Awesome Speed Workout/Awesome Food

Today’s Happy Note: finding pomegranate tea again!  Haven’t had any in so very long, and it is one of my favorite herbal teas.  It was accompanied by lovely conversation, more importantly!

I have to be a speed blogger tonight (haha, NOT my forte — I like talking, in case you haven’t noticed) because USB is coming to visit.  It is going to be such a nice night for a walk!

Marathon Training: I really wanted to do my speed workout and weights today, for some reason.  I knew there was no way both were going to happen before work, since I didn’t go to bad until after 2 (bad Caronae!).  I start work at 11 on Fridays.  This is sad, I know.

I tend to become more of a morning person as the semester wears on, oddly enough.  Anyways, I dragged myself out of bed at 10 and headed to the gym for a half hour of arm weights. Sometimes a half an hour is all you need to get your muscles nice and sore!

I followed that up with a delicious, steamy, spicy chai tea latte (made with soy — I was not feeling the dairy today) and an apple with honey PB:

A delicious bite of cinnamon roll from the guys at the mail room was also had 🙂

I am fully aware that the icing on my hands in this picture does NOT look like icing.  It is, I swear.

I had a late afternoon lunch-snack of a chocolate chip muffin, in honor of Cookie Friday.  Sometimes I think muffins are better than cookies.  I think they *might* be my favorite baked good!  Shhh, don’t tell the cookies that I told you that.

I came home after work and lazed around.  I just did not want to start my run at all.  I was feeling very grey, I suppose.  I finally had a Luna Bar and got my butt out the door around 6:00, only because I knew that if I waited any longer it would be dark by the time I finished and I didn’t want to get mugged in the northern end of CP (which is a wee bit isolated/quiet at night).

The run ended up being wonderful! I felt really fast and strong and smooth.  Some runs you just get into a rhythm and other runs…well, you don’t.  I definitely found my groove today, which was nice after Wednesday’s sucky run.

2 Miles warm-up (10:00-10:30 min/mile pace)

4 x (1 mile “Cruise” Pace, 1/4 mile easy)

2 Miles cool down, easy

I don’t know what the difference is, necessarily, between “fast” and “cruise” and “tempo” and “speed.”  And to be honest, I don’t particularly care.  I have a few paces: 8:30, 9:00, 10:00, and slower than 10:00.  I go based on how I feel.  I think that the important thing for me is just practicing speeding up, learning how to move my legs faster.  I definitely accomplished that today — I would say I was maybe running 8:45s?  Hard to tell, but I worked hard and felt fast on the miles, so I was happy! 🙂 Nine miles in total.

Dinner later on was the giant burrito that I wanted yesterday but didn’t let myself have!

What, you don’t have your giant burrito with a side of steamed broccoli and roasted carrots/okra doused in TJS spicy peanut vinaigrette?

Inside the burrito: green peppers/onions, pinto beans, barbacoa meat (beef), corn salsa, a little cheese, lots of lettuce.  It needed some spicier salsa, but other than that it was divine!  If you ask really nicely at Chipotle, they’ll let you have the peppers/onions (which are normally for the vegetarian burritos) instead of rice.  Rice+burrito+beans would be way too many carbohydrates for me to handle at once.

I love having the options of multiple fats at Chipotle: cheese, sour cream, or guacamole.  Do not fear the fats ladies!

I had a few squares of plain TJs dark chocolate after dinner (which I learned form Averie’s post today might be Scharffen Berger????), followed by about five gallons of water — I can always tell when I haven’t had enough to drink throughout the day based on how thirsty I am in the evenings!

Now onto a little activity inspired by the lovely Janetha G.! A few days ago she did a list of her favorite food for each letter of the alphabet.  I got really bored in Harlem Renaissance Literature the other day and started my own. 🙂

This is a really fun and oddly soothing thing to do.  I might just have to go back and expand the list one day so that I can include all my favorite foods.  For example, I feel like “avocados” and “almond butter” got left out on A.  I don’t want to exclude anybody!

