Friday, June 29, 2012

Finding A Balance

Oh Hey Friday. It's been awhile... too long actually.


Hold on, wait wait wait... let me me just join in with the masses really quick and make a cliche comment about how hot it is.

post hill repeats
IT'S SUMMER PEOPLE. What do you expect? Shut your flappers, unless you're out in Colorado which is literally on fire. They actually have something to complain about.


Onwards.


I figured I would let my English Major side of me shine once more, and write a quick book review, seeing that I finally finished up Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. This way, I can take part in Peanut Butter Fingers book club this month. Yay!


If you don't have any premise on what the book is about, check this out really quick


Karl was also a big fan of the book.
When I first started reading, it honestly caused me a little bit of anxiety. Each chapter covers a different aspect of health, from hearing to exercise to eating... to stress.Then I became even more stressed when reading the chapter on stress... in which I then I realized I was defeating the purpose of reading the book, and took a chill pill.


The book is an easy read, whether you are super into health or not. He keeps things light and comical and never stays on one topic for too long. In general I would say it helped to give me a broader scope on health itself, outside of the popular realm of food and exercise.


I also realize that we have a tendency to make similar facial expressions.



The chapter on sitting, or sedentariness really caught my attention. When touching upon how horrible sitting for long periods of time is, he states that it is, "Really bad, like smoking-unfiltered-menthol's-while-eating -cheese-coated-lard-and-screaming-at-your-spouse bad."


In essence, the human race simply wasn't built to sit. I did some more research on the topic and it's on an area that I'm particularly amped up about...but that rant will be saved for another post.


To avoid this post turning into a 40 page double spaced research paper, I will keep this 'review' surface level. Now that I'm finished, I would say my main take away is also his own takeaway from his project- have a healthier approach to health.


does it look like I'm pondering? I tried.
Live a healthy balance, and realize you just cannot cover every single base when it comes to health. Our environment is filled with toxins, loud noises are bad for us, sugar is horrible for us - but there's no possible way you can avoid it all.


Too much alcohol is bad for you, red wine is good for you. Soy is good for your heart, yet some studies say it is linked to breast cancer. There's just no winning, and that's kind of the conclusion that A.J. comes to as well. Find your own healthy balance, and live it out the best that you can.


"I'll follow fitness expert Oscar Wilde's advice: Be moderate in all things, including moderation. There's room for immoderate. Celebratory feasts can be healthy, and the occasional triathlon as well."
-A.J. Jacobs


He also includes short appendices at the end of the book with main bullet point takeaways for different health topics. My favorite?


"Have meetings like you're a character in The West Wing, walking and talking quickly through the office corridors."  Yes, definitely doing that.


source
I've never personally seen the West Wing,  but I think this is what he's talking about.


Whether you are a huge health nut or just an average, curious person, I recommend this book. It's a fairly quick read, and definitely informative.


Anyone else out there have feelings/opinions on the book, or general thoughts on living a healthy lifestyle?


Hope you all have a very healthful weekend, however you want to take that ;) I plan to work on my mental health tonight, with an evening by the pool in Annapolis.


Cheers! 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So You Think You Can't Dance

Alright my furry friends, let’s get straight to the point. Weird Wednesdays, round 3.


I’m tall. Barefoot, I’m 5’11. On days that I wear heels into the office, I tower over almost every single one of my coworkers.

It’s a useful trait to have in many ways. As a volleyball player in college, I was known to block a few peeps on occasion.

I'm in the white on the right - Numero Cuatro



Current day, on the running trail, I’m pretty conscious of the fact that I don’t have your typical 'runner’s body.' It’s been said that those who are ‘closer to the ground’ usually tend to do better with distance. Well… I don’t consider myself too close to the ground, unless I trip & eat shit (which happens on occasion) and am then lying on the ground itself. Almost once per race another woman runner will comment to me out on the course about my long legs… in which I usually respond with something along the lines of "Yea, well it sure is a bitch to find jeans."

Hey you, in the purple - your legs are longgg

 However, one large disadvantage to being tall that has really been gotten to me lately? I suck at dancing.

Dancing is not my thing. My tall, somewhat gangly body can find the beat about as easily as one can find a beach down in Antarctica. And it makes me so sad. Because although I’m no Dancing with the Stars constestant, I still love doing it.



Don’t get me wrong, I did my fair share of dancing in college/post-grad, with the security of my girlfriends surrounding me, and the confidence of a few beverages. And I always had a blast.


The dancing blind mouse...

Soccer players for halloween. Classic.

It’s startling, and dare I say weird, how recently I have developed a borderline fear of it. Just this past weekend in Ocean City, “Call Me Maybe” came on at the beach bar classy establishment that we were at… and I’m fairly confident that a small piece of my soul died as I watched everyone rage to it on the dance floor. Just a small piece.

