Long Run Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Fall weather.  I may have already said this.  But it’s that awesome that I get to say it again.  I love the colors, the temperatures, the wind, and the leaves.

Hello friends!  Happy Sunday evening!  I should be reading for school.  Confession: I have not done one single ounce of schoolwork all weekend.  Nada.  I only have yoga and one “real” class tomorrow, but it’s in the evening, so I have all afternoon to study, right?  Right? 😉

I just finished watching a very moving video of HLS session on the impact of reading food/fitness blogs, led by Caitlin (of Healthy Tipping Point) and Gena (of Choosing Raw).  You can watch it here. I highly recommend it.  It made me think about what I get out of blogging and reading blogs and existing in this little sphere we call the healthy living blogging community.  It sort of cemented some thoughts that have already been floating around in my head:

  • The way that I eat and the way that I move is something unique to me.  I cannot compare myself to other bloggers (or celebrities or friends or whoever) in this regard because eating and exercising are endeavors that will be the same for no two people.  I will not be ashamed if I eat more than another blogger (or less).  If I eat more protein or more carbs.  If I eat more scones and muffins (I’m pretty sure I could trump almost any blogger on this one).  I will not be ashamed if I practice yoga less.  I will not be ashamed that I have struggled with depression for many years, or that I go to therapy.  In fact, I freely admit that I really enjoy therapy.  Basically, I will not be ashamed for being me in the only way I know how.
  • I have decided that I really enjoy having a “smaller” blog.  Less pressure, more fun and games and friends.
  • I have always been a little bit unsure of my blog’s content.  Sometimes I share stories/memories or other forms of writing.  Sometimes recipes.  Sometimes food pictures or running tales.  And sometimes I talk about a moment in which I really struggled with my mental health — in which my anxiety or depression or sadness took over.  This happened just last night, in fact.  I almost allowed the loneliness to take over, but I stopped it in its tracks by going for a run.  My point is, I have a lot of content.  I understand that the point of a blog is supposed to be focused, but I think that, in its own way, my blog is very focused.  I have come to realize that when I talk about my social life or share thoughts on therapy or describe what is working in my diet — all of this is related.  All of this comes together to form the bigger picture of “Caronae’s Health.”

Onto today’s long run!

It was twelve miles and took me a little over two hours.  It was decent, certainly better than the runs of weeks past.  I am still having the nagging pain in my back left hip, which is slightly worrisome.  It actually feels worse when I try to stretch it out?  I definitely had stretches in the run where I was able to speed up to a 9:00 mile pace or so, which was nice.  I did not feel nearly as dead as usual.  Overall, a success.

I signed up for a half-marathon next weekend on a whim a few days ago.  It’s called Grete’s Great Gallop and is entirely in Central Park.  That was a nice way of saying the course is going to be really boring, and hilly too.  My long runs are normally on Sundays, and next weekend was supposed to be 18 miles, so I’ll have to add in a few miles before or after.  But on the whole, I think it will be nice to have a “race” in this training cycle.  I say “race” because I will not be going all out.  My goal is actually going to be to maintain just under Marathon Goal Pace (which means that I would like to run the race at a 9:30-10:00 mile pace).

Enough running talk!  Onto food.  This is everything I have had thus far today, minus about two unpictured spoonfuls of crunchy PB.  I am doing this not for anyone else to compare but because it’s useful for me to keep track of what I have had on a long run day and see if it is enough and see if there are things that aren’t working. 🙂

Bad picture, but it’s a banana smothered in PB, eaten pre-run.

This was one of the best post-long run brunches I have ever had, because it was exactly what I wanted.  A glass of icy pear cider (amazing!!!!), pile of green grapes, and a warm chocolate chip scone with more PB.  Can you tell that PB and I are friends?

Gabriela and I went to Levain in the late afternoon.  We had delicious cookies and a lovely chat session!  We both agreed that these were the softest, thickest, most satisfying cookies we had ever eaten.  I bought one for USB for later.  It’s a surprise! 🙂

Thank you for the lovely afternoon Gabriela!

Dinner was a tasty sir-fry of onion, sweet potato, broccoli, tofu, salt and pepper, ginger, and TJ’s spicy peanut vinaigrette.  This was a really good combo!  I had some carrot ginger soup with a dollop of plain 2% greek yogurt on the side.  I have decided that I officially like stir-fries more than salads, fyi.

