Thoughts On Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

I know that not everybody is into yoga, and that’s fine, but it really has been life-changing/saving for me.  I can enter class seething, panicked, distraught, weepy, or in pain.  And leave relaxed, smiling, calm, joyful, spiritual.  Today we did a lot of inversions, balances, and twisting, including one pose I have never done before that I could not find any name for or picture of online.  It is basically what the top person is doing in this photo, only upright, with back foot and hand on the ground:

Hangle Dangle

Source

Anyone have any ideas?

What I loved most about class today was that my emotions started coming up, uncontrollably.  As my body physically opened up I could feel the things in my heart pouring out as well. I have heard Averie (who is giving away some awesome hemp products here) and other yogis talk about this before but have never felt it.  Well, I have news for you: this is not one of those crazy newfangled yoga things.  It really happened — I was alternately smiling and crying during class.  It was wonderful and soothing to let things out of my body like that.

I think yoga has made me more spiritual and more comfortable in my own body.  It calms me down and lifts me up at the same time.  It helps me realize that I do indeed know God, in some guise or other, and that I have this wonderful, amazing body that I need to treat well.  I run because it makes me feel clean and strong, in heart and body and mind, but yoga adds an element of spirit, I think.

Have you tried yoga?  It seems like most healthy living bloggers either love it or hate it.  I am definitely in the loving it camp.  I do recommend trying a few different classes, styles, studios, gyms, or videos before giving up; each experience is different and you really need to find what works for you.  Polly’s videos are always a good place to start!

My absolute favorite studio in NYC is Yoga Vida. Highly recommended, and relatively inexpensive.

The eats:

Diet snapple iced tea and plain oats with soymilk and PB.

Tuna made with plain yogurt and hummus, giant pile of steamed veggies.  I know everyone thinks they’re boring, but sometimes I lover plain and simple lightly steamed veggies.

Two afternoon snacks is the way to go.  PB and chocolate chip Larabar and a basically empty AB jar with plain 2% Fage (I’m in love  — the fats are pretty much miraculous), frozen blueberries, and Justin’s chocolate PB (didn’t really go with it, taste-wise).

I realized that recently I have been falling into the blogger-comparison trap.  I think, “healthy living bloggers should have one afternoon snack, dinner, then a small dessert, or two afternoon snacks and no desserts — I must be overeating!”  BUT this is what works for me.  And I never eat (or want a morning) snack, and I keep main meals a bit smaller.  So there.  I can have two afternoon snacks and a dessert if that’s what my body wants.

Random WF bowl.  It had arugula, walnut/grape chicken salad (my favorite kind), a few bites of potato, black bean udon noodles, shredded zucchini/summer squash, and marinated kale salad.  I am NOT a kale girl, but I really liked this one.  It had shredded carrots, cabbage, and lots of balsamic.

Blurry raspberry protein shake: vanilla soy milk, half a banana, handful frozen raspberries, lots of ice, half scoop of vanilla whey/soy protein, and a few spoonfuls of coconut sorbet.  Topped with dark chocolate and chocolate PB.

A good day of eats — lots of variety, lots of nutrients, good portions that kept me full but not too full.  My belly is a happy belly right about now!

Some days I feel like all my meals/snacks involve nuts or nut butter.  I really truly believe that, if it came down to it, I would say PB is my favorite food.  Oats, Greek yogurt, apples, and carrots are all tied for second place. 🙂

What’s your favorite food?

Thoughts on yoga?

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Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Borrowing a new book from L that I think might be soothing for me during a rough week.

Today was a 9-9 day.  Fun.  Wanted to wake up early for a workout but couldn’t sleep last night.  Didn’t work out yesterday either.  Blah.  I did walk about three miles today with a heavy backpack and (part of the time) heavy groceries.  I knew I would be too tired to cook once I got home (or run, even though I wanted to) so I got dinner at WF.  Came home, made protein ice cream, caught up on emails.  Now I’m here.

Other eats included the traditional post-therapy fro yo:

And some pretty rockin’ oats-in-a-jar:

I added about 3/4 frozen berries to the bottom of an almost empty honey AB jar and then poured the hot oats over them!  Topped with a few scoops vanilla Greek yogurt.  This was amazing!   The cold berries and hot oats worked so well together and made a giant cool mess.  Love.

