Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

Taking a quick break from drowning in paperwork to write this (aka on break at work) – I’m going to try and start a new type of post every Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays, they’re usually my biggest slump day of the week. Maybe that’s just me, but, Tuesdays are my “in desperate need of something to cheer me up” days. They also happen to be my biggest retail therapy day. Keep me away from Ann Taylor and TJ Maxx on Tuesdays. And the internet in general.

So, I want to try and compile a list of things that perk me up each Tuesday – whether they be something cute I saw online (buyable or no), an article that I read and really enjoyed, something nice that happened, or just an inspirational quote I ripped from my Pinterest board. Whatever. Probably better to show than tell:

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

3 Simple Tricks to Improve Running Form (And Have the Best Run Ever)
3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good

Finding out what shin splints really are...

Finding out what shin splints really are…

These article, from Greatist, were short and to the point but the tips were great and better yet, information I didn’t already know. I’ve complained about it before I’m sure but I have a tendency to struggle with shin splints whenever I’m running a lot – I’ve learned they’re mostly from my stride and overworking myself. Luckily, though I had some pretty severe shin pain after running Friday, I was way more mindful yesterday and today and it’s completely gone (phew!). I genuinely love running and I hate when I have to cut back because my muscles are pulling away from the bone. Btw, yeah, that’s what shin splints do. And stress fractures, for those curious, are when the muscle pulls part of the bone away with it and – yeah. I’m grossed out too. So, I don’t want that. And the author of these short articles (seriously, check them out, even if running isn’t your favorite thing), Jason Fitzgerald, is a certified track coach so if he doesn’t know what’s up with running, we’re all screwed.

Mod Cloth’s Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy

CaddyI do not need this but it is easily the one of the cutest effing things in the whole entire world. My next place may (read: most definitely) have a woodland creatures-type theme. It’s okay, just call me Snow White. Can be found for purchase here: Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy. ModCloth’s home decor section in general is awesome – though a little price-y for a lot of cute but silly knick knacks. Don’t get me wrong, I troll their page endlessly and suggest everyone go check it out.

 

Fitness Blender

Not my photo, obviously.

My friend Meara first told me about this website and I finally checked it out. And it is AWESOME. You can search for workouts by the amount of minutes you are willing to scrounge together, the amount of calories you’re willing to let go of, even the part of the body you would most like to improve. FYI, there is no such thing as “spot reducing” so if you looking to lose fat from your abs specifically, it’s not going to happen. You’ll just lose weight in general. But if you want to actually strengthen your core, you know what kind of exercises to look up. I felt the need to throw that info in there. I’m just a wealth of knowledge today, aren’t I? So this website is created by a married couple that look like they make all of their friends on social media jealous and it’s pretty awesome. So far, it looks free too so it sounds like an all around win to me. I spend a lot of money on a gym but you really have a lot of options when it comes to home workouts.

Lastly and on a completely unrelated note, I’m a huge horror/thriller/suspense movie fan. I love ’em; love being scared, adrenaline-racing, edge of my seat, holy shit holy shit holy shit scared. So on Halloween, Beau and I rented a horror movie called Dark Skies to watch, then ended up falling asleep because we’re really exciting people. I still wanted to see it so I watched it alone the next night and you guys it’s about aliens. I love ghost movies, and it was from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious so I thought, “Oooh scary ghostie movie!” I was so wrong. They showed the aliens. They had the long thin appendages and big heads and big eyes and seriously it was the most incredibly wrong turn a movie that showed promise could make. Aliens. Aliens. STOP IT.

– a.

That time I threw my scale at the wall

I disappeared for a bit, but only because I’ve been incredibly busy! The last few weeks have been full of work, working out, and as much time spent with friends and family as possible. In some cases, the best way for me to work through things is alone; after all, I’m someone who craves solitude. But, recently, getting out and doing things has really helped me to feel satisfied at the end of the day. Now that I’m really committed to getting in the best shape I can, my evenings are full of burpees, fast feet, sprints, V-ups, and the dreaded pull up bar. I have never, and I mean ever, been able to do a pull up. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but in all my active years, those muscles were never ones I worked on often. But, lucky for me, one of the instructors I really like (his classes are always upbeat, he’s full of energy, and his classes don’t murder my knees) always tries to incorporate pull ups.

