Posts tagged ‘5k’

Coming clean

Hey loves. I am having a hard time of things lately.

I’m sure it may be noticeable since I sound grumpy in a lot of my recent posts. Part of it is genetic…I haven’t really discussed this on the blog, but…*deep breath*…

I have generalized anxiety disorder.

I won’t go too much into it (for now at least) as far as when it started, how I’m managing it, etc. etc., but ….. It sucks. Sometimes I feel like I’m a crazy person. I freak out over stupid an insignificant things, and can get trapped in a sort of “downward spiral” of negative thoughts. It also means I worry, over-analyze and over-think things. When life’s normal (but shitty) setbacks happen, most people understand that while they suck and can be difficult to deal with, they are just that — part of life. Life goes on. When I’m feeling “normal,” I understand this too and can deal accordingly. Sometimes, though, I just fall apart. It can also cause depression.

One upside (??) of this issue, however, is that whenever I feel like I’m getting into a bad place, I know that it is part of my wiring — the way I was built — and that it’s not just me being crazy (even though I can still be a total nut sometimes). I can look at the situation with a little clarity and know that the stormcloud will pass. I’m trying not to let the negative thoughts that are constantly swirling in my head right now override everything and mask all the great things I have in my life; I’m healthy, I have amazing friends and family, I live in a city I love and I have a cool job. Battling depression and anxiety can make it very difficult to remember these things and cherish them, so sometimes I have to remind myself of them constantly. I don’t want to get bogged down in all the little stuff.

So on that note, I apologize if sometimes it seems like I’m overly crabby, negative or bogged down in unhappy stuff. It’s always a struggle, but is especially difficult when crappy things happen, because I’m still learning how to deal with them. Right now, crappy things are indeed happening and I am just not 100% on my game, or at least not enough to handle them as well as I’d like to be.

*another deep breath*

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WELL. Now that I’ve gotten that “out of the way,” I can tell you about some of the good stuff that has been happening. These are all camera phone pictures since my DSLR is experiencing some uploading issues, so please don’t abandon me (if you haven’t already) for poor photo quality!! I promise to bring back the good stuff :)

Last week I got my first (very hyped up) pumpkin spice latte. This one was a tall iced soy version.

It was actually a little too sweet for me — perhaps it was the combination of the already sweetened soy milk plus the flavoring? It was also a bit too heavy on the cinnamon or nutmeg or whatever powdered spice they put in there. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure I’d order one again — at least not like that. I’m just not into overly sugary stuff. Bleh.

On the walk back from my Starbucks lunch break Friday, I snapped a few fun pictures of the neat view I get to pass every day. Not so bad, eh?

The weather was kind of crappy, but I still enjoyed being able to stop and smile for a minute to appreciate what a great city Chicago is :)

Friday night, my friend Kati and I stayed in and played drunken Sonic the hedgehog on the Wii. I totally broke two glasses and hit Molly in the face while playing. Clearly I am not meant to play video games.

Kati kicking ass and taking names

We were up until four in the morning!! Who DOES that??? (Besides adolescent boys)

Saturday (after sleeping in), I got up and went to pick up my race packet for the Chicago Half Marathon 5k with Amy. We got there about half an hour before it closed, so we had to rush around a bit to see everything and pick up the required swag :D

It was held at one of the Navy Pier convention halls. It was funny going to Navy Pier because it’s SUCH a tourist destination that no one who is from Chicago ever really goes there. Too many people, too expensive, too much going on. But it was nice to walk along the lake (as always) and take in some of the fun views. I wish I had thought to take a picture outside, but I didn’t. Oh well!

I found a booth for a Madison 5k that I am super excited about!!!! I will definitely be attending this next year :)

Bucky!

I WANT this medal! :D

Amy was wearing a dress and looked super cute, and I showed up in my workout clothes and no makeup. I looked like absolute crap, but you can’t win em all I guess….haha. I found this AMAZING tech shirt that I totally want. Sorry if you can’t see what it says…

But the back says, “I am slow. I know. Get over it.” I loved this, hahaha. I am such a slow runner because a) I am still new to it b) my knee injury and c) I’m just not very good at running!!! (Not that I should need to justify this, but sometimes I read other blogs and see ladies straight up flying at 8-min/mile paces (or even faster, as is the case with my friend Kara!) and I feel like a total loser because keeping up a 10-min/mi pace for longer than a mile is a huge accomplishment for me sometimes. BUT. I am proud that I am running at all, and working to get better at it — in a way that works for me. So yes, I am slow — I KNOW. Get over it :)

This actually reminds me of a comment Mel made on my last post that totally made me smile!

“I have a ankle/leg injury (actually its a condition) that will basically keep me from ever really running long distances. Sometimes I get frustrated at the gym when I have to stay slow on treadmills even though I can cardiovascular-ly or endurance-ly handle it and I keep comparing myself to the people next to me. In the end, I have to do what’s right for my body and that means preventing further injury. I think it’s hard because you know you’re a strong mofo but your body is not responding! wtf bod?!”

It’s so true — sometimes you just have to do what works best for you, and just focus on that. Love you Mel!!!!!

After picking up our stuff, I hung out with Amy for a bit then headed back home to shower and get ready to meet my friend Megan for her birthday. Unfortunately, she forgot her ID at home (!!! d’oh !!!) so she had to cancel. This actually worked out better anyway, because I wouldn’t have been able to stay out for more than an hour anyway. So instead, Laura came over and we hung out and watched TV and made dinner. I love when you are such good friends with someone that just hanging around and doing nothing makes you happy. :)

I went to bed super early because…dum dum dum…I had to get up at 5am for the 5k in the morning! The race was in Jackson park, which is way way way far south in Chicago. It took a little over an hour for Amy and I to get there, so we had to leave around 6. We were sleepy gals, and very nervous!

nervous face on the train

Such a fake smile, haha! I sent this to my dad because he had been checking in with me a lot before the race. Friday he left me the sweetest voicemail telling me that he was very proud of me for “doing these things” (hah) and how cool he thought it was that I am challenging myself like this. It meant a lot — I am so, so lucky to have such great parents.

