Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chocolate Muffins

I've been craving muffins all week.

On my way into work every morning, I pass through the workplace cafeteria and the muffins always look so tempting. I've also been craving chocolate all week, but that's not unusual since I'm pretty much guaranteed to be craving chocolate 24/7.

So with the free time I had this morning, I decided to combine my two cravings into a recipe!
Chocolate Muffins
Recipe by Sarah

Ingredients
1/2 cup (60g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (64g) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (34g) barley flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (34g) oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed (220g) light brown sugar
1 cup (240ml) coffee, freshly brewed
1/4 cup (24g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (75g) safflower oil
1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. In large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.
3. Using a fork or a whisk, add the brown sugar into the flour mixture and stir until the mixture looks like fine sand with no large lumps.
4. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine the coffee and the cocoa powder. Stir until the cocoa powder is completely dissolved.
5. Stir the vanilla extract and safflower oil into the coffee and cocoa powder mixture. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
6. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and crack the egg into it. Pour in the cocoa mixture and stir just until combined, being careful not to over-mix. Muffin batter should be slightly lumpy.
7. Using a 1/4 cup scoop or a 1/4 cup, fill the muffin liners. Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes (rotating halfway through if your oven bakes unevenly), or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool 5 minutes. Enjoy!

YIELD: 15 muffins

Values calculated using CalorieKing with used ingredients
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1 muffin
CAL: 155
FAT: 6g
SAT. FAT: 0.7g
CHOL: 12mg
SOD: 178mg
CARB: 24mg
FIB: 2g
SUG:14g
PRO: 2g
CALC: 60mg

You're probably looking at my picture thinking, "Sarah, that muffin doesn't really have a muffin top!" You'd (obviously) be right, I'm pretty sure I interfered with the rising process by opening the oven door to put the second set of muffins in.  Oopsy, oh well! They're still delicious.
They're also a little bit crumbly, as I found out when I went to cut it in half to butter it.
Regular butter just wouldn't suit for these. I had to go with one of my other favorite foods: PEANUT BUTTER!
Sometimes chocolate muffins can be overpoweringly sweet and have a really stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth texture. These muffins turned out to be not too sweet and have just the right amount of chew. If you're looking for oat and barley flour and can't find it anywhere, I buy mine from Vitacost. I get the Arrowhead Mills brand, but I believe they have other options as well.

Can I really call it a muffin if it doesn't have a muffin top? What do you think? Lemme know in a comment below! :) And if you make it, let me know down below as well!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Harvest!

Weight: 124.8
Body Fat: 20.4% + 3% = 23.4%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"
----------------------------------------------

o hai there readers! TGIF!
I'll admit that I was a little worried this week about my weigh-in since I had a couple of bad eating days. Turns out everything was okay and it was just a false alarm. That's a good thing because if I'd had to pay up on my Stickk contract for this week, I would have had to forgo my charm for my bracelet this year. That would make me pretty sad so it's a good thing I wear this bracelet as a daily reminder. My goal weight date charm actually fell off so I keep it in my jewelry box with last year's race charm. I've yet to come up with a good idea as to how to display the charms since wearing them destroys them.
Celebratory weight loss bracelet

Time for the weekly deck garden update...


I've been harvesting roughly 6-7 cherry tomatoes a day since they started ripening. They are so delicious! I think I'm just going to grow all cherry tomato plants next year.
This is my last ripe pepper, I ate the other two but there are more growing. They're not quite as flavorful as I had hoped but they're actually growing and not rotted so woohoo!
I still haven't gotten around to thinning the carrot herd.

