Friday, February 27, 2015

Girls on the Run Atlanta: Week 5!

The opinions expressed here are solely my opinions and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Girls on the Run® International.

Tonight I wanted to write a little bit about Girls on the Run and my experiences being a coach so far.  I'll tell you about the end of my week some other time, which I'm sure you are on the edge of your seats about so I apologize (kidding. do you guys really care about that stuff?)

Anyways, we are now five lessons in to our Girls on the Run season and I am having a lot of fun with it so far! The classes are on Mondays and Thursdays, but with my work schedule I committed to being there one day a week unless I was traveling.  But, since I was going to be missing a number of sessions over the recent weeks with work travel, this week I went to both the Monday and Thursday sessions.

Now, I know for the Northerners this is a joke, and trust me, I'm mostly laughing too, but this February has still been a bit chilly in Atlanta and people are not used to it.   We have been having a hard time fitting in the workouts and the plans exactly as they are explained by the organization because we are modifying them to be indoors. The girls show up to the practices in shorts and t-shirts sometimes and it is just too darn chilly out to be standing around or running outside with those clothes on! It’s been a little unfortunate and sometimes gets a bit cramped trying to be indoors.  Plus, I worry that the girls aren’t getting in enough running/training!

Being indoors we needed to improvise and I had a lot of fun making up different exercises, games, and workouts for the girls to do.  I taught the girls yoga moves, ab and core exercises, squats, lunges, side shuffles, high knees, burpees, and more.  And I must say, working with these girls has given me understanding of how much I love fitness and how much I have learned myself about fitness and health over the years. Today’s lesson plan was all about “healthy habits” and why they are important to have in our lives. Some of the healthy habits were discussed were brushing our teeth, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating fruit, eating protein, drinking water, etc.  I was impressed with myself at how much I had to say to the group about exactly why each of these things are important.

While they did the exercises I instructed them to do, I was able to correct their form and encouraged them to slow down and pay attention to what they were doing to get the most out of the exercises. While we were doing the yoga, I took them through a few flows and sequences and surprised myself at how easily I was able to do it and also help to make sure that they were doing the positions correctly.

Now, I can't say that the girls cared all that much about their form and were mostly just being silly and goofy, Besides not being the most attentive students, I enjoyed trying teach them and seeing their reactions when I would modify their form and all of a sudden their planks or lunges got sooooo much harder for them!

It reminded me that it was about a year ago that I was seriously considering going after my personal trainer certification.  It's only been a couple of days that this has been a thought in my mind again, but coaching for Girls on the Run has made me think that it might be something that is still down the line for me in the future.

I don't always mind improvising either, I just wish that we could do it outside. To be honest, sometimes the trainings that we are instructed to do by the organization are a bit weird.  They don't feel natural and it is hard to be yourself and read a weird script from a book.  I like putting my own personality into it and also adlibbing where needed -- due to the fact that it’s 30 degrees out and the girls show up in shorts!

I am one of few volunteers in the group that does not have a daughter in the program, kids myself, or is a teacher at a school. It puts me in an interesting position from some of the other coaches in many ways. I didn’t meet any of these girls until the start of the program. I haven’t spent this much time with the same group of girls this age in a while. I don’t know any of these girls parents or family stories and haven’t seen them grow up with my own kids.  I have a different perspective on a lot of things. I am an outsider in this environment and a totally new person to the girls and it’s really fun.

I have also been struck with what different personalities we have in the group and how different all the girls are. I see myself at their age in a lot of their behaviors and actions and feel sympathy for the poor teachers and adults that I probably caused to want to pull their hair out back in the day. I remember being the loud mouth in group settings, always shouting out of turn and making silly or nonsense answers to things thinking I was funny. It was generally under the rouse of trying to be funny and getting others to laugh, but really trying to cover up insecurities and for attention. I remember the feeling of being outside of a clique or a group and am immediately back in that position when I see it happen with these girls. I remember giggling and not paying attention to whatever was being told or asked of me and thinking that whatever grown up or adult in the room was just a busybody. I remember feeling guilty if I did get scorned or reprimanded, especially in front of a group. I remember so much what it was like to be a girl this age and it’s a weird thing.

I am still trying to learn most of their names.  I am still trying to get through to many of them and make connections.  But they are becoming a little team and I look forward to seeing them every session.  I can't wait until we can get outside and until we run more.  I am excited to do the 5K in just a couple months!

