Last chance for Saucony Kinvara Boston Marathon shoe

Saucony made a 2014 Boston Marathon edition of the popular Kinvara sneaker, and it’s already on clearance. The markdown price of $75 (with free shipping) is a good price for any serious running shoe, nevermind a special edition. It sports Boston’s classic kelly green rather than the official blue and yellow, so you’ll be all set for St. Patrick’s Day or Celtics games:

saucony_kinvara

Sweet deal for a fun souvenir, so grab it while you can.

The New York City Marathon edition Kinvara is also on sale for the same price. Unfortunately for me, the Kinvara is a neutral, less supportive shoe so it’s not for me.

Creative Ways to Use Your Flex Savings Account for Fitness

I am on my third of year of working my first Big Girl Job but it was only this past year that I learned about a health savings account.
 
In short, a Flex Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) works like this: pre-tax money is taken out of each paycheck and put into a separate account. Money from that account can be used to pay for qualified health expenses. The upside to this is that it reduces the amount of your taxable income. If you have family or a chronic health condition, this could mean thousands of dollars. Let’s say for example, if I make $50,000 a year and I sign up to put away $3,000 this year in a health savings account (HSA). I can use the money from that account to pay for health related expenses, and my taxable income is then $47,000.
 
The downside is that you have to predict at the beginning of the year how much you want taken out, and if you don’t use it all up by the end of the year, you lose it.
 
In December 2012, I signed up for a Flex Savings Account and told them how much I wanted for the year. This was my first time using  amount was calculated based on how much I thought I’d spend on copays and the fact that my birth control cost $30/month. Then in January 2013, my health insurance decided to make my birth control free. Great news. However, this mean I had a lot of extra money to use up in my FSA.
 
Other than the usual co-pays and prescription costs, these are the things I successfully used my health funds on last year:
  • first aid kids or supplies – band-aids, neosporin, etc
  • contacts solution – not exactly fitness related, but my most frequent purchase
  • chiropractor and physical therapy – the copays that my insurance doesn’t cover 
  • compression sleeves & socks – Surprisingly, sports compression socks are covered. Shipping fees for any eligible medical needs is also a covered expense, so I was reimbursed for the compression socks and the shipping fees. I bought compression socks on Groupon and that was reimbursable too. 
  • feet stuff – orthotic inserts, bunion and blister treatments, callous removers
  • sunscreen and sunburn products
  • my big purchase: Garmin GPS with heart rate monitor!
 
These are some expenses that I have not tried but might be helpful to fitness nuts or people needing to lose weight:
  • acupuncture
  • crutches if you get injured
  • electrolyte replacements – the description says “Examples include: Pedialyte”; I’m not sure how this would apply to a sport-related electrolyte drink like Nuun or Gatorade.
  • Fitness programs, weight loss programs, gym memberships – My spending acccount states: “Fees paid for a fitness program may be an eligible expense if prescribed by a physician and substantiated by his or her statement that treatment is necessary to alleviate a medical problem.” I wonder if you are overweight or obese and your doctor writes you a prescription that you need to lose weight, your gym fees would qualify as a health expense. 
  • weight loss surgery such as bariatric, gastric bypass, or lap band

So there ya go. Now you know what else you can buy if you are in danger of not using up all of your health funds.If you haven’t signed up for an FSA/HSA, remember to do it during open season! If you are lucky to not have any chronic health issues, you can still use it like I did for general fitness stuff. 

 

Twelve mile training run

Brian and I babysat my niece from Thursday through Sunday, so I had to adjust my running schedule.
I put in an uneventful and slow 12 miles on. I woke up at 5:30 am to run on Sunday morning and left her home with uncle. I texted Brian to let him know I’d be home soon, and they were chillin:
20140422-090420.jpg

Last weekend when I did 10 miles, I was able to run the final 3 miles at almost 5k pace, but that was on a pancake-flat bike path. This run was on city streets, so I didn’t do as well. However, I got to do something special that almost never happens: run on the race course! Since the half marathon is a home race and my 2nd time doing this race, I ran a good portion of the course. I think it helped get me more in the mood for the race. Pre-run, I ate coconut chia pudding and one cinnamon bite with peanut butter. During the run, I ate two chocolate rice bites.

By the time I was done and showered, I only had time to grab an EAS shake to drink in the car (110 measly calories and almost no carb) because we had to drive her home (2 hrs) for dance class. I also packed a bag full of snacks which I FORGOT. So for the next few HOURS, I was miserable. Didn’t know if I should cry or faint. By 3:00, we had stopped at my mom’s house for a quick change and I inhaled a few handfuls of crackers before we had to jet off again to Easter dinner, where finally I ate a pound of braciole and a pound of pasta.

I can tell that the poor recovery had an effect on me because all day Monday I felt completely drained, and still slept like a rock both Sunday and Monday nights.