Yogurt fact: My 95 year old grandfather strains his own plain yogurt to make it “Greek.”  He was telling me how he does it today with a pillow case!  I’ll have to try it sometime. 🙂

Caution: The rest of this post is kind of a downer.  If you aren’t in the mood to read something a bit depressing, I’d say skip it.  Don’t worry, I won’t hate you, I just don’t want to bring you down!

Therapy Tuesday

Today was sort of different.  I basically just told L about my whole “not caring” thing — how whenever she suggests something or wants to take a deeper look at something, lately, I just don’t care — I don’t want to think about things.  At all.  Maybe this is a subconscious defense mechanism; looking really deeply at my my life and my self and the scary inner-workings of my world can be quite painful.  But I don’t think that’s the full explanation.  In general, I am a very curious, open being.  I love learning about myself.  But somehow, when I am actually in the moment of therapy, I keep snapping shut– it feels like I couldn’t tell her my most personal, secretive thoughts even if I desperately wanted to.  Why don’t I want to?  It’s frustrating for both of us for me to not let her be useful.  I am pushing her away and I despise myself for that.

She drew a picture of a box (well, more of a window) for me.  It is a special box called the Johari box.  I really liked the idea of the box.  It looks like this:

I am stuck in the “private self” corner.  I can’t get into any of the other areas with L.  I am fine with myself, at least on the surface, but I experience tremendous difficulty thinking about or talking about the other areas: the public self (what both myself and others know about me), the blind self (what others know about me but I don’t know about myself) and the hidden self (what neither myself nor others knows about me).  Those three boxes scare me and I don’t know why.

It is not fun to continue doing something that I feel so terrible at — therapy.  And it’s not even that I’m just bad at it, it’s actively painful.  Frustrating, confusing.  I should not come home week after week feeling tense and stuck.  I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I have thought about quitting therapy.  But there are two things wrong with this: first of all, I am very stubborn and hate quitting anything, and second, I really do feel a small —  but very powerful — connection to L and I do not wish to abandon that — I want to make it grow.  I want to be able to tell her something other than “I feel sad all the time” or “I hate everything about myself” (and sadly, those have been the bulk of my feelings lately).  I want to be able to talk about my day to day life and to figure out strategies to employ in my relationships.  But as soon as she offers me any kind of serious strategy, I revert to the not caring mode.

I talked a lot today about how uncontrollably, inexplicably sad I have felt lately.  Normally, I feel this way a few days a month.  In the last 1-2 months it has been more than half the time.  I am tired of being depressed.  I’ve been depressed for a good seven or eight years now.  Am I such a failure at all things that I can’t even manage my depression?  L asked me how I physically feel this and I became angry at her.  Who cares where I feel it in my body?  Who cares it it feels like a giant bubble of anxiety in my chest and stomach?  I don’t care what it feels like.  In fact I think looking at what it feels like it borderline idiotic.  I asked L to explain why she wanted to know how I was physically feeling my frustration: she said that sometimes we let our brains get so carried away in memories of the past or thoughts about the future or anxiety about the present moment that we forget what the actual feeling is.

That’s nice.  But I don’t care.  I honestly, right now, am feeling the deepest not-caring I have ever felt in my entire life.  It’s almost a hateful not caring — like I don’t care so much that I hate L.  And of course then I hate myself for hating such a kind being.

In a way, I actually enjoy the self-inflicted punishment that comes with constantly feeling everything in my body and my heart and my head.  It makes me write.  It makes me different.  I don’t want to not feel things the way I do.

But what if that’s the source of all my agony?  I think maybe it is, and maybe that’s what L has been getting it for the last 10 months, whether I have realized it or not.  But I don’t want it to be.  And I certainly don’t want to change.  I am feeling a lot of anger toward myself, L, and the process of therapy right now.  Why, dear God, after close to a year, has she not been able to help me?  Why have I not been able to let her help me?  Why haven’t I let her in.  That’s what I want, more than anything, is to let her in.  There haver been moments when I have felt totally connected to her, and those moments have been beautiful and sometimes pivotal.  So why am I resisting so much now?  I feel like there is no other explanation besides the fact that I am a hopeless loser who doesn’t deserve therapy who is destined to be alone forever.

