Improvement

November 30, 2011

Half way there!

Lets see.

1. My mom makes a killer fruit salad.  And I love grapefruit.

How awesome does it look in that Bell Jar? I love the rustic look of using glass jars for water glasses and containers.

2.  5 mile run yesterday (48:16)

3. Kept my head down and worked hard, stayed late and finished a project.  1 down, infinity to finish?

4. Mental down time = American Music Awards and the VS Fashion Show.  I love that the girls are allowed to have fun with it and lets be honest, Orlando Bloom giving Miranda a standing ovation every time she walks down the runway? Super adorable.  What can I say? I’m a sucker.

5. Pushed myself to go the gym again tonight for my 45 minutes of cross training on the bike.   Spending that much time in the gym is starting to get monotonous.  I enjoy working out SO much more when I’m outside, enjoying it all.

 

There are so many things that I want to get done during the day and so many things that need to or should get done (cleaning the apartment, anyone?).  But somehow, its Wednesday night and I’ve only knocked 3 things off my list FOR THE DAY.   When I was running in the morning, I was far more efficient at night.  But after a short break awhile back, I suddenly feel like I’m falling behind on EVERYTHING.  But I’m slowly bringing myself back to balance.   For me, that starts with being effective and productive and pushing myself to do things on my list, that I don’t really feel motivated to do, but feel so much better about having done them after the fact.  A major thing on that list, is sticking with a workout schedule this close to my 8k race (next weekend!?).  I seriously slacked off lately, life just got in the way.  Another major thing?  Cleaning up this darn apartment.  Which I am now off to go do 🙂

But before I go…

Yesterday, I was grateful for: myself.  In that I finally had the strength to openly acknowledge to myself my own personal faults.  Instead of getting defensive about little snide remarks, I have made the choice to address the underlying message and get better.

Today, I am grateful for music.  It never fails, that I manage to hear the perfect song, the moment I need it most. And sometimes, its nice to be reminded that, sometimes, people really don’t know a thing about me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6g_GtUa-ho

 

xo

 

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“This is ten percent luck

 

twenty percent skill

Fifteen percent concentrated power of will

Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain

 

and 100% reason to remember the name”

~Fort Minor

Bring it on Wednesday.

Welcome back! 🙂

Seems like its been awhile since I’ve posted, but I took advantage of the vacation to see a lot of family and to visit some friends, run a race and eat a LOT of food.  I’m super busy with work stuff tonight, but I had to stop in and first off say thank you to everyone who supported and cheered me on for my first 5k this past week – especially everyone here 🙂 I ran the race with my little brother  and did end up beating my goal time, running a 29:39, with no walking breaks.  Here’s the dilemma.  While I did beat my goal, I feel like I could have done better than that.  Lets recap:

Start of the race:  I felt sluggish and like my legs were full of lead.

Throughout the race: I couldn’t get a good judge of my pace speed.

Throughout the race: I was cold, I was hot, I was cold, I was hot.

Towards the end of the race:  MAJOR side cramp.  UGH.

Also:  randomly dropped my phone and had to jog in place to wait to pick up said phone (had my music playing on it)

SO.  Yes, I did well in the race, but I feel like I could have done BETTER.   So here are my solutions.

1) Hydrate more leading up to the race

2) Dress appropriately for the weather (picked up two Under Armour shirts for cold weather running this weekend)

3) Run outside more

4) Sign up for another 5k that goes off this Saturday…  That’s right, I signed up today for a 5k that benefits the Arthritis foundation and will be running it this Saturday.  Given the rough day at work, I’m hoping I didn’t bite off more than I can chew in my motivational optimism.

And for the rest of tonight’s post:  I’ll leave you with pictures 🙂

After my race I came home to this…

One of my favorite Holiday accessories...any guesses? 🙂

Yummmmmmm

Perfect ending to the perfect day?

In case you were worried a veggie can't get enough to eat....this is my plate

We even managed to enjoy the annual Tree lighting ceremony downtown 🙂  Tuba’s, Christmas Carols and Santa on a fire engine.

And finally…no post is complete without a little “I made this for dinner” picture.

This is what happens when your parents send you home with 3/4 of the Thanksgiving leftovers...Thanksgiving Potpie anyone?

This past Sunday, I also managed to get myself “back on track” and pound out a 5.4 mile long run in the early morning.  Lemme tell ya – Farm Country in the mist is a pretty awesome way to start your Sunday.

Also – its still November, right?  So lets keep up with that gratitude game.

On Thursday I was grateful for good food and amazing amazing amazing family and friends.  I was also grateful for the support from everyone for my first race.

