Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#JAMSOHARD


Disclaimer: this is not a headphones debate. I realize some runners are simply anti-headphones while running, and that’s fine. To each their own.

The Colorado Marathon
 I run with headphones in. I listen to music almost all day at work. I BLARE music in my car to the point of near deafness. I consider my iPod shuffle to be one of my closest friends.



Music brings me joy. It easily bring tears to my eyes. To get mushy gushy with you guys, I would say music is very much an emotional release. 

I had a great texting convo with my close wolfpack friend about this recently. Some people think we are a bit off our rockers when they hear us vehemently screaming about discussing music, artists, concerts, etc. That’s fine, maybe we are. But I LOVE my passion for music.  People find joy in many different things, in many different outlets. And I feel kind of blessed to have been given this particular passion.

Almost all of my favorite memories have music and songs attached to them. The song Springsteen by Eric Church instantly takes me back to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, then to dancing on the lawn at Merriweather Amphitheater here in Maryland with Andrew, then to this past New Year’s Eve. Flipping through my iTunes library is pretty much comparable to flipping through a photo album in my mind.

Red Rocks

Merriweather
Why am I rambling on about this? Well, if you notice, I made a little change to those tabs up there at the top of my blog. 

From here on out, I will update that page every other week or so (about how often I update my playlists) with some of my favorite jams to workout/run/get motivated with. I am ALWAYS seeking awesome recs – and often use my dear blogger friend Brook’s Tuesday Tunesdays for some – and wanted to offer up the dark secrets of my massive Itunes library that I’m ever so proud of.

I may mention in posts when the page is updated… maybe I won’t, who knows. I love almost all genres of music…though I tend to be bias towards country. Regardless, I do promise to keep it updated, and to keep it classy.

Cheers to great jams!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winner.

I wasn't going to write today, but I just have to share something really quick.

Today was a fantastic Monday. Aside from my run after work, when my foot bled through my shoe.

I didn't zoom in to spare you the bloody deets
 I nicked myself shaving (yes I shave my hairy feet) on Saturday and I'm not sure it's stopped bleeding since. OK, slight exageration, but it's right on the knuckle of my big toe and it's SO sensitive. About 4 miles into my run today I looked down and saw my predicament, and decided it might be best to head home. So a planned 7 miles turned into 5. Oh well.

A couple months ago I threw a small pity party for myself and complained to Andrew about how I never win anything, ever. I always enter fun giveaways on other blogs and get my hopes way up... only to cry a little bit when the winner isn't me...

Today at work I got this email:



I'm officially a winner!
and of something pretty freaking awesome.

The cruise leaves from Baltimore in October. This has been the best Monday in a long time.

Cheers!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Plunging & Playing

Man, I could honestly lay down right now and call it a night. I am tiiiirrredddd. To be honest, I probably will once I finish writing this up.

Fun weekend. It was an impromptu total rest weekend - I had planned to run 8 or so miles today, but my body wasn't feeling it so I listened, did some stretches, and officially deemed it a lazy day. Sometimes you just need those, I fully believe that.


The crazy Ravens bus that was at the plunge

I volunteered at the Polar Bear Plunge all day on Saturday with a bunch of my coworkers. In case you didn't know, the PBP raises money for the Special Olympics. It's a great cause, and I'm glad I volunteered (I helped with registration)... but I'll tell you what, I don't think I could do the actual plunging.



As I watched thousands of people charge into the freezing Chesapeake Bay in about 30 degree temps, I honestly wanted to cry imaging the cold. I can push through a lot of different pain and annoyances, but I'll tell you what, when it comes to being cold I'm a B-A-B-Y. I would rather be sweating my butt off than be cold.

Saturday evening involved the Baltimore scene once again, as it was my dear coworker's birthday celebration! Fun was had by all... perhaps too much... but hey who am I to be the judge of that?

me and the birthday girl!

classic 'stach pic
As mentioned, today was lazy, but it was good quality time spend with my main man. We braved the Sunday crowds at Costco, grabbed some smoothies after and enjoyed an early movie on his couch before both nearly falling asleep. And here we are.

I'm excited for this week. I need to hit 'reset' just be proactive in a couple different areas of my life right now. I'm pumped to go hard tomorrow, whatever that may look like. Weather's looking good mid-week... I'm sorry, does that say 64 degrees? Hellooooo running trails.




Cheers to some January warmth!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snowy Thursday


This morning while driving into work I was convinced that I was going to write an explosive, ranty post in regards to how horrific Maryland is at clearing their highways of snow.

Lucky for you guys, I’m already over it.