A: apples

B: bananas

C: cupcakes

D: dark chocolate

E: eggs

F: fish

G: gaz (a Persian candy made with rosewater and pistachio and AMAZINGNESS)

H: hummus

I: Indian

J: jumbo shrimp

K: kiwi

L: linguine

M: muffins

N: nuts

O: oats

P: peanut butter (duh)

Q: quinoa (blended, preferably)

R: raspberries

S: spinach

T: tofu

U: upside down cake (it’s a tradition in my dad’d family — a tasty, tasty tradition)

V: vanilla

W: whey protein

X: xantham gum

Y: yogurt (especially2% plain Greek)

Z: zucchini bread

Thanks for the idea Janetha!

What is your favorite baked good?

How do you know when a run (or workout) is good?

Nut Butter Sneaking Habit

Today’s Happy Note: Napping.  Self-acceptance.  Let me explain: I have felt pretty sleepy and a wee bit lethargic this week.  Normally when that happens, I get angry at myself (“gee Caronae, why can’t you be more productive; you’re so lazy; you suck”).  Not this time.  I had a splendid afternoon nap and I just took it for what it was.  I am not a terrible person.  I don’t spend all my time sleeping.  My body knows when it needs a little extra love and rest, and I listened to it.  I am proud of myself for that.  Small victories people.  Small victories.

Something else I’m proud of: My run today! Tuesdays are speed work days.  I’ve said it before: speed work scares the crap out of me.  It’s really hard for me because my fast twitch muscles are kind of non-existent.  Because I know it’s hard, I work myself up into an anxious fit and then make it even harder for myself!

Not today.  The plan was 2 mile warm up, 4×1 mile @ tempo pace, 2 mile cool down.  I did 1/4 mile easy run/walk between each fast mile, for a total of 9 miles.

My tempo pace goal was 9:00 minutes per mile.  I crushed it!

Mile 1: 8:36

Mile 2: 8:34

Mile s: 8:30

Mile 4: 8:27

I was so shocked.  I worked hard, it felt hard, but I did it!  I love that amazing feeling you get after a good hard speed workout.  I enter into a state of physical, emotional calm and my body and mind become so content and relaxed.

I’m proud of myself indeed.

No Therapy Tuesday today because my therapist had an emergency and had to cancel.  I felt really bad for her; I could tell how stressed and anxious she was when she called; she seemed really upset and I actually felt like the inconsistency bothered her more than me!  Then, as I was walking home from work, I ran into her outside the grocery store. It was really weird to see her outside of the office environment (her office is actually in her apartment, which I really like because it seems more comfortable and less stiff)!  I could tell how completely harried she was; I was actually a little bit nervous that she was about to have a panic attack or something.  Anyways, I told her not to worry and to calm down.  Sort of a weird little reversal of roles.  We rescheduled for tomorrow.

I heart frozen berries.

And chocolate-topped smoothies.

Dinner was epic, not to mention that it took five minutes to prep.  I combined a can of tuna with a few spoonfuls 2% Fage, garlic hummus, chopped bell peppers, and guacamole.  Holy easy dinner.  Holy tastiness.

I just ate a weird iced tea slushy concoction.  It looks really weird so I’m not gonna share any pictures.  It’ for your own benefit, trust me.  It was iced chamomile tea (sweetened with stevia and honey) blended with a boatload (yes, that’s a word) of ice cubes.  Random, but I was craving something cold and icy, and this did the job.

Confession: I have a nut-butter-sneaking habit. I take pictures of most of what I eat, since it is helpful for me to have a record.  But spoonfuls of nut butter and tiny handfuls of nuts often escape the camera.  I don’t deprive myself, ever, but I also know that I don’t necessarily need those extra calories. So I’m making a promise to myself to photograph everything I eat; even those tiny spoonfuls.  I don’t share all my eats on the blog everyday (today there were maybe two spoonfuls of unpictured nut butter and a serving of TJ’s mini PB cups).  Can you tell I like PB?

I didn’t eat a lot today given that I ran nine miles (and maybe walked two more?), but I think it makes sense given that I ate more than I needed to yesterday.  I love how my body balances things out and really figures out what’s going on and what it needs or doesn’t need.  Bodies are so smart.

