Monday, October 29, 2012

Braving Sandy

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, followed by a couple years living out in Colorado, I have quite a bit of experience in regards to surviving a hurricane.


While some are panic-stricken over this huge mega-death storm called Hurricane Sandy who continues to barrel towards our shores, I'm personally pretty excited. I've always had a fascination/infatuated with weather, and while the sheer thought of a tornado induces extreme fear, the thought of 'riding out' this hurricane for the next 36 hours or so is, well, kind of intriguing to me.

The warnings that are popping up in my weather channel app are like none I've ever seen. While the high wind warning sounds kind of scary, the 'special weather statement' that was released this morning literally made me laugh out loud.

If you are in fact attempting to use a charcoal grill in your living room, you deserve to have Sandy wash you to sea. 

My workplace sent out the official email last night announcing that we were closed for today, and after doing a little jig and running around Andrew's kitchen, I realized I should also probably take a few precautions just in case we do lose power for awhile, which I'm being told is extremely likely.

So this morning, my first stop was the gym since they were shutting down at noon. Second stop, Starbucks, because they were closing at 2.

100% necessary.
Third stop, Target. The shelves looked as follows:

It was mind blowing to me that the chip aisle was COMPLETELY wiped out, while other aisles remained fully stocked. At least the bananas were sold out. #hope

As I mentioned, I can't really say that I'm super worried about Sandy. However, creating a 'hurricane survival kit' seemed more like a fun game to me than an actual task, so of course I was going to make one.

The final creation, all under $20.

I spent a good 10 minutes setting this display up for you guys. 
Dark chocolate and pumpkin were an absolute must. Because if worse comes to worse, I shall eat raw pumpkin from the can.

My two favorite buys were the $2 yellow mug, and the cozy grey socks. Because there's no better way to stay warm than some thick fuzzy socks and a warm mug of something magical.

If they are called Cozy Socks, they HAVE to be cozy. 

So there you have it. My preparations to brave this crazy b*tch Sandy who continues to slowly but surely, spin on over our way.

i cannot take credit for creating this.

In all seriousness  prayers for all the East Coast folk being affected by this would be much appreciated. If she ends up being anywhere near as bad as the media are hyping her up to be, we'll surely need some. And from what I understand, our beaches/coastal cities are already getting pounded pretty badly.

Cheers to my first hurricane ever! There's a first for everything I suppose.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Plan

Happy National Pumpkin Day! In honor of this beautiful holiday, I brought in a special little decoration for my desk at work.

Actually I had no idea that today was this wonderful holiday until I caught wind of it on my internet browser this morning. The desk d├ęcor just happened to be a coincidence.

Great news! My stellar boyfriend let me upgrade our gym membership so that we now have the ‘plus plan’. What does this mean? More fitness classes for me to attend. In all honesty I never use to be the biggest fan of ‘group’ fitness classes outside of spin class, which is currently off limits until my IT band starts behaving. However, I recently developed a strong desire to start incorporating Yoga into my life, and our gym offers a variety of different levels/classes/options.

yoga for athletes? yes please.

I tried out the body pump class last night for the first time, and was blown away how many 50 year old woman were literally kicking my ass. I used super light weight since this was my first time, and was definitely feeling it by the end of the 60 minutes. Our awesome instructor also handed out wrist bands for breast cancer awareness month, which for some reason made me feel very special.

All this being said, I threw together a ‘weekly’ plan last night for my workouts until running is back in the picture. I feel good about it.

Thought of the day: Was this water bottle holder in the stairmaster I got on this morning specifically made to fit Gatorade water bottles? I feel confident that it was.

Question of the day: Have you ever tried Larabars? They are my FAVORITE ‘bars’, made in Denver Colorado, all composed of simple ‘clean’ ingredients, and absolutely delicious.  Chocolate chip cherry tort is by far my favorite, it's basically like eating dessert. 

