Untraditional

Thanks for all the encouragement to keep up the morning workouts, guys!

So far it hasn’t been that much of an issue. Granted, I’m usually not at 100% mental capacity until maybe 30 minutes or so after waking up. And by that point, I’m either mid-run or mid-ellip (I guess?), so there’s no turning back. Pure trickery. Muahahahaha.

Plus, the nice thing is, since I’m getting home later, I can collapse onto the couch with no hesitation.

Or, in last night’s case, other things get done…Like get into the holiday spirit!

Or at least pretend. Still not there yet. But the roomie and I both happened to have free time. Seemed like the efficient thing to do.

This is the third year I’ve had this Christmas tree and I tend to make it look the same every year. Why fix it if it’s not broken?

My lovely friend Annie got this tree for me a few years back. She said she knew I’d never get one on my own like I kept saying I would, so she just bought it for me.

Annie was totally right. I kept saying I’d get a nice tree on sale after Christmas, but I’m cheap as bleep and would have had a hard time parting with cash for something that wasn’t happening for another year anyway.

Her thoughtfulness is always much appreciated at this time of year.

Hilariously enough, we did not play holiday music while trimming the tree. Nor did we watch a Christmas movie.

Instead, we watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Clearly we’re not the most traditional household out there.

But hey- that show is probably what powered me through my 4-mile run this morning.

Health is important and I won’t discount it as a reason to stay physically fit. Let’s make that very clear.

But let’s also get real. Vanity, whether we like to admit it or not, is a fantastic motivator.

Don’t think I’ll be strutting my stuff down any runways in my skivvies anytime soon, but whatev. I can pretend if it’s gonna make me run that much faster…

Lean Green Fighting Machine

Before we get into it, I wanted to announce the winner to the Manna Organics Giveaway from last week!

Should I have done it yesterday? Probably. My bad…

Congrats to Emily B!

Hey Emily! Please send me your mailing address so I can pass along your info and get your prize to ya! Yay!

Moving on…

It happened again, folks.

A long weekend. A long recovery on Sunday.

And then Monday rears its ugly head and forces me off my butt to once again become a productive member of society.

Probably a good thing. At least I know the set agenda by heart.

First thing is first- waking up.

Check. Yay me!

Second on the list- reintroduce things that aren’t fried or found in a candy bowl back into my diet. Oh and possibly apologize to my friend Mary for my and Laura’s ability to completely take down her leftover Halloween stash during our stay…Green is the color of the day. And week, if we’re lucky. Brussels sprouts may also be my vegetable of the week. I’m very streaky with food phases. They usually last about a week or two at a time. So I probably should have bought two bags of them at the grocery store instead of just one. (Good bye sweet potatoes and beta carotene, hello brussels and vitamin C!)

I also opted for tea in the afternoon instead of coffee or Diet Coke (a favorite as of late- whoopsies). Our office has really stepped it up with the tea selection, so I went for Tazo “Awake” black tea.Did it do the job?

The magic 8 ball says “it’s decidedly so”.

Which sounds about right.

Even with a few days off to run rampant travel, the next step on my list, the workout, went swimmingly.

Or runningly? A 3-mile run and 20 minutes on the elliptical. It’s like the weekend was sweating out of my body.

It probably grossed out everyone around me. *Hanging head in shame.”

All in all, the day was a healthy start to the rest of my week. Quite similar to many Mondays before it.

If only I wouldn’t tend to expel so much activity into my weekends and have more days like this “just because”.

Then, I’d probably continually look like the lean, green (not mean) fighting machine I’ve always attempted to be:

Instead of this:Lesson probably not learned. But at least I recognize the issue. And that counts for something, right?

Hot Chocolate 15k 2011

Hello there!

Enjoying daylight savings? I’m not. My internal clock is all up in a tizzy.

However, I did find out TBS plays Saved by the Bell SUPER early on Sunday mornings. So there’s a win.