Be back tomorrow with Therapy Wednesday!

I hope you’re all having a most wonderful week.  Relax, smile, breathe!

Summer Projects and TWO Dinners

Today’s Happy Note: Chatting with my dad on the phone and getting excited to go home so that I can visit the bakery!  Is this what normal people get excited about when they get to go home?  Probably not.  But I’m a food blogger, which is mutually exclusive to normal.  And my little town has the best bakery in the entire world.  I want to have an eclair.  And an apple fritter.  I am, of course, also getting very excited to see my crazy but beautiful family!

The no good icky bad mood has lifted! Thank the Lord.  Or hormones.  Or my therapist.  I don’t know who to thank but I do know that it’s gone!  (Insert happy dance here).  I let myself sleep in today, went for a nice (ish…) run, had my favorite mid-week treat breakfast, worked, then came home and relaxed.  No obligations.  I’m really not exactly sure what my work schedule will be like in the evenings (I am working two jobs) this summer.  My guess is that it is going to be crazy busy/late on some days and really chill on others.  But after a week of coming home from work at five fifteen and having not not much to do, I know that I am in some serious need of summer “projects.”  I am not going to start any of these until I have “officially” started my summer schedule and am back in NY, which will be in two weeks.  But I’m making a list now so I can plan and keep myself entertained!

Caronae’s Super Spectacular Fun Summer Project List:

1.  Stay in touch with old friends/family members who don’t live in the city.

2. Make regular plans with school friends who are in the city.

3. Meet new blog friends!

4. Start a planter in windowsill.  I want to grow lavender and maybe some rosemary and thyme.  I would like a flowering plant, but I’m afraid a planter won’t allow its roots the room that they need.

5. Find muffin recipes.  Make said recipes.

6. Cook a few fancy dinners.

7.  Places to visit: museums, aquariums, botanical gardens.

8. Weekly yoga sesh with my cousin.

9. Learn to knit?????

10. Buy a set of pastels and use them (sidenote: I adore pastels; they are my favorite artistic tool by far).

11. Learn more about trees and (geek alert!) take walks around the city identifying different types of trees.

12. See some dance shows.

13: Library.  Books.  Read them.  Last summer I had a “reading project” in which I read as many major Russian authors as I could (Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Pushkin, etc.).  I need a similar project for this summer!  It’s actually really fun if you are a word geek like I am.

14. Expand blog.

So that’s the plan for now!  This doesn’t include everything I’ll be doing, of course (read: running), just some fun and/or new projects.  I don’t really consider running a hobby so much as a part of my life, like eating or working or writing.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?  Anything I should add to my list?  I’m totally open to suggestions!

Exercise: I did get in my 7.5 mile run today, and it was going really well — my legs were churning pretty fast, I thought — until I had to go to the bathroom about halfway through.  Stat.  Why are public bathrooms in this city so hard to find????  I had to walk for a mile before I found one.  Ick.  I hate when a pit stop derails my run, it’s one of the more annoying things about running.  Other “interesting” things that have happened to me while running: being chased (and almost mauled) by dogs, being stopped by annoying tourists asking for directions to Columbus Circle, getting very very lost in East Harlem, becoming convinced that my mother and sister were eaten by mountain lions, and sneaking into some very sketchy woods (on many different occasions) to go to the bathroom.  Runners have interesting lives and good stories.  You should befriend one 🙂

Eats: I had my special weekday breakfast treat today: a bagel with peanut butter and sweet iced tea from the deli/bakery.  This is one of my favorite things in the world.  I used to think it was so wrong that I would let food make me happy, but life is too short not to feel happy about having your favorite foods once in a while.  I freely admit that toasted cinnamon bagels with peanut butter make me very happy indeed!

I did the whole two dinners thing again today and it worked wonderfully.  No more Hangry Caronae!!!  Yay. 🙂

Dinner #1:

Vanilla-pear protein oatmeal eaten at 5:15.

Dinner #2:

Hodgepodge salad: mesclun base with carrots, steamed broccoli, refried pinto beans, brown rice, and a 2-egg puff.  So nom nom nom nom.