Andrew is actually a good dancer, and loves it more than I do, so it probably devastates him more than myself that I can’t/won’t/refuse to hit the dance floor him. A few weeks ago he even generously offered to practice with me in the safety of his living room…

An event that quickly ended with me sitting on the couch, having a mild panic attack and on the verge of tears.

Yes, that really is me.
Above is an example of what happens when I have a panic attack.

I need to get over this fear, quickly. Step 1 of my plan? Go to a Zumba Class next week with a coworker. Just shoot me now.

Any others out there with a dancing phobia?

Hope your Wednesday is super weird. Cheers!



Monday, June 25, 2012

A Pain in the... Foot?


Oh Monday. I can’t really say that I missed you. I also can’t really say that I wish this past weekend never ended. It wasn't one of my favorites.

From the Beach
I now know that Ocean City is not one of my East Coast preferences when it comes to getaways. In short, I didn't love it; not really up my alley. We’ll leave it at that.

However, this weekend did include a few firsts for me:

Wawa; the ultimate gas station.



An Orange Crush
Straight up crushed oranges and vodka. Fresher than fresh. Yum.




I think Andrew is getting tired of me taking pics of myself in public places. Long hair.


Afgan Kabob
I got lamb, Andrew got chicken & beef. Both were delish.

In other news, I’m becoming a little worried about my foot. I’ve made a few brief mentions of the plantar fasciitis in my right heel that’s been lingering since early winter. It doesn’t in any way prohibit me from running yet, but it’s definitely there. I would probably say, as of late, it’s been getting a bit worse.

I’ve heard conflicting advice on how to treat it. Aside from the obvious couple months of rest that I’m not going to partake in, there’s your typical icing/stretching/ball massaging treatment that I have kind of been defaulting to. Other runners have then told me that stretching is actually the worst thing I can be doing for it, and that they simply converted over to minimalist footwear and the pain disappeared. Minimalist footwear/running in general is supposed to help strengthen your arches, and seeing that weak arches are essentially the culprit in plantar fasciitis, I guess that kind of makes sense…


My poor feet.
 My occupational therapist friend & roommate even referred me to a reflexologist. I don’t even know what that means, but it kind of sounds like a robot. Regardless I should probably look into it.

Why am I rambling on about this? If you’re reading this, and have any input, ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear. I can’t say I’m concerned to the point that I can’t sleep at night, but I guess just knowing that training for New York starts here in a couple weeks, I would love to take some preventive measures.

My short term solution: using my Groupon deal to go get a pedicure. Cheers!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Outside of the Comfort Zone


This week really pushed me out of my comfort zone, for a variety of reasons. Three reasons, to be exact.

Reason #1: It was hot. And humid. And so physically, I was uncomfortable.  The major factor is that our AC broke at our house.. and temps hovered around 85 inside. Not. Comfortable. At all. So uncomfortable in fact, that I lost my ability to text message correctly:


Big Autocorrect Fail.
 So uncomfortable, that my coconut oil that I had just bought from Trader Joes, melted. Completely.

This is suppose to be a solid.
Reason #2: Track intervals.

Andrew called me up after work on Wednesday and suggested we head to the track to do some sprinting. My initial reaction? F no I don’t want to go run sprints in 95 degree heat. I already had a hill workout planned, and it’s always hard for me to defer from my planned workout schedule.



Yet I couldn’t say no to the guy who I have vowed to help get into half marathon shape. SO, I agreed. I would say it was similar to running on the sun with legs made of brick. It was a definitely a different kind of workout for me, and I felt it the next day. All-in-all, it was eye-opening.  I plan to try to get out to the track about once a week now.
Yup. Panting like a dog.

And last but not least, Reason #3: I swam.

I’ve been saying that I want to incorporate swimming into my workouts now for literally about two months.  I used my eye situation as an excuse for the past few weeks.. but realized this week I really had no excuse anymore. So I went to the gym, and dove in. Literally.

Kait the dolphin
 In total, I probably only swam for about 20 minutes. And I’m sure I looked like a struggling dolphin or something along those lines. Yes I just compared myself to a dolphin. Yet I left the pool happy, and hope to make swimming a once a week affair as well.

A stop at 7/11 last night resulted in my treat of the week:



 Because there is no other way to beat the heat. And I’m not talking about the Miami Heat, because apparently they can’t be beaten. Next year OKC, next year.

Everyone have a fantastic weekend, stay cool, and do something epic. As for me, I’m off to Ocean City until Sunday!

Cheers!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Aggressive Geese


In order to keep the ball rolling on my Weird Wednesday series, I want to throw out a really bold, judgmental statement.

I really hate geese.