Picture of the day:

enough said.
This afternoon my company hosted a ‘fall fest’ for all employees. Events included a corn eating contest as well as a bags tournament. Everyone was clearly extremely excited for it, and quickly embraced the corn as our theme for the day. Work weeks simply don't end any better.

What does your weekend look like? Any Halloween activities?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

pumpkins and lentils and beers, oh my.

I'm going to be honest. It' s been a bit rough getting on social media/reading other running blogs since getting injured. Aside from a few tweets here and there about worthless thoughts, I have pretty much been avoiding Twitter like the plague...


At the very least, watching extremely ripped men rip off their clothes while on the elliptical that early in the morning made me a little more motivated to go hard. Something I struggle with on that stupid machine thing.  

My latest issue: I cannot watch movies nor listen to music while swimming laps. While I know movies are out of the picture, I’m thinking about investing in a water proof case for my little ipod shuffle. Thoughts? Recommendations from swimmers out there?

This morning I glanced at our 10-Day forecast and noticed that we are going to have some 30’s sneaking in at night next week... Brrrrr

Why yes, I do take pictures of trees at stoplights.
With November and Thanksgiving lurking right around the corner, I have recently embarked on a quest to discover the BEST pumpkin beer. Shocking, I know. So on Saturday I headed to a recommended liquor store that lets you ‘create your own’ 6-pack, and snagged 6 different kinds to try.

 Me, Andrew and his roomie Alex sampled all 6 in little shot glasses, and picked our favs. My favorite by far out of the batch ended up being Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, which is brewed in Pennsylania. 

It was a lovely fall afternoon of sampling beer and carving pumpkins … with a little more of me sampling and more of the guys carving, let’s be honest. Those pumpkins have thick walls and I have no upper body strength.

he was thirsty too!

 My PT also recommended Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, which wasn’t in the batch that we tried. Perhaps I’ll be able to track that down this weekend, although I hear it’s super popular and sells out quickly.

Well that's enough beer talk, coming from the girl who hated the stuff a little over a year ago. In other news, I swung by Costco this afternoon on my lunch break in search of a bulk package of canned pumpkin. No dice, but I did grab a box of this:

It’s one of Andrew’s favorite snacks from Costco, and I was surprised after reading the label that it's fairly ‘clean’ aside from the small amount of cream/butter. I whipped some up in my mug once back at the office, and was instantly pumped about my purchase.

To all my Costco goers, what’s your favorite food from there? The lady at the door today was RAVING about their cheesecake and I was like “Lady why did you have to tell me that!?” Now it’s going to haunt my thoughts until I actually try it...

Happy Hump Day, Cheers to being halfway through the week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Facing the Facts

Once upon a time, about 10 years ago now to be precise, I fractured the L5 vertebrae in my back.

let's have an anatomy lesson, shall we?

 Does anyone else think that looks like an elephant?

That whole summer was full of a crap-ton of physical therapy, back braces and tears. It was me standing on the sidelines with my club volleyball team at the National Tournament down in Atlanta, half-cheering, half choked up. It was a hard summer.It also taught me a lot.

Also known as Spondylosis, a lower lumbar fracture such as mine doesn’t heal, ever. It’s always there. And so I was warned by my physical therapist at the time that my entire life would be a battle of keeping a strong enough core so that the fracture didn’t bother me. And I’m blessed to have made it through a collegiate volleyball career without it ever really becoming a problem.

Fast-forward 10 years, to about 2 weeks ago now. Day 1 of Physical Therapy with abusive Sean down in Baltimore, I was surprised when he randomly asked me ‘have you ever had any kind of lower back injury?’ 

Why yes, yes I have… and what does that have to do with my knee, and my IT band?

Funny how our bodies work, isn’t it? Actually, funny isn’t the world. Fascinating is more like it. And even in the midst of the lower back issues resurfacing early last week, I couldn’t help but be simultaneously fascinated along with frustrated. Sean called it, Day 1. It’s all connected. And as my weak hips/glutes (AKA ass muscles) slowly stopped working over the past 6 weeks, my IT band started overworking… eventually getting super angry, causing it to rub and cause that pain in my knee.