On Friday I was thankful to be able to run into an old friend and to re-experience a childhood tradition with Tuba Christmas.

On Saturday, I was grateful to not have to divide my time between Brandon’s and my families and enjoyed a dinner with everyone.

On Sunday I was grateful for seeing my best friend and her darling sweet daughter, for time out shopping with my mom and for my run, to remind me that sometimes being up early is pretty ok.

Today, I am grateful for kind words and a cup of hot tea when I need them most.

And with that my darlings, I am heading to bed and to try to keep my chin up.  The sun still comes up tomorrow and I’ll still have to put my best foot forward.

xo sweet dreams 🙂

DAYS UNTIL the JINGLE BELL 5k:  5

DAYS UNTIL the JINGLE BELL 8K: 13

Pre race jitters!

November 23, 2011

Well,  somehow – tomorrow morning is here already!  Tomorrow I run my first race!  I’m a little nervous :-/  My biggest fear is my legs giving out and getting a horrible side stitch.  I’m still fighting off the last remnants of being sick too.  I just have to remind myself that I’ve trained pretty well for this and my first and foremost goal is to finish it.  To prep for the race, I had my hard(ish) run for the week yesterday and I was still a little sore from lifting on Monday, so today I’m using to rest up and to stretch…and run errands for my mom, because lest we forget, tomorrow is also the day we eat and eat and eat and eat and eat… 🙂  The majority of the evening has been spent giggling up a storm with my brother and my mom as we prep all the food.  We have a pretty traditional dinner, but have a lot of traditions 😉  so no one EVER goes hungry.  Later this week, I’ll show you my plate for dinner, because as a Vegetarian, people find it pretty hard to believe I could fill up without the turkey.  My mom is pretty good about making sure there’s stuff for me to eat, so I’m excited to share 🙂

All in all, nerves included, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, to challenging myself and accomplishing something I’ve never done before.  Which will be made all the better, because of everyone else I know who will be running too 🙂  I’m also looking forward to seeing my family and enjoying my mom’s cooking and of course, football.

I looked around today on pinterest (follow me here!)for some race day inspiration – here’s what’s keeping me motivated today:

What a great way to motivate someone for that final push to the finish line!

 

I love this

I am off to snuggle with my cats in front of a fire and browse some more pinterest 🙂 But first…

Today I am grateful for being able to work at a dining room table with a cup of fresh coffee, instead of at my desk at work.

Safe travels for anyone who’s traveling tonight or tomorrow and GOOD LUCK to anyone and everyone who’s running 🙂

xo

 

annnnnnnnnnd done

November 22, 2011

So, alll together now…”Ahhhhhh”. That, ladies and gents, is the collective sigh of Thanksgiving vactioners everywhere. And I am officially one of them! Its been a long and somewhat stressful fall, but the holidays are here and its time for some breathing room.
Since August, I’ve completed my PhD, I’ve found a new job, moved, learned, struggled, laughed, challenged myself, had my fair share of tears and have done a lot of smiling too. Most of all, I’ve been doing a lot of life. (This picture? Yeah, those were our seats at the Ravens game this past weekend. ROW 2!). I’ve learned a lot about myself, my determination and ability to push through it all, even tonight. We’re finally on the road, after a long day of work, a quick, but feel good dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup and a satisfying workout. 4.5 was on tap for tonight and I had my doubts. I faithfully pounded out my 3.1 miles (28:44!) And after a few false starts and a lot of swearing to burst into tears, I struggled my way through the last 1.4 miles to round it out. It probably wasn’t pretty, but it was successful. And best of all, I can come here and share a smile with everyone and not need to explain away missing another workout 🙂
So today, I am thankful for, well…pretty much everything. But mostly, I’m grateful for how satisfying it will be to sink into my parent’s couch tonight, knowing I worked as hard as I could these past few weeks. 🙂 no regrets!

Xo

Back on track?

November 21, 2011

Well, it was inevitable.  The week of my first 5k/race ever…and I am getting sick.  I THINK its just sinuses for now, but I’m certainly fighting something.  This morning I finally gave in and took some medicine and am currently combating this thing with Mucinex, Ibuprofen and endless glasses of Pink Grapefruit juice (Vitamin C for the win).  I really want to make sure I’m in as good condition as possible (given any circumstance) for this run on Thursday and will be disappointed if I give anything other than my best.  Which means, taking care of myself now.  🙂

Even though adrenaline carried me through most of today, it was still 12 hrs from when I left my apartment to when I walked back in.   Lately, as in, most of last week – I’ve been slacking on my training plan for the 8k.  It really does just go to show how easy it is to break a good habit.  They say it takes about a month to form a good habit.  I started my serious training on October 16th.  These past 2 weekends I’ve taken a break from that and I’ve struggled with maintaining the parts of training that aren’t running.  For 27 days I stuck to a rigorous schedule, and last week I stuck to a…modified schedule.  I got the running in still, but completely slacked on lifting and cross training.  So, tonight came the serious question of:

a) Do I work out and maintain the schedule?

b) Do I pull the “sick” card.  Sick – is it really a reason to not work out?

