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?

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Rough Night+Chocolate

Today’s Happy Note: Pandora.  Customizable music stations?  No CDs or MP3s or iPods?  I can listen to whatever I want when I’m studying?  Me likes.

Marathon Training: Yoga class today followed by an easy 4-miler, with 6×100 meter strides in the last mile. Yoga was slow but nice; I definitely felt my legs and hips opening and stretching.  The run was slooooowww.  This is a pattern, following speedwork or long runs, that I have just come to accept.  Meh.

Tonight was rough. Rough.  It started when I decided not to go to my last class.  Then I felt guilty.  Then the guilt was compounded by stress because my INR is too low.  Then there was a laundry fiasco.  Then I was so hangry I almost ate my ears off.  Then the printer wasn’t working properly.  And now my whole left forearm itches.

Blech blech blech.

I’m drowning my sorrows in hulu, some frozen yogurt, and, per my mom’s advice, maybe a bit of meditation.

There is school work to be done.  And it ain’t happenin’ tonight.

So I’m settling into my bed, with my crossword puzzle and some tea.

After blogging, of course. 🙂

Leftover stir-fry topped with avocado.  This stir-fry consisted of sweet potato, onion, broccoli, EVOO, salt and pepper, ginger, tofu, and peanut sauce.  This is one of my fave stir-fry combos ever.

Do you have any fave stir-fry combos?

I reappropriated my leftovers into dinner too!  I wanted to make something else but was too hungry to wait.  Do you ever feel to hungry to cook?  this time, I put the stir-fry into a cup of TJ’s carrot ginger soup with two big handfuls of spinach and ate it stew-style!  Also very successful.

Sometimes I get fro yo and then bring it home and add my own toppings.  Shhhh, don’t tell.  You can’t even see the yogurt under my mess of toppings!  It was half mango/half plain topped with dark chocolate, coconut, and TJ’s cat cookies.

Other food highlights of late:

Chocolate.

Chocolate.

More chocolate.

USB may or may not have given me not one but two boxes of chocolates last weekend.  Did I mention that he wrote me a poem tonight?

Um, yeah.

He’s a keeper, I’m pretty sure.

Goodnight friends! Hopefully when I see you tomorrow I’ll be less stressed!  And happy almost-end-the-week!

Long Run Eats

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

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

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

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

Onto today’s long run!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for the lovely afternoon Gabriela!

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

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

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

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

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

Medical Stuff, Part II, Or “A Slightly Happier Post”

Today’s Happy Note: Perfect fall temperatures!  I’m in love.  The air is warm but also crisp, snappy but gentle.

Marathon Training: We had our first actual “class” of yoga today (I am taking Iyengar Yoga as a P.E. class).  We did not do much at all — it is very, very basic.  We spent the whole hour practicing standing with our feet spread apart and then doing Warrior II, Triangle, and Extended Side Angle.  We finished with some easy bridges.  I wouldn’t call it a workout, but it was a decent stretch that got my hips opening up.  I did about 15 more minutes of stretching and abs afterwards, followed by an easy four mile run.

I didn’t feel awful on the run, but my left hip and hamstring were hurting.  Again.  I really don’t know what to do since it is so inconsistent.  I think that stretching it out a lot helps a bit.  I am praying that it is not present tomorrow for my hill run — running up hills with a hip/hamstring issue is especially hard.  I was supposed to do 6×100 strides at the end of today’s run but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.  I made a lame attempt at doing two of them before realizing that my body just was not having any sort of speediness.  It was probably the slowest run I have done in a long time; maybe 12-ish minute miles?  The funny thing about this is that I didn’t judge myself for it.  I just acknowledged that I was tired, my body/mind were a little off-kilter, and I was slowly but steadily ambling along.  Just like that, I didn’t care.  I’m proud of myself for that!

In other running-related news: I am ravenous. I am trying really hard to photograph everything because it is VERY useful for me to mentally keep track.  I did well today minus several handfuls (about two servings) of TJs cat cookies, aka animal crackers for grown-ups.

I made an awesome fall feast for dinner!

We have half of a steamed delicata squash smothered in cinnamon, a pile of baked tofu (coated in TJ’s peanut vinaigrette, maple syrup, and ginger) and roasted carrots and okra (coated in EVOO, salt, and pepper).  This is pretty much fall seasonal eating perfection. It was a pretty tasty (and easy!) meal.  Yum.

Medical Stuff, Part II

So.  Yesterday I talked about science and medicine and my body and how the intersections thereof can be a little bit inexplicable.  Read that here. Thank you for all of your kind comments/emails!  It is heartening to know I am not the only person in the world who has these subtle-but-also-overwhelming problems.

Today I kind of want to look at the issue(s) from a psychological/mental health standpoint.

I have always equated being overweight with moral failure.  I never accepted the fact that, for some individuals, there might be other factors at play.  Until it happened to me.

Here I am, 10-15 pounds too heavy.  For me, losing a pound is an uphill battle.  Fought with medieval instruments.  While blindfolded.  And standing on my head.  Okay, you get the picture — it is harder than it should be.  Once my body acquires a pound, that pound is not going to leave without a serious fight. Usually, I just end up psychically wounded and the pound(s) stay(s).

