As the weather begins to get warmer, my desire to run outside increases. I’m not a winter runner because I hate bundling up in layers of clothing to run outside and so I end up on the treadmill, but that gets old soon. And the treadmill isn’t actually as “cushioned” as we all make it out to be…case in point, I have developed a “stress reaction” in my left shin thanks to the infamous “dreadmill” and bumping up my runs too quickly. So long story short, I’m taking a few weeks (6 – 8?) off running for a while just to let any “possible” stress fracture heal. So where does that leave me? Well, I can still swim, use the elliptical, bike and do pool-running, as well as other non-impact activities like yoga and so I’m not too bummed about it (yet).
But the elliptical and bike sometimes leave me wanting a tougher workout, a way of getting my heart rate up, and so I incorporate some of the exercises I learned at CrossFit into my workouts a few times a week. These are short bursts of intense activities like kettle bell swings, burpees and mountain climbers, and they get your heart rate up in a short amount of time (most of these circuits are only 10-12 minutes long). I posted one circuit at the start of the year and here’s another one that I did today after 40 minutes on the elliptical. Start with 3 rounds and bump up to 4, and remember to warm up beforehand! It’s a great way to get your heart rate up if you’re left wanting more after an elliptical or bike workout.
And then remember to stretch and refuel asap!
I am not a baker. Yet over the last few days I’ve made a batch of Gluten Free Almond Butter cookies form this site (I halved the recipe, used 2 Tbsp of eggbeaters and added 3 Tbsp chocolate chips too), and just now, put a batch of Peanut and Cashew Butter Cookies (recipe follows) in the oven. Who am I??? And why am I making cookies??? Anyway, enjoy!
Peanut and Cashew Butter Cookies (makes 18 small cookies)
1/4 cup natural Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp Cashew Butter
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp egg whites (or egg beaters)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Shape into 18 small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 8 mins. Allow to cool before removing and eating!
If you’ve heard me complain about having a busy semester in the past – forget I ever said that. THIS semester is going to be insane. After the first 4 days I already felt as if I’d been back at school for a lifetime just from the workload that was thrown at us – and from the anticipation of the workload awaiting us over the next 16 weeks. Between 3 classes, an internship, a part-time job and training I don’t seem to have much time for anything else – such as a social life (What’s that you ask??)
And with the start of the semester another forgotten friend returned – my old pal “stress,” who had disappeared over the holiday season and the month off from school. Well – stress is back and probably here to stay for the next 16 weeks at least, so I guess I’d better start to manage him so he doesn’t get out of control. Stress is probably something that we all experience in varying degrees; some people have more than others, and some people can manage stress better than others (I am not one of them). And yet, I think (hope) that I’ve become better at dealing with stress and managing it so that it doesn’t wreck havoc on my health – both physical and mental.
Back when I was in Art school in Savannah, I remember going to the school counselor because I was so stressed out about my classes and workload that I just couldn’t focus; I couldn’t sleep, was agitated all the time and just felt as if I didn’t have a handle on things. And to this day I remember her advice; how she helped me learn to juggle multiple tasks and manage my time so that I wouldn’t get stressed out. For me, it came down to planning out my week on a schedule and allocating specific time slots for specific tasks. Just writing it out and knowing when I would get various things done was so effective in helping me deal with my busy schedule. For me, stress arose from a fear of not being able to complete all my projects and get through my to-do list – and planning it out was the solution. So that’s exactly what I’ve started to do this semester. I’ve created template schedules for every week and have started to plan out my week in advance, and so far it seems to have helped. I guess I’ve also decided that I’m not “killing” myself over anything – I’m going to live my life one day at a time and enjoy it – because after all, we only get one shot at life.
How do you deal with stress and manage a busy schedule? DO you have any tried-and-tru ways of dealing with stress?
