And so it goes – 2014

January 2, 2014

Ah.  The obligatory – “NEW YEAR NEW ME!” post.    In all honesty – these are some of my favorite posts to read that are written by others and some of my favorite to write.  I’m a New Years Resolution junkie and am constantly bugging my friends and family with “whatcha gonna change? How are you going to change it? Huh huh huh??”  – so here goes.

2013 was a tricky one for me, it took a lot from me and my family.  So, I’ve decided that 2014 is my year.   

In the spirit of rising to the challenge, I went to town on resolutions for myself, but since this is a lengthy post as it is – I’ve decided to break down the resolutions over the next week or so, hopefully interspersed with legit posts to get back on track.  So lets start with list number 1:  probably the easiest and most relevant to this blog.  Fitness resolutions.

Fitness:

1.  Be active each day.  Whether or not its a scheduled day of training or just getting out for a long walk, doing yoga or a hike – I want to feel like I’ve moved each day.

2.  Be committed to lifting.  This year I re-discovered my love for traditional weight training and I started to put some efforts into creating an at home gym that I could  workout in, in lieu of a gym membership.   I slacked off a bit over the holidays and worked through some confusion of how to eat and train in order to get the kind of body I want.  Its a work in progress and although I have a sneaking suspicion I used it as a coping mechanism this summer, I really do enjoy lifting and have great respect for female lifters.

3.  Run 5 miles a week – that’s 260 miles in a year.  A few years back, I opted to train for races as my goals and did fairly well.  Last year, I didn’t sign up for any races and my running dropped significantly.  This year, I’m trying a new to me tactic that I’ve seen floating around before, which is set a weekly mileage goal.  Its a concrete goal that I can work for, without having something to train for specifically.  I’ve kept my goal fairly small (cough cough: attainable and maintainable cough cough:), because I know my mind’s ability to overwhelm itself when I’m thinking about too stressful of a goal.   And  since I have a hard time admitting that a few miles and not 3-4-5 miles is worth the time, I’m trying to remember that its not how I get to the goal, but that I achieve it.   In preparation for this, I bought myself some fancy new kicks to start it off right.

4.  Put at least 20 miles on the bike a month – that’s 240 miles in a year..  We have bikes.  Mine is my baby.  We have not explored the trails nearly enough to make its purchase worthwhile.  Biking is something my husband and I both truly enjoy, both by ourselves and with friends.  So this year, in an effort to get out on the bikes more, I’ve set a monthly mileage goal.  Anyone who’s hopped on a bike, know that its definitely not a difficult goal to meet and I have big plans of crushing this mileage goal.  But at the very least it’ll get us out for a weekend ride 1-2 times a month and that’s really what is most important.

5.  Incorporate Yoga and Insanity into weekly workouts.   I have a tendency to have tunnel vision when it comes to my “training”.  If I’m weight training, then I absolutely cannot replace a lifting day with a cardio day or yoga day, etc.  I also have a really hard time saying “OK well, Wednesdays are Yoga only”, because whether I’m lifting or running, its hard for me to give up a day of training, period.   But I enjoy yoga, and damn it Insanity was expensive.  So as a tie in to goal number 1 – I’d like to include more flexibility to my fitness routine, which will go a long way for making it a lifestyle habit, rather than a training for a specific goal habit.

So far – its been only a day since yesterday, so I haven’t really gotten a chance to put these resolutions into practice, although I got a head start on a few and lifted at home on Monday and Tuesday, which while not a lot – was better than nothing.  I have plans to get in a workout tonight and am thinking that an easy little run is in order. I’ve got some shiny new Nike Frees and 5 miles to get in by Sunday, eh?

So there you have it, my fitness resolutions (give or take a few).  I tried to keep them concrete and obtainable, which I think is so incredibly important for tracking progress.    I’ve got a hefty list of other resolutions that include personal, foodie and work related ideas, but they can wait for another day.

I hope everyone had a wonderful set of holidays and that they stayed relatively healthy 🙂 and here’s to 2014.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

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Helllooooo Friday

September 7, 2012

Dude.  Does anyone else feel like today would never get here?  I don’t mean to complain about something like this, since we just had a holiday.  Say it with me now , T.G.I.F.  annnnd exhale.

