Sunday, January 27, 2013

A First for Everything

As you may know, I tend to get a bit of anxiety if I don't get a chance to get some exercise in most days. I had meetings in Portland all day Friday and half of Saturday, which required me to be on the road at 6:30 am on Friday.

With a day of meetings and then a reception, I knew there wouldn't be any other time for a workout if I didn't get it in early. So before hitting the road, I headed out the door for a quick run in my neighborhood.

It went something like this:
5 min easy
1 min hard, 1 min easy
1 min hard, 1 min easy
2 min hard, 1 min easy,
1 min hard, 1min easy,
1 min hard
6 min easy

It was raining out, which actually was pretty refreshing for a 5 am wake up call. When I got back inside, I followed it up with five min of strength - push ups, dips, push ups, tricep kick backs and plank.

It was short, but sweet: 21 min of running + 5 min of strength. Adding the bursts of speed definitely made the workout go by faster and feel like I was getting more bang for my minutes if you will.

View from my hotel window

Somehow, I escaped the rain in Portland, which made for perfect city walking weather. I met up with my brother and Sabrina for dinner on Saturday night. The view from my hotel windows reminded me how much I love this city. 

Saturday morning, I also put a quick 30 min session in at the hotel gym with 20 on the treadmill (including speed/incline fun) and 10 min of strength (weighted jump squats, push ups, abs).  It definitely makes me feel a little better about sitting for a few hours in meetings.

Extra! Extra! 
A few months ago, I talked to a writer for an upcoming story in Eugene Weddings about great proposal stories. Ours was one of the three featured in this winter's edition and I finally got my hands on a few copies. It's fun to see it in print.

Honorable mention of the week: 
Pete made his first dinner for me from a RECIPE!

Now, he's made dinner before (spaghetti, Annie's mac 'n cheese, salads, etc), but never something that required buying specific ingredients, prepping and then baking. I was so happy to come home last Wednesday after a short run in the rain and studying at a coffee shop to a warm dinner!

I'm looking forward to see what he comes up with next...

Sorry about the bright light near his head

This was definitely a bit indulgent, but very tasty! In true Sassy fashion, he used about half the amount of cheese, swapped plain yogurt for sour cream and almond milk for regular. I topped mine with a little salsa and added spinach on the side. I especially liked the kick of the green chiles. 

Seeing as how I'm the foodie and enjoy cooking, I do a majority of our meal making around here. But with school getting stressful, I've asked Pete to cook dinner at least once or twice a week so that I can study a bit when I get home from work, running, etc. 

Do you or your spouse do the majority of the cooking or do you take turns? And what about the dish washing? Have a great rest of your Sunday!

P.S. This week The fitnessista starts her Winter Shape Up. I don't typically follow her meal plans, but I love most of her workouts. They are often a nice mix of strength and cardio and have you dripping sweat in 20 min. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Look at me go

or alternatively titled "Watch me fall."

I took Monday pretty seriously in terms of a day off from work. I deemed it "Wedding Planning Day." You see, I've been getting pretty stressed the heck out about my to do list and it was time some of those to do's got DONE!

So, the theme for Monday was progress. Happily, I can say that I checked several things off, even if that does mean there are still more things needed to do on said items (choose the linen color, send payment, etc). Feels good to move down that list!

And then Tuesday was much more of a 'Watch Me Fall' kind of day.

I have an exam on Thursday and far too much to learn or memorize still in 24 hours. So last night, at the library I had a little mental breakdown. It ended with me sobbing on the drive home.

I was physically and emotionally drained. I felt like I could conquer nothing and life was conquering me.

So a few minutes after walking in the door defeated, Pete suggested a bundled walk around the neighborhood (he knows how to cheer me up). And then, I read the paper and finally, rolled out my yoga mat and spent 10 min doing some easy stretching and headstands.

The point is, when you're in a place where everything seems wrong, think of one thing you can do to make it right. On my drive home, I knew I'd be having a date with my yoga mat because it's a great source of relaxation for me.

Here's to starting today on a better foot than yesterday.

For fun, what have you been eating for breakfast? I love hearing what others eat as it's probably my favorite meal of the day. Yesterday, I had overnight oats w/ frozen raspberries, chia seeds, cinnamon and almond butter mixed in.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cascade Half Marathon

The sign you raced yesterday: your muscles and hips are a little sore, your feet are even more sore (I have foot issues) and you could nap at any time. Oh and in my lucky case, you feel a cold coming on.