Yes, I made a point to take each & every one of these pictures.
 If you’re response to that is “Yeah Kait no shit everyone hates geese, they’re annoying” ...please let me explain. Because my hatred does not stem solely from the fact that they crap all over the place. They are extremely aggressive birds, and they scare me. And on occasion, they have literally run me off the trail.

Goose Poo. It's everywherreeee

 I can dodge their excessive droppings on the trails in Columbia fairly well. Yet when it comes to them charging at me, sometimes after me, down the trail… that I can’t handle. And the hissing, what’s up with the hissing?

There they are... just stalking the running trail. Waiting to make their moves...

 I would be lying if I said I’ve never hissed back at them. But I suppose, on the bright side, anytime I run near the ponds (which is almost daily) I am forced to run a bit faster out of fear. And I now go extremely out of my way, looping off of the path so that I no longer am charged by these rabid geese.

Me and my mortal enemies

Along the same topic of animals coming at me on runs, I also have an irrational fear of stepping on small rodents while running. For some reason I have this engrained mental image of a tiny rabbit, or squirrel running under my feet while I plug away down the bike path. Like everywhere else in the world, they are ALWAYS along the sides of the path eating clover or whatever the heck that they eat; and just being all rodenty. And then they see me coming, get this weird panicky look in their eyes and freeze.

cute little guy... just not the brightest crayon in the box.

And in my mind I just play this slow motion scenario of their stupid little brains freaking out, and instead of running away from me, they run directly under my feet. And are crushed.

Gross.

I would love to know:

A. Does anyone else have issues with overly aggressive geese in their area?
and
B. Has anyone actually stepped on a rodent? Or is this fear as irrational as I think?

Now ducks I have no issues with. They keep to themselves.
Anyways, there’s your daily dose of weirdness. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A new-found love


I got myself a new seat at work.


Hollaaaa
I now switch back and forth between my ball and my chair. On top of helping me to sit up straight and keep my core engaged, it also seconds as a source of entertainment; bouncing.

Second on the agenda: I think I may be in love… with a grocery store.

Literally since I moved to the area in February, people have been talking about the new Wegman’s store that was going to be opening in Columbia. I had never heard of it until then. The grand opening was this past weekend, and people have literally been crapping their pants freaking out over it.

So today, on my lunch, I decided to head over and see what it was all about. And then I crapped my pants as well.

The outside from the parking garage
didn't get to experience the entire store, as it was still a madhouse from the recent grand opening. It literally has its own gigantic parking garage, and I couldn't find a space until I got to the very top deck. There were even nice men up there directing traffic.

From first glance, and first experience, I want to say it’s like a Whole Foods on crack… with a little less of that ‘granola’ feel. On top of being a grocery store, it is also a gigantic restaurant/buffet/sandwich bar/sushi bar/salad bar… the list goes on and on. You could literally walk in there and get anything you ever wanted for a quick meal. And from what I could see through the masses of people, it offered some super healthy, reasonable options.

The store layout taken from here
 Due to simultaneously feeling extremely overwhelmed, ecstatic and hungry, I just grabbed a thing of sushi and headed to the checkout. I then proceeded to 1 of their 15 outdoor patios to dine in the sun.

Veggie roll

 The sushi was great, and I housed it in approximately 2 minutes. And then I went back inside and did something bad.
Brownie Cheesecake AKA heaven
I really can’t say I regret it; it was honestly one of the most delicious deserts that I've had in a long time. And then I went back to work and bounced on my ball for awhile.

Have any of you guys ever heard of/been to a Wegman’s before? It honestly blew my mind, and I’m super psyched that it’s so close to my house.

Cheers!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A bunch of firsts, and a second place finish.

Judging by the picture below, I would say that this morning was a great success.

Mud & Bagels. What more can a girl want?
Today's race was the first one that I have run since Boston. It was also my first Maryland race since moving out here... my first completely headphone free race... and my first trail race.

Boy was I unprepared. Although it was just a 10k, but I've already told a few people that it's quite possibly one of the harder races that I have run thus far. It kicked my ass. Let me take that back... the muddy hills, the running through creeks, and jumping over logs.. all those things kicked my ass.


My splits for the race are borderline hysterical, as I keep right around a 7 minute pace with the exception of mile 2 and 5... which drop down to 9 mins. Gee I wonder why.

Hey, that's me!
All in all I finished at 50:03. Typically I wouldn't be happy with a time like that for a 10k; my P.R is 43:50. But seeing that I ended up being the second woman to cross the finish line, and only 7 minutes behind the first guy, I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back.

$25 gift certificate to a running store? Don't mind if I do.
I'm not sure how I feel about trail races yet. I would need to do another to make a fair judgement. It most certainly offered a change of scenery, as the state park that we ran it in was beautiful. Yet I will say I'm looking forward to my flat 5k road race coming up in two weeks.

