Friday, April 30, 2010

WTF Weather

So, I love -- LOVE -- hot and sunny weather. I love it. I even love when it's humid and sticky.

I don't really love running in hot and sunny weather. Over the summer I'll run in the morning -- 5:45, 6am -- before it really heats up, but even then, if it's a humid stretch, it's treadmill city to me.

So, you can imagine my internal conflict when I saw this weekend's weather report. High 80s both Saturday and Sunday? Sunny? Hot? YES! WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!

...but wait. Don't I have to run ten miles on Sunday? The day where there's a high of 88 to 90 degrees, with humidity and possible rain late in the day? Um...what?

You can further imagine how unsettling it was to get an e-mail from the sponsors of Broad Street, essentially saying the following:

"Dear Runners: So, you've seen the weather forecasts. Didn't see that one coming, did ya?? Neither did we. You know damn well you haven't trained in these conditions. And you know you weren't expecting this weather. We won't tell you what to do -- except for not get drunk on Saturday night. And make sure you start hydrating three days ago. And by the way, if you die during the race, it's TOTALLY your fault.

PS -- have fun at the expo!"

Ugh. Lame.

Remember how I was sort of vomiting with nerves already? Compound that by the fact that the last time I ran in this kind of heat and humidity -- over the summer -- I actually DID nearly vomit into a trashcan on Kelly Drive. (In front of a coworker, no less! Who hasn't really asked me to run with her again since. Hmm...coincidence, I'm sure.) And that was only FIVE miles.

Well, there's a long time between now and that starting line. I know one thing for sure: I am going to the Expo tomorrow morning and picking up my race packet (not to mention spending cash on a Bondi Band or two, and a SpiBelt). After that...well...I'll let you know if I end up dying.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Confession: I am petrified about running Broad Street this weekend.

My 8-miler really did go well, with no post-run fallout. And thanks to Steph at The Bright Side, I have some buddies to run with on Sunday. And it's not like I haven't done this before.

But I'm still so nervous that I'm going to injure myself. No matter how many times I tell myself that I'm going to be conservative, and stretch my hips regularly, and walk the second I feel like I need to -- I'm worried that I'm going to be my normal stupid self, and "push through" because I feel like I "should." And end up unable to walk down the stairs for weeks.

I'm being silly. At least, I think I am.

I skipped P90X plyo last night, reasoning that (1) jumping up and down repeatedly is not going to help my let's-not-injure-my-knee goal, and (2) Sunday's race will be more than enough cardio to make up for it. I was going to hop on the Hamster Wheel of Death (aka elliptical) with my new Fitness magazine instead, but that didn't happen.

Sigh. So nervous. So silly of me. I figure that once I pick up my packet, I'll be stuck -- since I can't really wear the shirt without running the race, right? And I can't bring in my bib to add to my display here at work either, right?

Yeah. I'd be a real poseur then.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Philly Foodie Meetup!

Delayed post numero dos!

Last Tuesday, Sabrina of and Leslie of were fabulous enough to organize a meetup of Philly bloggers and readers.

You've probably seen everyone else's recaps, so I'll make this brief -- but I had an absolute blast meeting everyone, putting names to faces (or, well, faces to blogs) and making new friends!

We met up at Garces Trading Company, Jose Garces' newest restaurant. PhillyGuy and I are rabid Food Network fans, and I was delighted to see Garces become the newest Iron Chef.

I wasn't sure what to expect with Garces Trading Company, but I loved it. It reminded me a lot of DiBruno's at 18th and Market...if only DiBruno's had table service and (gasp!) its own wine shop.

(Sorry for the blurry pics -- I'm working with a point & shoot here!)

Our table shared a chef's selection of cheeses. The blue, paired with the lavendar honey and a thin slice of apple, was pretty much enough to make me die and go to heaven right there.

I followed that up with the lamp chops, which came prepared medium rare and paired perfectly with the glass of red wine Sabrina was kind enough to share:

I'd definitely head back for dinner with PhillyGuy, and would probably try the pizza next time -- several girls ordered that, and it looked unreal. Pretty basic, with a thin crust and simple ingredients -- it was a real toss-up between the pizza and the lamb for me, but I was happy with my choice.

