Middle of The Week Blues

Today’s Happy Note: Free food.  Seriously, what is better in this world than free food?  Okay, I will admit that I am kind of a free food snob — I won’t eat anything that looks suspicious, greasy, etc.   But still.  There are a lot of options.  Today alone I garnered a piece of pineapple cake, hors d’oeuvres, and a fudgy brownie.  I am a free food expert.

Ooof.  I am suffering from those middle-of-the-week blues.  I can’t seem to get in gear.  My brain feels foggy.  My body feels tired.  For some odd reason (warning: sarcasm ahead), I have no interest in wading through 800+ pages of Ibn Khaldun…

But enough of my complaining!  When I am feeling down or overwhelmed, I remember how many good things I have going for me. Here are a few:

  • I have a pantry and a fridge stocked with delicious, wholesome foods.   Right now I am loving TJs sesame honey cashews, frozen blueberries, and fresh mozzarella (not all together though!).
  • I got an A on the first paper of the semester that I have gotten back.  I never get A’s on papers, so I was super thrilled about this.
  • My laundry is clean.
  • Lovely fall weather.
  • I am going to be running a very exciting marathon in less than two weeks.  I have two legs that do amazing things!
  • I have kind, sweet friends and a loving, thoughtful boyfriend.
  • I have an awesome, if a little bit crazy, family.  My mama might be coming to visit me for my birthday/marathon weekend (I turn 21 on Saturday November 6th and run the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday November 7th)!
  • I’m resilient!
  • I write well.  I’m working on an essay right now about the color red.  The entire thing consists of different ways of saying “red”.
  • I have a lovely long weekend to look forward to, full of baking and friends and USB and five whole days of no school.
Much better. 🙂
Marathon Training: Yesterday as a rest/cross training day, as Mondays always are.  I was too antsy to rest, so I did Level 1 of the 30 Day shred in the evening followed by 10 minutes of kettlebell swings and yoga.  Easy peasy 30 minute workout.  I love reminding myself that sometimes, it is so not necessary to spend hours working out.  Today I did 7.5 miles: 2 warm-up, 4 Tempo, 1.5 cool-down. The Tempo part went really well, and I felt like I was flying.  Afterwards I felt dead though.  The cool-down was pretty much a joke.  I looked like a dying animal staggering home.  Meh.
It’s taper, and weird things happen during tapers, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Food time!
I have been craving a ton of snacky food lately — I’d rather have a handful of nuts or yogurt with pumpkin and blueberries than real meals.  Sometimes I wonder if I should try eating less frequent, bigger meals, instead of constantly being snacky all day.  But at the same time, I like being snacky: it means I get to eat a wider variety of delicious things more frequently!
Hmmm,  decisions, decisions.
I don’t really plan on doing any fooling around with my diet until after the marathon, so I have a week or two to think things over.  I’m seeing endocrine soon (FINALLY) and can’t wait. I don’t like being poked and having tests done and whatnot, but it will be worth it to figure out what’s going on!
I know I promised a post about the way I eat last week.  Stay tuned, I promise it’s coming this week!
Oh, and the jeans I mentioned the other day.  I figured I should share (by the way, I am morally opposed to mirror pictures and would never take one outside of the context of trying to show you guys what something looks like when no one else is around to take the picture.  I hope you will forgive me):
They’re super comfy and make me feel confident.  A winning purchase, in my book.
Anything you want to complain about?  Middle of the week got you down? Let me hear it!
What do you have going for you?  How do you make yourself feel better when you’re feeling blah?
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Hungry Caronae/Back To School Adventures

Today’s Happy Note: I survived the first day of classes!  Definitely something to celebrate.

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and be straightforward about something: I have senioritis, and I have it bad.  I want nothing to do with lectures or seminars or expensive textbooks or essays.  I do not want to write response papers or sit still for two hours at a time.  I’m just not good at it.  I’m tired of it.  But alas, I do want to graduate from college and have come to terms with the fact that I need to make it through this year.  Some of my classes seem like they could potentially be interesting.  Others seem downright snore-inducing, at best, and offensive to my sense of self at worst (case in point: I had a professor say to us today “This is my last year of teaching; I am retiring next year.  Therefore I can say and do whatever I want and there are no consequences — I can teach you total bullshit if I want!”).