Yesterday my body/mind revolted and decided it needed a break.  Which is all well and good, but seriously self?  A break from what!?   But all the same, that’s exactly the conclusion I came to.  Having worked my way back into my workout schedule, I have quickly remembered why exactly I preferred morning workouts.  I MISS having my evenings to get stuff done.  And if i’m perfectly honest with myself, there really isn’t anything that’s gone wrong.  Just random unfounded stress.  I have to make a dessert for this weekend (seriously, little brother turning 21? ?? Too soon, world, too soon), which is fine – i’d much rather make a dessert that I feel good about eating than skipping out completely or nabbing a bite of the birthday cake (red velvet, if you were curious.  We DO live dead smack in the middle of PA dutch country).  Instead of adding one more thing to my mom’s plate, I offered to bring my own.

Sneak peek!

I was pretty cranky at the end of work yesterday, but was 100% determined to make the most of my night at home.  I was tired and my hips were still a little achy from my run on Tuesday.  Not “can’t walk” sore, but a little tweaky all the same.  I was pretty set on getting in a workout, but running or elliptical was still up for grabs.  I decided to trick myself into a run,  promising I could stop after 2 miles if I wasn’t feelin it, fully aware that is pretty darn hard for me to make myself stop at 2 miles (if you can do 2, then you might as well just pound out 3).  It was another slow and difficult run, but it was another run.  Its crazy how I’ve managed to forget how I felt when I first started running almost a year ago.  Its also pretty crazy how much endurance and speed i’ve lost.  It has really served to convince me how much easier it is to be fit, when you’re innately healthy.  And even more so, how truly healthy you really have to be, in order to operate at a certain level of fitness (she says with a pan of freshly baked _______ for dessert this weekend sitting at home).

It hasn’t been all bad though.  We’ve managed to keep it pretty healthy here for dinners this week – that crockpot tofu bbq had a few snags, but still turned out delicious.

I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite healthy lifestyle blogs (www.ohsheglows.com) and I think my craving for big fresh salads at dinner has her name written alllllll over it.

And I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – a gym class workout is the BEST way to start the morning.  I grumbled getting there, but once I was there it was done in a flash.  I’m tellin’ ya, starting and ending my week with the same ladies, blood pumping music, exhales of relief at the end of a hard set, and kick butt instructors that you can’t help but be inspired by – there is no other way.  This week our normal Friday instructor had a buddy with her, so she spent some time wandering through the room correcting form.  I’ve had some weight lifting training before, and I was glad to see most of my form has remained in tact.  She gave me a few pointers for tricep dips (namely how to make them harder…yeah, thanks for THAT), and made some minor adjustments on my curls and chest presses.  I know some people don’t like it, but I really appreciate when an instructor adjusts our form, in any class.  I’d rather be doing the workout correctly than risk hurting myself!

And of course, the best part (ok, one of the best parts) about an early gym class workout?  A relaxing Friday night and that GREAT first sip of coffee when you get in the car to head to work.

Hello loverrrr

Now its time to get through this Friday ladies and gents, finish strong!

xo

My road to running

June 6, 2012

According to http://www.fitsugar.com today is National Running Day! So in honor of said day, I’d love to share how it is I’ve slowly taken to running.

Maintaining running schedules, fitness and healthy lifestyles isn’t always easy, no matter how much we enjoy doing it.  I used to read blogs or look at people and think “man, they have it all figured out! Why is it so easy for them?”.  But I’m slowly realizing that its a lot of dedication and hard work and they probably have days that they struggle just like me.

I’m not a natural runner.  I played softball in highschool and considered myself a sprinter at best.  I was the one who complained about running a mile for gym class.  In college I’d give it a few half assed attempts and never really stick with it.  Prompting my XC running roommate to give me the “sure you are” look when I’d say i’m going out for a run.  Eventually, I stopped pretending altogether. I wasn’t overweight, but I was certainly out of shape.  While I wouldn’t say I had gained the freshman 15, I was definitely at my heaviest weight.

And my habits weren’t exactly screaming “healthy!” either…

Yes, yes that is icing in a tube.

After college, I moved on to graduate school and had yet to make any real time for fitness.    I enjoyed rockclimbing with friends, but no true forms of cardio.

