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Archive for August, 2009

Today is one of those days where everything I have planned, has gotten derailed.  I planned to run, then spend the day cleaning and studying.  It didn’t quite work out that way, but there is a silver lining.

I’ll start at the beginning… Today I planned to give my new sneakers their first run.  So I bundled up (it was a chilly morning!!), put on my gear, and stretched.

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I went back to the Minuteman Bikeway that Dave and I scouted out yesterday.  It was a great morning for a run.  I started out and immediately, my Garmin told me that the battery was low.  I have not run without some sort of feedback for over a year.  First, there was the treadmill, then I got a Polar heart rate monitor, which I love.  Then, this summer, my sweet husband got me a Garmin 305.  I love it!  And I have come to rely on the feedback…heart rate, pace, distance, calories burned…

About 10 minutes in, the Garmin shut off.  It’s silly, I almost turned around and just went to the gym.  I thought, “how will I know who fast, or how far, or how long I’ve gone?”  Then I thought, “Who cares?!”  And with that, I kept going.  It would have been silly to stop because when the Garmin turned off, I had been going strong at 8:45-9 minute miles for the first mile.  That’s really good for me!  Even better, considering the time I’ve taken off of running.

In the end, it was a good thing to run without any feedback.  Coming back from an injury, I was forced to go completely on how I felt, instead of how far my watch told me I had gone.  I made an effort to slow down because I didn’t want to push too hard when I am first starting back, so I think I was probably doing 9:30 minute miles for the rest of the run.

I came home and used mapmyrun to get a general idea of how far I went.  I think I did about 5.3 miles.  Not bad.  But I’m ready to run some longer distances!  I felt good though, so I must be doing something right!  Although it was good to run based on how my body felt today, I will be recharging my Garmin for future runs.  Because I am coming back from an injury, I want to know how fast I am going and that I am not going to far, too fast.

Next on the agenda today was to call Vitamin World, where I got the protein powder earlier this week.  Remember:

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Not only did I not like the taste, but it also gave me a horrible stomachache.  I wasn’t really expecting that I could return the opened container, but I hoped to return the unopened one.  To my delight, I was told I could return both.  So off I went to Vitamin World.  The gentleman was very helpful, and I left with this:

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Muscle Milk Light.

The verdict:  Much better!  I was very impressed with Vitamin World’s costumer service and willingness to help me find the right product.

I am getting ahead of myself because before enjoying my yummy chocolate protein and banana shake, I went to the Toyota Service Center.  It was time for a routine tuneup and I wanted to get it done before school started.  Fortunately, they could get me in today!  So instead of getting my vacuuming done today, I headed to Toyota with my Biology reading.  I planned to be in and out in an hour.  Nope!  A half hour later, the  service worker came to tell me that the little noise I heard (and casually mentioned) was really the water pump….about to die.  Oh!  And while we’re at it, the break rotors need to be replaced….all for the bargain price of about $1000!

The price tag was scary, but the Toyota people were great.  They needed my car for another 3 hours, so the shuttle driver brought me home.  Now, when Dave gets home, I get to go back to Watertown to pick up my car….and pay the bill.  Ugh!  This was supposed to be a quiet day at home… a run with my Garmin and them dusting, vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms.   The best laid plans….

The silver lining:

1. I was forced to really pay attention to my body when I ran, something I need to do more (Garmin or no Garmin).

2.  I got to experience really good customer service at Vitamin World and at Toyota, something that doesn’t happen enough!

3.  The water pump in my car didn’t die on me on the drive to Boston from New Hampshire, or on either of the 2 trips I have made to Cape Cod in the last couple of weeks.  The Toyota worker told me I was very lucky!

4.  I had a really valid excuse not to vacuum today.  My most hated chore!

I’ll be heading to Toyota tonight to get my car, so the delicious dinner I have planned may need to be blogged about tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Do you prefer to make plans or do you like being spontaneous? I am definitely a planner.  Sometimes that’s a good quality, and sometimes, I need to go with the flow a little more.

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I found myself humming that song today, as the rain blew out of here and today became a beautiful summer day.

I’ve told you how much my dear husband dislikes vegetables…Given that, I take it as a true sign of love that he planned a surprise trip for me today to a farm….specifically to buy fresh veggies! We went to Verill Farm in Concord, MA. What a great place! I’ve never seen so many kinds of tomatoes!