Oh, and a side note… THEY ALL HAVE CELL PHONES. They are in 3rd grade and all have iPhones! Is this normal, parents?? I was shocked. But hey, I guess it’s 2015 and even though I work in digital and can be pretty tech savvy myself, sometimes my old fogie-ness shows up!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WTF Wednesday

Today I am going to steal a theme from one of my favorite bloggers, Cely at Running off the Reese's, and am going to do a "WTF Wednesday" post.  Or in my case, it might just be me complaining about a number of things.

1.)  The past couple of weeks people have been going crazy with the snow in Atlanta.  On Tuesday we woke up to the horror of an inch or so of slushy wet snow on the ground and schools were cancelled.  I went to go to the UPS store and it was randomly closed due to the weather.  How is this possible?  Let's grow a pair, Atlanta!

Then today, snow was forecasted to start at about 3:00 p.m. and SCHOOLS WERE CANCELLED YESTERDAY!  There was literally nothing on the ground when I woke up this morning.  It was totally fine out until about 2:00 p.m. when it started snowing.  But, despite that, businesses were closed, my office closed at 12:30 p.m. and everyone worked from home.  All of the upper level parking at our building was closed off and my gym sent an e-mail that they were closing early as well.

This is all despite the fact that if you looked at the weather forecast, it very clearly stated temperatures for the day remaining at about 36 degrees and that Atlanta would mostly just get rain.

At about 2:00 p.m. when the snow started, it came down in huge big gloppy snowflakes that immediately melted when they hit the ground.  The weather forecast still said the temperatures were high, so I stayed at work.  Following work, nothing was still sticking to the ground, so I went to happy hour.  I just got home at about 7:30 p.m. and it is raining out.  Just raining.  It is warm.  Grounds aren't frozen.  It's insanity how much this was hyped and how little happened.  TWO DAYS off of school for some rain!!

2.)  As much as I love traveling there are a few things that I really, really hate about it.  One of which, is packing.  It literally took me about an hour and a half of staring into my closet to pack to go away for less than 24 hours to Wilmington, NC last week.  And I also hate visa applications.  I have a new goal in my life to be successful enough to have an assistant, just so that they can help me with visa applications.  And it will never not be totally unsettling to put my passport in an envelope and send it away somewhere not in my possession.  I am always anxious until I get it back.

3.)  On that note, I should probably at some point finish up that Singapore blog.  I never did that, right?  Woops.

4.)  I finally watched a full episode of The Voice last night and I am going to try and watch this whole season through.  My friend Ari and all the work that she puts into the show really inspired me.  However, I watched one episode and I felt soooo bad for the people who didn't get their buttons pressed by the coaches!  I now know (a tiny bit) about all that goes into getting them on the stage to that point and know that these are real people, not just tiny TV robots and I felt soooo bad then they didn't get selected to be on a team!!  Ugh, it is a pain to be a girl with a lot of emotions sometimes.

5.)  Yesterday, I got this notification on Twitter.

Okay, let's look a little closer because there is one notification on Twitter in particular I am referring to.

What the heck, Elijah Daniel?!?  I've been added to the list "super hot moms" on Twitter?  I mean... I guess maybe I shouldn't be so quick to be offended that he added me this list.  At least he thinks I'm super hot?  Maybe?

6.)  Kind of on that note... yesterday was my half birthday!  Only 1.5 more years until this blog title is no longer applicable!

7.)  I don't know if it is because I moved and got put on a bunch of marketing/advertising lists or what, but I get SOOOOO much mail that is just advertisements and marked as "To Current Resident" or something like that.  A few weeks ago I stopped taking anything out of my mail box unless it was addressed to me personally.  The mailbox is now almost full however, so I think I need to bite the bullet and throw it all away.  But I really also want to write a note to the mailman to please ask him to only deliver things that are specifically addressed to me.  Is this allowed?  Is there a way to get yourself off these lists?  Would love any advise!

8.)  Does anyone know a magic solution to getting someone or something off of your mind?  Or stop something from coming into your mind?  This is a problem that I have been seeking a solution on for a long, long time and lately has been frustrating me again.  I hate that feeling and if there are any really smart chemists or something who happen to spend their time reading this blog - here is my request to you:  Please make some sort of a pill that can stop certain thoughts.  Please and thank you.

So, I got to 8 items.  That's all for now.  Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sore legs, good food and the power of words

How is your week going?  Since I left you on Saturday, I've had a pretty fun and exciting few days that reminded me why I moved to Atlanta.  I love that I get to do really diverse and cool things all in the same city.