I am so tremendously tired of this.  But here’s the thing: I accept that there are processes happening in my body right now that are beyond my control. Even if there were factors totally within my control (for example, if I were doing serious emotional eating — I’m not, but you get the point), it doesn’t matter: the point is that this emotional battle with my body, at this moment in time, needs to end.

I think that within a few months, possibly after I get things sorted out with endocrinology and gynecology, or after the marathon, my body just might settle back into its natural happy weight on its own (for me this happens to be between 145-155 pounds; I have a medium-sized frame and a fair amount of muscle).

The most important thing for me, in this moment, has nothing to do with science or medicine or numbers of pounds or calories.  It has to do with stopping the judgement and the self-hatred.  Being overweight (ever so slightly) is not a moral failure for me, or for anyone else.  I believe that different people actually have different sizes at which they are healthy.  For me, this size happens to be at the upper end of “normal.”  For some, this might be a bit above “normal.” L was telling me last week how the BMI scale isn’t necessarily considered perfectly accurate or all-encompasing anymore anyways.  I would venture to guess that I am more healthy than a woman who eats mostly processed foods and sits on the couch all day but is at a “normal” weight.  I run ultramarathons, for Christ’s sake.

Kate wrote a lovely post today that really resonated with me, about disordered eating and body-consciousness.  Unfortunately, for many women, these are all-consuming things.  That has certainly been the case for me.  I am not sure I understand why.  Do I think that I will be a more perfect woman if I weigh 145 pounds versus 165 pounds?  Will I become more caring, compassionate, creative, prolific, loving?  I would hazard to guess that the answer is an emphatic “no.”  I am Caronae, no matter what I weigh.  I have an essence beyond my body.  Kate said the following, in describing the hatred, the disordered eating, the obsession that happens to so many women in our society:

“If you don’t understand, it can’t be explained to you.”

So perfect.  So true.  It’s like a club — a club that, sadly, most women are members of.

That was so hard for me to say.  That there is something about me that has nothing to do with my body.  Think about all the things I could be accomplishing if all my physical concerns went away.  I’m going to say it again.

There is something about me, something uniquely Caronae-ish, that has nothing to do with my body, whatever my weight may be. I accept the chaos that is happening inside and outside of me right now.  I accept the stress, the confusing medication regimen, the grueling running schedule, my way of eating, my fucked-up homrones.  I accept all of that.  I accept it because I know that I am something more than that. I might not be exactly sure what this “essence of Caronae” is, but I know, in my heart that it exists.  That she exists.

Weekend Update

Today’s Happy Note:

Hello hello hello!  I have to blog and run because I have more work to do before tomorrow’s (procrastinator much?) early morning long run.  Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I reaallllllyyyyy suck at time management.

Marathon Training:

Yesterday I had five easy miles on the schedule.  I did that along with about 40 minutes of arms and abs.  My leg strength training falls by the wayside whenever I am training for a race.  My legs are tired enough from running so many miles, I can’t bear the thought of putting them through sets of lunges and hamstring curls and calf raises.  I have decided that I officially love lifting weights.  It is almost as fun as running and yoga for me.  Makes me feel strong, powerful, confident, and sexy, in a weird way.  I ended my run at the Union Square Farmer’s market.  That is the absolute best way to do a Saturday morning run — then you can have a little snack when you get there and sit in the sunshine in the park and think about sunflowers and sunshine and other sunny Saturday morning things.

There was a chocolate chip coconut scone (yes, you heard that correctly) with my name on it at the FM!  With a side of honey-vanilla yogurt.

This was the best scone I have ever had.  I am normally totally a muffin person, but I think I am becoming a scone convert.

So.  Something really good and awesome and happy happened at the farmer’s market after I ate my scone but I don’t want to tell you all about it because I don’t want to jinx it.  So I kind of just told you, without really telling you.  So there.

If you’re a blogger, are you ever afraid of jinxing something by “saying it aloud” on the blog?

Today was supposed to be a Sunday long run day, but I didn’t want to wake up super early, then it ended up raining the whole day anyway.  I moved around my scheduled runs for the week so that I can do it tomorrow (hello 6 AM).  I love Google calendar because it lets you drag and drop events from one day to another.  I ended up doing a 30 minute abs class at the gym today followed by a six mile run that included 4 fast 800s (half-miles).  The 800s were hard but not killer hard.  I used to flat-out hate speedwork but now I think I have more of a love-hate relationship with it.  It feels so goooooood afterwards but during it I just wanna die (usually).  Regular running never gets my heart rate up or makes my face red or anything.  Today’s speedy 800s sure did though!

It ended up pouring for the whole second half of my run.  Somehow I don’t have a problem running less than an hour in the rain.  I just couldn’t face two hours.  Not sure why.

Enough running!

Eats hodgepodge:

Yogurt with a warmed peach and honey and granola.  Afternoon snackage perfection.

I’m pretty sure I ate an entire half of a big cantaloupe over the last two days.