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We left with a bag full of fresh corn, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and eggplant. I resisted the baked goods and fudge, but it sure did look good! I came home and took my new lettuce, cucumber and tomato and made this for lunch:

Tomato stuffed with salmon.  Yum!!

Tomato stuffed with salmon. Yum!!

It was such a nice day, we couldn’t stay inside, so we headed out to scout out a new running spot. It’s fun to be new to an area. You are constantly discovering new restaurants, stores, walking trails…

We went to Lexington, MA, less than 10 minutes from where we live.

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We found the Minuteman Bikeway and walked and talked for over an hour. Very peaceful. I love that we live so close to Boston , but are also close to lovely walking trails, bike paths, and even Walden Pond. My legs are feeling better today after daily use of the foam roller, so I may return here tomorrow to run. 🙂

When we came home it was time to start dinner. I pulled out some more local produce and made my own version of eggplant parmesan. So easy! I just sliced, dipped in egg, then dipped in a dish of bread crumbs, Italian Seasoning, and parmesan cheese. It baked up with the perfect amount of crispiness!

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Covered in sauce and paired with pasta…

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Note the addition of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and chicken to Dave's plate!

This is one of my favorite dinners. Dave is a good sport …he ate all of the eggplant I gave him. (The chicken and crescent rolls on the side made the dish more palatable for him. :))

Lastly, just to reiterate the severity of Jack’s food addition:

Cats don't even eat tomato sauce!

Cats don't even eat tomato sauce!

What a relaxing day! This is my last week before classes start, so lots of odds and ends to do before then. We are off to the Cape for Labor Day weekend, so I have until Friday to get myself ready to go!

See you tomorrow!

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It is pouring outside. Tropical Storm Danny has been blowing through all day. Not a lot of wind, but crazy amounts of rain. But despite the rain, I am feeling a lot sunnier. I didn’t beat myself up for overeating yesterday. However, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the coping mechanism I chose to handle my stress either. The kind comments I received from several of you were very much appreciated. Also helping me feel better were all of my boys!

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I have the most wonderfully supportive husband. He is always willing to listen, never passes judgment, and lets me cry when I need to. Two cuddly kitties help too. 🙂

I woke up this morning feeling much better…and with an objective for the day.

Once, maybe twice a year, Dave, who hates to shop, will say that he needs new clothes. And when he says “need” he really means “need.” Only frayed pant cuffs and holes in his work clothes motivate Dave to undertake the chore of shopping for new clothes. And because he hates shopping so much, he refuses to spend a lot of money. So when my sweetie needs new clothes, we head to the outlet stores. Today, we headed to the Outlets in Wrentham, MA in this:

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We got drenched, my umbrella turned itself inside out several times, and my shoes may never be the same, but it was a successful trip. Dave got 4 new pairs of pants and a new pair of shoes.IMG_1045

I got a new pocketbook, as my old one had to finally be laid to rest. I also got 2 huge tubs of whey protein powder in chocolate and vanilla.

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Finally, we came home and celebrated Friday night pizza. I was too full to truly appreciate our weekly pizza date yesterday, so we saved it for today. It turned out to be the perfect way to warm up from the chill outside.

Veggies for me and chicken for him!

Veggies for me and chicken for him!

Dave is cuing up the DVD to watch Duplicity. Has anyone seen it?

What do you do to get out of a funk when your not having a good day?

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Sugar Coma

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This is a day that I would rather not write about. Of course, I don’t have to…But then I think about all of the very honest, candid posts other bloggers have written, and I feel like like I need to report on my day of indulgence.

One of the things that made me hesitate in starting a blog related to health, wellness, and my journey towards a career in nutrition, is that I am far from perfect in these areas. I have struggled a lot. Although I have come a long way in learning how to treat my body right, give it healthy foods, and listen to what it needs, I tend to revert back to the old ways I used to comfort myself (namely chocolate and sugar in large amounts) during times of anxiety. My fear was that other people would see that this struggle still exists in me and think I am not qualified at all to be considering such a career path.

Today I ate ridiculous amounts of sugar, chocolate….pretty much anything I could get my needy little hands on! And now I am in that sugar coma that follows, something I haven’t experienced for months and months and months. Years ago, this overindulgence was followed by anger, self-loathing, and excessive exercise, setting up a horrible cycle of deprivation and excess in food and in exercise. I am beyond that. But that doesn’t mean that I am feeling especially good right now.

It would be easy to just take a day off from blogging…Make up a story tomorrow about how I was just really busy today and had no time to blog because I was out living life to the fullest. No one would be the wiser. And I could maintain the image of the perfect person to be heading towards a career in nutrition counseling. Then I think of the posts that I have read where so many of you have shown your vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and picked yourselves up to start fresh. You’ve inspired me and made me feel like you are so much more relateable because of your struggles. I am no different.

I have been hoping and praying for the last year that we would be able to move and I would be able to go back to school. My prayers were answered and here I am in an apartment I love, with the man I love, and about to start school. And…I am a nervous wreck! I am so anxious to go back to school, to feel like the oldest one in the room, to study chemistry! And on top of that, I have just committed myself to a half marathon, something my legs aren’t entirely thrilled about yet.

I woke up this morning and my legs were tight. My stomach hurt because I ate too many vegetables yesterday (damn IBS!). And I had a whole day free to do nothing but chemistry prep, play with the tutorials for my on-line classes, and freak out just a little bit about the leaps I have taken. Next thing I knew, I was polishing off Dave’s ice cream and moving on to those Cadbury eggs that I has so carefully rationed all these months. There was more, but I’ll leave it at that.

All the time I was eating, I was thinking, “you have no business counseling other people in nutrition. Look at you!” Of course, those thoughts just made me more upset. Now, with the sugar wearing off and a clearer head, I am regaining the confidence that I am, in many ways, especially qualified to be giving nutritional advise (once I complete the program!). There is so much more to counseling someone in nutritional matters than simply “eat this, don’t eat that.” If only it were that simple! There’s a lot of emotional baggage that goes into it as well. I relate to that emotional baggage. But at the same time, I have been able to find my way through it to a lifestyle that is, for the most part, balanced and nutritionally sound. I am going to concentrate on that….on how far I’ve come….rather than focus on the one day I had a human moment and sought comfort in food.

All that being said, as I look back on the past few weeks…packing, moving, unpacking, getting situated with school, celebrating a birthday… I realize I have been eating a lot of sugar. I don’t know what the dietitians out there would say, but I have always felt that there is an addictive quality to sugar. The more I have, the more I want. So I am going to try to eliminate some of this unnecessary sugar. Not as punishment. Not to deprive myself. But because I am not feeling at my best and think my body could use a little less.

I didn’t intend to write a novel! Congratulations to anyone who hung on ’til the end! But that was cathartic. I’m going to go indulge my imperfect self in a fun book, and then a movie night with my honey (not the sugary kind, but the husband-y kind!).

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Success!

That was a very successful expedition to the Greater Boston Running Company. Not only were the 2 employees knowledgeable, they were also very patient and answered all of my questions. I brought my old sneakers with the hole worn into the side and explained where the pain has been. I was told, for one, that my sneakers were a half size too big! My foot not being secure enough in the shoe could, by itself, explain how I have developed pain in my quad and tightness in my hamstring. Then he watched me run in several different shoes. In the end, I walked away with these:

Saucony ProGrid Guide2

Saucony ProGrid Guide2

I told the staffers that I wanted to run in the Amica (Breakers) half-marathon in mid-October, and asked, in their experience, whether that was an unrealistic goal. I had been running 8, 9, 10 miles when I started hurting and took time off, but now I need to build back up…in a month and a half. I was told that I can certainly do it. It was suggested that I start off running shorter distances and continue using the elliptical, pushing the length of time I “ellipticate” so that I am ready , cardiovascularly, to run for 2+ hours.  Then I can add miles as I heal.  That was just what I wanted to hear!

To help with the healing, I left with a foam roller as well.  I can already tell it is going to help. It hurts like hell! But I can feel it targeting the tightness in my quads and hamstring.

Quads

Quads

Hamstrings

Hamstrings

IT Band

IT Band

Rudy thanked me for bringing home a $100 box for him enjoy. He was in the box within 5 minutes!

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Dinner tonight was compliments of Trader Joe’s. We’ve coined these frozen, throw-in-a-skillet-and-eat, dinners “Bags of Stuff.” I love this Bag of Stuff:

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It’s a very simple pasta and veggies meal that is great when you’ve been busy foam rolling and not paying attention to the clock. I added extra pasta (because we find the sauce to be too thick for the amount of pasta they give you), gave Dave some chicken in his, and added artichokes to my dish. Dave also got the required addition of 2 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. (Per Dave’s request, crescent Rolls are added to every dinner, with the exception of pizza….Don’t ask, I don’t get it!)

