Things I like, Things I don’t

I usually have pretty strong opinion on whether I like something or not (just ask me how I feel about sushi…). I also like to make lists, so the topic of today’s post is “things I like, things I don’t”. Also known as – “My running is boring and I’m hitting the bottom of the barrel for blog post topics”. Kidding. Maybe.

Things I like – good coffee, brunch with lady friends, and wearing minimal running clothing in December

Lately I’ve been having a lot of good (read: fancy and overpriced) coffee. The amount of dolla dolla bills that I drop on coffee, beer, and wine is frightening. You’d think I was on an all liquid diet or something. I met some of my lady friends for brunch on Saturday at Five Leaves on the Williamsburg/Greenpoint border. The restaurant was envisioned by the late Heath Ledger and opened by his family after his death. Apparently this place is pretty popular and so we waited amongst the hipsters for about an hour before a table opened up. I think it was worth it though – the heart on my cappuccino was one of the prettiest I’ve seen!

My friends just love when I take candid iphone photos and post them on the blog! Kidding. I hope you’re cool with this ladies. <3 The atmosphere was just so sunny and chill that I couldn’t resist trying to capture the moment.

My brunch choice was a B-L-A-T (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato) on country bread with a salad on the side. It was a good mix of hearty and no bite was left behind.

Since I was already in Williamsburg, I couldn’t resist a stop by Blue Bottle coffee for a cup of the Bella Donovan blend. I love how each cup is hand-poured! I’m not sure if you can see from this photo, but basically the barista pours hot water over grounds and then the coffee drips through a hole in the white cup, down into the to-go cup.

Even though this weird, humid weather is making me sound like a lumberjack (hellooo sinus congestion!), I like that I can wear shorts for runs. My go-to running ensemble has been shorts, a tank top (or maybe just a sports bra!), and gloves if the weather falls below 50 degrees. My hands are always terribly cold, even when the rest of me is toasty.

A fun thing to do before work in the morning is take iphone camera self-portraits while you listen to Selena Gomez. And then admit this on the internet. Everyone will think you’re super cool and mature! Is it working? I ran about 7 miles on both Monday and Tuesday and am hoping I can keep up some of this mileage momentum for the remainder of the week.

Things I don’t like – the site where I log runs is being shut down December 30, Ryan Hall’s diet

I’ve been logging my training on since 2010 and have nearly 2 years worth of data on the site. It’s not my favorite for a lot of reasons, but my entire running club uses it, so it was a good way to stay connected to them. Howeverrrr, strands is shutting down on December 30 and now I either have to switch back to (used this in college) or figure out something else. Mostly I am pissed that they are shutting down ONE DAY shy of year end. I like having complete data sets and now 2011 will only contain 364 days of training. And yes, it matters. I’m a stickler for even numbers which is why it kills me to log a run that is not a whole number or an increment of .25, .5, or .75 Am I the only one that is bothered by runs such as 3.78 miles or 10.43 miles ?!

Anyway, I exported all of my data through November and if you want to peep the numbers, here they are! If you don’t care, you can scroll to the bottom of the post where there’s a picture of cake. What can we learn from these numbers? 2011 was a pretty consistent year. August and October were my highest mileage months (half marathon training), but average pace and days trained/month did not vary much.

Another thing that irritated me this week? Ryan Hall’s breakfast tweet.

I’m not saying gluten-free oats, pumpkin, and spices isn’t a healthy or tasty breakfast, but this tweet reminded me all too much of the calorie-focused (obsessed) healthy living blogs I used to read. If you’re trying to lose weight or experiment with healthier alternatives, then I certainly can see why one might try splenda. Full disclosure – I’ve used it in the past in coffee and stuff. But you know what? Real sugar only has like 11 more calories per teaspoon (15 cals in regular sugar vs. 4 cals in splenda) and it’s not made of weird chemicals. I think that someone running 100+ miles per week in preparation for the OLYMPIC MARATHON TRIALS could afford those extra calories. I understand that elite athletes need to maintain a racing weight, but a life of running 100 miles a week and eating 3/4 cup of oats and splenda for breakfast just doesn’t seem worth it. Ok, rant over.

