Odds And Ends

Hello there!  Happy Friday night!  I have lots of little odds and ends to share with you today.

1. I have been LOVING on the short and sweet workouts lately.  A few of my favorites:

  • Levels 1 and 3 of the 30 Day Shred.  Takes about 45 minutes; pretty high intensity and a nice combo of strength and cardio.
  • 20 minutes of Yoga Core (from yogadownload.com) + one level of The Shred.
  • 10-15 minutes of abs + 3 miles on the treadmill, with 4 minutes of Tabata Intervals.
Your favorite short (but still intense) workouts?
2. I have changed my mind about homemade salad dressings and balsamic vinegar.  I used to think it was just easier to buy salad dressings, especially since I don’t make salad that often (confession: I’m lazy and hate washing and chopping that many vegetables).  But I’m starting to feel like salads are really cleansing, even in winter.  My favorite: spinach, carrots (thinly sliced), avocado, and grapefruit.  Dressing: 1 tbsp EVOO, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp mustard, sea salt, pepper to taste.  So simple.  So many nutrients and colors!
3. If you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting pictures, it’s because I left my camera transfer cord thingy in New York (I’ve been in Canada and Michigan).  Not that anyone cares that deeply about my blog.  I just felt a need to share.
Source
4. I got my December LSAT score back.  It was a significant improvement over October, and I am now in a position where I have a good shot at getting into some top 25 law schools and a very distant chance at some top 10 schools.   I’m quite thrilled; exuberant actually.  I’m filling out my applications with surprising zeal.  I’m so excited about this next stage of my life.  It sounds cliche, I suppose.  But it’s true.  I have wanted to go to law school since middle school, and now I feel like my dreams are finally going to come true.  Well, I have to get in first, of course. 😉
5. It pays to be nice to people.  About twice a year, when I am in Michigan, I get a massage here.  It’s not super fancy, but is really high quality.  I often have the same masseuse, Carl.  I’m always really friendly and chatty with him.  I was talking about law school, and he said that once I get in, he is going to give me a free 60 minute massage.  How nice is that?!?!
6. I know what I want to do this summer.  I want to take a trip from Paris all the way to the other side of Eurasia, partially on the Trans-Siberian railway.  I would love to plan it in stages so that I get to see a lot of different places.  Ideally, it would last about a month.  The views from the train are supposed to be spectacular!  It technically starts  in London, if you want to go about it in the historic way, but I like Paris infinitely more.  So there.
Source
That’s all for tonight I suppose!  Any other college seniors out there?  What are your post-graduation plans?
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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?

Reteaching Wonder

Today’s Happy Note: Spending a wonderful weekend with USB!  He loves to talk/cuddle/eat/have adventures/walk…pretty much all the same things I like to do!  It is nice to have someone who wants to have adventures with me.  We still do lots of things by ourselves though — yesterday I went to a map-making class while he did an introductory yoga workshop!  It’s a wonderful balance.  I have been hesitant to say this, because I am afraid of somehow jinxing it, but I’ll just go ahead and say it anyways, because it’s true: USB is, plain and simple, the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in years. I even have a picture today.  Look!

Okay, so referring to that as a picture of him might be a bit of a stretch, but take what you can get!  I don’t have a lot of pictures and wouldn’t really feel comfortable having him on the blog, at this point.  But he does have nice hands, right?

Thanks for your sweet comments about it yesterday.  I feel silly talking about him sometimes, but it’s a good silly. I’m completely smitten and it has all happened so suddenly.  Each moment with him is a new lesson in blessings and gratefulness.  He has retaught me how to wonder. I was a hopeless romantic before, and now, well, I’m downright sappy.  So I apologize for my sappiness.  You’re just going to have to deal with it for a while. 😉

In the above picture, we are eating delicious wraps from this Noodle Shop. We got one of the tofu and one of the duck, and each had half of each.  They were really tasty!  They are definitely snack-sized and not meal-sized though.  Or maybe that’s just my marathoner’s perspective.