As I have said before, I truly adore L: I think she is not just an excellent psychologist, but a wonderful, kind human being (most of the time — we all have our moments).  Not only that, but I think she is the right therapist for me.  So what am I doing wrong?  Will I ever feel close to another human being again or have I lost that ability?  When will going “home” ever mean anything besides returning to an empty apartment, making myself a lonely dinner, and crying myself to sleep?

I actually do have a plan for next week.  At some point today I mentioned how I always write about therapy afterwards.  She asked why I haven’t shown her.  I have always considered it somehow too personal; like my writing about therapy is the one thing I have to claim as my own.  But I kind of want to show her now.  I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know if this might help things along.  But it can’t hurt to try.  I am basically going to compile every Therapy Monday/Therapy Tuesday rant and paste them into one document and give it to her next week.

Goodnight friends!  See you all tomorrow!

Highlights!

Today’s Happy Note: The air! Have you considered how wonderful it is recently?  Warm, cool, thick, light, scented, fresh, breezy.  It can be very relaxing and soothing.

Thanks for some well thought-out and compassionate comments yesterday!  As I read them and thought more about my blogdentity, I realized that I truly enjoy blogging about both emotional and physical well-being; my problem lies in the organization of it all!  So, going forward, I intend on doing some housekeeping and make posts more organized — I might have categories or sections or something.  It’s more for myself because I don’t want to feel all over the place!  As for content, I like what I write about.  No point changing that!

Writing is great fun for me.  I know that it will be a big part of my future.  Not sure how yet, but, to let you in on my deepest secret: I do plan on putting together a book of poetry and prose, hopefully within the next year.  There, I said it.  I would love to have a first book out before I graduate.

My camera is not transferring my pictures, sadly.  I think maybe my memory card is full?  There are just over 3000 pictures on it.  Anybody know about these things?  Do I need a new card?

So no photos 😦

Highlights!

-Kashi Honey Sunshine: why, why, why was I so afraid to try this cereal?  I have always hated pillow shaped cereals so I never tried it.  That was a terrible decision on my part because these are most excellent; very honey-flavored.  In other cereal news: WF Peanut Butter Pows taste exactly like Reese’s Puffs cereal!

-Yoga with my cousin tonight!  Perfect relaxing Friday workout.

-Got important things done at both jobs.

-Union Square in the evening.

-Triple chocolate cookie for Cookie Friday and a chocolate peanut Mr. Softee cone.  It was one of those days.

-Relaxing with my Erica Jong book (if you can call her writing “relaxing”).

-Fun plans for tomorrow (it’s gonna be an Adventure Saturday — I think my Fridays are now too busy for Adventures!)

See you tomorrow, hopefully with some pretty pictures and epic tales!

Night night.

Adventure Friday, Groceries, Exercise: What The Cool College Kids Are Doing

Today’s Happy Note: I was productive!  Crammed a lot into the day (all things I wanted to be doing) which always feels good!

I’m dead tired right now (see happy note).  But I do have some fun things to share with you all before I pass out.  At 11:00.  On a Friday night.   I know, I am a really really cool college student. Oh, and warning: this post is very wordy.  Read at your own peril.

Exercise: I definitely overdid it on the physical activity today,but it was unintentional.  It’s strange to me how people can be sedentary when there are so many thing to do!  Although I am spoiled by New York, I will admit.  Anyways, I hit up the gym this morning for some strength training (40 minutes of hard work!) and HIIT (30 minutes on the elliptical, also hard work!)

I probably walked about a mile in the morning and early afternoon just moving between buildings.  After work, it was time for one of my most favorite activities, grocery shopping!  This is another thing that all the cool college students are doing nowadays. Getting excited about buying romaine and english cucumbers and dried mango and almond butter.  Seriously, why do people even need parties?

I ended up walking pretty far with the grocery bags — unintentional arm workout #2.  As soon as I was back from a very active grocery trip it was time to head out the door to yoga!  My cousin and I have a standing Friday night date at yoga.  It’s really fun!  Although she’ll be gone for a few weeks and i don’t have a yoga buddy. 😦  Anyone want to join me?