I went to yoga on Saturday morning and did my long run of the weekend on Saturday as well, which was 8 miles.  I was feeling realllly sore from my leg workout on Friday, yoga in the morning, and just all the activity.  I ran in Vinings and it was really hilly, and at the end of the run I just needed to lay on the floor for a bit.  That took me back to my old days of just starting to do long runs and it kind of felt good to be back laying on the floor after a long run, as weird as that may be.

One thing that probably didn't help my run was going out for lunch to a little French cafe and eating quiche and french onion soup.  Not the best prerun meal, but it was deeeeee-licious.

Saturday night I tried Pho for the first time.  It's a Vietnamese soup that people all rave about so I went out for dinner on Buford Highway, which is a road in Atlanta full of all international shops and restaurants.  I've heard there is a lot of really good food there, but I started with Pho because I was sick of just nodding along when people talked about how good it was.

Turns out it is quite similar to a lot of the soups/foods I tried throughout Asia, but it was still really delicious, really filling, and warmed me up on a chilly evening.  My eats all throughout Saturday were perfect for a chilly day and worth every calorie.  In addition to good food, my weekend had a lot of really cool highlights that make me happy inside to be able to somewhere that gives me access to all of these different things.

I saw a new-to-me artist perform on Saturday night in a pretty much all new-to-me genre of music.  I love seeing live music and seeing artists perform what they are good at, so I staked out a place in the front to really just be able to watch the musicians perform.  I have never in my life seen a "DJ set" where a DJ essentially just performs for the crowd and it was really interesting to see.  Such a new, fun experience!

I shook my legs out a bit on Sunday joining the Movers & Pacers for 3-miles, which is something that I always really enjoy.  I don't get the opportunity join them for their group runs all that often, but since I switched up my routine this weekend and did my shorter run on Sunday I was able to meet them.  I always meet new, fun people who make me laugh and remind me why I started running in the first place.

Afterwards, I was able to attend another really amazing event in Atlanta called Soul Food Cypher.  It is a community - open to everyone - and (from their website) "believe in the power of speech to transform the lives of individuals and their communities.  We are an organization that looks to transform the negative perception of rap through our cypher events, membership programs, and community outreach."  I have heard a lot about the cyphers through a friend and thought it sounded so cool.  As a writer, and someone passionate about words and utilizing words to express oneself -- whether it be written, poetry, music, etc. I think that this group is so intriguing and exciting.  I was really glad I finally got the chance to check it out in person and I definitely want to attend again.  I also encourage you to check out their mission and their website.  It's a really unique and impressive group.  They celebrated their 3 year anniversary on Sunday, which was neat to see.

I truly love seeing people do the things that they are passionate about and it makes me happy to be around people who are expressing themselves.  I clearly am a strong believer in utilizing whatever forum you feel comfortable in to express yourself, the power of words, and the incredibly connections and deep ties you can form with people by choosing to share those words.  I think that's one of the reasons that I think the cyphers are so cool and interesting, even though it is an art form that I don't have a ton of exposure to myself.  Who knows?  Maybe if I keep going I will work up the courage to try and participate sometime :)

The final really cool Atlanta-y thing that I wanted to share about this week is that on Monday night I attended a Girl Scout cookie and beer pairing event.   Yes, that is correct cookies and beer.  It was amazing!  

It was hosted at one of my favorite places in Atlanta, the Krog Street Market, and we had 4 different varieties of Girl Scout cookies that were each paired with a different beer.  Some were paired with complementary flavors - like the Peanut Butter Sandwich (Do-Se-Do's for the new school kids) with an Abita Strawberry beer (PB&J!)  And some were paired with similar flavor pallets like the Savannah Smile lemon cookie with a lemony beer.  I was so excited for this event and as soon as I saw it advertised online, I knew I had to get tickets and go.  As a Gold Award Girl Scout, there was no way I was missing this and was really grateful my schedule allowed it to be possible to be there!

I hope that you've all been having a great week and that you are lucky enough to have had both beer and cookies involved in your week as well!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I've lost 13 pounds.

I've lost 13 pounds since January 4th when I returned to Atlanta and weighed myself for the first time in a year and starting counting Weight Watchers points.  I've lost 13 pounds in the past 7 weeks which is really incredible.  I've lost 13 pounds while I traveled back and forth to Wilmington, NC two times, Schenectady, and a week in Mexico City.  I've lost 13 pounds while I had friends and family visit and while trying new restaurants, going out to eat, getting dessert, and having a drink or two.