Another win? Finishing the Hot Chocolate 15k with a new PR!

Obviously, that makes me feel like this:Yay!

There were doubts. Because even after listing out all the things I knew to do better from last year’s disasterous run, there’s a pretty good chance I did not learn anything.

For example, there was only one long run done outside. And none in the colder(ish) weather. My bad…

That was ok, though. Going into the race, I really just wanted to have a good run with my friend. And it was a gorgeous day to do it:Not a cloud in the sky. And even though it was low to mid-40′s, the sun made the temps feel so much better.

Already better than last year.

What also made the race better? The bigger race course- it was ALL on the streets (unlike the narrow lake path last year). I only felt a little claustrophobic from race congestion for the first mile or two. As did the two girls who collided and ate serious asphalt around the second turn. It was a cringeworthy fall to watch.

My friend and I stayed together and kept a pretty good pace up until entering the 5th mile. That’s where he started to slow down and shooed me along. Little did he know, I was feeling the fatigue, too, but slowly crept ahead anyway.

The 6th mile is where I hit a major wall. The entire mile SUCKED. I wanted to walk. I was tired. My body was starting to ache.

It cannot be stressed enough- the 6th mile was AWFUL.

My stride came back in the 7th. My legs knew the end was near and picked up the pace to get this business over with.

From there on out, it was a breeze.

Wait, I take that back.

What genius makes the last .3 uphill?

And what genius lined that stretch with event photographers? There were 3. And I imagine those 3 pictures will look like this:

1. A pained expression because the hill started. Not realizing a picture of me is being taken.

2. An annoyed expression because the hill sucks and I cannot believe they are documenting this hot mess.

3. Me laughing at the ridiculousness of what is going down. This may also look like slight delusion.

Final stats:

1:19:08.
8:30 pace.
1133/9067 out of the females.
311/2324 out of my division.
2860/13430 overall.

Oh, and about a pound of chocolate was consumed after…Yes, I do run for chocolate.

Once again, I traded the apple and banana slices for extra pretzel rods. Fruit should not be allowed anywhere near my plate…

In summary, this race ended up being way better than my experience last year. The course was better, there was better overall organization, and I was much more prepared.

Oh happy day…Enjoy your Sunday! I shall be lounging. And after looking at the race pictures, I think I’ll also be repainting my nails. Word.

Old Habits

As adventurous and random as I try to be, there are certain habits that just don’t stop.

The serious caffeine addiction. (I am not looking to fix this one anytime in the near future.)

Cracking my knuckles.

Awkward jokes at even more awkward moments. (Do NOT let me near a funeral home.)

Unexplained/unneccessary purchases at Target. (Stupid endcaps.)

Letting my nail polish chip to embarrassing levels before doing anything about it.

Finding one new food to make and eating it over…

and over…and over again…Well… at least brussels sprouts are good for you. And I added something new- it has been quite some time since an asparagus wrap has graced my plate. So that’s not SO monotonous… right?

Moving on… more old habits:

Letting my competitive side get the best of me. The male friend of mine and I are in our third week of a little mileage challenge. He won the first week. I won the second week. And if you think I’m going to let him win again anytime soon, you’re just as crazy as I am. After last night’s 6.5-mile run (I even pushed it with a sub-8:20 pace!), I’m currently at 8 for the week. He’s at 5. Bring it.

And finally, letting my frugal ways beat out common sense. I used to get my hair dyed on the regular in college (how did I afford that???). Then I did it once on my own a few years ago because surely it’s not that difficult…

Yeah. I looked emo for a few weeks. Oops.

The blackish/dark brown combo finally grew/faded out and I’ve pretty much let it go to my natural color ever since. I swore to never attempt it on my own again. NEVER!

Well. I was bored with it. My color seemed flat. And desperate times call for desperate measures.