And my back? My back started trying to take over and help me where my hips and glutes no longer were. And today, as I sit here popping advil like it’s candy, icing my back and trying not to be bitter… I can officially say that I feel like I’m falling apart.

this came in the mail this week. perfect timing. i cried. 
So when I got home from my last ‘test’ three mile run last night, once again limping and in tears… I knew it would be nothing more than insane and irresponsible to try to run New York. And although the word insane has often been used on here to describe myself, and runners in general... well I’m just not that insane I guess. Because there’s too many other things I want to do than be injured for months on end.

who better to take advice from than Dumbledore.

Sidenote - whenever I'm sad, I often find myself turning to Pinterest for some encouragement...

You see, I have big plans. And at the age of 24, keeping the perspective that an IT band injury isn’t the end of my running career is what is helping me to keep my chin up. And after a long discussion with Sean this morning at PT, I know what it’s going to take to get where I want to be.  I 100% plan to run the Chicago Marathon next fall, and an abundance of halfs and even tris… possibly even a half ironman in summer/fall 2013.

Whaaaaaaat?? You don’t even know how to swim well Kait.

I know. But I can work on that.

I’m sad, but you guys already know that. And it helps me to do nothing but focus on forward progress at this point. I’ve been told coming back from an injury, if done the right way can be an extremely gratifying experience. That if I get strong where I need to get strong, and find some balance, that I can come back a stronger runner than I was say… this past September.

And I believe that, and will continue to tell myself that, even over these next couple weeks when running is completely out of the picture. (grimace)

So that’s the plan, there you have it. My evening will be full of putting together a ‘get strong’ workout plan for the time being, and getting creative with cross training options. That, and a whole lot of Taylor Swift's new album. Because let’s be honest, I’ll always be 14 at heart.

Would love some encouragement or any advice you guys. I’ll take anything I can get :)

Cheers to a chin-up type of week.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

shut it.

Vent: I'm SO sick of people mouthing off on facebook. About politics, excessive bitching, passive aggressive comments that are both vague and annoying...

Stop it.

I wish there were a mute button for that kind of crap.

Moving on...

Because I know you desperately wanted another picture of my knee. Is it getting better? Sure is. Enough to run 26.2 miles in just over two weeks? That’s the million dollar question ladies and gents. A question that I don’t feel like addressing quite yet.

Let’s talk coffee. A beverage that I could barely stomach a year ago, that I am now extremely passionate about. I've heard arguments in both ways, but I strongly believe that the Dunkin Donuts pumpkin spice coffee that I tried for the first time yesterday is by the far the best that I’ve had yet. THE best.

I tried making my own this morning at work, with the tools that I had on hand:

Not the same, but still good. PS - that Ghiradelli chocolate is to die for. Definitely worth getting in a gang fight over.

Let’s talk about how I’ve been living out of my car. On how days like yesterday, when I wake up at 5:00 AM and go from the gym to work to PT and don’t get home until after 6 pm, how packing clothes/food for 12 hours is no small feat for a hungry sweaty girl like me. I realized that if any of my coworkers were to peak in my car windows and see my seats completely covered in bags, shoes, and dirty clothes, that they are likely to come to the conclusion that I’m homeless. Gotta do what you gotta do.

oh don't mind the half-wet swim suit sprawled out to dry.
Speaking of homeless, my attire to the health club last night was this:

Andrew and I had both had long days, and wanted to hit the hot tub for awhile. Since I already had my compression socks on post-physical therapy, I didn’t think twice about rolling over to the gym without changing. I got some pretty sweet stares.

Long hair, don’t care.

you love it.
I leave you with some motivation that I stole off of Nike’s facebook page. Because it’s Thursday, and Friday is just around the corner. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On Fire

Did ya’ll hear? I have developed a southern accent.