Anyway, Amy and I got to the race just before it started and had to hustle to check our gear and get to the starting line. After standing around for just a few minutes, we were off!! Even though the first mile felt longer than usual, we still got through it easy peasy. Before we have usually run the first mile then briefly stopped for a walk break, then started up again. This time we got to 1.25 miles (thanks Garmin!) and I suggested that we keep going til we hit 2 miles. Since we both have been off the running wagon somewhat since our last race, it was not easy, but we pushed ourselves through and did it!

I really started to feel the burn after 1.5 miles, and was starting to think that I couldn’t run without stopping for those first 2. But I started talking out loud (to myself, but also to Amy) to keep myself going and let me tell you…I was absolutely shocked that it worked. Some of the thoughts went like:

  • Running is all in your head. You already know that your body is able to do this. The only thing you need to focus on is putting one foot in front of the other. That’s it. Just do it.
  • Focus on the sound of your breath — in and out — and the sound of your feet tapping the pavement. Nothing else. Breathe in, breathe out. Right foot, left foot.
  • Come on brain, don’t crap out of me now. Keep my legs moving. Please.

The last one makes me giggle :) But seriously! I couldn’t believe how much stronger I felt when I started getting into my head and pushing myself. When I was focusing on the second “mantra” about focusing on my breath and my feet, I swear it felt like I was meditating. I’ve never felt anything like it, but it was a totally “zen” like experience. I loved it.

The last half mile of the 5k was the hardest. I kept focusing on breathing, but I could tell I was really slowing down. At this point, Amy took over the cheerleading duties, which helped IMMENSELY. Hearing her telling both of us that we were kicking ass and “DOING IT!!!” I felt like I could finish this thing strong. And crossing the finish line with thousands of people waiting and cheering didn’t hurt either :) This was the biggest race we’ve done so far (estimates were at 22,000 people!!), so it was a really neat feeling. The announcer was also talking about how Apollo Ohno was about to finish, so that put some fire under my butt too — who wants to finish a 5k AFTER Apollo finishes a HALF MARATHON??? Haha.

We thought we were going to collapse and die (per usual) after crossing the finish line, so we sat for a minute, then got up and picked up some bananas and our medals!!!

Oddly enough, our times — while better than the last 5k, when it was a thousand degrees outside — were still not better than the very first 5k we ran. There were only a few seconds difference, but I can’t believe that my fastest time was still my first race — so weird! Perhaps it was because I had been training much more for the first one? Hmm. It’s great to have a running buddy though! :)

Anyway, after walking around and picking up some freebie bars and energy drink things, we hopped on a bus then a train to get back home. I only had a few minutes to shower and get dressed once I got home, because my wonderful brother picked me up to let my do my laundry at his house :) haha. I feel like I’m still in college, but hey! Laundry is expensive!

My parents picked me up from my brother’s to take me out for a short victory dinner at Twist!  — a sweet tapas place. I picked at a few things but wasn’t super hungry. I did have a victory mojito though:) After they dropped me off at home, I was totally pooped and passed out on the couch watching True Blood and Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, I still overslept this morning…whoops!

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Thanks for reading such a long post, and letting me open up about such a sensitive and difficult issue in my life. You guys are amazing!!

September 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm 6 comments

A weighty issue and adventures in working from home

Hey dudes! I’m here! I’m alive!

peaceful times in WI

I’m sorry I haven’t updated recently. I haven’t really had the time or inspiration to sit down and write anything worthwhile, and I would rather not update at all that post some half-assed recap of the boring things going on in my life. Unfortunately, I’m worried that is exactly what is going to happen now, but I’ll try to have a point! I promise!

Ali just tweeted me with some nice words and it occurred to me that I should probably put some of the love back out into the blog world, cause that’s how it works, right?

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On that note, Ali has been having a shitty week. Please combine all of your fabulous mental powers and send a million good thoughts her way, and then some. Someone as sweet, funny, interesting, motivated, strong and all-around wonderful as Ali doesn’t deserve bad stuff coming her way — I have serious faith that she will ninja kick whatever crap is going on in the face and never turn back, ’cause that’s the kind of badass chick she is. Much love to you, Ali!

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Well guys, it’s time to be frank. I have lost my workout mojo. And when that happens, my healthy eating mojo tries to sneak out the back door too.

My pseudo kinda-sorta low-grade knee injury has totally interfered with my running to the point where it can be excruciating to jog across the street to catch the bus. This is extremely disheartening, because I was just starting to feel like I was discovering a new part of myself through running — the total badass, inner fit-chick that was ready to tell my muffin top to take a hike.

I’ve all but stopped running, and I’m sort of depressed about it. I’m also supposed to run a 5k on Sunday, and having not really trained since my last 5k, I’m terrified that I’m not going to be able to do it. I feel like a failure.

hahah -- my ridiculous sad face

I’ve also fallen on my face and skinned my knee — TWICE — in the exact same spot on my knee. The first time was when I was out a few weeks ago with some friends that were visiting (alcohol was involved), the second was exactly four weeks later, just as it was finishing healing, within TWO BLOCKS of where I had fallen the first time. Alcohol was not involved the second time around, but it was after a seriously lame first date. This time, though, I scraped it even worse. I’m having trouble bending my knee because the scab is so huge, and I must have bruised the bone/joint pretty badly because running, bending it or anything similar really hurts. AWESOME.

