Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kettlebells & Something for Everyone Dinner

Weights, Kettlebells & Tabata 
Since I'm not supposed to be running right now, I had to come up with another workout option today. I couldn't do spin because I had an afternoon meeting and honestly think the pressure from the pedals would have hurt my heel.

So, I decided to do shoulders and chest with a bit of a low-impact tabata style workout at the end using kettlebells (with the exception of the squat thrusts - though I should have done squat thrusts w/ pushups).

I started with about 20 minutes easy on the elliptical as a warm up. I did the weights as supersets of 3x8 unless noted before started the tabata workout.

SS#1
Shoulder press
Flat-bench dumbbell press

SS#2
Upright rows
Pushups with toes on bench (10 reps)

SS#3
Lateral raise
Staggered flat-bench press

Tabata Workout
Do each exercise for 20 secs with 10 sec rest then rest 1 min after each circuit, repeated 3 times

Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell figure 8's
Kettlebell squat pulls
Squat thrusts
Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell figure 8's
Kettlebell squat pulls
Squat thrusts

If my foot wasn't bothering me, I would have done burpees rather than squat thrusts and possible other plyo exercises. Since I can't do much jumping, I just repeated the kettlebell swings and such instead as they really do get your heart rate up there. Oh, and major core work happening as an added bonus.

I'd say that this routine goes to show you can have a kickbutt, intense workout without it having to be high impact. Even better, you'll feel this all through your core, quads, glutes, shoulders. I'm definitely keeping this one on the workout books to do again.

While I'm not happy about not being able to run, perhaps it's a good push for me to do something different for a change.

Something for Everyone Dinner
Dinner tonight was super easy as I had already made the main dish portion. I had some leftover lentil soup in the freezer that I took out, thawed, and drained. I turned that into an easy lentil loaf by mixing in some oat flour, whole oats, and chia seeds. I baked it for about an hour until firm. I did all this the other day so I would have this on hand for an easy dinner. Love it when I'm thinking ahead.

I made up a super simple roasted red bell pepper sauce to go on top. Just puree cashews that have either been soaked or ground with small amount of almond milk, splash of apple cider vinegar, jarred roasted red bell peppers and seasonings to your liking. Once everything is pureed, you can heat it up in a sauce pan or microwave.
 

To go with the lentil loaf, I went ahead and roasted some fingerling potatoes (Jason's fave) and sauteed up some kale (my fave). So, it was a something for everyone kind of meal. Even better, it didn't take me much work to get it ready. I call that a win all the way around.

Daily To-Enjoy List:

  • New workout
  • Warm temperatures
  • Easy dinner

Monday, January 30, 2012

Friendships and Stir Fry

Sappy Friendship Monday


I saw this quote on pinterest, and it is so incredibly true for me. If someone doesn't know me, they tend to think I am very reserved (well, I kind of am) maybe even snobbish because I am so quiet. It's hard for me to put myself out there to start up a conversation. I always feel awkward, like I'm going to say something totally asinine (which does happen).

So, I stand back, watch, listen. I try to figure out where I might fit into the conversation, into the group. Sometimes I never do. Maybe I miss out on friendships for not putting myself out there. I've always had just a small group of very close friends - the ones that love me because I am indeed a nutcase.

I will say, however, that blogging has actually pushed me into new realms of friendship. I never thought you could be friends with someone you didn't know in person, that is, until blogging. Now I truly believe that you can indeed have some great friendships without meeting face-to-face.

And sometimes, if you're lucky, and you put yourself really out on a limb, you do meet these people. I am so thankful that I totally stepped out of my safe little comfort zone almost two years ago when I let my friends Jessica and Jolene convince me to sign up for the Cathe Friedrich Road Trip.

I was really panicked when I actually registered and my registration went through in time (only 105 people are allowed to go). Holy crap, what the hell did I just do??? I am going to spend a weekend with people I barely know, never met, and get my butt kicked by Cathe herself? Really?

But, it was one of the best things I did for myself. And, because of that, I have two incredible friends who are always so supportive, kind, caring. I guess I just want to say thank you to all of my friends and especially to those who do take the time to really care, who take the time to check in. Sometimes a simple email can make a world of difference.

You never know how your actions can affect others, so take a minute to reach out when someone is on your mind. It'll probably make your day as well.

Not So Sappy Stir-Fry
Ok, enough sappiness right? How about spicy instead?

This weekend we spotted some baby bok choy at the store so we picked it up to include in stir-fry this week. Rather than let it sit and wilt, I decided to go ahead and make the stir fry tonight. Nothing fancy, no real recipe here.

I typically cheat and use a pre-made stir-fry sauce or just throw together a quick sauce using soy sauce, PB2, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, and some garlic powder...oh and Sriracha of course.

Tonight that's the sauce I went with. I first dry-seared tofu to remove as much liquid as possible. Then I tossed it into the marinade and baked at 400 degrees until very firm (flipping once).
 

For the stir-fry, I sauted carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, and bok choy then tossed in some green peas and the tofu at the end.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Friendship
  • Easy dinner

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kick Butt Workout & Dinner with Friends

Weights & Tabata
Today was a gym day for me. I started with 20 minutes on the elliptical (but the treadmills were calling to me sadly). Then I hit the weights for biceps, back, triceps. I went with 3 sets of 8 reps unless noted then followed up the weights with a tabata session.

TS#1
Barbell curls (with EZ bar) - 6 reps
Pullovers
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

TS#2
Hammer curls (increased weight)
Wide-grip assisted chinups (struggled with these today)
Weighted triceps dips (increased weights)

TS#3
Incline curls (increased weight for half the reps of each set)
Single-arm row
Triceps pulldowns

Tabata - 20 seconds each exercise with 10 seconds rest. Rest 1 minute between circuit. Repeated 3 times
Plie jacks
Speed skaters
Kettlebell swints
Tuck jumps
Lateral hops
Kettlebell figure 8's

Um, yowzer on the HIIT/Tabata workout. I have sooooo lost any of my quick burst endurance. Let me run for 10 miles and I'm good. But short back-to-back bursts kicked my butt. Of course, in a good way. I need to shake things up a bit so I think I'll try to add in more HIIT sessions like this one. It was also fun using the kettlebell, which I never use.


Piddling & Pizza
After the workout, Jason and I hit the grocery store. So much excitement for Saturday right ;-) He finished watching a basketball game, then we headed out for a trip to Target then to clean my filthy dirty car then piddled at an antique shop for a bit.

I did score some clearanced curtains at Target at least. I am planning on doing some easy faux Roman shades in the kitchen. I was happy to find some curtains I could use for under 7 bucks a panel. We also found some new knobs and drawer pulls for the kitchen. Planning to pain the cabinets white, so the oil-rubbed bronze hardware we picked up will look great (we hope).

We were meeting some friends for an early dinner around 5 at a small pizza joint called Pizza Cafe. They have really good pizzas and salads and an awesome outdoor deck area. It's rare that we go there in the winter, because we typically think of going just to enjoy the patio. Must remember this place more often though. Especially with my sis because they now have a gluten-free pizza crust.

As always, we had an enjoyable time with our friends. Just chitchatting and enjoying some good eats. It's hard to beat that sometimes. Simplicity is the way to go if you ask me. Just good food, good friends.

The rest of the evening is being spent pretty lazily. We're just chilling out - I think that's the perfect way to top off a Saturday. I hope you all are having a great weekend.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Weight workout
  • Time with friends
  • Relaxing

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - 11 Randoms & Answers

Today is a much-needed rest day for me, just as much mentally as physically. While I enjoy working out and it usually helps relieve stress, it really is mentally taxing when you think about it. So brains need a break just as much as muscles sometimes.