I've lost 13 pounds while making an extreme effort to work out 6-7 days a week.  I've lost 13 pounds while amping up my running game from 1-3 miles per run to 3-10 miles per run.  I've lost 13 pounds while looking up menus online, planning what I eat meticulously, and writing down every single thing that I eat.  I've lost 13 pounds while stressing myself out over meals where I have overeaten, measuring out 1/2 cup servings of chicken, and picking apart sandwiches and salads to only eat the portions that I wanted.

I feel a bit more confident.  But I still cringe when I see how tight some of my clothing fits around my hips.  I can feel myself getting a bit stronger and faster with my workouts.  But my long runs are still a challenge and my pace hasn't really increased all that much.  Some of my clothing is starting to feel a bit better on and look a bit better too.  But many of my pants that used to slide on with ease still don't button at the waist.  I feel determined to keep going.  But also discouraged that the progress on the scale doesn't seem to be reflected in my body.

I've lost 13 pounds and I feel really proud of that.  I feel proud that I was able to do it while traveling and having a normal life.  I have never been successful in losing weight while traveling until now.  I feel a boost in confidence that it IS possible.  And that it is possible with a healthy attitude.  I still want to live my life.  This isn't a race to lose 15 pounds or 20 pounds or any weight at all.  It's about a making smart choices, improving my health and fitness, trimming myself down, and working on my goals.  It's about balance and happiness and confidence and self worth.  It's about being "enough" no matter what the number says and having goals that don't involve a pants size or a number on a scale.  It's about being the best me that I can and doing my best to enjoy the life that I have while I have it.

That's all for now!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Another week with no breaks.

Another week where I don't get a chance to sit down and write until the week is over.  Nights with friends.  Local events and packing.  Flights and drinks upon arrival.  Gym casino night.  And then here I am.

It was a good week and a busy week and my visitor season in Atlanta has come to a close.  I spent Monday evening with my friend Ari who was in town for work hanging out at her hotel.  We ordered room service for dinner and we both realized that neither of us had ever ordered room service with another person and it made for quite the romantic experience.  Who knows if this was just the hotel or this is what they usually do, but we had a beautiful little table set up for us in the room to eat off of.

It was good to spend time with Ari because she has been working so hard lately to eat healthy and start exercising and running.  She's been at it for months before I have been... since October/November and she's been doing amazing.  I've been cheering for her from afar and she has been inspiration to me to finally get my butt moving this January and get my eating in check.

It is so nice to have people who know exactly what you are going through and Ari is one of those people for me and it was a great night chatting, catching up, learning more about her job, and being totally silly.  For those of you who are my friend on Facebook, you saw the dance number that I posted there.  I have no idea how I never knew about the "SloMo" feature on my phone but Ari's idea of the Slo Mo dance party was one of the best I have ever heard of.

It's really, really shitty that Ari lives out in L.A. because I could use a lot more of having her in my life.  It makes me realize that you need to appreciate the times that you are in.  I miss college and getting to live in the same house or just down the street from her and so many awesome people.  I miss you Ari!

If it hadn't been such a fun and silly night, I may have been a lot more upset when I went out to my car and saw that I had gotten a boot on my car because I parked in a retail lot that apparently doesn't allow you to park there after the stores closed.  Who knew?!

I feel like I was officially indoctrined into Atlanta by getting a boot on my car since apparently the parking around here sucks.  And to be honest, I parked somewhere knowingly illegal the past Saturday and expected to get towed and didn't.  So I guess this is just payback.

My workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday this past week were totally awesome.  And by awesome, I mean they sucked and left me exhausted, but felt good.  On Tuesday evening I did a sprint workout at the gym and at the end of it, my legs were jelly.  Complete jelly. After my workout I went to the kickoff party for one of the running groups that I am a part of and I was so exhausted during it, which was a good feeling - of being tired from a workout rather than just lack of sleep.

I followed things up on Wednesday morning with a tempo run that I had to fight my way through, but I did it!  Afterwards I did a small arm workout but didn't have time to completely finish before having to go to work.  I'm starting to feel good about myself again and where I am getting to, but I still have a lot of work to do.  Getting rid of that stomach pooch is a big goal of mine.  Nobody wants you here, stomach, go away!!

Yelling at your fat works, right?

I needed to get my workout in that AM before work though because in the evening on Wednesday I flew to Wilmington, NC.  Thursday I had a big presentation that I was giving that I had been preparing for all week, and I stopped to meet some of the people that I was going to be presenting to for a drink at the Front Street Brewery and tried out one of their raspberry beers.  I love myself a good fruit beer and this didn't disappoint.

