354. Random Thoughts Thursday

I could probably write  a separate post for everything here, and I probably should for content, but I don’t feel like it.  So instead I present you with a bunch of randomness currently on my mind.

Last weekend was quite the weekend for me.  It was full of all kinds of firsts.  I ran 16 miles for the first time (along with 14 and 15 miles along the way!) I shot a gun (multiple guns actually) for the first time ever, and I made homemade bagels for the first time. (FINALLY! I’ve only been talking about making homemade bagels for about 3 years now!) It was quite an impressive weekend really.

The boy owns guns and likes to go shoot them with his buddies. I have no interest in guns and even less interest in shooting them. Plus, I’m a disaster on my own; I don’t need to be a disaster with a deadly weapon in hand. But I know the boy likes guns, and I knew he would REALLY like it if I went shooting with him one day. So for Christmas I applied for my FOID card (Firearm Owners ID – It’s an Illinois thing. Illinois loves it some gun laws.) and gave the boy a copy of the application along with a note promising to take him shooting once I received my FOID. We finally picked a weekend and went. Honestly, I was surprised by how nervous, uncomfortable, and just plain scared I was to begin with. When we walked into the range, I would flinch or jump every time someone would fire a shot. I was on the verge of tears for at least the first 20 minutes simply because that’s how I most often react to the stress of nervousness/ being uncomfortable. Ultimately I had a good time. I would definitely go again but probably not anytime soon. Nik puts up with a lot of my ridiculousness (and my various kitchen experiments) so it was nice to do something that was really all for him.

I don’t know if I was feeling extra ballsy after my adventures with guns or if it was just fresh in my mind because I found a recipe when I was pulling recipes from old issues of Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times to add to my recipe binder, but I decided I was also going to make homemade bagels on Saturday.

I used this recipe from the November 2011 issue of Cooking Light. I’m not sure why I waited so long to make my own bagels, but I’m glad I finally did this because these bagels were AWESOME! I stuck to the recipe pretty closely to make sure they came out right, but I did make a few minor changes:

  1. I left out the barley malt syrup because a) I didn’t have any and b) I didn’t feel like trying to track it down. The recipe says you can leave it out so I wasn’t worried.
  2. I brushed the bagels with egg yolk thinned with water. I also topped half of them with salt, minced onion, poppy seed and sesame seeds to make everything bagels.
  3. I only made 11. I had 6 that were about 3.5 oz and 5 that were about 4.5 oz. I could have cut down all the 4.5 oz bagels to make a 12th bagel, but I was too lazy.
  4. I baked for almost twice the suggested time. I cooked them until golden brown on top and hallow sounding.

I totally rocked my February Challenge, and I feel like a rock star for it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you know how good I am at failing at my fitness challenges.  Last month, I killed.  I blew my goal of 175 activity points (which I increased about a week into the challenge from the original 150 points) out of the water clocking in at 212 activity points for the month.  I tracked 26 out of 29 complete days.  I did fall short on my fitness class goal only attending 4 out of 5 classes.  However, that was a scheduling failure rather than me blowing things off.  There are a pretty limited number of classes I can actually attend to begin with since I don’t get home until about 6 in the evening. When you account for my Weight Watchers meetings on Tuesdays, my darts league on Wednesdays, and my training runs on Mondays and Thursdays, I’m left with Friday, Saturday and Sunday for classes.  There aren’t any evening classes on Friday and I run on either Saturday or Sunday.  That leaves me one day a week to do classes and since there were only 4 weeks in February, well…getting to 5 classes wasn’t really realistic with marathon training taking top priority.  What’s important is that I didn’t fall short of the goal simply because I was being lazy.  So because I feel like my challenge was a huge success despite that, I’ve decided to go ahead and reward my successes.   I’ve deviated from my original reward plan though and ordered How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (the reward for my bonus weight loss goal) instead of the fitbook.  There is a method to my madness though kids.