But in the four years I was in school, I started learning how to cook and was exposed to veggies and fruits I wasn’t used to eating.  I dabbled at the gym but had yet to make a steady appearance.  But I did the impossible and graduated with my PhD after 4 stressful and long years.

Once I graduated I moved in with Brandon here in Baltimore.  I started to read up on healthy cooking, fitness and running blogs.  I had friends who truly motivated me to get into the gym at 8 pm rather than sit around and do nothing – and I finally started to take a good look at the photos of me and think “that’s not how I want my arms to look” or to not have to worry about the angle a photo was taken from.  So Brandon and I started to take bike rides together and then this “I’m not a runner” headed off to the gym.  The elliptical was ok for awhile, but strangely enough, hurt my knees and definitely didn’t give me the cardio I was hoping for.  After continuing to read blogs like daily garnish and ohsheglows “cover to cover” so to speak, I decided to give running a shot.  One well timed comment about my slow pace times was enough to seal the deal and I was determined to run and be good at it.  I started the blog in October while at the same time signing up for my first 5k.  A seemingly unachievable distance! 3.1 miles! At one time!?

But the interesting thing to me, was that I was physically able to run those 3 miles without realizing it, I just never learned to push myself or care.  I started paying more attention to what I ate and adopted a vegetarian diet.  Before I had even finished my first 5k.

I signed up for a 10k race for a month later.  I figured I’d call it quits at 5 miles and be done.

But by then, the training/running bug had got me.  I liked training and I liked working hard. Most of all, I loved the results.  So I did the unthinkable.  I signed up for a half marathon.  My first, my longest.  To complement the training schedule, I joined a gym for the group classes and starting lifting on a regular basis for muscle definition.  I started incorporating more and more Vegan meals into my diet.  It would be a month before my wedding, but I was confident I could do it and plan a wedding at the same time.

I did.

 

And now, here I am, still not even a year into running consistently and I’ve started my training for a full marathon.  Something I didn’t even know was on my bucket list of things to do in life, but in training – I realized it was.  I don’t know if I’ll run another marathon after that – but I’ve learned enough to never say never!  I enjoy racing and I enjoy running and I certainly enjoy the visible signs of improvement.

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs of running, weeks of bad runs and negative thoughts, that are totally and 100% erased by one good run.  Its a constant ebb and flow for me, fighting with myself to get out the door, fighting with my muscles, my stomach, my lack of self-confidence.  But for each time I get out the door and start running, for each distance I check off the list and solo gym trip I make, I’m gaining more than just physical fitness.  I’m becoming a stronger and healthier person mentally.  More confident in my abilities to do things and go places and to push.  I’m starting to learn what it means to have a strong work ethic.   And suddenly i’ve become so interested in what i’m eating, how i’m eating it – how to prepare and learning so many new flavors, foods and cooking techniques, its been amazing.  Suddenly I’m able to really understand how a food will make my body feel.

So my friends, its national running day and now you know my story.   What a perfect day to start running if you never have, to get back into running if you’ve for some reason stopped or just to go out for an enjoyable run, because you can.

Check out the link for some running tips and motivation to get you started!

http://www.fitsugar.com/Running-Tips-National-Running-Day-23436077

See you out there!

xo

 

 

Talk to me, Tuesday

November 8, 2011

The trend of my food not photographing well continues!  HOWEVER, a similar trend of the aforementioned tasting delicious is also continuing.  Win.  What you see above is Brandon’s suggestion for the weekly menu while flipping through my latest installment of “Clean Eating Magazine”.  A Roasted Portobello & Goat Cheese Sandwich.  For serious?  Yes please.  He even asked for a salad on the side.  Which I forgot about until 2 minutes before serving and threw together.  Which also turned out delicious.

Roasted Portobello & Goat Cheese Sandwiches, serves 4 

1 lb portobello mushrooms

1 1/2 tsp olive oil (i used Canola oil)

1/2 cup chevre

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper and sea salt

hamburger rolls of choice

arugula (or salad mix of choice).