Fall is on fire.

taken right outside my work
The fall colors are in full force out here on the East Coast and I gotta admit, the colors are rivaling the Rocky Mountain autumn that I went through last year. I think it’s too soon to declare an official winner yet.

In attempt to not get fired from my job from being out of office so much lately, I had to pull some strings for the scheduling of my physical therapy.

One of those strings entails me having a PT appointment on Monday mornings at 7:30 AM in B-more.

at least the sunrise was pretty...

I don’t think yesterday morning would have been so bad if Sean (my PT) hadn't made the executive decision to aggressively start preforming ART (active release technique) on my knee. I’ve mentioned ART in past posts… and when I had it done on my foot I really didn’t think much of it.

ART on my knee is a WHOLE different ball game. A whole new world of pain. I was literally sweating from trying not to scream/backhand Sean.

I figured you preferred pics of my bruised legs over my stupid faces. No? 

That being said, that kind of pain is good and necessary. It’s progress, so I’m all for it.

Bring on the Painnnnnn.

whether it's emotional or physical, this is too true.

Lately I've been sleeping in my cycling capris in order to get myself out the door for 6 AM spin class. So far so good; I’m actually started to enjoy the classes versus simply tolerating them.

And remember that pumpkin butter that I bought awhile back? I’m still putting it on just about anything, include my morning oatmeal. SO GOOD.

Let’s wrap this up with a closing thought: Tuesdays are the most worthless day of the week. By far. Does anyone else agree?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kases & Races

 Where should I even start?

Let's start with something cool. The other day I got this in the mail:

A Kona Kase! The mindset behind the 'kase'  is that you pay $15 a month and then receive a different kase each month with an awesome variety of nutrition samples, of all different brands and flavors.

I had the opportunity to hook up with Taylor over at Kona Kase who sent me a complimentary kase to try out. I LOVED it, especially because there were certain products in there that I have been wanting to try out for awhile, like that Picky Bar pictured above... which blew my mind.

All in all, I was really impressed with the variety and excited for the opportunity to try out new things. If you're interested in trying them out, here's their website:

Switching gears...

Physical Therapy (PT) has been a real bitch. And when I say that, I mean it's been HARD, which is awesome because it means I'm working towards getting better. But it's still been a bitch. 

For one, my physical therapist (Sean) beats the crap out of me:

see those pretty bruises?
In seriousness, he does the Graston technique on me which supposedly is breaking up scar tissue and inflammation and helping me to heal more quickly. Which I'm all for. I've been through my fair share of physical therapy in the past when I fractured my L5 vertebrae and am well aware that this is going to take some sweat and probably even tears to get back to where I need to be. And I'm OK with that.

So in the meantime, I'm still doing a lot of spin class, pool running, weight lifting, all that jazz. All that jazz also includes taking pics of myself at the gym in my colorful outfits...

Making breakfast sushi at work...

Banana & PB rolled in rice krispies

Drinking my all-time favorite beer that has finally made its way out to MD...

Buying brightly colored sports bras to match my running shoes that are currently not being run in...

And finding fall around every corner.

I even ventured out to Baltimore this weekend to cheer on some of my coworkers who ran in the Baltimore Marathon Team Relay. I was a little sad because I was suppose to be running in it with them, but I decided to suck it up and force myself to learn how to be a fan as well as an athlete.


I didn't like it ... I may have even cried a little while I stood and watched the runners... but I'm still so glad I went and watched. Baltimore is a fun city, and the streets were electric with the thousands of runners and spectators.

Since I paid for the race and all of that, I still kept my race shirt/bag. My favorite goody from the bag was a SICK NASTY Under Armour sticker that I immediately stuck to my phone.

How was your weekend? What was the MOST fun thing you did?
Cheers to a great week!
Oh, and in case you didn't hear...

damn right.