Things that are a draw – Homemade Apple Cake

This cake had promise, it really did. However, the end result was only so-so. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s program, I received coupons for free Duncan Hines cake mix and Comstock fruit filling and was challenged to think up a dessert that combined the two. I decided to make an apple-upside down cake. Big  pro – this dessert was really easy to assemble! I pre-heated the oven, and sprayed a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray. Then I spread the can of apple filing on the bottom of the pan, smoothing it until evenly distributed. I prepared the cake mix according to package directions and poured this on top of the apples. I baked everything for about 30 minutes and done! Eaten warm out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream, this was actually pretty tasty. I guess I was mostly disappointed in the apples – there were a bit too goopy and were rather flavor-less. I think some lemon juice or additional spices could have brightened up the flavor.

How do you feel about fruit in desserts?  I am a huge fruit pie fan, but a lot of people I know don’t like the texture.

  • Holly

    I agree the Splenda/Ryan Hall thing is bizarre. And I also agree on what you said about the calories. I take real sugar and use in moderation. The fake stuff creeps me the frack out.

  • sarah

    Aren’t oats naturally gluten-free? Hooha redundancy, Ryan Hall.

    I, too, am annoyed at the Strands shut-down. Not that I was wild for it, but I did like the social networking aspect of it. As a person who hates writing things down because I don’t like the man on my ass, it was motivating at least to have other people pat me on the back for slogging out a hangover run.

    You don’t want to know the things I don’t like. The list is too long. I don’t like being a complainerface, that’s what I don’t like.

  • Anonymous

    i think that oats are inherently gluten-free, but sometimes they are processed in facilities where they could be cross-contaminated with gluten. gluten-free oats are produced in special facilities.

  • oof. you got me with the canned apple filling part. not good news.

    i seriously felt like i could have run in a sports bra and shorts yesterday. what is happening. seriously.

    i love your snark/ randomness in this post. definitely a change in tone that i’m digging.

    YAY brunch crew. that’s all.

  • How do you feel about Sushi?

  • Anonymous

    i hate sushi. i would rather eat spoonfuls of splenda.


  • I can’t believe you’re running in shorts and I had to bust out my “I’ll never wear again” New York gear to run in 30 degree temps this morning.

    Lolz, Ryan Hall reminds me of my ex, who always used diet versions of everything. I thought I was supposed to be the girl in the relationship? As for Ryan, I guess God frowns upon extra sugar and calories?

    And with you on the numbers…I have a friend who constantly posts like 1.83 or 2.78 miles…it’s like, why didn’t you just FINISH YOUR LAST MILE? haha

  • Erica Sara

    join Dailymile! it’s a great way to track your workouts!!!

  • This weather is freaking me out, too. Shorts in December just feels wrong.

    I’m on the anti-Splenda train as well- most artificial sweeteners seriously mess with my stomach anyways (you know why? because they pass through your system unabsorbed. which makes your small intenstine pissed off. yea. ew.)

  • Amanda

    I am right there with you on the Splenda train.  Don’t even get me started on aspartame…

  • Liz

    I can’t seem to break my splenda habit, I know exactly how much I need to make my coffee perfect (half a pack), when it comes to sugar I’m clueless.  I’m going to horrify you even more and say that I’m now a french vanilla cream junkie.  NOT COOL. I only have maybe max 2 cups of coffee a day, but still! 

  • Anonymous

    confession: i actually really love fake coffee creamer. my dad and stepmom had a bottle of french vanilla coffeemate over thanksgiving and i did not say no 🙂

  • I LOVE FRUIT DESSERTS. The all-caps must seem a little overenthusiastic for a baked good (is there such a thing?) but it’s really how I feel. Fruit pie is my number one favorite food. I have a strawberry rhubarb pie for my birthday every year. I’m not sure about buying pre-made stuff though. Canned fruit kind of freaks me out. 
    I also agree about splenda. It’s weird and scary and doesn’t really event taste like sugar. 
    Third thing: I’m a huge fan of! I don’t have a garmin or any kind of fancy running watch (though I do love my $15  timex from Target!) so I never know how long my run was until I get back home and map it. My favorite saturday afternoon activity is mapping my weekly long run and feeling super satisfied as the numbers on the screen go up. I think it has a feature that lets you import garmin data too. 