I squeezed in a long run today, between studying, cleaning, and cuddling.  I did about 12.4 miles in 2:10-ish. Somewhere thereabouts.  I think I was probably around a 10:30/mile pace overall.  Didn’t feel great, didn’t feel terrible.  For parts of it, my legs felt powerful and strong; at other times, they felt sluggish and sloooow as molasses. Sometimes within minutes of each other.  Weird, no?

It was my last long run before the marathon, so I’ll take it.  My body was happy for the shorter run, and is happy about the lower mileage in the next two weeks.  Less than two weeks from today I will be an official marathoner!  I even got my number in the registration pdf today!  I am number 40920.  Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Other eats today weren’t too exciting, but did include this very necessary froyo monstrosity:

It’s a mixture of pinkberry original and pumpkin flavors, with my own toppings (seriously, always bring your froyo home and do your own toppings — so much cheaper!).  And yes, pinkberry now has pumpkin flavor.  It isn’t very strong at all and I kind of like it!  I added chunky pb, a part of a crumbled chocolate chip pumpkin cookie, and more chocolate chips.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but I have been *sort of* making an effort to eat less carbs.  The key words here are *sort of*.  I  would estimate that I’m eating about 20% less carbs than I was a few weeks ago, in the heart of marathon training.  I have always liked my carbs, but I have never been obsessed with them.  I don’t love bread.  I actively dislike rice.  I like quinoa but am usually too lazy to cook it.  I also like whole wheat pasta but again, it takes a long time to cook, and it is more of a treat for me.  I have been consuming more sweet potatoes and squash (they’re in season, so it’s easy), about the same amounts of veggies, a little less fruit, and less sugary carbs.

I have made the switch to totally plain yogurt.  I have also started actively buying more proteins and fats lately. Here’s whats in my fridge/cupboard at the moment:

Protein — natural honey maple turkey, TJs grilled chicken, Fage 2%  greek yogurt, eggs, Amy’s spicy vegan chilibeans (refried pinto and plain), natural tuna, and half a block of tofu.

Fats — avocados, TJs guacamole hummus (it’s alright — but not better than either hummus or guac on their own), an assortment of nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts), peanut butter, earth balance vegan butter, Fage 2% greek yogurt (does double duty!), TJs goddess salad dressing, olive oil.

I think that variety in protein and fat sources is key.  I make an effort to do different combinations and flavors and textures.

I am not doing this as part of some silly diet or fad weight-loss craze.  You guys know I wouldn’t do that!  Rather, one of the most widely accepted treatments for PCOS is a lower-carb diet.  For many PCOS patients, it is the only way to manage their weight. I don’t event know if I have PCOS or a different disorder, but I have, in the past, experienced success with a lower-carb diet overall (I am using “diet” in the general sense of what I eat here, not to refer to any type of restriction).

So it’s just something I am trying.  It is easier now that I’m running less.  I am seeing an endocrinologist next week, and will start dietary/medication experiments the following week (after the marathon is over).  It is going to be an interesting journey, to say the least.

Favorite protein?  Favorite fat?

Best part of your weekend?

Are you sappy and romantic or serious and collected?

Love And Spaghetti Squash And Jeans

Today’s I am proud of myself because: of how open and brave I was that day in the park when I met USB.  At that point in my life, I was truly convinced that I was unlovable, romantically speaking.  That no one would ever want to be with me. Sure, there were parts of myself that I liked.  But I thought that I was just too weird for anyone else to ever like those elements of me.  I wanted to meet someone.  I was 20 years old, about to start my senior year of college and had never had a serious relationship.  I had made out with a few boys.  But that was about  it.  Nothing ever clicked.  With USB, everything clicks.  I didn’t know it then, but I think a big part of the sadness I have felt over the last three or four years — the constant aching in my chest — was simply because I wanted to share my life with someone.  And now I do. And it is even more wonderful than I imagined.

I didn’t do a happy note!  It was really hard for me to change, lol.  But sometimes change is good, as USB has taught me. 🙂

Just wanted to say hello quickly and hear about your weekends!  I haven’t done any full workouts yesterday (Friday) or today.  The social time is infinitely more important for my health.  I probably walked a few miles both days anyways.   I also got in plenty of studying.