All in all, it was a really great night -- I am ridiculously happy about the idea of a Philly blogging/fitness/foodie community. It was fantastic to hang out with people who share my biggest interests, and I cannot wait to do it again.

PhillyGuy and I spent this weekend up at his parents' house visiting with family. As always, we packed our gym clothes with the intention of doing our scheduled P90X workouts. And, as always, things just didn't work out that way. Friday night was yoga night -- but we didn't even eat dinner until 8pm, and at 9, headed over to his grandparents' to hang out. So, he asked me to hold off and do yoga with him when he got back from golfing with his dad. Except their tee time was at 8:30ish -- which is, no joke, a good two hours later than it usually is. And when they rolled in around 12:45, people had started to arrive for that afternoon's "picnic." I was a little cheesed, since I'd spent the morning reading trashy magazines and could have been doing precious yoga...but, whatever.

So, when we got home last night around 6:15, I was itching to work out. By the time we unloaded the car, walked the pups, and all that jazz, it was close to 7:30, and PhillyGuy decided he needed to hang out at home and get some work done. Peace out, brother -- I hauled my butt right to the gym, where I rocked out some Core Synergistics solo. Our new gym has an aerobics studio-style workout room, with wood floors and a full wall of mirrors, which was the perfect location for my various banana-superman rolls, pushup variations, and overall contortions.

Except for Dreya rolls.

That guy can do Dreya rolls. I can't. They are WAY harder than they look. I get stuck on my ass.

Oh well. One of these days.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Farmers' Market

Delayed post number one, here we go:

So, last Friday night was one of those nights where PhillyGuy and I were both just total wastes of space.

It's hard to remember exactly why. I know I had an insane morning trying to wrap stuff up before bosslady left for vacation, followed by dashing downstairs to catch a train out to Norristown for a hearing...only to discover WHEN I GOT THERE that it was cancelled, without notice. Booooooo. Double BOOOOOO for having to wait 40 minutes for a train back to the city. Triple BOOOOOO for having to pretend to do important work on my blackberry to ignore the woman in the train station talking to herself (and intensely!) about vegetables. BOOOOOO again for having to go back up to the office and deal with more shenanigans for a few hours, instead of going straight home from court like I'd hoped.

Hmm. Maybe I do remember exactly why. Oh, well.

Regardless -- PhillyGuy also had a long day. So, we did what any normal people would do after a long day -- headed straight to New Delhi up in University City, where we stuffed ourselves with Indian food, before coming home, collapsing on the couch, and watching Food Network until we couldn't keep our eyes open. Which was, um, like 8:30pm.

After our ridiculously early bedtime, PhillyGuy and I were both wide awake around 6:30 or 7 the next morning. After a nice leisurely dog walk, we hit the gym for shoulders, biceps and triceps. After a nice hour's worth of arm-destroying, we headed out, happy and sweaty, to run by the farmer's market.

First stop: Cafe Lutecia at 23rd and Lombard for an iced coffee.

I LOVE this place. It's very simple, very French, and everything is delicious. In our pre-P90X days (i.e. before our diets shifted to 70% protein), this was on our regular weekend breakfast rotation. Usually, we'd "split" a scone (that means I had three or four bites while PhillyGuy took care of the rest, pretending he ordered it just for himself), and order a couple slices of whatever their daily rotation of quiches was.

On to Fitler Square:

Every Saturday, a small farmer's market sets up right in front of the park from about 8am to 2pm.

It's only a few tables, but they always have plenty of local, seasonal produce, fresh dairy and eggs, and other treats -- delicious baked goods, local honey, jams, etc.

It was very crowded in such a small place, so I couldn't take pictures without causing a traffic jam...but we ended up with fresh portobella mushrooms, some asparagus, fruit and a dozen fresh eggs.

The puppies enjoyed the sunshine:

I love the "couples' leash," as our dogwalker puts it. Without it, I end up getting tied up when they try to run in opposite directions. Or in the same direction -- running in circles around my ankles. That's always a favorite.

