 99% better! Aside from some iffiness from my stomach this morning, I’ve been totally fine. I’m hoping that tomorrow I can have my morning coffee. I missed it today! I ran with the cross country team this afternoon while they did interval training, and I managed to run my .25 mile sprints at a 7:15 minute/mile pace! When I got to the gym a little later, I did a couple more intervals and felt great. I think my legs are finally loose. It only took a week and a half…After my speedwork, I did body pump and as always, felt like a total rockstar. I’m even contemplating getting certified to teach body pump! Maybe in the winter or fall. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on getting through the cross country season with my students and my half marathon on November 14.

For dinner tonight, we channeled our inner southernness. We made a favorite recipe from Cooking Light for shrimp and grits. I didn’t get home until 7:00, so Dave was in charge of dinner. Here’s the finished product, fresh out of the oven:

My serving, in a small bowl.


I’m realizing more and more that I really don’t need that much food to feel satisfied. I normally would serve myself probably 50% more, but this was just perfect!

I finished off my dinner with some light ice cream, a few bites of my baked autumn fruit and a couple chocolate-covered cocoa nibs. Good night!


A Bit Under the Weather September 27, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 8:09 pm

Good evening! I’m happy to report that I had a really good Monday. It’s good that I love my job; my kids this year are great and I’m starting to get (a little) into the curriculum. Today was also my first day helping out with the intramural cross country team! I’d had a bit of a stomach ache all day, and after taking a swig of some pepto bismol that I keep in my desk, was feeling well enough to head out to the track.

The fresh air was definitely good for me and I felt better almost instantly. I managed to run the 1.5 mile workout with them, finishing at the head of the pack in about 12 minutes. There are about 50 kids running with us and it’s so interesting to see how the kids interact outside the classroom. It was fun giving them some pointers on breathing and giving them encouragement throughout the run. I’m excited for Wednesday’s practice!

I’m also feeling much more on track with my eating. I’ve been doing a really good job honoring my hunger and satiety and know that it will get easier with each day. Along those lines, I decided that I was more in the mood for leftover kabocha squash with hummus and cereal for dinner instead of our planned salmon dinner. It’s OK, it just means that I have salmon to make a fun salad with later in the week!

Today’s workout was pretty light, so I’m excited to get back to the gym tomorrow for some running and pilates, mayhaps?


Fun Find! September 22, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food — jessfindsbalance @ 8:55 pm
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I’m going to make this quick since I’ve had a long day and am in need of some R&R!

After school today, I headed to the gym ย and hopped on the elliptical for 50 minutes. Afterwards, I did some foam rolling for my very tight IT bands. I really need to make more time to do some serious stretching! My legs have felt so tight. I think that I’m going to break out my yoga mat tomorrow evening for a quick yoga session.

I forced myself to go to body pump today, where we did the new release. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet, but I’m glad that I got in my strength training!

I’ve decided that I am going to start helping coach the intramural cross country team at my school. I’ve been thinking about it and know that I would absolutely love it. I also think that it would be a good place for me to act as a role model for healthy living. I’ll keep you updated!

On another good note, look what I found at the grocery store today!!!

I got home way too late tonight and didn’t end up eating dinner until 8. I did have a snack when leaving the gym at 5:30 to tide me over, which did help. A small handful of almonds and a prune:

While making dinner, I snacked on some kale chips I made using olive oil and parmesan cheese, baked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Dinner tonight was a quesadilla using sauteed onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and spinach.ย I used one oz. of Cabot’s light cheddar, which I shredded, and a light Laughing Cow cheese for added creaminess.

First I sauteed the veggies in some canola oil.

Once the veggies were soft, I removed them from the pan. Next, I put the cheese in a Flat Out multigrain wrap and added the veggies. I folded it back in half and put it back in the pan, covered, for about 4-5 minutes each side to let it crisp up and to let all the cheese melt. (Sorry I don’t have more pictures, I was so hungry that I didn’t take time to do it!)

While that was cooking, I also made a can of refried beans. These were pretty tasty, although I still prefer the TJ’s refried black beans with jalapeno more!

I topped my quesadilla with 1/4 sliced avocado and some plain greek yogurt.

I ended up going back for seconds of the beans. I โค beans! This meal was just so tasty. It hit the spot!

Dessert was a pretty big serving of grapes

and a Weight Watchers Giant Fudge bar.

Off to relax. Good night!