Last week I had a picture of my full size tomatoes that showed how afflicted they are. I consulted a gardening expert and she gave me a couple of suggestions. I haven't taken the necessary measures to try and help the tomatoes so as you can see, I'm still experiencing afflicted tomatoes. :(

Do you have green or black thumbs? Lemme know in a comment down below!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Five Little Things

Laura tagged me to do a five things you love about yourself post. The idea is to write about 5 things that make you feel confident in yourself, be they mental or physical. This is not intended to be a brag session, just a way of putting some positive energy out into the universe. It took me a while to come up with the 5 things that are most important to me, but here we go:

  • My ability to persevere: I've struggled with a lot of things over my life so far (super low self confidence, weight problems, eating habits, relationship problems, etc.) but never once have I ever felt like quitting, not even in my lowest moments when I can't easily see the solution to something.My desire to push through and make things better for myself has always been strong. I've come to understand this about myself recently and it makes me feel like I can do anything that I want to do. It's taught me to believe in this facet of my personality.
  • I learn quickly. I've always been quick to grasp and understand concepts, and because of that I love to learn. It helps me on the job, and it helps me at home. It also drives my thirst for knowledge, which is why I'm always seeking new and different things to study. 
  •  All those squats and all the running have paid off.  I've got a pretty shapely derriere. I'll admit that I've been caught by Eric posing in the mirror. And I sometimes catch the men at the gym looking when they think I can't see. It's pretty flattering since I spent so much of my teenage years and early twenties hiding in frumpy clothes.
  • I seem to have a natural talent for baking. I think I've only had a couple of flops, and I am getting pretty adept at baking bread.
  • I'm very fiscally minded. I paid my $27K student loan debt off in 4 years and am still well on my way to saving for my future retirement.

Now it's my turn to play tag!
Your turn ladies! I'm excited to hear what you love about yourselves the most. :)

Basic Running FAQ

I've found that I get a lot of questions about running now, so I took an old post of mine and expanded on it for today's Thursday's tips. Hopefully it's helpful!


Perhaps you're like me, and you took up running because it's one of the easiest and best ways to burn calories when you are trying to lose weight.

Now running has become something more to you, it's become something you truly enjoy.

Maybe you completed your first 5K and want to train for another event.

Whatever your goal, there are a few things you want to consider as you progress as a runner.

1. Shoes


Get fitted for shoes by someone who is knowledgeable when you first start running. Many running stores will actually have a treadmill to perform gait analysis on you to help recommend shoes. You will also want to try running a bit in a pair of shoes before you buy them to help identify any possible problems. Lastly, If you have lost a significant amount of weight, you should also consider getting refitted. Your foot type may change as you lose weight. I went from needing a heavy duty motion control and stability to shoe to needing a neutral as I lost weight.

2. Increasing mileage safely
Slower is safer! This picture really has nothing to do
with the bullet, but it's really cute and I own this shirt.
The 10% "rule" is a general guideline, not a hard and fast rule.  This essentially means that you should only increase your mileage by 10% each week. However running is ultimately a personal experiment, and if you find that you can increase your mileage by more than that each week, go for it. Just be extremely cautious about running on possible injuries, because it may only worsen them.

3. Posture
Brain Training For Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results

Posture is extremely important as a runner, because it helps your running efficiency.  If you are keeping particular bits of your body tense, you are expending extra energy that you could be using to achieve a faster pace. I first learned the importance of posture in one of my favorite training books, Brain Training For Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results. Now I spend a great deal of time thinking about these things when I run, making microcorrections constantly to keep myself as close to the ideal posture as is possible. I think that this has been one of the biggest factors in my pace improvement over the last year.  Ideal posture is as follows: (source):

  • Head Tilt: Look forward and ahead, not at your feet. Don't let your chin jut out. Keep your head and neck aligned. 
  • Shoulders: Keep them low, loose and level, not high and tight. Keep this in mind towards the end of your runs, because as you tire your shoulders have a tendency to creep toward your ears. If you notice your shoulders creeping towards your ears, shake 'em out. 
  • Arms:  Running is primarily a lower-body sport, but that doesn't mean you can just ignore your upper body.  Your hands control the tension of your entire upper body, so don't clench your fists. Keep them loose and let your fingers lightly touch your palm.  Keep your elbows at a roughly 90-degree angle and allow your hands to lightly brush your illiac crest on the downswing.  
  • Torso: This may seem counterintuitive to some, but when you inhale you should expand your diaphragm and allow it to relax when you exhale.  Upon exhalation, pull your navel to your spine to keep everything in alignment.
  • Hips: Your hips are key to your alignment as a runner.  You want to keep them straight, don't tilt too far forward.  If it helps, pretend like your pelvis is a bowl full of water and you don't want to spill any out of it.  Too far forward and the water's gone!
  • Legs: Slight knee lift, short quick steps for a rapid turnover.  The ideal cadence is considered to be 180 steps per minute (90 steps per leg)
  • Ankles: You should have a quiet and springy step, your foot should not slap loudly as they strike the ground.
4.Cross-training
Cross-training is advantageous for several reasons, the first and foremost being that it gives your body a rest from the constant ground pounding.  Cross-training with strength training is also good because it can help you achieve a stronger upper body, which will help you maintain correct upper body posture during your runs. Running is a total body sport.