Have I mentioned that I am a gigantic klutz? Here’s some evidence from college, when a friend and I were goofing around and both tripped, sending her head flying into our coffee table. I still can’t believe someone snapped this picture.

ridiculous

Yeah, I’m sure you can guess which one is me. That face I’m making is pretty priceless. The next day, she came into my room (we were roommates) and ask me if she had fallen. I started laughing and showed her the picture. She was like OH! I was wondering why I had a bruise on my forehead! Thankfully she was okay, hahaha….oh boy. College.

KLASSY times, my friends

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ANYWHO. I have been feeling like a lazy POS. I have been eating things like pad thai and pizza. And even though my self-control regarding drinking has actually been quite good, I’ve still been having one or two throughout the week. I know that’s not bad at all, but when you’re trying to cut back calories, those extra beer cals are just not necessary.

cheers!

I need to kick my ass back in shape and stop being a wimp.

For a little extra motivation, I picked this guy up from Amazon:

source: Amazon

I’m not a fan of dieting at all, but one of the things that attracted me to this book (and Look Better Naked) was that it promotes a healthy type of eating that you can sustain (or at least sustain some form of it) for the rest of your life. I am never going to be a girl that eats rice cakes for dinner. I like food. But I have a problem with how much food, and knowing the difference between occasional indulgences and eating Thai food and/or pizza for dinner 3 times per week. I need to work on this, so I’m hoping this book can at least be a helpful guide — I don’t plan on following any sort of diet 100%, as that is just not me.

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I’m working from home today because I haven’t felt well (allergies? congestion? I hope it’s not the beginnings of a cold) and had an interesting break in the day when I started to hear noises coming from my (otherwise very quiet) courtyard. I realized that two of my male neighbors were having VERY LOUD sex. Oh man.

bahahahah. I just realized what an awesome pun that was. Get it? Oh man?

But yeah — LOTS of grunting and groaning. It was pretty hilarious at first, but after awhile I was like AHHHHH this is getting kind of gross and I am trying to work. Trust me, when it comes to getting it on, I am all about it — good for those dudes for getting some “afternoon delight” — but when I start to hear very specific body parts slapping against other very specific body parts, it starts to distract me from work. So I shouted, “CLOSE YOUR WINDOWS!!!” into the courtyard and sure enough, the noises stopped! But not before I called my friend Kati and held up the phone to the window so she could hear and giggle with me first. Hahaha. I am so mature.

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Time to finish up my work and possibly try to go for a short run to see how the knee is doing. I’m really worried that if it’s still hurting as badly as it was, I’m not going to be able to run on Sunday, and my $40 bucks is going to go to waste. I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of to back out of a race because of an injury, but it’s certainly nothing to get excited about either.

Do any of you have any experience with this situation? I’d love to hear.

Ciao!

September 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm 7 comments

Fire + ice

Good lord, has it been hot in Chicago lately. I have taken to wearing either next to nothing (while at home only, of course), or workout/wicking clothes most of the time because it’s literally like an oven outside this week. Yesterday’s heat-inspired outfit at least looked somewhat put-together:

I feel like my head looks awkwardly huge here…but yeah, that’s my new Lululemon CRB (cool racerback), a hat to cover up the major sweaties/greasies and some cool, comfy LOFT shorts. Flip flops were obviously worn as well.

This was worn as a work from home outfit, but my working was intended to be at the Caribou nearby. Unfortunately, I got there and paid for a drink before finding out that their WiFi wasn’t working! I feel like that is kind of a big deal for a coffee shop where people sit around and work, so I was pretty annoyed that they didn’t have some sort of sign up or something. Small potatoes, but still. Hmph.

I decided to just go back home and finish my work there. I had rented a Zipcar at 6 o’clock to run some errands, so I didn’t want to waste time walking around to another coffee shop when my apartment was much closer. Still though, I hate being cooped up inside all day. At least it was a good day to hide out in the AC.

It was also a beautiful night for colors in the sky.

Isn’t that incredible? I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it looked at dusk.

Even though I have AC in my apartment and it stays pretty cool because it’s so small, I haven’t wanted to use the oven at all — something about hot food or standing over a steamy pot just makes me want to gag. Tuesday night, I made an Amy’s frozen veggie lasagna that was actually really good. I can’t remember what I ate on the side, but it was some sort of vegetable….

The portion size seemed just right (enough to feel slightly indulgent and filling, but not too huge where it was overly filling or had too many calories). The veggie filling was also nicely bulked up, and while I would have preferred whole wheat pasta, the organic ingredient list was nice. I highly recommend it!

Last night, I went all cold and picked up some sesame tofu (marinated but I don’t think they were fried) from the Whole Foods prepared foods case. For some reason I don’t really like the way sesame oil smells, even though I like how it tastes, so the smell kind of put me off and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I tried it though — it was AMAZING!

(Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pics). I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise it was delicious. If you see these, definitely give them a try! I also picked up a lemon-lime Zevia because I was craving soda. To continue with the no-cook theme, I made another massaged raw kale salad. This time, it was just kale, olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I topped it with grape tomatoes.

I love how easy this is to make, plus I feel like I’m eating superfood when I make it (I guess I am!). It’s perfect for hot nights.

So this morning, I finally got to see my doctor regarding the knee pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had knee problems for a long time, but they’ve never really interfered with my life like they have been doing lately. I know it’s in part due to my increased running, but I know that that’s just what intensified the problem, not what caused it.