I always worry that my posts are going to be sub-par on rest days or on days when I don't have any recipe to post. Unlike a lot of bloggers, I don't post incredibly thoughtful posts dealing with topics like gratitude, finding happiness, finding true balance, or the meaning of life.

I would like to think that some of those things do come out in my blog in bits in pieces, in how I live my life and who I am. If that makes any kind of sense (and not even taking a muscle relaxer right now either LOL).

Perhaps this is why I rely on Fun Facts Fridays for Friday posts. It's usually a rest day, rarely a recipe kind of day, and it's a good time to just do something different, fun, random, sometimes silly. I think it's safe to say that most of us are brain-dead on Fridays, so light-hearted is the name of the game here.

This week's Fun Facts Friday post came easily thanks to a blogger game going around where you tag people to list 11 random facts and have them answer questions. Yesterday, I was tagged by a lovely lady - Melissa from Melissa Dishes, so here it goes?

The rules of this post:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Tag those people.


11 Random Things

1. I love lemons, plain old lemons. 

2. I need to sleep on the side of the bed nearest to the bathroom.

3. In school I always tried to sit closest to the door.

4. When I was in the 1st grade, I wanted to be a bus driver.

5. When I was 5 I wanted to be a "cheerleader" my godmother even bought me official Dallas Cowboy pompoms.

6. I have munchkin sized feet - I wear 5.5-6

7. I want to get a bike to ride with Jason, but I'm terrified of falling and hurting myself OR hurting someone else.

8. I hate needles but have a tattoo and want another one.

9. I have an obsession about owning hardback books. 

10. I'm a terrible cuticle picker so my fingers look awful at times. 

11. I'm very touchy feely when it comes to fabrics and textures. When going through stores, I touch almost everything.

11 Questions from Melissa
1. How long have you been blogging? Almost 2 1/2 years (wow, that long???)

2. Why did you start blogging? Hubby encouraged as way to possibly make extra money. Money isn't coming in but blogging is my prize.

3. Would you live in your hometown again? NO

4. Would you clone your pet if money isn’t an object? This is tricky….I adore Maddie, and will miss her terribly when she's gone but only her good traits. Heath - would definitely clone that sweet guy in a heartbeat.

5. What’s your favorite restaurant? Karyn's Cooked in Chicago

6. What is your go-to snack? Totally depends on where I am. Love PB on apples or rice cake or ThinkThin protein bar.

7. Hot or cold weather? Hot

8. More muscle, faster runner, or weigh less? What would you rather be? Oh tough call between muscle and faster runner. Can I split the difference? 

9. Favorite Girl Scout cookie? Thin Mint

10. Favorite drink? Pinot Noir

11. Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? Sometimes I do.

I know I'm supposed to tag people and give you questions, but how about you answer one of the questions above and/or give me some random fact? The quirkier the better!

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • It's Friday
  • Laughs from this post
  • Rest day

Don't forget to share your to-enjoy list via twitter. Just use #toenjoylist 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pooptastic Day - But Still Thankful

Poopy Round 1
Literally, it was poopy. In reality I'm saying shitastic in case you want to know the truth. It was raining this morning, so I pulled on my handy rain boots. I didn't realize it until I had already gotten to work, but I managed to step on wet dog poop walking to the car. This, of course, meant that their was poop in the car. Yay.

I had my doctor's appointment for my sciatica and foot pain at 9:15 this morning. Without going off on a major rant about doctors prescribing an assload of meds to mask the pain and not really and truly trying to figure out what's wrong, I'll just say that I have 4 prescriptions for pain meds, muscle relaxers, steroids.

I rarely even take Advil or Ibuprophen let alone a cocktail of pain meds. However, I really am in enough pain that I did start the prednisone and left work early to take the muscle relaxer in hopes of some relief. The doctor is setting me up with an orthopedic specialist next week. So, maybe we'll get to the true root of the problem then.

The clinic is actually in the same building as my gym, so I went on over to the gym to get my workout done while I was there. I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical to warm up and then did supersets of 3x8 (unless noted) for chest and shoulders. I also added in abs at the end of the workout.

SS#1
Arnold press
Flat bench dumbbell press

SS#2
Lateral raise
Pushups with toes on bench (10 reps)

SS#3
Front raise
Staggered chest press with dumbbells (10 reps)

The workout was pretty good. I went up in weights on lateral raise so my shoulders are already feeling it.


Poop Rounds 2 & 3
Now, back to the poop. Walking back into the house from the gym, more poop on the shoe. Really? I was trying to tip-toe down the path as best as I could. The dogs aren't wanting to go out in the wet grass, so they're making a mess of the walkway.

After I got cleaned up (back in my sweater dress and super cute Naughty Monkey Booties), I had to stand out in the rain with a towel and cleaner to try to get the poop off the gas pedal and brake in the car. Good times my friends, good times.

I went back to work for a few hours, picked up my meds, finished a few things that I couldn't do at home, then headed back home only to step in poop yet again. No freaking joke - 3 times in one day. If that's not a sign I don't know what is.

So, I took the muscle relaxer and plopped my butt on the couch with my laptop. I could safely do some work on the couch without screwing anything really important up. I don't even recall the last time I had a muscle relaxer, so I wasn't sure how it'd affect me. I'm really sensitive to meds.

I kept waiting for my muscles to actually relax. That never seemed to happen. I mean, I still feel the shoulder work and the pain in my foot and butt. However, I'm beyond relaxed so I kind of don't care too much. Guess that's better than nothing huh?

Anyway, that's my poopy day story for you. At least I can sit here with a stupid grin on my face right? There won't be any new recipe tonight. I think I need to stay away from sharp objects. Jason doesn't know it just yet, but he'll have to take care of the dinner this evening.

Still Thankful
And, because I don't want this post to sound terribly poopy (aka negative) I do want to at least acknowledge that while I was unhappy with doctor's visit, I know I am lucky to have insurance to even go to the doctor.

I may not be able to run, but at least I am capable of lifting weights.

I might be in pain, but that's minor compared to what some people might be going through today. 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Good weight workout
  • Being able to finish workday at home
  • My overall health

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Leg Day & Spicy White Chili for Cold Night

Leg Day
Today I hit the gym for legs. I was oddly looking forward to leg day actually. I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical as my warmup then did 1 set of 10 reps of squats with no weight on the bar as an additional warmup for the legs. I did either supersets or trisets as 3 sets of 8 reps unless noted.

SS#1
Barbell squats (increased weight again)
Calf raises - 15 reps with increased weight

TS#1
Step-ups (with dumbbells)
Stiff-legged deadlifts (increased weight)
Firewalkers - 4 each direction

TS#2
Alternating front lunges
Plie squats with low-end pulse
Hamstring roll-ins on ball - 12 reps

SS#2 - only 2 sets of 8 reps each leg
Single-leg squats
Outer thigh raise with resistance band

This was a pretty good workout overall. I was glad I was able to increase weight again for squats. Next week I need to increase the weights for alternating lunges. I do think I need to add in more single-leg moves as well like the single-leg squats and maybe single-leg deadlifts as well.

Cold Rain = Chili Night
I've been pretty busy at work with some big projects going on. While it can help make the day go faster, I'm leaving feeling totally worn out. And cold, rainy weather sure doesn't help pep you up much either.

I had planned on making something tonight with fingerling potatoes (which Jason loves) and maybe roasted broccoli. But, the cold rain called for something warm and cozy, like chili. Since we had a regular red chili a few days ago, I went with my Spicy White Chili with Tempeh tonight.


It was a close call between the chili and a butternut squash soup as I had leftover squash from last night. Maybe that will be tomorrow's dinner because it's supposed to be a repeat of today in terms of weather.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Leg day
  • Comfort meal
  • Relaxing on couch

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Spinning & Kale Loving

Spin In Lieu of Running
I'm going to try to set up the workout in the most positive manner as I can. Today was sunny and mid-60's. It seems that almost everyone is experiencing some incredible late-January weather. It would have been ideal for a run. In fact, I had my running clothes packed. I was determined to get in a run today.

However, my foot and sciatica are really causing me some serious pain. So much so, that I skipped the run and hit up spin instead. This about killed me (ok, a bit dramatic, but you get the picture). Ideal weather for running in January (so rare) and I can't run? It just doesn't seem very fair at all.

While spin was a great workout, it was not at all what I wanted to be doing. All I could do was stare out the windows and dream of what it feels like to be out there running, and running pain-free.

So, I did something I've been putting off...I made a doctor's appointment for Thursday. While I have an idea what's going on, at this point, I think it's safe to say that nothing I'm doing is helping. We have runner's injury/prevention books spread out everywhere. I've been stretching, rolling, stretching (even at my desk). I massage my foot all throughout the day. And still pain.

Maybe they can at least help me find an adequate physical therapist or physical therapy routine. At this point, I'm just desperate and frustrated. But, enough whining.

Tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be stormy. While I normally wouldn't be happy about that, I am because it definitely ensures that I won't be pining to run outside ;-)

I Love Kale
Since we had fajitas last night, I didn't go with the Taco Tuesday theme. But it really sounded good. I had some kale and butternut squash on hand, and that sounded really good for the evening. Seriously loving kale.

I decided to just roast the butternut squash and add that to sauteed kale. I knew I needed more protein so I added cannellini beans and then brown rice to complete the protein.

Butternut Squash, Kale & White Bean Bowl
Ingredients:
1/2 butternut squash, cubed and roasted
3/4 cup cooked brown rice (more or less depending how much you like rice)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and rough chopped
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine or vegetable broth
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, nutmeg

Directions:
Roast your butternut squash and cook your rice (or other grain of choice).

In the meantime, in large skillet, saute the onions, garlic, bell pepper for approximately 3 minutes. Add in the white wine or broth then add in the kale and seasonings. Cover to allow the kale to steam. Cook until the kale is soft (I like mine very well done). As an option, you can add in a drizzle of agave for a sweeter flavor.

Once the kale is done, add in the squash, beans, and barley. Toss and re-season if needed.
 

This turned out just OK, a little flat. It was missing a zing - so next time I'll add red wine vinegar or perhaps apple cider vinegar for some acidity. I did sprinkle mine with some nutritional yeast flakes, so that could be added in during the cooking as well. 


Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Spin
  • Sunshine
  • Veggie heavy dinner
Oh, and if you're interested in sharing your to-enjoy list, you can use the twitter hashtag #toenjoylist. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Motivation Monday - Inpsiring Quotes

Spin & Motivation
Today was supposed to have been warm and sunny, but the sun was very slow to come out. That was probably a good thing though, less tempting for me to try to run. Instead, I hit up spin.

I guess yesterday's interval run kicked my booty more than I realize. My legs felt like dead weights during spin class. In my mind I was keeping pace with the music, in reality it probably looked like I was barely moving. The only reason you'd know I was truly working was from the sweat pouring off of me.

After work I spent about 20 minutes stretching. I'm hoping it loosens up the tension or tomorrow may end up having to be a rest day.

Tonight is going to be simple - fajitas (for Mexican Monday). I'm just using homemade seitan and sauteing with onions, bell peppers, and portobello mushrooms. It's not really even much of a recipe really. In fact, I sort of feel bad about how measly this post is today. I don't feel like I have any great workouts to share, no recipes, no words of wisdom.

I almost opted to not post actually. But, I started thinking that maybe I'd do sort of a Motivation Monday type of post. I was inspired by Dorry @ Living With Healthy Hunger. She always has the most inspiring posts. They always speak to me.

Today her post was on generosity. I am a believer in being generous. And part of that is being inspiring, it's sharing, it's being supportive (and you need to check out her list of course). So I thought I'd share some quotes that I also find to be inspiring. That's my generosity for the day I suppose. Motivation. Oh, and I love Pinterest for awesome quotes.





Where do you find motivation? What's something that inspired or motivated you today?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Spin class
  • Easy dinner
  • Inspiration

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Intervals & Housework on Dreary Sunday

More Intervals
Originally it was supposed to have been about 66 degrees today and sunny. Instead, it was heavy fog, mist, and about 36 degrees when I woke up. While I know I couldn't have done a long run today, I had still hoped to get outside for a medium-distance run at the very least. But that just wasn't happening.

After having a mini-meltdown about not knowing what other workout I could do, I packed up the laptop and headed to the gym. I briefly thought about shoulders and chest today, but my biceps are pretty sore from yesterday, so that wouldn't have made for an ideal lifting session.

My next thought was to try to do 2 maybe 3 miles tops on the treadmill depending on my foot situation. Then I could set up the laptop in the cardio room and do some boxing or kickboxing.

So, I hopped on the treadmill and stared out into the solid wall of white clouds. I must say that can be very disorienting. Usually I get to look out over the river, today, no view at all. I had low hopes of a decent run.

I got going though, and things just fell in place. So I ended up hitting 6 miles with some pretty good intervals. I may be WAY off my half marathon training plan, but at least I'm still moving right?

2 miles warm up at 9:13 min/mile
4 mins at 8:34 with 4 mins at 9:31 recovery
3 mins at 8:34 with 3 mins at 9:31 recovery
2 mins at 8:34 with 2 mins at 9:31 recovery
2 x 1 min at 8:13 at with 1 mins at 9:31 recovery
30 second intervals starting at an 8 min/mile all the way down to 7:30 min/mile (maybe 6 intervals I think)
Rounded out to 6 miles at 8:57 min/mile to finish

The 8:34 min/mile pace is definitely feeling much more comfortable. This is a good thing of course. Now I need to start increasing the interval time to a full mile then start increasing the pace again. I may not be able to do really long runs right this moment, but maybe that's good for me in the end. Maybe this is my chance to focus on some speed.

When I go home, I took a nice hot shower, put on some comfy yoga pants and big baggy (aka super ugly but super comfy) sweatshirt and hit the yoga mat. I tried to stretch even longer than I normally would after a long run. I also tried to spend more time rolling out the kinks on the Triggerpoint Therapy Kit.

I think in order to get past these injuries, I am going to have to be even more diligent about recovery. Not only continuing to really focus on the strength training for my lower body, but additional stretching, yoga poses, and rolling on the Triggerpoint. I also need to suck it up and invest in a few massage sessions. I need to realize that it's not a frivolous expense, but rather a necessity for me and keeping my body healthy for running.

Do you see massages as something frivolous, more pampering or do they fall into the necessity category for you?

Housework Kind of Day
The rest of the day was spent doing housework. It was such an ugly day out. So foggy that it was misting and just wet and damp. I had hoped to get started on some big projects, but Jason needed to finish work in the attic first.

After the water heater went out a few weeks ago and he pulled pretty much everything out of the attic, he left it out so that he could finish cleaning out tons of junk that was left there before we bought the house. Plus, not all of the flooring is secure, so he's working on that. This all means more usable space up there for better storage.

Until all the "stuff" makes its way back to the attic, I can't exactly get started on some of the projects I want to get going - like painting the gym room and our bedroom. Plus we're going to paint our kitchen cabinets.

I did manage to get lots of laundry done and even folded. I also did a lot of paper shredding and bill filing. We have a really bad tendency to let paid bills just pile up and not actually file them. The office is flat out embarrassing to me.

While I was on a cleaning spree, I pulled out my magic eraser and went to town trying to scrub down our stove, hood vent, pretty much all surfaces in the kitchen. I swear that magic eraser can make me terribly OCD. I pretty much destroyed a brand new sponge in one cleaning session. But man things look shiny ;-)

I'm fairly certain that the rest of the day will be spent piddling around doing more chores here and there. I do have 2 more loads of laundry going right now that I'll have to attend to at some point. But other than that, it's a very very low-key day around here.

I hope you are having a great Sunday whether you're just relaxing or being super productive.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Run
  • Being productive
  • No makeup or hair fixing day

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weights, Errands, Late Relaxing Lunch

Gym Day 
Today was a gym day. I did legs yesterday knowing that today would not be my long run Saturday as it has been in the past. It was really kind of damp, gray, and cold out, so that worked out nicely I think....the fact that I hadn't planned a run.

I did 2.5 miles on the treadmill as a warmup and to try to loosen my legs up. The first 1/2 mile was a total pain in the ass and foot (literally) and very mental. I was getting really mad at myself, at my body, at everything. I am really starting to have doubts about this next half marathon, so those thoughts were creeping in.

Negative thoughts never make for a good run, especially a treadmill run. As my body warmed up, everything did start to loosen up at least. So the foot pain subsided as did the butt/hip pain. I tried to just zone out, to listen to my music, to not look at the time at all. So, 2.5 miles done. That's pretty much all I can say about that one.

Today was biceps, triceps, back. I had to adjust my plan a bit midstream as someone was hogging a piece of equipment that I was planning to use. Not bitter of course ;-) I guess I've gotten so used to the gym being empty on Sundays, that I didn't think about it being busier on a Saturday.

I went with trisets of 3x8 unless noted and increased weight today for hammer curls for at least half of the reps (this made me very happy).

TS#1
Alternating dumbbell curls
Lying triceps extensions
Wide-grip assisted chinups

TS#2
Hammer curls
Double-arm kickbacks
Single-arm row

TS#3
Cross-body curls
Weighted dips 12 reps (was planning to do pulldowns)
Pullovers (was planning barbell rows)

I finished with some ab work using weights as well as stability ball (pikes and rollouts). I really felt stronger today. I felt like I could have possibly gone heavier on the triceps extensions and was very pleased with my weight for hammer curls. And the assisted chinups felt slightly easier as well. I think next week I will try to drop the assisted weight again for as many reps as possible and see how that goes.

Errands & Late Lunch
After the gym, we headed to our favorite running store. They were having a big tent sale. Unfortunately, no shoes in my size, well shoes for me in my size I should say. I did find another running hat though for 10 bucks.

Then it was off to the grocery store. Been putting this trip off too long. At least we now have fresh veggies and fruit again. I'm not sure what was going on, but I kept getting colder and colder while we were at the store. I mean, grocery stores are cold, but I had on a puffy coat and shouldn't have been so chilled.

By the time I got home, I told Jason I had to go shower to try to warm up. I left him to unload the groceries only to find that the water wouldn't get hot. It was warm, but not hot. When they replaced the water heater recently, I guess they set it on a more energy efficient setting. Um, that's great, but this chick needed HOT water.

I promptly put on yoga pants, long-sleeved T, and fleece jacket. Finally some warmth. I started to make myself lunch, but then Jason decided (in his mind without telling me) that he wanted to go out to lunch to finish watching the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game.

So, out of glorified jammies into real clothes and out the door. We did have a nice, relaxing lunch at least. Though I was anticipating lunch in my jammies. Since lunch was so incredibly late, dinner will be very light tonight. Light and simple. Funny that now that the fridge is stocked, I'm not planning on making anything.


Accomplishments
While I didn't get in my long run today, I must give a shout out to one awesome chick who got in a PDR run. Cory at Learning Patience hit 10 miles today! I remember how insanely happy, proud, excited I was to hit double-digits for the first time. So this made me so happy for her. Maybe you can make a quick stop over to her blog post (linked above) and give her a big high 5.

What was one of your proudest moments? It doesn't have to be a PDR or heaviest lift of course, just one of those accomplishments that you will never forget. For me it was definitely my first 10-miler, then my first half, then hitting 14.5 miles.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Weight day
  • Relaxing

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - 5 Things to Smile About

Leg Day
I am so used to Fridays being rest days. It was really hard forcing myself to get in my workout today. Definitely feeling more fatigued because of this sinus crud - or maybe it's just the medicine. Plus it's really heavy fog, gloomy out today. A big recipe for sleep.

However, I was meeting a friend to get her started on a weight workout rotation I put together for her. So, the pressure was on. I couldn't back out. I was also excited to meet her up there and get her started. The fact that she trusts me makes me nervous of course. Talk about pressure!

So, while I was a little tired, I had motivation. And, of course, once I got going with my own workout, I actually felt much better, much more awake.

Today I opted for legs. I went with supersets and went heavier for most exercises. I did 3x8 unless noted.

Barbell squats - warmup set of 10

SS#1
Barbell squats
Plie squats

SS#2
Stiff-legged deadlifts
Rear leg elevated lunges

SS#3
Step ups
Calf raises - 15 reps

SS#4
Hamstring rollins on ball - 10 reps
Fire walkers - 4 each direction

I finished out with 15 minutes on the elliptical with my friend. I had her doing some HIIT intervals so I thought it was only fair that I at least did the elliptical as well.

I left feeling a little disappointed in the fact that my legs weren't feeling the workout like I thought they would. In a way, this was a blessing. When I got back to work, the elevators were out. I had to walk up 10 flights of stairs to get to my office (and 10 flights in office building is like double flights). Um, legs were shaking after than one!

Fun Facts Friday - 5 Things to Smile About
It is Fun Facts Friday, so I suppose I should get right down to it. It's probably more interesting than reading about my workouts anyway.

Today's was inspired by the fact that two other blogger friends are dealing with family health crises right now. It definitely makes me stop and think about how lucky I am right now that my family is all healthy and well.

I thought it would be sort of uplifting to list out the things that made me happy today. To make it fit with Fun Facts Friday (the whole "F" thing) we'll go with 5. These are things from either family or friends or just random joys that made me smile. Life can deal us some crap sometimes, so it's important to remember those little happies during the day.

1.  An email from my friend Jessica reminding me that she'll be here to visit in less than a month! Now that's something to smile about for certain. Oh and then later emails planning a run together when she's here.

2.  The fact that I am helping a friend get started with lifting weights, and that she didn't hate me after the workout is a bonus ;-)

3.  Thinking about spending the evening with my husband with no obligations, no set plans, just us relaxing.

4.  Looking forward to running this weekend no matter what the distance ends up being - not having the pressure is kind of nice too.

5.  Reading this fun post of random facts and relating to almost all of them (kind of scary).  Anyone else hate hate hate to mess with the vacuum cleaner cord? Raise your hand.

What's something that made you smile today?

Daily To-Enjoy List:

  • Leg day (yes, I was really looking forward to it oddly enough)
  • The fact that it's Friday

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Treadmill, Tofu, Thankful on Thursday

Treadmilling It
Today I was still really stuffy, but I felt less like I had been run over by a truck at least. Just the stuffy then runny then stuffy nose with sinus headache to contend with.

I had really planned to go run outside after work. It was supposed to be sunny and about 60 degrees. Then I got it in my head that I wanted to run at lunch, at which time the sun disappeared. I wasn't sure if it was really going to get sunny and warm again or not and was dead set on working out midday. So, I ended up running on the treadmill. I honestly didn't know how long I could go with this congestion going on.

I figured it would be safer and smarter to just go up to the gym and if I could only do a mile, then it's not like I had wasted time driving to the river trails. Plus, if it's allergies, then maybe running outside isn't so smart either.

The plan was to see what I could do with the goal of 4 miles doing some interval speed work, which I've been slacking on big time. I actually hadn't even planned out how I wanted to do the intervals, this is so not like me at all. And it's soooo not like me to be so incredibly off my half marathon training plan. At this point, I don't even want to look at it.

After the first mile at an easy warm-up pace of 9:13 min/mile, I was feeling better than I had expected. So I jumped right into 1/2 mile intervals.

Intervals 1 and 2
1/2 mile at 8:34 min/mile
1/2 mile recovery at 9:31 min/mile

Interval 3
1/2 mile at 8:41 min/mile (was getting pretty fatigued)
1/2 mile recovery at 9:31 min/mile

Interval 4
1/4 mile at 8:41 min/mile
1/4 mile at 9:31 min/mile

I finished out the last half mile at an 8:57 pace to hit an even 5 miles. And while I really don't like to run on the treadmill, I think this ended up being a really smart choice today. It forced me to do intervals as that's the only way I can do more than 3 miles, and because I was done with the workout much faster without having to drive to and from the river trails (won't really run neighborhood solo).

Tofu Thursday
After work I made a quick trip to Target. They had the same curtains I purchased for the spare bathroom remodel on clearance. I wanted to use them for my little gym room. Unfortunately they only had the 84" length and I really needed 95" or longer. Luckily, they had the valances so that covered up the fact that I had to lower the curtains.
Source

Now I just need to get in the gym room and do some major patchwork repair before painting and hanging a wall mirror. When we bought our house, it was sinking in the middle, so we had it leveled. This of course created tons of cracks in the old plaster. We totally ran out of steam in the repair cracks department. So that room is in desperate need of repair.

I did remember to pick up some frozen veggies at least since I've yet to hit the grocery store. I decided to go with an easy tofu stir fry. I was going to use brown rice, but surprise surprise, didn't have enough. I did, however, have some rice noodles at least.
 

I dry-seared the tofu to remove the water as I had not pressed it. I made a marinade for the tofu to also use in the stir fry. I had only a small amount of a pre-made stir fry sauce left, so I used that with low-sodium soy sauce, sriracha chili, OJ, and PB2. I tossed the tofu in the mix and then baked until super firm before adding to the stir fry.

Thankful Thursday
On a serious note, we'll call it Thankful Thursday, a fellow blogger's father had a stroke. She is now on her way across country to be with him, and she's written a great reminder post: Why You Should Always Say I Love You.

This is something that my mom instilled in me and my sister. I never hang up the phone without telling my family that I love them. We say it in our emails, texts, phone calls. No, not bragging or saying I'm somehow better. I still sometimes forget to tell my friends or even my husband just how much they mean to me. Her post reminded me of this today and reminded me to be thankful for my family, my husband, and my friends.


Daily To-Enjoy List
  • Run 
  • Sunshine
  • Warmer temps
  • Easy Dinner

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doing the NotSick Chant & Happy for Chili

NotSickNotSick
Remember how I said yesterday started off at 70 degrees? This morning it was 25 degrees. It makes it so difficult to just get used to one temperature when it's all over the board. At least it was sunny and not windy. I had packed my gym bag with clothes to go for a run actually. The high was supposed to be about 45 degrees. For me, chilly, but I was so wanting to get outside.

My body had a different plan for me though. I have been sneezing my head off for the past couple of days, then the sinus headache came on yesterday. This morning it hit me...I'm getting sick, but doing the "NotsickNotsick" chant of course. I'm really hoping it's just allergies. I don't think I can blame it on the temperature swings, but I think I'm going to anyway ;-)

Needless to say, today was a rest day. I had absolutely no energy. And if I had tried to do anything, snot would have been flying. Gross, but true. I did find some Mucinex to take, but I'm not so sure it's doing anything other than making me feel dehydrated.

I left work early to go home and put on my PJs and sit on the couch with the pups and mug of green tea. They are very happy with how the day is turning out - all of us piled up on the couch. Now the difficulty is keeping Maddie out of my tissues.

I am not really good at being sick I'll admit. I feel like I'm being a lazy bum. Yes, I know this makes no rational sense of course. I'm sick. I need to rest. And that's ok. But I'm home and all I can think about is all the stuff I should be doing around this place.

Are you good at being sick - not enjoying it of course, but resting up?

Whatever Wednesday
Last night I went on a fridge and freezer cleaning frenzy. This happens to be coming in handy for tonight. I pulled out pretty much everything out of the freezer to see what the heck was actually up there.

Let's just say I really didn't need to make more seitan or veggie burgers. Thankfully I write on the bags the basic ingredients of the burgers so I have an idea of what flavors I have, and we have a variety apparently.

I also found two containers of two different types of chili I had tossed in the freezer. So, tonight is going to be Whatever Wednesday. Whatever chili flavor you want, you can have. I suppose we could just mix the 2 together actually. One is a butternut squash and the other I had used a vegan chorizo.

Either way we enjoy the chili, it's perfect for this evening: I'm under the weather and it's cold out. If that doesn't scream chili night, I don't know what does. 

And last but certainly not least, I must wish my beautiful mother Happy Birthday!

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • The fact that I had sinus medicine on hand

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spin on Thai Tuesday

Spin Again
While today was actually sunny, and surprisingly warm to start (hello 70 degrees), we had a major front moving through bringing in more whipping winds. Yep, another bad hair day around here.

It was one of those days that started off warm, but the temps continued to fall throughout the afternoon. But it was sunny out thank fully. Sun = happy.

In all honesty, I have been itching to run so badly that I seriously contemplated battling the winds today just to get out for a run. In reality, I need to continue to rest my foot even if it is feeling a little better. That doesn't mean I should just take off for a 6-miler. I know this deep down.

Jason said he'd go to spin today, so that actually helped making the right decision a little easier. I did get shoulders done before class. It was a goody; already feeling it actually. I went with a giant set of 3x8. I keep starting with shoulder press, but today I switched it up and I know that's part of why I feel it. That and the giant set itself.

Upright rows
Lateral raise (trying to increase weight so doing 4 at heavier weight, then 4 at one lower)
Front raise

Then it was off to kill the legs...as if they aren't already hating me. Yes, I'm convinced my legs do indeed hate me. That's ok, tough love ;-)

Thai Tuesday
While it should be Taco Tuesday, the fridge is fairly empty. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to be able to scrounge up even. I had thought about trying to figure out what to put into tacos, I do have some tortillas, but it would have been not much more than beans and some bell peppers I'm afraid. I don't even have canned tomatoes on hand at this point.

I did, however, have some coconut milk, carrots, tofu, frozen spinach and peas, bell peppers, and curry paste. So, how about Thai Tuesday instead?

This was super simple - especially because I had brown rice in the freezer too. I just sauteed the carrots and bell peppers for about 10 minutes or so then added in the coconut milk, tofu, and paste. I let that simmer until the carrots were mostly done then added in the spinach and peas and cooked until peas were heated through.
 

Oh, I did dry-sear the tofu to remove excess water, then I cubed it and sprinkled with garam masala and baked for about 25 minutes flipping once. I like my tofu to be very firm, slightly crisp on the outside.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Spin (with hubby even)
  • Sunshine
  • Simple dinner

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spin, Salad & A Movie

Spin Day
Today I decided to rest my foot again, oh and not fight stormy weather and high winds trying to run. So, I hit up spin class.

I must say, my quads are killing me from the HIIT workout I did yesterday. Seriously feels like I did a weighted leg workout not "just" plyo exercises. Apparently I really need to add HIIT back into my life.

So, needless to say, spin was a bit on the difficult side today. I really wasn't certain my legs were going to hold me upright after I got off the bike at the end of class. But, it was a great class regardless. Of course, my quads might disagree with me.

Salad & A Movie
Today was one of those really weird weather days when if a tornado blew through you wouldn't be shocked. It was in the upper 60's with high humidity and even higher winds. You either felt like you were going to be pushed down or you couldn't move forward one.

While I should have gone to the grocery store after work, I didn't want to risk getting caught in a downpour while also battling the Monday evening shopping crowd. Luckily, the fridge isn't completely bare, but pretty close.

I had a kabocha squash on hand and some lettuce and spinach. So I went with a roasted salad (thanks to Jason's suggestion). I went with baked tofu that I dry-seared first then dipped into a marinade (that I also used as the salad dressing) of balsamic vinegar, agave, and a whole grain mustard.

I baked that along with the kabocha then topped the salad with artichokes and roasted red bell peppers as well.
 

Tonight we're going to just relax and finish the movie we started watching last night, Temple Grandin. It's actually quite amazing, but 2 hours long, which is pretty much beyond my movie time threshold.

The movie is a biopic about an autistic woman who overcame all obstacles and even earned her Ph.D. Claire Danes plays Temple and does an absolutely amazing job.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Spin class (ouch)
  • Roasted salad
  • Movie

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Celebration Recap & HIIT Workout

Celebration Recap
As I mentioned yesterday, my sister came up to stay with me to celebrate her birthday. We started of the afternoon with a late lunch at Canon Grill. We were supposed to meet friends at a wine bar about a block away at 5. Funny, our friends walked into the restaurant while we were finishing our meal.

They had wanted to grab a snack and watch a game on the tv there and then just meet us at the wine bar - Diversion. I missed the text so had no idea they were going to Canon Grill and they had no idea we were there. But, it worked out nicely.

The girls went to the wine bar at 5, and the boys went to another bar with tvs to finish the game (not a clue what game to be honest). The vibe was really laid back, hip. But it was almost a bit too dark. I mean, I would like to read the menu list ;-) I tried to not be too shocked at the prices....but wow. Proud of the wine. But we were there to celebrate and have fun, so I just went with it.

We all ended up getting the same wine - Kris, Pinot Grigio. They didn't have a pinot noir by the glass, or one I was willing to pay a buttload for. Yep, high class, that's me. Kris Wine is an Italian wine. I tend favor Italian wines and this one did not disappoint.

After one glass, we headed back to the house to just relax, chat, and chat some more. I pulled out the pizza doughs and got started on our dinner. It was so fun to make the pizzas and visit with my besties. The boys made it home around 7:30 or so. They played pool until dinner was ready then we all dug in.
To top off dinner, we all shared the cupcakes I had bought for Sarah. I didn't try the chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing (because I don't care for chocolate), but apparently I should have bought more of that flavor as it was the hands down winner.
I'll admit to some more wine drinking and even some dancing. Basically, we had an absolute blast. It might not have been some big birthday bash, but I think my sister appreciated the intimacy of celebrating with close friends so much more.

No Long Run
Today I got up ready to go for the long run. Well, I was mentally ready, my foot, however, not so much. I think it's plantar fasciitis, but it feels a little different than when I had that problem previously in my left foot. This is more near the heel and not the arch. I've been trying to ice, massage, and stretch my whole foot and calf all week. Sometimes it feels better than others, but when it hurts....it really really hurts.

I was really torn on the run. I was so set on that being the plan. But I had to be honest with myself, a run was not going to be good for me. All the run would truly accomplish was more pain. So, I ended up going to the gym. I know it was the right choice rationally, but I had so hoped to get outside and run today - it was a pretty day darn it.

I did 15 minutes on the elliptical then went into the cardio room and set up the laptop. I had brought along Cathe's HIIT DVD to do. I haven't done HIIT workouts in quite possibly a year. I used to love HIIT workouts, and did them often. Um, apparently you can get out of shape for HIIT workouts if you don't do them....trust me on this one.

The HIIT DVD has 3 different workouts to choose from. I went with the Double Wave Pyramid workout. Holy Freaking HIIT. My legs were seriously shaking by the time I was done. I used to be able to do that workout without a problem. I swear, running 12 miles today would have been easier!

So, maybe a new goal is to add in more HIIT workouts for endurance and for the explosive muscles. Because I seriously felt so out of shape doing this workout today. Luckily, it didn't bother my foot too much. I mean, it wasn't pain-free I'll admit, but better than running.

After the workout, it was back into PJs and some major relaxing. I did get laundry washed, but we pretty much just relaxed the majority of the day. I do feel just a tad guilty because I should have gone to the grocery store, and it was a gorgeous day out, but sometimes lazy is what you need right?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Hard workout 
  • Serious relaxing

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Treadmill Run, Weights & Pizza Party

Early Morning Cooking & Workout Switch Up
This morning I ended up waking up around 7:15. I had hoped to sleep in a little bit, but I was wide awake. I had plenty to get done, so it worked out nicely I suppose. By 11 am I had made 2 pizza doughs, marinara sauce, and prepped all veggies for tonight (which I'll get to in a minute).

It was really cold and windy, but sunny at least. Supposed to be in the mid-50's. I was trying to get myself psyched up for our long run. My half marathon training plan had me at 12 miles, but with my recent food pain, Jason and I decided it'd be best to start at 10 and do 11 tops depending on how I was feeling.

I kept watching the weather, refreshing to check the temps and the wind. Forecast included up to 18 mph winds. Ugh. Not fun to deal with for 10 miles. Not even fun for 3 miles really. After lots of debating both in my head and out loud, Jason and I settled on gym today and run tomorrow.

I don't know why this stressed me out, but it really did. It was as if I was just skipping out on the run entirely, when all we were doing was switching days. Plus, it was sunny and fairly mild, so I felt like I really had to go out and run rather than workout indoors.

Yep, I know that's all silly and absolutely mental. Tomorrow is supposed to be warm and sunny again with calmer winds. I know, rationally, that will make for a better run. But man it throws off my planned schedule LOL.

So gym it was. I did run 4 steady miles on the treadmill. Nothing crazy, but I really am going to have to get back into doing some speed and hill work starting next week. Definitely slacking on that. Definitely didn't want to do legs today with planned long run tomorrow, so it was upper body: biceps, triceps, back and some abs.

I went with trisets of 3x8 unless noted and tried to increase weights and/or use different equipment for a change.

TS#1
Barbell curl (EZ bar) - 6 reps
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions
Wide-grip assisted chinups

TS#2
Incline curls
Double-arm kickbacks
Underhand barbell row

TS#3
Hammer curls - 10 reps
Triceps pulldowns (tried using cable to see if it bothered elbows less)
Narrow grip lat pulldowns (I never use the cables, so thought I'd try it out)

I finished with some low back extensions and some ab work using the ball and weights.

Now, about that pizza....
I'm really looking forward to this evening. My sister's birthday was on Tuesday, so she's coming to stay the night with me so we can celebrate. We are meeting up with friends for a bit then we'll be back to the house to make homemade pizzas for everyone.

I went ahead and splurged on some amazing gluten-free crust from a local gluten-free bakery called Dempsey. Seriously, everything they make is incredible. I know I can either make a socca pizza for her or buy a mix, but it's her birthday...so I thought I'd make sure it was worth the trip to my house.

This is why I was in a cooking frenzy this morning. I wanted the evening to be stress-free, so having all the food ready to go was a favor to myself (and everyone else really).

Oh, and I also picked up some birthday cupcakes from the bakery - they are both gluten and dairy free. They just looked too good to pass up. Plus, every birthday celebration deserves cake (or a cupcake).

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Run (switched up a bit)
  • Sister time
  • Time with friends
  • Pizza Saturday

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Serious Note on Fun Facts Friday

On a Serious Note
Wow, I wasn't sure this week was going to end. And from what I gather, it's felt that way for a lot of people. Let's just all blame it on the full moon we had earlier in the week. Agreed?

Actually, I can't totally blame it on that. This might be a little too serious for Friday, but it's something I've been thinking about this week, mostly because it's what I've been dealing with - anxiety and depression.

I try to keep my blog happy, but real. So the reality is that I've battled depression and anxiety most of my life. I've been on this med and that med and realized that I don't want to be on any meds. I don't like how they can make me feel (often too numb). They never really seemed to work for me and then there were side effects like 3 weeks of vertigo and additional medication to combat that just trying to get off of one of the meds.

Anyway, I feel like I've learned to regulate my moods fairly well. When meds did work, I learned to better grasp what "normal" felt like. So then I could recognize when I was being irrational or sliding down the slippery depression slope.

I also had another form of therapy to rely on - Exercise. From ballet to weight lifting and running, it's my escape time. I don't have to think about everything. Lately, running outside often feels like an absolute life saver. Like if I can't get out there and do it, then a meltdown is going to happen, period.

This week was one of those really bad weeks for me. Do I really have to open up and tell you all? No. But, yes. Maybe some of you go through periods of anxiety and/or depression as well. I think it's something that should be discussed more openly and not seen as something negative. The more open I am about it, the more I recognize what is happening, the better I can deal with it personally. I hope that is the same for others. It's already tough, no need to go at it alone.

I was thinking about how this week played out for me. Major lows (insert crying temper tantrum fits), lots of anxiety (because I couldn't control anything) and then it evened out and I realized that reflecting on how I was feeling makes me appreciate being happy. Does that make any sense? When you're so down and you know you shouldn't be, you feel pretty helpless. So when you're happy again, you really appreciate what that feels like.

I think one thing that has helped me is to really try to always focus on something positive, no matter how hard it might be to do and even if I semi-don't believe it at the time. I know that if I work at it, if I fight for it, don't get bogged down, then I'll come out on the other side. I'll equate it to hiking a mountain. It starts off sort of easy at the base, then you hit some bumps and boulders, but once you get to the top and are able to look out over the expanse below you, you realize that it's all worth it if you accept that there will always be obstacles.

Too much for Friday? Then How about a little Fun Facts Friday silliness:


Fun (hello, it is Friday)
Rest (much-needed rest day)
Ice (what I plan on doing to my heel tonight)
Delayed (as in takes too long to get here)
Achy (yep, sore from yesterday's workout)
Yay


And some totally random facts:

I put in my right earring first.
I put on my left shoe first.
I take off my right shoe first.
I double/triple check that the alarm is on.
I sometimes still worry about monsters under the bed.
When I cry, you will know I cried for hours afterwards - red, puffy, huge nose.
I can't cry in the shower or in the bath.
I crave Blue Moon with orange wedge after long runs.
I'm ambidextrous (which is why I can easily paint my own nails).

Ok, your turn - something silly to make me smile please ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Rest day
The fact that it's Friday
Sunshine
Happy hour with friends

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cold Weather Means Gym and Soup Day

Weather Obsessed = Gym
I feel the need to start off by apologizing for always talking about our weather. I'm a little obsessed perhaps. I'll blame that on my dad. Part of it boils down to trying to figure out when I'll be able to get outside for a run in the most ideal conditions. Also, around here, weather change can be drastic. I know we're not the only ones of course, but I know some locations have pretty regular weather patterns.

Here, it can be 45 one day in October, 75 in December, snow the next weekend. January we can have mid-70's or 60 one day and sub 30 the next. It's always a surprise really. Even when the forecasters say one thing, it might be something completely different.

So glad I took advantage of yesterdays mild temperatures because today we had a windchill of 25 with gusting 30mph winds. Good times.

Needless to say, workout was taken indoors. I kind of thought about a rest day, but probably wouldn't be able to get in a workout tomorrow. Plus, I was actually looking forward to doing legs today - crazy talk I know.

I started with an easy, steady-state 3-miler on the treadmill. Nothing crazy. Just straightforward running in an attempt to get back on my half marathon training plan. Then I hit up legs and shoulders. I did supersets of 3x8 unless noted.

Barbell squats - warmup set of 10

SS#1
Barbell squats
Arnold press

SS#2
Weighted plie squats with low-end pulse
Lateral raise

SS#3
Alternating front lunges (dumbbells)
Front raise

SS#4
Calf raises - 15 reps
Rear delt press

It felt like a pretty good workout overall. I'm a little disappointed in my shoulder presses. I feel like strength is waning somehow. But, let's just say I'm already feeling this one big time.

Soup Night
Tonight was most definitely the perfect night for soup. Though, baking something in the oven to help heat up the house would have been a good idea as well. But, I've been wanting to try out this soup all week, so tonight is finally soup night.

I had seen soup that Giada had made recently that included kale, rice, and turkey sausage. Obviously I'm not making it with sausage. So, I decided to make my own vegan version based on what I remember from the show (yes, I was too lazy too look it up).

Kale & Bean Stew
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 carrots, diced
1 small/medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed and rough chopped
32 oz no-salt vegetable broth
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 cups pre-cooked brown rice or barley
1/2 can tomato paste
To taste: salt, black pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes

Directions:
In large pot, sauté onions, garlic, peppers, and carrots until vegetables begin to soften, approximate 5-8 minutes. Add in the broth, tomatoes, and spices and bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer.

Add in the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer until veggies are tender, approximately 20 minutes.


I served with homemade bread I made recently and stashed in the freezer. Gotta have bread to dip right? This turned out really well. I love a thicker stews over a brothy soup, so adding in the paste really helped thicken it up. Do you prefer stews or soups?

Tonight we're watching a movie, sort of a mini-date night I suppose. Usually I think of movies for the weekend, but sometimes you gotta shake things up right? ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Weight lifting
  • Soup
  • Sunshine
  • Movie night

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Much-Needed Run, Running PSA & Vegan Burritos

Much-Needed Run
While this morning started off just a little cold and drizzly, the sun finally came out and it warmed up to about 60 degrees. After so many crummy days, I was just happy to see sunshine and blue skies again. Jason hadn't exactly been planning on running today as he did his master's swim class this morning.

But I think he was starting to feel the need for sunshine and fresh air as well. So we decided to head out for a 5-miler at lunch around the neighborhood. My half marathon training plan actually had me doing a 6-mile tempo run. But a run with Jason sounded much better. Plus, I really didn't know how far I was going to truly feel like going.

I think we were both a little fatigued (he had a tough swim this morning and my workouts have been 11-mile half marathon training run, leg day, spin, and spin). But, despite the seemingly increased effort level, it was a much-needed run for both of us.

Once I got into a good rhythm, I could just feel stress melting away. Of course, when some jackass honked at us for running at the side of the road, I was ready to throw down. Jason kept me moving forward though.

I wish there was a way to do a massive PSA for drivers and non-runners/cyclists. Runners typically run in the street for a reason. It's almost always safer than running on sidewalks that are lopsided, cracked, broken up and also often have cars parked on them or tail ends of cars blocking them. Ever tripped over a tree root walking? Imagine that happening while running. Also, you're closer to a yard with a dog potentially off leash. Again, bad situation.

I'm not saying runners should all just down the middle of the street mind you, but there is a reason why we run in the road so honking at me is not going to make me happy and you'll get an earful if you stop. Oh, and don't honk at runners or cyclist randomly. Scares the shit out of them and can possibly cause an accident. And yes, cyclist are supposed to ride in the street not the sidewalk (huge issue with that here; people think they should be on sidewalks).

Ok, enough PSA Soap Box...the run was a good one. Period.

Burrito Wednesday? 
I've got this soup I have been itching to make. But the sudden warm temperatures today don't make if feel like soup weather. However, tomorrow is supposed to be really cold and windy, so I'm saving soup night for tomorrow.

Tonight I went with burritos that I baked to crisp up. I simply sauteed onions, garlic, poblano pepper, red bell pepper, garlic and black beans together. I seasoned with chili powder, red pepper, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, lime juice. And of course I had to throw in some Daiya Vegan Cheddar into the mix.
 

I guess Burrito Wednesday isn't exactly catchy, so we'll call it Wrap It Up Wednesday instead. I served with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and lots of jalapenos (of course). Got to love an easy vegan burrito mid-week.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Warmer temps
  • Midday run
  • Easy dinner

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Working Out to Beat the Blues

What do you do when you're in a funk? I workout.

When I get into a funk, I try to rely on exercise to help boost my mood. But we all know that when you're kind of down and out, finding the motivation or want-to to exercise can be even harder. It makes me realize how easy it could be to just stop working out and why so many people likely do actually. I keep trying to remind myself that I almost always feel better after the workout though. 

I skipped my 3-mile run yesterday, so I'm definitely off my half marathon training plan this week. I kind of thought maybe I'd do the run today on the treadmill then do back and chest. But when it came right down to it, I was NOT going to run even a single mile on the treadmill.

I know it's a big mental block I have, but if I wasn't going to have a damn enjoyable run, then it wasn't going to go down period. And it's raining and cold, so that meant treadmill if I wanted to run. Why is this half marathon training in winter again?

So, I went with spin again today, with much better results than yesterday I should add. The air was actually on and there were towels to sop up my sweaty mess (I know, eeewwww). I was able to get my back workout in before class as well. Because of time, I went with a giant set of 3x8, but had to end up doing double-arm rows instead of barbell rows as planned because the bar was taken. 

Wide-grip assisted chin-ups (I did drop the weight by 10#)
Double-arm rows 
Pullovers (need to increase weight)

I felt pretty strong today for my back workout. I was happy with the chin-ups progress, but do need to increase the weights for the other exercises).

Spin was pretty good. Definitely helped me take my mind off of things for a solid 45 minutes. And it was a good group today as well - everyone was really there to work hard. I love seeing that.

I really hope I can find some motivation to get back to my half marathon training plan this week. If not, maybe the running break will be good for me.


Giving Up the Kitchen
Being such a rainy, dreary day, soup had sounded good. I had made rice last night to go in a soup actually. I was doing so good trying to pre-plan. But like the run, I had zero desire to stand in the kitchen and make anything.

If Jason hadn't stepped in, I think it would have been cereal perhaps since we don't really even have leftovers as a backup plan. I don't know if it's a man gene or what, but he always wants either potatoes or pasta. Hell, he'd probably mix the two together really. Thankfully, he did not.
Instead he made a fairly summary pasta and veggie dish using artichokes, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. But, I didn't have to cook so I was pretty much ok with it to be honest, and he does know what he's doing in the kitchen.

How often do you relinquish complete control in the kitchen? I won't lie, it's not as easy as it sounds ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Weights
  • Spin
  • Not cooking

Monday, January 9, 2012

Plan B & Black-Eyed Peas

Plan B Not Smart Idea
Well, today was one of those days when I should have stuck to Plan A, well, my revised Plan A (Plan A.2), which was to run. Originally I had thought it was going to be raining all day. So, I was going to do a 3-mile treadmill run (my half marathon plan called for 3 easy miles) then back and chest.

The rain, however, was holding off. It was dreary look and chilly, but no rain. So, Jason and I were talking about maybe doing 4 miles at lunch. But, he was feeling less than motivate and my foot has been bothering me, so I decided to go with Plan B to rest my foot. Plan B was spin, usually a good call.

Did you already catch the drift that Plan B was not a good idea? Um, 'cause it wasn't. Got to the gym and there were no towels. Odd for a Monday. It was hot as hell. The TVs were still out and the pass swipe wasn't turned on to get in the doors. Saturday night the power was cut for maintenance in the building so this reset everything apparently. But for it to all still be out meant that no one had been up to the gym yet. 

Sometimes you can find towels in the dryer, but there were none to be found anywhere and the gym was getting crowded quickly. Everyone looking for towels especially since it was soooo flipping hot. Red flags started going up, but I was there, I wasn't going to run on the treadmill at this point with no towel. 

This is going to sound absolutely nuts, but our spin instructor actually cut up her own towel so some of us could have something to wipe the sweat off with. No, not making this up. And it's the one day I didn't have a towel in my bag because I had taken it out to wash. Go figure right. 

Anyway, with a towel smaller than a wash cloth, we got going. Did I mention the air was off? The class itself wasn't terrible, other than being way overheated. Everyone was struggling you could tell. The instructor actually even mentioned cutting it short because it was so miserable. But, we pushed on and got it done. 

But the whole time I kept looking out the windows thinking that a run in cold dreary weather actually was suddenly appealing. Missy - if you're reading this, you rock my dear!

Just One of Those Days
The sad thing is, it wasn't just the workout today that was off. My day started with my oatmeal spilling out into my lunch bag if that gives you any indication of things that proceeded from there. Some days just start that way and stay that way somehow. I would say when it rains it pours...but it is indeed pouring LOL.
At least dinner was tasty. I had originally thought I'd make soup tonight, but I needed something simple. This might sound complicated, but it wasn't - I threw together some Wild Rice & Black-eyed Pea Burgers and served with the usual suspects, baked sweet potato fries (sweet potatoes make everything better right??).

I had some black-eyed peas and rice stashed in the freezer from New Year's Day. So I just pulled those out and blended up with carrots and a few additional seasonings. I stirred in 1 flax egg, 1 cup oats ground into flour and 1/2 cup chickpea flour then baked until done. See, simple because I already had the peas and rice done ;-)
 

Speaking of having rice done, that reminds me to start some tonight for the soup I want to try out this week. Pre-planning = life saver when it comes to dinner. Now, I just need to remember this more often and save myself a tone of hassle.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Easy dinner
  • Run (nixed for spin, at least I got in a workout)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weights, Kitchen Time & Spicy White Bean Chili

Weight Day
Today has been one of those chilly, gray, drizzly days here. Not very motivating I must say. Jason and I did make it to the gym at least. He tried out a CrossFit workout in the latest Runner's World magazine and I hit biceps, triceps, and hamstrings

I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical to warm up then started my weight workout. I went with trisets of 3 sets, but the reps varied a little bit because I went up in weights for a few exercises.

TS#1
Barbell curls - 6 reps, increased weight
Double-arm overhead triceps extension - 8 reps
Bulgarian deadlifts - 6 reps, increased weight

TS#2 (all 8 reps)
Zottman curls
Lying triceps extensions
Dumbbell step ups

TS#3
Hammer curls - 10 reps
Weighted dips - 10/12/12
Hamstring rollins on ball - 10 reps

Squat jumps - 2x10
Burpees - 2x8

I did some ab work as well before stretching a bit and calling it done.

Low-Key Day
After the workout, we headed to the grocery store. It was packed and there were only 3 lanes open (one was express of course). The baggers were beyond slow. The cashiers were having to help bag just to get the customers out the door. It was very much a test of patience I must say.

I made a simple chickpea salad served in wraps for our lunch. We both have decided that we really need to buckle down and stop going out to eat on the weekends. We both really really wanted to be bad and have pizza though. I think it's more about just being lazy, wanting to be out of the house more than anything. But, we held strong.

Jason had to go to Home Depot, joys of home ownership. So, I spent some time in the kitchen. I made some seitan and some homemade bread to keep on hand in the freezer. Other than that, it was a fairly lazy afternoon...spent in PJs of course.

Last night we ended up going with veggie burgers for diner. So, tonight we had Spicy White Chili. It's kind of perfect chili weather being so dreary out.
 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Weight workout
Kitchen time