Breakfast’s Little Beige Dress

August 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Training Calls for: Rest (yogAHHH)

Miles Run So Far: 173.1

Days Left: 78

Hi! My name is Bethany and I like to make my oatmeal taste like dessert.

Exhibit A:

Chocolate Covered Cherry Oatmeal:

🙂 ¼ cup Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

🙂  ¼ cup light vanilla soymilk

🙂  ¼ cup water

🙂  ¼ cup small curd cottage cheese

🙂 ½ cup pitted dark, sweet cherries, cut in fourths

🙂 🙂  a small palmful (maybe ½ T) of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips.

In my renewed commitment to eating healthy and eating to fuel my training, I tried for a balanced, filling breakfast today.  After a half hour of basic, flowy yogAHHH, I hauled it into the kitchen and dumped all the above ingredients into a saucepan.  When it started to boil, I brought it back to a simmer for a few minutes, then pulled it off the heat to let it thicken.

Oatmeal is breakfast’s little black beige dress.  If you claim you don’t like oatmeal, I’d bet it’s because you never mix anything in.  Who can claim to like a plain lumpy mess of grain?  Um, only the brave, strong few.  The rest of us need a little help, ala mix-ins.  Mix it up to make it taste like your favorite sweet treat.   If you add PB and a few dark chocolate chips, it tastes just like a no-bake cookie.  Scouts honor.  Going for something a little more complex?  Here’s an example: if you love carrot cake, maybe throw some shredded carrots in, add some cinnamon, raisins or walnuts and vanilla.  A pinch of brown sugar could be delicious, too.  Voila!  Instantly better oatmeal.

In fact, I think I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow, now! 😉

YogAHHH was just what the doctor ordered this morning, although it was pretty tough to get out of bed for it.  Sam (to my surprise) asked to join me in my private studio (the basement) for this morning’s session.  Alarms were set for 5:30…we didn’t get down there until 6, which is saying a lot considering we only had to roll out of bed and walk maybe 50 feet.  Mondays are tough.

Once the mat was rolled out and the DVD was buzzing, it felt good to stretch and just ease into Monday.  It instantly put me in a much better mood, woke me up (maybe the coffee helped, too) and got me ready to get back in the groove.  I’m feeling much more balanced.

The monsters and I rambled through the neighborhood for about a mile and a half.  I was delighted it wasn’t boiling hot!  Maybe we’re getting to the part of the year where we turn the corner into fall.  Oh please, oh please.  Mother Nature, are you listening?

My healthy breakfast inspired a healthy lunch:

I packed a salad with red romaine lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumber and carrot, polka-dotted with a hard-boiled egg and sprinkled with Colby Jack/Pepper Jack shredded cheese.  On the side, a plum, banana, carrots sticks with PB and yogurt with mixed berries.

Funny how when I get back to natural eating, my cravings disappear.  I no longer scavenge through cupboards for leftover candy from Halloween.  A week ago, I was definitely in scavenger mode – think a raccoon in a garbage can.  I was hunting for junk.

P.S. A note about carrot sticks with PB – after seeing Meghann from The Inner Workings of a College Graduate eating carrots with almond butter, I decided to put my misgivings aside and try it.  Delicious!  It seems odd at first, but you’d eat PB with celery, wouldn’t you?  I rest my case.

Sam made dinner tonight, his famous, original One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Pork!  I do love a man that can cook.  Good thing I married one.

Although, we had a little miscommunication about when the pork would be done versus when I should start roasting the Brussels sprouts, so these babies were like a second course.

And then, of course, there was pie.  A little sliver with a little scoop (or two)  of all-natural ice cream.  Delicious.  Best pie I’ve made in a long while.  Must have been that rolling pin.

There’s a three mile run on tap for tomorrow and I’m going to make an effort to get to bed a little early tonight so that alarm doesn’t seem quite so rude…oh, who am I kidding?  At least I’m going to bed with the feeling that it’s going to be a good, good, run.

What do you put in your oatmeal?!  How do you dress breakfast’s little black beige dress?

Darn you, Housewives!

July 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Training Calls For: 5 miles

Miles Run So Far: 73

Days Left: 89

I almost, almost didn’t make it out of bed this morning when the alarm went off for my 5 miler.  Why?  Oh, I stayed up too late watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

*face palm* Somewhere along the way, during those 6 weeks I was working the early morning shift and had my afternoons free, I developed an odd interest in that show because it was always on when I ate lunch.  Is Bravo powered by anything other than Housewives, Kathy Griffin and wanna-be chefs?

