Friday, December 31, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 12/31/2010

Weight: 123.0 
Body Fat: 20.3% + 3% = 23.3%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5" 
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Today marks the very last weigh-in for me of 2010. Seems like 2011 has sneaked up on me!  I've drafted up a set of goals, but I'll only be listing the specific titles:

Running
  • Complete four 5K Races in 2011
  • Complete one 10K race in 2011
  • Beat all 2010 times for 5Ks
Health & Fitness
  • Maintain weight under 127
  • Attain a body fat percentage of 20% (-2% decrease)
  • Log at least 180 minutes of exercise weekly
Blog Goals
  • Continue to blog Monday through Friday
  • Improve upon the Monday pictorial posts
  • Review at least 3 Cooking Light recipes a month
Happy New Year everyone! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Tips: Another reason to love oatmeal!

I have already professed my love of the grain known as the oat, but I always love reading new research that provides me with yet another reason to love it.

Open Your Arteries with a Bowlful of These
By RealAge (source)

Your heart and arteries will be pretty thrilled if breakfast always has you craving a bowlful of oats.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't set resolutions this New Year, set goals!

How many of us have set a resolution at New Years to lose weight, get fit, quit smoking or some other amorphous high-minded goal?

I wager almost all of us have done this at one point, myself included.

A few years ago, I thought perhaps if I were taught how to set attainable and intelligent goals, I might be better off.

Hence, research was done and I learned about the SMART way to set goals (source):
Specific, significant, simple
Measurable, meaningful, manageable
Attainable, appropriate, achievable
Relevant, realistic, result-oriented
Time-bound, timed, timely
How does this methodology apply to the ever popular resolution to lose weight?  Below I've provided an example of how I might implement a weight loss goal:
GOAL:
Lose weight

S: 
Current Weight: 155
Target Weight: 145
Total Loss: 10lbs

M:
Weekly weigh-ins to measure progress

A:
Is this goal attainable? Yes.

R: 
Is this goal realistic? Yes, 10lbs is a manageable amount to lose.

T:
Assuming a healthy loss rate of 1 lb a week, this should take approximately 10 weeks.

In the next couple of days, I will be using this goal setting methodology to generate my 2011 goals, which I will be sharing on the blog on Friday.  I encourage anyone who wants to do this as well to share! :) Making goals public helps keep you accountable.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Maintenance: Year One

Weight: 122.0 (used a different scale than normal)
Body Fat: 19.3% + 3% = 22.3%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5" (I am pretty sure these aren't going to shrink anymore!)
------------------------------------------

WOW! It's been a whole year! I can hardly even believe it. Time seems to go faster every year. I decided to celebrate the anniversary by answering some interview questions which Mikala has been so gracious to provide me with.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I am a planner by nature. I make very intricate plans with lots of little details. I'm also a perfectionist by nature.

I think you can see where I'm going with this.  I made so many intricate and detailed little weight loss plans that they were impossible to stick with. I expected myself to be perfect, and my plans were never robust enough to handle setbacks.   At the first detraction from my plans, I'd crumble and go back to my old habits.  This continued for years, and it wasn't until I hit self-esteem rock bottom that I realized what I was doing wrong.  I had to stop planning so far into the future; I had to keep it simple.  I stopped trying to make radical changes and I started making itty-bitty changes.  I didn't try to clean up my diet in one fell swoop, instead I slowly switched to cleaner, healthier foods. My motto became "baby steps."

For exercise, I started walking first. I worked up to walking 30-40 minutes every other day.  After that, I started following a simple walk-run exercise plan.  I just kept building slowly and incrementally upon this base and am now running 4 miles at an average pace of 8:55 minute a mile, with a long run of around 6.5 miles once a week.

Did you weigh everything, even veggies and fruit?
I weigh everything but lettuce. Veggies and fruits have calories too and I like to see how much a serving looks like. I know that many popular diets have foods that are considered "free", but the only thing that I consider free is water and lettuce.

Did you eat back your exercise calories? If so, did you use a heart rate monitor to figure out calories burned?
Not when I was losing weight.  I kept my exercise relatively light during my weight loss phase, 30-45 minutes of exercise five out of seven days. If you actually do the math out, you'll notice that exercise really doesn't add that many more burned calories into your day.  I averaged a 1.5lb weight loss each week without eating back a single exercise calorie.

What's the best part about losing the weight?
This is a really tough question. I think the best thing is quality of life. I feel more energetic and clear-minded.  Nothing seems as daunting anymore because I have the energy to face life.

Did you ever hit a plateau? If so, what kept you going?
I was extremely lucky and unusual.  I lost 31lbs last year without ever hitting a plateau.  I've tried to analyze my diet to see if I could understand why.  I think it has to do with the fact that approximately every three weeks, I would have to have a day where I didn't log and had to eat out.  I most likely ate maintenance calorie levels on those days and shocked the heck out of my body.  I read later that this is essentially a strange form of calorie cycling, which is one of the best way to avoid or beat a plateau.

How did you learn "positive self talk?" Or was that not an issue for you?
My internal monologue has, and likely always will be a huge problem for me.  Even losing weight doesn't silence the self-doubt and negative internal monologue.  I try to be highly self-aware of what I am thinking about myself.  If I catch myself spiraling into a storm of negative self-talk, I stop and ask myself if I am being reasonable.  If I'm not, I stop myself and actively tell myself that I'm not the things I was thinking and chase the bout of self-doubt with some positive reinforcement. This usually consists of me mentally repeating positive things about myself.  Ultimately, I spend a lot of time in my own head.  I'm definitely better than I used to be, but I find that when I get tired it's more difficult.  I think this is one of the aspects that people underestimate when they embark on a weight loss or life changing journey.  You have to learn how to be introspective.

How did you get over the "I already screwed up today, I should just continue sabotaging myself and start fresh tomorrow" mentality?
I signed up for a 13-week binding contract on Stickk.com that said if I didn't lose .85 lbs a week, I would lose $50.  This forced me to start thinking about what was going into my body and prevented me from losing  control.  I couldn't just say "Forget this, it's not worth it because I already screwed up," because I didn't want to lose the money!  This really helped me achieve perspective on my habits

Did losing weight boost your self esteem?
I think the process of losing weight, not necessarily the weight loss itself, has boosted my self-esteem.  I know that I am more outgoing and confident in myself, but I think that has come from constant re-evaluation of my mental inner workings.  I'm much more aware of how things make me feel and how I respond to them.

Thanks so much for coming up with these questions Mikala! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Tips: Making your New Years resolution already?

We're fast approaching 2011 and with the advent of every new year, resolutions abound. One of the most common resolutions is weight loss. When you're making your resolutions this year, keep this following tip in mind:

Tip after the break...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe Review: Cocoa Fudge Cookies

I've been trying to get this post up for a week now, and haven't had the time until today. Thank goodness for vacation!