Other exciting things:

My first spaghetti squash!

Believe it or not, spaghetti squash has always been a secret fear of mine!  I steamed it in the microwave for about 10 minutes (cut in two halves, with the flat side down).  At first, I took it out and didn’t see any spaghetti!  I freaked out, thinking that I was a spaghetti squash failure.  That, or the farmer had simply sold me a different type of squash by accident.  But then I noticed about a teaspoon worth of “noodles” and scraped those out.  Lo, and behold, the scraping produced more noodles.  So I kept scraping and more and more noodles appeared!  Slowly, a giant smile crept onto my face.  It was great fun.  Seriously, if you’re ever super stressed, try scraping the noodles out of a spaghetti squash.

Totally unrelated, but relevant to the blog as a whole: yesterday, I went shopping.  Clothes shopping.  Clothes shopping is not easy for someone who hates every little part of her body.  I went to a bunch of different stores and kept telling myself over and over again, “you will look fat and horrible in that; you should not even try it on.”  I was starting to get really down on myself.  Eventually, I wound up in a designer jeans section at a discount store.  I am NOT a clothes elitist — I don’t have the money to be — but I truly believe that with things like jeans, and dresses, a really nice brand can sometimes look and feel better, making it worth the price.  I got into my determined mode and said “Caronae, you are going to try on some jeans and find a pair that you like and you will look beautiful and you will buy them.”

And I did.  I found a pair of jeans.  They are Seven brand.  I have never had a pair of Seven jeans before, but these really are quite nice.  I like them a lot, and a tiny part of me thinks I look decent in them.

So there. Take that, jeans.

Time to go find USB! 🙂

What are you all up to this weekend?

Thoughts On Running Long And Strong

Today’s Happy Note: I’m officially in love with my creative writing class — the people, the teacher, and the materials are all great.  It’s about Lyric Essays.  Today we reviewed one of my pieces.  It is a piece I am tremendously proud of — it sort of encapsulates the last three or four months of my life.  I feel like a lot of times with writing, my best work comes out of nowhere.  I start putting words on the page without knowing where I’m going and then all of the sudden there are pages full of words and ideas and I have no idea where they came from.

I will always be writing. Always always always.

Marathon Training: I was supposed to get in my second 20 miler (read the recap of the first 20 miler here) on Sunday, then do a rest day yesterday, then a speed work day today.  Unfortunately, the LSAT sucked the life force out of me on Saturday.  I didn’t wake up until 3:00 on Sunday.  Yeah, long run wasn’t gonna happen.  Especially since I needed to see USB. 🙂

I took Sunday as a complete and total rest day. Yesterday I had yoga class (it’s not really vinyasa-style so we always just hold a bunch of random poses for a long time; this is actually kind of nice because it increases the stretching factor) and did 6 miles.

I was determined to get in my 20 miles today and I did! It meant getting up at 6:00 which is insanely early for me.  But I did it.  I wanted to run it at about an 11:00 minutes/mile pace.  I was almost exactly on target!  I finished just over 3:40,  which would put me just over 11:00 minute miles.   BUT I stopped for water bottle refills several times, along with some stretch/walk breaks.  I used some leftover pear cider mixed with water for some sugars instead of plain water.  I liked the idea in theory, but cider does not taste good while running.  You would think that would be obvious, but my groggy self thought it was a great idea.  I think for future long runs and the marathon I will do watered-down gatorade.  I also took about ten small dates along with me to eat (they’re really mini).  They tasted really dry and I had to force them on.  I find it so hard to establish an effective fueling plan for long runs.

Anyone have any ideas?

I am also torn about walk breaks.  I can’t decide if they make me faster or slow me down.  I don’t have any kind of ethical problem with them — I think they can be a great tool for runners — but I just can’t seem to figure out if they work for me.  I took maybe four or five today, one every four-ish miles.  They felt good, but I also felt like it would have been less disruptive to just run continuously?