So, okay, that was a six-day delay on that post. Ooops. Oh well. Coming soon: my recap of the Philly Foodie meetup at Garces Trading Co.!

(By the way -- good lord, did those eight miles kick my butt. I am creeeeeaky today. Still on the fence about Broad Street -- I need to make a decision, and FAST!)

What are your favorite farmers markets in the city?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

8 Mile

I don't know what got into me today -- maybe it was chatting with my fellow Philly Foodies the other night, maybe it was just the sunshine -- but I decided randomly this afternoon that I was going to run tonight.

Not one of my typical runs from the past few months, where I knock out four miles or so and cry about how I'm not as fast as I used to be.

No -- this was a test run (pun). I wanted to do 8 miles. I figure -- if I could cover 8 miles, even 8 slow miles, I'd know if I could do ten next weekend at Broad Street. If the 8-miler was a big fat fail, well -- then it was time to give up the bib.

Here is what Chrissey looks like when she completes 8 miles in a reasonable amount of time despite not having trained at all:


How the crap do you take a good picture of your Garmin, anyway? I took at least 8 or 9, and this one was BY FAR the best.

Anyway -- so, I did it. I ran down 24th street, picked up the Schuylhill River trail at Locust, and did a nice out-and-back down Kelly Drive, which I haven't done in a VERY long time. I told myself I was just going to do four two-mile runs. After every two miles, I was allowed to stop, pause the Garmin, and stretch my hamstrings/glutes. And I did that -- never for very long, but I really think it made all the difference in the world.

The first six miles felt GOOD. There were a couple of times when my legs felt like bricks, but I pushed through every time, and I just felt...GOOD. The last two miles...well, less good. Mile 7 was rough that I walked for half of mile 8. I ran the last half miles and, despite my achin' legs, finished strong. Splits:

Mile 1: 9:50
Mile 2: 9:34
Mile 3: 9:54
Mile 4: 9:31
Mile 5: 9:53
Mile 6: 9:27
Mile 7: 10:05 (starting to fall apart)
Mile 8: 13:04 (walked first .5)

I'm so glad I went. Around mile 3, I started noticing that the sky was clouding up, and I starting thinking to myself "hmm...maybe I should have checked the radar." Sure enough, right at my turnaround point at mile 4, gale-force winds started blowing and it started to rain. I'm glad it did, actually -- it only rained for about 6 or 7 minutes and completely refreshed me. I was sort of disappointed when it stopped...mostly because I was already outlining how I'd tell the story of my "OMG SO HARDCORE RUN" where I ran the WHOLE SECOND HALF in the rain.

Not so much.

Playlist that kept me going:

I have eclectic taste in music. It's ok.

Question of the day: what's the better Rocky workout/montage song? "No Easy Way Out" or "Hearts on Fire?" I have such a hard time deciding -- on one hand, does it GET any better than angry, mourning Rocky speeding around in his ridic sports car? On the other -- yes, when he RUNS UP A MOUNTAIN. Gah. So hard to decide.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick & Dirty


I want to write a real entry! PhillyGuy and I went to our local farmer's market/weekly food stands on Saturday and I took pictures and everything...and I just have NOT found the time to even upload the pics, let alone post about it.

My boss is out this week -- I really thought I'd have a nice easy week. Nope. Instead, not only did she leave me with MORE than enough work to keep me occupied, I'm left to handle all of the day to day stuff that comes up. Like this stupid closing on this stupid deal that JUST WON'T END.

It's my fifth week of P90X, but due to some scheduling issues, PhillyGuy and I repeated Week 3. So this week is our "Week 4," which is a "recovery" week. What that means is a break from most of the weight-bearing or intense lifting exercises, and replacing that with two days of yoga, two days of "Core Synergistics," and two days of "StretchX."

Last night, I could not WAIT for yoga. I headed home, walked the pups, and by about 7:15, was settling in with my mat and the windows open to the beautiful night. The first 45 minutes was tough, as always, but I'm really seeing some improvements -- I can hold Crane for longer (um, which means about 5 seconds at a time instead of 3-4, but believe me, that's something) and I got up into Warrior 3 on each of my legs without too much struggle. Trust me, it still ain't pretty, but that's OK -- I'm definitely improving.