Chocolatey goodness
Recipe and review after the break...

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Weekend Before Christmas

Mikey gave me a cute little gift!

A single serving crock, a pastry brush and a
tiny ladle by La Creuset....Thanks Mikey! :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 11/17/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 19.1% + 3% = 22.1%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
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More to come later today, I've been absurdly busy this last week and a half with work. Real update tonight, I promise! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Tips: Craving a cookie?

With Christmas nearly upon us, the amount of baked goods and delicious chocolatey treats has all but tripled. You may not even be able to turn a corner without seeing some sort of treat.  However, if you've strictly been avoiding them all and are now craving one of those delicious looking morsels, perhaps you should give in and have a single cookie.

They look so tasty...
 The reasoning after the jump...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Micro-Choices

This is a post from earlier this year. I find that I'm in need of some motivation and a reminder of where I started so I'm bringing this to the top and rereading it!

I stumbled across this article a while ago and thought it quite valuable because it describes the methodology that I used without even knowing there was a term for it.  The average person makes around 250 food related decisions every day, and that doesn't even include the exercise related decisions! That sure seems like a lot of decision making for just food, and especially when some of the decisions you're making are what the article calls memory-based. 

I recall the day I decided to really take control of my weight clearly.  I had gotten a new issue of All You in the mail the night before, and I was leafing through it while I was waiting for something to download at work.  I noticed this tiny blurb about a website called Stickk, where a user could set up a binding contract with a specific goal for a user-determined amount of time.  Each contract would have weekly or daily reporting, based upon your choice and reporting failure would cost you. Now, I'm a pretty big penny pincher. I hate wasting or losing money. I rarely ever gamble and have been known to put off buying things I need because I don't want to spend money.  Then it clicked, if I put money at stake on my weight loss, I would be extremely motivated and aware of my food decisions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Weekend in Pictures

I got a gift in the mail this weekend! 
Thanks Ramon, I love it!
More after the break...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 12/10/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 18.9% + 3% = 21.9%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
------------------------------------------ 
 It was about 1AM Wednesday morning, and I awoke to a strange noise. At first, I couldn't place the noise. Subsequently, I started to get a little freaked out. I lay in bed a bit longer, ears perked trying to figure out what it was.

It sounded....like a duck quacking? At this point, I thought I was losing my mind or possibly still dreaming so I lay there a little bit longer hoping to actually wake up.

Nope, it's definitely a duck quacking.

I got out of bed quietly, and picked up my conveniently located personal trainer textbook from my nightstand. I was ready for anything at this point, so I gingerly unlocked my bedroom door and opened it slowly.

The quacking stops.

WTF? I stood perfectly still for a few moments, listening for any sort of other creepy weirdo noise. I heard nothing so I stepped back to shut my bedroom door.

The quacking starts again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Tips: Some fatty meals can make you hungrier?!

A lunch time discussion about the satiety value of "healthy" foods vs. "unhealthy" foods had me curious to see if there had been any research done on the topic. I poked through the RealAge tip database and found this gem.

All About YOU: Some Fats Make You Hungrier
By RealAge (source)
That fatty bacon cheeseburger may be loaded with calories, but at least it stomps out your hunger. Right?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Recipe Review: Tex-Mex Pork

I was looking for a quick dinner to serve to myself and Eric earlier this week, and I came across this one in my December 2010 Cooking Light issue. I had everything but the avocados on hand, and Eric graciously agreed to pick up a couple on his way to my place.

Recipe after the break...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipe Review: Chocolate Malted Cookies

I like to hand out Christmas cookies every year to friends and coworkers. Usually I select my favorite cookie recipe for that year and package off a dozen cookies into a holiday themed Chinese takeout box.  This year is going to be a little bit different because I simply cannot choose my favorite between the four recipes I chose.

Malted chocolate-y goodness

Recipe and review after the break

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Three Best Exercises for Everyone

The most common excuse not to exercise is a lack of time. However, there are three easy exercises that anyone can do anywhere, anytime, without equipment and still achieve results.  You can even do them at your desk, during a quick break from sitting.

More after the break...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 12/03/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 18.9% + 3% = 21.9%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
------------------------------------------ 

I've had a niggling thought for the last few months, something that's been irritating me but is difficult to pin down exactly why.

This morning, however, I finally figured it out.

Throughout my life, I have known several people who claim that they just have a sarcastic sense of humor.  This is what they say after they deliver a cutting jibe or taunt that they claim I simply take what they're saying  too literally. I've even done this in the past.

I'm calling bullsh!t.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Tips: Foods for the cold and flu season

With cold and flu season upon us, you might be wondering if there's anything you can do to help boost your immune system and fend off those evil little germs.

Fortunately there are a few things you can add to your diet, that is if you don't already eat them. :)

More after the break...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The countdown to Christmas has begun!

I love the Christmas season.

I get to send handmade Christmas cards to friends and Christmas cookie samplers.

I get to decorate my tiny tree with a cute mishmash of ornaments.

I get to wrap presents, even if I'm absolutely terrible at it. Really, I am.

I get to plan the Christmas dinner menu and have my mom as my sous chef!

Christmas is also special to me because it is the anniversary of making my goal weight.

24 days until Christmas. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers?


I'm sure everyone has a few Thanksgiving leftovers that they're trying to figure out what to do with.

I had quite a bit of leftover homemade Gingered-Cranberry Sauce, so I decided to utilize my favorite french toast recipe (see: Recipe Review: Ciabatta French Toast with Marmalade Drizzle).

I substituted a half cup of the Gingered-Cranberry sauce for the Orange Marmalade and juiced the leftover orange I had from making the Orange-Buttermilk Dinner Rolls. It was an excellent breakfast. :)

What'd everyone else do with their leftovers?

Monday, November 29, 2010

I really do match the traffic cones...


I got many comments on how much everyone liked the color of my running gear.  And check me out, I really do match the traffic cone!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 11/26/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 19.6% + 3% = 22.6%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.75"
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 Thanksgiving was a success. All of my dishes turned out excellent, no failures. Unfortunately, I was so busy that I forgot to take any pictures the day of so I have just a few to share.

Turkey's last act of defiance, mooning me from the brine bucket.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recipe Review: Chocolate Walnut Tart

I know what you're thinking...

"Sarah, you hate walnuts! Why are you making a Chocolate Walnut Tart?"

Well...I guess it's not really a Chocolate Walnut Tart if I substitute hazelnuts, is it? That's what I did anyhow. Hazelnuts and chocolate go better together than walnuts and chocolate in my opinion!