The reason I went ahead and ordered the cookbook instead of the fitbook is because I’m following Michelle’s lead and going for a Meatless March.  Back in September 2010, I made the decision to stop eating animals.  I never proclaimed myself a vegetarian because I expected to eat meat again, and I have.  Lately though, I’ve been wanting to get back to a primarily meatless diet.  This seemed like a great way to do it!

I signed up for my fifth half marathon yesterday.  The Rock n Roll race series was offering a Leap Day discount of $29 off any race.  I’m usually able to pass up a deal, but that’s a really great discount.  I decided to snap it up and registered for the Chicago Rock n Roll half marathon on July 22nd.  I was hesitant to sign up since I hate running in the heat.  (Really, I just hate the heat.)  But it was hard to pass up such a deal, especially when it would be an encore performance, and a chance to kick ass, of my very first half marathon.

Last week I decided to impulse buy a cast iron skillet, a cast iron grill pan and The New Rules of Lifting for Women off Amazon.  I haven’t used the skillet yet, but I’m a fan of the other two items thus far.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Have a happy Thursday!


346. Goals, Goals, Goals: February 5 Challenge

I didn’t set any specific January goals; I just chose my verb for the year. (It’s dare in case you don’t remember.)  However, this month it’s back to goals, goals, goals.   I’m going back to a numbers based challenge like my December to Remember, but on a slightly smaller scale.  I’m also focusing on my verb by picking goals that require me to push myself a little bit.  And of course I’ve got myself a clever challenge name.

February 5 Challenge

This month’s challenge revolves around the number 5 because my ultimate goal for February is to be down 5 pounds.  However, losing 5 pounds is not actually one of my goals.  It’s so of a bonus goal.  The hope is that reaching my 5 goals for the month will get my to the 5 pound mark.  I’ll be tracking this month’s goals on Laura’s group tracking sheet (BOTD February Challenge Tracker) so be sure to check that often.

The Goals

  1. Earn 150 activity points
  2. Track 25 complete days
  3. Complete 5 items on my Mission 101 list
  4. Attend 5 group fitness classes
  5. Do 5 strength training sessions

The Reward

If I reach all 5 goals, I’m going to buy a Fitbook.  I love the concept, and people who have them seem to love them.  I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting one, but I’ve yet to commit to buying one.  I’ve always got a zillion tracking options so I don’t really need the Fitbook, but I love the idea of them especially for tracking workouts.  Mostly, I probably just want to play around with it.

If I reach my goal of 5 pounds lost I’m going to buy How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  I’ve had this cookbook on my wish list or a while, but I always talk myself out of it because Do I really need another cookbook?   However, I’ve been doing a great job of making recipes from my cookbooks over the last two month so another cookbook is totally in order!

334. December to Remember Weekly Update 2

Alright, executive decision has been made: December to Remember Challenge updates are now being posted on Tuesdays.  I should know well enough by now that I’m really not a weekend blogger.  I just don’t have/ make time for it.  Oh well, an update is an update right?

I’m still struggling with the fitness side of the challenge.  Remember back in, like, September when I joined a gym that was supposed to be opening in mid- to late November?  Well, November came and went and the gym hadn’t opened.  However, I was then told the grand opening date would be December 15th.  So, truth be told, I planned this challenge around the expectation that my gym would be open for at least half the month of December.  This was where I was planning to get most of my strength training and cross training done.  Well, it’s not December 20th and this gym still is not open.  I called the location, and they told me it would be open this Thursday.  I emailed X-Sport corporate, and they told me the 26th.   In any case, the point is that I’d been counting the gym to be open and it isn’t which means I’ve had to get creative on my cross training and strength training.  I’ve been taking the dog on longer evening walks, and I’ve been running up and down the stairs in my condo at the suggestion of Laura.  (I’m also pretty sure my neighbors think I’m bat-shit crazy.)

The one area I’m lacking in most is miles run which is a bit ironic as I figured that would be a piece of cake goal.  I’m trying to be positive about it, but I think it’s almost unrealistic to hit that goal at this point…at least without injuring myself.  Oh well, I’m going to try.  The month ain’t over yet.

