Hot, Sweaty, Heavy

Today’s Happy Note: Sometimes a silly little kitchen failure, like the one pictured below, makes me smile!  Needless to say, this batch of oatmeal was ruined.  That is indeed a sea of oatmeal soup.  I smiled!

What was hot, sweaty, and heavy today?  My run, unfortunately!  I woke up at 9 this morning and felt like a sack of bricks.  I took the day off work in the name of packing — yeah, that didn’t happen.  I’m moving tomorrow and have not packed one. single. thing. I haven’t even started my laundry.  For some reason I operate best at night though — I do my best writing, my best cleaning, sometimes even my best yoga, after midnight.  Weird.

So.  I got distracted (happens easily).  Back to the run.  I accomplished nothing all day; my body literally felt like a sloth.  Minus the hairiness part.  But I was damn determined to get out the door.  And you know what? Sometimes getting out the door is an accomplishment in and of itself. I had to bribe myself with the promise of a massage — sometimes I am so lazy it scares me. 😉  But admit it, you have days when you have to bribe yourself to leave the house too.  I know I can’t be the only one.

The run was muy sluggish, but I finished my 8 hilly miles in a little under 90 minutes. I hit up the gym for some much-needed strength training afterwards — I actually crave lifting weights sometimes.  I did almost an hour of arms and abs. It felt great.  And at the end of my epic little workout, you know what?  I felt amazing!  It is so true that you almost never regret a workout, but you almost always regret not doing a workout.

After reading this post on Runner’s Trials, I was inspired to make my own nutrition goals for marathon training!  But first, I want to show you my excellent eats from today — I think this is a pretty good example of what a day like today (8 miles) should look like, ideally, for ME (every body and every runner is different).

Brunch was another avocado-cinnamon-vanilla SIAB, topped with some flax PB, some honey roasted nuts, and a half a TJ’s PB granola bar, crumbled.

I officially declare that I like rice — I used to hate it passionately, probably because my mom always made brown rice when I was little and all the other kids had white rice.  I refused to eat brown rice because I didn’t want to seem any weirder than I already was (I was reallllllyyyy weird).  So, for the last 20 years, I have mostly eschewed rice.  But I really like a nice grainy brown rice.  I ate it with cinnamon, stevia, sunflower seed butter, and TJ’s dark chocolate covered ginger for an amazing afternoon snack.

More snackage.  I had about twice that much chocolate.

Romaine, carrots, peppers, broccoli, avocado, two apple chicken sausages, and TJ’s spicy peanut vinaigrette.  I love giant salads for dinner, but I can never have one and then be satisfied for the rest of the evening.  An hour or two later, I need a substantial dessert.  Enter….

This was a bowl of 2% Greek yogurt, the other half of the granola bar from this morning, a small spoonful (teaspoon?) of sunflower seed butter, and chocolate trail mix, which I had a few too many handfuls of while preparing this.  In my defense, I was frustrated because of the microwave oatmeal disaster, which had just occurred. 🙂

That’s everything, minus two werther’s candies and the unpictured handfuls of trail mix.  I sometimes eat an extra spoonful or two of nut butter when preparing anything that involves nut butter (okay, so that’s pretty much everything I eat…) but I honestly can’t remember if I had any extra today.

Marathon Training Nutrition Goals

1. Four to six smaller meals per day. Time and time again I come back to this way of eating because it works for me.  I would much rather eat every three or four hours than six or seven, thank you very much.

2. Do not be afraid of the whole grains! I can’t tell you how satisfied I felt after that bowl of brown rice this afternoon.  I also love oats and quinoa.

3. Less processed food, more “clean” food. My diet is pretty clean as is, but there are a few things that could stand to be eliminated.  I am going to focus on whole foods, like fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, greens, some plain greek yogurt, nuts, nut butters, tofu, avocado, healthy fats, and grains, of course.  I don’t intend to eliminate protein powder (especially the simpler ones), but I do want to use it less.  My staples are as follows: spinach, frozen berries, carrots, apples, salmon, tofu, peanut butter, oats.  So simple, so nutritious.

4. Sugar in moderation. I feel better, think better, and run better when my diet is mostly free of processed sugar (i.e., granola bars, flavored yogurts/nut butters, non-homemade baked goods).  I fully intend to continue consuming honey, maple syrup, stevia, baked goods that I have made, good dark chocolate, and farmer’s market pastries (because they’re too damn good to give up).  Once I have a little bit of sugar, I tend to want a lot more, so Iam really going to try to be careful and moderate here.