I got up early to work from home for an hour or so, then headed out to see the doc before going into work. My doctor confirmed my suspicions in that it’s not my IT band and likely not my actual knee that’s causing the problem, but it’s actually “further upstream” in my hip. My right hip is tighter and slightly higher up than my left, causing a misalignment and subsequent knee pain. Some physical therapy focusing on hip stabilizing and strengthening, as well as strengthening my gluteus med muscles, should really help, so she wrote me a scrip. I can’t wait!

Doesn’t she have such nice handwriting for a doctor? I seriously love my doc — she is a D.O. as well as a licensed clinical social worker, and puts a lot of focus on holistic health, and always recommends natural and healthy alternatives like yoga, whole foods and natural supplements. Please let me know if you live in Chicago and would like a recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about her!

When I got to work, I had not one, but two Amazon packages waiting for me. I seriously have a problem! I worry someone is going to nominate me for Hoarders soon…

One item was super-relevant to the doctor’s orders today.

She told me I need to be icing both sides of my knee for 15 minutes every day, twice a day (wow!) so I’m glad this came in the mail. I know I can use frozen peas, but it will be nice to have at least one “real” ice pack since I don’t have any. I still got a bunch of other stuff too though.

I know, I’m insane. Look at all those boxes! But I got some fun goodies, including:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book I’ve been wanting to read forever
  • A kitchen scale which will not only be useful for cooking/baking (weight is much more reliable than volume), but also occasional portion checking
  • A 4-pack of dark chocolate roasted almonds that were WAY cheaper than at the store. Can keep some at work for afternoon snacks, some in gym bag, some at home!
  • A (not pictured) locking glass shaker bottle that I will use for transporting smoothies!
  • Another fun surprise that will be revealed soon!

Love. Love love love love love. This is a clear case of the wild hair syndrome, but whatever – I know I will use all this stuff, and I am really jazzed about the new book. I’m also super excited that Mel offered to lend me her Hunger Games books! Thanks, Mel!! :)

Just for fun, here are a few more 5k pictures.

This was my post-race brunch:

Not sure if I remembered to mention the bacon in that brunch or not, haha.

cutie-pie Amy

Amy's face describes exactly how we felt at the end

anguish!

I am going to get back to work, but I hope you are all having a wonderful day and aren’t melting in this heat. I’m going to try to make it to the gym tonight as my knee is finally feeling a little better, but I’m still wary of busting it up even more. See ya!

July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm 7 comments

Candy + My Second 5k

I wanted some candy the other day, so I busted out my candy bowl.

My kind of candy doesn’t look like most candy, though.

There is just something about a big bowl of fruit that makes me smile :D

Oh, hey — you know what else makes me happy? Did I mention I ran my second 5k on Saturday?

It was H-O-T outside that morning, oh my. The race started at 7:30 and it was already at least a good 80 degrees out. I ran with Amy again this time around, which again was such a wonderful part of the experience. We seem to be able to push each other at just the right times and in the right ways — she likes to go faster than I do, and I tend to take fewer breaks, so with that push and pull, we do better together than I think we would apart.

We pushed through the first mile without stopping, but needed a break soon after that because it was so hot out and we were both needing a break. There was an air quality alert over the whole weekend, so the air felt very thick and smoggy — blegh, not the best weather for running.

Thankfully this time around, I had a new tool in my arsenal…

please excuse the scary post-gym look I have goin' on

That’s right — I got a Garmin!!! I feel like a total poseur wearing this behemoth around, but it really motivates me to see my pace while I’m running, and pushes me to kick it up a notch when I slow down. It also really surprised me to see how fast I run when I’m on the road and not on the treadmill!

After working my way up to faster and longer runs for months and months at the gym, I can actually keep a pretty decent pace — for me, that is (I am in no way fast, and probably never will be). I had always thought I was much, much slower out on the road though, so it really surprised me to see that my pace wasn’t that far off when I took the Garmin out on its first run the other night. It’s still not as fast as I am on the treadmill, of course, and I need to take more frequent jogging or walking intervals, but I don’t suck as much as I thought I did! Who knew!

So back to the 5k — the Garmin helped keep us from taking off too quickly after our walking intervals, which was important because again — IT WAS HOT AS HELL OUTSIDE. There was a decent breeze, but the sun was really just beating down. The distance indicator was what really helped, because for whatever reason, there didn’t seem to be a 2 mile marker! When you’re new to doing races, that 2nd mile mark is a really important motivator.

Even though we stopped at the water station almost at the start of the second mile, Amy and I started to feel a little lightheaded and she even said she started to shiver by the end of the second mile, so we really had to step it down a notch which was somewhat disappointing to both of us. Before the race started we had both said we wanted to beat our last time, but would still be thrilled just to finish. At this point, we were both saying how glad we were that we hadn’t committed ourselves to beating the first time, haha.

A few walking breaks and lots of back-and-forth inspirational yelling, we got about halfway through the second mile and really started to slow down.

On a side note: Amy kept thinking I was saying, “You’re doing great” when I was actually saying “We’re doing great!” which cracked me up because had I said “you’re,” I think it would have sounded so condescending! If anything, she is a better runner than I am!

This was where the people started lining up along the course and were cheering us on, which as I explained after my last/first 5k, meant the world to me. I wanted to hop over and kiss them, I was so grateful!!

Unfortunately, there was also a huge soccer game or some sort of event going on, so at certain points around the course, we would pass a big tent of people grilling hot dogs and burgers. Seriously, guys — when you’re hauling your semi-out-of-shape ass through the last leg of your second ever race at 7:45 in the morning in 90 degree heat, the absolute last thing you want to smell is a friggin’ smoking piece of meat. I kind of wanted to vom.