When I saw that the episode where the biznass went down between Teresa and Danielle was going to be on — ooh, I couldn’t miss it.  I find that flavor of crazy so intriguing.  What has become of my moral compass? 😉 It’s okay, we all like a little trash tv now and then.

So back to this morning: I’ve heard the hardest part of a run is the part where you get out the door.  Boy, I subscribe to that idea.  I hit the snooze button once, spent about 8 minutes checking my Google Reader, made a piece of PB toast, took my sweet time eating it, considered making a cup of coffee,  stretched, and finalllllllly, laced up my shoes and left the house.

Finally.

I looped around our neighborhood for two miles then trotted over to the next neighborhood for another two and finished up my victory lap back near our house.  The weather was humid but slightly cool.  I am really digging these morning runs…even if I do still end up sweating like it’s going out of style.  I was little nervous about these 5 miles — not because of the distance, but because of my ITB (iliotibial band).  Since it irritated me on Sunday (9 miles), I’ve been adopting a more proactive approach to treating the situation.  Left untreated, I could injury myself to the point of not being able to train.

Not an option.

Proactive approach to my ITB problem: constant daily stretching, rolling after longer runs, yogAHHH on rest days.  All elements in harmony should produce a nicely stretched IT band and carefree running.

Reactive approach: Run until it hurts and be forced to take days (or maybe a week) off from running.  Fall behind in Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training schedule.  Cry.  Worry.  Stress.

I think we all see the benefit in being proactive vs. reactive.  Yes? Yes.  Proactive > Reactive.

Even though I’ve been a good girl with stretching, rolling and yogAHHH, I ran with a little trepidation this morning.  Had I done enough?  Would it make a difference after just two days?  If my band started to hurt, I was going to really have to evaluate my plan.  Each mile passed and I kept checking in with my body: “does anything hurt?” Nope!

Hurray!

I rewarded myself with a gold star for my efforts:

Well, ish.  I know you can’t tell, but I used a star shaped cookie cutter to gut the all natural whole wheat bread for my toad in the hole breakfast.  Fancy, I know.  Too bad it didn’t work out according to plan — instead all you see if a big, eggy center.  Ah, well.  A for effort.  S for strawberries (which I ate a few).

My morning productivity levels continue to soar, which I am loving.  I took care of all sorts of things around the house, walked the monsters (which they appreciated) and high tailed it to work.

Just 15 minutes in to my work day, my stomach started to rumble.  I guess a starry-eyed toad in the hole wasn’t enough breakfast.  Dangit.  Finally, the lunch hour arrived and I met my hot-hot date (Sam) for a mid-day rendezvous.

Subway!  I don’t really count Subway as fast food, in case you’re wondering.  Subway and Chipotle.  I feel comfortable eating at an establishment that assembles my food right before my plexi-glass shielded eyes.  Yes, I’m sure technically, they are fast food restaurants, but they don’t fall into the category of freaky fast food places I avoid.  The kind that are red and yellow themed, offer kids toys relating to the latest summer flick and have ball pits.

*shudder*  I have yet to see a ball pit at a Subway.  I feel like if a restaurant is offering so much more than food, it’s probably trying to distract you from the food.

Look!  A clown!

I got one of my favorites: a BLT on 9-grain wheat with extra spinach, lettuce, tomato, red onion (love!), pickles and a light serving of the regular mayo.  Bueno.  I love that Subway serves yogurt as a healthy alternative to chips.  Double bueno.

I’m not sure what it is with my stomach, but it was like that sandwich was made of air.  An hour later, I was back to grumbling.  Luckily, I had popped into CVS during the lunch hour and picked up an emergency Clif Bar.

I’m not a big Clif Bar kind of girl — I find them lumpy and very dense…but I might just be a convert because this flavor was awesome!  Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch.  A looksie over the label tells me Clif is doing things right by this naturalist — all recognizable products.  High five!

Phew!  I slogged through the remainder of my day (darn you, Housewives!) and then made a quick trip to Tractor Supply Company.  *she thinks my tractor’s sexy…anyone? anyone?*  We don’t live on a farm, I promise, but we do buy the monsters’ food there — it is soooo much cheaper!  Every time I go, though, the “gentlemen farmers” try to carry my 44 lbs. bag of dog food.  I always tell them I can manage.  They always end up doing it anyway.  This time, the clerk actually called an associate to load it into my car for me.

Hilarious.  Where was said associate when I was hauling buns around the neighborhood this morning?  I could have used the help then!