This hasn't happened yet but I'm expecting it.

This hasn’t happened yet but I’m expecting it.

How strange, to feel trepidation at something as silly as a pull up bar. Before pull ups, it was push ups. Before that, sprints. But the more I work at something, regardless of how challenging, the more I look forward to the challenge. I think I should probably add mountain climbers and squat jacks to that list. Another trainer that I really enjoy loves to combine those and it makes my poor knees cry. But all this pain and growth has played a vital role in finding and better understanding myself. Who honestly enjoys admitting their shortcomings? Not me. But I have to.

I don’t have great knees, thanks in part to my own stupidity. I dislocated my knee in college one night at like 4:30 in the morning. My leg gave out, completely out of the blue, and I found myself laying on ice in starburst-worthy pain. I looked down, saw my right kneecap sitting at a 90 degree angle from where it belongs, and promptly shoved it all the way back into place. That was the first time I’ve actually been in such acute pain I almost threw up. I then got to drive my car across the parking lot to the first open spot available (I forget why I was all the way up at the full front…something stupid I’m sure) using my left foot, and limped across the entire parking lot screaming bloody murder and leaning on cars. I then hopped up two flights of stairs, wrapped my knee in sweaters and raised it on a pillow, and fell asleep. I called my mom the next morning to let her know what I ‘thought’ happened…like what else do you call the definite dislocation of your knee? After being completely appalled that I hadn’t sought medical attention yet, she drove up and drove me to the hospital, where I’m pretty sure they tortured me, then prescribed me Vicodin and a leg stabilizer. Thanks, hospital. Being the smart person I am, I worked on my healing knee as a server, using painkillers to make it bearable. I do think, to some extent, working on it has helped it from swelling and rebuilt strength more quickly, but I

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I'm not a careful person.

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I’m not a careful person.

definitely notice that my knees respond to high impact body work a lot more quickly.

Other than that, I managed to get thrown from a four wheeler in the middle of the woods directly onto my back two years ago. How I didn’t break my back/neck/smash my head against a tree/crack my head open/etc. is an honest-to-god miracle. The two guy friends I was with, one being my old roommate, thought for a few seconds that I had died. Did I ever seek medical attention? Of course not. What did I do? Get up, ride back to the campsite (aka my roommate’s backyard), take some ibuprofen, and continue to drink and camp with friends. I then went on vacation for a week, during which I didn’t have full range of motion and mysterious swelling in various places on my back. Common sense all around.

Lastly, last summer, in the wake of a break up, I was running a lot to help get me out of my own head and managed to do something to my lower back/right hip that causes me chronic pain and my hip popping out of place for no reason. Out of nowhere, during a run, I felt something, I don’t know, pull or change, and had pain that radiates from my sciatica ever since. I’ve mentioned before that I saw a doctor for it and he came up with a brilliant conclusion (basically that it was all in my head and I’m a big ol’ baby). All in all, I haven’t taken great care of my body from an impact standpoint. Before my injuries, I had 12 years of swimming, four years of tennis, 7 years of ballet, a year of gymnastics, 8 years of

My body's response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

My body’s response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

cheerleading, and one very sad attempt at track under my belt. My body has straight up had it with my bullshit at this point. So, this means that even though I’d like to go to SoldierFit classes 86 times a week, I have to limit it to 3-5, depending on the impact level of the classes that week. Otherwise my body will most definitely cry foul and I can only assume throw itself into a 300-esque pit.