Jaime, a friend/coworker/former stylist, convinced me it was possible to succeed at the do-it-yourself. So after her taking me to a professional beauty supply store, walking me through the steps, then walking me through them again, I’ve attempted the impossible. She believed in me. I could do this.Crossing my fingers and praying the entire time…

You’ll see pics eventually. It’s not expected to be a drastic change either way (more just getting rid of the highlights I acquired in the summa’ sun), and there’s something about not washing my hair for at least 48 hours that has me not feeling sexy enough to be postin’ pics all up on the interwebz.

Patience.

My oily hair and I are gonna check out now. Laters!

A Better Day

Yes, I’m still gonna talk about it two days later.

You know I don’t like Tuesdays to begin with, but this one was killer.

So unenjoyable that all I could think of doing when I got home was to lay motionless for about an hour in front of the telly (yes, I think I’m British now) and then drag my worthless and defeated carcass upstairs to bed.

You would have done the same. We were short-staffed at work all day before a major convention. Usually lunch hour provides me a break from the crazy. But, to be honest, I don’t even remember when that should have been. And I wouldn’t even remember what I ate if I didn’t bring salad to work 80% of the time.

Blurrrrrrr.

I didn’t even get to check the Cards game before leaving the office and driving out to the ‘burbs for my haircut.

My friend Mon and I were going together, so I picked up some food for myself and drove to her place. I beat her there. Instead of waiting patiently, I just did what I felt like.Dug in while sitting in my car. Probably creepin’ the neighbors out.

Oh well. I’ve probably done worse things.

It was a delicious turkey sandwich with a side of steamed veggies. There are now two-day-old carrots on the floor of my car somewhere.

But like I mentioned earlier, after the haircut and realization the Cards lost, I was of no use to anyone.

But never fear! Yesterday was better!

Mostly in part because it wasn’t Tuesday anymore.

But let’s give credit where credit is due, shall we?

Yep. A birthday cupcake from the break room. That’s all it takes. I’m cheap like that.

Don’t tell my man friend I said that…

Actually, there are quite a few other things. Like we weren’t AS short-staffed. I actually got a lunch. Traffic didn’t suck so bad. I got to run 6.1 miles like a bad ass. The Cards won and forced a Game 5. Modern Family was on. I’m now over the hump of the work week (humpa humpa!).

You know… the usual.

Even the weather! We are having unseasonably gorgeous weather. Like really- high 70′s through this coming weekend. Amazing! We all feel so lucky.

Wait… what’s that you say? As I’m enjoying my coffee, waking up out of my haze, you’re going to run a report about how it has been predicted that Chicago will have one of the worst winters they’ve had since God knows when and we need to be prepared because it’ll be the worst winter weather in the nation this year.

Really?

What a buzzkill.

I think I need another cupcake…

Seatbelts Please…

I wish I had some amazing and exciting post to fill you with laughter and entertainment.

I don’t.

Unless, of course, you think my stepping in dog poo last night in my favorite sandals is comical. In that case, you have come to the right place. 

I need to learn to stick to sidewalks. That and a certain dog owner in my neighborhood really needs to clean up their shit. Literally.

Anyway, not much new to report here. Expect this to go in about a million different directions. Buckle your seatbelt and hold on.

So news… um…I mean… it’s raining… does that count?

(Source)

Whatev. It’s Tuesday- which seems fitting. I don’t really care so much because there are no plans other than to work and make a stop in the gym.

Sorta like last night. There were a few scattered people running outside, reminding me of what I SHOULD be doing, now that I’ve got this 15k in November and all.

But there was rain in the air yesterday as well, so I kept my lame butt inside.

Why run outside when you can watch That 70′s Show on tv?

That’s complete sarcasm. I’m awful when it comes to concentrating on an actual show or news while running/working out/etc. Running seems to be my “la la” time and focus on one particular thing is usually not going to happen. However, it is some visual stimulation and is good for at least 10 or 15 minutes of distraction.