Recipe and commentary after the jump.. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oleana & BodPod Testing

Oleana
Eric and I have been trying to go to Oleana since early July.  The first time we had to cancel our reservation because someone (I won't name any names here) decided to put mayonnaise that was three years past it's expiration date on their burger the night before.  The next time we talked about going, I came down with strep throat. Saturday's reservation was  definitely a long time in coming.

Oh but it was completely worth the wait! It was also completely worth the calories.  I do not feel a single bit of guilt about the food that I consumed last night.

We had:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 11/19/2010

Weight: 125.2
Body Fat: 20.3%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
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Weight/BF% seems to be up a little bit this week but I'm not sure if it's because I'm extremely sore from class on Wednesday, because I splurged a couple days this week or because it's that time of the month.  I guess I'll just have to wait until next week to see.

Eric and I are going out to Oleana tomorrow night. I've wanted to go to Oleana since I came back from Norway in July, so I'm pretty excited that we're finally going. Perhaps I'll bring a camera and document the food, but I'm afraid of looking a bit like a weirdo taking pictures of her food.

I've got some studying to do tonight, and a little bit of grocery shopping. Hopefully this will translate to a nice low-key night for me, since last week was hectic with all the cooking and baking I had to do.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bacon & Shallot Peas

For Eric's birthday last week, I decided to design the dishes around the foods he likes best. I keep various different Bird's Eye frozen vegetables in my freezer for dinner but he seems to like the peas best. Regular old steamed peas weren't going to cut it for a nicer dinner so hence the bacon and shallot peas:

Today is pea day.
Recipe and review after the break...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Believe


On my way home yesterday, I heard Katy Perry's Firework on the radio. Not being a huge fan of her music, I was happily surprised at the message of this song.  Perhaps I'm hitting that sentimental time of the month, but singing along with this song makes me a little teary-eyed.


No matter how badly you feel...

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

You are strong.

You will prevail.

Believe in yourself and there is no limit to the things you can achieve.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Pictorial: My busy weekend

I was up at 6:45 AM on Saturday to start the cleaning and cooking prep for my little brother's birthday:
At 20, he's not so little anymore.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 11/12/2010

Weight: 125
Body Fat: 19.4%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
-------------------------------------------

I have a very, very busy evening and weekend ahead of me.  Tonight I have to:
  • Pick up the digital SLR camera that I'm borrowing from a friend
  • Buy Eric's birthday gift
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Bake Eric's birthday cake 
  • Make the cake filling
  • Study my PT materials for four hours
  • Get 40-50 minutes of treadmill running in somehow (blech)
  • Make crumpets for Nate's birthday brunch
  • Wrap both the birthday boys' gifts!
I'm thinking that I can multitask a few of the things in there. Maybe watch the DVD that came with my PT materials while I'm on the treadmill so the treadmill will hopefully seem less boring. I'll have plenty of (hopefully) great pictures for the blog on Monday. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Fear

    Fear is a natural part of the human existence.

    Fear tells you to be afraid of things that could harm your well-being, be they internal or external stimuli.  Some fears trigger your sympathetic nervous system, preparing you to fight or to take flight. Other fears can be more insidious.

    I have an insidious fear.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Recipe Review: Chicken Piccata with Orzo

    I was looking for a quick recipe that I had almost all the ingredients on-hand for last night. I always keep lemons on hand for my hot lemonade drink that Eric hates, so the Chicken Piccata with Orzo was a no-brainer.

    Note: I meant to post this last night but apparently didn't actually hit the post button. I also seem to have forgotten to put the picture in, I'll try to do that when I get home tonight!


    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Is it too early to start counting...?

    Counting the days until next Spring and Summer, that is.

    I'm feeling a bit dead today, so I thought I'd share this bit of wisdom that I received in my inbox today:

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Weekly Weigh-in: 11/05/2010

    Weight: 124.2
    Body Fat: 20.2%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
    ----------------------------------------------

    WHAT IS PHYSICAL FITNESS?
    Physical fitness, as defined by the American Council on Exercise, is the combination of the physical components that constitute well-being, which enables an individual to function at an optimal level.

    There are five major components of physical fitness:

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Ode to Oatmeal

    Today we are going to talk about something special to me. Something near and dear to my heart:

    OATS
    Yes, that's right. We are going to talk about my undying love for the grain known to us as the oat.

    Mmmm....peanut butter and bananas in my oatmeal
    Let's begin the tale of the oat with a little bit of history:

    • Oats were the last cereal grain to be domesticated as they were not nearly as popular as wheat or barley.
    • They started out as weeds that grew amongst other crops.
    • Oats are primarily a North American and European crop because they require a cool, moist climate to grow.
    • They've been considered a lowly horse food by many a culture.
    • Less than 5% of oat crops grown today are for human consumption.

    Poor oats! They've got a bad reputation.

    What makes them so great then? Well...
    1. Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain. Soluble fiber is the kind that dissolves in water, making a sticky sludgy mass.  This sticky sludgy mass moves very slowly through your digestive system, leaving you feeling satiated for longer. It also slows the absorption of glucose, preventing those frightful lows and highs of blood sugar. And the neatest part? It inhibits the absorption of bile into your body.  That means your liver has to look elsewhere for it's required cholesterol, forcing it to get it out of your blood. That's right. Oats can lower your blood cholesterol levels!
    2. Aveeno has it dead-on. Oats also have anti-inflammatory properties, have been showing to relieve dry-itchy skin and have best balance of amino-acids.

    I did not always love oats the way that I do now.

    At first, we had a tentative relationship.

    I started out by only eating old-fashioned oats.  They were finicky at best. They loved to blow up in my microwave and get sticky, gooey oat-y mess all over the place.  I had to watch it like a hawk every morning I made it, hoping to prevent the oatmeal related disaster. I used to stand at the microwave with my nose plastered against it, staring, waiting for that moment where I had to yank open the door and give them a stir.

    Initially, my toppings of choice were fresh strawberries and chopped up hazelnuts, but I noticed a suggestion on the container one day. Peanut butter and bananas? Sounded like a match made in heaven to me!

    Eventually I grew weary of the bland taste of old-fashioned oats.  I branched out one weekend morning and made McCann's Steel Cut oats.

    Oh, they were perfect! They had a delightful nutty flavor (no, that was not the peanut butter!) and they had the perfect amount of chewiness. But ACK! Their cooking time was 15x how long it takes to make old-fashioned oats.  I went hunting for methods to cook the oats and found this one on the McCann's website.

    Quick Soak Method

    One of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare McCann's Steel Cut Oats is to soak the oats overnight. Before going to bed, boil four cups of water in a pot, add one cup of oatmeal. Simmer 1 minute. Cover pot and store overnight in refrigerator. The next morning cook the oatmeal on low for 9 – 12 minutes; stirring occasionally. (source)


    In the morning when you awake, your steel-cut oats will have absorbed all of the water and look delicious and fluffy.  Reheat, top and devour!