Which leads to my point (finally, right?): I threw my scale the other day. Not away. Like, at a wall. After losing a disturbing amount quickly thanks to my break up and inability to eat during tumultuous times, I was shocked when it stayed stubbornly at the same weight for not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Am I fully aware that this is likely due to muscle building and have I measured myself instead? Yes. I’m not an idiot, I know how the body works. But sometimes you just want the numbers to reflect it, weird as that sounds. And treating your scale like a frisbee, as momentarily gratifying as it was, doesn’t actually solve my problem. I’m sure it’s all a part of society, we’re taught that we aren’t healthy unless our weight is a certain number (I feel like women always try to round it to 120 pounds as being that ‘number’ they try to attain…even as a size 2 I was still 125 so I have no foggy notion why this is).

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

It’s really hard not to get impatient. I want the strength, endurance, and super fabulous body right now. Of course I do. But that’s not how it works, and the only way I’ll see results is if I keep going in a way that won’t cause my body to start self-flagellation. Will the results be as quick as they have been for others? Of course not. My body is different and, frankly, I love carbohydrates. I’m still craving pretzels like no other for reasons I’m still not fully aware of. I eat gluten (GASP). Once recently, I even put bacon down my feeding hole.

Okay, stop really quick. Feeding hole is disgusting and I apologize for that. Ew, Alyssa.

Otherwise, life has been pretty decent. I ran my first 5k two weekends ago. By ran, I mean jogged half and walked half because HAHAHA I can’t run 3.some miles nonstop yet. It was the Glo Run in Carlisle, PA and it was an absolute blast. My endurance definitely has increased though; another troop I take a lot of classes with told me last week that he’d seen a big change in my endurance already and I almost hugged him. I feel different, energy-wise and physically. My legs are normally where I see changes first and already they’re becoming pure muscle. I have muscles whose names I don’t know that are showing up to the party and helping me rock out the tire flips and 8 zillion squats. I find myself pushing to get just one more push up in before we change stations, even when my muscles are burning and that lazy part of my brain is saying, “He’s counting down from 3, you can stop…stop…ALYSSA JUST STOP MOVING.” It’s a good feeling. I mean, it hurts, but it’s good.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July (for anyone living under a rock since the Roman times, who has no concept of the calendar we use today) and it was a lot of fun. Last summer, my friends threw a party at their house and I had to sit through watching my ex and his new girlfriend be super in love for several hours. I had a good time, but nothing can put a damper on that like your ex-manthing’s new girlfriend talking to you about giving him fellatio. Let me tell you. This year, we all have kind of moved up and on our separate ways. I spent the morning/afternoon sitting by the lake at Cunningham Falls, lazily hooping and eating veggie chips. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We moved our party elsewhere around 3pm, due to the need for grilling and poolside nonsense. So, my group of friends and I traversed back to my friend Nicki’s house to grill and blow water out of pool noodles like 6 year olds. And it was just as hilarious as when we were six. Eventually, we toddled off downtown to watch the fireworks (which were astoundingly better than last year), then home to bed. Because even though pool noodles are hilarious, we all are usually asleep by 11 because…adulthood.

I have to note before I end this post that I typed it up yesterday and didn’t finish it until today because, you know, work and stuff, but I went to class yesterday and we practiced running backwards.

We practiced running backwards.

I AM TURNING INTO A SUPERHUMAN…with the hamstrings of a demigod. I also stepped back on the scale today and almost threw it again so I’m thinking it might be time to put it far away in a dark corner where I can’t get on it. I’m going to try and write more in depth about my experience running my first 5k, which is why I didn’t delve too much into it here. To some people, running a 5k is nothing. It’s three miles. But for me, this was about three years of “Oh I think I should” in the making before it actually happened. It deserves its own blog post with its own incredibly inappropriate gifs.

So life is picking up. On the ex front, my body decided it would be a super good idea to start having out of the blue, vivid dreams about him. Like happy ones. I woke up crying one morning because I hadn’t thought about all of those memories in a while – trying to forget, I guess. I’ve had a few others, sporadically, since then and I’m really hoping they stop because they’re creating way too many feelings I don’t want to have anymore. Loving someone who actually used the sentence, “Regardless of my feelings about you, I have to at least see if it can work with ____,”  is only asking for more pain. I also know that I can’t force myself to not love him anymore. Love and betrayal aren’t mutually exclusive. And I’m a person who finds it really difficult to fall in love, but when I do, it’s with all of me.