However, that last 45 minutes -- which is my favorite part! -- really started to drag. I got bored. I started wondering how the dogs were doing downstairs. I started thinking about what I was going to wear to tonight's Philly Foodie/Blogger Meetup. I had to fight with myself not to turn off the DVD when I still had 25 minutes left. BUT...I didn't turn it off. I didn't pick an outfit or go visit my dogs. I finished the workout and still felt refreshed and happy at the end -- maybe not quite AS refreshed and happy as usual, but I'm glad I did it.

The length of the YogaX DVD is a common criticism I've seen in P90X reviews. The four times I've done the workout before, I never had an issue with length -- I felt every second of that first 45 minutes, while my legs burned and my body shook and I tried like hell to keep myself in poses. But the last 45 minutes always flew by. We'll see if I'm back to "normal" with my second pass through it this week.

This morning, I did Core Synergistics. Fancy name for -- surprise, surprise -- a lot of very core-centric exercises. Not that much direct ab work, but lots of planks/chaturanga variations, pushup variations, and hollow-hold type exercises that force you to roll around on the floor. My personal jury is still out on this one -- this is going to be another routine I head to the gym for. It involves a lot of dumbbell work that you can't substitute bands for. I'll try it with better weights later this week.

The other thing with Core Synergistics is that it's one of those workouts where it's VERY easy to just go through the motions and "phone it in." If you're not concentrating 100% on flexing what needs to be flexed and working what needs to be worked, you'll find yourself with your butt floating in the air, not really breaking a sweat, and generally wasting your time. There are better ways to waste an hour -- like on my couch watching the Kardashians, not rolling around on my guest room floor. Not to worry -- Tony is constantly barking at you to "DON'T JUST KIND OF DO IT!"

So, that's the quick n' dirty on the first third of Week 4 of P90X. Monday we take our progress pictures/measurements/etc -- that will be great motivation to stay on track while we're up at my inlaws this weekend.

So pumped for tonight -- this will be my first blogger meetup! I feel so legit now :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


This has been an exceptionally productive morning for me -- and it's only 9:30.

I have a big deal that we've been negotiating for an exceptionally long time that (cross your fingers) looks like it's going to close by tomorrow. That means that I've been spending countless hours drafting and editing lots and lots and LOTS of documents, sending lots and lots and LOTS of emails, and making lots and lots and LOTS of phone calls. Yesterday, I sent out a "final" draft of the main agreement. When I came in at 8:06, I already had two emails and a voicemail from our "opponents" with "comments." Meaning -- even though we were "done negotiating," they are STILL NEGOTIATING.

Nothing is EVER I've spent this morning making further edits, phone calls and emailing explanations (of things I KNOW I've gone over multiple times before...but WHATEVER). After all that, I ran down to DiBruno's for my second cup of coffee of the day.

Pardon the exceptional amount of cups on my desk. The silver travel mug just sits there waiting to be filled with hot tea when I'm cold...the ceramic high school graduation mug is full of pens...behind that is my ever-empty Nalgene, which theoretically I should fill with water every day, several times a day. But (here's a dirty little secret) unless I'm in the middle of a workout, I do NOT like to drink water. I just don't like it. I'm weird.

Last night was plyo. God, that hour flies by. I've been doing this one up in the "home gym," by myself, so I can work out in bare feet, a sports bra and shorts. That kind of thing doesn't fly at the gym, you know? I find the jumps to be significantly easier on my knees in bare feet...and why get a shirt dirty if I don't have to?

I'm definitely feeling it today -- mostly in my glutes and hamstrings, somewhat in my calves. Not at all, in any way shape or form, in my quads -- which is sort of frustrating. What is wrong with the way I use my legs that my quads aren't ever incorporated in anything? Pretty sure this contributes significantly to the fact that my patella just won't stay where it belongs :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can't Win 'em All

Last night's workout was a bust.

Chest, back and abs were on deck. I usually take this one to the gym, so I can use the assisted pullup machine -- since I can't even do a single "real" pullup (yet). For whatever reason, I just wasn't feeling the gym yesterday -- something about the idea of having to interact with actual human beings during my workout made the privacy of my guest room seem much, much more attractive.