From what I’ve read around on various sites, magazines, etc., working out while sick, is ok – providing the issues stay chest area and up.  Granted, the intensity is less, depending on your ability to breathe, rate of exhaustion, etc.  So, all of this was going through my head this evening as I got home.  In the end, I decided to go through with my scheduled workout and do a full body lifting circuit.  As a compromise, I did it at home (I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, I cannot WAIT to get more dumbbells for my “at home gym”), so if it really was too much for me, I could stop.  Starting out was a bit rough and I wasn’t sure I’d finish it out.  But, after it was all said and done, I finished the whole circuit and felt great while doing it.  It really felt like the workout helped to open me up a bit and I could imagine the exercise helping my body to fight off whatever I have.  Of course now, post workout – sitting here with a mug of tea, I’m back to sniffling.  But I know that I did my body some good this evening and mentally I’m pretty proud of myself for pushing through and i’ll consider this to be my serious step for getting back on track. 

Here’s what I did tonight! All sets for 3 x 10.  I did them in groups of 2 exercises, at a faster pace to get my heart rate up.   I hit my glutes/legs, and focused on my arms and shoulders a lot – and of course, a lower back exercise.

Squats & Tricep extensions

Lateral raises & front lateral raises

Arnold Presses & External rotations

Bicep curls & Calf raises

Dead lifts & bent over DB Flies

Arnold press situps & Russian twists

 

We had a nice dinner of spaghetti with some vegetarian sausage mixed in, that I’m hoping will give my body some good fuel for a nice 3.1-4.5 mile run tomorrow.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to do the full 4.5 miles, I know for a race week your supposed to taper a bit.  My worry is if I taper for the race week, will I lose some of my efforts for the 8k training.  I’d LIKE to workout in the morning, but tomorrow calls for a pretty early AM at work and 4.5 miles will throw a serious kink in those plans.  So it may be an evening workout for me again.  What do we think?  Get in an evening run before HEADING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS?!?!?!? 🙂  I hope everyone is looking forward to a break from work some family/holiday time as much as I am 🙂 Is everyone traveling? Staying where you’re at?  Hosting?  Going out?  Family traditions???

Which…reminds me 🙂  We have some gratitudes to catch up on, no?

On Saturday, I was grateful for:  a mid-afternoon beer while out on errands.

On Sunday, I was grateful for:  being the kind of girl who could enjoy being 2 rows back from the Baltimore Ravens endzone,  and in the end, consider the sinus infection at the end of the day, a satisfactory price to pay for 4 hours of screaming at a football field like a crazy person.  I am also grateful for the visual reminder of why I want to be lifting regularly and in a challenging way.  Being that close to cheerleaders with some amazing muscle tone in the shoulders and arms gave my motivation some new life.

Today I am grateful for:  people in my life that I enjoy speaking with, seeing and hearing from.  I’m also grateful for my dad, who saw fit to bring me grapefruit juice when I was sick, way back when I was in college.  I refuse to drink anything else when I feel cruddy and tonight is no different.  I have the best dad ever.   Finally, I am grateful for my friends who pushed me to stay on track and my body, which allowed me to stay on track tonight. 🙂

sweet dreams everyone,

xo

Were YOU in Boston in 1919?

November 18, 2011

Dear today,

You rocked.

Love,

Me.

No, seriously guys.  Today was awesome.  “Why”, you ask?  We’ll start with these 4 words…  The Great Boston MOLASSACRE.  That’s right.  Molasses and Massacre as one word.  Clever Bostonians.  But seriously.  With my Gingerbread experiment the other night, i was speaking with my friend about Molasses.  So, like any normal human being will do – I looked it up on wikipedia, duh.  And what do I find, at the bottom of the page in the external links –  but this gem of a link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_molasses_disaster

wha wha?  To me, my first thought was – “what the heck?  Who could be THAT dramatic”.  So I click.  As you should.  And hopefully your jaw drops, like mine does.  MOLASSES FLOOD you guys, in Boston.  Now.  Disclaimer, I feel a little bad about being so amused by this.  It was an honest to goodness tragedy, people and animals died and were hurt and there was major damage to the city.  But, nicknaming it the Boston Molassacre AND writing a folk song about it (find it here: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=106201&songID=6820126&showPlayer=true) I was giggling for a better part of the day, to myself.  Its a reminder though of little tidbits of history that we rarely hear about. So I will take it on myself to tell you guys about it.