Just a short and sweet post about a few of my favorite things…
1. Color: Blue
2. Time of year: Summer
3. Cuisine: Mexican/Latin American
4. Exercise: Swimming
5. Race Distance: Half-Marathon
6. Shoes: My running shoes (Asics GT 2170)
7. Perfume: Clinique Happy
8. Fruit: Banana
9. Vegetable: Spinach
10. Drink: Toss-up between coffee and red wine
11. Meal: Breakfast (Eggs and Smoothies)
12. Condiment: Ketchup (and only Heinz!)
13. Nut butter: Peanut butter
14. Topping: Avocado
15. Dinner Entree: Grilled Salmon salad
16. Dressing: Balsamic
17. TV Show: The Good Wife
18. Action Movie: Pulp Fiction
19. Girly Movie: Sweet Home Alabama
20. Actor: Daniel Craig
What are some of your favorites?
I was debating on whether I really wanted to write this post. Last year was pretty much a roller coaster for me with highs and many lows. Endings and new beginnings; many losses and some gains. In the past year, I went through a heartbreaking loss, then almost lost my uncle and my mom - but thank God they are both fine now. One of my best friends lost her father – who was like a father to me and remains very dear in my heart and memories.
But the year also brought many good things and I have to remember that when I look back at 2012. On a personal level, I felt that I “finally grew up,” as cheesy as that sounds coming from a 34 year old. I feel much older now than I did last January and a large part of that is probably due to the emotional roller coaster that the year entailed. But it’s “older,” in a good way; I feel calmer, stronger, more in control of my life and more independent again. And those are all good things in my book – considering what I wreck I was in Jan/Feb 2012.
But going back to the highlights of 2012, here are the most memorable moments of the year for me:
1. My mom emailing me to tell me that she was not only my mom but my best friend That melted my heart and did more than she can ever know to bring a greater sense of calm and stability to me during a rough year.
2. Finishing a half-marathon in 2:05 after a night spent sobbing, 2.5 hours of sleep, a bum ankle and a month of pitiful training. My slowest half-marathon time to date but I’m proud of it. That race was run after a night of an emotional breakdown and yet it was a weirdly cathartic run. Like a sort of cleanse, because once I was done I felt an immense emotional relief. It was a feeling of renewed belief in myself, of knowing that I was still strong and could achieve what I set out to do. I did take a month off running after that but that was by choice, and I still treasure the sense of accomplishment after that run.
3. Doing the Spartan Sprint! I was almost inclined to skip it but I’m so glad that I did it (and volunteered at it the next day). It was the muddiest and funnest race/obstacle run I have ever done. Not sure if I’ll do another anytime soon but who knows?!
4. Buying my first road bike and doing a bike tour of Boston with some friends. I’ve always wanted a road bike and I love my Raleigh Capri 2.0! Moreover, I’ve realized how much I like biking!
5. Trying CrossFit! It’s too expensive for me to pay for regularly and I’m not really into some of the exercises, but I learned a TON from my six week intro session at CrossFit Newton. So glad I did it – and it was probably the best Groupon (or Amazon Local deal) I ever bought. I still do the KB swings and burpees to add some high-intensity training to my regular exercise.
6. Visiting my mom and dad in India. Can’t wait to see you guys again in March!
7. Reconnecting with many of my friends who live in other cities. My family and my friends are truly awesome and I can never thank them enough for being there for me this year and helping me get through the rough times. Love you all XO
8. Making new friends in MA. Over the course of this year I’ve made some really good friends here too – and they have done so much in making me feel more at home, and less homesick and lonely in MA. I can’t imagine taking a class or getting through the CPD Masters program without my good friends Jane and Tina, and I have Beth to thank for being such a thoughtful friend and having me over for a fun Thanksgiving and Xmas, and fabulous meals and conversations at the British Beer Company here in Framingham.
9. Going to the Tough Mudder in PA in May and cheering on my friends – what an awesome and fun day that was!
10. Revamping this blog and getting back into writing (although I did go MIA after Oct 8th…oops )
11. Being given the opportunity to contribute nutrition articles to My Competitive Life – a fabulous resource for health, fitness, training and nutrition for athletes, individuals and families.
12. Spending the summer volunteering at Community Servings in Jamaica Plains, MA. Met some great people there and I’m looking forward to going back in the next few weeks.
Hope that you all have good memories of 2012 too – and please feel free to share them!
Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to 2013 being a good year for all of you!
I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve; mine was very low-key but I quite liked it that way. I wasn’t feeling too great and so after getting off work I stayed home, cooked dinner, watched some TV and then read a book. Was in bed by 11 and out by 11:30pm! Low-key but fine by me. I felt better this morning and started the day with a protein smoothie, egg whites and a pancake, and then after catching up with my mom and some friends, I did my first workout of 2013.
Workout: 6 mile treadmill run (last mile was pretty slow ), followed by my HIIT workout below. Not a bad start to the New Year! I used a 20 lb weight instead of a Kettlebell (since the little gym at my apartment complex doesn’t have Kettlebells) but it was a great workout nevertheless. My heart rate never gets very high while running, biking or swimming but those burpees get my heart racing! The entire HIIT circuit (5 rounds) takes 10 minutes or less to complete, and it’s a great way to get your heart rate up in a short amount of time.
Do you guys have any resolutions for 2013? I don’t like to call them ‘resolutions’ but I do have some goals in mind for 2013. I think it’s always nice to set some goals for the year to stay motivated about achieving things that are important to you. So without further ado here are my goals for 2013:
1. Spend more time connecting with and staying in touch with my friends and family. A lot of my friends live in NYC, and others live in San Francisco, Columbus, OH and North Carolina. My brother lives in NYC and my parents in India and I don’t get to see everyone very often. So in 2013 I aim to do a better job of staying in touch with everyone I love – either via phone, email or facebook, as much as possible.
2. Get back to being a more consistent runner and train smartly to avoid getting injured again – and again! I love running too much to give it up and so this year I’m devoting more time to training smartly; taking rest days as needed, building up mileage more slowly, and not worrying too much about my pace but just being grateful for the ability to run. I’ve also decided to invest in some custom orthotics after a visit to the podiatrist (I know – they’ll cost a fortune), but hopefully they will help me get over my PF and let me run for many more years.
3. Do my first triathlon (which btw is a Half-Iron on my 35th birthday!!) Patriot 70.3 on June 15th in MA. Enough said on this one. I’m nervous, scared and yet incredibly excited; I wanted to ring in my 35th birthday with something big, so why not? I’ve always wanted to do a Half-Ironman and hopefully 2013 will be the year I make it happen!
4. Run a few more half-marathons this year. Just because I want to!
5. Get more sleep! I’m terrible about getting into bed at a reasonable hour so I’m setting this as a goal for myself this year. In bed by 10:30 and hopefully asleep by 11pm.
I made add a few more goals over the year but that’s it for now. WHat are your goals for 2013?
Sooooo what did this past week entail for me? Well, from the title of the post you can tell that my car was towed - from the parking lot of my apartment community. Apparently they have a rule that if your registration has expired then they will tow. Fabulous. Well unbeknownst to me, my registration expired a month ago (yikes!) and so on Tuesday when I went down to go run some errands – my car was nowhere to be found. After a moment of panic, a frantic visit to the rental office, a great deal of sobbing, on-line renewal of my registration and a ride from a friend later that night, I got my car back. $139 poorer. BUT…things didn’t end on too bad a note. On Wednesday I talked to my community manager and showed him the lease, which stated that they could tow after appropriate notification to the owner (which I did not receive) – so he called the tow company and now I’m being sent a refund
Fast forward to Thursday night and Friday – yours truly came down with a hideous head cold and a horrible headache (and I still have it ) So my much anticipated trip to NYC was cancelled (sigh) – though I will be going down in a couple of weekends for a friend’s wedding! So what did I do instead? Study – for an exam and quiz later this week, and an exam next week. And put on my chefs hat and try some new recipes I found on-line! I tried this Paleo Banana Bread recipe from Running to the Kitchen, though I used half the oil – and used olive vs. coconut, 2 eggs + 2 egg whites, and 2 teaspoons agave (since I didn’t have maple syrup). The verdict? Good! Though I think I should have used a bigger and riper banana to give it a more banana-y flavor. The texture is certainly different from traditional banana breads, and although almond flour has a lot of fat (15g per 1/4 cup), it’s all unsaturated fat (it only has 1g of saturated fat per 1/4 cup). It’s also high in protein and fiber (7g protein and 3g fiber per 1/4 cup). The bread was also very light – not dense at all even though I thought it would be dense from the oil and almond flour, and it doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or heavy at all (unlike some wheat flour based products).