So, I planned to take my laptop up there and pop in the DVD. Except, in a repeat of the Week 1 would-be Plyo workout, PhillyGuy had forgotten to take the DVD out of his laptop before he left for class. That's OK, since chest & back is a bunch of normal moves (variations on the pushup and pullup) that even my uncoordinated ass can do without following the leader.

Here is the lesson I learned: if I expect check & back to be an effective workout, I simply CANNOT do it at home.

Here is why, in the form of a list of things I cannot do, at all:

- Pullups, on a real pullup bar, without assistance. This is a total non-starter right now.

- Pullups, on a real pullup bar, with the assistance of a chair. I CAN do these, but I'm obviously doing them wrong, because I don't feel it in my back at ALL. Instead, I feel it in my forearms and biceps. Which might have something to do with why I can't do an unassisted pullup.

- Variations on the pullups, using a resistance band secured to the doorway. Our resistance bands are not particularly "resistant" and I need to do like 40 billion pulls before I feel it at all.

- Back flies using a resistance band. Or, well, I can't do back flies using a resistance band with only written instructions, because I just can't translate the written instructions to whatever I'm actually supposed to be doing. No matter what I tried, it didn't work my back at all.

- Decline pushups. This has nothing to do with the location or the video -- I just flat out cannot do them. I try to do one and just can't get myself up. WTF? Since I do all of the other pushup variations on my knees, I substitute "real" pushups here. I get through like 4 or 5 before failure.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer about this, but my workout last night was the epitome of lame. I broke a sweat, but not like I would have if I'd done my workout at the gym, and I was so frustrated by my inability to do things properly that it got me really down. I'm not one to "dial it in" at the gym -- if I'm working out and not really feeling it, it's pretty much a waste of time. I could have not worked my back while taking the dogs to the dog park, you know?

GAAAAAAH. So, last night was a bust. It's fine. It happens. Time to move on and focus on the next day. Inexplicably, my SHOULDERS are sore today. Why? I don't know. I wasn't supposed to be working shoulders. What-eva. Hopefully, my sore shoulders will distract me from the fact that I'm being a whiny cry-baby about this.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stuck on You

I have something of an obsessive personality.

When I like a song, I want to hear it over and over and over again and it goes on every single playlist and/or CD I make. When I get new clothes or shoes or a bag, I want to wear them immediately, and sometimes think of ways to wear an item multiple times in a week.

Where it's always been most clear is my tendency to get "stuck" on certain foods. My senior year of college, I had rice Chex for breakfast for six or seven months straight. My first year here at the firm, I discovered Gia Pronto and ordered the same exact salad (identical ingredients, no variation at all) every day for lunch from February through September or so -- and the only reason that broke off was because I took two and a half weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon.

The P90X nutrition plan really plays to these tendencies of mine. There are a couple of ways to approach the plan -- detailed meal plans with recipes vs. a "portion" version, where you can eat whatever so long as it fits into the prescribed outline. This is what I've been doing -- I get five "portions" of protein, two of veggies, one fruit, two dairy, one carb, one condiment and one fat, plus a protein bar (they "prescribe" the Beachbody/P90X brand, but Clif Builder's bars have about the same makeup, a better ingredients list and (bonus) are actually sold in stores near me). It took some getting used to, but it's been working fabulously for me.

I've been keeping a notebook to track my eating, mainly to keep tabs on what I've eaten for the day, what I have left and where I need to catch up. And, unsurprisingly, I've found myself eating nearly identically every single day. Breakfast? Berries (about 1.25 cups of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries -- whatever's on sale), Fage 0 and iced coffee. Midmorning I have my bar. Lunch is almost always a salad -- I've been leaning towards the Mediterranean salad from Jake & Max's in the Comcast center, with crabmeat, shrimp, red peppers, artichokes and capers. In the afternoon, I have another yogurt (either Fage 0 or plain Chobani, whatever DiBruno's has in stock) with an ounce of dried fruit. Dinner is either two sandwiches (arnold's thin and a bunch of turkey), if I'm lazy, or grilled something (chicken, pork, fish) and a sweet potato with hot sauce and plain greek yogurt. If I'm craving something sweet, I'll have half of a bar. And then the next day...exactly the same thing.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Looking back over the past three weeks, my notebook is full of identical pages. Sometimes, I'll go crazy and switch things up -- have a sandwich (turkey on wheat with mustard, sweet peppers, lettuce and tomato) for lunch and save my veggies for dinner, so I can have a big salad then. But I really had to laugh when I saw this. Not like I'm surprised!