    I know, another gratuitous shot of the oats, but I love them so.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Recipe Review: Ginger-Soy Chicken Thighs with Scallion Rice

    I was leafing through my Cooking Light magazine this morning while I ate my oatmeal, in the hopes that I could find a speedy recipe for dinner.  It had to be fast because by the time I got back from grocery shopping, I would be starving.  I happened across this recipe on page 45.

    I'm sorry in advance for this terrible looking picture, but I was so hungry!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Is it really November already?

    I can't believe it's November already!

    It feels like October just flew by, and I'm quite proud of myself. I managed to blog every single weekday in October.  Woohoo! That's the longest I've ever managed to blog continuously.

    I definitely ate way too much yesterday, but I have no regrets. Except for maybe the pumpkin cheesecake ice cream, that gave me a pretty bad upset intestines on my run today.  I had to bail a mile early because it was so painful.

    I rather wanted to make and review one of the new recipes in the November Cooking Light issue but I haven't been to the grocery store in a week and a half. I'm desperately lacking in many key ingredients.  Hopefully tomorrow evening, I will be able to make it out to the store and thusly be able to cook two recipes for review this week.

    Hopefully everyone had a fantastic Halloween! :)

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Weekly Weigh-In: 10/29/2010

    Weight: 124.2
    Body Fat: 19.4%
    Measurements: 34"-26-33.5"-17.5"

    I have a relatively calm weekend ahead of me.  I've got 45 minutes of studying to tonight to complete my 4 hours of PT material study for this week, then I am going to watch the first episode of Riese: Kingdom Falling. It looks like it should be pretty good and my head nearly exploded with geekery when I read about it.  It looks like some of my favorite fantasy novels come to life on screen! And it has Emilie Ullerup as a badass, win!

    Look forward to some new recipe reviews from the November 2010 issue of Cooking Light next week! :)

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Pielets

    I have a thing for deconstructed desserts.

    I also have a thing for turning traditional desserts into single serving desserts.

    I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my apartment this year (eek!) and as I was planning my menu a thought occurred to me.  Why couldn't I perform a simple deconstruction of pumpkin pie, thereby making it healthier and easier to prepare?! Well I could, and I did.



    Recipe and commentary after the break.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Personal Training

    I've figured it out!

    I know what goal I can strive for that will help keep me on track during the SAD time of the year.  Eric's right; what a fitting acronym. I can work towards obtaining my personal trainer certification.  Earlier this year amidst an extremely stressful time for me, I decided that I wanted to get my person trainer certification through ACE. I didn't really dedicate myself to studying it at the time, but now I've realized that I can fit it into my schedule.  It should take me about 12 weeks to get through all the material.  I started studying last week. I've been taking notes using Microsoft OneNote, which I am now completely in love with.  It'd be even cooler if I had a tablet PC, but alas, the netbook shall simply have to do.

    More after the jump...

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    The SAD

    I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately.

    I'm always tired, even though I sleep at least 7 hours a night. Even when I do fall asleep, it's restless sleep and I wake up with a headache.

    This isn't uncommon, in fact, it happens at the same time every year.  Late fall/early winter is the worst for me. My energy levels plummet, my motivation wanes and all I want to do is sleep.  It occurred to me last year that I might have a case of the SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

    I noted last year that keeping a regular exercise schedule and have a particular goal to focus on helps me stay sane.  Last year it was making goal weight, but this year I don't have such a pressing goal.

    So what can I do this year that will keep me focused and sane?

    I can take it one moment, one day, one week at a time. I can focus on the little things that give me satisfaction, like checking off items on my to do list on toodledo.com or finishing a run.

    I think I shall start by running at lunch today.

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Recipe Review: Greek-Style Skewers

    I have chicken for dinner almost every night of the week, so I'm always in search of different ways to prepare it.  I've never made skewers before, and I love everything Greek so I decided to give this recipe a go. The sides were orzo pasta with feta and sauteed spinach.

    It was more colorful than this picture shows.
    Recipe and commentary after the break.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Weekly Weigh-in: 10/22/2010

    Weight:  125 lbs
    Body Fat: 19.6%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
    --------------------------------------------

    I finally got around to reading The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Could Be Putting You at Risk article on Marie Claire's website.  Yeah, I know, I'm late to the party on this one but here are my two cents.

    What in heavens were you thinking Marie Claire editors? You promote an unhealthy female body image ideal every time you release a magazine with images of emaciated models in it and then you publish an article railing "young, educated women hell-bent on achieving sylphlike physiques."

    Hypocrisy.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Recipe Review: Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins

    I've decided that muffins are for people who want to eat cake for breakfast and I certainly like cake.  These have jokingly been referred to as "life muffins," because some of my taste testers informed me they required them to live from that moment on.  They're even my most requested cupcake at work, despite the fact that they're actually muffins!

    Pretty and tasty!
    Recipe and commentary after the break.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Unfinished

    I have a problem.

    Over the years, I've picked up a few hobbies. They're mostly crafting hobbies: knitting, shaping polymer clay, resin figurine painting, card making etc. They're great hobbies to have, since they keep my hands busy and out of the proverbial cookie jar.  And yet, I have a problem.

    I start projects, and I never finish them.  They sit around in my storage closet or in a bin underneath my coffee table, just waiting for me to pick them up again. 

    What's a woman to do with all this unfinished business?

    I have a plan, a simple one in theory. I will start by documenting the unfinished projects that I have lying around and all of the crafting supplies. It's a large undertaking and probably one that I will have to do on a weekend. It will likely be a Google spreadsheet of , and then I will share it here.

    Once I know what I have, I can make an informed decision about what to do with everything.  I'm sure there's a few things that I could give away, so perhaps I'll try that first.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    How-To: Popcorn

    I enjoy popcorn every once in a blue moon and lately I've been having a craving.  However, with the recently exposed dangers of bag popcorn, and the inconvenience of owning (and storing) yet another kitchen gadget, I went hunting for an old-fashioned style cooking method.

    The basic ratio of popcorn to oil is 1/2 cup kernels to 3 tablespoons oil in a 3-quart saucepan and it makes a little over two servings total.  I actually found that the 3-quart pan saucepan wasn't large enough and next time I will either cut back on the amount of popcorn I'm making or get a bigger pan.

    First thing's first, you're going to need a 3-quart saucepan with a lid (lid not pictured!):

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    A recap: The weekend

    Friday

    I know I said I was planning to do my 6.5-miler on Friday, either on the treadmill or outside depending on the weather. I got home from work a little early, and spent about 10 minutes pacing in indecision. It was quite windy and rather chilly, so I ended up deciding I'd use the treadmill a bit later that evening.  Since I had suddenly found some time, I picked up my Kindle and started reading around 4pm. I promptly fell asleep and didn't wake up until about 7pm. Oops.  After that it was a pretty terrible night foodwise.  I gorged myself on chocolate peanut butter and some other food.  I have no idea what exactly triggered it. Friday night was pretty much a big bust, so I went to bed early to force myself to stop eating peanut butter.