So pulling myself back out of that is going to take more time than I’d like it to. And for now, I’m going to accept that I still love him and use it to my advantage rather than as an excuse to wallow. I’ll continue to try and send only positive thoughts his way, and use it as a learning experience. If I’ve learned one thing (okay, I’ve learned a lot of things), it’s that I have changed. I’m not the person I was two or three years ago. I don’t have the same low self-esteem I had then. I found my loyalty, fidelity, and, honestly, maternal instincts I didn’t think I had. Somewhere in the last six months, I found my biological clock and now I feel like the crocodile in Peter Pan. I don’t know, that’s a whole other conversation for a different post. Anyway, only three more days until I’m on a plane to Oregon! There will be so much picture-sharing, I almost feel guilty already.

But not.

– a.

West Coast here I commmee!

West Coast here I commmee!

Who ever would’ve thought green smoothies could taste like happy?

Good morning all, happy Saturday! This month has been kicking my butt, in a totally acceptable way. My veganism challenge is going along swimmingly, minus one time when I accidentally ate something with whey in it but oh my god it was ONE TIME.

Image

 For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of finding new things to eat so I don’t get bored and being mindful of my own eating habits. The first day I accidentally only packed food for dinner and zero snacks. I snack all the time. I snack constantly. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t gain weight from it and could eat salt and vinegar chips and peanut butter bananas ALL DAY ERRY DAY. I can’t. But basically, I almost died on that first day. I had never been that hungry for that long in a while. It was a pleasant surprise though. I hadn’t realized that my snacking habits were bad enough that I was never truly hungry before a meal. So, this has forced me to plan ahead meals and snacks so no matter what, I know what I’m eating. The first week or so was fine craving-wise, but this past week I think I actually dreamed of cheese. I became irritated by others eating cheese. I stared wistfully at the shredded mozzarella and block of goat cheese in my fridge on more than one occasion. I can honestly say that cravings for dairy far outweigh any craving I’ve had for a cigarette when quitting (except perhaps when I’m intoxicated…that’s rough). But, when I thought about it, I’ve been eating dairy products my entire life, as opposed to cigarettes. For the most part, however, I’ve really really enjoyed a plant-based diet. I can feel the difference with my energy and stamina. I feel good.

So what do I eat? ImageMornings usually consist of either Kashi cereal and Almond milk (I really like Berry Fruitful or Blackberry Hills or god forbid a combination of the two that is like god is reining down sweet heaven on my face), oatmeal made with any combination of ingredients, or a green smoothie. I make mine ala OhSheGlows with a frozen banana, two handfuls of spinach and/or kale, a cup of almond milk, a few ice cubes, chia seeds, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. I’ve mixed it up with cocoa powder, almond extract, and similar fun things. So good. I’m drinking one now. 

I think I’ve mentioned my weird work schedule before but I usually don’t eat another meal until around 5pm with the patients. I’ve done a lot of big bowls of veggies, or pasta with kale, or tofu wraps. I’ve eaten a lot of wraps. Spinach wraps, hummus wraps, yellow pepper and broccoli sprouts with whatever else I can find wraps. I’m a fan. They’re fast, easy, and filling. Snacks are usually one serving of a carb and a snack bag with a half-serving of craisins and almonds. I’ve made the best roasted broccoli I’ve ever had in my life this month. 

I’m lucky; there’s a My Organic Market (or MOMs for short) near my house that stocks every vegan thing you could ever want. I purchased my vegan cheese there (daiya is hands down the best – I prefer it melted to straight out of the fridge though), coconut ice cream (craving satisfied – better than regular ice cream), nutritional yeast (inactive yeast – I put it on basically everything), chia (surprisingly hard for me to find elsewhere) and any other odds and ends I couldn’t find anywhere else. They also have the best selection of kombucha tea, which I personally adore. I could drink it every day.

I’m considering sticking to a mostly plant-based diet after this month. Regardless, I honestly prefer how I feel now even with the cravings for cheese. No, but seriously the only thing I crave is cheese. That and one day I had a craving for one of those gourmet fancy burgers with bleu cheese, bacon, and a fried egg on top. I wanted to get it all in one visualization, I think. That still sounds so good. Image

Eating out has been the hardest thing to maneuver. Though I think everyone in my life is sick of hearing about vegan this and that, I’ve had a lot of support. Minus my one coworker that keeps asking me if I want bites of his chicken or beef (COREY). My response is to the right. My parents have been surprisingly tolerant of my constant use of the blender, my friends for the most part don’t mind eating vegan with me, but when I go out I feel very limited with options. I’ve found a few websites that locate nearby restaurants and stores that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, or just straight up vegan. I’ll post them ASAP for you guys. All in all it’s been a fun change, a harder challenge than not drinking for a month (aka last year’s challenge), and eye-opening. I have had to remind people quite a few times though that I’m not doing this for the bunnies and after August, I would be maintaining a plant-based diet rather than actual veganism. Meaning? I’m still drinking wine and beer even though it’s often fined with animal bones. Yup. I know, it’s gross.

Exercise-wise, I haven’t been getting out there all that much for a lot of reasons. One? I did something to my hip/lower back area. I’ve been told it’s a pinched nerve, my mom thinks it’s just an inflamed muscle, who knows. But I haven’t wanted to exacerbate it. I’ve still walked and jogged a few times but I don’t want to lift until I am seen by a doctor. I have been doing light yoga though and forgot how much I’d loved it. I’m trying to incorporate it more often. I also seem to be struggling with finding the time. No, really! My morning is very full of cooking, planning, and then attempting to clean up my messes before work (I don’t always do well with that). After work I like to read or relax to unwind before bed. I should try to add yoga in then, I think. Or perhaps a bit in the morning and night!

Lastly, I’m going to be posting an article a very nice woman asked if I would share of hers on cancer and fitness. While I forgot that I had another email account for this blog (probably not my shining moment), I finally was able to get back to her. I think it’s insightful and interesting. I should be able to get it up tomorrow for everyone!

Side note: I’ve fallen completely in love with maxi dresses. I think it’s a bit of a forbidden type of love because I’m 5’2″ and they’re always about six inches too long but I went from 0-4 in a month time span and wear them quite literally all the time. 

Alrighty then, I’m off to find a recipe for vegan cupcakes to freak the actual shit out of my friend later and then I have some birthday prezzies to purchase!

– a.

What happens when you take away cheese…

So, I mentioned it on Facebook, but I’m intending on going vegan for the month of August. Last year, I didn’t drink alcohol for the month of August and I wanted to do something restrictive again. I love challenges and being sort of bored with my daily goings on, I decided having to switch up my diet pretty hardcore was a good idea. And I don’t want to do this half-assedly. I don’t want to stock up on high-sodium, all-soy frozen products. I’m hoping to eat as cleanly as possible during this month. I’ve made a few starter vegan meals and so far they’ve been great.

Luckily, I have about seven years of vegetarianism still under my belt (college ruined that) and I prefer drinking Almond Coconut milk rather than regular milk. It’s so good. Seriously. I don’t even…it’s so good. My biggest struggle will be with making sure I don’t fall into monotony. Could I eat my Kashi cereal and AC milk every morning? Technically, yes. Will I end up throwing the box across the room in frustration after about a week? Oh, totally.

Unlike last year, when I planned fancy non-alcoholic beverages after the first and found myself staying in a lot because I wasn’t sure what I was going to drink, I want to go into this really well planned. If I like it, I might stay vegan. Probably not, but, here’s to hoping. I really like cheese. I mean, I really like cheese. I could survive without meat, that doesn’t bother me, but fish and cheese would be hard to never ever eat again.

I’ve found some great websites that have really good recipes and stories about going vegan (how they did it, why they did it, what was hard, etc). I never realized how expanded the ‘dairy-free’ arena of substitutes there were. Here are a few of my favorites, if you’re ever thinking of trying a recipe or challenging yourself:

The Gluten Free Vegan

Oh She Glows

Clean Eating Chelsey

Veggieful

My pinterest page also has a lot of good ideas brewing: Pinterest

If you know of any other good places for vegan recipes, or, hell just some motivation, don’t hesitate to post! Before I run along and get ready for work, I wanted to share my recipe from last night for the (vegan) soup I made. It was an absolute hit…with my parents and me anyway. My little brother said it looked like poop in a bowl but he also eats McDonald’s on the regular so…ignore him?

Asparagus and Leek Soup

Not the world's best photo, but nonetheless.

Not the world’s best photo, but nonetheless.

I cannot take credit for this recipe, however, and won’t attempt to try. I found it at Veggieful! Her photo is way prettier than mine, too. The only thing I changed between her recipe and mine was a.) no vegan margarine because I don’t have any, b.) wayyy more olive oil. Not a crazy amount, but it needed far more than a tablespoon, c.) I added half cup of the AC milk to add some creaminess.

Please try the recipe! Asparagus and Leek Soup

It. Was. So. Good.

Anyway, hope you all are having a great Hump Day!

What would be the hardest food for you to give up?

What suggestions would you give to someone changing their diet?

Have you ever gone ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ before? Would you do it again?

– a.

Trading my soleus for a 5k

Let’s first point out how hilarious my pun title turned out. …It’s Monday, I tried. It was surprisingly nice today, even though I was only really able to enjoy it on my drive home from work (poor timing Batman). Yesterday ended on a strong positive note – I finally got off of the couch and had a productive day. Folded laundry that had been begging to be remembered, cleaned a room that looked like a storm had hit it (okay, it was my bedroom), went to the gym and kicked my butt all the way into mid-week, and spent some quality time cuddling on the couch with Sun Chips. No, I was not physically cuddling with a bag of Sun Chips. Please erase that image.

Cartoon1

Or commit it to memory, your choice. I was cuddling with a human, and it was adorable. Except when we decided to put “The Raven” on and I completely geeked out over a man being sliced in half. The lights weren’t even off! I’m more of a fan of thriller, less gore. If you want my opinion of the movie, I’d give it, but it probably wouldn’t be super positive. Dying for love has never been a romantic ideal for me, so that ruins a lot of the premise of the resolution.

But the Sun Chip laziness and glory was so worth it after the butt-kicking. I (finally) went to the gym yesterday afternoon after contemplating an outdoor run for, oh, four hours. The wind had picked up and every time I thought about my eyes and nose dripping for two miles, I found myself back under my fleece blanket on the couch. I hadn’t been to the gym in a while, honestly. I’ve been running at home outdoors and hiking as much as possible. So, it was a nice change of scenery (how weird does that sound? A gym? Scenery?). Now, I used to hate treadmills. I mean loathe, despise, cringe at, etc. They were not my cup of ANYTHING. This is, I think, because when I was younger, I tried to run on one and it felt like every time I came down it made a super loud noise and it felt like I was sort of bouncing.

Basically, I felt fat. But earlier this week when I ventured back onto one at the hotel, I had one of the best runs I’d completed in a long time. It was magical. I set my pace and was a lot better at keeping it than when I run outside, I was able to watch my little red dot go around the the 5k trail on the screen, and I knew how many calories I had burned, how long I’d been running, and how far I’d gone instantaneously. My iPhone can do the same thing in regards to the information, true, but as someone who really struggled (and still actively does) with shin, knee, and hip problems, I love the option of just stopping if things get painful. If I’m outside, I could still be a solid mile or so from home.

So instead of running the two miles I’d intended, I ended up completing a 5k! And if you look at the photo I took of my treadmill, I was super smooth taking it by the way, you can tell that I am not an extremely talented runner. Yet. My goal now is to train over the next 2-3 months to run a 10k, and run it straight through.

treadmill

I’m going to be tweaking the novice plan I found here to fit my own needs and issues, which I’ll put up on this blog. April-May is the goal for running a 10k for me; as a swimmer rather than a runner for years and years, finally setting race dates would be fantastic. But, this plan starts with the ability to run three miles without stopping and while I can finish a 5k, I can’t run it straight through. So, I’m going to give myself extra time to build up and make sure I’m increasing the mileage at a rate that won’t cause me injuries. I do like the cross training, and I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, you all will be seeing the work out updates here! Which, along with ‘recipes’, will be another tab on my menu shortly. Yay!

My workout ended with some hip work (adductions and abductions, for killer strength) and bicep work. I expected to be sore today but was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t much more than the occasional twinge you get when you know you had a good workout, but didn’t push yourself too far. After my fabulous workout, I treated myself to what every red-blooded, high energy 23-year-old should have: a Grande Skim Cappuccino! Now, I usually try to support local businesses more than corporations, but the Starbucks was right there and I had a gift card that I’d been holding on to since Christmas.

aftergym

I’m pretty honest about myself, folks. I’m not a 115lb marathon runner (yet!). I’m most certainly a work in progress. But I think that’s what can make for interesting reading sometimes. I love reading blogs about people who have already gotten ‘there’, who already have it all. But I don’t, and I know there are a lot of others who don’t either. I’m naturally a curvy person and I ate a lot of Sheetz in college. It was delicious, but it stayed with me. And now I’m trying to become the strongest, healthiest person I can. It’s not easy, but it’s a fun adventure.

When I got home, after driving around dancing rather like a maniac to Ciara’s “Goodies” and other classics, I ate one huge bowl of my dad’s homemade bean soup. It was vegan, which made me eye my dad confusedly, but so good. To increase my protein intake even more (and because I was sick of craving ice cream), I made myself a chocolate peanut butter protein shake. And enjoyed every creamy second of it. I’ll post the recipe below but I’m going to be updating it soon – I’m trying out this PB2 stuff I’ve seen all over fitness blogs. I love peanut butter, so much, but it does have the downside of high fat content.

beanstewToday I woke up and basically threw myself into my car – having a cappuccino at 6pm pretty much threw off my sleep schedule entirely so I slept until 7am then had to dash out the door. I swung by the (local!) coffee shop and grabbed a coffee and Nova Lox bagel for breakfast. Nova Lox bagel is a black russian bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, tomato, and capers. I always ask for “extremely sparse” cream cheese, otherwise they dollop it on heavy. Absolutely delicious. Lunch was my work’s attempt at Shepherd’s pie, which will never be as good as an ex’s friend used to make it (go figure), and after a few more harried hours of me basically running around throwing paper, I came home and ate a big ol’ bowl of leftover chicken and asparagus risotto. I didn’t take a picture of it, because I ate it directly out of the Tupperware. I’m not sorry.

As promised – the beginning of my Novice Training Plan Tweak!

Because Sunday is the “big run” day, Hal suggests that Monday be a “Stretch and Strengthen” day to help sort of rest the muscles while still getting a work out. He didn’t specify length of time or too much into what exercises one could do, so I picked a few ones that I could do in my bedroom. For the last two exercises, I used a medicine ball. By the way, I love medicine balls. It’s a little creepy.

StretchandStrength

Good luck! I say 20 reps because I like doing two sets of 10, but however you do it is up to you. Now, I’m going to drink my Yogi tea and listen to some more Disney songs. And probably draw a cartoon of me hugging a medicine ball.

If you want my Dad’s recipe – let me know and I’ll add it next time!

How do you like to treat yourself after a good workout?

Have you ever used a training program before? How did it turn out? Did you like it?

 

-a.