For my 3 mile run on Thursday morning I had a special guest and new running buddy to explore the streets of Wilmington, which was really nice!  One of the things that I love about running is the connections and network that I have made through it.  A coworker based in Wilmington who was helping to coordinate my trip reached out to me saying that she knew we had a mutual friend in my running bestie from Albany, Jess.  We decided to meet up for a run and Leah met me at my hotel with a route planned out.  It was awesome and left me on a major running high and ready for the day!

I pulled out my fancy clothes for the presentation and it is something that I love doing and am excited to do more of when my clothes are fitting me better.  I really struggled picking out what to wear for the presentation and vowed that once I get closer to where I want to be, I am going to reward myself with a wardrobe makeover.  The role that I just took on was a promotion and I want my work clothes to reflect that a bit.  This is new motivation for me to keep at what I am doing! New clothes!!!

I flew back to Atlanta Thursday afternoon and although it was a super quick trip to Wilmington, it was a really enjoyable and fulfilling one!

When I landed I went right over to my gym to enjoy their "casino night" which was a pretty cool experience.  They had great food and drinks and it gave me the opportunity to meet some people at the gym, and try out some poker games.  I played roulette, blackjack, etc. and it was fun! I love that my gym is more of a community and I am so glad that I joined the gym that I did.

I didn't actually workout at the gym until this evening when I spent my Friday evening doing a leg workout because I've been getting way behind on my weight training and I do not want it to drop off!

This is a very selfie filled post and I will try to do better for my next one.  Please forgive me. #SelfiesForLife

Sunday, February 15, 2015

10 lovely things and (almost) nothing else

Happy Sunday and long weekend for those of you who have one!  I am settling in to watch the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special and wanted to put together a lovely little blog for you.  I say it is going to be a lovely blog because I am only going to write about lovely, happy things.  I mean, I guess I never really write about negative things, as I choose my little space on the internet to be a positive one.  However, this week especially, we're going to focus on the good.  So let's go!

1.  On Wednesday, I had a really lovely dinner out with three coworkers and incredible friends and influences in my life at an awesome restaurant called Canoe.  It was a much needed night of good food, friends, conversation, and bread.  Everyone laughed at me because when they came around asking if we wanted bread, I asked for a piece of 3 of the 4 options...

Sadly, that's the only picture that I took of the food or the dinner or the atmosphere that night.  But it was all lovely.  Not talking about:  Feeling guilty about ordering pasta and not getting to give my friends a hug because I was so sick and full of germs.

2.  I started Thursday morning with a great workout.  I went into the city for a 30 minute Fit In Fit Out session that I get as a member of the breaking 2:00 hour half marathon training team I am a part of.  It was a really good session that worked me hard, and I followed it up with a 3 mile run throughout Piedmont Park.  I chose to run without music, just me and the pavement as the sun rose.  It was cathartic and needed.

Not talking about?  Skipping my tempo run the day before... yep.  First time in a while.

3.  Also on Thursday, I coached my first Girls on the Run session!  I left work a bit early and went over to meet the girls and my other coach for the first class.  I tried my best to try and remember and learn the girls names, but it will take a little bit of work.  I was immediately impressed with their excitement and energy and sweetness and spunkiness.  The day was pretty chilly and windy and not all of the girls were dressed the best they should or the weather, but everyone toughed it out and it was really fun.  

This week's session was about visualization, positive thinking, things that make us happy, and being to identify when we are surrounded by negative energy and need to focus on positive things to help make ourselves happy.  It was a good lesson and I have a feeling that some of these things we are focusing on are going to be a lesson for myself as well.

Not talking about?  Stress at work, tears and lots of self doubt.

4.   I'm still doing my best to try out new things in Atlanta.  On Thursday I went to a bar in Buckhead called the Buckhead Saloon for a random networking event I found online.  Most people that go to these networking things are like... life insurance salespeople and people starting new companies who need business contacts... I just go trying to make friends cause I'm cool like that.  On Friday night I tried a new restaurant called Agave and then went to my first show at The Sound Table in one of my favorite Atlanta neighborhoods, the Old Fourth Ward, to see Moon Boots perform for the first time in Atlanta (if you are reading this and don't really know what any of this means or who those people are, it's fine because I don't really either.)  It was a fun night out and my first night in a while where I danced and had a few drinks.  I seriously love dancing and need more of that in my life.  What I'm totally not going to write about?  How I'm eager to have friends in Atlanta that go beyond small talk and introductory conversations.