    Saturday


    I woke up feeling pretty off.  My brain just wasn't firing on all four cylinders. I ended up getting a mild migraine, which made my day pretty crappy.  My friend Mike and I went apple and pumpkin picking, despite my head and it actually left me feeling a little better.  I managed to get five miles in before I went over to Eric's, but otherwise I didn't do much for the rest of the day.  It was a pretty lame day, excluding the apple and pumpkin picking.

    Sunday


    What an exciting game! Pats won in OT over the Ravens. :) I made popcorn in a pot during half-time and I documented it but forgot the cable to get the pictures off at home.  I should have that up by Thursday!

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Weekly Weigh-in: 10/15/2010

    Weight: 123.5
    Body Fat: 19.8%
    Measurements: 34"-26-33.5"-17.75"

    The bloat from last week has left me, thankfully. I think I'll lay off the cafeteria food at my work for a while since I'm pretty sure that was the culprit of the previous week's 126.4 weigh in. I did enjoy eating my homemade dinners and lunches so hopefully I can keep up with that trend.  It's actually therapeutic to spend my time baking, cooking and cleaning on the weekends. It certainly feels less wasteful (to me) than playing World of Warcraft for hours on end.

    I have to do my long run today, but I'm waffling on the location of said run.  Evidently the Northeast is having an early season Nor'easter (see: Nor'easter) which generally means some pretty strong winds and relatively cool temperatures. I'm not sure that I particularly relish the thought of 19 mph gusts while I'm attempting to log 6.5 miles.  Alternatively I don't exactly relish the thought of spending that much time on the treadmill either.  It's a conundrum.

    I've got an appointment at the Weymouth Club to get my body fat tested in one of the Bod Pod machines, like the ones they have on The Biggest Loser.  I'm pretty excited about it because I know for a fact that my handheld fat loss monitor can be off by roughly 8%.  I doubt that it's off by that much for me, but I love having all sorts of information about my current health.  In addition to providing you with your body fat percentage, they estimate how much energy your body expends on an average day.  It will be interesting to see how that aligns with my current intake.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Assumptions

    I'm sure that we are all acquainted with the popular idiom that assumptions "can make an ass out of you and me."

    Even still, the idiom does not seem to stop some from thinking that their quest towards health and fitness are infinitely more difficult than another person's.  I should know as I spent many a covetous year comparing my trials and tribulations to those of others. Never did I realize how foolish it is to compare something of that nature.

    I realize now though.

    Forgive me in advance for this analogy but let's say that you and a friend are attempting to solve a difficult computer programming problem. Your programs both produce the same results in the end, and yet they take vastly different approaches to get there. You each encounter bugs in your code while you are writing it, and though you can consult each other for possible fixes, ultimately you have to fix the bug in a manner that makes sense to you. It might take you twice as long as your friend to solve it but eventually you both reach the same point.

    Weight loss is a unique and deeply personal journey, to compare yourself to another's successes or failures is meaningless. No two people have the same frame of reference. Only you can define what success is for you.  However, success without humility is hardly success at all.  When offering advice, I have found that it's important to remember that just because I was successful in my own way does not mean that my way will work for anyone else, and that someone else's struggles are no harder or easier than mine were.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Recipe Review: Ciabatta French Toast with Marmalade Drizzle

    I pretty much eat the same breakfast every single day, a serving of McCann's Steel Cut oats with some peanut butter and a banana cut into it.  It's hard to describe the feeling of joy and excitement that I feel every single morning I get to eat my oats.  I even get cranky when I don't get to have them. So in order for a breakfast recipe to distract my attention from my precious and beloved oats, it must be pretty darn awesome. And this one is!

    With a slice of orange and cup of coffee,
    this breakfast receives two thumbs up!
    Recipe and commentary after the break.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Body Image

    Everyone has days where they like their body. And they days when they can't seem to find anything they like about it regardless of the success they've had in reshaping it.

    I'm having one of the latter days.

    Most days I can stand naked in front of the bathroom mirror and be, if not happy, at least content with my body. It's strong and lean, a runner's body. It gets me around at a roughly 9:47 minute mile these days and it can get me through at least 14 military style push-ups. And yet, on this particular type of day, I can't seem to make that enough.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Recipe Review: Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples

    I hadn't been grocery shopping in over two weeks (this seems to be a trend lately...), so I decided to spice my Saturday dinner up. I picked up ingredients for the Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples recipe from my October issue of Cooking Light.  The recipe suggests a spinach side salad, but I simply could not turn down the yummy looking brussel sprouts.

    Mmm!
    Recipe and more commentary after the break!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Weigh-In: 10/08/10

    Weight: 126.4
    BF: 20.6%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.75"

    It's a little close to my ceiling weight for comfort this week, but I think it's due to fluid retention. I'm still sore from my Wednesday/Thursday workouts and I slept like crap last night.  In fact, I feel like the walking dead today.  I could barely make it to work and all I can think about is sleep.

    I've got a lot of baking and reading planned for this weekend, which will give me several posts for next week. You'll probably notice that I've gone with a M-F posting schedule and am taking the weekends off to prep for the next week.  It's much easier on me, and my posts are of a higher quality.  Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Today was a good day even if my car hates me

    So while I'm sitting here sipping on my Daily Green Tea in the Pineapple Ginger flavor, here's a brief bulleted rundown of my day:
    • One of my VW flippy keys went through the wash on Tuesday and subsequently shorted out today so that every single button triggers the panic alarm. Oh, right, except the actual panic button. That does nothing now.
    • I got my 2010 Flu shot. My arm hurts. A lot.
    • I got paid today. Yay money!
    • My body is sore from the exercise class I'm attending on Wednesday nights now.  Apparently the 10-lb weights are where it's at for me. Seriously though, I am moving about as fast as a granny today.
    • Despite the previous bullet, I ran roughly 3.2 miles in 31:00 today (fast!). With hill sprints. My glutes are so mad at me right now.
    • I made the most delicious chicken nuggets from scratch for dinner!
    And now it's sleepy time for my sore self.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Identities

    Everyone identifies strongly with something, be it a sport, a hobby or a particular role in life. People can have many things that they identify with, and give themselves different labels accordingly.  All of these labels combine to help create a person's identity, and they often form in the teenage years.

    You know what I'm talking about.