Might have some dark chocolate or cocoa or tea or an apple later on.  We shall see. 🙂

I actually don’t tend to eat a massive amount on long run days just because I often don’t have an appetite or don’t have the time.  I’ll probably eat more tomorrow, I suspect.

Fun blog announcement: I bought the domain name caronae.com yesterday!  You won’t find much of anything there just yet, but I am anticipating a switch-over to my own domain soon!  I’ll still be wordpress-hosted (it’s very convenient), but will have an easier URL.  I was rpetty excited that I could get my first name as my site.  How many other people can say that?  Hehe.

Goodnight friends!  I hope you all have a most wonderful week!

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Blog Meetup And Happy Yoga Feelings!

Today’s Happy Note: Alicia Keys’ song Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart — it’s just got a really soothing but also penetrating rhythm and oddly makes me really happy.  I’m listening to it on repeat. 🙂

I swapped today’s eight hilly miles for tomorrow’s rest/yoga because it was blazingly hot/human today!  I did walk about four-ish miles over the course of the day and took a really nice advanced flow yoga class at my favorite studio.

Part of my walk today was with Maggie (Say Yes To Salad)!  Lynn of The Actors’s Diet was in town and we had a lovely little meet-up with some of my favorite bloggers, including Ada (NYCollegeEats) and Gabriela (Une Vie Saine).  We had The Lite Choice then strolled then chatted at a new to me cafe where I had a tasty orange carrot juice.

I was having so much fun I never got a group picture!  Above is Ada, Lynn, and reader Danielle.  I love meeting fellow bloggers because we already have something in common and they are almost always sweet, kind, and caring. It’s sort of like you already know one another and genuinely care for one another.  Blog friends are real friends! 🙂

I loved getting to know everyone better today.  Gabriela and I have gotten to see each other several times now and Ada and I ran the ultra together! I had not met anyone else previously.  I think blogging had really helped expand my social circle, in a good way.  If you’re a blogger (or a reader!), have you made new friends through blogging?

I had a really nice moment in the cafe: I couldn’t decide between an iced tea or a juice.  I had a very tiny appetite at lunch and was starting to feel hungry again (it was late afternoon).  At first I thought to myself “I should just have a plain unsweetened iced tea; why do I deserve to consume extra calories at this time of day for no reason?”  But then I said to myself, damn it, I want a carrot-orange juice.  Not only is freshly squeezed juice full of amazing vitamins and nutrients, it tastes good and I wanted some sustenance.  So there.  Take that, crazy brain.

Sometimes I feel like my silly brain gets in he way of just letting me live.  I am learning how to let go of being so obsessive about everything.  I find that my body fits into its natural size and shape perfectly when I do the least obsessing.  Yoga has taught me that.  I went into class tonight feeling sad and angry (not for any particular reason — they were just random moods) and came out feeling calm again.  I love that my practice constantly reminds me to do the best I can — and that I can only do my best.  Miracles can happen, too, though.  Yoga has given me a nice balance and perspective.

Okay, no more seriousness.  I promise!  Onto some rather delicious eats from today…

This is an almost-empty container of fage 2% with about 2 tablespoons of sunflower seed butter, a handful of grapes and a tablespoon of flax peanut butter.  I have decided that sunflower seed butter and I are in love.  It’s like frosting only better.  I had another several spoonfuls straight from the jar after this bowl.  It has this creamy, full, earthy flavor.  It does sort of taste “healthy”, but in a good way, I think — like raw tofu.  But then again, not everyone loves raw tofu.

I get the weirdest health-food cravings sometimes: in addition to raw tofu, I also crave plain steamed broccoli, spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter, avocados, brown rice, salmon, spinach, and plain nuts.  My body really does know exactly what it needs most of the time.  I like that about myself.

What are your “health-food” cravings?  Or junk food cravings! I don’t judge!

This just might be the best dinner SIAB (Smoothie In A Bowl) I have ever made.  It consisted of a cup of vanilla soy milk, a whole lotta ice, half a banana, a scoop of vanilla whey/soy protein, cinnamon, and half an avocado.  Topped with TJ’s honey roasted nuts (aka crack).  The avocado/vanilla/cinnamon combo is amazing.  Move over sunflower seed butter.  I have a new lover.

I’m feeling surprisingly content right now considering the number of things I have on my mind.  Hmmmm.  I like having a clear head, I suppose — it’s a good feeling.