5.  I HAD THE MOST GLORIOUS RUN ON FRIDAY NIGHT!!!  Since I knew I was going to a show that didn't start until 11:00 p.m. I wanted to give myself the morning to sleep in a bit on Saturday.  I have been getting up early for runs most weekend days.  So, Friday is usually a rest day for me and instead of doing that, I did 5 miles throughout the hills of Vinings and then a mini leg workout at home (while I watched Scandal.)  A lot of my running buddies were doing an 8K race on Saturday morning, which is how I ended up on the 5 mile route on Friday.  For some reason, maybe it was the beautiful evening, the frustration of the week needing to come out, knowing I had a fun weekend planned, or just the hard work I have been doing, but I felt like I was FLYING during that run.  I literally had that thought during my race, "I am flying."  And not that I was going super fast or anything, but I felt like I was above the ground and my legs were just a machine and I was soaring while I ran.  I charged up the  hills and didn't let up, telling myself nobody got stronger by running downhill and to not be afraid of the hills.  And as I went downhill, I just let my legs propel.  It felt so wonderful.  Not writing about?  The horrible traffic that got me SO frustrated leading right up to this run that made me want to scream.  At least it helped fuel the run?!

6.  Saturday morning after sleeping in a bit, I had the pleasure of getting to go see my friend Ari, who is in town from L.A. this week for work!!!  I haven't seen her since last May when I had a random mini excursion to L.A. on my way home from Vegas after a work trip.  Ari is one of my college besties and although we don't get to see each other in person all that often, we talk all the time.  I visited her while she worked on Saturday and it was a totally cool experience that left me even more amazed with her and realizing how incredibly brave people are who audition for reality TV shows!!!  Oh, and I'm totally just not writing about a ton of stuff because I'm not allowed, but trust me, it was cool.

7.  My mama flew in on Saturday afternoon for a visit!!!!!  I picked her up and we've been spending the weekend together.  It's been great to show her Atlanta, some of my favorite places (such as Krog Street Market) and  have someone to explore new places with.  We tried a new sports bar on Saturday night to watch the Syracuse vs. Duke basketball game and a delicious pizza place on Sunday called Varasano's.   My mom has also been helping me to slow down a bit and we have spent a good amount of time just snuggling on the couch this afternoon where I actually fell asleep for a bit, which is unheard of for me!  It's so good to have my mom in Atlanta and also a bit surreal.  It really means a lot to me that she came down.  We'll have to take a picture tomorrow because I'm just realizing now it's been a pretty slow weekend for pictures.  I did take one of the meatball appetizer that we got at dinner though.  I am just going to not mention that Syracuse lost to Duke yesterday or that I have been a grumpy and frumpy daughter and a little bit making that saying of "you treat the ones you love the most, the worst" a reality.  I'm sorry Mama, I love you!

8.  I did my first double digit run this morning since my marathon in October!!!  It was a nice milestone to cross and a bit of a mental challenge.  The run was done with my normal Sunday running crew and there was a smaller group of us this morning due to the cold and calendars or something.  But, because it was a smaller group we all stayed together the whole time, which was really, really nice.  I will absolutely positively not talk about how it was pretty darn cold at the beginning and that my mind just was not in this run.  Or about how I thought about quitting so many times during the run, turning around in the first mile, and the thought of jumping in a cab was so close to my mind that this really could have been the run I just quit and didn't do this whole running thing any more.

9.  I officially recovered after gaining weight the week I was in Mexico!  I lost 2.6 lbs over the past week, which brought me back to before I was in Mexico.  I'm proud of returning back to a routine after letting myself go a bit.  However, I won't talk about how I am already worried about this week after french fries and chips and pizza and late night binge eating 6 Tagalong Girl Scout cookies (which are apparently 2 Weight Watchers points a piece!!! I may have thrown away the rest of the box since I apparently cannot be trusted.)

10.  After being out for the day with my mom on Saturday I returned home to a surprise on my doorstep.  I was doing my best to avoid the fact that Saturday was Valentine's Day, but it is safe to say that I have the most lovely friends in the world.  Shouting "danke" all the way over to Germany for making me feel loved and special!!  Not talking about the rest of my feelings on Valentine's Day.

And as an ending note, just, I have really wonderful people in my life.  Over the past two weeks I have had so many loved ones and good friends in Atlanta that it has been really bittersweet.  I am not looking forward to when the visitor level drops back down but I am continually grateful to all the amazing, talented, strong, and positive people I have in my life.  I love you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Being a tourist in Atlanta

So, I got back from Mexico City on Thursday night, and gave myself Friday to eat as I pleased before getting back on track.  And I didn't go nuts, either! I went to the gym on Friday, ate healthy throughout the day, but then for dinner enjoyed a number of different delicious dishes trying out a new restaurant in Atlanta - South City Kitchen - with my friend Teenie, who also arrived in Atlanta on Friday night!