Jessica and I (high school running friends) chose the Cascade Half Marathon to meet up and race together as it was affordable, conveniently located and worked in our schedules. She convinced me to run track in high school and we've been running buddies ever since.

It was about an hour drive for each of us to meet outside Salem, OR in the small town of Turner for the half. Luckily, they use the school gym to keep runners warm, do packet pick up, etc. Definitely a nice feature for a chilly January race! (I did this race once before in 2008.)

Just before the start... 

Neither of us had trained hard for this race, so we planned on just chatting and running together the entire time. It had been far too long since I had one of those races on my schedule. 

The entire course follows pancake flat country roads. I loved this line of trees. 

The temp yesterday was about 30 degrees with freezing fog. We both had little icicles in our hair, eyebrows and eyelashes by the end.

This course is an out and back so we turned around and ran past the trees again.

Around mile 10, my hips and glutes started feeling the pounding. We finished the race in 1:52:35 (8:36 pace). It wasn't my fastest race, but it wasn't my slowest either. Great way to catch up with a good friend and get a workout in!

We quickly grabbed our dry clothes and headed inside for refueling.

I opted not to fuel during the race other than a few cups of water so my stomach was rumbling by the end. Post race fuel included: chicken noodle soup, oatmeal raisin cookies and a variety of Great Harvest breads (my fav). It was definitely one of the more satisfying post race spreads in my book.

We chatted a bit more and parted ways. As soon as I got home, I crashed for a 45 min nap. That's called serious exhaustion in my book as I'm not a napper. 

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. and Inauguration Days! If you have the day off, are you doing anything special? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Blanket of Fog

Hello, Friday, so nice to see you.

It's been a pretty exhausting week so I'm happy Friday is here. Not to mention, it's been freezing for about 10 days straight (but no rain!) so snuggling up on the couch with a good book my Anatomy & Physiology book and some tea sounds pretty relaxing.

This week, I finally pulled out an oldie, but goodie - my hooded, gloved Adidas running top! One of the best running purchases I've made, even though I cringed at the price back then.

Tuesday night we went to our friends' Sarah and Cory's house for dinner. We brought salad and the best brownies to contribute.

Before I picked up ingredients for the salad, I had to google "Italian salad" to figure out what would go well with the manicotti main dish. I settled on: romaine lettuce, carrot ribbons, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, red onion and kalamata olives w/ poppyseed dressing.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I kept my workouts indoors, but Thursday I headed out into the cold fog for a little speed workout. It looked really cool at the track with such a big group and a blanket of fog surrounding us.

The workout: warm up, drills/strides, 3 rounds of 5 min jogging the curves and sprinting the straights, 800m @ 5K pace and finally a cool down.

This morning, my legs were a bit stiff and sore. I went back to what's worked so well for me in the past - running slow and relaxed for a few miles. After all, I'm hoping my legs aren't too sore for Sunday's Cascade Half Marathon.

Anyone else racing this weekend? Any fun plans or recipes on your mind?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Calm

I've started a few blog posts this week, but haven't managed to get them posted. Posts about running and mindful eating. But those can wait.

Today feels the opposite of "the calm before the storm." Today, I just feel in the storm.

It should be noted that nothing drastic has happened in my life, but a few friends have had upsetting things happen in their lives, work is busier than I'd prefer, studying and reading is weighing on me and well, I don't feel much forward momentum in a lot of areas in life. Oh and just a little thing called wedding planning!

Anyway, today is just one of those days I needed to vent.

I know that I get to make decisions that propel me forward. Often times I get so stuck in weighing the endless possibilities that I'm unable to make a decision.

So, that's that. Here's to just making a decision, being happy and sticking with it!

Currently on my {wedding} brain: caterers, colors, chairs, save the dates, addresses, rehearsal...

Tell me: What's one thing you're looking forward to?
I'm excited that my high school girlfriends are reuniting for our annual weekend of fun in February! In the past, we've met up in Cannon Beach on the coast, but this year we're heading to Hood River, OR outside of Portland for a change. It will be nice to just spend a weekend laughing, relaxing and making meals together.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chicken & Veggie Curry

This weekend was nice. Busy as usual, but relaxing at the same time. I love the weekends that feel longer than they actually are.

A drive to Portland with mom to exchange a few Christmas gifts, a stop by Crate & Barrel to drool over everything in sight and lunch with my brother and his wife was most of my Saturday.  

The weather around here has been in the 20s the past several days, but no snow. It's made running especially tough on the lungs. 