The Goals

  1. Run 75 miles – 15/75 (20%)
  2. Cross Train 250 minutes – 115/250 (46%)
  3. Strength Train 150 minutes – 40 /150 (27%)
  4. Hold a 2 minute plank – 45 seconds
  5. 2 “real” push-ups – I can get halfway down and back up twice
  6. Hold a 90 second wall squat – 45 seconds
  7. Track food/ points 25 complete days – 19/25 (76%)
  8. Make 15 new healthy recipes from my cookbook stash – 7/15 (47%)
  9. 160 servings of fruits and veggies. – 100/160 (63%)


332. December to Remember Weekly Update 1.5

I know I’ve owed you a December to Remember updated since Saturday.  Sorry friends.  It was a crazy gingerbread filled weekend that ended with my car being trapped in my garage.  Sounds like fun right?  Well, it was a blast until that last part.  Anyway, I do have an update for you all.  I have to admit; I’m off to a bit of a slow start especially on the fitness side of things.  I really need to pick it up because I desparately need more winter gear!

The Goals

  1. Run 75 miles – 7/75
  2. Cross Train 250 minutes – 70/250
  3. Strength Train 150 minutes – 20 /150
  4. Hold a 2 minute plank – 45 seconds
  5. 2 “real” push-ups – I can get halfway down and back up twice
  6. Hold a 90 second wall squat – 45 seconds
  7. Track food/ points 25 complete days – 11/25
  8. Make 15 new healthy recipes from my cookbook stash – 5/15
  9. 160 servings of fruits and veggies. – 54/160

I promise an actual Saturday morning update this week!

311. The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome

First order of business:  Go check out the Blogger Bake Sale Jessica at Healthy Dairyland is hosting to raise money for the Chrons and Colitis Foundation of America.  You can big on my delicious pretzel rolls and lots of other tasty treats.  The Bake Sale goes until 4pm CST.

Moving right along, on Wednesday I mentioned that I had some really terrible workouts last week.  I didn’t do a good job getting my strength training in, but even more upsetting is the terrible runs I had.

Tuesday I was supposed to run 4 miles, but I only managed to get through 2 before calling it quits because I felt absolutely awful.  I felt slow and sluggish and had some pain to the right of my left hip.  I wanted to keep going, but I had nothing in me.

Thursday I skipped my run all together because I was just feeling miserable.  I couldn’t even convince myself to go for a short run.

Sunday’s long run was a disaster.  I had 8 miles on the training plan, but I decided to run the 9.4 mile loop trail near the boy’s house.  I walked the first half mile to warm up, and by mile 4.5, I was so done.  I ended up calling the boy to pick me up after 5 miles.  I seriously underestimated the intensity of the sun, and the tail I was on is not particularly well shaded at all.  I already get really warm when I’m running, and I may or may not have been on the verge of overheating.  In retrospect, I’m glad I managed to get 5 miles in, but I felt really defeated at the time.

I actually felt like all three of those things were possible.

This week has been a total 360 so far.  I’ve had some of the more amazing runs in my life.  I’ve rocked my strength training.  I’ve felt strong and motivated.  Yesterday I ran, did core work, and did some yoga even though all I wanted to do when I got home from work was park it on the couch.  Tuesday morning, I ran the fastest 3.1 miles of my life!  I have no idea where the sudden speed is coming from, but I’m certainly not complaining about it!

Tuesday, I ran 3.1 miles averaging a 9:25 pace.  Yesterday I rant 2.5 at an average pace of 9:42.  Tuesday I was definitely pushing myself.  It hurt a little, but yesterday I didn’t even realize how fast I was actually moving.  It felt like a perfectly comfortable pace, and I easily could have maintained it for at least another mile.

I don’t really know what changed in the course of two days.  I’m sure it could be one of a million different factors, but either way I’ll take it!  I have a 5K on Saturday.  I was originally planning to take it easy, but given my recent burst of speediness, I’m wondering if maybe there’s a legit 5K PR on the horizon? 

Oh, and one more thing.  I got an email about the 2012 WI Marathon and Half Marathon.  Apparently this year’s cheese medal will double as a bottle opener.  I’m pretty sure the decision to run this race in 2012 has just been made.