Teenie is the first of my friends to come and visit me in Atlanta and it was so nice to have her here! You guys know about Teenie... she is one from my group of girl friends I've had since kindergarten and I've visited her in Chicago, she was a bridesmaid with me in August as well, last year she was part of the surprised we pulled on KO when she came to visit in Albany!  She got in late on Thursday and we were both wiped from traveling, so chatted a bit then went to bed and both worked remotely on Friday from my apartment.  I took a break midday to try a new class at the gym called Omnia.  It was a circuit class using this big weird piece of equipment that looked something like this.

Okay, well it looked exactly like that, because I stole that picture off the internet.  It was a fun way to do a circuit class and the girl who led the class was the personal trainer that I had my free sessions with when I first started the gym.  I really had liked her so it was a fun way to try a new class!

Friday night, as I mentioned, Teenie and I tried out South City Kitchen.  It came highly recommended as great for southern food and I have tried eating at one of the other restaurants owned by the same company, Lure, which was delicious.  South City Kitchen didn't disappoint either!

We started each with a cocktail, which I like to do once in a while, but am usually a beer or wine girl.   It was fun to sip on while we waited for our table, but then I switched to wine.  When we did sit down we started our meal with fresh corn bread and biscuits and the biscuits were insanely good!

 We also chose to split a salad as an appetizer and some fried green tomatoes.  I love friends who like to share things and try lots of different dishes, so we chose two appetizers knowing that we were going to share the shrimp and grits for a main meal with a side of brussels sprouts.  When you are eating southern food, you've got to have the grits!

The waiter we had was great, super personable and very nice, and I loved that South City Kitchen split the plates for us since they knew that we were sharing.  Both the salad and the shrimp and grits they brought out on separate half sizes for Teenie and I since we mentioned we were sharing everything.  Restaurants that go out of their way like that win me over!

We had definitely had enough to eat by the end of the meal, but knowing that it was my last evening before going back to counting points, I opted to try an item off the dessert menu and went with the chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow topping.  It was really yummy and a perfect way to end our evening at SCK!

On Saturday, I started counting points again and got in some exercise going for a 3 mile run.  I had originally signed us up for a 5K in the morning but we were both so tired and opted to just do our own run later on.  I, however, get bad anxiety over not doing something that I signed up for or said I was going to do, so I ended up being up early anyways.  It was okay though, because I need to be better about going with the flow somethings.  And it was the first lazy morning I had in Atlanta since the new year, so it was much needed!

The main focal point of the day for us was visiting the World of Coke in Atlanta.  Coca-Cola is originally from Atlanta and there is a big museum/tour all about Coke that you can do.  It was pretty entertaining and interesting to see - and as a marketing/communications professional, it was incredible to see what Coca-Cola has done with their brand.  There is a whole museum all about a product/brand that people pay to go into, and then when they end are filed into a gift shop with every Coke product imaginable and Coca-Cola's logo all over every type of product.  That people then buy, and wear around, further promoting the brand, and also making even bigger brand supporters out of the people who go to the World of Coke.  It is truly amazing to me!  Here are a few pictures of the highlights of the museum, including us in our 3D glasses from the "4D" movie experience that included chairs that move around, get you wet, and poke you in the back.

One of the coolest parts of the World of Coke was the exhibit on the Olympics - which is in place because Coke is a huge sponsor of the Olympics.  Additionally, the 1996 Olympics were held in Atlanta -- which are my FAVORITE Olympics of all time.  I used to watch the recap VHS that I made my parents get me for my birthday, over and over.  I loved the women's gymnastics team and the drama with Kerri Strug on the vault.  I still get chills thinking about those Olympics and when I was a kid I just loved that.  As you know, I am still an Olympics nut, so being able to hold one of the Olympic torches (from the London 2012 games) and see the rest of the paraphernalia as pretty cool!

Right before leaving the World of Coke you head into one of the rooms I had heard about most from people talking about this attraction in Atlanta - the Coke tasting room.  In the room you can try more than 100 different kinds of sodas and Coke products from all over the world.  They have stations designated for each continent and you can try all the local different varieties and flavors of drinks from the different regions.  It was fun to go around and try sips of all the different sodas - some have very unique tastes!