5. Reasonable goals
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T.E.R., that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound, evaluate, re-evaluate.  Don't set a goal that will cause you to burn out on something you currently enjoy. Simple as that.

6. Breathing
I know it seems ridiculous that I'm making this a bullet but it's actually pretty important. Many runners experience side stitches when they start out and don't know why. I've found that most of the time (through personal experience and through others) that this is a combination of a postural problem and a breathing problem. Many of us walk around sucking in our guts all day, never really taking a full deep breath. When you inhale while running your chest should expand, think about maximizing the amount of air that you intake. When you exhale, your chest should contract, think about using your core muscles to pull your navel towards your spine when you do.  And lastly, if you experience a side stitch while you are running, my favorite little trick is to inhale deeply as I said before, and expel your breath forcefully when you land a step on the side that your stitch is on.

Are you a runner? Do you have any tips or tricks that would help out a new runner? Let us know in a comment down below! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Seven

I've seen the whole seven posts posts idea floating around the blogosphere lately. And I noticed yesterday when I was reading Ms. Sarah over at Running On Words post yesterday that she had tagged me!

Most Beautiful: Norway Trip: August 2008
It took me a long time of browsing through my posts to find one that fit this category. I chose this one because Norway has kind of an austere beauty to it. I often complain about how much I dislike traveling to Norway because it can be boring with the vast amount of overtime I work at site. This post reminds me that Norway has beauty, and all I have to do is keep a positive mindset.

Most popular: If a picture is worth a thousand words...
Hands down, this has been my most popular post of all time. That makes sense given the huge transformation that I've undergone in the last ten years. I don't even look like the same person. In truth, I'm not the same person I was in that first picture. I've undergone more than just a physical transformation; it's been a mental transformation as well. I enjoy looking at it as much as everyone else does, just to remind myself how far I've actually come.

Most controversial: I haven't really had any controversial posts.
I'm not really one to stir the pot. I've grown into pretty level-headed individual and I don't often put myself into situations that could be considered controversial. I try to represent myself as honestly as possible on my blog, so I must be doing a good job if I'm not causing any controversy.


Most helpful: Pizza Dough Part One: Stand Mixer or "What Can I Do To Lose Weight?"
Surprisingly one of my first food picture oriented posts is one of the ones with the most hits. I guess it was helpful!  The weight loss FAQ is also highly popular. I can only hope that the people who see it find it helpful.

Surprise success: A Pictorial: My busy weekend  
At this point in my blog, I was using Monday as my pictorial day since I'd not been updating on weekends. I've done several pictorials but this one has been surprisingly successful. I have no idea why! Perhaps it was the use of a DSLR or perhaps it was the content. I wish I knew why because I'd love to replicate it!!

Not Enough Attention: Confession: Food Obsession
On the whole, my blog doesn't receive a whole lot of attention, but given that I didn't really open it up to the public until about a month ago, that makes sense. I have a few regular commenters but I often wonder if people are put off by Disqus.  I've been trying (in my few spare moments) how to move the email/name/website forms out of the Disqus login but haven't yet quite gotten it yet. I know it's not clear, but Disqus does not require you to sign in to comment.  Or maybe I just don't post anything interesting enough for a large amount of people to comment on. *shrug* Only time will tell.