Which helped last night. After an indulgent weekend, the 4 miles seemed like a good way to rebound back into healthier ways. Even if there are meetings in my office with an abundance of catering to go along with it.

Good food that is free. Life is so harrrrrrrddddddd.

Hopefully, our new recycling bag at home will help to keep my eye on the prize instead of that bagel smothered in cream cheese:We really need to figure out a new system for recycling other than just bags hanging out in the corner of the kitchen. It can’t be very sanitary.

Anyway… we’ll see how that particular image of motivation works today. In all the frantic buzzing around in my house to locate an umbrella, other than the two already in my car, in order to brave the downpour, I seem to have forgotten my meticulously packed lunch (a massive salad).

Luckily, because of the meetings, there’s always a sandwich to grab. But knowing me, why end there? There will also be cookies. And cheese and crackers. And more cookies…

Sigh…

Oh Tuesday… you win again!

Because I’m a Glutton

… for punishment.

And cookies. But that’s way off topic. And a discussion for another day… like maybe tomorrow or something…

Yes. Finally. A race has been discussed. The weekend is available. My friend wants to do it with me.

Looks like it’s GO TIME!Oh wait… I almost forgot about how much I whined about the Hot Chocolate 15k one the first time I ran it. And then swore to myself I’d never do it again.

Well I’m back.

Because you know how I am when it comes to committing to something

I don’t.

And my reasoning is this:

- The race I really wanted to do is still very likely to be conflicting with a wedding I am trying to make it out to St. Louis for. Poor planning.

- Last year, my main issue was being improperly dressed. I hope a few more long runs outside (considering last year I did none) will help me be smarter about it.

- It was crowded. Everything from race to post party. But mostly the race. However, RAM, the organizer, seems to recognize this. As evidence by me being on their email list and getting multiple emails about their new race course. So that’s a big “yay” for them.

- I need a longer race in my life. Bad. This particular weekend is open. This is the race happening on this particular weekend. My friend can do it and promises to make it an epic Saturday of running, football and silliness.

And dude- there’s chocolate at the end.

It’s on like Donkey Kong.

So what’s gonna go down before then?

All I can say is I’ll be doing my best.

There’s not time for a standard 10 or 12-week plan, but that’s ok. I just want to progressively lengthen my longer runs over the weekends and hopefully 9.3 miles will seem like no big thang. :)

And hopefully, the mindset that a race is “right around the corner” will keep me going in my mid-week gym stupor. I’ve been guilty of starting a workout with specific goals in mind and then cutting out early (oops!).

So last night, I went with 5 miles in my head. And started. Then thought maybe I’d just end at 4 instead.

4 wouldn’t be so bad. I’d be ok with that…

Then, as I approached 4 miles, I realized once again what was going on. Plus, my male “friend” often attempts to one-up me every night from his own gym. Back to the original plan. It was actually pretty easy at an 8:30 pace.

He said he couldn’t beat my 5 miles.

This morning I was greeted with a picture of a treadmill screen.

5.2 miles.

This is war.

Fresh From The Ground

Hey there!

Glad to hear I got a few laughs over my hellish adventures of gym shopping. :)

Not being one to judge solely on first impressions, I do plan to stick out a week of working out there to try it out. But I promise you, there are a few more places on my list (thanks in part to some of the awesome Chicago kids!) to check out before deciding what my next move will be.

Fine, I actually do judge heavily on first impressions and I’m only giving it a second go around because they’re one of the cheaper options out there.

The honest truth. It hurts.

So back I went last night. And the roomie joined. I was truly looking forward to her opinion. Because she just wants a little activity in her life. No specific goals (that they badgered me for). Just a little more energy.

The second time back? They loosened up. A lot. I still avoid eye contact. And the weights area is still a bit overwhelming- I’m not a huge fan of doing weights anyway (why do you think I insist on using dvds to do them at all?). I’m rather self-conscious about it when it’s crowded and people are hanging out waiting for you to get done.