Today did mark my first Maryland snowfall since moving here, and even though everyone freaked out and refused to drive normally, it still made me pretty happy.

Supposedly it’s National Peanut Butter Day? And National Canned Beer Day? And Compliment Day?  I don’t make this stuff up. Have I mentioned you guys are the best readers ever?



I went on a super cold 7 miles after work yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I gave myself permanent skin damage. That may be an exaggeration, I’m not sure yet. Regardless, my face felt raw afterwards and I couldn't feel my fingers. I've had my fair share of single digit temperature runs when I lived in Colorado, but I’m pretty convinced that this ‘humid’ Maryland type of cold is similar to a heat seeking missile… it gets in your bones.

I tucked my Under Armour cold gear top into my compression pants and it looked like I was running in a body suit which I’m sure was a sight to see. Sorry I'm not sorry that I didn't take a picture of it.

Two more reasons for you think I’m weird:

1. I wore my compression socks to work today.

2. My ideal start to dinner when its 20 degrees outside is a smoothie. I don’t have an explanation for it really.
Nonetheless, I promised my banana-hater coworker that I would make her a banana-less smoothie. Here’s what I came up with.

Cherry Almond Smoothie
-1 cup (frozen or raw) pitted cherries
-1 heaping scoop of almond butter
-1 TB of vanilla extract
-Ice
-1 cup of milk (I used vanilla soy)
*I also added a dash of ginger for a little spice
  
These guys are from Target I believe?
This smoothie was light and delicious, it really surprised me. It also gave me a brain freeze.

That's all for today folks. I plan to throw some weights around after work, and hopefully dance practice with Andrew. You should see the looks we get from his roommates when we clear out his living room and yell at each other practice our most recent moves.  :)

Cheers my friends!


Monday, January 21, 2013

PB&J horror story

I love coming up with extreme, random titles to catch your attention. Did it work?

First off, it's Monday. This made me laugh:

dog shaming cracks me up
Also, a change of desk decor was necessary this morning as I'm pretty sure my entire office building as well as the entire city of Baltimore is now officially bleeding purple. So yeah, sure, I'll jump on that bandwagon. I do live here after all.

#ravennation
Let's discuss my small 6 mile race yesterday, eh? My final time was 41:23, a 6:53 pace.  I was the 3rd female to finish and the 9th place finisher overall. Keep in mind this was a pretty small race.

I should probably be pretty happy with that time. It was hilly as HECK, and I was on track to PR if that would have been a 10k course.

But I'm not super pumped about the race itself, and how I felt during it. I felt pretty tired by mile 3. Granted, I had ran a slow 4 miles about a hour beforehand, but I don't think that was it. I think it was the massive PB&J sandwich that I housed during the 45 minutes I had between those 4 miles and the race itself.

this PB will be the death of me.
That sandwich SAT in the side of my ribs miles 3-6. It was quite a treat. No thanks to my favorite peanut butter that I occasionally eat straight out of the jar....

I started off pretty fast, too fast actually. Miles 3-6 I evened out and stayed somewhat consistent  but that was mainly due to me just trying not to die.


My favorite part of the race was probably leading it until mile 5, and then getting passed by two women. That rocked.

Lesson learned. Hills, I hate you, but we will be spending more time together. PBJ's, you will no longer be eaten before races.

Cheers!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lessons Learned

Typically I keep my posts fairly short. This one, not so much. There's my disclaimer.

I wrote this in my head on a run a couple weeks ago. I got home and jotted down everything that was bouncing around in my brain on the first thing I could find, and have been scheming the publication of it ever since.

i'm a dork.
Being the somewhat superstitious runner that I am, I told myself I wouldn't post this until I was able to run 10 miles again without any issues.

Today that happened, with the help of 4 slow warmup miles followed by a 6 mile race at a 6:53 pace. I don't feel like talking about the race though. I'd rather talk about my IT band.

I realize that injury is something that very often comes with the territory of being an athlete. I had my fair share of injuries throughout my volleyball career in college, yet my IT band/hamstring issues in my left leg was my first big challenge as a runner.

Iliotibial band injuries are super common for us crazy runner folk - almost too common. During my extensive time spent at with my awesome Physical Therapist, Sean, this was something we often talked about. He was seeing SEVERAL other runners struggling with the same issue, all desperately trying to get it under control before their next big race.
If I had one word to offer to any one currently fighting with their IT band, it would be Patience... something that certainly isn't my strong suit. But I think patience has made me a more intelligent runner, and taught me a A LOT about my body.