It was a really fun experience and definitely something cool to take out-of-towners to see when they visit Atlanta!  However, after trying all those sodas my stomach was definitely feeling the need for food, so we head from downtown Atlanta to a new-to-me neighborhood, Little Five Points, where we grabbed lunch at the Wrecking Bar Brewpub, and then walked around and explored for a bit.  The Brewpub was really cute, with a great atmosphere, little mini glasses of beer if you wanted, and a great menu.

Our late lunch was planned out well, knowing that we were going to check out another new thing in Atlanta for dinner - the Atlanta Underground Market.  The AUM is something I learned about from a friend, where once a month, they have a number of different food vendors, chefs, restaurants, etc. that gather and serve and sell small tasting plates.  The plates are all between $1-$5 and there is drinks, a DJ, other vendors, etc.  You have to be on their mailing list to find out the location, and they e-mail everyone the day before to let them know where the AUM will take place!  This months theme was "Surf and Turf" so all the dishes that the different vendors served had that sort of spin.

I know that plate of food I have looks disgusting, but it was really delicious!  It was cooked beef in a truffle cheese sauce and they were serving it on a bun as sort of a sloppy Joe, but I just asked for it without the bun to save some extra calories. It was still really good!  Teenie tried some jerk chicken that was yummy and we were both tempted to try so much more as well!  After the food market, we stayed out a bit longer trying some different bars/music venues before retiring for the evening.   It was an awesome Saturday trying so many new things in Atlanta and having one of my best friends to be able to do it with!

Sunday I got up early and did my long run with the running group I am a part of.  We did 9 miles and it was a hilly run that I felt proud to have finished.

After the run, I came back home, cleaned up, and Teen and I headed out for brunch and a walk!  I took her to walk around Krog Street Market, because I had really like it there and it is a cool place to then be able to jump on the Beltline for a walk.  And then we chose to have a sit down brunch at another nearby place called Ladybird.

I share this picture because it is what I looked at for a really long time.  Despite being able to be seated right away and having our orders taken, it took, no lie, about an hour and a half before our food came!  After having done the long run, and just not liking having to wait for food in general, I was grumpy and cranky by the time my meal actually arrived.

However, once it did, it was delicious!  I tried a dish that had farro, tomatos, kale, cheese, and eggs on it and it was really, really yummy.  Courtney tried a number of the sides off the menu and those were all delicious as well.  I stole a bite or two of her grits!

After brunch we spent the afternoon walking up and down the Beltline in Atlanta, which is a bike/running path that the city has been putting in place after tearing up old rail road tracks.  We followed it down to Piedmont Park where we then hung out in the grass for a bit enjoying the warm sunshine and 65 degree day!  I could get used to this Southern winter thing :)

We cooked dinner at home, which I have now been eating all the leftovers for lunches this week and had a low key evening watching the Grammy's before crashing on Sunday night.  It was so much fun to have Teenie in town and to explore Atlanta with.

This week has started off with a bang as there are actually a number of friends/coworkers in town this week, so a lot more activity and excitement than a normal week!  I mean, I have been traveling the past 3 weeks in a row, so I guess the past weeks haven't been THAT slow, but it's already been a busy week!  I got up early on Monday morning to drive Courtney to the airport and then went to the gym to do some weights.  I have been slacking on my weight training the past week as the travel and visitors has started to catch up with me.  I made up the training I usually do on the weekend on Monday and am trying to shift everything back a day as well.

Side note: isn't it crazy how in two different pictures I can look two completely different sizes?  I feel like I look kinda small in the first picture and a lot larger in the second picture.  Anyone else see that or just me?  Just me?  Eh, who knows...

Monday evening was yoga and dinner with coworkers, which was a nice reminder of how important yoga can be in the rest of my workout mix.  For a while I was going regularly and I really want to try and get back into that!  Tonight, I also tried to return to a workout that I haven't been to in a while with my travel, and joined one of the local running groups for their Tuesday night sprints as part of my weekly speed work.

I'm proud of myself for getting back on track after faulting a bit last week with the Mexico trip and eating of all the corn tortillas in Mexico City.  I've also been feeling really lousy with a cold since about Saturday, really bad on Monday and Tuesday, so it has been even harder to work out than usual.  The plus side of that is that being stuffed up and having a sore throat also means that I am less tempted to eat lots of junk food because it hurts to swallow and I can't really taste it.

So, small wins, right?

I am dreading my tempo run in the morning, and am avoiding finishing writing this blog because that means it is time for bed and that means it is closer to when I have to do that run.  However, I guess I will just go for it.  Goodnight people, hope you're having a good week!