Most Proud: Running With The Wolves 10K Race Report
I'd wanted to do this race last year (2010) but travel for work got in the way. I'm really proud of this post because I actually did the 10K in under an hour which is what I was aiming for.  It's also another marker of my slow progression towards running a longer distance.  I suspect that this will be replaced by next year's Boilermaker race report. :)


Now I get to nominate five bloggers to join in on the fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sarah's Top Ten Favorite Beauty Products

I've been a wicked slacker with the blogging today, I know, I'm sorry! I was on a roll at work at work today and stopping didn't feel like an option. I did however, come up with a list of my top ten "beauty" products. I'm putting beauty in quotes because, honestly, most of these products aren't makeup. I believe in a solid foundation of products to look as naturally lovely as possible. With that, here are my top ten favorite beauty products:



1. Redken Body Full Shampoo and Conditioner
I have stick straight hair, volumeless hair. If I really really wanted to, I could pull off the sleek chic Courtney Cox look. But what I really want is volume, and that means finding a shampoo and conditioner set that doesn't leave my locks limp and lifeless. I buy these in bulk, and the shampoo lasts me about 6 months, the conditioner about 8 since I only use it on my tips. I've tried many, many (many, many, many) different volumizing shampoos over the years and this is the one I always come back to.




2. Biolage Volumizing Mousse
In the summer time, I rarely ever dry my hair. I prefer to let it air dry or just tie it up in a pony tail. I am seriously no frills here. However, when winter time comes in New England and the air gets dry enough to get shocked just by thinking about it, I bust out my favorite mousse to help give me some body and tame my static electricity loving locks.







3. St. Ives Blemish and Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub
I've been using this St. Ives product since I was in my teens. It's one of the few cleansers I've tried over the years and I always seem to go back to it. It's gentle enough for every day use and it never leaves my skin feeling tight and overly cleaned. It also helps keep my dry skin areas deflaked.







4. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion
Three years ago when I started hunting for a new moisturizer because a) I didn't have one and b) I thought it was a good time to start taking care of my delicate facial skin, I came across the Clinique 3-step set. I'm not a huge fan of all three steps together, but their moisturizer works like a charm for me. It doesn't make my skin feel greasy and it absorbs quickly. It also doesn't have any sort of yucky fragrances. I'm super sensitive to fragrances (they give me migraines) so that was a big plus.


5. StriVectin-SD
StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks and Wrinkles 5 fl oz (150 ml)

This stuff is absurdly expensive. I was lucky enough to get a free sample with my last Sephora order and I've yet to work my way through it. I'll definitely be dropping the cash monies on it when I do need more. I use it as an eye cream twice a day and I definitely feel like it's keeping fine lines and crow's feet at bay. I guess I'll let you all know in a few years if it really works.




6. Chapstick Classic Lip Balm
Original Classic Lip Balm - 1 pc,(ChapStick)
What? This was on my first top ten list? No way! Okay, you caught me. I love my Chapstick, it's almost always in my pocket for constant use. However that also means that sometimes it ends up going through my wash and staining my favorite shirts. I also firmly believe that it's impossible to have too many Chapstick containers.



7. Covergirl Professional Natural Lash Clear Mascara
I hate almost all mascaras. They clump my lashes together and make them feel even heavier than they already are. Again, I realize that I'm lucky enough to have long lashes, so I can happily get away with my favorite clear mascara. This is the only brand that I've ever found that doesn't weigh them down and cause them to poke me in the eyeball.







8. Physicians Formula: Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Cream Liner for Brown Eyes
I have always envied the liner look, even when I was younger and going through my "Makeup is stupid and I'll never wear it" phase. It's just such a great way to draw attention to your eyes. I'm by no means a master at eyeliner and I'm too chicken to line my lower lid, but I'm getting rather adept at lining my upper lash line! I even found out that my particular favorite brand has another set of colors for brown eyes and am now contemplating a stop off at the local CVS tomorrow.





9. Almay Smart Shade Smart Balance Makeup in as pasty as you can get it
I realize that I'm very luck not to have many blemishes and a relatively even skin tone, but photograph lighting always makes me look terrible so I like to use a light moisturizer/foundation. Almay's Smart Shade Smart Balance makeup fits the bill for me.