Dessert:

Pineapple chobs with crumbled raspberry chocolate luna bar — I maintain that this is not only the best luna bar flavor but the best bar out there.  Period.  It tastes like a raspberry-infused brownie that you might get for dessert at a fancy restaurant.  For twelve dollars.  I’m  not exaggerating.

Do you have a favorite dessert? I like almost anything with chocolate, especially brownies and homemade bake goods.  I have also been known to eat Ben and Jerry’s (ahem, Phish food) straight from the pint.

Goodnight friends!  Happy almost-weekend!

I Like (Free) Food.

Today’s Happy Note: Naps.  Cuddling with my stuffed duck Herbert.  Watching TV curled up in my bed.  Drinking tea with honey.  Ah, the joys of being sick and not going to class!

Exercise: Went for a 40 minute walk today; climbed lots of stairs.  Still no “official” exercise, and guess what?  I’m perfectly fine!  I am, however, getting a bit restless and will need more movement time tomorrow.  I also am missing strength training!  I can’t wait to lift some arm weights and do core work.  Sometimes it’s not the process of exercise (i.e., burning calories, seeing results, etc.) but the act: it clears my head and just doing it makes me feel strong.

Eats: Sicky foods.  I’ll let the pictures talk.

Okay wait.  I want to talk.  Who doesn’t buy their dark chocolate by the pound (or pound plus, perhaps).  And anyone who doesn’t consume dark chocolate when they’re sick is a zombie.

And who doesn’t eat frozen yogurt daily?  Is that not allowed?

Eats Part II: Free food. Who doesn’t like free food?  I’ve been encountering LOTS of free food lately.  It tends to be rather ubiquitous at the end of the semester and my thoughts about it can be summed up in three words: I love it. I haven’t spent money on dinner in three days.  This is amazing.  I try to keep things real on this blog, and this is definitely one very “real” aspect of my life.  While I’ll never skimp on food, I can’t always afford Whole Foods produce or organic products or unlimited servings of fresh veggies.  I do what I can — and I probably do better than most college students.  But sometimes, payday is still three days away.   In the meantime, bring on the (free) food (preferably healthy; but when you’re a student free is free).  I don’t discriminate amongst things without price stickers.

Free dinner last night:

I snagged a seat at a little dinner hour with the provost and had a most lovely meal, including un-pictured chocolate covered strawberries.  My school is insanely rich and has the most amazing catering services.

Items pictured include: grilled chicken, salmon, rare steak, roasted cauliflower, some sort of bacon potato salad (DIVINE), broccolini, greek salad, mango and cucumber salad.

Tonight’s free dinner:

That last plate is stolen free food.  Perhaps snagged is a better way of describing it.  Plus, it was leftover at the end of an event, so I’m pretty sure it was up for grabs anyways.  This meal involved jerk chicken, a tiny bit of rice and beans (I’m not a huge rice fan), lamb kebab, Indian samosa patty thing, plantains, plain salad, fruit, and, of course, pretty cupcakes.  Look at that frosting!  So blue.  It reminds me of pictures of the ocean off of Greek islands.  Random, but am I right?

These cupcakes were from Buttercup Bakery (I saw the boxes) and the frosting was hands down the best I have ever had in the city.  Creamy and rich and sweet but not overpowering or cloying.  A perfect balance.

I’ve only gone to two classes so far this week.  Hey, I don’t want to infect anybody else right before finals!  Seriously, people on this campus would be having some major panic attacks if they got sick right now.  I;m only doing my duty to my fellow students.  BUT this wonderful little not-going-to-class-streak must end, sadly.  I am feeling a bit better and really need to go to both my classes and work tomorrow.  Hopefully I won’t be too tired!

Goodnight friends!  And happy Thursday!