5. Say no sometimes and recognize hunger vs. not-hunger.  I do not have to eat anything, ever, if I do not want it.  Training for a marathon does not mean that I can (or even should) eat when I’m not hungry.  I can say no to food at parties, extra food on my plate at restaurants, late-night snacks, etc.

6. Above all, listen to my body.  If my body is saying “feed me a giant pile of veggies!” I shall listen.

I should probably start this whole packing monstrosity now.  Blogging is so much more fun though!

My nutrition goals are really just guidelines.  I think that one of the most important things is not to get mad at myself if I have an off-day.  It won’t kill me.

Do you have general nutrition goals/guidelines/thoughts that you live by?  And does anyone out there happen to be an expert on losing ten nagging pounds while training for a marathon? If so, please share. 🙂

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Adventure Friday!

Today’s Happy Note: Grocery shopping!   Never fails to make me happy.  And I had some pretty good finds too, like TJ’s mini peanut butter cups and sole fillets on sale at Whole Foods.

Hello friends!  Happy Friday evening.  I had a very exciting day filled with adventures galore!  At the office this morning someone referred to “going on an adventure” and my ears perked right up.  Immediately, I pictured pirates and princesses and dragons and giants.  Actually, the adventure only involved picking up huge boxes from the mail room. But an adventure is an adventure and I like them all.  Seriously, you could probably tell me that the most boring analytical political paper ever (which I will be writing this weekend) was an adventure and I’d probably enjoy it.  Note to self: said paper is an adventure.

Guess what?  I have an apartment for the summer!!!!!!! Perfect location, price, etc.   It’s huge and in a beautiful old building on the UWS with a doorman.  And the woman who owns it doesn’t actually live there!  She works there some afternoons/evenings, and it’s been in her family for over 50 years.  Basically I will have the space to myself some of the time!  It’s pretty fabulous (and beautifully decorated).  The bedroom alone is about twice the size of my current dorm room, and cheaper.  I’m excited!

Exercise: 30 minutes of arm weights and 30 minutes HIIT on elliptical this morning.  When I do this combo I think of it as a power hour.  And it is!  I had to lug around multiple (heavy) bags of groceries later on in the day and I felt really strong doing it.  And I can definitely see more definition in my arms.  I never seem to see much ab definition though.  I can have rock solid arms and legs and the abs will just be, well…there.  Anybody else have this problem?

I also walked at least another 4 miles throughout the day (mostly on my adventure).

Lunch was yummy and Caribbean-inspired!

Romaine base topped with carrots, plantains, coconut rice, and pinto beans.  This tasted surprisingly yummy all mixed up!

I wasn’t in the mood for a cookie for Cookie Friday, but did want a treat.  I found just what I was looking for at the WF bakery…

Rocky Road Brownie! This was so perfectly rich and delicious.  I had a spoonful of my newfound maranatha dark chocolate almond “spread” (no idea why it is a “spread” and not a “butter”) on the side.  Pure chocolatey heaven.  I hope there is chocolate in heaven.

Adventure Friday:

Recap of Adventure Friday #1

Recap of Adventure Friday #2

I was planning on going to the Cloisters but didn’t have enough time because of visiting the apartment.  I needed something to do in a two hour block of time.  Enter…

The Central Park Conservatory Garden:

It was a most beautiful day and walking to the gardens and back was lovely!  A wee bit warm, but the piercing blue of the sky and the lazy, dragging leaves made up for it.  You guys know I like my plants, and today was a day for plants indeed. I saw many of my favorites — lilacs, lilies of the valley, honeysuckle, bluebell.  I also saw a ton of willows.  I think willows might be my favorite tree.  Either that or Japanese maple or white pine.  Hmmmm…

Do you have a favorite flowering plant?  Tree?

My sister became obsessed with edible wildlife when we were kids.  Someone gave her a book about what you can and can’t eat in the great outdoors and she latched onto it for years; if we went to a park or a lake or a botanical garden (what?  you didn’t go on trips to botanical gardens as a kid?), the book went too.  I quickly learned which berries could and could not be eaten, how to properly suck on honeysuckles, and that pine needles are edible.  I have forgotten most of the specifics, but the two of us used to take great joy in rambling around the woods looking for things to eat.  Today reminded me of that!  I started thinking of all the things in the gardens that could be edible…

Alright, I have just admitted one of the major quirks of my childhood.  Now you have to share.