Goodnight friends!  I hope you all have a most happy Friday.

And thank you for your sweet comments/thoughts yesterday. 🙂

Dear Peanut Butter: I Love You

Today’s Happy Note: Mission room packing = successful!  I have a few more clothes to throw in here and there, but I’m pretty much set.  Yay!  It was actually quite tricky since I had to pack for three separate categories: stuff being stored over the summer, stuff being moved into my apartment tomorrow, and stuff going home with me for the next two weeks.  Crazy!

Good news friends: peanut butter is back in my life! I ran out about a week ago; I ran out of almond butter a few days ago.  A life sans nut butter is a sad sad life indeed.  I “borrowed” some from my friend Jonathon today and he let me take the whole jar!  It was almost empty and will be perfect for some OIAJ tomorrow morning.  Yum.

I enjoyed my “borrowed” pb with frozen yogurt and m and ms.  I needed a mid-week pre-packing pick me up and this fit the bill.  Sweet, melty, nutty, chocolaty, creamy, and cold.  I have a serious crush on frozen yogurt.

I am not sure to what lengths I would go to get pb or another nut butter if there was a situation where I had been deprived of it for a long time or if it was scarce.  Peanut butter and peanuts are actually a really important food in diets all over the world.  Certain nations in Africa that have, sadly, gone in and out of famine situations over the past decade, have seriously benefited from mass donations of peanut butter and especially a product called PlumpyNut , which delivers a high calorie high protein punch to malnourished children.

Peanut butter is really a great food, as long as you don’t get a version that has added sugars (although sometimes I do splurge for tasty specialty nut butters with sugar or other flavorings, such as Naturally Nutty or Peanut Butter and Co.)  It has protein, healthy monounsaturated fats, and vitamins E and B (info from wikipedia).  In my mind, peanut butter is like, a super-super food!

My top ten peanut butter uses:

1. Spooned into warm oats (it gets all melty).

2. With apples!  Especially honeycrsip and granny smith.

3. With carrots.

4. Mixed into yogurt.

5. With ice cream for a decadent dessert.

6. With chocolate.  This combination works in any way, shape or form!  I like to take a few squares of dark chocolate and make a pb “sandwich.”

7. With pumpkin or pumpkin butter.

8. Good old fashioned pb and j sandwiches (I like blackberry or raspberry jams).

9. In protein smoothies: I eat it with tons of fruit, yogurt, and protein powder all mixed up for post long-run recovery.

10. Pb and spinach sandwiches!  They’re amazing!

What are your favorite uses of peanut butter or other nut butters?  Or are you — gasp — not a nut butter fan?

Exercise: I was going to run this morning but realized that that was really not what I wanted!  I quickly packed my gym bag instead and hit up the icky school gym for 30 minutes of arm weights (did some new exercise today and I’m feeling it!) and 40 minutes on the elliptical (10 minute warm-up, 20 minutes HIIT, 10 minute cool down).  Twas a nice little workout.

I have been a good girl and used up most of my food.  I had to throw a few things out, but it was all stuff that takes forever to get through, and I did try valiantly.

Purple overnight oats!  I don’t like overnight oats, but the flavors in this somehow worked.  Blackberries, a wee bit of vanilla oikos, kashi vanilla oatmeal, water, cashews, and mango butter.

Work lunch:

I tried this new bar for my afternoon snack and it was wonderful!  One of the best bars I’ve ever had.  It’s clif’s version of a lara bar, but actually better than a lara bar.  It was cherry-pomegranate flavor.  Noms all around.

Hodgepodge but yummy dinner — Amy’s lentil vegetable soup with a side of steamed broccoli, refried pinto beans, and an EVOO drizzle.

I just finished eating more oatmeal with more pb.  Hey, it’s that good.  That is one of the best foods that blogs introduced me to.  I tried it after seeing it on Kath’s blog right after I started reading blogs about a year and a half ago.  It made me like blogs very much. 🙂

I’m going to have to buy most of my meals tomorrow, which I don’t love doing.  But there are worse things!  I’m looking forward to having Mexican tomorrow night!

What’s your favorite takeout food?

Goodnight loves!  Happy Friday!

Adventure Friday

Today’s Happy Note:  I got housing for next year!  Yay!  I wasn’t guaranteed housing because I took a semester off so this was very good news.