I had a lot of joint pain on the run.  Grrrrr.  Especially afterwards — I actually found it pretty difficult to walk today.  My muscles feel great — worn out but still strong — but the damn joints hurt.  I notice it in my hips and sacrum a lot during longer runs and I honestly don’t know what it means.  Sometimes it is worse than others.  It isn’t bad enough to necessitate stopping training, but I know that I will take a break from running after the big day.  I feel like a good anti-inflammatory would help, but you can never take anti-inflammatories with blood-thinners.  Also grrrr.

That was a lot of running talk!  Phew.

Today’s eats:

After many long-runs worth of experimentation, I am quite confident that the only thing I can safely eat before one is a banana.  Many other runners eat full on breakfasts beforehand, but that would never work for me.  So bananas it is.

I got back and had 20 minutes to shower, edit a paper, and get to class.  Crap.  Not to mention eating.  I felt a little queasy so just decided to sip on gatorade during class.  Afterwards it was noon and I was ready to eat!

I had the weirdest craving for Chinese noodle soup.  So that’s what I had.  Long runs have taught me to always listen to my body!

The salty broth was perfect.  I had all the soup (minus some of the chicken, which I am saving for later) and about half the noodles.

About an hour later I had a cinnamon raisin bagel with walnut raisin cream cheese.

Late afternoon snack of pb pretzels and trail mix.

Dinner was light and refreshing — I don’t have a huge appetite on long run days much of the time.  Don’t worry, my hunger will be back tomorrow! 🙂  This was a smoothie with vanilla soy milk, lots of ice, vanilla hemp/whey protein, a banana, and half an avocado.  Topped with a crumbled granola bar and sesame almonds.  I had another serving or so of the almonds while “cooking.”

The marathon is officially less than a month away!  I am getting a bit nervous, but also very excited.  New York is supposed to be a very fun course with tons of spectators/cheerleaders.   Any readers/bloggers running and want to meetup?  I’ll probably plan something closer to race day!

Alright, time to go call my mom and USB.  Separately, though.  That would be weird if I was calling them at the same time…

Goodnight dearies!

Update: I just had the most delicious, satisfying snack I have ever had in my entire life.  Two eggs scrambled in earth balance with babybel light cheese (x2) and maple turkey and salt.  I was craving salt, fat, and protein like nothing else — I literally felt like I would collapse if I didn’t have some!  I am now munching a big apple. 🙂

The LSAT Monster

Today’s Happy Note: The LSAT is over. Over.  Over.  Over.  Well, for this time at least.  I am kind of freaking out because I know I really screwed up at least one section (read: I guessed on over half of the questions) so I might have to take it again.  It took 2 hours to get to the site, then there was 4 hours of testing interspersed with 3 hours of administrative BS then 2 hours to get back.  Yep, I left the dorm at 6:30 this morning and got back a little after 5.

Craziness.  It was one of the most intellectually/physically/emotionally draining things I have ever done.  I am *praying* I did ridiculously well on the sections that I thought went alright.  Feel free to join me in prayer.   We’re all constituents in this universe.  And I think that going to law school would make me a better constituent.  Therefore I need a good LSAT school.

Okay, that sounded really selfish.  Sorry.  You don’t really have to devote your prayers to my LSAT score.

I made a new friend while I was there though!  She is a super hot mom librarian.  Yeah, I know, random, but she was awesome — she even gave me a ride back to the train station afterwards so I didn’t have to take a cab.

I love when nice people come out of nowhere.  I needed it today. My LSAT story in pictures:

Studying on the elliptical last night.  Don’t worry, that wasn’t the first time I studied!

Taking the LSAT is pretty much an exercise in national security: you can only bring a limited amount of items into the test center, all in a one gallon plastic bag. Your water bottle must be less than 20 ounces with no label. You can only have an analog watch.  You get fingerprinted.  You bring your passport and should basically have your Social Security Number tattooed on your head.  It was super intense.

Moving on though!