298. Fit Friday What?

Remember when I used to do Fit Friday posts?  Oh yeah, me too!  I’ve been trying to put together a post for my run along the Hudson while I was on vacation, but I haven’t had time to sit down and sort through the pictures and decide which ones to use in my post.  I promise I will post that next week.

I’ll even pinky swear it.  (Now you know I’m serious.)

In the meantime, I do owe you all an update on my strength training challenge that ends, well, tomorrow, actually.  (I had to reference my original post for that bit of info which should give you an indication of how well this challenge is went.)

See up there where I said it went well?  Yeah, I was lying.

Actually, it started out really well, and I did a great job while I was on vacation.  I was actually 100% successful on vacation.  It’s when I got home that things fell apart which frankly just seems bass-ackwards to me.   

I’m definitely frustrated with myself here.  (In case all my snark didn’t give that away!)  I’m at a point where I actually feel totally clueless on how to get myself to stop blowing off my strength training.  Every time I find a method that I think is going to work, I do really well for a week or two then I quit all together.

They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Well, I guess I’m just a little bit insane because I’m trying this again in the month of September.  Same rules apply with one change: every Friday, I’m going to plan out the next week’s strength training.  I’m not just going to pick the days; I’m going to pick the routines too.  They can still be anything I want, but I must decide in advance.  If I do not post my routine, please get on me about it.

I’ve also better prepared myself to plan my workouts.  I went through my gigantic stack of Women’s Health Magazines (aka the magazine subscription that just won’t end!) and tore out all the workout routines.  I’ve also printed the guides from some of the SparkPeople workouts and copied the recipes from Smart Girls Do Dumbbells.  All of these things are going to be put into a binder (They’re currently in a neatly sorted pile.)  so Sgt. Pepper can’t snack on them.  I’ve also, also started an Evernote notebook devoted to collecting links for online videos and routines.

I’m going to establish a strength training routine if it kills me…and at this rate, it just might.

285. Fit Friday: Fitness Challenge, The Next Generation

I’m trying to get my posts up in the morning, but I’ve been crazy busy (at work and at home) getting ready for vacation that today’s post is a little late.  C’est la vie

Truthfully, I’ve had some trouble coming up with my next fitness challenge.  After the epic fail of strength training portion my last fitness challenge, I knew I wanted this challenge to focus on that.  My main goal with these challenges is to get myself to establish a routine I can stick with.  The last challenge was a great success in getting me to run regularly and incorporate some biking.  Since the challenge completion, I’ve been maintaining my 3 days of running and 1 – 2 days of biking each week.

Clearly the highly structure, daily approach to strength training that I took in my last challenge didn’t work for me so this time I’m trying the opposite end of the spectrum.  I’m giving myself almost complete and total flexibility under the following 4 guidelines:

  1. Minimum 20 minutes of strength training, 3 days a week.
  2. Strength training can be done as one upper body, one lower body, and one core session or three total body sessions.
  3. Strength training sessions cannot be done on back-to-back days to allow myself time to recover.
  4. I can do any strength training workout I’d like. (e.g . Yoga, CoreFusion, SparkPeople videos, circuits, workouts from magazines, Smart Girls Do Dumbbells work-outs, etc.)

That’s it.

The Challenge will run July 24th – August 27th.  I’ve printed a blank calendar to check off the days I do my strength.  To get my yet-to-be-determined reward, I have to meet these guidelines at least 4 out of the next 5 weeks and complete a minimum of 12 workouts.  This will be especially interesting since I’ll be on vacation for basically the first two weeks.  However, since I’ll pretty much have unlimited free time, I’ll have absolutely no excuses.  The hotel and ship both have gyms.  I’m not going to do weekly updates, but I will do an update at the halfway point and of course I’ll let you know how I did at the end.

I’m not creating a cardio portion for this challenge.  My plan is to continue doing what I’m doing and tracking my workouts over on my DailyMile Page.  Technically next week starts training for the Dallas 13.1 race so I will be posting my training schedule for that when I get back from vacation.