View on the drive to Portland

Saturday, I avoided running outside and did some spinning and strength work indoors. But Sunday, there was no avoiding it. I had my last long run before the Cascade Half Marathon next weekend. 

1 hr 33 min 33 sec run - just plain tiring

And then I finally busted into our new vacuum from the parents. Having a black lab means constantly finding black clumps of dog hair all over the house. Just a few days after vacuuming, you need to do it again. 

As our old vacuum was barely useable, we resorted to sweeping more and vacuuming less, which leaves junk on the rugs. Definitely not my favorite. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that any longer.  

Vacuuming led the manfriend to organizing my little food shelf. Watch out, once the manfriend gets on a cleaning spree, no item gets left unturned. 

A few minutes later, we had a few tidy shelves.

And then we dined, while listening to some pretty impressive Golden Globe speeches. 

Chicken & Veggie Curry
Inspired by Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2011 cookbook
Original recipe: Fall vegetable curry

1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 local, organic chicken breast *optional
1 yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 cup cauliflower
1 med. sweet potato
3 tsp curry powder *I used mild local, organic variety
salt & pepper
Uncle Ben's brown rice
Plain Greek yogurt

I've been wanting to use the crock pot and open my Cooking Light cookbook and actually make a recipe from it. This weekend was finally the time.

I sat down and flipped through the large book, bookmarking the pages with dishes that sounded good. Luckily, most of them are pretty easy to put together and affordable.

After a chilly long run, I chopped up the goods and threw everything into the crock pot. I cut the chicken breast in half to help it cook through. I also added about a cup of additional water so everything didn't dry out. I set the crock pot to cook on low for 5.5 hours.

When ready to eat, just boil some water and cook your rice! When dishing it up, add a dollop of Greek yogurt to each bowl. This is especially helpful if you're doing a spicy curry (helps to tame the heat), but it also goes well with a mild curry flavor.

Not only is this a tasty and healthy dish, it's great for leftovers the next day. Here's to hoping this inspires me to prep other meals this month to sit and simmer all day. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On Top of the World

This past summer, I got to experience something pretty cool. I rented Bolan Mountain fire lookout on the very border of southern Oregon and northern California. The manfriend had a last minute invite to a 24 hr mountain bike race, so I let him go and invited my youngest brother Max to come along.

It was one of those experiences that feels so precious and rare. We were literally on top of the world, or so it felt. We could stand at the fire lookout and see everything for miles in a 360 degree radius.

We picked up the keys at the Ranger Station in Cave Junction, OR and then made the hour or so trek up to the tip top of the mountain.

Unfortunately, the gated 2 mile fire service road up to the lookout was terrifying.

It was narrow, super rocky and steep. Let's just say I was thanking the heavens my brother is a good driver and has a decent truck (and that we hadn't brought my little Corolla).

None of my photos did the road justice. There were tight turns where Max had to make 3-4 point turns.

And the final challenge, was the 100 or so stone steps you get to haul your stuff up to the lookout (or come down to use the outhouse).

 And there we were - 6,242 feet above sea level.

On top of the world. That little road in the lower left is what eventually brought us to the lookout. 

After looking around and putting away our stuff, we read a little history about the lookout.

And with nothing else to do, we decided to hike the 2 miles down to Bolan lake.

We even took a dip in the lake, which wasn't too icy cold. 

As the sun went down, the temperature dropped quickly. We made a gourmet meal of things I figured wouldn't need a cooler/fridge. Annie's mac 'n cheese w/ almond milk, broccoli and red onion. 

While we had cell service (there was a tower right next to the lookout), we entertained ourselves by playing a few board games that were left behind, by headlamp. And then stargazing on the deck. It was nice to unplug and just hang out with my bro.

The sunset was awesome, but the sunrise was epic.

Crazy how the mind gets quiet without all the distraction. 

From up here, life seems more precious and the possibilities seemed endless. 

If you ever get the chance (and are willing to brave the drive to one), do it. $50 or so gets you one hell of a nights' stay and some serious solitude in a world of flurry, goals and stress.

We read stories (in the guest books) of folks who had returned to this exact lookout year after year to celebrate anniversaries with spouses, have a personal retreat or just unplug. Pretty cool. So there you go, 24 hours of adventure on top of the world. 

What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done? Or a moment of complete and total relaxation?

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Good Stuff

Well, the holidays are officially over! I have a few posts brewing in my head, but it hasn't all bubbled up yet so I figured I'd write a bit about the random things that I've been enjoying lately.

I'm loving this lotion these days - Falling in love by Philosophy. Thank you for the gift, Jenn!