Dinner:

Protein Pancakes.  Not just any Protein Pancakes…

BLUEBERRY!  I think God made blueberries specifically for use in pancakes.  Those little fruit orbs get all warm on the griddle and then blow up inside the pancakes like tiny fruit syrup bombs.

The only kind of bomb there should be, in my opinion. 😉

I’m debating some banana soft serve “ice cream” now…but only if I can turn it chocolatey.  Mmmm.

Sunrise YogAHHH

July 12, 2010 at 11:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Training Calls For: Rest Day 🙂

Miles Run So Far: 65

Days Left: 91

What a great day so far!  I hope you’re having an equally awesome day.  What’s on the agenda for you?

I stayed true to my plan to be free of ITB pain by getting my rear out of bed early this morning and practicing a little sunrise yogAHHH.  Okay, the sun had already started to rise by the time I hit the mat in warrior pose, but it was still kinda dark out.  I woke up at 5:45, crept out of bed, threw on some “flexible friendly” clothes and made my way down to the basement.  It was actually a wonderful way to wake up.  I’m not much of a morning person, but I like feeling accomplished and ticking things off my to do list, so getting up early to check off “yogAHHH” on my list worked out well.

I did about 30 minutes of the same ol’ DVD I always do.  It’s a beginner’s flow.  I think I might be in the market for a new one sooner rather than later.  I’m ready for a little challenge. Any recommendations?

It felt really good to stretch and twist.  My muscles were wound so tight I couldn’t even reach my toes in the beginning.  It took a good half hour before I was warmed up and flexible.  Just what I needed, though.  Oh, yogAHHH, how could I have abandoned you so? 🙂  Don’t worry, we’re BFFs once more.  Before I headed back upstairs for some breakfast, I just chilled in Child’s Pose and thought, “this will be a good day…this will be a productive day…this day will rock.”  A little positive mental reinforcement never hurt anyone.

Since I’ve been eating basically the same two or three highly portable breakfasts for the past 6 weeks, I was ready for a brekkie that took some effort.  Enter, homemade Oh Boy! Waffles:

Named so because they make you say, “oh boy!  waffles!” when you realize someone is ladling up the waffle iron.   Two for Sam, two for me.  I’m experimenting with alternative waffle/pancake toppings lately in an effort to A) expand my horizons B) not rely on REAL syrup so much — it’s good, but it is pretty sugary.  This morning, I spread a thin coating of creamy Trader Joe’s PB on each waffle, sliced up a bananner and drizzled honey.

The verdict?  Pretty tasty, but the toppings didn’t really do a very good job of moistening the waffle.  It was a little like eating a warm, cakey hunk of bread.  I got a few pieces stuck in my throat…so next time, I’ll try something with a little more liquidity.  Yogurt?  Again…I seek your recommendations! 🙂

There was a high quality walk with the monsters this morning (they’ve been so under-exercised lately — shame on me!) and then I hit the books for some “class” time.  I’m taking two online classes this summer in an effort to wrap up my second degree and *whew* it is pretty tough to force yourself to teach yourself statistics and biology.

Ugh.  I made it through, though.  Only with the help of a mid-morning bowl of Mom’s Best cereal + blueberries.

Now, I’m just chilling during my lunch hour, chatting with you and scoping out the classifieds.

Confession:  I always read the classifieds.  You can find the funniest stuff in there.  I like the public announcements, land transfers and situations wanted sections.  One of the three always yields a good laugh.  Take, for example, the day I read this:

Looking for: Senior lady to ride in my motorcycle side car.  Meet at Wal-mart Subway.  Dec. 4th, 5th or 6th.  10:00 a.m.

I wonder if anyone showed up?  I can repeat that one verbatim because I actually took a picture of it, I was laughing so hard.  See?

My side dish of broccoli was looking for a container of strawberries to ride shotgun, as well.  Looks like he found love. 😉

I’m pretty excited — tonight Sam and I are heading out to take part in Brew Week.  Each summer, our town hosts a micro/craft brewery festival.  We’re a college town with a ton of bars…so needless to say, there are plenty of places for the brews to debut.  Some pretty yummy concoctions come out to play on the local taps.  I’ve got my eye on a raspberry vanilla porter…but I’m sticking to the one and done rule.  I don’t need another Friday night for a while ;).

Got any yogAHHH DVD recommendations for me?  How about waffle/pancake toppings?  Help a sista out!

A Little Normalcy

July 11, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Bonjour, babies!  How is everyone?  I unplugged Friday after work and took the weekend to re-charge my batteries, but I’m back now.  I’m back and I’m raring to go.  Know why?