10. Revlon Moon Drops Lipstick in Silverspun Rose
I'm a late comer to the world of lipstick, having only purchased my first tube of it last year. I always thought I looked silly in it, but it just took me spending the time to find a shade that doesn't make me look like a clown. I also learned that the color is prone to bleeding on my lips and lip liner is important for me. Now I'm quite happy with this shade. Dare I even say it might be my signature shade?



What are your favorite beauty products? Lemme know in a comment below, signing in is optional! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

werk, werk, werk!

Today was one of those day's where I get so into my work that I hunch over my desk and stare intensely at the screen.  Unsurprisingly, I had a whopping headache before I hit the gym because of that fact.
Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I rather like being this busy at work. It makes my days blaze by and I find it much easier to ignore cravings. I sometimes get so involved that I forget to eat, which is why my weekly menu is a good idea for me. I'm pretty much on food-autopilot until my project is complete.

werking it out
You'd think that with how busy I get at work, I'd forfeit exercise time. Nope! Eric and I hit the gym after work today. I did a bit of circuit training today:
800m @ 6.0mph - warmup
Push-Ups w/ Feet on Stability ball x 12
400m @ 7.5mph
Speed Squats x 2min
400m @ 7.5mph
Neutral Grip Pull-Ups w/45-lb assist x 8 (this is huge progress for me!)
400m @ 7.5mph
Split Squat Jumps x 30
400m @ 7.5mph
3-pt planks (30s a leg, 30s reg. plank) - 2min total
800m @ 6.0mph
Total Time: 45 minutes
Total Calories: 312 kCal
After the gym, I came home and made myself a big bowl of taco salad to refuel. I was psyched to be able to use my fresh cherry tomatoes as toppers. They're so good that I've decided to only grow cherry tomatoes next year!

Does anyone have any top ten requests for tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday post? Lemme know down below! Have a good evening :)

PUMA 5 Miler Training: Week 5

Back on track, finally! I don't have much congestion or coughing,  and am generally feeling much better.  Last week I didn't take the time to create a meal plan and I definitely felt the lack of it. It takes me much longer to get ready to go in the morning if I don't have a plan for what to pack into my massive lunchbox. So since I detest wasting time, I took some time last night and made up my work week food plans:

I'm sure my meal plan looks as boring as ever, but that's what you get when you're an engineer trying to fit three months of work into two. I just don't have the time to be creative, so I go with my standby meals. Anyhooooozle, onto the training!

Last week's training
Monday  (7/18) - Cross Training
I ended up doing 25 minutes of weights and 20 minutes on the treadmill. Unfortunately I hadn't brought my little workout logbook so I've completely forgotten what exercises I did. Oopsy!

Tuesday (7/19) - Running
I skipped yoga again this week. I still wasn't quite feeling up to it, and mostly because I think I might have suffocated on my own mucous in downward dog. Not pleasant.

Wednesday (7/20) - Rest
This was a full on rest day, no physical activity outside of the things I have to do to get around.

Thursday (7/21) - 4x800m w/400m rests
The heat wave had me indoors last week. I also had a busy Thursday planned so I took the time and did this workout in the morning. I prefer doing my speedwork on the treadmill, because I think it helps me get a feel for what a pace actually feels like.  I haven't been running all my life so I'm still learning how to hold my posture and pace myself.

Friday (7/22) - Cross Training
I did thirty minutes worth of my PSP workout, and 20 minutes walking at a medium intensity on the treadmill. I thought about walking outdoors, but this is what I saw the entire way home:
102° is not for me.

Saturday (7/23) - Shrewsbury Special 5K - 27:44 (boooo!)
I won't rehash it here. You can read all about it in the race report.

Sunday (7/24) - 30 min. easy on treadmill
Normally Sunday is my long run. Since as I had a rough race on Saturday, I decided to keep it low key and indoors. I'm hoping the heatwave breaks for next week. I have another 8 miler planned.

All in all, a pretty slow week training wise but that's too be expected since I was still recovering from my sickness. This week will be more intense.