I did, however, enjoy the smell of meat at SausageFest

When we finally got to 2.75 mi, we started to perk up again, and then — like magic, we passed a setup where a group of people were playing Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, and as we were passing them, we heard, “Go, go go go Johnny, go!” Amy and I both got huge grins on our faces and got ready to finish strong. Even though we were huffing and puffing and feeling like we were going to absolutely die, we ran our fastest to the finish line.

And then, we immediately collapsed onto the ground.

They had medical personnel ready at the finish because it was so hot, and they also had fan/misting stations and tons of water and ice waiting. Amy and I both said we felt like we might puke or pass out (not really, but kinda….), so we grabbed some water and just sat immediately to catch our breath. We must have really looked like we were in bad shape, because some guy ran over and asked if we were okay. We half panted, half answered him yes, but apparently didn’t sound very convincing, because he asked us again! Haha. Had I had the energy, I would have laughed, but all I could do was chug water and, you know..not die.

He offered to grab us popsicles, which we gladly accepted, so after he bolted in the other direction and returned shortly after with the 911-popsicles, we hoisted ourselves up and found some shade to cool off. Amy’s temporary roommate (who is from Paris!!! How neat!) was nice enough to come out and cheer us on, so she joined us for a popsicle and some post-race treats as well. The poor girl had to sit there and watch us pant like overheated dogs though! Hah.

Estelle, Amy and me

Aren’t our pink race shirts fun?

I still can’t believe how sweaty we were! Holy unflattering picture.

sweaty beasts

I am so, so glad I bought that visor last week; it really helped to keep both the sun and sweat out of my eyes, and it’s from my favorite brand — Mizuno!

We walked around for a bit and took in the post-race sights and goodies. I stopped at the New Balance tent where the guy on staff told me I desperately need physical therapy because my glute meds are insanely weak. He was super attractive and was sitting there telling me that my butt muscles were inadequate. This was sooo awkward.

When I finally got home around 10, I immediately hopped into an ice cold shower and rinsed off, then climbed into my bed and positioned myself directly next to the air conditioner. After sleeping for a good hour and 45 minutes, I climbed out of bed and made myself the perfect post-race treat: a Fitnessista Green-a-colada!

Into the blender went Fage 0%, unsweetened original PureAlmond, a stevia packet, unsweetened organic shredded coconut, frozen pineapple chunks, frozen mango chunks, vanilla SunWarrior and a big ol’ handful of spinach. It was so insanely tasty I could barely contain my delight. I totally slurped this bad boy down. What do you think of that color? Gross or delectable?

After some putzing around the apartment, I cleaned up a bit then met up with my sister-in-law Lisa and my friend Allison for brunch around noon. We hit up Jack’s on Halsted and I feasted on 2 poached eggs, a piece of whole wheat toast, some fruit and some breakfast potatoes. I also snuck a few of Allison’s fries, and treated myself with a victory mimosa :) I earned it!

Allison and I wandered around DSW for a bit after to escape the intense midday heat, and I walked outta there with two pairs of shoes! One was a pair of sandals that were on clearance that I have already worn three times. The other was a pair of Saucony running shoes that I thought were great in the store, but I realized after testing them on the treadmill that they don’t provide the cushioning/shock absorption I need on my forefoot, so they will have to be returned. I’m not at the point in my running yet where I can run in a minimalist shoe, so the bouncier, the better!

Because I am out of my mind, I went home, changed, and went to the gym! I had so much energy after the 5k and nap that I really wanted to hit the treadmill and do some body resistance exercises. Probably not the smartest choice, but oh well. I only did about two miles and kept it really leisurely on the recumbent bike while reading Redbook. The real magic happened when I did some glute med-isolating exercises, per Mr. Sexy New Balance Man’s instructions, and then some serious foam roller torture therapy. My IT band was obscenely tight, as were my hips, so I could tell it was desperately needed. I took my time and stretched after, and felt immensely better. I think that’s why I’m not really sore today.

Thankfully, this guy arrived in the mail while I was at work today:

That’s a Tiger Tail! I got one per Tina’s recommendation so I can foam roll in-between gym visits, and I’m so glad I did. It can’t quite match up to the giant foam rollers they have at the gym, but I just don’t have the space for one of those right now, so this works great. As a bonus, it works on my neck and shoulders, which feels like a great, deep-tissue massage!!

After the gym yesterday, I made a nourishing meal that my body was really craving.

Salmon! I defrosted a wild Alaskan salmon filet from Whole Foods while I was at the gym, then when I got back, I preheated the oven to 375 and heated up a skillet. After warming up some Pam spray, I seared both sides of the filet for about 30 seconds, then popped it into the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Before putting it into the oven, though, I crushed some black pepper and sea salt on both sides, then topped it with a simple lemon butter sauce:

  • 1T butter, melted
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt + pepper
  • 1T honey
It was sooooo tasty. I used about half of the sauce before cooking, and put the rest on after. It made the salmon so flavorful and a little sweet, which really made it special.
The broccoli had some spritzed olive oil and a sprinkle of Pecorino cheese.

 

Well, this was a looong post and I need to get to bed and snuggle with a very impatient kitty. Keep your eyes peeled for a seriously sweet recipe on my next post…

Have a great night, and if you’re from Chicago, make sure to look at my Chicago Blogger Meetup post!