"Hers" and "His"

"Hers" and "His"

My treat for tonight will be some Cadbury Eggs from my last rationed bag!

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I love these things!!! Unfortunately, they are only available at Easter. So what’s a girl to do??? I buy lots of bags and ration them out for as long as I can! This year, much to my dismay, they were sold out in no time! So I didn’t get a huge stash.

Are there any seasonal treats that you look forward to all year?

(Just so you don’t think I only obsess about chocolate, I also look forward all year to the juicy fruit you can only get in the summer, the creamed onions my mom makes at Thanksgiving, and the apples picked right off of the tree in the fall.)

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Oh, the Hair!

I know there are a lot of animal lovers out there. I am most definitely a lover of all furry critters and I’ve introduced you to my munchkins, Jack and Rudy. When we recently moved, Jack and Rudy spend 2 weeks at my parent’s house so they wouldn’t be scared by the boxes, the movers, and the unpacking. We missed them so much! It was so sad to come home and not be greeted at the door. It was lonely at night watching tv without the boys to share the couch with. But I must say…I did NOT miss the hair!

I vowed that when the boys came back to their new home, brushing would be a top priority. If you have pets and you haven’t tried “The Furminator” yet, you must try it. It’s expensive, but it works magic! This is “The Furminator:”

Rudy is modeling for you!

Rudy is modeling for you!

Such a simple device!

Such a simple device!

Jack is saying, "Holy Crap!  That wasn't from me!"

Jack is saying, "Holy Crap! What did you do to my brother?!"

I have been “furminating” on a regular basis and I still get that much hair off of one cat in about 3 minutes of brushing. And they love it! When I first started using it consistently, I had about 6 piles of fur, like the one above, from ONE cat! Bottom line: If you have pets and they shed, this is a really good investment (assuming your pets enjoy being brushed…). There is even a bigger one for dogs and an even bigger one for horses!

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Enough on pets. I had a successful run this morning. I definitely have lost some speed, but I was so happy to be out there on a sunny fall-like morning.

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For those not familiar with the Garmin, the 7.20 is "best pace" not "average pace." I was averaging just under 10 minute miles.

About 5.55 miles (I like to end on round numbers or fun numbers, like 5.55….weird, I know!) in 55 minutes. I stretched a lot and iced, so hopefully tomorrow I won’t be hurting. At the suggestion of Melissa I am off to the Greater Boston Running Company to see if someone can assess my gait, help me buy new sneakers, and point me in the direction of the foam rollers. Melissa went to this store in Hingham, MA, but there is also one in Lexington, less than 4 miles from me!

I just ate a yummy lunch before heading out:
IMG_0997I’m not a master in the kitchen by any stretch of the imagination, but I make a mean omelet! Veggies and cheese with salsa on top. A banana and greek yogurt on the side.

Wish me luck at the running store!

Does anyone else have tricks for keeping their pets’ shedding under control?

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Glued to the Screen

What a day!  I’ve been glued to the computer screen all day!  3 of the 4 courses I am taking this fall are on-line course (for Biology, only the course work is on-line, and then I go into the lab for the lab work.)  As this is my first foray into on-line learning, I spent the day trying to navigate my way through the on-line classrooms so that I am ready to go on Sept. 8.

My eyes are glazed over and I’m ready to turn off the computer.  Hence this early post, minus my dinner report.  My lunch was particularly yummy, so that will be a fine replacement for dinner.  I made a peanut butter and jelly and banana wrap.  Then I put it in the panini maker….the bananas puffed up like marshmallows and the peanut butter and jelly got all drippy.  I made a complete mess eating it, but it was out of this world!

This picture does not do it justice!

This picture does not do it justice!

An interesting aside:  When you heat up peanut butter, you can use half as much because it spreads so easily.

Dave has a business dinner tonight, so I am on my own.  I don’t know what dinner will be.  But dessert will feature this:

IMG_0981As hard as it is to believe, Dave is not a huge fan of chocolate, so in his absence, chocolate usually plays a starring roll in my evening!

Thanks to everyone who gave me advise regarding my injury.   I really appreciate your thoughtful responses!

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