More good news? Fifteen page paper #1 is done!  More on that under “Adventure Friday” section (trust me, it was quite the adventure).

Exercise: I did 7.5 easy miles yesterday morning and 5 tonight.  I have never tried doing HIIT for an outdoor run before, but it worked pretty well!  I did a mile warm-up then about two miles with 10 x 1 minute all out sprinkled in.  I then ran another two miles to the gym for weights.  I pretty much just did a full body workout today.  I have gotten a lot better at dips (on the assist machine) and can now do twice as many as when I started buckling down on strength after the NYC half-marathon.

Funny story: It turns out that the mega-strong guys who seem to be able to effortlessly lift hundreds of pounds are actually quite sweet!  I have noticed that they are always very respectful of me in the weight room, which I would estimate is usually about 95-98% male.  They always offer to let me work in with them and they don’t stare at me.  Today, I was doing this one arm exercise thingy (wow, I am really knowledgeable about weight lifting terminology) with a 15 pound dumbbell.  This is pretty much the heaviest dumbbell I am ever capable of using.  There were a bunch of un-racked weights on the floor around me, including a set of 30 pounders, which I clearly wasn’t using.  But this very strong looking guy came up and politely asked me if I was using them or if he could use them!  It was kind of sexy actually, I won’t lie.  I mean what could be wrong with men who are simultaneously strong and powerful and sweet and kind?  Nothing, me thinks.

Eats: Finals time means easily eatable eats!  I am finding simple ways of getting in lots of produce, like veg/fruit bowls, pre-made salads from the cafe (expensive, but worth it for the moment), smoothies, and stir-fries.  Anyone have any awesome tips for getting in plenty of produce on a super tight schedule (and a budget)?

Couldn’t forget cookie Friday 🙂  See this post from Tina for some lovely cookies, including mine from last week!

I heart smoothie froth!  I’m debating whether or not I should buy a box of cereal or two for the upcoming week.  I tend to go overboard with cereal so I don’t usually keep it around, but I know that between studying, paper writing, regular activities, etc. I’m going to be very pressed for time and cereal is an easy, decent meal solution. I can add fruit and nuts to increase the nutritionals or make an on-the-go trail mix.  Cereal is such an easy food, but I don’t want my diet to be, well, cereal for the next two weeks.  Decision, decisions…

Fun Caronae Fact: I am one of the most indecisive people the world has ever seen.  I could never ever run a company or teach a class.  I can’t even decide what to order in restaurants.

Adventure Friday!

Today’s (and yesterday’s) adventure may not have involved leaving the room, but it was quite interesting!  I am taking a class on the Arabian Nights (aka One Thousand and One Nights) and Islam and had to write a 15 page final paper on anything that had to do with those two things.  I absolutely adore books — I consider them to be one of my best friends.  Give me a giant pile of books to dive into and I will be one happy clam.  But don’t make me eat the clam because I’m allergic.  And the Arabian Nights are absolutely fascinating!  The real version is not the picture book version you heard as a child.  The stories are full of scandal, beauty, imagery, sex, thievery, transgressions, passion, and food.  They are, quite simply, a delight.  While we have been reading various stories and interpretations all semester, I really got into yesterday and today.  Not to be cheesy, but it felt like I had my own little magic carpet taking me all around the world!

Book pile:

Sticky notes=easy quote finding!  Paper is all done:

I could go on and on about books and words.  They’re such good friends, in a very real way, I think.  They absolutely constitute an adventure for me.  I love libraries, archives (I work in one!), bookstores, journals, old pages, letters, inky pens.  I love it all.  Sometimes when I’m lonely I start reading a book and the moments in that book, whether happy or sad, bright or gloomy, take me to a different place and remind me that there are different times in life: sometimes I will experience love, sometimes loss.  Ultimately, I will find other humans with whom to connect, on the page at the very least.  I’m currently reading Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens and The Arabs: A History (for class but quite spectacular).

Some of the books that have changed my life:

Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Pablo Neruda’s Selected Poems

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Harry Potter series (no, I’m not joking)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment

Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece

What are some of your favorite books?  Do you feel the same way about them as I do or am I just a total weirdo?

Happy happy weekend!

PS — wordpress changed their main dashboard, it seems, and I am VERY confused.  Can’t figure out how to add tags or how to publish, although I suppose that by the time you’re reading this I’ll probably have figured that one out…

Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Awesome, but exhausting, therapy session today.  It was one of those days where I felt like I had a breakthrough, which was nice.

