Feeling amazing, still.  The other night, I had 11 hours of sleep.  Like, that never happens.  My body told me it needed extra rest and I cleared my schedule in advance….and it was GLORIOUS.

I’ve been having some pretty good success running these days, and I wanted to add some comments/thoughts on running for those out there that might not be awesome with it.  Or like it.  At all.  I have noticed with me, I start with a slow walk…then a few minutes later take it to a brisk walk, then slow jog a few mins later.  I’ll hold this slow jog for roughly 5 minutes, then take it up 3 more times gradually at 5 min intervals before going to my cool down for 5 minutes.  Let me give you some numbers from the treadmill so you can relate to it…

  • 5 min 2.4 mph
  • 5 min 2.7 mph
  • 5 min 3.1 mph (slow jog for me)
  • 5 min 3.3 mph (slow to moderate jog)
  • 5 min 3.5 mph (decent paced jog)
  • 5 min 3.7 mph (decent run speed for me)
  • 5 min 2.4 mph (warm down)

What seems to happen for me is as I go up the ladder, it takes a min or two for my heart rate to stabilize and then I’m ok with the pace.  At no time with the above am I going into an anaerobic run – but I when I would track run outside, I used to try and bust ass for the last 1/2-1 lap.  This would help me on successive runs.

Now, if I just went from 2.4 to 3.7 mph, I’d only last a minute or two until I’d have to stop or slow down.  The gradual raising of the heart rate seems to work well for me to get some distance.

There are also lots of books and websites dedicated to training by heart rate.  One of them talks about 5 zones, and you want to train within these 5 zones.  Why?  Am I running too slow and not maximizing my workout and wasting time?  Am I running too hard and burning through muscle and not building my endurance?  Since I’m now comfortable with about 1.75-2 miles in distance at once, I’m looking into the heart rate training now.  Take a look at this link.

For this challenge, I bought myself a fitbit.  It should be coming tomorrow from Amazon.  I got the fitbit surge, which is the high end model.  I got this because I wanted to be able to use the GPS for my runs and biking at some point, and didn’t need the flashy screen.  I also wanted control of my music from my watch.  Take a look here.  It also does a lot of other things, but mainly I wanted to see my heart rate real-time to adjust my cardio to fit into my zones.  Yes, there are cheaper models to do this, but I also wanted to use the other features over time as well.  Tracking sleep and resting heart rate is also of significant importance to me.  When you are pretty goddamn fit, your resting heart rate goes lower and lower – I’d like to track this over the next 6-24 months to see how I’m doing on the “fit” scale.

Moving on, I wanted to also talk about how to fuel your body for such things.  I’ve been eating complex carbs and some protein prior to a workout and then having higher protein and carbs after a workout for repair and replenishment.

First, I’d like to start with my yogurt – which is quickly becoming one of my favorites and go-to meals after a workout.  It comes in at:

  • 414 calories
  • 42.5 g carbs
  • 22.2 g fat
  • 19.6 g protein

When stirred up – it doesn’t look like much, but it is  friggin tasty!

  1. Add 1/4 cup blueberries
  2. Add 1/4 strawberries cut up
  3. Add 2 TBSP chia seeds
  4. Add 1 oz almonds (gives a GREAT crunch)
  5. Add 1/2 cup full fat Fage greek yogurt.  Some fat is good for you.  Helps with the flavor as well.
  6. Add 1 TBSP honey
  7. Stir up and dig in

One other thing I love to make up when it starts getting cooler outside is soups and stews.  One secret weapon I like to use in some of my soups are lentils.  I never even heard about these before a few years ago, but man are they packed with vitamins and minerals.  I also added some beef to this recipe.  You can shave a decent amount of calories from this if you want to remove the beef – but I wanted to add a lot of protein and iron.

A batch of this comes out to be 12 big ass portions – you could cut these down by a third or half and get 18 or so smaller portions out of this so you can have soup for a month.  For me, I like a big hearty bowl of this for a full meal.  Each one of these servings has the following stats:

  • 503 calories
  • 55.9g carbs
  • 10.4g fat
  • 45.3g protein

This takes about 2 hours to make, in a few phases, so here we go:

Phase 1 – brown rice

I use a rice cooker separate for this, and use 2 of the rice cooker cups which is probably close to 1.75 cups of rice.  It takes about 90 mins for this, so I rinse off the rice really well first, then add a half a teaspoon of salt and let it go.  When it finishes, it keeps warm.

Phase 2 – stock pot

  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can of pureed tomatoes
  • 8 cups of beef broth (you can use 4 cups beef broth and 4 cups water if you need to reduce salt)
  • Italian parsley.  I chop a lot of it up fresh and add it right in.  It has a little bit of a peppery taste, and I really miss when it isn’t there.

Phase 3 – Beef

  • Chop 2-3 pounds of “beef for stew” into 1/2 by 1/2 inch or so cubes.  My recipe above had 2.83 pounds in it.  This is usually 2 packages.  If you want to cut some calories, you can ditch the second package.  I prefer it more beefy, and I cut the beef smaller to cook it more quickly.  (optional – you can brown your beef first with flour and seasonings, which I do for my beef stews.  This is more of an ensemble and I have a lot of beef flavor coming through already.)
  • Add beef to simmering pot.  The total cook time for this is about 90 mins, but about 1 hour in you add some other items.

Phase 4 – onions/garlic/red pepper

  • chop 1 onion, saute in 1 TBSP olive oil.  When it is just about done, add 4-6 cloves of chopped garlic in for 1 min.  Add to stock pot immediately
  • chop 1 red pepper, remove all seeds and saute with 1/2 TBSP olive oil for about 5 mins.  Add to pot.

Phase 5 – lentils and pearled barley

  • About 55 minutes into cooking the beef, rinse off 1 cup of pearled barley and 1 cup of lentils and add to the stock pot

Phase 6 – carrots and celery

  • cut 1 bag (1 pound) of baby carrots in half, to make smaller for eating.
  • chop 4-6 stalks of celery up and add both carrots and celery to stock pot.  Cook time for these veggies is usually 25-30 mins for me, which will coincide with time this is all done.

Phase 7 – Lima beans

Unlike many of you, I have always loved lima beans.  In this case, I added a bag of baby limas in a container in the microwave for 10 mins.  Let it there until soup is ready.

Phase 8 – check your rice

By now, rice should be done.  Check on it…

Phase 9 – combine!

Add limas and rice now to soup, let combine for flavors for 5-8 minutes.  Adjust seasoning as you need.  Serve!


  • Note – The entire time, temperature control is something you have to monitor.  You don’t want a rapid rolling boil – try to always keep it simmering and not violently boiling.  This may require you to dial back temps at time, and after adding ingredients like lentils/barley/carrots/celery to increase temp until it gets back to simmering.