That pretty much sums up the day.  Blah.

Marathon Training: I took advantage of yesterday’s rest day and did a lot of yoga and stretching.  I took a class at Yoga Vida and the instructor showed me a few poses that help stretch out the back of the hip.  They have been feeling great so far and I had no pain on today’s run!  Today was speed work day.  I did 2 miles GP (goal pace — 10:00 miles for me)/2 x 2 miles Tempo (about 9:00 miles for me)/3 miles GP.  Same as last week.  I felt a little bit stronger, especially on the second set of 2 miles.  I might have been just under a 9:00 pace — I don’t have a watch so I don’t know precisely what my time is.  To be honest I kind of like it that way.  There is no pressure and I feel physically freer.  I ended up with about 9.5 miles in about 95 minutes.

I was hangry today — like so hangry that I was ready to gnaw my arm off twenty minutes after every meal.  I think there are two things going on here:

1. I did not eat enough Sunday after my 16-miler (or Monday, for that matter) and

2. My metabolism has officially entered what I like to call “Marathon-training-overdrive-mode.”

Hmmmm.  At this point I am still in the noticing-and-not-judging phase.  I think I have been doing a great job with healthy fats (I have incorporated things like avocados, plain nuts, flax meal, more oils like EVOO, etc.).  I think that helps.  I think eating more frequently also helps.  It’s bothersome because gaining weight is the last thing I need right now.

I am feeling strong and fast though, so that’s a good thing.  Higher mileage makes a hungrier Caronae, I suppose.  One other thing I like to do is photograph everything I eat because it helps me keep track of how much I have had and not snack mindlessly.

Any other runners out there who know how to deal with that bottomless-pit feeling?

I realized yesterday that I have not shared an Adventure with you in weeks!  I have been having small adventures here and there, but nothing blog-worthy.  Until yesterday! USB happens to be an avid adventurer and explorer, which is wonderful.  I love people who like to do things.  He had a surprise adventure for me yesterday!

Can you guess?

It’s the US Open! Somehow USB’s friend had extra tickets to see Roger Federer’s fourth round match vs. Jurgen Melzer.  I’ll be the first to admit that I do not follow traditional sporting events, but this was quite fun (although perhaps USB’s presence had something to do with that… :)).  My dad is obsessed with Federer and always used to make me watch his matches on ESPN, so it was neat to see him play live.  He was clearly very talented (although Melzer put up an admirable fight).

I love getting out and seeing the world, in whatever way that may be — travelling, exploring a new neighborhood in the city, or seeing a sporting event, in this case.  I think that my adventuresome, open spirit is one of my favorite things about myself.  If I hadn’t gone out for a run to the Union Square Park Farmer’s Market a few weekends ago I never would have met USB!

What is one of your most favorite things about yourself?

Onto dinner…

This was my first time really cooking in the new dorm kitchen.  It is not an ideal kitchen, but it gets the job done, and this was pretty damn tasty.  I sauteed a giant pile (as in it was the size of a tennis racket) of rainbow chard in EVOO, salt, and pepper.  I then added in broccoli, yellow bell pepper, and yellow squash.  I rinsed and drained some thawed TJ’s precooked shrimp and threw those in, along with a “sauce” of TJ’s spicy peanut vinaigrette and shredded coconut.  I topped it all with avocado.  The asian-inspired flavors here were amazing!  I hardly ever measure anything, but the combinations were just right.  It turned out sort of stew like, because the chard was half-frozen and released a lot of water.  I didn’t mind though!  I might try this same stir-fry combo again in the future with the goal of making a soup.  It was the best homecooked meal I have had in quite some time, and the best part is that I made enough to have about four rounds of leftovers.

I won’t lie, I was a little bit proud of myself.

I am more than ready for bed!  Goodnight.

Tell me how all of your days were — I feel like even if you didn’t start school or a new job or anything, today was sort of the beginning of fall.  What’s new and exciting and autumnul in your life right now?

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. 🙂

Anatomy of My Snackage

Today’s Happy Note: I had TWO social activities.  Hey, that’s a lot for me.

I’ve switched from daily creativity notes to happy notes!  I was getting bored (and, um, a bit uncreative) and needed a change.  So far I’ve done positive notes, mini goals, daily creativity, and now happy notes.  The happy note has to be a comment on one happy thing from my day.