This recipe is easy peasy.  Toss the mushrooms with the oil, lay them out on a baking sheet and roast at 375 for about 20 minutes, but don’t forget to turn them halfway through.  I was AMAZED at how brown and delicious these puppies got.  While the ‘shrooms are roasting, mix together the cheese, herbs, salt/pepper and lemon juice.  Layer the mushrooms, arugula and cheese on the buns and NOMNOMNOM.  The recipe actually calls for broiling the buns quickly, but given my general fear of setting off the smoke detector, I opted out of this one.

I’ll be honest guys, I don’t really measure much when it comes to some recipes.  This one was one of them.  In the end, I probably had a little too much goat cheese and not enough of the flavors in the cheese.  There was just a hint of them to tease.  Next time I make these I’ll definitely try to make a more even mixture, and DEFINITELY more mushrooms! But all in all.  These were super tasty.  Something that would be an easy lite dinner or lunch to make for friends or just as an easy meal for a weeknight.  I served it with a salad of mixed greens, sunflower seeds, craisins, threw on some of the goat cheese mix and some lemon poppy seed dressing.  Its a salad that’s hard to go wrong with and the lemon poppy seed I think really complimented the richness of the goat cheese spread on the sandwiches and tied in the lemon juice pretty well.  It would probably be really tasty with a slice of tomato and mozzarella instead of the goat cheese during the summer.  Any thoughts on how else to change it up?

I had a great workout this morning, even though I did NOT want to get out of bed.  I worked on upping my mile pace for my upcoming 5k (2.5 weeks!? Holy cow- Who else is doing a Turkey trot this year???).  I have my personal goal set for the time, but its always fun to push a little harder.  I did 4 miles this morning and using 6 mph as my warm up/recovery pace, I alternated between 4-5 minutes at 6 mph and 3-4 minutes at 7 mph.  I’m trying to decide which is better, longer strides or short fast strides.  Anyone have any thoughts?  Either way, I spent a lot of the run reminding myself that half of the hurdle is mental.  Running for 40 minutes is HARD and not just physically, mentally its really easy to get into the mind set of “this is so long, I can’t do this” or you get bored (so easy on a treadmill).  Its so easy to psyche yourself out and I love the added practice of mental discipline to a physical workout.  The things I’m learning will never cease to amaze me.

Welp – I’m off to make some lists and plan out my day tomorrow.  One thing I’ve come to realize is that self-improvement doesn’t just happen.  It takes work, a lot of hard work and practice.  And failing.  And taking those failures and learning from them.

I’ll leave you with things that i’m thankful for today:

I am grateful for: The ability to recognize areas within myself that need improving before being told about them.

I am grateful for: Friends that I can turn to and rely on to give honest, tough love, advice.

I am grateful for:  the ability to take the advice, the suggestions, the “not so subtle, subtle hints”, as constructive conversations, whereas a year ago, I would’ve taken it as a direct attack.

I am grateful for:  comfy bathrobes and fuzzy slippers…well I do…  🙂

you’re turn!

xo

 

 

 

Geekin’ out

November 1, 2011

What did you do this weekend?  As promised, a small sampling for you of the weekend with my parents.  Cliffnotes version:  I made crackers and served a late dinner of  delicious savory root vegetable shepherd’s pie (sorry, no pictures) and…

tried my hand at Ohsheglows amazing chocolate pumpkin pie dessert (see the recipe here http://ohsheglows.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6001732  – check out her recent cracker recipe too, serves as a great base for the crackers I made for “happy hour”).  It was simple and fun to make, amazingly delicious and best of all?  Not one person at the table knew it was Vegan!  Served again the next evening to Brandon’s mom, it still got an “oooh yum” seal of approval.  I’m almost afraid to let the secret out!    I LOVE the combo of flavors and the beautiful fall layers!

Although I love my savory Shepherd’s pie, it tends to be fairly time consuming to make.  What I would recommend, is if you’re going to make it, prep it the night prior so that way, all you have to do is mash the potatoes/celery root, throw them on top of the good stuff and into the oven it goes!  Here’s the recipe – its just too good NOT to share! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vegetarian-Shepherds-Pie-355994#ixzz1cVBioJF8  because I don’t think it needs it with the cremini mushrooms, I leave out the Seitan.  I’ve also found that leaving out the “fake stuff” makes vegetarian meals a little more palatable to the weak of heart :).  Do NOT skimp on the red wine reduction – this makes it SO tasty, but keep an eye on it, because it will (and HAS for me) go from “reducing” to “bitter sludge” oops.  But it gives the pie a deep purple color and rich flavor.  My other piece of advice is to definitely make an effort to add the celery root to the mashed potatoes.  It adds a unique flavor and subtle twist to the standard Shepherd’s pie topping and really helps tie the dish together, I think.  It takes a bit to throw together, but is a great dish to serve to non-vegetarian friends/family and not have them asking “where’s the meat???”.