It was just the two of us and a very hot teacher.  I won’t lie, I have trouble concentrating on the yoga when the teacher is a super attractive, young male.  It’s just hard, ya know?  And I am totally not one of those girls who giggles over every boy she sees.  At all.  AND he was an amazing teacher.  He taught me a few new poses, helped us align/adjust, and gave super-duper massages.  The class was killer though!  If I would have just gone to this and that would have been my only movement all day, I’d have been wiped!

After that I made grocery run #2 to Trader Joe’s.  It was pouring rain and chilly, but I was already near Union Square and wasn’t going to waste the Subway fare to come back down again later!  I ended up walking with my new groceries pretty far again and probably walked another mile or two.  Unintentional arm workout #3.  Seriously, my arms are dead just typing right now.  I hope I’m alive tomorrow.

Wow that was an epic day of exercise.  Do you guys ever have days like that where you are just go go go and you end up moving  A LOT?

Friday Adventures!

I know Janetha (and other bloggers too!) does a little post called Flashback Fridays.  I always want to do it but can never think of what to write!  But then I realized, as I was having a little adventure this afternoon, that this is a very exciting time in my life filled with so many fun and amazing activities, encounters, and experiences.  I can never remember anything fun from the past to write about so why not do an Adventure Friday instead?  Feel free to share your adventures in the comments or to do your own post about it!

Seeing as it was Cookie Friday, per Tina, I decided to make a little Cookie Friday/Adventure Friday fusion quest.  Wow.  Cool college student.  Again.  So cool.  Ada told me about a yummy bakery called Levain last week, so I headed out this afternoon in search of their famous cookies.

Upon my arrival I was greeted by a tiny, adorable little storefront.  It was on a side street, but the line was still out the door.  Don’t worry though, it moved quickly, and I did not experience any cookie hunger pangs.  They only offer four flavors in an effort to keep everything simple, clean, and tasty.  And they most certainly succeed in this.  After much deliberation I settled on the chocolate chip walnut.

Oh.  Dear.  Lord.  It is a good place this bakery is more located two miles from me.  This cookie is abut the size of your entire hand and more than two times as thick, kind of like a scone.  I have no idea how they managed to achieve a gooey, warm center and a perfectly golden, gently crisp outside with such a seriously thick cookie.  But they did.  I don’t think I have ever encountered so many fillings in a cookie either, including those that I have made (and I tend to be rather heavy handed with the add-ins).  There was, like, a pound of walnuts and chocolate chips in there.  Each.  I can’t think of any cookie I have ever had in my life that was better than this.  It’s possible that there has been one that I don’t recall.  But this is now my number one.  There is just one minor problem…

It was $4.00!  I do not now, nor will I ever, I suspect, have room for $4.00 cookies in my budget.  I was willing to buy one and try it once but, unless I win the lottery or someone buys me one of their cookies, I will not be going back.  You heard me Levain: your cookies are exorbitantly priced.  I know this is true because there were SO many customers there; clearly they were raising the price because the demand is so high.  I guarantee that these cookies do not have $4.00 worth of ingredients in them.  So they have lost one customer, despite their deliciousness.

Okay so that was really only part I of the adventure…

I went to Whole Foods for groceries afterwards and there was a certain special someone in their normal sample area.  A special someone, you ask?  Who?  Well I’ll tell you who…

A vita-mix salesperson.  And boxes and boxes of vita-mixes.  I chatted him up for a good fifteen minutes and tried to explain how desperate I am for a vita-mix.  He basically laughed in my face.  Apparently vita-mix is a very elitist appliance.  But one that I covet, nonetheless.  I stared at them for another several minutes and then almost burst into tears.  I am not exaggerating; at certain times of the month I get weirdly emotionally vulnerable, so it’s not entirely my fault.  But as I was walking away from the vita-mixes, I almost cried.  I teared up.  It was that sad.  Okay, at this point it has become clear to me that I am probably one of the weirdest college students on the entire planet. But I’m okay with that!  Being a little weird never killed anybody.

I am making a promise to myself: when I graduate from school and have a full time, and hopefully well-paying, job, this will be my very first big purchase.  For myself.  A vita-mix.  I do not want a fancy dress or a designer bag or a trip to a spa.  I.  Want.  A.  Vita-mix.  And I will save every last penny and buy the damn thing for myself!

Although I have eaten many yummy things today, including new TJ’s finds, I think that’s enough for now!