Not ideal. Strike 2.

I got home and comforted myself with food from the ‘rents.Mutant zucchini! I often question if their garden is on top of a nuclear reactor site that I’m unaware of. It may also explain the above average heights of some of my family… .(i.e. my brother being 6’7). And possibly the reason that I’m a little spazztastic every once in a while?

I’ll keep researching…

Anyway, when they offered to bring up some stuff during their visit, I said YES. This saved me from a trip to Trader Joe’s for the week. Holla’.

My favorite seems to be the zucchini and potatoes. I’ve been inhaling them this week on the regular.I like plain sweet potatoes, but white potatoes should never be consumed naked.

The potato… not you. You can wear or not wear whatever you like when dining in. No judgement.

Just remember, if it’s a hot meal, guard yourself. This has been your public safety announcement for the day. You’re welcome.

There happened to be a little cheddar and sour cream laying around, and it was used and topped with some paprika. This made it tasty, because I’m just awful at preparing regular potatoes. Even in the microwave. Like this one was. I ALWAYS screw it up. At least a little.

This one just had a teeny tiny section that didn’t seem cooked the whole way through. Yeah. I know. How hard is it to screw up a potato? I suck.

At least there’s one thing I don’t screw up. Usually.

That would be baking. And I’m just going to take advantage of that awesome transition to let you know there’s still time to sign up for the Blogger Bake Swap!  Jessica and I are still taking emails (if you want to do it, we NEED you to contact us!) until FRIDAY if you want to participate. So if you’re interested, you can read more HERE and shoot one of us an email!

Have a good one, kids!

Gym Shopping Sucks

What can I say?

I seem to be buckling.

When first moving to my new place (sans apartment gym), I thought I’d be fine with just the road, trails, the lakefront, and an obsessive abundance of Jillian Michaels dvds at my disposal.

Well…

Heat advisories and the rainiest July Chicago has had in ages happened. Workout dvd boredom happened. Along with that really awkward feeling of doing squats and jumping jacks in front of the new roomie.

So after all my whining, along with this weeks forecast of rain, rain, and- wait for it- more rain, I finally shut up and did something about it.

Sold my soul to the chain that is a short walk from my place.

Well- not completely just yet, but a guest pass has been acquired. I expect to hear from them every other day asking about how my experience is and when I’m going to sign up for a full membership.

Because God knows they tried last night.

After an entire hour of hellish introductory crap.

After an hour of asking questions waiting for me to not know an answer so they can give me the ol’ “I know better than you- you need this gym” feeling.

An hour of “this machine will make you more flexible”.
“Ehhh… I’m already pretty flexible.” And the machine made me uncomfortable. He made me try to touch my toes. I passed my toes and put my hands on the floor.
“Oh… you’re pretty flexible… well this machine would make you even more.”
Ok buddy. I will not be using it.

An hour of “what is your main form of exercise?”
“I run.”
“Like how much? Because we can teach you how to train if you’re interested in that kind of thing.”
“I sort of already do races and stuff that I sometimes train for.”
“Like how far are the races? 5k?”
“Last year I ran that half marathon you’re advertising on your t-shirt right now.  Are you running it? I also ran one in April. I like the half marathon distance.”
“Uuuhhhh… I don’t run… have you ever injured yourself when running?”
“Well yeah, but I’m fine now-
“AH BUT we can help you with that!” 

An hour of “assessment” that included my body fat getting tested.
“Oh… you’re in a good range… but I mean, you could be in the “excellent” range…” and “not saying you need to by any means, but at your height and weight, you can lose up to x pounds in x amount of time if you want.”
Thanks bud… did I even mention I wanted to lose weight? Because I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

An hour of “what would you like to change about yourself? What are you fitness goals?”
“I don’t really want to change anything… just sort of keep up my level of fitness and maintain.”
“Really? Nothing you’d want to change if you could? A certain area? Nothing?” 
REALLY DUDE? Why don’t you just tell me what you don’t like about what you see. Give me some guidance of where you think I’m lacking. Or where I’ve got a little pudge that you don’t appreciate. I’d love to hear it. Really, the only thing I’d like to change are my tiny boobs. So unless your gym offers free silicone, I’d really like to end this “I’m not happy with what I look like” that it seems you’re trying to make me feel.