The next morning, as I am loud and proud about being from Lancaster (no, I’m not Amish), I made some baked oatmeal with smashed bananas and raisins for breakfast.  I snuck in Almond milk to replace the regular milk in the recipe and I have to say this came out better than it would have with regular milk.

It got the ULTIMATE seal of approval when my dad said “now THIS I’d pay for at a restaurant”.   You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face if you tried.

I’m glad I didn’t do much cooking at the end of last week because I spent the majority of my time in the kitchen for the weekend – but it was so much fun!

If you’re wondering if I managed to keep up with my training over this busy weekend, I am proud to say I did! 🙂  I was really worried that after last week’s sluggish fest show my body put on, I wouldn’t be able to push through a 4 mile (gulp) run outside, but dutifully I set out my route on Friday and luckily Brandon offered to join the run on his bike.  It ended up being a beautiful sunny fall day, crisp and cool.  The run took us back through some of the neighborhoods across the street from our apartment with some beautiful houses.  I came back from the run feeling strong, happy and able to take on the world if I wanted to, but content to be satisfied with my accomplishments, and was even more surprised to see I had ran half a mile longer than planned!  There were a bunch of hills in this run (unexpected) and I definitely felt the last big one – but its really amazing what our bodies can do when we decide to do something.  Suffice to say though, I was perfectly happy to spend the remaining Sunday on the couch watching football, giving myself a manicure, reading and being under a blanket.    The cat’s were pretty tuckered too…a weekend of treats and playing with feathers and strings can wear even the best of us out…

Monday and today were pretty typical.  Had a good lifting workout last night where I upped my weights for a tough workout.   We lifted a full body circuit focusing on as many muscle groups as possible.  This means we did squats and dead lifts, worked our delts with DB flies, lateral raises, pushups, abs and obliques, triceps and biceps and the chest.  Serious lifting and my muscles were definitely fatigued, but that’s what feels the best!  This morning I pushed through wanting to stay in bed on our heated mattress pad (so.nice) and ran a tough 4 mile run with speed intervals (think warmup, 3 minutes at 6 mph, 1 minute at 7 mph, 3 minutes at 6 mph, 1 minute of 8 mph and repeat).  Knocked the 4 miles out in 39:30 and it was ROUGH.  For it being my first workout run at that distance, I’m pretty happy with it.   The intervals were definitely hard to do and by the end my body was tired and ready to be done.  But again, it allowed me to push it farther than I have before and I had a great workout in the end.  Best part about it?  It freed up my evening to come home and enjoy the chili that had been cooking in my crockpot all day, with no where to go but my couch to cuddle with my cat.  We’re watching Off Limits and right now he’s in Hawaii exploring old abandoned sugar plantation/factory bit, an old resort where people like Sinatra or Elvis stayed, Pearl Harbor, etc.  If you haven’t watched this show – do it.  Its SO interesting and you learn crazy things about the history of different cities that you don’t really get to hear about otherwise.

 

In retrospect, saying today was “pretty typical”.  I am seriously geeking out at how many new things I learned today.  Did ya’ll know why the Sciatic Nerve isn’t considered Kosher?  Neither did I.   I’ll spare you the explanation, but suffice to say – it was really interesting to learn about.  I love hearing about other religions and their traditions.   Secondly, this show blows my mind every time I watch it, for serious.

I think though, my favorite part of the day was finishing a great book i’ve been reading where I learned so much about a figure in history that has always intrigued me.  Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough is about Theodore Roosevelt.  In particular, there was an excerpt of a speech he gave in Dakota on an anniversary of July 4th.  It was a beautiful speech and almost haunting, even now.  I can’t help but think that its relevancy is stronger now than it was then.

“…Much has been given to us, and so, much will be expected of us; and we must take heed to use aright the gifts entrusted to the care…So it is peculiarly incumbent on us here today so to act throughout our lives as to leave our children a heritage, for which we will receive their blessing and not their curse …. If you fail to work in public life, as well as in private, for honest and uprightness and virture, if you condone vice because the vicious man is smart, or if you in any other way cast your weight  into the scales in favor of evil, you are just so far corrupting and making less valuable the birthright of your children…”

~Theodore Roosevelt

xo

 

 

 

 

Why do YOU do it?

October 25, 2011

This afternoon I had a really great discussion with a good friend of mine about the goals are reasons for running.  It was really interesting and brought out a lot of self-realizations and just interesting points.  So I thought maybe I’d share.

Anyone who knows me (well, the prior to October me) will attest that “a runner” is one of the last things I would define myself as.  If anything, I was a sprinter – years of softball with an emphasis on bursts of speeds vs. long distance running had me enjoying my time in the weight room more than on the track.   Fast forward 8 years and I’m suddenly shocking my friends by bringing up the possibility of this race or that race.  I heard “its like I don’t even KNOW you anymore!!” today.  This morning I continued training for the 8k with another 3.5 mile run on the treadmill – this time a workout, vs this weekend’s pleasant long run.  And let me tell ya – it was DEFINITELY far from pleasant.  It had me once again convinced I’d tumble off the treadmill in tears when my workout was done.  Now, a small disclaimer here:  I’m not THAT much of a wimp, I use these workouts to incorporate some high intensity speed bursts to try and be a stronger faster runner on top of upping the distance.  Which brings me to my first point, I only get one workout a morning.  I don’t want to leave it thinking “well, yeah – I went, but I definitely could have pushed myself harder”.  I want to come out of there going “that.sucked.  I am NEVER running again” and then feel proud when I lace up the sneaks for the next time.  To me, training is just as much mental as it is physical.   But seriously guys, how many times have we reached a point of discomfort while running, lifting or any workout really and thought “I can’t anymore”.  It would be so easy to stop and eventually be dissatisfied.  But the really, truly amazing thing is – when we push past that mental block and finish the workout.  We could be gasping at the end, red in the face, dripping with sweat, close to throwing up or tears, heck even all of the above.  In the end, what it comes down to, is something that was very eloquently put by my friend in her email:  “I can keep running, but I really don’t want to”.  Or in a slightly more positive way “I don’t want to keep going, but I know I can!”.  I’ve found that the more I run, the more that feeling of “I am NEVER running again” after a workout lasts for a shorter and shorter period of time, while that endorphin rush is starting to begin earlier and last longer.  Which leads me to my next point.  Why am I running? Why am I doing this?  I know some people who’s philosophy is “Well if you make yourself run faster, you’ll get the workout done faster and then you can move on with your life”.  While there IS some facet of truth to this, the faster you get your workout done, the faster you’re done with your workout.  But is that really why I want to be working out?  To obsess and burn the greatest number of calories and justify a glass of wine at the end of the day? As a female, I think I am particularly susceptible to this line of thinking.  But what I’ve found, is that having started to train for these races, my goal has no longer become “I’ll go until I burn this many calories” its become “I’m going to hit that distance!”  I’ve learned to enjoy my workouts for what they are, becoming a stronger person, physically, mentally and emotionally.  And this isn’t just isolated to running, I’ve started enjoying trail rides on my bike, I’ve gotten back into lifting.  All of these things, when I finish a tough goal I’ve set for myself – I feel amazing.  I’m constantly smiling, I feel strong and throw compliments at random strangers just because it makes me happy to make someone else smile.  I’m more self-confident, and here’s a secret guys, I haven’t stepped on a scale once in the past 2 months.  I don’t know what I weigh.  I can’t tell you how many calories I’ve burnt in the past 3 weeks with my workouts.  I CAN tell you how I’ve improved my 3 mile time and can now run a 10 minute mile for 3 consistent miles without gasping for air.  I can tell you that I’ve upped my time at 7 mph from 1 minute, to 3 minutes to 5 minutes while in my run.  My goals have changed, my perspective has changed.  My goal for eating is to sit down to something that is colorful, tasty, was fun to prepare, nutritious and able to fuel my body the right way to get on with the day.  On its own, my focus has shifted from a less healthy thought process and the emphasis is now on FIT and strong vs. skinny.  Yikes! When did this happen!?   But nowI have a better idea of why I’m waking up to get to the gym, why I’m lifting those weights even though my arms are starting to tremble (bye bye arm flab!), why suddenly I want to know what makes the things I put into my smoothie or pasta dish so good for me.