You see, Sean and I went through just about every option possible as to what was making my IT band freak out. I am extremely inflexible, I have a fractured L5 vertabrae, I have a job at which I spend long periods sitting.... I don't didn't lift very much at all.... AKA I had poor muscle strength, specifically GLUTE strength. I also had recently switched into a more 'natural' running shoe prior to getting injured.

my babies. aka my brooksconnects
I think transitioning from a collegiate volleyball player who lifted pretty hard 3-4 times per week to occasionally playing with 10 lb weights in the gym mirror affected me a lot. I also think having a crack through  my lower vertebrae played a part.

I don't think my shoes were the issue. I think switching into them too quickly was stupid. But I still run in two pairs of the BrookesPure line today, and I love them.

Bottom line, I had to go back to the basics. Lateral movement/exercise was something that hadn't been present in my workouts for a couple of years, and that combined with a whole lot of sitting on my @$$ presented me with some pretty pathetically weak glutes, and even a weak core.

indoor skating. loved this thing.

Those muscles essentially had to be 'reactivated'. So I started 'skating' at Physical Therapy. I jumped around like a buffoon, and I had a long talk with the weight rack before deciding that we had to be friends again.

Outside of my physical therapy, I had to find other options. P90x plyos are great although I hate them. I also began to lock myself in my gym's empty raquetball court to shuffle and dash around like a wild woman. I have to keep all of those butt/hip/glute muscles guessing in order to keep rebuilding them.

my own personal crossfit box.
I have to give Sean a lot of credit. I spent a lot of time in that Physical Therapy office being bossed around instructed by him, but he also spent a lot of time outside of my appointment times studying the videos of me running on the treadmill, breaking down my every movement and pronaton. I owe him big time, and am grateful to have been paired up with him.

I don't think there is a quick fix to taking care of an IT band injury. ART may help it, it helped me to a degree. And I know for a fact it helps others more quickly and effectively than it did for me. But from what I experience and learned and research, that's not the permanent fix.

Lift weights. I'm serious. I'm not saying you have to get a weight belt and throw around 30 lb dumbbells. But take the time, at least twice a week, to give those glutes, quads, calves etc. some love.

Mix things up. I LOVE running, and there were periods of time when running was my only workout. 6 days a week, between 40-50 miles. I'm not saying high mileage weeks are bad... but you've GOT to throw some curveballs at your body.

That's why right now, during a 'non-training' period I'm making it a PRIORITY to not only run several times a week, but to swim, spin, lift, do plyos, and even drag myself to yoga. Because to quote my ever-wise PT, "The healthiest, most balanced runners that I've seen maintain a combo of running, some kind of strength training, and yoga."

Sidenote - I would also now consider my foam roller to be my best friend. In the entire world.



Getting back to a 'pain-free' place wasn't easy. It wasn't quick. It most certainly didn't go as I had envisioned it. From October 1st, the day I got hurt it took me 3 months to be able to run 60 minutes again. Add three more weeks to that and I'm back up to 10 miles.

OK, wrapping up... 

Getting hurt sucked. But rebuilding myself has made me respect running SO MUCH more. I don't take it for granted anymore, instead I constantly remind myself how freaking blessed I am to wake up on any given day and fly down a beautiful running trail. Being injured brought a ton of tears but has also (slowly) helped to show me so much joy.

Cheers to running!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

sushi & shenanigans

I swam today, for the first time this year. I had to take my new purple speedo that my mom got me for Christmas for quick spin.

purple is fo sho my color this year.

A hard, non-impact workout was necessary today after a long night of sushi and shenanigans out in Baltimore on Friday evening. I had to crank up the heat at the gym to burn off the several rolls pieces of sushi that I housed.

Although I must admit, the hour plus spent dancing towards the end of the night got me sweating too.

My coworker Marty & me. She wanted to learn to swing dance like Andrew and I are . We got a few looks. 
A girls night has been in order for awhile, and so several of my coworkers got together to make it happen. I had a blast, and even hit brunch with my friend Meg who I stayed over with on my way out of town this morning.

4 out of 10 or so of us
After the gym today I ran to the grocery store to grab some necessary staples for the week. Wegman's was CRAZY which was pretty confusing to me, as I thought I was the only one who desired to get my grocery shopping done on Saturday nights. Apparently I was wrong?



I'm going to keep this short and sweet because I've found that the later I write on here, the crappier my writing is. I think my brain shuts down past 8 pm. I have a 6 mile race on tap tomorrow (if I can find it) and aside from that I just plan to do a lot of catch-up.

I'm also pretty excited about the post I plan to share with you all tomorrow. It's been in the making for awhile now.