I am NO LONGER working those crazy hours!  Yay!  I am ready for a normal schedule, a normal eating routine, a normal blogging schedule, a normal training time, a little normalcy, period.  It feels good to be back.  In fact, I liken how I feel right now to exactly how you feel after waking up from the best night’s sleep.  Ever.

Yep, that refreshing :).

So, down to the biz-nass.

Training Calls For: Cross Training 9 miles

Miles Run So Far: 65

Days Left: 92

If you’re wondering why I ran 9 miles today instead of cross training, I can only offer the explanation of celebration.  See, Friday night, I joined Sam and some friends out on the town and “celebrated” my release from early morning purgatory.  I think we all know what I mean when I say “celebrated”, there’s no need to be crass. 😉  I didn’t over-do it, I didn’t under-do it, but I definitely did do it, so running 9 miles wasn’t going to happen Saturday.

I’m okay with it and that’s all that matters.

Sam and I woke up pretty early this morning to bang out those 9 miles.  The weather hasn’t been as warm lately, but it’s still summertime in my Midwestern state, so the earlier we run, the better.  The last time I ran 9 miles was for half marathon training, so I’ll admit it:  I was a little nervous.  Before heading out the door, I ate a quick fueling breakfast of whole wheat toast and crunch all-natural PB.  No pic — that’s what I get for being so out of practice!

Miles 1-3 went well.  We stationed one car at the start and another car about 3 miles away.  The idea was to run 3, refill water bottles at the second car, run 1.5 away and back (so another 3), refill again and power the last 3 to the first car.  It was a little rough getting started again after mile 3, but not terrible.  I took a walk break at 4.5 for a little breather.  At 6, Sam wanted to power it back and I was pretty content to just lope along at a steady pace.  Not too long after we parted ways, a familiar pain appeared.

Oh, hello, ITB.  It’s been a while.  I’ve forgotten about you.

My ITB has always been something of an issue, but I haven’t had to deal with it lately.  (The ITB is the iliotibial band — it runs the outside length of your leg from your hip to your knee.  Read more about it here.)  During the half marathon, right around mile 9, my ITB started to flare up and I was in so much pain at the end, I wanted to cry.  My dad, faithfully running alongside me, was the only motivation I had to keep moving forward.

I am afraid of that ITB pain.  Skeered, in fact.

When I started to feel it, I freaked a little.  Um, in October, I don’t just have to run 9 miles, I have to run 9 miles LIKE ALMOST 3 times.  Yowza.  I managed to mix up the rest of the run by walking and running, but I definitely felt it at the end.

When you have a less than stellar run, sometimes all you can do is learn from it.  What I learned today is I really need to take better precautions with my legs.  I’m asking them to do a lot for me and I’m not doing very much for them.  Starting today, a new regimin is in place:

🙂 Stretching, daily.  No exceptions.

🙂 YogAHHH on rest days (yogAHHH helps me feel limber and I believe increases my flexibility and injury recovery)

🙂 Rolling on run days (I ❤ the foam roller and my ITB loves it, too.)

I’ll make it to the end of 26.2 painfree, I believe, if I’m smart…but it’s easy to be dumb sometimes.  I’ll be working against myself ;).

Post run, Sam and I made a less than awesome nutritional choice and hit up a donut shop in town.  He’s been talking about a McHappy’s donut for at least 3 weeks, so we finally got him one.  I got one, too. 😉

That, paired with a little McCafe coffee from McDonald’s (about the only thing I buy at McD’s anymore), was what we had McDeserved, according to Sam.  Well put, sir.

I honestly can’t remember what I ate for lunch and I can’t find it on the camera, so it’s possible I didnt….?  But that doesn’t seem like me.  Moving on…We had friends come over to watch the World Cup Finals (go Spain!) and a little smorgasboard ensued.

Veggie tray w/ dip, fruit tray w/ dip, black bean salsa, guacamole, tomato salsa and make your own bruschetta.  Eat your heart out.  Yum.  I ate copious amounts of everything.

I was pretty stoke Spain won the game, but it made for a boring 115 minutes of tv until the one dude scored.  Guess I’m more of a basketball/football kind of spectator.

When it came time for dinner, Sam and I made honest veggies of all those leftovers by plopping them on a pizza and smothering them in cheese.

Can you tell which vegetable we DON’T agree on?  My husband’s only flaw is his lack of appreciation for the red onion.  *sigh*  I’ll convert him yet.  I have about 70 years to do it, I figure.