First of all, thank you guys so much for your sweet comments Thursday!  It means a lot to me that people want to read about my therapy journey and that it proves valuable to some of you.  It certainly is valuable for me to write about it! 🙂

Fun fact: I have not taken a single picture of food in front of USB.  Not one.  And you know what?  I don’t want to.  I do take pictures of most of my food, both for personal record-keeping (I find that it helps me to keep track of what I have eaten, and to make sure I am getting plenty of variety), and to share in some posts, but not around USB.  It was something I thought about for a long time: I thought that I wasn’t being a true food/healthy living blogger if I didn’t photograph absolutely everything.  But, as my first nine months (!!!!) of blogging have shown me, blogging about health is about finding a balance.  Sometimes it is a very delicate balance, but I do believe in my heart that it exists for everyone.  For me, that balance has a couple of points relevant to this situation:

1.  So much of my health and well-being is tied to being social and having loving, caring people in my life.  USB is more important than any meal or any food picture.

2. Taking a brief break from thinking too much about food everyday helps clear my head; that way I don’t get obsessive about it.

By no means do these things hold true for all bloggers!  This is just what works for me.

Conclusion: USB and I have gone to lots of nice restaurants that I might tell you about someday, but for now, I don’t really want to think about food when I’m around him. 🙂

Dried fruit and nuts is the best snack ever!  I had dried apple rings with honey sesame almonds for my snack during the break for the test and it was definite brain food.

Oatmeal reflections.

I just did an awesome 20 minute pilates video from yoga download.  I also walked a bit — I needed a really easy day, activity wise.  Last night I lifted weights for 30 minutes and ellipticized for 40 minutes.

Hopefully all the rest I took from running this week (which I reallllllly needed) will pay off on tomorrow’s 20-miler!

Time to go in quest of some dinner.  And back away from the LSAT percentile/score chart websites. Back away, Caronae.

Nighty night!

An Exhausted Pumpkin Seed

Today’s Happy Note: My new string of fake pearls!  My cousin recently moved from NYC and gave me some things she wasn’t taking:

I am NOT normally a take-my-picture in the mirror girl, but I made an exception for this necklace. 🙂

A few notes…

I’m getting to a point in the school year where I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed.  I have a lot of schoolwork and reading.  I’m a history major which means that I spend a lot of time, well, reading history.  History is long. Historians are verbose.  School has to be a big priority in my life.  It’s feeling like I have a million priorities right now.  I certainly like being busy, but I also know that I do need to devote myself fully and passionately to the things that I do.  All this is the long-winded explanation for why blog posts will be inconsistent for the next two to three or so months.

Inconsistency upsets me, so I might like to have an actual schedule of inconsistency.  That makes no sense, but whatever.  Perhaps every other night?  I’ll see what works.  But, especially during the school week, I need evenings to focus on schoolwork.  Last night I went to the library for the first time all semester.  That needs to happen more often.

Another note: Marathon Training. It’s getting annoying.  I’m exhausted.  I originally was planning on rearranging my runs for the week, but I quickly realized that I’m just too tired.  I have some weeks where I am more tired than others (both sleepy-tired and physically-tired) and this is a very tired week.  I took a four hour nap this afternoon.

I’m coming to understand that I need to be flexible with the plan and be gentle with myself.  My body is not some sort of crazy marathon-running-automoton. It has aches and pains, wants and needs, tired moments, lively moments.  I need to listen.  I ran 57 miles last week and so far, this week, I have done four (last night — an easy four with 6×100 strides in the last mile and 20 minutes yoga).  I skipped out on 14 miles worth of speedwork.  I am really struggling with feelings of guilt.

Any other marathoners out there who can relate?

I want to not feel guilty, but it’s there. I know that, at this point, I have a solid enough running ability and cardio-base built up and that I need to take a break when I need to.  So this week I’m taking it easy.  So there.

Onto some fun eats from the past few days!  Many of which have involved pumpkin, hence the title of this post.

Guess what?  Tonight, I do not want to run.  I just don’t have it in me.  So I’m going to do what I do want to do, which is swim!

I really want to be in the pool again.  I miss it!  I used to swim hardcore in high school.

I refuse to let marathon training get in the way of what my body really wants to do. I have a history of over-exercising and I will not get into that cycle again.  I will not do what my body does not want to do.  I have a feeling that this will pass and, in a day or two, I will be ready to run.

Until then, I shall be a little fishy.

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