That's all folks. Hope your weekends are going swimmingly.
Cheers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dancing in the Moonlight


I have three items on the agenda for today.

#1 - I did a spin class last night and came to a very significant realization. The music used during the class can very quickly make or break a class.



The spin instructor was fine… but the music was 1. Very soft and 2. A weird combo of rock/jazz/alternative. It was horrific, non-motivational, and borderline depressing. I honestly considered putting my headphones in and continuing on my own, but realized that would be rude. 

Needless to say, I powered through the irritatingly bad music and managed to get my sweat on.

#2  - Andrew and I decided to take the plunge and signup for a swing dancing class on Monday nights. Yes, you read that right. Dance class. Me.

If you recall, dancing has never been my strong suit. More like my weak suit. But it’s something that Andrew immensely enjoys, and it continues to grow on me. And with a season of weddings rapidly approaching, we felt classes would be beneficial. So, I pulled on my trusty old Toms and together we hit the dance floor.




The class was large, and we were by far the youngest attendees there. Which actually made me a little less nervous. The instructors were awesome, the steps were broken down to the point that a toad could have followed along, and long story short, we both enjoyed it. Immensely.


It’s 8 weeks long so I’m sure I’ll have more to report in that area. And to wrap up with a quote from our older, gray haired instructor leading the class, “You can literally swing dance to 80% of the songs out there. By the end of this class, you'll be able to swing dance to Pitbull.”

Challenge accepted sir.

#3 – I made a new smoothie last night. It made my mouth explode. I know you want the recipe.

Sparkling Cherry Citrus Smoothie

  • A handful of spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of cherries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 clementine (or any kind of citrus fruit)
  • splash of lime juice/lime concentrate (lemon would work too)
  • ½ cup of Tart Cherry Juice
  • ½ cup sparkling water
Blend. Chug. Be happy.

Cheers!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Missing 5k


Have told you guys yet about Maryland’s sunrises?


I know I don’t give this state much credit on occasion, but HOT DAMN they consistently have some pretty amazing neon sunrises. It made driving to work this morning that much better.

mmmm pasty white legs

It was warm this weekend, warm enough to crank out 8.5 miles in shorts, which rocked. What didn’t rock was dealing with my sad puppy boyfriend on Saturday night after that overtime Broncos loss against the Ravens. On the brightside, I get another Ravens spirit day at work this Friday AKA I get to wear jeans again. 
#winning

SO, my plan for Sunday afternoon was to race in a 5k that a local running group, the Howard County Striders was putting on. The have an ‘iceberg’ series these next couple weeks that offer a variety of different distances to race each Sunday, at super cheap prices. ($2)

I was stoked. I drove to the lake where I thought the race was held at, $2 in hand. I ran a lap around the lake in search of the signup table… and found nothing.

I was sad, thought to myself maybe the race had been cancelled on late notice, ran a few more miles and then drove home. Turns out that the joke was on me, as on my way home I found it. 30 minutes too late. Literally across the street from where I had been running.

((Wipes tear from face))

Defeated, I and drove over to Andrew's house with my tail between my legs. His idea of cheering me up was suggesting that we do p90x plyometrics again.

my thoughts on that.
Have I told you that I hate it? Have I told you that I want to backhand Tony Horton, the guy who leads the videos?
source
Nonetheless, it’s always a great workout, and necessary for me to keep my muscles guessing. Odds are it will probably become part of our weekly routine, as he’s currently sticking to p90x pretty closely.

Me? I’ll always prefer the open road running trail.

How was everyone’s weekends? Any races? Any other sad Bronco fans?

Cheers to Monday!




Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lies & Food

I know, I know. I promised you all that I would share some recipes with you on Friday... and I didn't. I'm sorry. Forgive me?

I ended up going to a movie with a friend after work, followed by some food and beverages. We had had a long week of work including a five minute period on Friday when our fire alarms were tested and we all suffered severe hearing loss.

how I deal with obnoxious fire alarms. let's hope i don't react this way during a real one. 
It was also a bit of a letdown to have to go back to the white Starbucks cups. I recently went on a rant that they should have different colors for each month of the year. Green for March at the very least? Whose with me?



OK, on to the food. First on the agenda, I saw a recipe for a sweet potato pizza crust on Carrots 'n Cake the other day. It sounds awesome, and I really want to try it. And if any of you try it before I do, let me know. Check it out here.

I made a silent vow to myself that I was going to try to transition into eating more salads for lunch this year, as they are fairly easy to throw together and pack for work. However, my go-to lunch has and probably always will begin with a smoothie, and I whipped up something new this past week.