Following the race I treated myself to two of my favorite things; a bike ride to the pool, and an ice cold smoothie.
Beth, my bike.

Not my best shot. Yes mom I'm wearing sunscreen.

Smoothie Time
The wonderfulness inside of the thermos was a Mango Cucumber Lime Smoothie. So good, I had to share the recipe:

-Half a mango (or frozen chunks)
-1/3 -1/2 of a cucumber (sliced)
- 3-4 TB of lime juice
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of milk
-Ice

It sounds like a weird combo, I know, but it was honestly the perfect summer afternoon treat. Try it out!

How was everyone's weekend? Anyone else do any races?

I'm off to give myself a pedicure. Cheers!

After all that mud, my feet deserve it.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Learning to be a running buddy


Today marks my 50th blog post – party time!

Yes, unfortunately that is a glow-stick in my mouth.

I have to admit, I've never really been a ‘running partner’ kind of person. Honestly I can think of a handful of times I have gone on longer runs with other people. It may be that I’m semi self-conscious of my noisy clicking ankles… along with the fact that I have kind of evolved to see running as my own time.

Riding solo in Boston - via MarathonFoto
However, a conversation that I had last weekend with Andrew has me thinking I should probably become more open to the idea of a running buddy.

As we stood at the edge of the ocean at Rehoboth, here’s what went down:

Me: "Generic complaint about the freezing cold water."

Andrew: "You know, the Navy Seals would do this every morning before the sun was even up.” – proceeds to jump into the ocean.

Me: Continues to stand on the shore with arms crossed.

Andrew: "Come in, it really isn't that bad!"

Me: “I'll come in eventually, I just don't want to right now.”

Andrew: With a smirk… "O.K., yeah... and I'll sign up for a Half Marathon eventually too."

Me: Jumps in ocean. Resurfaces, and gasps, "I'm signing us up this week."

Source


And so I did just that. Word on the street is that the Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll is flat… and it will be a beautiful city for 13.1. Particularly for Andrew’s first. My hopes are that temps won't be too warm by mid-September when the race rolls around.
 13.1 is one of my favorite distances to run. And I would love for Andrew to fall in love with the sport as well. This is how I arrived to my above realization that if I’m going to sign him up for a distance that he’s never run before, that I should probably be more open to the idea of training with him.

However, I will note that I still have every intention of beating him in the actual race. (Nothing like some good healthy competition)



Anyone else have issues with running with others/groups? Just me?

Here’s to some miles next to my best friend. And here's to the weekend! 

Cheers!



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weird Wednesdays

Yesterday I bought this. And tried it out in my smoothie today. And it made me so happy.


Yum.
But that’s besides the point. As some of you know by now, most of my thinking/creative writing gets done on my runs. In my head.

Last week while I was running I passed a man mowing his lawn. It was a beautiful afternoon, and this particular man looked extremely content. And so I instantly became very jealous.

I started thinking about how much I LOVE mowing lawns. It’s therapeutic in a similar manner to running, yet offers instant gratification, because when I’m done I can take a step back and proclaim “Look at my beautiful work. Look at those straight ass lines running through the yard!”

No this is not my lawn. Pic was found here.
As these thoughts were running through my head, my legs still running underneath me, I then thought, “Man I wish I could write about this on my blog. But it’s just so…. Weird.”

Ladies and gents, I would like to introduce to you “Weird Wednesdays.”  Because everyone has a little bit of weird in them (me a bit more than others) and because everyone loves to hear weird stories and ideas. I have seen some other blogs do Thankful Thursdays and Fun Fact Fridays, but I think I’m going to go a different route. So from here on out, expect a weird story, thought, memory or fact (just about) every Wednesday.
Me being weird with the Olympic statues at the Olympic Training Center.
So to properly launch my Weird Wednesdays series, please allow me to finish my thoughts on lawn mowing.

Not only do I find it therapeutic, it’s also a great way to catch some sun (I usually mow in my sports bra or even my bikini if it’s super hot) listen to some jams on your IPod, and get your sweat on.  According to Livestrong.com, a 150 lb person will burn about 138 calories per half hour mowing the lawn. Boom.

I don't have any pictures of myself mowing the lawn. Close enough.
Finishing up my run, I found myself becoming borderline distraught because I realized that I probably won’t be living in a house with a lawn for a while still… and therefore have no way of mowing anytime soon.  I considered the option of posting some flyers around the neighborhoods for free lawn mowing. Kind of creepy, coming from a 20 something year old girl… but still a possibility.

Me being distraught.
I can’t wait to have my own lawn, all to myself to mow. And if I had to guess, no one is going to be fighting me off for that household chore.

Anyone else love mowing the lawn… or have any strange attachments to household chores in general?

Cheers to a very Weird Wednesday!