Here’s a picture of how mine turned out (sorry about the yellow tinge – it’s my kitchen light):
I also made spaghetti squash in the oven. Tip for cooking spaghetti squash: Cut it in half and place it cut side down in a large glass pyrex casserole dish with 1/2 inch of water. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes. That’s all! Then use a fork to pull out the strands of “spaghetti!” Serve with pasta sauce & parmesan plus whatever protein and veggie sides you desire.
Finally, I made pumpkin pancakes which were just a variation on Monica’s Peanut Flour Protein Pancakes, except that I used pumpkin instead of the cottage cheese (I usually sub in 1/2 banana but left it out this time). Verdict? Good – but not as sweet as my banana version. Still, they are light and high in protein and fiber so they’ll make a good breakfast option on busy mornings (I made a double batch and froze them!)
Apart from that, it’s been studying and more studying – oh, and I bought a snazzy clutch at TJ Maxx Hey – if I couldn’t go to NYC this weekend, at least I can hold my clutch and feel like I’m a Miss Fancy-Pants
Hope you all had a great Columbus Day weekend!
Hello folks – Hope everyone has had a great week! As per usual, mine included school work and more school work! All good though. In one of my classes we also practiced some sample Nutrition Counseling sessions, and I actually just finished processing the video assignment for it. It was definitely a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I also got my assignment for one of my supervisory experiences (required for the RD program) where I’ll be doing sample diet histories with an RD for 3 hrs/wk for 7 week. I’m looking forward to that – the beginnings of my first real exposure to the world of an RD!
In other news, it seems that my attempts at running have been foiled again After taking a month off from my last half-marathon, I finally felt like running again this week. So on Tuesday I tried a 2 mile run/walk combo on the treadmill. That went well…no issues. So on Friday, I tried running 3 miles on the treadmill (something that I would have had no issues with before)….However….my shins had other ideas. After about 2.5 miles I started feeling a tightness on the outside of my left calf, and by the end of the 3 miles I had the worst shin splints you can imagine….as in it hurt to walk! It was all on the muscle part though – not on the bone, so per my investigation on the internet it doesn’t seem like a stress fracture….more like a muscle issue. Anyway, I’ve talked to a PT who has advised strengthening my lower leg muscles and my glutes since I over pronate on my left foot and that may be aggravating my calf muscles. I also picked up a pair of new orthotics today…the blue Superfeet (after trying on various pairs at Marathon Sports). So we’ll see…probably take another week or so off from running and then give it a go. Been wearing my trusty compression sleeves to bed the last few nights too so that seems to have helped (neon shins anyone??)
Off to watch the season premiere of The Good WIfe and do some more studying…Cioa!!
Hi Folks! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I seem to be on a weekly schedule with my blogging at the moment so sorry (again) for the delay. This weekend I participated in a bike event here in Boston called Hub on Wheels. It’s a cycling tour of various parts of the city, from downtown to Dorchester, Hyde Park and the Arborway. The ride started at 8am from City Hall Plaza on Sunday, and riders could choose to do a 10 mile, 30 mile or 50 mile option. I did the ride with some friends and although we’d initially planned on doing the 50 mile ride, we started out towards the back and the group decided they wanted to do the 30 mile loop instead. It was a gorgeous day and we really couldn’t have asked for better weather! (Well – maybe less windy… but at least it wasn’t raining!). Here’s a view from the start…there were over 5000 cyclists!!