As for eating, I ate really well all week long, Monday through Friday. Then Saturday came along, we were busy, I had a kid to watch, and I ate nothing but carbs – waffles for brunch, pasta for dinner. I’m trying not to beat myself up over it but I wish I could find more balance instead of this all-or-nothing cycle I’m on.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t been “feeling it” this training cycle, and I haven’t been able to get excited about the upcoming race, or about my long run accomplishments. Now that I’ve run part of the course, and coming off all of the good Boston energy, I am a little bit more excited. But still, I wish there was more. After this half marathon on May 4, I am going to force myself to not even think about a half marathon and just focus on being better at the mile & 5k.

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf

Even though I try my best to eat my veggies, I love any recipe that lets you “sneak” vegetables in. I’ve made this vegetable-filled meatloaf in many forms and I love it so much, I have to share it and document it.The great thing about this recipe is that it easily fits into many diets – Weight Watchers, low calorie, low carb, or paleo.

turkey vegetable meatloaf

Turkey Vegetable Mealoaf – portion controlled, full of vegetables, and tons of flavor

This makes 8 servings. I normally don’t make such big recipes but Brian eats 2 portions, it’s so good as lunch leftovers too, and it freezes well. The meatloaf works best when all of the veggies are finely chopped. Go ahead and try to stuff as much vegetables into this recipe as you can.  You’ll be tired after chopping all of those vegetables so it’s a good thing you have leftovers.

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf

(sorta adapted from Bobby Flay)

Meatloaf ingredients:

1 cup shredded carrot
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup minced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 lb ground turkey, white meat + 1 lb ground dark meat*
1 Tbsp dried sage
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

Glaze:
1/4 cup organic ketchup**
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375.

In a huge bowl, mix all of the vegetables together. Microwave for 2 minutes just to soften them up a bit. Let it cool, then use your hands to gently mix it with the turkey, spices, worcestershire sauce, and egg.

Use a 1 cup dry measuring cup to scoop out patties and plop them into a casserole dish. Hopefully you’ll get pretty close to 8 portions. So you know that each meatloaf has 4 oz of meat. Easy tracking!

Mix together the ketchup and balsamic vinegar, then brush some of it over each meatloaf.

Bake for 30 mins. Serve with another pile of veggies.

*If you are doing low calorie or Weight Watchers, you can use all white meat. I have done it before and it is not as tasty, obviously, but it works. I think that the steam from the vegetables help keep the white meat moist.

**Ketchup may not be perfectly paleo, but you’re only eating 1/4 cup divided by 8 portions. Get the organic kind because it tastes way less sweet than the stuff made with corn syrup.

Springy 10 miles

Yesterday I killed a 10 mile training run – my first double-digit run since the marathon. It went surprisingly well considering the rough days I had before the run.
On Friday night, my piano playing neighbor had a sing-along party. I’d fall asleep for like 30 minutes and be woken up to european college kids singing Imagine. Repeat until about 3am. Oh, and I had to be in at work at 6 am on Saturday. I pushed it to 7:00, but it was still rough. After a full 8 hour shift, I came home, took a nap, and then it was out to watch the Pacquiao fight. It’s a good thing he won because we were the only table full of Asians in that place. The night ended, as all “good” nights do, with a trip to Olneyville New York System. I don’t know if I can adequately describe the full experience but I will sum it up by saying that you ONLY eat hot dogs-covered-in-meat-and-onions at 3am, however probably SHOULD NOT eat it the night (morning?) before running 10 miles.
I got a little sleep and the sun forced me out of bed at 10. Pre-run, I ate two Feed Zone cinnamon bites and a little peanut butter, with some Starbucks instant coffee. It was a perfect day for running. Breezy, overcast, and already 60 degrees by the time I got to the trail. I even left my phone in the car and ran without any music. This is how I felt before the run:
april13_run
During the run, I ate two Feed Zone chocolate rice balls. My brother gave me  Cytomax to try and I couldn’t even stand the smell of it when I was mixing it up. but I drank 8oz of it at half strength during the run. It was barely tolerable. I’ll go back to Nuun or Gatorade. Or this:
april13_bourbon
Anyway the run itself was really good. I felt good, it was a beautiful day, and I didn’t say I never wanted to run again. Was it the hot wieners? Who knows. It was 4 pm by the time I showered and cooked, and sat down to my first real meal of the day: made bourbon french toast. After eating “brunch” at such a weird hour, I had a small dinner of quesadilla with kale salad. Quesadilla on a low-carb tortilla has been my thing this week, possibly forever. The kale salad can go away though.april13_dinner

I must not have eaten enough yesterday because today I devoured a chicken pesto panini and felt guilty about it, especially after the french toast binge the day before. I’m stuck in this cycle of 5 days of clean eating, then eating all of the bread in sight. but let’s not get into that now.
I have one more long run left before a half marathon and I honestly don’t know if I will be able to PR because I haven’t been paying attention to times.  Considering how I’ve lost my motivation for running, if I don’t improve in this race I’m going to be really depressed. It’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen.