Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I can't stop running or eating.

What a week peoples!  The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week.  On Tuesday I did a 3 mile run after work, and was totally blown away at how gorgeous the sky was.

There is no filter on those photos.  Sometimes I feel like I am really lucky to live in Upstate NY.  I also have some great friends, whom immediately post run, I then went to dinner and ate this yummy salad.

It was delicious and just the right amount of spicy and coolness from the guacamole.  I ate the whole thing and half the french fries off of the plates around me.

This morning I got up early and met my friends for a 5 mile run that started in the dark.  We're going to need to head out with head lamps on pretty soon!

But, I should have run about a hundred more miles because for lunch I ate all of this.

Plus, I ate a bowl of soup and some bread and a hundred glasses of Diet Pepsi, which I don't even ever drink anymore but somehow ended up with.  Oh, and I stopped taking pictures because at the end of the day I just totally threw all hell out the window and ate some of the following:

  • Marinated feta cheese
  • Asparagus & brie grilled cheese bites
  • Tomato, basil and mozzarella salad
  • Chickpea flat bread with sweet potato hummus
  • Wine
So, good thing I ran those miles.  Weight Watchers would be so proud.  Doesn't look like I'm going to be losing weight any time soon.

On to tomorrow...

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's officially September and I'm ready!

The rest of my Labor Day weekend finished off pretty relaxingly and full of friends, food, and exercise.  In retrospect, I would go for a little less food to make the exercise count for a little more, but I'm still happy with the weekend.

I wrote yesterday from a local coffee shop, Professor Java's, which is a really cute little coffee shop.  It was one of the goals that I had for myself for Sunday, September 1st.  You see, I realized on Saturday evening that I had the full day on Sunday with absolutely nothing to do and nobody to see.  Most of my friends were out of town for various reasons, and I decided to just make the day a "me" day and in addition to getting done lots of errands (pay bills, return clothes, send some e-mails I needed to send, etc.) I had a few things on the list I always say I am going to try.  One of those was to hang out for a bit with my laptop in a coffee shop, and another was to get a drink alone at a local bar.

Why get a drink alone at a bar when I live in a city with lots of friends and plenty of people to call?  Well, one of the things that I want to do more of lately is push myself out of my comfort zone.  Lately, I've been feeling very comfortable in my life.  I don't see any major life changes coming up in the near future and rather than be "content" with things, I want to keep challenging myself.  I continue to challenge myself physically -- running more miles and faster speeds.  But I want to also stay sharp emotionally and mentally.

Getting a drink alone at a bar is something that I end up doing a lot while traveling and I always end up meeting interesting and different people.  I have conversations on broad topics and interact with people I wouldn't normally on a day to day basis.  If I do this while traveling, what's to say that I couldn't do that in my own home town?  My friends and I often go to the same places over and over, which is fun to have a routine but there are plenty of great places in this town I've never actually been, so I'm going to make more of an effort to check them out and put myself out of my comfort zone to go to a bar by myself.  Yesterday I spent a great day with myself, having both coffee, and later a drink at a bar solo.  It wasn't too thrilling, but a liberating experience that I'll try to do again.

In between, I made myself a delicious meal with some of my CSA vegetables.  I stir fried some onions and green pepper in sesame oil and combined it with udon noodles and topped it all with soy sauce and some chopped scallions.  It turned out delicious and I was able to have make a few extra servings that I'll eat for lunch this week!

Today I woke up early and headed out to Saratoga to meet my friends for a Monday morning run (despite having the day off!)  It surprised me when I opened the door to pouring rain (yet again!) but headed out for the run anyways.  I've experienced this enough times that I know what I'm doing :)  Luckily, the rain died off by the time I got to Saratoga and we actually headed out on the run.  Jess and I did 6 miles this morning throughout Saratoga park and by the race track.  After we ran, we got bagels for breakfast and went back towards the race track to go inside and watch the horses warm up!

It was fun to see the horses run on the last morning of the track season.  I had never gone to breakfast at the track and it was definitely a fun experience and morning with the girls!  After cleaning up at home I headed out to a BBQ with some friends.  It was a fun day all around.

A few weird things that are on my mind though:

  • GPS accuracy.  Every day when I run with my friends, I use my Garmin Forerunner watch, which I LOVE.  They all use their iPhones and the app RunKeeper.  When we do 3-4 mile runs, my watch generally tracks the distance as being .1 or so miles short of their distance.  It's become a little joke, because I'm always anal and keep running the extra distance to have my watch beep at the mile mark.  Since my watch is the one odd ball, I've always assumed it's my watch that is wrong.  However, when I wore it during a 5K recently, it marked the distance as exactly 3.1 miles.  Today, when we ran, my GPS was .4 miles short of what my friend's iPhone app said.  That was a lot for a 6 mile run!  I have no idea if it is my watch or their app.  Is there a way to test accuracy?
  • Eating.  Why do I feel like on the days that I run I can just eat whatever I want?  I am doing Weight Watchers and counting my points, but I continue to just exceed them on the days I run.  It isn't even because I am hungry, but it is because I just have this mental block saying that I can eat everything I want if I run.  I really, really need to get that in track.
Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Live music and seeing progress.

Hey guys, hope you are having a good Labor Day weekend!  I have been having a great one so far.  I posted on Friday morning and spent the rest of the day having fun with my girl KO.  We spent the day at the Saratoga race track, for the last Friday races of the season, ate some delicious ice cream, Mexican food, and saw our long term favorite musician John Mayer in concert.

KO and I have been friends since kindergarten, and despite often 1000s of miles of separation and many changes in our life, we continue to have a great friendship that includes lots of silliness, long talks about everything in the world, and geeking out about John Mayer music.

I know that he isn't everyone's favorite, but JM has long been someone whose music just relates and speaks to me.  Maybe it is because I was a sophomore in high school when "No Such Thing" hit the airwaves and the pop-tastic lyrics about running through the halls of your high school and screaming at the top of your lungs spoke to me.  Maybe it is because I first went to one of his concerts at that impressionable time when every crush on a guy was like life or death.  Maybe it is because he aged as a musician much as I aged through puberty and life changes such as my parents divorce, college, first loves, and figuring out who I am and where I am going in my life.  But, for whatever reason, his music has always been able to accurately narrate whatever is going on in my life.  His songs have always comforted me or spoken to me and his voice has always been soothing.  It's hard to explain how intertwined his music has been with my life without seeming like a doting cheesy fan, but his music really means a lot to me.  I have a number of friends who are loving long-term JM fans as well, and KO is one of those.  We grew up together using John to explain how we felt when we couldn't find the words.

In fact, one time, during a particularly hard period of life, I wrote KO an email where every single line of the e-mail was a line from a John Mayer song.  Weird, but true :)

So, seeing this concert together was probably our 5th or so show, and was just as wonderful as all of those other times.  Perhaps even better, because due to an amazing friend, we were able to move up closer than our purchased lawn tickets.  Now, you might think, if we're such big fans, why don't we shell out the cash to get seats up front?  Well, honestly, that's never been that important to us.  We're fans of his music and not necessarily crazy fan girls for John himself.  We go to hear our favorite songs sung live, not to necessarily get a good view of him.  You can hear the music just as well from the lawn, and often there is more room to dance.  BUT, that being said, we were thrilled at the opportunity to move up and sit in Row W for the concert and experience the show up close.  These were the best seats I've ever had for a John concert and I am so thankful to my friend for getting us up there!!

The concert was great, the set was beautiful, and it was a great night all around at the show!  Saturday morning after running some errands, KO had to leave town but I'm so happy we had another concert to experience in our friendship together.

Later on during the day Saturday I met up with Dani to do our weekend long run together.  I had 10 miles planned and was a little nervous about them because I had taken a number of days off this past week due to being sick.  I knew it would be helpful to do them together and since Dani is training for a full marathon and had 14 to do, we decided to meet up.  We planned to drive together in one car to the location where my friends and I usually meet in the mornings and run from there to her apartment, which is about 10.5 miles.  Then we would drive back to get the other car.

It sounded like a good plan to me and the run was going well until we started to hear thunder about 4.5 miles in.  "Looks like we might get wet," Dani said to me.  And we kept running, figuring if it did rain, it would be a brief shower and sort of welcoming the chance to cool off a bit.

Well at about 5.5 miles in the sky opened up and oh. my. god. did it rain!!!  Literally, raindrops the size of buckets started falling and the sky started flashing with lightning and loud cracks of thunder.  We didn't really have a choice but to keep going since we were about 5 miles from either of our cars.  And we were laughing through most of it, but man, it rained heavy like that for the next 4 miles!!!  At first the lightning seemed pretty far off so I wasn't too worried but at one point it felt a little too close for comfort and I got really, really scared and nervous.  If Dani weren't there, I probably would have cowered under a tree for a while, but she encouraged me to keep going.  We were at a portion of the trail that was literally just in the middle of the woods and there wasn't much we could do but keep going.

Now that I'm writing, it's almost a metaphor for life.  When you're caught in a thunderstorm in the middle of the woods, there isn't much to do but keep going until you either get out of the woods or the rain stops!

When the storm died down, with about .5 miles left, we were completely drenched but still smiling and still running.  I finished my 10 miles and Dani kept going to finish off her extra miles.  By the time she finished and brought me back to my car and I got home to my apartment, I was SO ready for a shower and it was one of the best showers I've had in a long time!

I finished off my Saturday heading out to a friend's for a party at their gorgeous house in the country.  They had a number of bands perform and I was totally blown away at the passion and talent and the great show these guys put on.  It is not my normal style of music (more metal, hardcore punk) but I am always impressed by passion, which is the "professional fan" in me.  Plus, my friend throws one hell of a party and they had a full sound system, stage, drinks, food, smoke machine, fire dancers, and a freaking bounce house!

Despite heading to the party thinking I wouldn't stay long, I ended up sticking around until late in the evening because I was having such a good time.  It made me reflect upon the day that I did my 10-mile run while training for the half marathon I did in April.  I spent the rest of the day laying on the floor at my mom's house in pain, sore, and feeling sick.  This time, I was dancing into the night.

It's neat to see the progress that my body has made and how it has gotten used to the longer runs and built up endurance.  I'm really proud of myself and how far I've come.  It is definitely something to dance about if you ask me :)