So, the year is 1919, in a place called Copps Hill, which was home to a 2 million + gallon tank, owned by the United States Alcohol Company.  This tank was filled with Molasses (which at that time was the main sweetener and could also be used for fermentation purposes).  It would appear that the weather that particular January was unseasonably warm and combo’d with the fact that this huge tank, was NOT structurally sound – the tank EXPLODED.  In addition to the debris and shear force of an explosion, the molasses flooded the nearby streets.  This molasses was waist high in some places and moved at almost 35 mph.  Which gives a WHOLE new meaning to the phrase “slow as molasses”.  The tragic part of all of this, was the accompanying death toll of at least 21 people, some of which were children, 100+ injuries and countless animal deaths and of course damage and destruction of buildings.  In the end, the owners of the tank were found guilty of owning a tank that did not mean safety standards and had to pay out a pretty hefty sum of money in response to over 150 claims against them. Just goes to show that shortcuts when trying to get ahead will more than likely come back to haunt you.  But it was SUCH an interesting piece of history.  I had to share it.  There’s a book that’s been written about it and I’m so tempted to go over the local bookstore, settle down on a comfy couch with a hot drink and page through it.  Has anyone else heard of this (I”m lookin at you Candice from http://candicepeak.wordpress.com/ 😉 ) ?

All of this was occurring during an equally satisfying day at work.  As predicted, I feel so accomplished at the end of this long hard busy week.  I racked up more than a few 10-11 hour days and stayed later than the boss man today too, which is always a good thing to show every now and then.  Not only that, but I was proud of my work this week and got to have some great conversations with friends and mentors.   I’m really so lucky to have such amazing people in my life.  And all of this was topped off by coming home to this:

Appetizers 🙂 Garlic bread, dipping sauce and a Natty Boh (the official drink of Charm City).  We figured we’d get in the spirit because somehow WE SCORED FREE RAVENS TICKETS FOR THIS WEEKEND!  And these seats, are in the endzone, in what is described as “reach out and touch the players”, seats. For serious.  I’m so excited – now I won’t get yelled at for screaming at the TV when they do something wrong on the field, because I wont’ be the ONLY ONE! 🙂  But all of this, was in preparation for the main course…

Ladies and gents, I give you…dinner on a Friday night.

We LOVE DIY pizza nights. We can make two, Brandon’s can have an inch of cheese and I can do whatever I feel up for.  Tonight, I created this Tofu & Avocado Pizza with Pesto. 

Tofu & Avocado Pizza with Pesto

Pizza dough:  we use the store brand premade doughs.  But you could make dough, use pillsbury from the can, whatever you want, really.

Tofu:  Again, I use the firm, Silken Lite., 1/2 package.

Avocado: 1 small, cubed

Grape tomatoes: ~ 7, quartered

Frozen Spinach:  ~1/2 cup

Pesto:  ~1-1.5 Tbsp, I used jarred pesto, but really want to try making my own too.

Truffle Oil, oregano

To Make:  Spread the pesto on the pizza dough.  I didnt’ use that much and if you prefer a strong pesto element, definitely use more.  I crumbled the tofu to cover and topped with the rest of the veggies (I didn’t even bother to thaw the frozen spinach, the baking takes care of that!).  Sprinkle with oregano and a drizzle of the truffle oil and bake according to the instructions on the pizza dough.  Just be careful not to burn the veggies.  Usually I stick to a greek pizza variety, but this was a pleasant change for me.  Healthy, but still tasted indulgent.

So. Good.   Such a perfect way to end an exhausting but in the end, really good week.  What are everyone’s plans for the weekend? Can you believe Thanksgiving is already next week???  I’m planning on sleeping in tomorrow AM (i.e. past 5:30- HA!), running errands and seeing what this pinterest thing is all about – anyone have any thoughts on it?

And of course, no day would be complete, without remember what i’m grateful for.  So, lets think 🙂

Today, I am grateful for:  Good friends that I can laugh with at work, or get random emails from and have phone calls with.

I’m also grateful for youtube and whoever it was that decided having Christopher Walken dance through a hotel to “Weapon of Choice”.  So here’s to you, brains behind the music video, you, are a genius.

your turn! 🙂

And so friends, whatever you do this weekend enjoy it and smile.   🙂

xo