    The geeks hung out with the geeks, the jocks hung out with the jocks.  I was a geek, but I was a gamer geek.  I've been playing  massively multiplayer online video games (MMORPGs) since I was 13. I loved the intricate nature of the environment, the endless possibilities and the luxury of not having to see the people I was interacting with in person.

    Why, might you ask, was it a luxury to not have to physically see the people I was interacting with?

    At nearly 200lbs and the heaviest I'd ever been, my teenage years were filled with bullies.  Compassion is not frequently found among teenagers and it was difficult to not let it get to me.  I took solace in my interactions with people online. It helped me realize that I was worth knowing even if I was physically unattractive. My first boyfriend was even someone I met online!

    Flash forward to 2005, my sophomore year of college, and I was still playing MMORPGs.  Only now they helped me bond with a group of people I still call friends to this day.  It was something that we could talk about and play together. It was one of the happiest times of my life; I learned that I could interact with people in person and online without being scrutinized for my physical features.

    These games were a saving grace for me while I was growing up.  They guided me towards my career path as a software engineer and helped me find friends.

    However...

    There comes a time in life when letting go of a particular identity helps you grow.  I've reached that point with MMORPGs. I've decided that I would rather let go of being a gamer, than stop being a runner. In truth, I no longer have the time to dedicate to gaming to make it worthwhile.  My health is extremely important to me and I cannot fathom giving up my exercise.  As such, I will not be purchasing the World of Warcraft expansion pack in December.

    On that note, for any of my readers who have gamed with me in the past, I will miss you. Please keep in touch! :)

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Icky, cold, wet weather

    I went for a long run today.  I think it was about 6 miles but I haven't been plotting my runs lately.  I've mostly been running just to run, with my five year old running watch as my only gadget.  I've been trying to focus on how I feel and get in touch with my body because I've been experiencing a period of low motivation with my running despite the obvious pace improvements. So, I'm trying to get back to the basics of just running for the sheer joy of it.  It was a bit difficult to be joyful on today's run though, due to it being 54 degrees Fahrenheit and rainy.

    Tomorrow I have my strength training class and I'm actually pretty excited about it.  It's much different than I expected it to be and since you have to bring your own weights, it can be geared towards each person's individual fitness levels.  I've already packed up my eight and ten-pounders for tomorrow. :)

    The Pats won last night with a great turnout in the second half, but I am beat today from staying up to watch it, so I think it's off to bed with this squirrel

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Weigh-in: 10/01/10

    Weight: 125.4
    BF: 20.2%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.75"


    I know I said I'd post pictures too, but after looking at them I've decided I'd rather just keep them for my own viewing. I find them to be a bit embarrassing.

    This weekend did not exactly get my fall challenge off to an auspicious start. Food-wise I was a little off but I'm okay with it. I had a good time this weekend, and I don't really think I went completely overboard. However, I have realized that running on a day that I've had Chipotle chicken tacos and a small serving of ice cream is a terrible idea.  I spent the entire evening whining and in severe gastrointestinal pain.  If I laid completely still, I was alright but it's pretty difficult to lay motionless.

    I was introduced to Marshalls/TJ Maxx this weekend.  I have to say; I'm hooked.  I found an adorable coat for $20, when it was originally $50. I also got an Express sweater that I've been looking for about 55% off. I actually went to the local one during lunch to hunt for some more bargains. I found an adorable purple scarf with a tiny felt squirrel on it and a cute grey sweater dress.

    I am hoping to get some more recipe reviews up this week but tonight I've got to watch the Patriots game.

    GO PATS!! :)

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Pumpkin Spice Cookies

    Fall is my favorite season. I love the rich flavors and fragrant spices, and I especially love pumpkin!  This recipe was given to me by my mom a few years ago. I've updated it to use a mixture of white whole wheat flour and regular all-purpose flour.

    Recipe and photos after the jump.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    Disney World 5K @ Epcot on January 7th, 2011

    I'm wicked excited for this:


    It's going to be my first real vacation and what better way to spend some time on vacation than racing a 5K through Epcot!  It can't come soon enough for me.

    I'm exhausted today, completely mentally and physically exhausted. I only got about four hours of sleep last night and those four were not very restful.  The worst part is that it really was just a silly thing that caused my brain to just go haywire and not shut off.  I also know that when I'm sleepy like this I find it difficult to exercise control over what I say, do and eat. Things I'd normally never say just fly out of my mouth and I eat past my fullness factor.  Fortunately these days don't occur all that often and I just need to survive until 9PM tonight.

    I've got my strength training class tonight from 7 to 8PM and I'm desperately trying to conserve the energy I need to do it.  I might have to do the easier versions of some of the exercises. :\  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back to my perky, awake and pleasant self.

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Look! There goes a moving traffic cone!

    For $70, you too can look like a moving traffic cone!
    With Autumn upon us here in New England, I have had to seek out a way to stay visible in the steadily decreasing amount of sunlight in the evening.  I picked this overcoat up at the local running store this weekend. Despite the fact that orange is quite possibly the worst color for my skin tone, it keeps me visible to oncoming traffic.  Everyone gave me a wide berth today, it was great! Perhaps I'll even use this as my Halloween costume.  All I need to be a traffic cone is some reflective white tape stripes around my chest.

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Recipe Review: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

    My jaw nearly fell off my head and the page was nearly smothered in drool when I flipped to this recipe in my October issue of Cooking Light.  Peanut butter...in BANANA BREAD?! Why didn't I think of that?! Obviously upon seeing this recipe, I knew that I had to try it out pronto.

    Recipe and commentary after the jump.

    They go well with coffee!

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Pizza Dough, Part Two: The Food Processor

    This is part two in my pizza dough making series. This time I will be illustrating how to make the Baking Illustrated recipe in a food processor.
    Basic Pizza Dough (makes 3 medium or 6 personal pizzas)

    4 fl.oz. warm water (approximately 110° F)
    1 envelope instant yeast 
    10 fl.oz. room temperature water (between 68° and 77° F)
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling the bowl
    22 ounces of bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting work surfaces and hands
    1.5 teaspoons salt
    NOTE: This recipe requires at least an 11-cup food processor.  My food processor is only a 9-cup and as such I've halved my recipe to accommodate the difference. 

     Bread flour, salt, yeast and extra virgin olive oil

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Fall Challenge

    I've been thinking about shedding a few more pounds to get to race weight for a couple of months now. I want to be in top-condition for the Disney 5K, since I'm looking to set a PR when I run it. My ideal racing weight is roughly 120lbs, which should drop my body fat percentage down to 17-18% by my monitor.  120 isn't an unreasonable weight for me and I don't want anyone thinking I'm suddenly developing an eating disorder.  I love food too much to not eat it or regurgitate it.

    In order to achieve this goal, I'm going to start working on it in the month of October to it.  Every good challenge starts with a basic framework of guidelines so here are mine:

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Top Chef: Just Desserts -- eee!