Lots to do tomorrow!  I like busy days 🙂

Happy weeeekkkkkeeeennndddd!

Crow, Peacock, Headstand, Oh My!

Daily Creativity: Sketching.  Lots of sketching.  With ink pens.  My favorite.  This may or may not have occurred during my two hour seminar.  No comment.

Day off from running today.  It was the last day of my $5 week at Yoga Vida so I had to take advantage!  I went with my cousin.  Twas wonderful.  Again, my arms were shaking.  I managed to hold “feathered peacock pose” (had no idea that’s what it was called until I googled it!) aka forearm balance for several breaths.  I’ve never been able to stay in it before, so that was nice.  I also felt pretty solid in headstand.  We did some poses I’ve never done before which is always fun.  The teacher pushed me down really low in my warriors and my legs were seriously burning.  I thought I was going to collapse.  It was the perfect challenging-but-not-too-challenging class.  We got mini neck massages at the end too.  The pictures above are me in crow pose!  I know I need to get my hips higher; I’m trying.

My cousin and I went to dinner at Whole Foods afterwards.  My bowl:

Hidden pile of mixed greens topped with saag paneer (my all time favorite Indian dish, in case you wanted to know), pad thai, chicken salad, and shredded zucchini/yellow squash mix.  I wasn’t going to have any dessert afterwards but really wanted some frozen yogurt.  For some reason that just made me more hungry so I had a few random ginger cat cookies and chocolate soy milk.  If I don’t eat anything after dinner, I’m fine — I won’t want to eat too much or eat junk, but if I have one snack I want a lot of snacks.  This is kind if a dilemma for me because typically I eat very healthfully throughout the day and I think my body does legitimately want a dessert with some sugar and fat, but one should be enough.  I know half-marathon training does make me extra hungry.  I’m curious to see if I’ll want to eat as much in the evenings after the race…

While we were eating my cousin told me about an NYC “Yoga Pass Book” that costs about $75 and gives you one or two free classes at a ton of different studios.  Um, sign me up!  Does anyone know anything about this?  I think it will be perfect for my yoga challenge (page for that is forthcoming, as is a new “spiritual health” page).

Overall I had a wonderful little evening.  Napped after work, yoga and dinner with my cousin, bought myself a magazine, blogging.  I find it much easier to spend time with people who I am comfortable with as opposed to meeting new people.  It takes me a very long time to get to this stage.  My cousin is older than me so I’ve known her my whole life.  I feel very lucky to have her as a friend in the city.  I love my college friends, but it’s nice to have someone outside of that little isolated environment.  I think one of my “men problems” simply lies in the fact that I really prefer to spend time with people who I am already comfortable with.  At the same time though, I know that it can be rewarding to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Time for a yoga analogy: sometimes I feel like I’m going to fall out of headstand (and sometimes I do!) but I would never get to experience the fun of pushing myself into the pose and holding it if I didn’t lift my feet up off the floor.  I would never be able to feel proud of myself.  Trying anything new is like that I guess.

How do you push yourself to try new and/or scary things?

Happy Friday my friends!

Friday Night Date With Myself

Today’s Mini Goal: Have fun on my run tomorrow — I am going to just use it as a time to explore, think, and chill out.  Ski trip, sadly, was cancelled again, but I think I’m going to make this run a sort of replacement endurance event.  I’m thinking maybe 18 miles.  Not sure.

Still no run today.  I am happy that I am being honest with myself that right now, I simply don’t want to get my exercise via running.  This feeling tends to surface near the end of a training cycle and I am glad that I have been able to acknowledge it.  For some people, pushing through might be the right thing, but for me, at this point in my life, there is a more important lesson to be found in listening to my mind and body: if running is going to be a source of anxiety for me at this moment, I will not do it; I am already in shape for the half-marathon, and as long as I throw in a few runs a week I will be fine.

Wow.  It seems strange to get so worked up about something so small, but for me, running is a huge part of my life.  At this moment, I need it to bring me peace and joy, and when it is not doing that, I think I need to change things up.  I guess I’ve been in a running rut.  Hopefully it will end soon, but if not, I’ll just have to think up alternative fun ways of moving.  And I am okay with that.