I followed my own mandate and rolled and stretched for about 15 minutes tonight.  It felt great and my leggies aren’t too sore.  It takes a while to make something a routine, but I’m dedicated!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wrap up my very zen night with a little recreational reading.  Tonight, the school books are put away, the work worries are far off and I’m appreciating the peace.

Sleep tight, see you tomorrow (fo’real!)

T.G.I.R.D.

June 28, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Training Calls for: Rest 🙂

Miles Run So Far:  31 miles

Days Left: 111

Can you guess what that title stands for?  T.G.I.R.D.?  Thank Goodness It’s Rest Day!  WOOOOOOO!  I took it pretty seriously, too.  First, let’s back up.

I disappeared over this weekend for a number of reasons, some of them being:

🙂 I had some friendly friend things to do (a farewell party 😦 and a cookout :)) and being such a social butterfly left little time for blogging.

😦 Our wireless internet was down at the house.  Boooo.  After some surgery, Dr. Sam was able to fix it, so I’m back!!!

Saturday morning, I took the monsters to the dog park then indulged in some yogAHHH.  Oh my.  I can’t even believe how long it’s been since I’ve done a little yogAHHH.  Almost a month (oh, the archival powers of a blog!)  It felt great to stretch and loosen up.  I won’t go a month again without a little yogAHHH in my life.

Sam was out of town on Saturday and we wanted to run our long run (7 miles) together, so I waited for him and switch/swapped/flip/flopped Saturday with Sunday.

BOOM!  We powered out those miles.  What a great run.  For the first mile or two, we chit chatted, then fell into a pattern of silence, just ready to get to the turnaround point (3.5 miles).  Sam kept track of our pace with his watch and we left the iPods/iPhones at home.  It amazed me that just a year ago, I couldn’t run without music (for fear of hearing my own huffing!) and now, I almost actually prefer it.  It’s very Zen ;).

We kept up a good pace and at the last mile, Sam said, “let’s kick it up a notch.”  I agreed and started telling myself, “I can do anything for a mile, I can do anything for a mile.”  We were running pretty fast and really powered it out at the end.  It wasn’t a super fast run, but it definitely felt good to finish so strong.  I did the math and I dusted my 10K time by a few minutes. Yessssss.

One thing that made this run especially enjoyable was the fact we carried water bottles with us.  Sam found these 10 oz. bottles at Aldi for muy cheapo.  They are perfect for holding your hand without being burdensome on a long run.  He carried one, I carried one and we were pretty well hydrated.  Excellent.

Our refueling dinner included a new favorite: sweet potato with baked beans.  If you aren’t eating this, you are missing out on one of the simplest, most delicious, filling meals.  It’s packed with protein, fiber, Vitamin A and fits a number of nutrition-specific lifestyles (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.) Oh, and according to my calculations, this dinner cost $0.75 a person.  Now that’s a value meal.  Have I sold you yet?!  Yuuum.  I also had a protein shake, but made it with water.  Ewww.  I don’t know if I’ll do that again.

I didn’t photo-document all my meals today, but the one I loved the most is a newbie:  Cottage Cheese oatmeal.

Oooh, so good.  I’ve seen around the blogword peeps adding cottage cheese to their oatmeal to up the protein level and the staying power.  I’m down with that.  Since I started marathon training, I’m back to feeling like an eating machine and I need food that sticks!

Last night, I combined:

🙂 1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

🙂 1/3 cup light vanilla soymilk

🙂 1/3 cup water

🙂 1/3 smooth cottage cheese

Mix mix mix and pop it in the fridge.  If you’re wondering what “smooth cottage cheese” is, let me explain.  Sam runs the small curd cottage cheese through the food processor to eliminate the lumps.  It smooths out to the texture of marshmallow fluff.  I’m a texture person and have a real issue with curds.  Even the word: curds.  *shudders*

This morning, I nuked it for about 2-3 minutes.  The result was the smoothest, creamiest oatmeal I’ve ever eaten.  I added half a banana and smidge of brown sugar.  My amateur nutrition calculations tell me this oatmeal had about 20 grams of protein since I added the cottage cheese.  Supah.  Supah dupah.

After a full day of work (we’re in week four of six with this early morning shift…hooray!) and about an hour and a half at the library for my online class (statistics, anyone?), I headed home and truly made it a rest day.

I did nothing and it felt glorious.  It was just what I needed.

Always listen to your body.  If it says, “nap on the couch” or “chill out”, listen and act accordingly on your rest days.  If you’re a busy booger like me, you can run the risk of burning out.  Feeling like the candle is burning at both ends usually only means you’re going to burn your bum at some point.  Take time to be nice to yourself.