    I watch a very minimal amount of TV a week, but I simply had to add Top Chef: Just Desserts to the list of shows that I watch.  I am obsessed with baking, and to watch these pastry chefs duke it out with some of crazy challenges is a (zero calorie) treat for me. I've already seen the first episode and I am intrigued by the idea of Basil Buttercream. I might even have to try it out myself.

    Today was a pretty "meh" day as far as days go.  I had my physical this morning at 10AM which required me to fast for 12 hours. I've found that I'm pretty darn grouchy if I don't get to eat my oats until 10AM! I couldn't have my coffee until then so I basically had a splitting headache from lack of food and coffee that lingered all day.

    My first pilates with weight lifting class was today and I enjoyed myself.  It was good to just focus on what someone else was telling me to do for once.  It's less mentally taxing than me pushing myself along each time I do a workout.  The general level of fitness in the class is below mine but the instructor did provide options for people at a higher fitness level. Even if it's not a super-challenging workout for me, it is something and I feel compelled to go to it, having paid in full for all 11 classes.

    I stopped off and bought a few new pieces of Nike gear at Sports Authority before I went to class, and at Borders to buy Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance. I've got some big plans for October which should have the final details worked out within the next couple of days. I'll be posting about it by the end of the week.  I've also got plans to bake up a batch of my favorite fall cookies:
    Delicious!

     I'll share a post with the recipe, instructions and some better pictures when I make them.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Apples and "training wheels"

    Om nom nom nom, I love apples!
    I've been lax in my blogging lately.  I've also been lax in my eating habits.  I am starting to think that perhaps logging should not be considered a set of training wheels for me. I spoke with my running "helper" today and we came up with this analogy:

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Training wheels

    When my parents removed the training wheels to my bike as a kid, I promptly crashed into a peach tree on my first ride.

    It is with considerable hesitation then, that I have decided to remove my figurative training wheels.

    More after the break... 

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    My Brain on Maintenance

    Sometimes I think my brain hasn't quite caught up with reality. It feels as though it's slowly progressing towards seeing me the way I truly am now, but often it experiences setbacks.  What exactly do I mean by this?

    Well...

    Despite the hard evidence (my measurements), I often feel larger than I am and I have read that this is not uncommon in those who have lost a great deal of weight in a relatively short period of time.

    I've made this analogy before; losing weight is like waging a war with your body. Perhaps it's not the best analogy, but it fits for me. Admittedly, I expected the war to end once I achieved goal weight and went into maintenance. Victory flags, cheering, fireworks, you know the whole shebang.

    I was wrong, but the war is different now. It's subtle and vexing.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Bad luck!

    Weekly Friday Weigh-In Statistics
    Weight: 125
    BF: 19.3%
    Measurements: 34-26-33.5-17.5

    I've been very bad about blogging the last couple of days because I caught a cold from some jerk at work.  I wish sick people wouldn't come in and spread their cooties around! UGH!

    I ended up bagging my race today, which I feel mildly bad about. But honestly? I needed to stay in bed and sleep for a few more hours. I felt much better when I woke up later.  Oh well, I will now focus all my efforts on training for the Disney World 5K in January 2011!

    I'm going to a Patriots game tomorrow with my family, the season opener even! Woohoo! I'm really excited. :) Perhaps I'll get a few pictures to post tomorrow.  I'll have to get my 5 miler in before we go because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to want to do anything when I get home from the game tomorrow.  I've also got a kitchen experiment planned for tomorrow evening, it should be interesting.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    The Seven Proprioceptive Cues

    As a runner, I've recently become concerned with my stride. Stride is everything in the sport of running.  This new found concern is largely due to reading my copy of Brain Training For Runners. An inefficient stride can play a part to injury and can also slow you down.  Matt Fitzgerald suggests trying to use these seven proprioceptive cues (one cue a week) during your runs to help you overcome some of the stride inefficiencies:

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Nearly empty pantry? No problem!

    No, the picture is not out of focus. The cover of the book is just really that blurry.
    I haven't been shopping in a while. Longer than a while actually, about two weeks. So tonight when I returned from my run and peered into my refrigerator, I was mildly shocked at how little food is in there. I poked about the cupboards for a few minutes before deciding on a very basic rendition of breakfast for dinner.

    More after the break...

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Successful days

    Weekly Friday Stats
    Weight: 124.6
    BF: 20.6%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"


    They're multiplying!

    I had a major breakthrough with the project I've been working on at work yesterday and have been in  good spirits since.  It's remarkable what finally understanding some code will do for your mood. I might even get rewarded with a Kinder Egg at the next team meeting for getting my code up and running. That would be pretty darn sweet!

    It has been unseasonably hot the last few days and it puts a pretty large cramp in my running style.  The forecast indicates that this heat wave should be breaking this weekend, and with any luck the seasonable temperatures will make running more comfortable.  I'm racing another 5K on September 11th, and I'm shooting for under 28:49.  It should be cooler that day which will make it easier to stay speedy.

    More after the break...

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Hot Hot Hot!

    It's hot. Very hot. It must have been at least 90 degrees when I went for my run just before 6. I had planned on doing a 6-miler. Which I thought, as I drove home from work, seemed like a rather ambitious goal for someone still recovering from her race and not acclimatized to this kind of heat.  I ended up bagging the second half of my run and only managing a meager 36 minutes.  It was just too freaking hot for me, and I was not properly hydrated for that kind of weather.  Hopefully September will bring with it some cooler, more runner-friendly weather.

    I came home to a happy surprise today. One of the flowers I planted back in early July has finally bloomed! There's a picture of it after the break. :)

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Slow Monday

    Today was a pretty slow day. I've added a couple new sections to the blog, Kitchen Adventures and Fitness.  I will be putting all of my cooking and baking escapade links in the Kitchen Adventures section for easier access and the fitness section will most likely be updated in the future to contain a link to my training plans and race times.  I've got a long run planned for tomorrow so I should have more to talk about. :)

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    The Aftermath

    Weekly Friday Stats
    Weight: 124.6
    BF: 20.0%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"


    I'm sitting here (re)watching the first episode of Firefly in that post-race sleepy haze. The kitchen is a royal disaster and my bedroom could use some tidying, but frankly I'm too tired.  I've had a pretty busy weekend.  My virtual running "helper" stopped by on Friday and suggested three different types of workouts for me to use when I start training for my 5K in Disney World on January 5th.  It was quite helpful and I look forward to incorporating them into a 7-week training plan come November. After virtual running helper left, I set to baking my mom's birthday cake.  It was a strawberry cake with a swiss meringue buttercream and tiny marizpan strawberries:

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Fitness for life?