  • I just want to repeat Emilia’s response!  LOL

    I’ve found male cyclists to be the worst when it comes to eating issues… I REFUSE to date a cyclist and if mentions something about “carbs” it is OVER!  🙂

  • Dani

    Megan- I’m the same way about numbers! My runs need to end on an even number or to a .25,.5, etc. I might need you to show me how to export my data off strands! Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Meg

    Didn’t Ryan Hall fire his coach so he could be coached by his own Christian faith? Maybe Jesus told him to use Splenda.

  • I also get really annoyed at uneven mileage – sometimes I will run past my house another .06 miles or whatever just to even it out. maybe I’m crazy, but you’re not alone! Also, I am totally on board with your Splenda gripe – as someone studying nutrition, I really don’t see the value unless you are diabetic and need to watch your sugar intake. Choose the real food always…

  • RunTheLongRoad

    the jesus comment about ryan hall is hysterical and so friggin true!  if i looked like ryan hall, i would empty the sugar bowl into my oatmeal!

  • I was thinking the same thing! Gluten is a wheat product. Oats are not wheat.

  • I agree with the Ryan Hall brekkie being over the top.  And also want to second Elizabeth- male cyclists are the worst!  I used to date one and it was always ‘small portion of quinoa this and fat free sugar free that.’  He also said the aim for their arms was to make them look concave! 

    That apple cake looks yummy- kind of moist on the top and crunchy on the bottom! Shame about apples didn’t taste great.  

  • I am LOVIN the Ryan Hall rant! So true. I must admit to using Splenda in my coffee until someone told me it had formaldehyde in it. Probably not true but I’m a sucker for incorrect food information (when I was 7 my brother told me hot dogs were made out of cow tongues so he could eat mine, didn’t eat another hot dog for 18 years). Then I made the switch to honey for my sweetner of choice! The best benefit is if you use raw honey from bees that live in the same area as you then it helps ease allergies.

    I think the apple cake looks delish also!

  • Jenwatson1127

    Check out  Similar to but more and better functionalities.  They even let me import my data from strands.  Glad they shut down.  Such losers.

  • Anonymous

    haha, i never really liked Strands anyway….that’s awesome that you were able to import your data! i will check out runningahead asap. thanks for tip!

  • I die for a peach cobbler with ice cream, but I am from TN. I agree on the Splenda thing. Seriously, he can afford those calories. I try to avoid fake sugar because I’m afraid it’s going to kill me in the end. The ONLY thing I can’t give up in the fake sugar world? Vitamin Water Zero and Diet Coke. 

    I propose you switch to the Believe I Am training diary.

  •  (great blog. It’s a good combo of 2 of my favorite activities, running and eating. I’ve been secretly stalking it whenever I go through my blog phases). I like fruit in desserts if it’s a layered cake (like tiramisu but with fruit) and I generally like pies, except for apples because the apples can get too starchy after being cooked. 

  • Love the love/hate blog today.  You know what I also love? Peach pie or fresh berry cobbler. YUM.

  • i am totally with you on the even numbers running thing! i will often run an extra 1/5 mile or whatever to get to that even number. glad i’m not the only one 🙂

  • I love fruit desserts, but growing up I definitely thought they were gross. I am totally devastated about strands as well. What are you going to use instead? Have you found a replacement, because I need tips and what else to use!

  • I am more annoyed that RH seems to be eating gluten free for some reason. The whole “GF” diet is turning into such a fad it drives me insane! Espcially when athletes thing it’ll improve their performance (I don’t think there has been any research showing it does!). To answer Sarah’s Q, oats don’t have gluten but are usually contaminated with gluten during processing, so they’re only gluten free if labeled as such. Oy.

    I love fruit pies, but usually pick chocolate, peanut butter or other stuff for dessert instead if I have the choice. Although any dessert is usually fine by me!

  • Robin

    hahaha love this

  • I’m repulsed by his breakfast too.  I hope that’s his first breakfast pre-run and then he has a second one post-run.  