I’m off to take the monsters for a spin around the neighborhood.  Rumor has it (um, and weather.com) that the high temps will only be in the low 80’s tomorrow.

Someone cue the Hallelujah chorus!!! 🙂  I’ll drink to that!

Fresh From the Farm

May 17, 2010 at 11:11 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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My Green Monster Smoothie took on a slightly different shade this morning.  Casting a taupe appearance, this baby was packing some serious fruit awesomeness.

Why the makeover?  Oh, because this smoothie included a healthy helping of farmer’s market strawberries.

My Green Monster had three big handfuls of spinach, a handful of sliced strawberries (fresh from the farm), a cup of soymilk, a scoop of protein powder, a tablespoon of ground flax seed and a frozen banana.  Tasty.

Our grocery shopping trip on Saturday included a stop first thing at the farmer’s market.  Strawberries are finally coming in, but you have to be at the market early to snag them.  Since Sam’s soccer game was just down the street, we managed to swoop in and score a quart.  They were a little pricey, but they taste so much better than grocery store strawberries.  In one quart, there was only one with a slight bruise and none of them looked like beasty berries.  We used half for a delicious dessert over the weekend…

…and the rest are kind of being rationed.  So good.

Pre-smoothie smorgasboard, I hit up a little yogAHHH.  I tried out a “new studio” — our basement!  Slowly but surely, that dark, creepy space is becoming a den for hanging out.  We affectionately call it “the man cave” because once complete, it will be Sam’s hideout.  He’s agreed to let me use it for yogAHHH so I can avoid being licked in the face by one monster or another every time I flow into cobra pose.  Those kisses were cute the first time — the 100th time, they were just wet and doggy-breath-y.  This morning, I stretched out to the soft hum of the dryer.  *sigh*  It’s the working woman’s yoga studio…multitasking and meditating all at once. 😉

I packed my lunch full of good, healthy fruits and veggies.  I’m feeling a little low on nutrients, I can’t describe it.  My body is craving fresh food.  Since I listen to my bod, I’ve got a Trader Joe’s Crunchy PB w/ reduced sugar grape jelly sandwich on all natural whole wheat bread, Golden Delicious apple, sliced cucumbers, cantaloupe, four o’clock yogurt (plain flavor) and some Cascadian Farms maple sugar granola for mixing in.  Excellent.  My tummy is happy.

Yesterday, I was bogged down by some thoughts.  You know the kind — they usually involve the future.  They usually don’t have a clear answer (because the future hasn’t happened yet).  They usually consume your mind space, unfairly affecting your mood.  Sam looked at me and said, “I think you need to run.”

Um, no way. That was my immediate thought.  All bogged down, how could I possibly run?  I felt heavy from my thoughts, I couldn’t possibly run under all that weight.

4.5 miles miles later in 43:00, I recognized Sam had the right idea.  Not only did 43 minutes uninterrupted minutes provide me with the time to sort through my thoughts, but I felt lighter, more content and confident about the future.

My point in telling you this is to remind you, just like Sam reminded me, that exercise is NOT just for your physical wellbeing.  When exercise is part of your daily routine and makes up a good part of the balance in your life — a few days without it really can have an effect on you.

Do you feel a difference in your mood when you don’t exercise?  How does it affect you?

P.S.  If you’re looking for a little time-killer this Monday, check out Be in the Game.  The folks over at there passed along their website to me so I could let you know about it.  Part of the Become.com shopping website, they offer reviews of products (some blogger written, some company rep written) and give you a glimpse into several products for an active lifestyle.  Happy clicking!

Spread it out

May 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sometimes, I post my lunch picture and feel a little dishonest.  Usually, all that food is clustered together on my 1977-model year desk’s faux wood laminate top and it looks like I eat it all at once.

I don’t.  Nope, not at all.  I spread it out.

I decided a slightly more honest approach was in order.  I wasn’t lying to you intentionally 😉 and I’ll probably go back to the cluster picture in the future (isn’t it just more efficient?), but I thought I’d give you an idea of how long it takes me to eat lunch.  Um, all day.

At noon, I had a Trader Joe’s crunch peanut butter and reduced sugar grape jelly sandwich on all-natural whole wheat bread.  Mmm.  Lunch of champions.  Champion first graders.

I also ate a pear.

And about a cup of sliced cucumbers.  So refreshing — I had to really fight the urge to put two slices on my eyes and recline, pretending to be a swanky spa instead of my windowless office.