Lunch Smoothie In A Bowl (well, really it was a cup, but who cares):

Mango, banana and orange juice smoothie topped with a crumbled homemade granola bar (Averie’s recipe), almonds, and chobani pineapple (it’s buried).  I added a few spoons of pb too.

My sleeping habits have been super funky lately (by the way, this is totally related to the smoothie in a bowl because I took a nap after eating it).  I try so hard to get on a regular schedule (i.e, get in bed and read at 11, lights out at 12, up at 8), but it just has not been working.  It’s really frustrating because typically what my inability to sleep means is that I drag myself out of bed for class or work at 9, sludge through my day, am too tired to exercise in the evening, then eat dinner at 5 and pass out all evening.  Then, of course, I have to stay up until 3 or 4 am to study and the cycle starts all over again.  I really have tried to maintain a consistent schedule, but I cannot fall asleep most nights.  I’ll take melatonin sometimes, but then I’m realllllllly tired in the mornings.  I saw my doctor today about it and we talked about my daily habits, sleep patterns, medications, etc.  She gave me a prescription for a sedative but said that I need to see the school’s psychiatric services if I want a sleep medication.  I freely admit that my sleep issues probably are psychiatric.  Although I often don’t feel anxious in the evenings, I tend to think really hard about things when I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep.  I’m really not sure what to do at this point; I have a serious family and individual history of insomnia, and my doctor noted that for some people, this is a sort of unsolvable problem that will float in and out of my life always.  My 95 year old grandfather regularly goes days at a time without sleeping; I remember last year when he had just come back from Iran his “schedule” was so off that he was awake almost constantly for something like three straight days and nights.  One of the funniest moments I have ever experienced with him was this past Christmas when we were chatting quietly one evening and he leaned in close and asked me, in a very desperate, almost drug-addict-but-still-extremely-humorous kind of way, if my mother had smuggled him any sleeping pills over the border (most of my family lives in Canada; my mother is a physician).

I have always been in awe of those people, like my dad and sister, who can just fall asleep anytime anywhere.  I crave sleep, but it seems to dislike me most of the time. Okay, sleep rant over.

I took myself out on a little date this evening!  It was pretty much my ideal healthy-but-still-fun Friday night.  I love taking myself out every few weeks.  It’s a nice way to give myself some self-love at the end of a stressful and/or very social week.

1st stop: Yoga! Yoga Vida, which is a lovely little studio near Union Square, like pretty much every other yoga studio in this city, has this stellar deal whereby students get their first week of classes (unlimited) for $5.  Score!  After that, it’s still only $5 a class.  I was muy impressed with this evening’s class.

It was an intermediate/advanced flow.  The class was small and the teacher was quite creative with the poses and series.  We did a lot of chair variations and chaturangas, and we even did this funky crow pose with one leg sort of crossed over the other.  I would definitely go back to this studio.

Also, there was an extraordinarily attractive guy next to me.  He was strong in that yoga-way; sculpted, but naturally so.  I could hardly keep my eyes on my mat.  At one point he did this thing where he went from a handstand, which he had been effortlessly balancing in for like five minutes, directly into a chaturanga.  I can’t really describe it, but it was amazing.  If he would have asked me for some post-yoga tea I most certainly would not have said no 🙂

Next stop: Cookie Friday treat!  No cookie was involved since I gave up baked goods for Lent, but I treated myself to a yummy blended Jamba Juice hot chocolate.  This was one of the few hot chocolates I’ve ever had which tasted like it had some real, serious dark cocoa powder going on.  Me likes.

This was followed by a trip to Trader Joe’s, which was super un-crowded.  I only waited in line for about three minutes.  TJ’s actually has really good prices; I got everything pictured below for just under $50.

In case you can’t see everything, we have brussels, mushrooms, mango, grapefruit, dried pineapple, trail mix (individual packs!!!!!), mixed nuts, pb sandwich crackers, dried hibiscus (!!!!!!!!!!!!), carrot ginger soup, dark chocolate edamame, flax pb, white bean basil hummus (which I saw on Heather’s blog a while ago and have been coveting forever), giant vat of cat-shaped crackers (so fun), and various Greek yogurts.  Is it wrong that my perfect Friday night involves foodie finds?

Close-up on the most interesting item:

Dried hibiscus flowers. See later on in the post for more details!

Dinner was WF cold bar.

Everything was really yummy, especially the spinach-artichoke noodles, but I accidentally consumed an olive, which kind of ruined the whole meal.  Disgusting.  My olive hatred follows closely behind my tomato hatred in its degree of seriousness.

I had a leisurely dinner (followed by some of my newly acquired dark chocolate edamame) with today’s copy of The New York Times.  It was nice to be able to linger and relax.

Once I got home, I had to break open the hibiscus flowers.  The display said “tastes like a fruit roll-up” and it was lying.  These taste infinitely more natural and better than a fruit roll-up.  I actually added one to a big mug of hot water to create a sort of tea and it was so good.  One of the most delicious evening treats I have had in quite some time.

I guess it kind of looks like a weird pink spider, but don’t let that stop you from buying these little gems.  I can’t wait to find all sorts of delicious uses for them.

So that was my Friday night date with myself.  Perhaps a companion might have made it a little better, but I’m content with my singleness for now.

Do you ever like to have a day or evening to yourself?  If so, what do you like to include in it?

Running Stories

Today’s Mini Goal: Get back into my no-nighttime-snacking groove!  I’ve been lax about this lately and want to get back on track.  Snacking at ngiht doesn’t do anything for me — I actually feel better when I don’t do it.

I’ve never started out on a run and had to stop before today.  My tummy was wildly unhappy, so I called it quits after a mile and then just sat on a bench and people watched.  This was very head-clearing and refreshing — I had forgotten how much I like to people watch.  And it was so strange to notice how other runners run!  I walked around a bit after my mile and will do another four tonight on the treadmill (I’m going to be at the gym watching the basketball game with some friends, so I might as well).

Eats:

These are my favorite oats: stovetop oats made with tons of cinnamon, extra water, maple syrup, and chopped up apple.  Topped with a big scoop of peanut butter and a little scoop of pumpkin butter.  I made my oats with apples long before I ever tried making them with banana.  To be honest, I prefer the apple — it gets soft, but not too soft, and gives the bowl a ton of volume and sweetness.  If you’re normally a whipped banana oatmeal kind of person, I definitely recommend trying this for a refreshing morning change!

Haven’t eaten this yet, but will soon.  It’s random WF hot bar stuff — I’m most excited about the weird looking mixture in the upper right hand corner of the first picture (upper left of second).  This is baked sweet potato, apple, and fennel.  Sounds like a superstar combination to me.

I am going to attempt a lot of running this weekend because I have some serious catching up to do.  I need to do a total of 25 miles, so tomorrow will be either ten or fifteen and then Sunday will be whatever I don’t do tomorrow.  This isn’t going to be impossible or anything, I’ve definitely done as much or more mileage in such a short period before, but it will be tough.  I will fuel myself with lots and lots of oatmeal!

I actually did 40 miles in three (or four?) days once before.  I was in Marin County (supposedly the trail running capital of the world), just north of San Francisco, for a wedding this past August with my mom and sister.  We stayed at this rustic little bed and breakfast and hit the trails a LOT.  One of my best running stories ever came out of this vacation…

Storytime: Running Disaster

My mom, my sister, and I love taking active vacations — hiking, skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing.  This particular vacation was going to be mostly about hiking.  Well, running for me.  This is where this story’s problem lies: my mom and my sister hike.  I run.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind the occasional hike.  But if I’m going to be spending several days in an area with tons of beautiful trails, I’m going to want to do some serious running.  I like gliding by redwood groves or powering my way up a dusty pasture hill.  I like feeling strong in the wilderness, and hiking just doesn’t usually give me that feeling of euphoric energy and intensity.

On our last day, we headed out to an area of trails along high ridges that went variously through cattle pastures, forests, and beautiful, dusty meadows.  It was one of the most gorgeous areas I have ever run in.  We started around two or three in the afternoon, parking our rental car along the side of the road.  We only had one set of keys, which my mom and sister took — I think we thought they would be back first.  I had my running waist pack with my phone, some cash, water bottle and shot blox.  I planned on doing 16-18 miles (the trail was about nine miles out one way).  My mom and sister were planning on doing a sort of loop on one of the trail’s many off shoots.  I knew I would be really thirsty when I got back to the car, since I only had my one bottle and it was relatively warm, but I had a huge, full nalgene waiting for me, so I wasn’t too worried.  We made our way through a series of narrow gaps in a maze-like wooden fence (designed to keep cows off the road, I believe) and I started running up what was probably the biggest most exhausting hill I have ever encountered.  It just never ended.  there would be brief flat parts, then you would look up, only to realize that there was much, much more.  I had to walk a few times.  The way out was scattered with similarly grueling uphills, but it was so beautiful that I didn’t care.  At one point, you went from field to redwood forest (almost rainforest-esque) within just a few tenths of a mile.  It was absolutely wonderful.