This was a very pleasant little Adventure Friday!  I highly recommend the gardens; it’s nice to find spots of greenery and natural beauty in the city.

I have a monster headache and am off to steam myself and drink gallons of water!  I want to do a long run this weekend, but I know that it might not be the best plan given that I still feel sick and now sound like I have whooping cough…or tuberculosis…or something.  Blech.

Anyone doing anything fun for the weekend? I will be writing three papers!  Yay  Hope everyone else has a fun few days filled with outdoor activities (i.e., not sitting in the library looking like a vampire)!

Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Baking cookies!  I made chocolate chunk cookies for the students who I teach an SAT class on Monday nights.  Today was the last day so I wanted them to have a little reward.  Baking is definitely relaxing!

I started feeling a teeny bit sick yesterday and am full-blown sick today.  Icky.  Sore threat, headache, body ache, etc.  I hope it’ll go away soon since I have so much work to get done this week and I can never concentrate when I’m sick and I just want to take a nap!

I didn’t want to overdo it by exercising too much, so I just did a twenty minute yogadownload video this morning and walked about 2-3 miles throughout the day.  The yoga felt nice and relaxing.

When I’m sick I tend to panic about not exercising for a few days at a time.  I dislike taking rest days more than one day in a row, and if I’m sick for 3 or 4 days and don’t workout at all, well, that scares me.  I have an irrational fear of becoming instantaneously fat.  And then if I do workout I just feel run down which stresses me out and probably just ends up exacerbating the illness!  So, my mini goal here is this: respect my body, give it the rest and love and attention that it needs; if I feel up for a little movement, fine, but if not, I will listen to my body (and my mind) and I won’t stress about my decisions either way!

What do I like to eat when I’m sick?

Oatmeal!  Specifically, oats in a jar!

My row of nut butter jars is growing growing growing!  I have no idea why I’m saving them, I just think they’re cute!

I  also like cold, creamy smoothies (consumed in a bowl with some kashi for crunchiness!):

And soothing, hot tea:

And easy peasy leftover bowls: this dish (ground beef, stir-fried asparagus/spinach, TJ’s coconut lime rice) took three minutes to heat in the microwave!  And voila, done.

I also like hot cocoa and anything sweet/carby.  What do you like to eat or drink when you’re sick?

Therapy Monday:

Today was really complicated; lots of tears, but I came away with one simple and concise point: be compassionate towards others, but begin by being compassionate towards yourself and your family.  It would take me about ten years to explain how we got to this point so I won’t.  But it was a lovely, spectacular little realization, really.  Because it’s so true.

On an unrelated note, I was telling my therapist about what I did when I was little and I was sick.  I used to go to my parent’s offices  (they’re both doctors) and it was such a blast!  My sister and I would play with the stethoscopes, microscopes, and rolling stools, draw endless pictures, and be entertained by the nurses.  Great little memory!   When I was older and could stay home during the day by myself, I became an absolute master at either pretending I was sick when I wasn’t or convincing my mom that I just needed a day off and she should call school and say I was sick.  I have always been pretty good at manipulating people, but this was my specialty.  She always felt so bad (and was really gullible), and I took a ton of sick days when I wasn’t remotely sick!

Did anyone else do this or was it just me?  Do you have any really fun childhood memories like this one?

A third note: my therapist went way above and beyond the call of duty today.  I don’t really want to explain how, but wow.  Just wow.  I was floored by her compassion, generosity, and kindness.  I am so incredibly, incredibly lucky.  If anyone lives in New York and wants a therapist, email me and I would HIGHLY recommend her.

Alright, time for me to munch on chocolate, do the crossword puzzle from the paper, and go to sleep!  Goodnight 🙂

Nut Butters, Fun Workout, Blogger Meetup, And Easy Weeknight Dinners

Today’s Happy Note: The flowering trees (cherry, magnolia, etc.) are all perfect and so beautiful in the city right now.  I feel like the lend a gracefulness to such a big, crowded space.  I kept seeing people sniffing at them all day long.  Made me ecstatic.

This post shall have four parts.  Because I say so.  And because there are four parts to its title.

Part I: Nut Butter!