Are you a creature of habit?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tough but Solid

That's all I can say about yesterday's workout(s).

Friday was a bit of a rough day. More shenanigans, more assignments, blessedly few phone calls (at least something was going for me). In the afternoon, I had an incredibly painful meeting with a guy who, no joke, asked the same 2 or 3 questions over and over again for the first 45 minutes. Between that and the rest of my shenanigan-filled week, I was just FRIED by the time 6pm rolled around.

Earlier that morning, I had taken some steaks and cod fillets out of the freezer to thaw. (Why cod? Because PhillyGuy has decided to "try to like fish," and that means testing out new stuff every time. I lobbyed for sea bass again, since he liked that, but no dice -- he wanted to try something new. And all they had besides sea bass was cod and flounder.)

Anyway -- I had been looking forward to yoga right after work, followed by PhillyGuy's surf & turf. I planned to swing by the store and pick up some fresh asparagus on my way home. Instead, my brain was total mush, and all I wanted was a glass of wine. I have no wine, and I hate opening a bottle by myself, because I never finish it before it turns. So, I called PhillyGuy.

"I want to go to dinner." Where? "I don't care where. I want a glass of wine and I want to go to dinner." Done and done. We walked the pups, shelved yoga, and headed out to Union Trust. Glass of shiraz/malbec blend, a melt-in-your-mouth-oh-my-god short rib appetizer, and a third of a dry-aged strip topped with Roquefort later, and I was much, MUCH happier.

To make up for skipping out on Friday's workout, I hit the gym to do some cardio before PhillyGuy and I hit up Yoga X. It was a gorgeous day and I thought about running outside, but the 27mph winds sent me in to the treadmill like the big baby I am. I ran four miles at an 8:57 pace (6.7mph, .5% incline)...covered 4.25 miles altogether, though, because I stopped to walk between miles 2 and 3 and 3 and 4. Including my walking breaks, I covered the 4.25 miles in about 40 minutes, which doesn't suck -- but MAN, it was tough. I finished solid, despite being completely certain, more than once, that my legs had turned to lead.

After the run, I took a quick walk down the street to grab asparagus, since I had that surf & turf to look forward to. Came back, and PhillyGuy was in the middle of rebuilding my computer. Once he was done with that, we headed up to the "home gym" and hit it, hard.

My legs were feeling that run, for sure, and by the time we got to the last moving asana about 50 minutes in -- a fabulously difficult sequence involving crescent, warrior 3, standing splits, half moon, twisting half moon, and complete death -- they were just trashed. I struggled like crazy and it was all I could do not to collapse. I completed half of those poses totally cheating, with my "raised" leg not even remotely raised, just stuck out to the side with my toe on the floor.

The balance poses were SO, SO welcome -- and I'm really feeling my improvement here. Dancer felt SO FREAKING GOOD, and I just felt...well, SOLID, throughout the workout. I held crane for a couple of seconds at a time, probably 4 or 5 times during the 60-second period -- I'm still working towards this, but it's not nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

And then it was 9:23pm. And there was no freakin' way we were going to grill steaks and fish. We ordered Greek Lady instead. I wolfed down a giant salad (greek supreme salad, no egg, add chicken) and struggled to keep my eyes open for another half an hour or so before giving up and heading straight to bed.

I spent a big chunk of today running errands -- hitting up Costco and Target, finally getting around to assembling the shelves I bought for the garage back before Christmas, that kind of thing. We're finally getting around to that surf & turf tonight, but before then we'll hit the gym. PhillyGuy will probably do Kenpo, and I'm not sure what I'll do -- maybe try to run a couple easy miles and do another 40 minutes or so of long, slow, relatively easy cardio while catching up on the pile of magazines that's been growing on my coffee table.