July 19, 2011 at 3:11 am 9 comments

My first 5k recap

Hi, friends! Hope you’re having a great Tuesday.

the lovely view of the lake a few blocks from my house

I had a crazy start to my morning today. Since my work hours are somewhat flexible, I have the freedom to sleep in a bit and start my day later than most office monkeys. I hate staying at work until 7pm, so obviously I try not to do it all the time, but sometimes a warm bed and a chubby, cuddly kittie are hard to say no to…

Mojo is such a chunky bugger. This was taken after I came home from the gym (note the headphone cords under his fat butt) and I couldn’t help but take a picture. He usually sleeps like this, or in some sort of contorted pose with his legs in the air. Love this little guy <3

Anyway, this morning I woke up pretty early (for me) around 7:30, but just stayed in bed dozing in and out. Before I knew it, it was 9:15 (WHA?), and my phone started beeping — it turns out, I had a meeting at 9:30 that I had forgotten about. AHHHHH!!! Talk about panic mode. I leapt out of bed and did the “bare minimum” routine: wash face, brush teeth, hair in ponytail, tinted moisturizer. Contact case went in the purse, along with makeup bag, and I hopped in a cab about five minutes after getting up. My outfit (mostly) matches, but it is not a pretty sight. And I HATE taking cabs to work…ugh, it’s such a waste of money, but there is no way I could have made it to the Loop from my north side apartment in less than 40 minutes. Poop.

The meeting was called a “team breakfast meeting,” so naturally, I expected breakfast to be available. Reasonable assumption, right? (This kind of assumption becomes much more important when you leave the house within five minutes of waking up without eating a thing). As it turned out, “breakfast” meant a small box of freakin’ Dunkin Donuts Munchkins on the table, and NO COFFEE. I nibbled on four Munchkins throughout the 20-minute meeting because I thoroughly believe that eating something, anything — even if it’s fatty, sugary crap for breakfast is better than nothing at all. Unfortunately, I know the sugar crash will be coming later to haunt me.

Since it was Pride weekend in Chicago, my eating habits weren’t any better — I alternated between Mexican food, beer, nothing at all and race food — aka free bananas and bagels :D Oh, and there was our victory breakfast afterward at Ann Sather, which consisted of mimosas, eggs benedict and hash browns!

(am I awkward, or what? but I don’t care — I just finished my first 5k!!)

This whole, lack of a shower thing is going to be an issue since I have a Chicago ladyblogger meetup for dinner tonight (!!!) at Karyn’s on Green, a totally vegan restaurant serving up chic, classic American food that, “makes vegan sexy.” I’m nowhere near a vegan, but I do love my veggies so I’ve been wanting to try this place out.

AND, I am so so excited to meet up with some Chicago blogger ladies for the very first time! Since I’m still relatively new to the “scene,” I kinda feel like the awkward kid who’s still trying to make friends (don’t laugh, damn it), so I was over the moon when Miz MmmStories invited me to come along. And this time around, I won’t even feel awkward about busting out my gigantic camera throughout the meal, ‘cause everybody else will be doin’ it too! :)

So I bet you’re wondering about this 5k, huh? Well, it was the annual Proud to Run 5k run/walk and 10k. I opted for the 5k run since I had never done a race before. I won’t lie, I was so nervous from the time I signed up, right until I was standing there at the starting line. I have never been a good (or fast) runner, so the fact that I’ve been running at all is still a miracle to me.

My lovely friend Amy signed up with me, which I think was key to my success with this first race. Although we didn’t train together at all (hah! seriously, the first time we ran together was AT the race), we vowed that we would do the whole thing together and finish at the same time. Each time one of us would get nervous or discouraged, the other would offer some inspirational, motivational, or get-your-fucking-act-together (my personal favorite) words to keep ourselves on track. We were nervous, but excited, and I’m so so glad I had her by my side to finish this awesome (albeit not that huge) first step.

On a side note, I’m sure you’ve noticed our awesomely rainbowed-out outfits. Proud to Run benefits and supports Chicago’s LGBTQ community, specifically its youth. With many friends of mine being part of the LGBTQ community, as well as being an “ally” myself, this is an important cause to me and I was so honored to be able to support it with my first race. Check out Pride Youth if you’re curious about the program.

So back to the race. The very first mile flew by. Amy and I both kept grinning from ear to ear, saying that we couldn’t believe we were actually doing this. Let me repeat — I am not a runner. I couldn’t even run a mile a few years ago. I may not be much farther, but it has been an uphill battle, so this was a big step. You can see our goofy, ridiculous smiles in this shot.

source: Chicago Athlete

Hahahah, see us in the middle there? It’s obviously the beginning of the race :) this totally cracks me up!

Before we knew it, we were passing the first mile marker and the course started to wind back around over to the lake. It was a gorgeous morning, full of sunshine, so it was really neat to take that turn and run along the lake. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in love with Chicago and am pretty much hypnotized by Lake Michigan. Any chance to run, walk or simply sit by the lake makes me a happy lady.

One thing I didn’t really expect was the incredible buzz and energy that I felt while standing at the start of the race, as well as that first mile where everybody is packed in tightly. I’ve heard other runners talk about it before, but I always assumed it was just nervous energy. But there’s just this almost indescribable feeling of camaraderie that you sense, where everybody is excited and there for the same great reasons that you are. It was so neat!

After getting into mile 2, Amy and I started to “feel the burn.” There were some uphill spots that really bothered my bum knee, and it started to get pretty warm at that point (this was probably not helped by my polyester leg warmers…d’oh!). We started gettin’ sweaty and huffing and puffing, but kept going. We slowed our pace a bit and took a walking break or two (just about 30 seconds), and that seemed to help. There was a water station that we hit up for a quick gulp of Gatorade (no water!), and it was at this point that we started to encounter all of the spectators cheering us on.

