Thursday, May 31, 2012

Exactly Where You're Meant to Be

Growing up, there was this fantasy that lies within most girls I'm sure, that finding someone to live happily ever after with is perfect.

Life doesn't really start until you've found perfect. For a long time, I was living my life happily as an independent single woman, but felt very alone without someone to share those moments with. Every trip, tough run, funny thing that happened to me while running errands felt lonely.

I did not feel perfect (or complete). Sometimes, I felt empty no matter how full I filled my days. I was sure that if I never found love, I would a be miserable old maid.

Just as I had began thinking I needed to REALLY push myself outside my comfort zone - going to restaurants/bars alone, trying new activities, volunteering or even leave Eugene - I met Pete.

Over the three and a half years we've been together, I looked forward to the day he would get down on one knee, waiting for things to get really good.

But you know what, it's been great all along. Instead of waiting for perfect to come around, maybe we should start believing that where we are right now is exactly where we're supposed to be. I know many yogis would agree with this philosophy, so it must be right. Right?!

Waiting for the day we'd get engaged was agonizing at times. Honestly, I didn't know what I was expecting, but I knew I was ready for that lifelong commitment.

The interesting thing is, things DO feel somewhat different as an engaged couple. I don't really know why. Things were great before, but now it's as though making a public statement to the world makes it MORE awesome and MORE real. Plus, you get to say fiance and be ridiculous about it. 

I guess my whole point is that in any aspect of life, when I've waited for things to *poof* be perfect, they miraculously never were. Having a ring on my finger didn't erase our quirks, but it did make me more ready than ever to achieve things together as a couple. Jump over hurdles as they come.

In this area of my life, I'm really trying to embrace the moment. Other parts of my life...well, I have some work to do.

Do you guys have any tips for staying in the moment and appreciating where you are in life? For me, the keys to this are 1) telling my friends and family how special they are and 2) doing yoga. For some reason, taking deep breaths and focusing only on my body in a specific pose really allows me to come to a place of reflection and appreciation.

I love what our Lifeforce Fitness teacher Jay says..."Warrior II is the perfect pose because your front arm tells you where you're going, your back arm reminds you of the past and your center is the present and exactly where you're supposed to be." Or something to that effect. ;)

P.S. Yesterday was my 5 YEAR anniversary of this blog. Feels like just yesterday... ha!

Monday, May 28, 2012

What Happens in Vegas...

knocks you out. With social media, what happens in Vegas hardly "stays in Vegas." But anyway...

It was a blast to hang out with girlfriends I hadn't seen in a while. Vegas isn't the most beautiful place or the most peaceful, but it sure can be entertaining.

Bachelorette Jackie on the right

We had so many good laughs, enjoyed the epic people watching, drank plenty and didn't sleep enough. That mixture of good and evil meant there was no exercise for three days and minimal vegetables in my diet, but I survived. Glad I took the Vibrams since they took up little space!

One of the highlights of the weekend was having a late breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi (recommended by Gina).

Located at the front of the Paris hotel & casino, it's a beautiful space inside and out. Because it was a sunny morning, we chose to eat out on the patio.

Annie opted for a bloody mary and got to head to the "Bloody Mary Bar" to put all her fixins in and make it just as spicy as she wanted. So fun!

For breakfast, I went with the market berry waffles and an egg over easy (and a LOT of coffee). 

Everyone loved their food and the whole experience. We finished our brunch around noon and contemplated sitting on the patio for a few more hours and having a late lunch, but they probably would have kicked us out before then...

It was good to see you, Paris. Until next time (hopefully for real)...

For the next few hours we walked along the strip, walked through the Bellagio, Caesar's Palace and through the fancy shops.

When we got to the humungo H&M, I forced us to take a 30 min pit stop for some new tanks. A few of the ones I bought were $4.95 - score!

Two long days in Vegas wiped me out, but I'm so glad I went and got some quality time with the girls. It was nice to see the sun and pool for a bit too.

The manfriend, Lindsey and I went cycling this morning and my legs are now trashed. 42 miles and me riding a little harder than normal (trying to keep up with the fasties, especially on the little hills) did me in. And a full night's sleep and a nap this afternoon still doesn't have me recovered energywise.

It's hard to imagine I was in Las Vegas yesterday morning. It definitely made me appreciate living in such a beautiful part of the country with so much greenery, mountains and the ocean nearby.

I hope everyone had a great long weekend (for the U.S. folks). Next weekend is another bachelorette party for my brother's fiance. Hopefully this four day week will have me recovered by then!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go! 

Most of our high school group of girls are Vegas bound tomorrow morning. I'm super excited for a short getaway to SUN (currently a downpour in Eugene) and the opportunity to see some girlfriends I rarely see!

I've selected my smallest carry on (even though we're flying Southwest - free bag check) to force myself to bring just what I need on this three day adventure.

Stuffed in there I have: two swim suits, three sweat wicking tops (in case I want to run or just hang out in athletic wear), one dress, two tanks, two tops, two pair of shorts, one pair of jeans, two pair of heels and two pair of flats and one pair of Vibrams.

I figured the Vibrams are a nice option since I don't actually KNOW that I'll be working out. If I want to, I can do a run/walk combo in them or easily do a sweatastic circuit workout anywhere I want.

We touch down in Vegas before noon tomorrow so you can bet we'll be poolside shortly after.

My goal is to: have a lot of fun, laugh a TON, use SPF so I don't get fried and drink plenty of H2O (among other things).

My favorite things about Vegas: the people watching and the fact that it's perfectly acceptable to have a drink at anytime of the day. No, that isn't common place in my life, but for some reason the novelty of it in Vegas is just fun.

Viva Las Vegas Workouts
Between my chiropractor appointments and having a short week, I busted my butt on the workout front so I could get the most bang for my workout minutes.

Monday - Fitnessista strength/cardio workout (30 min), which incorporated the Schweaty May Workout plus plenty of mountain climbers, burpees, jump squats, etc. Walk 2.3 miles post work. *chiro

Tuesday - 4 mile run (am), 1 hr ZenSpot HOT yoga w/ lots of twists and glute work (pm)

Wednesday - 5:15 am wake up, 5.75 mile run w/ 1 min pickups, 25 minute Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones DVD *chiro

Thursday - 5:15 am wake up, 4.25 mile run w/ 5 x 600m hard, 25 min bike trainer spin, 20 min core and yoga stretch

After seeing the chiro again on Wednesday, he had the chance to work on my foot and it was awesome. The joint now feels very mobile and "unlocked." This week I really tried not to do my jumping exercises (jump squats, burpees, etc) after my chiropractic appointments so I wouldn't jam things back. It made for early mornings, but was much more efficient than my typical workout schedule.

What are your plans for the weekend? Someday, my goal is to go camping and BBQ like the rest of America on Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My First Time at a Chiropractor

Monday, I went in to see a chiropractor for the first time.

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.  Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. -American Chiropractic Association

When I was younger, I was terrified of chiropractors - the neck popping - ugh, no thank you! Well, now that I'm a bit older and more prone to ailments, I've slowly come around.

The manfriend is a big fan of the chiropractor and goes a few times a year when his back is bothering him to get adjusted. Granted, he should probably do a little yoga (ahem!) and some more preventative care, but that's beside the point.

I went to see Dr. David who is well liked in Eugene. His office was very efficient.

I had my paperwork filled out on Friday (thanks to the documents they provide on their website) AND knew how much my copay would be before I got to the office.

Because it was my first appointment, I had an assessment done to see what areas were issues (one of the assistants used little electrode things down my spine to chart this on the computer).

Then, Dr. David came in and explained chiropractic care, talked about what I'd like to make better (low back, neck, left foot) and felt along my spine. He located a few spots with "subluxations" where my spine was slightly misaligned, possibly from a number of things - sports injuries, falls, poor posture, etc.

What I was hoping to get treated for: Lately, I've been having a bit of low back pain, which sometimes turns into numbness. Then on Friday during lap swimming, my neck was feeling a little tweaked. And my left foot has felt really locked up lately.

I also mentioned that my left shoulder area is constantly locked up and popping thanks to (I think) an old lacrosse injury.

He then explained a bit more, said he felt like my pain could be helped by chiropractic and I let him get to work. With each pop and crack, he explained what was next before any popping or cracking happened.

I just focused on remaining calm and breathing deeply, which helped. The last thing I wanted to do was flinch and cause more pain than healing.

After a few key adjustments, he had me stand up and walk around. It was amazing the free and open feeling I noticed in my back and spine. It's sort of hard to describe, but it sort of felt like everything just had a bit more room to move around.

The adjustments were fairly harmless and did cause some popping sounds, but nothing that was painful. Also, chiros use this table that gives as they do the adjustment so that adds to the noise factor.

Dr. David told me to walk around the block before getting back into my car (and sitting all afternoon), ice if I need to (but no heat) and drink a ton of water. He also warned I might be a little sore for the next day.

He was right. I was a bit sore in my neck area and low back Monday evening and Tuesday. I did use a little ice on Monday night, but now things feel fine.

I'm going back this afternoon as it takes several sessions for your spine to get where it's supposed to stay. I'm sure the circuit workout I did at home this morning didn't do me any favors. :)

Have you ever seen a chiropractor? Did you have good results? I'm curious to see how this next appointment treats me. I'll let you know!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beer Mile

First, I have to burst your bubble by saying that neither I or the manfriend participated in this "race." However, it was quite an event to witness. I've heard of the race before, but this time was my first time spectating a beer mile. 

We brought our health food candy to the track and waited as the runners and their 5% + beer rolled in. 

Swinging the legs was necessary warm up. I mean, we all swing our legs before a big race, right?

Beers were lined up and rules were discussed. Most people brought light(ish) beers in cans, but one brave soul brought bottles of porter - whew!

Soon enough, they were off. Rules: 4 x (chug 1 beer, toss in trash bucket, run 1 lap). Beers cannot be opened before the race as to maintain carbonation.

Throwing up would cost participants an additional lap. No one yacked until after the race, luckily. 
The guy in yellow ended up winning with a time of 7:30. Superman came in 2nd.

By the third and fourth beers, runners were taking the chugging thing more lightly and going with the sipping style. 

While I can't say it's something I plan on doing in the near future, it sure was a blast to watch. No one got hurt, no one took it too seriously and everyone was smiling at the end.

Caesar me! 

Friday night, the manfriend was out having fun with the guys so I was on my own for dinner. After some fro yo and a quick stop at the mall, I knew I wanted something fairly light for dinner. 

After seeing this on Ali's blog recently, I knew I wanted to make my own version of a caesar salad. 

I grilled a small piece of chicken on the George Foreman, cut up green leaf lettuce, shredded the parmesan and drizzled some Trader Joe's creamy balsamic on top with a little cracked pepper. And a few Kashi multigrain crackers on the side to finish 'er off. 

This is definitely a keeper for nights you want a satisfying dinner on the lighter side. 

Well, I hope your weekend is ending with a smile. I got in a great bike ride, an awesome yoga class (attempted grasshopper for the first time) and went running. An attempt to buy a commuter bike was also made, but my indecisiveness kicked in. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pizza Research

Last night, the manfriend and I each had tough workouts. He - the "Thursday nighter," that local cyclists treat like a race each week. She - 5 miles of speed work + warm up and cool down. 

As a result, I declared we head out for pizza... at Pizza Research Institute! It's a very cool, funky place with great vegetarian and vegan pizza options. I hadn't been there since college. 

They used to be in a little hole in the wall and now reside in what might have been an old auto repair shop at one time. Love garage doors. 

We opted for the granny smith apple, walnut and gorgonzola pizza. It was great, but not flavor bursting like we had hoped.  

I love trying new places and being pleasantly surprised. PRI is known for their pizza that has slices of juicy peach, broccoli and other goodness on it. 

Now on to Friday Fashion...

This week was Business Commute Challenge week in Eugene, encouraging the community to use alternative methods of transportation - carpooling, walking, biking or taking the bus. 

I managed to ride three days this week. Hello, biking fashion. With a 5.5 mile commute, I have to wear athletic clothes. The work clothes would just get too sweaty and gross. 

Although it's definitely more time consuming to pack everything I need, it's such a pleasant way to commute to and from work. 

Thursday's work outfit was a little sailor inspired.

Sweater: LOFT, pants: JCrew, shoes: can't remember...from Ross several years ago

Have you tried a new to you restaurant recently or any funky pizza combinations? Name one thing you're looking forward to this weekend. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Roller Coaster

Today has been one roller coaster of emotions. Some days are just even steven and others are...not. Jump on and I'll share the ride.

I know we all have these kind of days so I'm just keepin' it real. 

6 am I was up and at 'em to get in a run. As much as I like meeting the running group at the painful hour of 5 am, running by myself is pretty rewarding too.

Sun, blue sky, a perfect morning for a run. 

I could run out here forever...if it weren't for that pesky work thing. 

 Dear sun, I love you. Please don't leave. Ever.




I'm doing the right thing. Go me!

But how the hell AM I going to do it ALL?! At once?! Why didn't I figure my life out sooner?

Time to get my workout on (again). This time at Lifeforce Fitness.

I hope we get our asses kicked tonight. Yup, we did...sprints, circuits, burpees.

Compare. Compare. Compare. She is stronger, faster, more fit, sure of herself. 

Stop doing that! Don't compare yourself to anyone. You are great as you are. 

Compare. STOP! Compare. Tired of comparing. Tired of always feeling like everyone else is sure of themselves and not finding the same sureness within.

Just plain tired. Very very lucky, but tired. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Engagement BBQ & Hula Hoop Exhaustion

Whew! This weekend did me in. I woke up this morning feeling like I could sleep another few hours and that feeling never really went away.

Luckily, a beautiful sunrise shining into your window is more enticing than being greeted by rainy, windy weather. Definitely appreciating that this spring.

Friday afternoon kicked off with a pedicure (I left work a few hrs early) before continuing with errands.   My feet were in desperate need for some serious work. Kind of felt bad for the pedicurist. 

The manfriend spent ALL Friday doing cleaning and yard work. He spread a TON of bark in the yard and made things look about 1,000x better. No longer embarrassed of our front yard. 

Saturday was the engagement BBQ so I spent all morning running more errands - flowers from Trader Joe's, beer, meat and cheesecake at the grocery store, plants/flowers at the local home improvement store. 

It's amazing how, even with a small party, you can spend way more time and money, visit more stores and overanalyze things more than you ever should. 

Because I had so many errands and plenty of cleaning to do, I had to squeeze in my workouts where I could. No Saturday am yoga for this girl!

Instead, I busted out a 30 min heart pounding circuit (similar to Tina's Hooray for Honduras workout). A few hours later after doing some of my chores, I raced out on the bike for an hour of great riding along the river. 

And a few hours later, it was party time. 

The spread... 

To make things a bit easier on myself, I assigned people to bring things to contribute - salad/veggies from grams, beer/chairs/lawn game from the family, side dishes, a gas grill, etc. Seriously. Our charcoal grill would have taken FOREVER to make 20 or so burgers - Thank you, Lindsey and Sonny! 

Danielle brought these bacon maple cookies I mentioned to her from We Are Not Martha. They taste like Sunday morning breakfast in a cookie!


And before everyone left, I had to get a ring shot of Sabrina (my brother's fiance) and I together. I'm in their wedding at the end of June!

Crazy how time flies. I always said Kyle (who is 2 yrs younger) would get married before I did!

We had about 20 people, mostly family and a few local friends. With our small yard and deck, it seemed to be the perfect amount. As the hostess, it's always tough to try and talk with everyone, but it was worth it. The manfriend and I were both happy we decided to have a party.

Sunday was equally as exhausting, but involved even more exercise, sun, food and friends than the day before.

We capped the weekend at another BBQ where runners hula hooping and Elliptigo-ing (so fun!) were perfectly normal. This is Tracktown, USA after all.

How was your weekend?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Inspiring Others

I'm excited to see that Friday has finally arrived, but at the same time it's been such a hectic week that I haven't accomplished nearly anything I wanted to. We had some plumbing issues, which caused me to have to shower at the gym this week, throwing my usual schedule a bit off and making washing dishes impossible.

We're having some people over tomorrow for a little engagement celebration, so I was hoping to have the house spic 'n span by now, but no dice. But thankfully (to the manfriend and plumber's help), we have functioning pipes so that is enough for now.

Now on to the topic of the day...

Last week post marathon and engagement, I received a few emails and comments about how I had inspired others to workout or train for a race.

Hey Lauren, I've been reading your blog for awhile - I actually found it while googleing lunchtime workouts! Just wanted to say congrats on your awesome marathon! Your blog helped inspire me to do my first half last year...and I just signed up for a full yesterday. Thanks for the motivation :)

Jenn from Travelstar

As a blogger with a small(ish) readership, I was shocked and flattered. Not to mention, after you've done something for so long you sort of think of it as "no big deal" and forget that others don't see it that way. 

For example, I hadn't even told my office I was training for the Eugene Marathon because it just didn't occur to me. I'm always running 25-30 miles a week so another 10-20 per week doesn't seem like THAT much more.

When someone asked marathon week if I was training for something and I mentioned Eugene, I think they were all a little blown away.

The point is, no matter who you are or what small thing you're doing good for yourself or others, you never know the difference it can make.

I'm constantly inspired and pushed by others' actions and beliefs and don't always share it with them. If you have a chance to tell someone how much they've inspired you to make a change, do it.  You'll both be better for it.

Sitting outside at 6am Thurs morning reading a new library book. 
Great way to start the day!

On the running front: I was surprised that my knees have still been a bit achey this week and my calves are tight. Runs have been great mentally, but not superb physically. It was great however to get back to Lifeforce and get my butt kicked doing burpees, sprinting and the like.

Wedding Stuff
We still haven't thought too much about location or date. What I do know is that wherever it is, I want it to feel like us. I'd love to choose a location that incorporated nature - rustic lodge, outdoor venue with beautiful backdrops, mountain/water views or an updated barn.

I did find some cool inspiration for engagement parties, but I'm not quite a crafty party planner like that. Hopefully, someday.

I found this to be a pretty hilarious article on the hassle of weddings and being a bridesmaid.

How has your week been? Any advice on wedding planning? Has someone told you they were inspired by your actions - and how did you react?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Overdo it much?

That should be the definition of every weekend for me. I don't exactly schedule in "chilling out and enjoying the weekend" bits of time. Perhaps something I need to work on...

Friday night the manfriend fiance and I sufficiently stuffed ourselves with pasta and wine to celebrate our engagement at our favorite Italian restaurant, Beppe and Gianni's.

There's only so long you can ride the engagement train so you've got to take these kind of photos. 

Saturday morning, I joined about 30 other runners for a little trail adventure because why not?! Well, that 14 mile loop was just too enticing.

The fog and sunrise were doing some cool things along the run that morning.

While I told myself going into it that I could turn around whenever and to only push my body as much as it wants to be pushed, you know I didn't do that. I should have turned around at mile 8 back to the car, which would have been about 10 mi total. But no, I kept going until I finished the whole 14.

Oh well, it was fun and beautiful. And yeah, my quads were screaming on Sunday and still hurt today. Feels like I ran a marathon or something. Whatever, I'll learn.

Luckily, I took an hour nap to try and recover while the manfriend pulled weeds. As much as I needed to be pulling weeds (we have approx. 5.2 thousand of them) to prep our yard for mulch, I NEEDED that sleep.

Sunday, I played Miss Brilliant again and rode 32 miles on my bike (a few of which were hilly) with Lindsey (she's training for Vineman half Ironman). While it was a lot of fun to be on the bike, I felt SO weak. Ugh, guess I know what I can work on this summer...

Another thing I am learning on the bike is that you should ALWAYS bring food. With running, I generally know when I'm going to need food...

5 miles - no food. 12 miles - maybe food and water. 15+ miles - definitely food and water.

But with cycling, you should always have it. After all, tanking halfway through your ride when you still have hills to climb is enough to tempt drivers to make road kill of you.  Moral of the story: I will be bringing food (gel, bar, etc) on my next ride.

Have you learned anything interesting during your training lately? 

P.S. It was 79 deg today in Eugene. I wore white pants despite the fact that labor day is still a few weeks away. We have plumbing issues. Growing up isn't always as desirable as it once seemed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fresh, Fast, Fashion

Happy Friday! I just want to thank you for all of your sweet comments on my last few posts. It's fun to read every single one of them, not to mention hear from some lurkers who hadn't commented before. ;) 

This week I focused on healthy, quick meals to limit my time spent in the kitchen. I've been craving fish for a while so Tuesday after a short trip to the gym, I picked up wild salmon at the grocery store. We don't have it often since it's spendy and not always easy to find good wild salmon. 

In the mix: brown rice/quinoa, asparagus and broccoli, wild sockeye salmon cooked with Trader Joe's soyaki sauce.

As for fashion, last week I put together this outfit randomly and I think it worked. The dress is super comfy so it's just a matter of finding a good jacket or sweater to wear with it for work.

Dress: Ann Taylor, Jacket: LOFT,  Belt: JCrew, Shoes: Old Navy (recent purchase)

I'm not usually good with heels, but I've been needing more shoes to go with summer dresses (hello, wedding season) so I thought these would work well and they're fairly comfy.

Recovery week workouts: 
I thought I'd talk about how I've been recovering since the marathon. My goal was not to run for a week. So far, so good, although I am planning to do a group trail run tomorrow morning. 

Sunday - The manfriend and I walked around a lot after the marathon telling people the news, going to a post marathon BBQ and walking the dog. This definitely helped ease leg soreness the next day.  

Monday - My quads were pretty trashed Monday morning and my hips and knees were a little sore. I hopped on the bike trainer for 40 min for an easy spin before getting an hour massage. 

Post massage, I hung out in Pearl Day Spa's "relaxation room" for a bit. 

Tuesday - Post work gym session - 25 min elliptical, 15 min abs/push ups/stretch. Legs were still feeling sore and I was feeling completely exhausted at work. 

Wednesday - 25 min morning weight session and Mt. Pisgah hike with Lindsey post work. The hike reminded me how peaceful hiking can be even if you are marching up a steep hill in the misty rain. Still feeling exhausted and surprised at how long it takes the body to bounce back. 

Thursday - A fairly sweaty 40 minutes on the trainer before work and 30 minutes of aqua jogging and lap swimming after. 

Overall, I've been surprised at how tired my body has felt both physically and mentally. I think I'm noticing it more because I'm actually listening to my body this time around. 

The entire week, I've felt like my body has been on the verge of a cold so I've been chugging kombucha, downing Vitamin C & Echinacea Halls and taking Emergen-C. 

While I'm mentally ready to run, I'm going to let my body tell me how far to go on Saturday. Although it's taken a long time to get to this place, I feel like I'm finally understanding what my body wants and needs as far as pushing my limits, achieving and then recovering well. 

Any fun plans for your weekend ahead? Good luck to everyone running a marathon this weekend (Vancouver Marathon and Cincinnati Flying Pigs that I know of)!