Also, please do not quiz me on my protein levels and how often I eat a day. I came for the gym. Not 20 pounds of protein supplement and a personalized nutrition plan. Yes, I know how much protein I need. Yes, I’m very positive I’m getting enough. No really, I know I am. Seriously- not interested in the protein and vitamins you guys offer.

“If you sign up for a full year today, we can get you 6 months free.”
“But I’d really just like to use the guest pass for a week to check out the place and see if I like it.”
“Is there something you see that you don’t like?”
“Well not yet. But I’m not going to give you money without at least trying it once.”
“Well would you like to go workout then sign up after?”
“I’m seriously not putting money down today. That’s why I have this pass I’d like to use.”

Then he goes and gets the manager to talk to me. Of course it’s not just any manager. It’s the tall, square-jawed, tan sexy manager with the perfect bleached smile who likes to wink at all the right times. Seriously?

They finally gave up and let me go with my week guest pass.

But by that point, I was exhausted and just ran for the closest group of ellipticals. 35 there and then 12 minutes on the stairs that opened up. Would have done some weight machines, but figured if I had even the slightest in bad form, they’d all pounce on me and insist I use a trainer for 4 or 5 days out of the week.

Really I’m not that picky. I just want something cheap where I can be left alone and not be surrounded by juice heads every day. As much as Jersey Shore is a guilty pleasure of mine to watch, I’d rather not live it.

Send help.

Ugh.

The rest of this week will be interesting.

(Source)

Obstacle-Free Running

After checking a million times during work (shhhh…), I finally got the official race results from the Strike Out ALS 5k my friend and I ran! 25:24- an 8:12 pace. Much better than I estimated- a pleasant surprise! This put me at 10/79 in my division and 71/381 overall. Woot woot!

Other than that, Wednesday didn’t bring much excitement. Work was busy. Rush hour was lame. Strength training with Jillian Michaels happened.

So we can just go ahead and talk about this morning instead.

The last month, I’ve mostly been heading to work early and been in the office by 7:30. Today I don’t have to be in until 9:00.

Since I’m so used to the 5:15 wakeup call, there was no way sleeping in would really do me any good. So running happened instead.

It was one of my first early-morning runs since moving at the beginning of June. And that was very obvious. After practically hopping out of bed and skipping down the stairs, actually beginning my run was slow.

But it became time to get my act together and off I went.

What I like about morning running? Crossing traffic isn’t nearly so much a hassle. Getting stuck behind double strollers doesn’t  happen. People who are walking their dogs actually have them leashed (seriously- that’s a problem).

It was just easier in general.

Obstacle-free is the way to be.

After 3.75 miles, I called it a day. Took an extra lap around the block for a cool-down. My hip hurts a little today, but because house guests will be here over the weekend, I have no plans for any serious mileage logged in the next few days- only rest. So if it’s a problem (which it probably isn’t), we’ll cross that bridge at a later time.When I go into the office later, it also gives me a little extra time in the kitchen. Sadly, the cornmeal biscuit is the last of the fabulous BBQ dinner from Sunday. It went well with my mushroom omelet, but I won’t pretend that I’m not mourning the end of the BBQ pork leftovers.

That shiz was good.

Feta is also really really good. I hadn’t bought it in a while and had a “why not?” moment in Trader Joe’s the other day.

I’ll tell you why not. It has snuck its way into almost every meal I’ve had.

I wonder if Costco sells it in 5-gallon buckets?

Anyway, guess I should probably finish meandering around the house and go to work… soon… meh.

Happy Thursday!

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