I have had several different jars of nut butters open recently and they all ended within a few days of each other.  This meant lots of OIAJ’s, but it also means that I am now nut-butterless.

Look how cute they all are sitting there in the sun together!  These three jars tasted especially fabulous and I would highly recommend any and all of them: Trader Joe’s almond butter with flax, Justin’s maple almond butter, and Naturally Nutty honey roasted cinnamon peanut butter.

RIP Nut butters.  I got all these jars at the same time, roughly 3.5 weeks ago.  If 3.5 weeks is 24 days, then that means I went through each jar in 8 days.  If I went through each jar in 8 days and each jar has 12 servings, that must mean I eat an average of 1.5 servings of nut butter a day.  Interesting!  I actually suspect it’s a bit closer to 2 because I got two of the above jars a few days after the first.  In case you can’t tell, I like math.  And numbers.

What’s you favorite nut butter (type of nut, brand, flavor)?  What is your average nut butter consumption rate?

Part II: Fun Workout

I got out of my last class at six and was planning on going to the gym but was really dreading it.  I told myself that I could skip the gym, but only if I went for a run outside.  It was a lovely, clear evening and this sounded nicer.  Lesson #1: If something sounds unappealing, don’t do it!  Find an alternative.  So I headed out the door and into Riverside Park.  I made a deal with myself that if I really wasn’t feeling it, I could turn around after a mile and just do 2 for the day.  That was it.  Surprise surprise, I finished a mile and felt great.  I ended up doing six!  Lesson #2: Just get started.  If you don’t love it, again, try something else.

I did three miles out along the river, then stopped and did 20 minutes of balancing yoga poses and core work.  It was really run to do it in the middle of the run and totally kept me entertained and kept my body guessing!  I then ran the three miles back home with a smile on my face.

What do you do when you reaaallllly don’t want to go to the gym?  How do you make working out “fun”?

Part III: Blogger Meetup

Sunday afternoon I had a blogger lunch at Wild Ginger with Gabriela, Marina, and Missy!  It was great fun.  I have only ever met Kath in real life before so I didn’t know what to expect, but I suspected I might have some things in common with them.  And I was right!  Gabriela and I are in the same year of college (only she’s at my rival school!), Missy and I both have a cereal problem, and Marina and I both love exploring all the unique neighborhoods downtown!  Who knew!  We had lots to talk about, and lots of yummy things to eat, of course.  My dish was based around a stir-fry with random veggies, soy protein, and a pumpkin sauce.  I would have preferred tempeh or tofu to the soy protein (basically fake meat with an off-putting texture) but it still tasted good because of the sauce!  The rice was supposed to be coconutty, but it just tasted like wild rice to me.  Now that I have tried Souen (recap here — I’ll have to go with Maggie next time!) and Wild Ginger, I really want to explore more fun restaurants in the city!

Any suggestions where I should start?  Favorite restaurants in the city?  Favorite blogs about restaurants in the city?

Part IV: Easy Weeknight Dinners

I haven’t been grocery shopping in a while now (time and money constraints  — I probably won’t get to go until Friday) and wanted something easy but also tasty and filling tonight.  All of this came together in under ten minutes!

First, I washed and chopped the last of my veggies (tear!) — three large carrots and two broccoli stalks — and put them in a pan with a little EVOO on medium high heat.  I let them cook for a while, then added a can of pinto beans.  Meanwhile I cooked a 2-egg puff in the microwave.  I ate the eggs,  about half of the bean/veggie mixture, and a side of two small corn tortillas.  I ended up adding a little salt to the bean mix.  So incredibly easy.  Seriously, I don’t understand why people say they don’t have time to cook; you can do it!  Even college students can.  I ran into a boy on my floor as I was making this who had just gotten takeout from a place about a five minute walk away (it was a burrito).  Assuming it took him ten minutes to walk there and back and five minutes to order, my dinner was actually faster!  And healthier.  And most likely cheaper, per serving.  Score.

My go-to week night dinners are almost always stir-fries; it’s so easy to throw a bunch of veggies, seasonings, and protein into a pan.  I also like egg scrambles/omelets, fish (a one inch thick piece can usually bake in just 10-12 minutes!), salads with lots of toppings, or simple sandwiches (i.e., hummus, cheese, and spinach or almond butter and jam).

What are your favorite easy weeknight dinners?

Goodnight friends.  Happy Wednesday, you’re halfway there!