Dates, carrots, PB, and more PB plate.  I am loving dates lately!

Pasta, lots of veggies, and tofu.  With a side of more veggies with guac.  One of the smartest things my mother ever taught me: you can never have too many vegetables.

Good eats (although maybe a little too much last night?  It’s so hard to tell with marathon training!).  Good running.  Good friends.  Good adventures.

Good weekend.

Update me on your lives my friends!  What’s going on where you are?

Workout/Eating Habits

Today’s Happy Note: I’m in tune with my body!  I noticed a lot of other women in yoga class really struggling to connect with their bodies and realized how close I am to my own body.  I wasn’t judging them or anything, just noticing.  I know where my joints are, the way things move.  I have years of gymnastics, running, swimming, and now yoga to thank for this.

Workout: Thought about kick-boxing, but my heart wasn’t in it, so I skipped it and did 30 minutes of seriously heavy arm weights and an hour yoga class at the gym.  I really enjoyed the yoga class at the gym, actually.  Sometimes the studio feels a  little pretentious and tiresome and elitist.  Also walked a mile or two.  I have a hard speed workout for tomorrow so I’m conserving some energy. 🙂

Workouts are not always going to be joyfully fun, but you shouldn’t ever force yourself to do something that you just don’t want to do.  I have so many friends who ask me things like, “how are you so healthy when you’re so busy?” or “how do you make yourself workout all the time?”

Well, first of all, I think we need to change the way we look at “working out” or “exercising.”  For me, it is not an hour of my day where I drag myself to the gym, force myself to get through a boring routine, and then come home and watch TV.  Working out is a part of my life.  It’s as integrated into the way I live as eating or writing or going to class or work.  Further, I would get pretty tired of working out too if I spent an hour on the elliptical at the gym everyday. I think it’s actually pretty easy to work some movement into your day: it might be an hour and a half walk in the evening or an early yoga class or half an hour of dancing in your room.

It takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to form a habit.  I am lucky in that I was very active in high school and carried that pattern relatively easily into college,so I didn’t have to start from scratch (like I have had to with my emotional eating patterns).  Many people struggle to workout in college — but I think of it as a little escape from the schoolwork.  When you look at it as an important part of your day that will help you focus better and think more clearly, you’re less likely to skip out.

Eats:

Look!  My lentils are crawling on my tofu like ants.  I couldn’t help but share my adorable lunch find with my coworkers.

Probably didn’t need the small bowl of granola pictured above right but whatever.  I have found that eating 4-6 (depending on my activity level) meals of about 400 calories each.  A 100-200 calorie snack is always too small for me, while a 600-700 calorie lunch or dinner feels too big.  I am really enjoying this way of eating — I don’t follow any rules or plans and don’t deny myself if I’m hungry.  This just seems to work, for now.  And when it doesn’t work, I’ll change things up.

Goodnight goodnight goodnight!  Time for me to sleep.  Even though I took a nap like five hours ago.  Don’t judge.

Happy Tuesday!

Eating Things In Jars

Today’s Happy Note: Lots of time talking with an awesome friend tonight. 🙂  Sometimes that is exactly what you need!

Looooonnnngggggg day.  Started at 8:00 AM and ended at 10:00 pm.  In and out of the apartment, at the store, at the office, on the phone, frantically emailing, on the bus, to another store, picking up bagels, on the computer, entering data into spreadsheets, organizing last day of classes for second job, crazy, crazy, crazy.

Mental Health Note: I practically didn’t have time to breathe.  But I have learned something really valuable about myself in the last year or so: when I have days or moments like this, frantically, overwhelmingly busy, I tend to wind up sad, anxious,  and depressed.  I tend to get riled up and never get un-riled.  So I like to plan out something nice for myself in advance!  okay, so I didn’t really plan today.  But  it worked out, because I got to spend some quality time with two great friends.   Talking and giggling and wondering and smiling and just knowing each other.  I love that.

No time for a workout today!  I thought about getting up at 6 to run but I wasn’t in bed until 2.  I slept in until 8 instead, which was definitely the better choice.  I was on my feet all day though; definitely walked several miles.  And lugged around several pounds of juice and bagels all over the city.  This is what my job entails.

I made a most excellent food discovery today!  You all know I love my OIAJ.  Well, introducing…

Stir Fry In A Jar!

Last night I wanted something easy to make and portable to take.  I had an almost-empty Mighty Maple pb jar in the fridge.  The cogs in my head started moving…I love maple and peanuts in a stir fry.  I had everything I needed on hand: tofu, salt, EVOO, lemon pepper, green bell pepper, carrots and rice.  I sauteed everything together and steamed the rice then combined.

Holy moly this was wonderful!  Like, maybe life-changing-wonderful.

I would do this with regular PB or perhaps even AB as well.  I want to try it with pad thai next.  Yum yum yum, nom nom nom.

Also eaten in a jar: dessert.

A bit of coconut gelato and various chocolate pieces.

I shall have to experiment with eating more things in jars!  Ideas?  Thoughts?  Do you like food in jars?

Goodnight friends.  Happy Friday!

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