My friend J and I headed out for our run this morning and he finished so strong!  I even made him run up a hill at the end.  He was such a trooper; my legs were so dead, I could barely keep up with him!  I want to do a long run tomorrow and get it out of the way, but I can’t decide if my legs will be happy and rested.  Decisions decisions. Also, my running club is doing a small 5k for charity.  I hate 5ks but I feel like I should participate?  To race or not to race?  To do the long run afterwards or not to do the long run?

Caronae fact of the day: I am terribly indecisive.  I used to make my parents crazy saying I wanted one thing and then changing my mind at the last minute.  Oh wait, I still do that.

I won’t lie, I didn’t get much done today.  I did my five mile run and a nice hour-long yoga class, plus had brunch with J, did a little school reading and watched a lot of pointless TV.  But I don’t have class Monday so I feel like I shouldn’t have to start homework until tomorrow!  Lol, that’s just silly 🙂

Snackage:

I didn’t take a lot of food pictures today so I though I would do a round up of some of my typical/favorite healthy snacks and why I like them!  There are a few qualtiies I look for in a snack:

1. Must hold me over: this means that it should be nutritious.  Usually I go fo some (or all) of the following elements: fiber/vegetable matter, fat, protein, smart carbs, deliciousness.  If a snack is healthy as all get out, but it doesn’t taste good, I won’t want to eat it, and will therefore end up just eating what I really crave later on.

2. Portability/convenience: My afternoon snacks (generally consumed anywhere between 3:00 and 6:00 pm depending on lunchtime and hunger levels) are most often eaten between classes or walking to work or the gym or volunteering.  I usually look for something that can be taken in a plastic baggie or tupperware.  BTW, I LOVE tupperware.  If you have extra tupperware, send it to me 🙂

3. Nutrition: This relates to number one.  You will not see me eating 100 calorie packs or processed stuff.  I try to keep the snack as “whole” as possible.

Time for pictures!

Apple with nut butter.  While this was clearly eaten on a plate, you can easily cut up an apple into slices ahead of time, store it in a bag or container, and throw in a spoonful of nut butter (or a Justin’s on the go packet!  Love these!).  Sometimes I sit sheepishly at my desk at work and just smear some of the packet onto a whole apple 🙂

Veggie slices with hummus!  Also can be easily put in a container and thrown in your bag.

Homemade trail mix and/or whole fruit.  I take two snacks if I know I will be out and about for a long time between lunch and dinner.  I like the following for fun, unique trail mixes: nuts, exotic dried fruits (think pineapple or blueberries), whole grain cereal, dried edamame, chocolate chips, animal crackers, etc.

Good old plain fresh produce!  Carrots and peppers are really easy to cut into manageable strips.  I also like cucumber and cereal.  Snacks like this are perfect for when you have several hours before your next meal and you know you’ll be hungry, but you don’t want to get too full.

Frozen yogurt with toppings is my favorite occasional “treat” snack!

Yogurt with random toppings.  I like greek yogurt for the protein, and as long as I don’t eat more than one serving a day, my tummy feels fine.  You can get super creative with yogurt mix-ins.  This one had pb pretzels and chocolate raspberry sticks.

Bars: These are my in-a-hurry or need-calories choices.  They can be a bit processed, but some aren’t bad.  They usually keep my nice and full, but you do have to experiment to find ones that taste yummy to you.

Smoothies!  Smoothies can be a super fun but also filling choice.  Since I am still blenderless (*tear*), I have to buy mine and add toppings if I want them.  I like a little yogurt and a sprinkle of nuts.  Mmmmm.

Okay, I think I’ve covered my most typical snacks!  I’m looking on doing more protein/savory snacks, since I know that carbs/sweet stuff can be a little bit addictive for me.  I’m thinking of plain edamame and hard boiled eggs.  Anyone have any other protein/fat snack ideas?

I hope your Saturday night is going superbly.  Off to a friend’s birthday party 🙂

See you tomorrow!

PS — Averie is giving away some awesome Tazo tea stuff here.  Seriously, the blog fairies love this girl!