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 🙂

I’m A Dairy-Free Pumpkin Seed

Today’s Mini Goal: Conquer this week’s speed workout.  I can tackle this baby!  I was supposed to do it today but my legs were still tired from my killer weekend (40 miles in 4 days).  Speed work totally overwhelms me, but I have a plan and I will stick to it tomorrow morning!  It’s gonna be Janetha-inspired. 🙂

I have been up since one AM paper-writing, so I apologize if this is a bit incoherent.  I had a really interesting, but challenging, assignment to examine some of the possible negative outcomes of human rationality.  Oh, homework-land.  Such a happy place .

I wrote the paper from one till almost six, so I figured there was simply no point going to sleep (I had slept for about five hours in the evening already).  I made good use of the wee hours by blog-reading and eventually heading out for a rainy 9-miler.  The Reservoir Loop in CP was covered in puddles, mud, sticks, ice, holes: basically, just how I like it!  I adore running on tricky trails, and it was like I had my own personal trail in the center of the city today!  Only three other people were braving the Loop.  Are you a standard streets-and-sidewalks only runner or do you like to get wild with your terrain choices?

In the latter half of the run I had an icky stomach cramp that never really went away.  I had had a giant bowl of yogurt while I was writing the paper, and a lot of dairy the day before too.  I am not positive, but I think this might be the tummy/digestion culprit.  So I am having a dairy-free week!  I am not doing it to restrict or deprive; this is merely an experiment to see if my tummy is happier and less bloated.  Many, many people have dairy issues, and while I have never had a problem, I think my consumption of the stuff has increased a lot lately.

Exhibit A (and B and C…):


The top two photos are from lunch yesterday, which was a throw-everything-into-a-bowl-and-call-it-cereal mess.  I believe that warm cinnamon h2h, skim milk, pb, peanut butter pretzels, trail mix, and coconut are all hanging out in there.  The photo on the bottom left is banana cream pudding (with a sweet potato pie smudgin).  It was the Black History Month dinner at my school, which is one of my most favorite events of the entire year.  I had two bowls of the pudding.  On the right is a bowl containing macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, and cornbread.  I also had such delights as yams, green beans, catfish, black eyed peas, pulled chicken, and more cornbread.  Mmmmm.  Needless to say, my evening involved quite a lot of dairy!   Actually, it just involved quite a lot of (tasty) food in general.  I left feeling a bit too stuffed.

BUT today’s clean, lighter eats probably balanced it all out.  Despite the nine miles in the morning, I wasn’t super hungry all day.  I guess my body does really know what it’s doing after all.  I think I actually recorded all my eats today.  I know you are so totally thrilled by this fact and that you can’t wait to see them…

Breakfast: banana chia cinnamon oats with a tall Awake Tea Misto made with soy milk.  Served with a side of philosophy textbooks.

Lunch: giant salad bowl with mixed greens, chicken, cucumbers, peppers, corn, and an oregano EVOO dressing.  Lunchtime perfection.

The apple was consumed with lunch and the randomly thrown together trail mix was my afternoon snack.  It did a great job of keeping me full, actually!  It included chocolate animal crackers, walnuts, macadamia-cashew trail mix, dried fruit, and a little h2h.

I got out of class at six and was feeling snackish, but knew I wasn’t really hungry for my dinner.  Solution?

A few sips of coconut water!  I figured the electrolytes couldn’t hurt.  It did the trick and cured my snackiness.  I don’t actually really like coconut water all that much, but whatever.  Do any of you guys love the stuff?

Dinner consisted of piles of yumminess.  What’s that?  You want to know what said piles of yumminess contained?  Oh alright.  Fine.  The bowl was a spinach salad topped with leftover crumbled lamb burgers, onions, and hummus.  These flavors worked really well together!  On the side we have roasted/steamed squash slices and steamed broccoli.  I like veggies, don’t hate.

And the most important meal of the day?

Dessert of course!  This was a chocolate mint Luna cookie with DCD frosting.  I know I’ve tried one of the Luna cookies before and I didn’t love it, but this was pure deliciousness.  It tasted wonderfully decadent.  Noms all around.

I’m one tired little pumpkin seed right about now (my dad used to call my pumpkin seed!), so it’s off to bed for me.  What did your parents call you as a kid? I was (and, I will admit, still am) variously called pumpkin seed, cupcake, and bunny rabbit.