So now what?  My 5k is in just over 3 weeks.  My 8k shortly after.  What do I do next?  Do I say “ok, I’ve done that” and just trust myself to keep up with workouts without a clear, tangible goal in mind to achieve?  I dunno.  Frankly, I’m not sure I trust myself that much.  There’s a half marathon by my home town at the end of March.   I dunno guys.  Can I do it?  It’s a significantly longer distance than anything I’ve run yet.  I know I know, its in MARCH.  I haven’t even run my first 5k yet.  On one hand, there is plenty of time for training.  On the other hand – its scary a little bit – no?  But, I’m trying to decide what I think it is, that’s more daunting to me – the idea of running that far or of running for that LONG. I think, that I’m going to wait until after my 8k and see how I feel after finishing that.  There will be plenty of time to register if its something that’s important to me and will give me enough time to train effectively.  I’d like to think that after December 11th, I’ll be coming home or waking up the next morning and putting down that registration fee.  I’m really starting to enjoy the benefits of achieving these goals that DON’T have to do with the word “skinny”.   No matter what it is.   So what do you think?  Have you guys tended to accomplish a goal and then move on to something different or try and keep improving and stick with it past the goal?  Creating new goals along the way?   Should I run that half-marathon?  Why do you put on the sneakers?

To bring it all together, I was reading a little article on fitsugar.com that was talking about working out with your dog and I found one point that was particularly meaningful to me and seemed to really hit home with how I was feeling.  Lemme share:

“The Stats Aren’t Important

During my workouts, I used to worry about how many calories I burned or the distance I ran. But the calories and miles mean nothing to Murphy. He focuses only on the fun stuff — the sights, sounds, and smells of our exercise. Murphy reminds me that the best workouts are the ones during which we don’t worry about the stats.” http://www.fitsugar.com

Murphy is a pug.  Which only helps with the mental image of a little dog just HAPPY to be out, wagging his little tail, jumping around, loving spending time with his owner.  Now, I am not a pug (sad face), I don’t have a tail that I wag and I don’t really have an owner, persay.  But this idea is what I want my workouts to embody.  I want to get out there and just be happy doing what I’m doing and feeling how strong and amazing my body can be and end the day with more tally’s in the smile column.

Whew.  That was deep.  Sorry about that, but it felt like something that was pretty important to write and share.  And for some comical/culinary relief:

First up.  Garfield.  He rules my life, he’s got some awesome little nuggets of wisdom.  Like this one.   And its true, life IS totally a roller coaster sometimes.  But this comic made me laugh so hard, because sometimes, you just need to not take life so seriously, I think.

courtesy of mah computer screen (try http://www.garfield.com for the real deal).

For dinner – the boy requested a pasta primavera of sorts.  Not too particularly challenging, but as it was a vegetarian meal I DIDN’T have to force feed him (I kid, I kid), I happily agreed.  By the time this dish was done – I felt like I was back at college with a healthier version of the pasta bar at school.  Here’s How:

take whatever veggies you want.  Here I chose the last of a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, peas,  some asparagus (obsession continues, I know), zucchini, squash and GARLIC (in the words of Brandon “NEED MORE GARLIC”) and saute with a little canola oil (or whatever oil you choose) until the veggies are done.

While you’re doing that – boil some pasta.  I combo’d some elbow and rigatoni to get enough pasta together.

Toss it together with a sprinkling of garlic powder (told you), sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, loaded up the oregano, some feta cheese and parm.   and a drizzle of truffle oil, enough to make the stuff sort’ve glide together.  (Can pasta and veggies glide together? Who knows…)

The final product is something a little like this:

  which by the way, should fall under the “delicious” category.

So now that I have poured out my workout soul to you, shared a little of how I develop my life philosophies (he he he) and showed you an embarrassingly simple but healthy, delicious dinner, I’m going to go wag my tail at something.  Simple pleasures for the win.