Then around two o’clock, I hit up the fruit for a little blood sugar boost and fiber.  Strawberries did the trick.  Don’t they look delicious?

Now, we all know I’m a fan of the four o’clock yogurt.  I work different hours than the usual Sally, so I won’t get out at 5 o’clock like most people.  My dinner doesn’t hit the table until about 7:30, so I need a lil’ sumthin’ to tide me over.  I’ve tried a variety of “snacks”, but found yogurt has just enough protein to help me through.  I added some Cascadian Farms maple brown sugar granola for flavor and crunch.

Not too pretty to look at, I realize.

What’s the point of showing you this?  Eh, I don’t know.  I guess because I really don’t “eat” lunch — I “graze” lunch.  I stretch it out.  If you’re like me and eating all of that at once leaves you hungry just a few hours later, try spreading it out.  I find it also helps me recognize my hunger cues and gauge just how much food it’s going to take to silence that hunger.  I’m also a boredom eater, so having my lunch spread out over the day means if my mind starts to wander and I think about heading up to the vending machine, I can give myself a reality check with “you still have fruit” or “there’s 4 o’clock yogurt in the fridge”.  Sit down.  Leave that vending machine alone.

I made it safely to dinner without any vending machine interludes.  I attempted to rock out the Real Simple Turkey Meatloaf recipe I found in the same old magazine as the Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower recipe.

I had all the ingredients on hand, especially the spinach ;).  It looked pretty enough in the pan…

…but I realized after I baked it I should have followed their instructions and formed it into a loaf on a baking sheet.  This probably would have allowed the fat to drain away from the turkey instead of sit on top of it.  Oh well.  I was being lazy and it came back to bite me.  I still ate it ;).   I ate it with garlic smashed potatoes.  I followed the mashed potatoes recipe on the same page and added a little garlic.  What doesn’t taste better with garlic?

The meatloaf was tasty — I thought the spinach and onions added a nice flavor punch, and we all know how I feel about hiding veggies ;).  The mashed potatoes — meh.  I don’t think I’ll make them again.  I think they were pretty flavorless, even with my added garlic.

I have to admit, cleaning up the dinner dishes with that whole boil order in effect was a challenge.  I felt like a pioneer woman — or at the very least, one of those women off the PBS series 1900’s house.  I had a big pot of boiled water and I was ladling the clean water over the dirty dishes, one little scoop at a time.  Scoop, scrub, scoop, scrub, scoop scoop scoop scoooooooop (this is the part where I’m rinsing).

Repeat.

*sigh*  I will be calling and harassing those water people in the morning.  I demand clean water!

P.S. I did yogAHHH while I baked the meatloaf.  That’s multi-tasking. 😉

Drip, drip, drip…

May 12, 2010 at 11:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Oh, what an interesting morning!

I got up with the intention to do so yogAHHH for my 10K training mandated cross-training, but when I saw we had a break in the rain, I wanted to take advantage of it.  I convinced these sleeping beauties to get up and take a walk (not that it took much convincing ;)).

(Zora has her own bed, but this morning, felt it was appropriate to spoon with Ruby.  Whatev)

The monsters and I enjoyed a nice mile and a half walk around the neighborhood (which included one unfortunate encounter with a cat) and stretched our legs.  It’s funny — when I walk with the monsters, my pace is pretty fast, almost a jog.  Those dogs are so excited to get out and sniff everything, they move at a good clip.

Post walk, I got industrious and mowed the lawn.  This hardly ever happens, but given the mid-week reprieve from the showers and thunderstorms, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  Our yard is finally looking nice and I don’t want to lose momentum!

I was just patting myself on the back I got the yard work done just before it started to thunderstorm again as I went to turn on the faucet to wash my hands.

NOTHING.  No water.

Irritated, I called the water company and was told some state-funded road work in our area had required the water supply to be turned off for an undetermined amount of time.  I was also scolded, as the woman explained, for not knowing this was happening because the water district had put notices in the newspaper and on all the radio stations.

Never mind that I work at a radio station and never heard anything about it.  Never mind that as a public radio announcer, it is my job to announce such things.  Never mind, never mind.

We’re under a boil order when the water does come back on…but don’t worry — they’ll let us know when that’s up using the same efficient methods they employed to spread the word in the first place.  *sarcastic face*

After this phone encounter, I started to think about all the things I was thankful for: I am thankful I showered last night after my run.  I’m not usually a night-showerer.  I am thankful I brushed my teeth, washed my face and put my contacts in as soon as I woke up this morning, instead of putting it off.  I am thankful I filled the Brita pitcher and the dogs water bowls while I fixed my breakfast.  I am thankful I started the dishwasher while I ate said breakfast, as I’m pretty sure it had just finished its cycle when this shut off happened.