Congrats to all of you guys who ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler today! You had a fabulous weekend for it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"You keep using...

that word...I do not think it means what you think it means."

What word is that? Oh, just all the variations of "ZOMG REALLY BUSY" I've been throwing around about work for the past eight months or so. I'm beginning to realize that it's not that I've been "really busy" this year. It's that, for the first two years, I was sort of slow. And that this is not really "busy" so much as it is "what it's like working at a big firm."

I mean, not for everyone. Some people bill a whole heck of a lot more hours than I do. And others have the seriously unfortunate fate of being stuck on massive non-billable projects, like "here spend 40 hours this morning writing this article for me, oh and also make sure you bill at least 160 regular hours too."

Anyway. I've been surviving -- and mostly without issue! But this week has worn me down. Mostly because it's been filled with dealing with shenanigans. Shenanigans from clients, shenanigans from opposing counsel, you name it. It's gotten to the point where, whenever my phone rings, I look at it and yell "OH MY GOD NOW WHAT??" (before I pick it up, of course).

I've also developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of a certain partner coming down the hall towards my office. When I hear that familiar throat-clearing, I immediately fill with a sense of annoyance and dread.

The point of writing this out is twofold. One, to explain why I can sometimes be a pretty flaky blogger. (Not like I haven't explained that before.) And two, to marvel at the fact that, despite all of this "insanity" (or "normal life" -- I'll make the official call in about 6 months), I've managed to stay on track with P90X, both with the workouts and the nutrition.

Pretty sure my diet has done a complete 180. I eat lots of fruit, plain yogurt, veggies and chicken. And it's making a difference. I sustained my initial 5-lb loss and we'll see, on Monday, whether I'm down any more. I certainly feel a difference, and I definitely saw it in my arms and shoulders when I was at the gym last night, doing shoulders/biceps/triceps. I can't believe we're almost through our third week, and I'm sort of looking forward to the first set of progress pictures we'll take in another 10 days.

In the meantime, though -- I'm really, REALLY looking forward to yoga tonight. But mostly, right now, I just want to take a nap. I think I'll settle for some coffee instead, and cross my fingers that I'm done with shenanigans for this week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Bucket of Dunkin Donuts iced coffee...tastes pretty bland, but I can get 32 ounces of it, so it'll do. Though I'll probably end up taking a walk to DiBruno's before long to get some REAL coffee.

Berries (raspberries, blueberries and blackberries), Fage 0, and a side of to-do list and disorganized desk. On the plus side, after I took this picture I crossed one of those items off the list...and my boss is out at a CLE all day, so I'll probably be able to cross a few more off without her calling me in to add to that list.

Last night was chest and back. I was also supposed to do Ab Ripper X, but kind of "forgot." And by "forgot," I mean that I told myself I would leave the gym and go home to do the DVD. And then told myself I'd walk the dogs first before I did the DVD. And then, when we got back from our walk, figured it would be pointless to try to do the DVD, since it was about 8:45 at that point and I still had some work to get done.

The not-so-secret reason that I "forgot" is that I know as soon as I do that stupid DVD, with its stupid "crunchy frog" and four thousand other variations of torture, I will once again find myself worrying about whether my lower abs will tear open when I sneeze. Of course, the REASON they get so sore after the ab DVD is because I have a really weak core. It would be foolish to, you know, do some exercises to build it up, right?

That would just be silly.

Chest and back was good, though. I warmed up for 15 minutes on the elliptical first and then dove in to my non-stop hour of various push-ups, (assisted) pullups, and dumbbell exercises. Our new gym has an assisted pullup machine, which I'm taking full advantage of to try to build myself up to doing unassisted pullups. Right now, I'm using a 70-lb counterweight and completing about 8-10 reps, depending on the hand positions and where I am in my routine. I always go to exhaustion, and it always makes me feel sort of bad-ass. As usual with P90X stuff, I left a sweaty mess.