  • Katie

    Ooh, Kickshaw does the same coffee thing! Their coffee is delicious, too. We must go.

  • Please tell me you’re someone else who hates sushi…everyone looks at me like I’m from Mars when I say I don’t like it!

    Also, Ryan Hall should use sugar.  Come on now people.

  • Anonymous

    i hate sushi with a burning passion.

    let’s go get pizza instead.

  • Ohhh hiiiiii Blue Bottle. So delightful. San Francisco is overflowing with pour-over coffee places these days, but Blue Bottle started it all. 

    Hot fruit = mushy fruit = no thanks. I’m married to someone who likes fruit desserts, so I’ve caved a bit over the years, but I’d never order or make one for myself.

    I like dailymile but it’s definitely more social, less data, I think. It also rounds times/distances in some views, which annoys me (but the even-number-lover in you might like it). 

  • Andra Hibbert

    I also use running ahead. I LOVE it! And your club could have a private forum group if you so chose.

  • Sarah

    RH actually came out and said he was gluten intolerant after Boston in 2011. And I have Celiac Disease and my diagnosis saved my life – it may be a fad for some but it definitely makes a difference if you actually are allergic. 

    There are also studies that show how going GF reduces inflammation – it doesn’t have to mean low-carb either. There are plenty of high-carb, GF foods.

    That Splenda issue on the other hand… really, Ryan?

  • Vigibson

    I’m so glad that I wasn’t the only one annoyed with his tweet. I love Ryan Hall and think he’s grea, but when I saw what he was eating I thought “Im eating way to much!”. If that’s all he eats to refuel his body after a run, I don’t know how he has energy. I love that he enjoys healthy fods, but I would love to read a tweet where he’s eating a candybar or a slice of cake so I would think he- normal. But I guess when you get to the level he’s at one slice of cake may matter. 🙂

  • Megan

    I just have to comment on the Ryan Hall diet thing- I thought he and his wife were super conscious about eating organic, etc. Splenda is like the opposite of that. Kind of disappointing.

  • Tawnee

    Great point on Splenda. For someone who has to keep a close eye on sugar/intake for diabetes, I like agave syrup, beets (for baking), etc. But Chemicals…no thanks!

  • Girl, I don’t know how you run in minimal clothing this time of year – I am always freezing! I envy you though because now my pile of laundry is annoyingly huge.
    I hear you with Ryan’s diet too – eat real food (run.better.naturally.)? 🙂

  • HA!

  • I used to be addicted to that coffee creamer (amaretto flavor, in fact) but gave it up a couple years ago – my parents still have it at their house, so I still enjoy it when I’m visiting them, too! (everything in moderation…)

  • Phillip Falk

    Don’t understand hating on Ryan Hall’s diet. A serving of DRY oatmeal is 1/4 cup and 150 cal. So he’s having 3 servings, plus pumpkin = 500+ cal. That’s sounds reasonable. And look, sugar isn’t good, and really there’s nothing wrong with splenda, so go for it, I say!

  • Anonymous

    actually, a 1/2 cup dry serving of oatmeal is 150 calories. so he’s eating 250 calories max (225 from the oatmeal, 20 from the 1/2 cup pumpkin). you’re entitled to your opinion, but i’m not convinced that splenda is better than sugar. it just seems to contradict the “whole foods” approach to eating – why not use a tsp or 2 of real sugar?

  • Anonymous

    note: steel cuts oats are a smaller portion size (150 cals per 1/4 cup), but regular old-fashioned and quick-cooking oats are 150 cals per 1/2 cup. ryan didn’t specify that his were steel cut, only that they were gluten free. i guess we don’t know the whole picture (which kind of oats did he use? did he have anything else alongside?), but i think my real issue here is with the artificial sweetener.

  • Jose Maria Casas

    Hi, i use STRANDS to and i had found that let`s you import your STRANDS training log from a CVS file. I triying it now.. i don`t know if it`s that good, but i will give it a try. Sorry for comenting, but i founded your blog looking for sites about strands going down and were to go. I also found some one that says that you can import to dayly mile, but i don`t like that site that much.