Fears, Foods, Friday, Fun

Daily Creativity: More writing.  Not very interesting, but it’s so important for me.  I’m officially on spring break now (yay) and last night I just did a giant freewrite about all the things I don’t have to do.  It was such a relief to see this massive list and just feel free of obligations for a while.  Now if only I were going somewhere warm…

I’m going back to Michigan over break and am hoping to get in some serious trail running.  I guess not too serious seeing as the race is the 21st, which is sad because I’d love to just hit the trails for an exhausting ten miles everyday.  But I *probably* shouldn’t do that.  Sigh…

This is probably the last time I’ll be home before late spring/early summer.  For me trail running in the summer means one thing and one thing only: snakes.  I am beyond terrified of them and this is utterly and completely ridiculous because the only snakes that ever come out on the trails are garters or other non-dangerous snakes.  There are massasauga rattlers where I live but they mostly stay in the woods.  I have run into snakes on hot, dry trails in summer on a few runs (like less than 10% of the time) but I am still so scared.  I’m really ashamed of it; my mom often hikes while I run and she’s all like “get over it!”   But I can’t.  Just seeing the snake sitting on the path in front of me makes me freeze up.  Plus, on a trail with a ton of hills, curves, and roots, I’m afraid I won’t see the snake in time to stop and I’ll step on it or get too close or something.  I totally avoid the trails in summer, actually, unless I feel really really brave.

Snakes are my biggest fear, more than being alone forever or men or having too many people around me.  They’re just so tangible.  I kind of had a tramautic episode with a snake as a child and ever since I’ve had this very real, visceral fear of them.  Yuck.  Any suggestions?

Okay, sorry for just talking about snakes for so long on my healthy living blog.  What’s your biggest fear?

Eats!

Breakfast: yogurt, banana, cinnamon in a pb jar topped with a few nuts (I picked the almonds off because I wasn’t in the mood).  I have to really be in the mood for almonds or it’s a no-go.  I’m glad I was able to recognize the fact that I really didn’t want them and therefore didn’t need to eat them.  Also had some British Breakfast tea with milk and honey.  I can’t decide which I like more in the mornings, British Breakfast or Green tea.  Do you have a favorite tea?

Lunch = SIAB!  Mandarin orange passion fruit smoothie from the bubble tea store.  Topped with yogurt, granola, and cashews/brazil nuts.  I bought a little single serving container of granola because I really wanted some but didn’t trust myself with a box.  That was a good choice because I went back for the rest (with a little chocolate soymilk) immediately after eating this (about half the granola was on the smoothie).  This was a very yummy lunch.  I think anything is more fun when it can be eaten with a spoon (see dinner).  I’m trying to cut back to one serving of dairy a day, like Caitlin.  I had two yogurts today though.

Snack was about a serving of these dried pineapple rings, which I actually like more than regular pineapple, consumed throughout the afternoon.  And a small unpictured apple.  He was very disappointing; no crunch whatsoever and a total lack of flavor.  Yuck.  Must get more apples at farmer’s market tomorrow.

Dinner: TJ’s carrot ginger soup (about two cups worth) that I caronae-ified with spinach, carrot-sweet potato-apple mixture, hummus, and steak.  This was a really wonderful combination.  I love big, veggie-filled one-bowl dinners.  Consumed entirely with a spoon.  The steak was the most tender, wonderful piece of meat I have ever cooked.  I was so proud of myself!

Dessert was his sweet, juicy, and very pink orange.

I didn’t run or workout today, i.e., it was a total rest day for me.  This feels so strange.  I definitely struggle with feelings of guilt when I do this but I haven’t completely rested in a while, it’s the end of the week, I’m tired.  So there.  I just have to remind myself that I am very physically active so much of the time that the occasional rest day is a good thing!  It’s weird how un-hungry I’ve been compared to usual.  I definitely feel like I did’t need to eat as much at all!

Okay, off to go watch Numb3rs (yes, I know how painfully nerdy I am) with a cup of tea.  Hope you’re having an excellent Friday night!

Any fun weekend plans? I plan on doing my last long run followed by a museum adventure!  It’s so nice to have a weekend in this wonderful city that isn’t going to be consumed by studying.