I decided to turn around somewhere between mile seven and eight; I knew I was running 12 or 13 minute miles because of the brutal terrain.  I relized that I would be done in a little over three hours, which would mean that I’d finish a bit before my mom and sister — I think we had planned on three and a half to four.  Whatever, I’d survive.

The way back was much easier and a bit faster than I’d expected; there were far more downhills and my tired legs were finally loosening up.  My first moment of terror occurred just about a half mile from the end.  I was descending the huge hill I had struggled to make my way up at the beginning, and suddenly I was surrounded by massive cows.  Everywhere.  And not just any cows.  No.  These were angry mama cows defending their babies.  They looked like they weighed a good 2000 pounds each.  I didn’t really know what to do.  Should I turn around and see if there was another path back to the road?  Should I run through them really fast?  Should I just go very slowly?  I chose option number three and kept trotting along down the path.  I wasn’t sure if I should look the cows in the eyes or not.  I felt like they were staring me down.   I tried to appear as non-threatening and small as possible, and eventually I made it safely to the gate, albeit with a slightly quickened heart rate.

As expected, my mom and sister weren’t there yet.  I knew I had another thirty or forty minutes and I was getting really thirsty.  My water had run out around mile 12 or so.  There were a few other hikers coming in and out, and I got really desperate and asked one sweet older guy if he had any water (my full nalgene is inches away from me, in the locked car), but he hadn’t brought any that day.  I kept seeing people coming over the top of the hill, but it was never my mom and/or sister.  An hour passed.  I was really thirsty.  My phone was dead (the battery drained really quickly, probably because I was in the middle of nowhere and it had to work extra hard to stay on).  I had to go to the bathroom.  I was tired.  An hour and a half passed.  The sun was setting.  I went to the bathroom on the side of the highway.  It was officially dark.  Two hours passed.  A man and his two sons passed on their bikes and I asked them what time it was.  I think it was like eight o’ clock by then.  More time passed.  I started panicking.  I was absolutely sure they had been eaten by mountain lions and we would never find their bodies.

I realized I was going to have to flag down a car, on this dark stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere in California, and try to get help.  I was afraid that if I got the wrong person’s attention, I would end up hacked into pieces in some faraway barn.  I thought I saw a police car, but it passed before I worked up the courage to wave. Finally I saw a high end station wagon with a woman driver and a kid in the backseat.  Perfect.  I waved at her and she pulled over.  I asked her if she had a phone I could use ; I called my mom’s phone and she said she and my sister were “lost”, but that they “thought” they were making their way back.  Typical.  My mom and sister have the worst senses of direction ever.  My blind great uncle Ahmed, who has never set foot in the US, probably would have been better off in this situation.  It was that bad.

The poor woman realized that I was distressed as I burst into tears and told her that my mother and sister were lost in the wilderness.  My mom lost her signal after a minute or two, but had said something about crossing a bridge that said she was a mile away.  The woman stayed with me for a while and probably single-handedly saved me from having a heart attack, thank God.  After a while I told her I was pretty sure they’d be back soon, and she left.  About twenty minutes later, there they were, walking along the side of the road.  I have no idea why or how they ended up on the road as opposed to the trail, but they were back, they clearly hadn’t been attacked by mountain lions, and I had never been so happy to see my family members — or to have a bottle of water — in my life.

By the time we got into the “town” we were staying in, all the “restaurants” AND grocery stores were closed, so after this epic ordeal, we had to eat instant oatmeal for dinner.  Fabulous.

That’s my best running-gone-wrong story!  What’s yours?

PS — Averie is giving away a jar of coconut peanut butter!  Two of the best things on earth, combines into one.  Sounds good to me!

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