Exercise: 30 minutes of strength-training (mostly arms, a little bit of leg stuff too) followed by 3 miles on the treadmill, as follows:

2x through this:

-5 minutes at 6 mph

-5 minutes (1 min @ 8, 1 min @ 6, 1 min @8, 1 min @ 6, 1min @ 8)

-5 minutes at 5.6-6 mph

I was going to do a few more of the speed intervals (I did a total of six through the whole workout) but my legs were a bit tired from the lifting so I didn’t  push it.  This was actually really exhausting!  I am not good at going fast in general, so maybe that’s why.  I was drenched at quite red afterwards.  I love getting in an hour workout where I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.

Eats (not everything):

Breakfast: maple oatmeal with honey pb, side of grapes.  Normally I would feel really uncomfortable eating a breakfast like this because I perceive it as too carby.  While I love carbohydrates, they are a fear food for me when there are too many; I never eat grains or bread or anything like that with dinner, unless I am having a pasta dish, which happens about once every month or two.  Sophia left me a comment about my dinner yesterday saying that it needed carbs.  I don’t think I actually wanted/needed any right then, but I realized that  I do have an irrational fear of them!  This breakfast was exactly what I was craving, and I was NOT going to deny it to myself because it had oats and grapes (gasp!).

The obligatory post-therapy froyo.  The topping is chocolate covered pommegranate.  I adore these things!  They have it at this bubble tea place down the street from me and they go perfectly with the creamy froyo.  My other favorite topping is peanut m and m’s.  What are yours?

Dinner was one of my favorite weeknight meals.  Egg scramble with cheddar, green peppers, and mushrooms, with a romaines, spinach, cucumber, and Annie’s Goddess dressing side salad.  Well, it wan’t really a side salad because it was quite massive.  Most of my veggie dishes are.  I actually really like vegetables.  There are so many fun ways to prepare or cook them!

Therapy Monday:

I’m actually not going to do a whole long exposition on today’s session because, for the first time ever, really, I feel like it was too painful and personal to share on the blog.  But I do have a few general conclusions and observations about methods that I will happily share!

1. Sometimes I need to calm down: first of all, one semi-unproductive weekend is not a horrible thing, and I don’t need to get all tensed up about every little moment that does not go as planned.  I was actually freaking out/crying so much at one point today that my therapist had to remind me to breathe.  So, I want to make calmness a mindful goal.  It’s something that my yoga practice has helped with quite a bit, but I want to figure out how to incorporate it into my daily life more.  I often find myself with my hands clenched and my shoulders tightened, like I am ready for a fight or something.  Sometimes I need to just breathe.

2. I am not a social failure. I am not undeserving or friends, companions, boyfriends, or close relationships in general.  I do not need (or want) to hide in my room; my little cave.  We actually talked a lot about my room, which simultaneously represents a sort of loneliness and a sort of comfort to me.  I find it very hard to separate the two sometimes.  It’s something I am thinking about a lot.

3. There is no reason to hate myself.

So those were my take-away lessons.  A few notes on the process:

1. My therapist was unbelievably gentle with me today.  She is always considerate, but sometimes makes me think really hard about something or reconsider a painful idea in a way that hurts.  That was not the case today and I am so deeply grateful for that.  It is rare to have a person in your life who listens to you, never judges what you say, and offers insightful thoughts or advice.  Granted, she is trained to do this, but I have never had another psychologist who was this good at it.  I have a close friend from high school who I felt like this with — I think these people are just genuinely unusual individuals.  With that said, I want to seek out more friends and individuals like this.  The ability to listen is a truly beautiful characteristic in a person.

2. The actual room in which I see her has become an immensely safe physical and emotional space for me.  I felt like I opened up on a whole new level today, and I think that I was largely able to do that because I feel safe with her.  This seems obvious, but it is really quite subtle.   I value this space/place tremendously.  I don’t know what I would do without my hour with her every Monday.  I have so many thoughts that need to be sorted out; sometimes sad, angry, scary, or unhappy thoughts.  Sometimes joyful,fresh, fun, or exciting thoughts.  Regardless, she is always there, and that room is always there.  This is comforting, and I have not felt comforted in a long, long time.

Off to study!  I hope your week is off to a spectacular start!