Thanks for switching over!

Thanks everyone for switching over to the new link.  I decided to switch to wordpress for a variety of reasons.  I’ve heard it’s a lot better than blogspot, and after playing around with it for a bit, I decided to switch.  I’m still working out some details with the layout and pages.

I hope everyone likes the new setup.  And thanks again for switching over!

So, yesterday Ben and I decided that we were going to go for a run after work.  Well, we got home, changed and looked at each other.  Clearly our wires crossed somewhere, because I was in a tank and shorts and Ben was in long sleeves and pants.  Opps.  I figured it probably wasn’t too cold out (I don’t like running in the cold – my lungs haven’t adjusted yet).  I could ease my lungs into some milder weather.  Plus running outside is more interesting than the treadmill.  So I changed and off we went on a nice outside run.

Oh I’m sorry, did I say nice?  Cause I lied.  It sucked.  It was super cold and I never felt like I could catch my breath.  And my hands were frozen.  We normally run to a spot about 1.5 miles out and then back.  We got half way to the spot and Ben asked if I wanted to turn around.

But not to let the workout go to waste, we turned the return trip into a speed workout.  We’d sprint to a pole, then light wog (jog slash walk) for a bit.  Then sprint some more, and wog some more.  In the end, it turned out to be not a bad workout.

We also really needed to go food shopping.  So last night I pulled together a quite random dinner: eggs and quinoa.  I had never made quinoa before, but it is super easy.  I really liked it.  It makes a great base to a meal (as you would use rice or pasta).  Since I’m trying to cook new foods, and move away from pasta based meals, I consider this a success.

I mixed my quinoa with a dab of olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  It was very tasty.  In fact, I some came with me to work today for lunch!

It’s my Friday and thoughts on running

Today is my Friday! Our office usually gives us two days off for Christmas, but since the holiday fell over the weekend, they gave us one day for Christmas, and one day for New Year’s Eve.  So today was my Friday.  YAY!

I’ve had two particularly good runs this week.  So after each I’ve taken some time to reflect what made these runs better than the others.

1. My goals

I tend to set some pretty terrible goals for myself, runningwise.  For example, I’ll head to the gym after not running for a couple of days and say “oh I’m gonna run for 40 minutes non-stop”  or “I’m gonna run 5 miles today non-stop.”  For me, the first mile is always the toughest, both mentally and physically.  But once I get through that first mile, I’m ok.  However, when I’m still in the first mile, I start thinking “omg, I can’t do this for 4.5 more miles,” and I doubt myself, making it harder to keep going.

However, the past two runs I’ve set realistic goals for myself.  Tuesday morning I got up and ran before work.  Because time was tight, I set the timing and 25 minutes and just had myself go.  No promises to run non-stop.  Once I was about .75 miles in, I evaluated how things were going and saw that 2 miles was a realistic option for me.  I ended up running the whole time without stopping.  However, if I needed to, I was prepared to stop and walk.

Today when I ran, I updated my pace a bit from Tuesday.  Because I upped the pace, I told myself that if I needed a short one or two minute walking break between miles, that was fine.  And that is what I did.

  • .75 miles – moderate pace
  • .25 miles – fast pace
  • 1 minute 20 seconds – brisk walk
  • .75 miles – moderate pace
  • .25 miles – fast pace
  • 1 minute  30 seconds – brisk walk
  • 2 minutes – moderate walk

Not putting so much pressure on myself really helped me to keep going.

not actually my feet – source

Breathing

Breathing when you are running is different that how you breath the rest of the day.  At least it is for me.  When I don’t focus on my breathing, I seem to take in a lot of quick, short, shallow breaths.  As a result, I never really feel like I have the oxygen and energy to continue.  However, this week I’ve really focused on concentrating on breathing.  For me, its four counts in, six counts out.  Is it normal for my exhale to be longer than my inhale?  For some reason I thought they were supposed to be the same length, but that hasn’t worked for me yet.  This 4/6 count seems to work the best for me right now.  I also think focusing on my breathing and running, and not the numbers on the treadmill screen in front of me, has  helped a lot.


Christmas Cookies

It’s December.  While I adore making cupcakes (and I think this month’s open-ended Mystery Cupcake Challenge sounds like a great idea), to me, Christmastime means cookies.

So, now I just have to decide what cookies I want to make. 

  • I know I definitely want to make some sugar cookies.  Last year, I got some great cookie cutters in Christmas shapes for Christmas.  I think some sugar cookie trees and angels sound delightful. 
  • I’m also thinking about making some thumbprint jam cookies.  Cookie+strawberry jam = wonderfulness that is totally worth the calories.
  • Peanut butter cookies.  This comes from the girl who keeps a jar of peanut butter at her desk and snacks on it by the spoonful.  Are you really surprised?
  • White chocolate cranberry.  I absolutely love these cookies, but I can only make them during the holidays.