The first 10 miles took us through Storrow Drive which had been blocked off from general traffic, and then we veered off into various parts of the city, through the cemetery, by the Charles River and through several parks. The ride was really well organized – from snacks, drinks and port-a-potties at several rest stops, to bike support from Landry’s Bicycles.
I hadn’t ridden more than 20-ish miles on my own, and certainly not through traffic – but I did well and didn’t fall off my bike! Apart from enjoying the ride with my friends, I found that it was also a great confidence builder for me as a newbie road biker. Prior to the ride, I’d always been nervous about stopping & starting at traffic lights and being able to jump out of the saddle at stops – and the ride really helped me get more comfortable in all of these areas.
When I got home (after a ridiculously long wait in the parking garage…one area that could do with some improvement for next year), I was itching to get in some more miles (can you tell that I had my heart set on doing 50 yesterday? ) So after wolfing down an egg and veggie burrito and taking Folly out, I dragged my bike back out for another 20 miles on my own. Rode from Framingham up to Wellesley and back for 21 miles and called it 50 for the day (30 miles done as part of Hub on Wheels). It felt great to get the 50 done since I had really planned on it – and great to know that I can bike 50 miles without too much strain Needless to say, I was exhausted last night – but in a good way, and although my neck and shoulders are a little sore today I still feel pretty good! Even made it to the gym this morning for some elliptical-ing and a high-intensity workout (more on that later!)
Last night I also found myself looking up cycling shorts & gloves on Amazon…and thinking about investing in a bike rack for my
beat-up car (I’ve been taking the wheel off and putting it in my back seat so far)….I’m also considering do a century bike ride….Hmmm…So maybe I am turning into a biker after all??
Hello from the ‘burbs of Framingham…I know I’m a week overdue on catching up with blog posts (sorry!) – but I was spending some quality time with one of my very best friends Vanessa who lives in NJ and was up here visiting. In my last post, I mentioned that I made Shrimp Tacos for Vanessa and I when she arrived on Sunday night – but I never posted the recipe. Well I didn’t forget Here it is – sans the photo of the real thing…The image below is of Tempeh Tacos but just imagine shrimp in there instead of the tempeh
During the week, amidst catching up on school work, I also went to Vanessa’s mom’s place for a Lobster Dinner on Wednesday night, then met a friend for drinks and dinner in Jamaica Plain on Thursday. Friday and Saturday night were spent catching up on schoolwork, getting my bike checked, running errands and chilling out at home, and Sunday (after homework, laundry & errands) I watched an old episode of The Good Wife (in preparation for the season premiere on Sept 30th!!!!). This week also brought a new rug and a painting to my little studio (both bought on sale from Pier 1) – and it looks so much more homely now. Pier 1 is addictive though…good thing it’s not that close to my house.
Anyway, I digress – here is the recipe for Shrimp Tacos (and a pseudo-picture for some color)
Shrimp Tacos (serves 2)
4 corn tortillas, warmed
1/2 lb pre-cooked medium shrimp, thawed under cold water (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
5 – 6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 red pepper, washed and sliced
1/2 yellow or green zucchini, sliced
2 cups spinach, washed
1 – 2 sliced roma tomatoes
handful baby spinach
1/4 cup salsa (plus more if desired)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (optional)
1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray (or use 1-2 tsp olive oil) and heat over medium heat.
2. Add zucchini, peppers and mushrooms and saute for 1 – 2 mins. Add shrimp and spinach and saute an additional 2 – 3 minutes till mixture is hot.
3. Place warm tortillas on 2 plates and top each with 1/4 of the shrimp and veggie mixture.
4. Top each taco with some spinach, a few slices of tomato, 1 Tbsp salsa, slices of avocado and 1 Tbsp shredded cheese (optional).
5. Serve with additional salsa and a side salad (if desired).
If you like salsa as much as I do, you’ll probably end up eating half the jar in one evening…but hey, I like my salsa.
PS, the Pineapple Salsa from Trader Joe’s is really AWESOME…you might end up eating the whole jar in one evening.
PPS – No they did not pay me to say that…I just LOVE the stuff