Happy thoughts, silver lining, if you can’t laugh you won’t last.

I wish I could say breakfast was a phenomenal creation on my part, but I woke up this morning with an intense interest in just plain ol’ cold cereal.  I ate a heaping bowl of the Aldi brand version of Special K Vanilla and Almond cereal with a sliced banana and skim milk.  Of course there was coffee involved.  I think it’s safe to say even if you don’t see it pictured, coffee was involved.  I can count the occasions on one hand where coffee would not start my morning.  One hand, people.  I love me some coffee.

A reader asked me if Aldi is worth it.  In short: yes.  Our little micro-family runs on a tight budget, partly because we’re not millionaires and partly because Sam and I have big dreams for the future and know what we need to do now to make those happen: save money!  Aldi is always on the grocery route because I find produce, spices and baking items, nuts, cereals and eggs are cheaper there.  It was just an added delight to find that a bunch of their products are natural, too.  This was helpful during “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March I hit Aldi first because you can’t always count on finding exactly the same thing every time, but what you can find is worth it.

I smell a post brewing.  You peeps seemed to like the “cheapy exercise clothes” tips — just wait ’til you see what I can do with groceries. 🙂

I’m off to hydrate at work while I can.  Who knows what the situation will be like when I get home!

Recovery Day

April 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oooohweeee, I woke up one sore chica this morning.  It was time to get down to business with a little of this:

FOAM ROLLIN’!  After yesterday’s half marathon, Sam and I decided it was time to invest in a foam roller.  It was hardly an investment, we only paid about $15, but it was worth every penny.  I rolled my troublesome IT band within an inch of its life.  Hurt so good.

I had seen foam rollers on other blogs and in Runner’s World, but never really understood why they would be helpful.  I understand now.  Think of your troublesome muscles as lumps of dough.  The roller uses your own body weight to pressure the lump to relax out.  For my ridiculously tight IT band, it feels amazing and helps me not have to hobble everywhere.

I also threw in a little yogAHHH this morning, but only had enough patience and flexibility for about 20 minutes.  I just couldn’t focus — maybe my runner’s high was messing with my chi?

Breakfast was a new twist on an old fave.  You know I love my Green Monster Smoothies, obvi.  I usually keep it pretty tra-dish-ional with spinach, frozen banana, protein powder, soymilk and pb.  Today, I was daydreaming of our upcoming Miami vacation, so I wanted something more beach-y.

Into the blender went spinach, soymilk, flax seed (about a 1/2 tablespoon), frozen banana and…..PINEAPPLE!  There was fresh pineapple leftover from yesterday’s brunch.  It made an awesome addition to my Green Monster.

Yum.  Looks the same — tastes soooo different.  It really did taste like vacation.  I bascially drank my weight in pina coladas on my honeymoon, and this was pretty close to that feeling — except healthier and without that newlywed glow. 😉

Let’s chat, you and I.  After my “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March challenge ended, I wrote I thought I would stick to an all-natural lifestyle.  I apparently thought wrong.  I haven’t been paying very close attention to my eats and I’ve been letting too many unknowns slip in and too much mindless eating is taking place.  The “special occasion” slope is once again getting slippery and my energy is fading.

I think it’s time to go whole hog.  Starting today, I’m dedicating myself to an all-natural lifestyle.  I won’t be as relentlessly analytical as I was in March, but I’ll be incredibly cognizant.  Breakfast was a start and lunch was another good effort.

A salad of spring mix with carrots, tomatoes, feta cheese and hardboiled egg whites for protein.  Yum!  The egg whites made my office a little stinky, but tastes great.  I just need to track down some air freshener. 😉  I added some sliced strawberries and a half a grapefruit on the side.

Of course, I packed my 4’oclock yogurt.  Just plain vanilla.  It’s cool, I haven’t eaten just plain ol’ vanilla in a while.  We bonded.

Dinner was spent polishing off some leftovers from Saturday night — homemade spaghetti sauce with whole wheat pasta.  I piled on the green beans on the side and “warshed” it down with a glass of skim milk.

And snuck a little piece of banana bread with REAL butter (just a smidge) as a study snack — I’ve got class tomorrow and had some homework to wrap up!

It seems we’re going to be eating leftovers for a while…I’m cool with that ;).

Time to hit the hay.  Nighty night! 🙂

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