This stuff smells so good that I keep sniffing my wrists throughout the day. 

These chips are a new favorite! In my book, the crunchier the chip, the better. They don't have a ton of flavor, but they're perfect when paired with a pineapple or black bean and corn salsa. 

 Trader Joe's, you always know the way to my heart (er, stomach). 

*I'm glad Jillian Michaels is back on the Biggest Loser. She means business. It's also nice to see the show incorporate children and talk more about our nation's obesity epidemic.

It can be easy to ignore the food you put in your mouth or the extra lbs as they begin to stack up, especially if the people around you support your unhealthy habits. I know I'm not the vision of perfect health, but also I know that some people really need a wake up call and the Biggest Loser seems to do just that.

*I devoured Blackberry Winter last weekend. The very same thing happened to me when I read Sarah Jio's Violets of March. And let me tell you, I am not someone who rips through books on a regular basis.

Seriously, read it. 

*While I haven't been following a training plan per say, I still managed to get in 38 miles of running last week! On New Year's Eve, I got off work early and opted to run a 10 miler. I love the runs that feel like fun and not a chore (which are most runs these days).

This week will be a bit of a step back as the body needs a little more cross training and I start winter term tomorrow - anatomy & physiology, here I come. 

*Saturday, I invited a bunch of friends to share the day running on the McKenzie River trail, soaking at Belknap hot springs and finally having dinner at La Perla pizza. I loved every minute of it.

I was very grateful to be surrounded by so many friends and  run  slip and slide through the snow on one of my favorite trails.

And there you have it. I'm feeling grateful, my legs are tired, my belly is full and I smell good. What's new in your world this week?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Birthday!

Today is the big 3-0 for me! My birthday has always come at a busy time as everyone's just coming off of Christmas and New Year's and then bam, hello birthday. Not to mention, the manfriend and I had our first date on January 4th so our anniversary is also thrown in there. Not that I mind reasons to celebrate, but sometimes I'd like to spread out the party-party. 

I think I said this with every other twenty-something birthday, but thirty really feels like an adult age. Like you're supposed to have it all figured out. Now, I know this is NOT the case (life is a journey), but still... each birthday seems to come with expectations of what one should be doing in life, love and career. Eh, c'est la vie!

This morning I woke up to a fun birthday gift thanks to Pete and my mom - an ipad mini! I'm officially entering the reader/tablet world. I'll be honest, it's a bit intimidating. 

I kicked off my birthday and the new year with a fun workout. I took the day off so I was able to get to the morning Lifeforce Fitness class. The temp this morning was 25 degrees (but sunny)...very unusual for Eugene.

My fitness goal for today was:
  • 30 minutes (of running)
  • 30 burpees
  • 30 push ups
  • and of course 30+ of whatever else Jay threw at us in class

I ran a bit before and after class for a total of 35 min, did 30 burpees in class + 10 on my own, 30+ tricep dips on the box, 30 push ups, assisted pull ups, chest press, obliques, a little yoga flow and a few other odds and ends. Already feelin' it! 

River path on my run this morning

Other than the workout, my day was fairly uneventful - coffee shop to do some reading, library, errands, meeting up with my good friend Jenn, etc. 

Wedding decoration ideas via library book

But you know what is exciting?! I found and ordered my wedding dress last week! Of course, I can't show you any photos until after the wedding, but I'm very relieved to have that off my plate. 

I was originally planning on taking a trip to Portland with my mom this month, but I popped into a small local shop here in Eugene, found one I loved (within my budget!), and decided to save myself the stress of further searching. Now on to more decision making and party planning!

A Baking Sidenote
Yesterday I had a hankering to bake so I made cinnamon rolls (Eat Live Run's sweet potato recipe). Subbed canned pumpkin for the sweet potato.* After all, you have to celebrate the new year somehow.  

We've already made our way through at least half of these. 

Drizzled with a little bit of icing...

Let me tell ya, these are divine! So divine that I had to freeze some to save for later. Don't ask me when these holiday treats are supposed to end. Seems like they're here to stay for a little while (in addition to those few extra holiday lbs).

*In addition to the pumpkin substitution, I added a few raisins inside and roasted pecans to the top.

Sorry about the all over the place post. As you can see, I'm diving into 2013! It's going to be a good one. For those of you with an ipad/iphone, any favorite apps you love? I have a smartphone, but don't download or use very many apps. 

P.S. I totally dropped the ball on Decembers' #FMSphotoaday, but I'm back on for January. You can follow my photos on instagram or twitter. Happy New Year!