I could never understand why people would want to come out and cheer on runners — I thought it seemed so boring. But I have to tell you, I have never been so grateful for “cheerleaders” in my life. There were city workers, SUPER FAST runners (who had already finished), friends and family members of the participants, members of the LGBTQ community, and regular, random people who just decided to show up. People would be slapping us high fives, clapping and hooting, and screaming “Keep going! You’re doing a great job!” At a few points, it even brought tears to my eyes… I know that sounds so hokey, but it felt so amazing that these people had offered up their mornings to support me in this huge personal challenge. Their words of encouragement added serious fuel to my fire, and gave me some extra energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can’t thank them enough.

It seemed like mile 2 would never end…Amy and I kept asking where the hell the 3 mile marker was…it seriously felt like it was going to go on forever! We got to the point where the 5k course and 10k course split off, and after what seemed like an eternity, we finally saw the 3 mile mark. That was really the point where it got exciting. More and more people were lined up along the sides cheering, especially younger kids, which I thought was really cool. People were even saying, “Thank you! Thank you for doing this!” which brought another tear or two to my eye :) It felt so good to be doing this!

We didn’t have any music and hardly chatted, which I also thought was pretty neat. Both of us were so focused on getting to this goal that we hardly said a word. We had set a modest and almost embarrassing goal for ourselves of 40 minutes because we had no idea what we were capable of, or how things would go. I knew that I could probably beat that, but I was just so determined to finish that I really wanted to give myself something to work toward, but also something I knew was achievable. After we got into mile 3 and saw that the time was still in the 20’s, I knew we were going to beat it and I really got excited :D

Finally, we began to hear music and loud cheering, so we knew the finish line was close. More and more people were cheering us on and shouting, “You’re almost there! Finish strong, guys!!” Amy and I picked up our pace and started giggling and grinning, even though we were both beet red in the face and out of breath. At that point (since I am still a slow runner), I felt like my lungs were going to explode, but we pushed on anyway. And then, with the finish line in sight, we sprinted as quickly as we could. And we crossed.

I’m not a huge fan of how big my butt looks in that middle picture, haha, but hey — if there’s anything you can do to make your butt look smaller, it’s running, right? ;)

We are SO sweaty here in this last picture, but you couldn’t wip away those smiles if you tried. I’ve experienced plenty of runner’s highs before, but nothing topped this one.

Just because my mom is awesome, she caught this ridiculous picture of me after grabbing a water. I was trying shrug and make a funny face, but she caught me mid-expression. Love ya, mama.

I am so sexy. But not as sexy as this lady on the left. Not sure how she ran in that tutu…

The post-run atmosphere was so neat too, with all the goodies that one of the sponsors, Whole Foods (!!!) brought like whole wheat bagels and nanners. I chugged some water, had half a banana and a slice of orange because I  knew we’d be going out for breakfast soon after.

All in all, I’m so so glad I decided to sign up for this race. It was not easy, and I really had to bust my butt to be able to get to this point, but I am beyond proud of myself. As I said before, there was a time in my life where I couldn’t even run a mile despite being able to chug away on the elliptical for an hour. Running is truly its own beast that requires a lot of hard work, mental focus and determination, and I can’t wait to keep pushing myself to see what else I am capable of….

Amy and I beat our goal of 40:00 with a time of 37:23, and didn’t even finish dead last in our age division. Priorities. :D

Oh, and did I mention we’re already signed up for our next one? ;)

June 28, 2011 at 11:40 am 8 comments

I’m Still Here

No, I’m not referencing Joaquin Phoenix’s highly publicized and ultimately fake meltdown.

so sexy

Just letting y’all know that I haven’t fallen into a ditch somewhere, or possibly lost my mind. (Okay, the latter may be true, but only a little bit)

Life is a little cray-cray right now, and despite the fact that I feel like my life is always a little nutso, it has been more difficult than usual lately.

  • I’m having some health issues that will (hopefully) be resolved by the middle of next week – in the meantime, waiting is really tough
  • A close family friend just started chemo for her second cancer diagnosis, and it’s horrifically scary :(
  • I’m at a turning point in work where my initial training period is coming to an end and my performance is expected to increase significantly
  • My 5k (and very first race) is Saturday morning
  • I’m attempting to wade my way out of moderate (but substantial for me, who has never had any) credit card debt
  • I’m still working to get over a break-up
  • Horrible allergies and a messy apartment are making all of the above significantly more difficult

I have also been feeling significantly fatigued recently — moreso than my usual lazy self — and I’m thinking that my diet is lacking, so therefore my iron is lacking. I have all the necessary supplements at home, but my messy apartment and lack or organization makes it tough to get my act together.

On the to-do list tonight: get in a 2 mile run with Amy, pick up my race packet, hit up Trader Joe’s or WF for groceries (I have been eating random canned items for dinner…times are getting desperate), update the blog with a few funny stories, a few sad stories, and a few really great recipes (this may have to wait a bit longer :( sorry guys!), do the painfully huge mound of dishes in my sink, fold and put away the OTHER painfully huge mound of clothes atop my bed, and last but not least — get to bed at a decent hour.

I’m surprisingly cheerful for this level of craziness, but I may just be hiding from reality…who knows. Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hello — I promise I’m here and will be back soon. Missing my bloggies!

June 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm 9 comments

Laggard

I was browsing though the dictionary, looking for the antonym of punctual — and it turns out that it’s actually “unpunctual.” Hmph. I hate that word, so I have decided to confirm what many people already know with the word “laggard.” It means someone who takes more time than necessary, or constantly lags behind.