Have a good training week everyone! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Multigrain Pancakes

When I finally gave up on trying to like maple syrup, I also gave up on eating pancakes with any sort of regularity. To me, they are the iconic maple syrup food. There was just too much of an association between the two for me to find pancakes palatable.

It's been a couple of years since giving up on said maple syrup and I was willing to take the foray into pancake creation this weekend. I (obviously) favor fruit toppings so I took great joy in microwaving some of my favorite frozen fruits until they were steaming.
Multigrain Pancakes
Recipe adapted from good ol' Betty Crocker
1/4 cup barley flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 whole wheat flour
1/4 all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 large egg
3/4 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. In a medium bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. You can hand whisk or use a hand-held mixer, either works.
3. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat.
4. Pour the flour mixture into the egg, and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
5. Using a quarter cup (or a quarter cup scoop), drop batter onto the preheated griddle. Flip the pancakes when they start to gently bubble.
6. Top as preferred, serve immediately.

YIELD: 7 pancakes
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Values calculated with used ingredients via CalorieKing
Serving Size:1 pancake
CAL: 124
FAT: 6g
SAT. FAT 0.8g
CHOL: 27mg
SOD: 261mg
CARB: 15g
FIB: 2g
SUG: 3g
PRO: 4g
CALC: 180mg

These certainly don't puff up quite as large as buttermilk pancakes do, but they're quick, easy and tasty. I'm a big fan of the strawberry and banana topping too!

If you make 'em, lemme know down below!

July Book Club: Divergent



1. What did you think of the world that Divergent is set in? Would you have thrived or failed in that world? Was it realistic?
At its heart, this book is a dystopian fantasy novel and didn't strike that realistic chord within me. It's believable, but just not that believable. We're all essentially Divergent because of the way we are raised, with no real faction to call home. I'm pretty sure I would have failed because I would fight the typing system too strongly.

2. What would be the biggest pro to living in a world with factions? Biggest con?
It's easy to know where you belong if you type strongly as one of the factions. Life is pretty simple when you only have a few job options available to you once you grow up. By that same token though, if you don't type strongly into one faction (or apparently if you fail out of Dauntless), life is pretty crappy. The whole fact that there is a section of factionless people is a major failing of the system. I anticipate they'll probably play a role in the future books.

3. What faction would be in? Which faction was your favorite?
I'm going with Dauntless for the faction I'd be in. And, Dauntless was my favorite based on the ideals. The way it was portrayed in the book wasn't exactly true to those ideals as was evidenced by Four's feelings on the topic.

4. Why do you think Tris picked the faction that she did? Were you surprised? Were you surprised about her brother?
At first, I don't think she picked Dauntless out of any deep meaningful thoughts. She envied the Dauntless kids, to the point where she wanted to be them. I doubt that she understood the depth of what she was getting herself into when she made the first leap. I wasn't surprised with her or her brother's choice, because I think the foreshadowing in this book was heavy-handed.

5. Let’s talk about Tris – did she make you want to be 16 again? Did you love her or hate her?
I think she started out as the typical teenager but evolved into something a little more. If she had stayed in the original faction she was born to, I might have put the book down.

6. Let’s talk about Four – love him or hate him? Were you surprised by his “big reveal”?
While I saw his big secret coming a million miles away with all the foreshadowing happening (see list item #4), I like Four. His relationship with Tris is something cute and precious. Veronica Roth did an excellent job portraying first love with that pairing.

7. Why do you think the factions found being Divergent so threatening? What would you do it YOU were Divergent?
It undermines their entire concept of society. Their world is built upon the core perception that everyone falls into one singular faction, and doesn't strongly portray characteristics of the others. While there's nothing wrong with being Divergent in my mind, I think I'd probably have to keep it a hidden. Divergents are not openly welcome in the society.

8. Why did the serum work on Four but not Tris? (this was just something I was wondering)
The first serum didn't work on Four. The second serum was specifically designed for Divergent individuals and I don't think that Four is as strongly Divergent as Tris is hence why they tried out the second version of the serum on him.