    Eric and I went out to lunch today.  I like to think of it as our ritual weekly sushi trip,  a way for me to get some fish in my diet.  On the way out to the car, we chatted about how one sedentary week sets you back about three to four weeks worth of fitness. He seemed slightly appalled (correct me if I'm wrong Eric) at the idea that to maintain a level of fitness, one essentially has to make a lifetime commitment to do so.

    At the time, I was too hungry to construct a reasonable response to this. However I've been thinking about it since we got back from lunch and I've come up with a few thoughts:

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Squirrely celebration!

    Something completely and totally awesome happened today.

    I paid off my larger set of student loans!

    *does squirrel dance*

    Woohoo, woohoo, woohoo!  This means that I now have roughly $500 more in free cash flow now! Though admittedly, I'll probably just end up putting a significant portion of that into savings, but I may get myself something nice to celebrate. Jewelry perhaps? We shall see!

    More after the break

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Ugh.

    Yesterday's training run was a 2.25 mile race rehearsal, but the results left me feeling a little sad. I only averaged a 9:30 min/mile pace. :(  Now admittedly, I've never really found the race rehearsals to be 100% accurate predictor of my pace. I think this is because it isn't ever under the same mental conditions that a race is.  I suspect my race time on Sunday will be roughly the same as my last 5K. All I can do at this point is not stress about it and just make sure my nutrition is good this week.

    I called and signed up for a pilates with weight training class starting on September 22nd. I'm feeling a touch of boredom with my current cross training exercises, this should help mix it up.  I think I'm also going to start alternating my circuit training workout with the deck of cards workout.  I will put up a post tomorrow detailing the rules of my deck of cards workout. It looks like a really good way to keep my workouts constantly entertaining.

    I took a look at the weather for race day on Sunday. Seems to be a high of 90 degrees in Concord, NH. Oh boy!

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Creepy howly noises

    I had a pretty good run this evening but now I'm really pooped. So I think I'll be heading to bed quite early, while I listen to the creepy howly noises the wind makes in my apartment.  Check out the new "About Me" section and let me know what you think. :)

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    I'm a terrible treadmill runner now...

    I got bored and painted my toenails red!
    Absolutely terrible! My stride gets all messed up and I forget to breathe properly.  My heart rate spikes awkwardly because I'm not breathing properly and then I just feel like an idiot. I'd like to say that today proved that 8 days of a miserable sickness-induced sedentary lifestyle had no effect whatsoever on my fitness but the treadmill just did not provide accurate results! I am planning to do my scheduled 2.25 mile run tomorrow and go from there.  Here's hoping that I'm not completely f'd for my race in a week.

    More after the break.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Improvement!

    EDIT:
    Forgot to add I took my body fat % this morning and came in at 20.4%. Booo up a %!

    This morning my throat was still a little sore and my left sub-mandibular lymph node continues to be a bit swollen, but much less so than yesterday.  I'm also less foggy-headed, and my circadian rhythms are getting back to normal. Why else would I wake up at 7AM on a freaking Saturday?

    I was pretty productive today. I made myself some delicious chicken noodle soup for dinner, made the bed with some fresh, clean sheets,  and tidied up the sink.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back on my feet and out running again. :)

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Day #7 with no running

    Weekly Friday Stats
    Weight: 125.0
    BF:  Coming tomorrow morning.....
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"

    This shit sucks. A lot.  The strep infection that I thought was cured on Wednesday has hopped from my right tonsil to my left tonsil and I've also got fluid in my right ear now.  The doctor informs me that if I don't feel better on Monday, I will have to go back to the see her to figure out what exactly is ailing me.  Frankly, I am sick of being sick so I will be better on Monday. I will it to be so and it's my goddamn body so it has to listen! Positive thoughts!


    More after the break!

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Go away strep, go away!

    It turns out that my illness from this weekend is, in fact, strep throat.  When I still had a fever on Monday morning, I knew something was wonky so I called my GP and set up an appointment for yesterday.  Now I've got 10 days worth of penicillin and a few days of a mush diet. I'm feeling much better already though. I decided to run at a relatively slow pace for about 20 minutes on the treadmill tonight just to get my blood pumping.  It's really amazing how fast the antibiotics work!  I'm also taking an acidophilus supplement to prevent any gastric disturbances from the 10 day penicillin treatment. My GI system is already fussy enough, no need to upset it anymore.

    I'm hoping that with any luck, I'll be recovered enough by the 29th to run the 5K I've been training diligently for for the past 5 weeks in under 28:29.  I am pretty disheartened about this setback but I am trying to take it in stride.  It's just one race, and there will be many others.

    In other slightly morbid news, I've decided to get some sort of RoadID.  It occurred me last Wednesday when I was running that if anything happened to me, I'd be a Jane Doe at a hospital because I don't run with any sort of identification. This probably stemmed from the fact that I had two moments throughout the course of 6 miles where I thought a couple distracted drivers might actually sideswipe me. Please people, eyes forward when you're driving. I'm not invisible! I expect my fancy new RoadID to arrive 8/20. I'll take some pics then! :)

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Thank Jeebys, it's the weekend...well kinda..

    Here's the weekly weigh-in and stats from Friday.

    Weekly Friday Stats
    Weight: 125.6
    BF: 19.6%
    Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"

    I was feeling pretty terrible last night on my way home from work so I decided to scrap my speed workout.  I was feeling pretty sore all over, not the normal soreness that comes with changing up a workout. This was a full body dull ache, my throat hurt and the lymph nodes in my neck were swollen. I thought something fishy was up and I went to bed relatively early after taking some Nyquil.  I was actually able to sleep through the annoying little dog in the apartment below me yapping from 5PM onward. (more on this dog later!)

    I woke up feeling a little off this morning, took some Tylenol Cold and Sinus Pain and went off to my hair cut at 10:30. Yay for shorter hair!  Around noon I started feeling pretty weak, achy and tired again, so I took a nap.  I was feeling a little hot so I decided to take my temperature. It was 101.8, crikey, I have the flu. :(  It sucks a lot because it makes me realize how important working out has become to me.  I know it's only a few days and I won't suffer much performance loss from it but darnit! It stinks!

    As for that little yapping dog, it pretty much barked straight on from 5PM yesterday to when Eric called the police to report it since we couldn't get ahold of maintenance.  Evidently the owner of the dog left it with a friend (who lives in the apartment below mine) and then that friend proceeded to leave to stay at another friend's for the weekend. What the F! Thankfully the nice police officer had more brains than either Eric or I combined and dialed the apartment number on the call-box outside.  Each person's apartment number is attached to a phone number they provide, seems this one was hooked up to the lady's cell phone. The dog has since stopped yapping.

    Here's hoping my fever breaks overnight tonight.  I think I'm going to go take a hot shower and pass out. Sickly squirrels need their rest!