*Raises hand*

I was super late to work today. My sleeping schedule is completely off (think washing the dishes and folding laundry at 2:30 last night) so I have had a really hard time getting up in the mornings. Since I am running my first 5k in less than 2 weeks, I really need to kick up my exercise schedule a notch if I plan on not…well you know, dying during the race. I know I can run 5k, it’s just a matter of how embarrassed I’ll be with my time.

source: Proud to Run

But since there are so many amazing things to do in Chicago in the summer, it’s really hard to commit to doing anything after work, since usually there are a thousand free concerts, festivals, happy hours or simple icy-cold drink-fuled hangouts to be had instead. Why the hell would I want to be huffing away in the gym when I could be drinking an Oberon by the lake? Pfft!

source: Beersurfing blog

I’ve been able to work with this problem a little bit by scheduling a few runs with friends after work, which is a great way to catch up and chat while getting some huffing & puffing in (not to mention being able to wander around the city, one of my favorite activities!), but I can guarantee that those runs will ALWAYS take a back seat to booze, music and sittin’ outside in the sun.

What’s a social butterfly like me to do?

This is why I need to exercise in the morning. Duh. But um, how exactly can I do that when I can’t even get up on time for work? I’m completely stumped — how does everyone seem to be able to juggle a social life (read: staying out late) while still being able to wake up and be a functioning adult? This isn’t me waxing poetic here, I need some advice — Help!!

—–

I had a pretty decent weekend. Friday after work, I met up with a few friends for beers at one of my favorite bars in Chicago, Guthrie’s Tavern. It’s a bit divey (just how I like em!), has a great (and cheap!) beer list, and provides board games for you to play for free! We snatched up Scrabble and chatted for a bit before diving in.

Somehow, I grew up without ever having played Scrabble (criminal, right?) so this was only the second (third?) time I had ever played in my life (the first being on a date….with a guy who was VERY good at Scrabble. He thought I was a complete moron and never called me again. Oops). I killed though! I still lost, but only because my friend stumbled into a ridiculous coincidence of a word and won in the last five minutes. I still won in my head!

Saturday was sort of a crapshoot of a day; I was supposed to meet some friends for the Old Town art festival, but apparently AT&T’s reception crapped out because there were so many people there (shocker), so no one could get any calls through. I ended up sitting at home for a good chunk of the day waiting to hear from my friend who I was supposed to meet, but got really frustrated and annoyed because I never heard from her. I did get a good run in (perfect running weather — 60 & breezy!), and ended up walking across the street to do a few hours of work at Caribou, so the day wasn’t a total loss.

That night, I met up with Amy and we grabbed dinner at The Chicago Diner, a vegetarian and mostly-vegan restaurant with the slogan, “Meat-free since ’83!”

source: Real Estate in Chicago

It’s right by my apartment, so I’ve walked past it a zillion times and had never been in it before. There’s always a huge line outside, and I’ve heard nothing but good things, so I was really excited to try it when Amy and I couldn’t agree on anything else except this place for dinner :) I love you Ames!

We both got veggie burgers — mine was a BBQ Bacon burger made out of seitan, and I topped it with Montery Jack cheese and avocado. It was SO GOOD. The texture of the seitan wasn’t weird or gross at all, and it was so flavorful and filling. It was also served with a side of sweet potato fries that were super crunchy and salty, the best and only way to serve them, IMO. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but I was too hungry and scarfed it down before the thought had even occurred to me!

I had an Oberon on the side, and since Amy and I had both heard about their amazing desserts, we decided to split a chocolate peanut butter cookie dough milkshake, completely vegan. Yes, you read that right.

source: Chicago Reader

It was made with a soy-based frozen ice-cream, and was TO-DIE-FOR. Not only was this bad boy rich, creamy, and free of any weird soy aftertaste, but the best part was that I didn’t feel gross, bloated or sick to my stomach at all afterward (since I am lactose intolerant). I’ve never been able to enjoy milkshakes, so this was VERY exciting! If you’re ever in Chicago and want to try an amazing veggie-friendly restaurant with classic diner food (they do offer eggs and dairy cheese, just no meat!), you’ve gotta give this place a try!

After dinner, I met up with some of my close friends who were in town for a bachelorette party, and hit a few bars with them. The bars they went to weren’t really my scene and were pretty overpriced, so I only had a few drinks and ended up going home in a bad (aka sad) mood.

———

I tried to sleep off the bad mood on Sunday, so after spending far too much time in bed, I got up and met Amy to head down to BluesFest! It’s a tradition for me to go every year since my Dad has been taking me since I was little, so I was psyched that Amy wanted to join me. We wandered around the fest a bit and picked up a few free samples (some not so great ZONE Perfect bars and some sickly-sweet soda — blegh!), then laid our blankets out in the sun to enjoy some of the great live music. It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon :)

source: xfx the mag

We both were craving a drink afterward (but didn’t want to spend $13 for a nasty Bud Light at the fest), so we went out for tapas and sangria at Twist! after leaving the festival. We had a great meal and some seriously tasty peach sangria, but had the funniest/most awkward moment when we paid the bill. Apparently both of us had neglected to deposit enough money into our accounts over the weekend, so BOTH of our cards were declined at the same time (we split the bill). The waitress came back and tried to insist that something must have been wrong with the machine, but both of us knew better and just started cracking up. One of the reasons we are such good friends is that we have a problem with expensive dinners and shoe shopping :D

Awkward, yes. Embarrassing, yes. But totally hilarious? Of course!

I’ve got some more work to catch up on, then I’m planning on either meeting up with a friend for another free concert in Millennium Park, or a nice long run before the hot weather comes back to torture is (high of 70 today! love!). Hope you’re having a great Monday!!

June 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm 2 comments

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