9. What fears would show up in your fear landscape?
I'd certainly have more fears Four and Tris combined. If my regular dreaming about surviving some sort of apocalypse is any indication, more than likely one of my fears would be surviving an apocalypse, zombie or otherwise. I'm also very much afraid of losing my fitness and health, so I suspect that might sneak its evil little way in there. Most of my fears are rather pedestrian, no need to bore you with them.

10. How made at me are you that Insurgent doesn’t come out until NEXT Spring?
I waited 3 years for both A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five and The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2). Next spring doesn't seem so long!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shrewsbury Special 5K Race Report

I was hopeful when I stepped outside this morning and was greeted by a light breeze and overcast skies. It was almost comfortable.
As we were driving over to the race location though, it started to storm. The big, fat raindrops and lightning kind of storm.  One of the lightning strikes was so close by when we got out of the car, that the resulting  thunder made me jump and squeak. I'm easily startled by unexpected noises, living up to my nickname! Nate and I went to the registration desk to get our stuff, and I was rather startled by the lack of bib numbers. I'm a little sad too because I won't have another bib to add to my cubicle's wall. :(

Then we found that that the race was delayed for a whopping 45 minutes. So we waited around outside at first...
Nate took the time to psych himself up with some music and whatever kind of energy drink he made me stop at the P.C. Hopper for (or for the non-WPI grads among you, Price Chopper).  It started to rain again, and we decided to relocate inside.
Nate opted out of this picture (because I actually provided him with a choice this time) so you get me in my super-short racing shorts and his right arm, leg and ear. The rain let up by 9AM, but by then I could feel it starting to warm up. I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be of those instances where the rain evaporates into the air off the hot pavement, providing a sauna-like atmosphere.  Nate and I went off for a light jog to warm up and then got ready at the starting line.
While we were getting ready to go, I was trying to get my Garmin to acquire some freaking satellites. Evidently the cloud cover was preventing it from finalizing the connection, and I ended up getting too frustrated with it. I gave it to my mom to stick her purse, and went (NOT HAPPILY!) Garminless.

 Ready, set, go!
Mile #1
Nate tried to keep up with me for the first mile. As we rounded our first corner, we came upon an extremely steep and unexpected hill. It wasn't all that daunting, just unexpected. I passed a man with a jogging stroller on the way up and he all but flew past me on the downhill. As a side note, kids in jogging strollers always make me laugh. They just chill and watch everyone around them. Nate was still doing a good job of keeping up with me at this point; he was actually about 20 feet ahead of me for most of the first mile. That being said however, we both went out too fast (rooookie mistaaaake!). We crossed the mile marker at around 8 minutes.

Mile #2
Nate dropped off shortly into the second mile. I passed him with well-wishes and continued on my own.  At this point, my running in sauna-like weather suspicion was proving true. About 500m before the mile marker, my abs started to cramp. I don't mean intestines either, I mean my entire abdominal area. It freaking hurt. I was able to mitigate the pain through breathing exercises but it slowed me down significantly. I passed the 2 mile marker at 17:00 minutes.

Mile #3 (+.1)
My abs were still causing me a good amount of pain at this point, but I just pushed through the first half mile. The cramping actually passed with about 900m to go, and I found enough left in me for the final uphill stretch. I think I crossed the finish line at 27:35, but I'll wait for the official time posting to stick that in my fitness tab.

Post race
I wandered over to drop my ticket off with my finishing place and jogged back just in time to see Nate finish.

We waited around for the age group rewards and the raffle, but holy crap that ab cramping came back to bite me. Just before we left, I thought I was going to throw up. I probably exacerbated the situation by drinking my Gatorade too quickly but ugh! Fortunately I managed not to throw up, because that pretty much would have sucked.

I took my mom and brother home after the race and while I had promised a picnic, we ended up only having some delicious multigrain pancakes (recipe to follow later this weekend):
They are dark normally, but I might have accidentally walked away from mine while they were cooking for just a smidgey too long. They still tasted good though! After foods, I had a good laugh when I tried on the race shirt. This is a small:
Guess I won't be wearing this anywhere except to sleep.

How's your Saturday been so far? Cool? Sauna-like? Lemme know down below! :)