What are your favorite holiday cookies?  

November goals check-in

As November comes to a close, I figured I’d check in on the goals I set earlier this month

Run a 10K! check!
Turn 25check!
Participate in the Mystery Ingredient Challenge – oops. This somehow slipped by.
Attend one networking event – oops.  I had plans to attend a few, but random things got in the way. 
Identify an organization to work with and in what capacity I can volunteer – I planned on doing this during late November, but life got in the way. 
Figure out finances – check
Confirm flowers/rentals/decorations for the wedding -again, life got in the way, but this has become a TOP PRIORITY
Make AJ’s risotto – I keep forgetting to buy the rice to make risotto.  And then the couple of times I remembered, the store was out.  Epic fail. 
Begin to work arm exercises into my routine – check!  Not doing it all the time, but I’ve started to work them in here and there. 
Read one book for fun – umm…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok…so this Thanksgiving post is a bit late.  But I’ve had one hell of a week, so cut me a break!

I ended up coming home Thursday during the day opposed to Wednesday night.  I walked in the house right as dinner was finishing up.  We had pumpkin soup as a starter and then turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, an apple/butternut squash concoction, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, Cope’s corn, and roasted broccoli and carrots.  Everything was fantastic.

That night, my niece slept over.  I had an awesome sleepover party with a four year old.  We watched all sorts of Christmas movies (Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph) and then had “girl talk in bed.”  I don’t think she fell asleep until like Midnight.  I was shocked that a four year old would stay up that late. 

Friday morning, I woke up and made my niece breakfast and we hung out for the day.  Then I got sick :-(.  The four year old got me sick.  So I’ve basically been in bed ever since.

So here is a brief list of things I’m thankful for:

  • Benjamin 🙂
  • Family
  • Awesome friends
  • Amazing bridesmaids who are always willing to help!
  • Great future in-laws
  • A job that I love
  • My lovely apartment that feels oh-so-homey

I’m on a Boat!!

Since next weekend will be consumed with running my first 10k, this weekend I celebrated my birthday with both Ben and my parents.

On Friday night, the celebration was just Ben and me.  Ben kept everything a surprise.  He even met me at the metro station (with flowers!) near my work so he wouldn’t have to tell me what metro station to get off at.  The surprise was dinner on this

Photo credit

I’ve wanted to do one of these dinner cruises since we moved to D.C.  Ben upgraded our ticket to include an open bar and a window seat.  So we could have all the drinks we wanted while enjoying the view.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The trip traveled down the river past Old Town Alexandria and the National Harbor.  We had an awesome time!

Then Saturday morning my parents came down to celebrate.  We did a tour of the Capitol first and then went to dinner.  The original plan was to go to Matchbox in Chinatown, but it was an hour and 15 minute wait.  An hour I could have done, but waiting for more than that I just couldn’t justify.  So we switched plans and went to Clydes.  The food was really good.  I got the filet and it was cook perfectly.  My mom got a butternut squash ravioli (with dried cranberries and walnuts) that was amazing.

Afterwards we had reservations at Coco.Sala for dessert.  While I’ve never been, I’ve heard its fantastic.  For those from Boston, its kind of like Finale but a bit more on the trendy/night out side.  While the food was fantastic, i was less than impressed with the overall experience.

Pros

  • Our waiter was   very attentive, quickly refilling our water glasses.
  • Once the food arrived, it was very very good.  I got “Nutty but Nice” – a peanutbutter cheesecake with a chocolate coating on top.  It came with a side of rum bananas foster with chocolate shavings.  It was awesome.  It also came with a peanutbutter and jelly chocolate.  Everything was fantastic and it all paired together quite nicely. 
  • The portion size was more or less what I expected.  Not a huge dessert, but very satisfying.

Cons

  • First, our table wasn’t ready at our reservation time.  And the fact that we showed up 10 minutes early really threw the hostess.  We were finally seated about 10 minutes late.  10 minutes is not a big deal, but when you have a reservation, you want your table ready at that time.  And since it was at 9:30, its not like it was peak time.  And considering we arrived 10 minutes, we had to wait a total of 20 minutes. 
  • 40 minutes after we ordered, our waiter came back to tell us that they were out of the white chocolate necessary for my dad’s dessert.  First of all – not sure why the desserts took 40 minutes, but even less sure why it took them 40 minutes to realize they were out of the white chocolate.  Another twenty minutes passed before our desserts came out.

Overall, it was a great birthday celebration!