Bookstore Musings, Perfect Yoga, Serious Snackage

Today’s Mini Goal: Do more stretching.  I am very naturally flexible, and as such I tend to forget that this doesn’t mean my muscles don’t need to be stretched and opened up sometimes, especially with my little running habit.  I did a bit tonight and it felt oh-so-good.  I can’t believe I’m posting this on the Internet, but here is photographic evidence of said flexibility (and this pose I’m in here wasn’t at all challenging; I could do the splits comfortably with my front leg positioned up on a two to three foot mat).

Scary to think it’s been ten years since then.  I like to think I’ve accomplished a lot and learned new things about myself and the planet in that time.  I hope I can continue to learn, grow, and create during this next decade; I’ll be thirty before it’s over.  Not that thirty’s old, but that’s still a bit freaky.

Exercise:

No monster run today.  It was just one of those days where I had to lay in bed and read and think.  I did get a few things done, including going to a training event for a volunteer teaching group I coach for, serious room cleaning, and a relaxing 3 or 4 mile walk.  I also chatted with both my mom and sister.  My walk led me to a Barnes and Noble.  I went in and just looked at books and read for two hours.  I forgot how much I love doing this.  When I was in high school I used to sit in a comfy chair in the poetry section at Borders and just read for hours on end.  I find books to be a very safe space.  I have never, ever felt marginalized or deeply saddened in a bookstore.  Probably because I love words, writing, books, and stories so very much.  Within just a few moments of being in the store tonight I felt like I was breathing more slowly and deeply.  I rolled my shoulders back and smiled and slowly made my way through all the sections.  I like all books; I’d rather have heaps and heaps of books than new clothes.  I’m kind of a supernerd.  Today I wandered through everything from cookbooks to travelogues to mystery to self-help and zen.  I like it all.  I like both the physical aspect of a book and the intellectual aspect; the content.  I feel like I can dive into a fresh new manuscript.  I like the journals in bookstores.  I like the eclectic mix of shoppers and the tea shops and the overpriced bookmarks.  In sum, I think books, writing, and bookstores make me deeply happy.  They are a space that gives me happiness because they are personal and introspective but not entirely secluded.  I will have to remember this on days when I feel sad in the future; I need only take a walk to the bookstore to find some comfort.

What’s your safe or comforting place (physically or emotionally)?

I had a really happy yoga experience tonight!  I wanted to move a bit more after my walk, but didn’t want to do a serious cardio workout or lift weights, so I settled on yoga.  I was super close to doing a video from yogadownload.com, and then I had this beautiful moment of clarity where I realized that I knew what poses and flows I wanted and needed to do and that I could create my own practice for the day.  This was a liberating feeling in that it meant I could operate on my own timeline, put things in the order I wanted, and just feel totally free and individual on my mat.  I’ve practiced on my own before, but today I experienced a wonderful confidence and trust in my practice.  I did lots of triangles, pigeons, upward facing dogs, and fire log poses.  My hips are happy little pies right now.

I think tomorrow might be right for the monster exploration run.  We shall see.

Eats:

I totally snacked my way through the day.  Most of my snacks weren’t unhealthy; just snacks.  I didn’t want a full meal at any point after breakfast.  I didn’t think of taking pictures, but I made my way through lots of delicious things.  I tried to fight the snack monster for a little while and then I just realized that you can’t fight the snack monster. It’s one of those things that you just have to embrace.  For me, if I would have tried to fight it, it would have just come back with a vengeance and I would have ended up eating big meals plus a ton of snacks.

Snacks included but weren’t limited to cashews and brazil nuts, dried pineapple, apple, edamame, and animal crackers.  Random but whatever.  I think I’ll survive 🙂  I didn’t even want a real dinner.  I had pomegranate frozen yogurt.  Bad blogger.

These are what my animal crackers look like.  They’re shaped like various wild cats.  I love fun food, in case you didn’t know that by now.  Highly kid-friendly, if you’re a parent.

My breakfast was, in contrast to the rest of my eats, a complete and rather lovely meal.  Therefore, I have pictures:

Pineapple and mango chunks (ew, I hate that word!) topped with a pineapple chobani/vanilla TJ’s Greek yogurt mix, melted coconut oil (this flavor component was key), peanut butter pretzel remnants, a few raw nuts, and a scoop of chunky peanut butter.  I really would have liked to have some cereal or granola in there, but for some reason those are foods that once I start eating, I cannot stop, so I’m trying not to keep them around so much.  Do any of you guys have foods that you are “addicted” to?