A (green) peanut butter pear smoothie.


Ingredients:
-1 banana
-1/2 pear (best if ripe)
-1 TB cinnamon
-1 large scoop of peanut butter
-Milk of choice (I used soy for this one)
-A handful of spinach (optional)

Blend. Eat other half of pear. Enjoy.


Last but certainly not least, I've got a special treat for my pup lovers out there. While I was home over break I whipped up some peanut butter pumpkin dog treats for Calamity Jane (her full name that is mainly used when she rips up potted plants) and she LOVED them.

Easy, cheap, and healthy for your best pal.




Most of the recipes that I found all followed the same basic ingredients. A lot included cinnamon, but I left that out this time around. 

Peanut butter pumpkin pooch treats:

- 2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
-2 eggs
-2/3 - 3/4 cup pumpkin
-3 TB peanut butter



Blend together well, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. If you want to use a cookie cutter for specific shapes, go for it! My mom and I just used a knife and cut a bunch of small squares out.

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. If you dog likes chewier treats, then pull them out closer to 20 minutes. Since they are all-natural and don't have preservatives, keep them refrigerated in tupperwear.

Try them out for your furry friend! You'll have one healthy, happy pup!

Cheers!





Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The burrito that stalked me


Has it really been over a month since I’ve written a Weird Wednesday post? Why didn’t someone slap me?

To make it up, I have a very special story for you all.

But before I forget, a quick kudos to myself… I did yoga last night! A full hour class! The instructor was a couple minutes late, and as I sat there waiting I slowly started convincing myself a variety of reasons as to why I should walk out and get on the treadmill instead. Luckily, I talked myself off the ledge and the instructor walked in shortly after.

And surprise surprise, I felt great afterwards! Progress.

SO, this past Friday through Monday I ran a cumulative total of about 24 miles. To some, that may not seem like much… and once upon a time that wasn’t a big deal to me either. But as an ex-injured runner slowly rebuilding her mileage base… that’s an accomplishment for me. That’s not the point of this story though.

this is the point.
 The point is, I forgot how RAVISHED running higher mileages make me. Like, crazed mountain lion type of hungry. Shortly after getting back from 7 miles on Monday evening, the hunger hit me like bricks and I sprinted down to my freezer and threw the first thing into the microwave that i could find. It just so happened to be this:

source

I trotted back upstairs, steaming burrito in hand, ate half of it and left the rest on the bathroom counter to continue post-shower.  I was in a hurry to get over to Andrew’s apartment, and didn’t feel greasy hair was sufficient to cheer on watch the Irish get the crap kicked out of them. Sad face.

Where I went wrong: not eating the entire burrito. Halfway through my shower, shampoo running down my face, I realized I could no longer avoid the screaming burrito on the bathroom counter. Shamefully, I got out of the shower and shoved the rest of the burrito into my mouth.

post-shower shame
WHAT?

Why am I publicly admitting this? I don’t know. Because it’s weird, and I’ve been a neglectful blogger when it comes to Weird Wednesdays. 

I’ll leave you with this. I saw it last night and I nodded to myself and wondered if I would make it the background of my computer at work. I decided against it, but I still love it:

excuse the vulgarity, but it's true.

 I've got some recipes coming up for Friday!
Cheers!

Monday, January 7, 2013

the full five


I just realized that I haven’t showed you guys this yet:



Definitely one of my favorite Christmas gifts from my great aunt. It brings me great joy every morning.

This weekend Andrew and I went ice skating with some friends for the first time in well over four years. I only fell once, but it was because Andrew was trying to wipe snot on me and I was trying to avoid him. We are so precious aren’t we?



I got my first pair of Sperrys this weekend as a Christmas gift from Andrew, and I’m pretty sure that I’m in love. They are super comfortable and although they are by no means appropriate to be wearing this time of year, I wore them to church anyways. 
#longhair



 In other urgent news, I hit up TJ’s last night to get some of my weekly staples along with the necessary supplies to make a pizza. I don’t know if you are all aware, but Trader Joes sells their own special pizza dough in bags, and it bakes super quickly in the oven. 


Andrew and I enjoyed an ‘everything’ pizza last night following a brutal p90x plyo workout. I kept screaming ‘we’ve got to earn that pizza’ while we were jumping all over the place.
#motivation

I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit sore from the plyos today. But sore is good. Sore = progress.

First full week back at work for me, the full five days.. phew! (mockingly wipes sweat) I’m hoping to stay busy and be motivated! Anyone else facing their first full week back?

That’s it for now, keeping it short today. I’m off to run, and then cheer on those Irish! :)

Cheers!