I'm really loving the gorgeous weather we've been having here -- it rained a bit this morning, so my walk to work was a little more humid than it has been. But it's supposed to clear up and hit the mid-80s today. MID-80's!!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

PhillyGirlRuns (Slowly), Week 2 and a Debate

Yesterday was such a gorgeous day for a run!

Remember how I talked about how humbling P90X yoga was? Well, here's what else is humbling: running when you're out of shape and recovering from an injury.

I set out yesterday into the gorgeous, low-70's sunshine with the intent of doing about four easy miles. I've been able to tolerate about one run per week -- last week, I replaced Kenpo with four miles on the treadmill. The first two were steady at a 9:00 pace, the second two I changed it up and did some intervals at a tempo or mile-repeat pace. Except, well, I wasn't doing a tempo run, or mile repeats. I was doing 2-4 minute intervals, which I used to do easily at just under a 7:00 pace, at about an 8:00 pace -- and I was FEELIN' it. I mean, REALLY feelin' it. I squeezed my 4 miles in around 35-36 minutes and then hopped on the elliptical for a bit -- I was totally smoked. Legs were rubber, heartrate was through the roof.

Yesterday was sort of the same. My knee was a little sore for the first mile and a half or so, but nothing really painful, so I kept going. Life starting getting hard for me somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 miles. I picked up the Schuylhill River path at 25th and Locust, and reached the top of the hill in front of the Art Museum at about 1.6 miles...and I pulled over and walked it out for a bit. My lungs were OK, but my legs were just struggling. I grabbed a lightpost and stretched. Stretched. And then took off again, for about a half mile.

At 21st and Winter, I internally squealed with joy when I saw that I would need to stop for a red light. Stretched again, and then when the traffic cleared, I walked for a couple of blocks before taking off at a run again. Unfortunately, I accidentally turned off my Garmin when I started back up (I've done this before), and didn't notice it for several minutes, when my legs were screamin' again and I looked down to decide whether it was OK to take another walking break.

All in all, my Garmin was on for a total of 29 minutes, in which I covered three miles. I'm guessing, based on my map, that I covered about 3.5 miles in about 33 minutes. When you figure in my couple of walking breaks, that's not so bad. But it wasn't too long ago that I was running "easy" 26-minute 5Ks with barely any effort, and now my legs are jello before I even hit two miles. I always go through this phase when I'm returning from an injury hiatus, and let me tell you, it sucks just as much every single time. Knowing that I'll improve with further training doesn't help it suck any less in the moment!

On the plus side, PhillyGuy and I are starting Week 3 of P90X. No further weight loss for me, but as of this morning I've maintained last week's 5-lb loss. Both of us have cleaned up our diets tremendously (except for last night's Easter dinner at my mom's, which involved kettle-cooked potato chips with melted blue cheese as an appetizer, at which point I threw Tony Horton out the window). I have some wicked scabs on my knees from doing push-ups, girly-style.

Between my running frustrations and the serious time dedication that P90X involves, I'm struggling internally with a question: do I even bother running Broad Street this year? I keep going back and forth. Part of me feels like, hey, I can do this -- even if I have to run/walk the whole time. Part of me feels like my knee will NEVER be reliably healed by then, and that there is just no chance I'll enjoy "running" a race where I have to run/walk or run much, much more slowly than I'm used to. I'm really struggling with this, and I might not even make an actual decision until, oh, 6am the morning of the race...but WHAT TO DO?

WWTBWD (What Would the BlogWorld Do)?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

It has been fantastic having a couple of days off! I spent most of Friday afternoon driving around with the sunroof open, hitting up HomeGoods and similar places looking for "art." The walls in our house feel so naked, and I've been wanting to fill them up forever...but I never find anything I like. Friday was no different. I did manage to come home with a few artificial plants -- PhillyGuy has been bugging me to get "more plants" (aka, ANY plants at all) in the house for at least a couple of years.

I was really, REALLY looking forward to Friday night's yoga workout. I think of it in two stages: the moving asanas, followed by the balance poses. The moving asanas Period. Lots of transitions, lots of Crescent and Warrior 1 and 2 and a little Warrior 3 (which I can't do well yet). Lots and LOTS of transitions from Plank to Chaturanga to Upward Dog to Plank to Downward Dog. It lasts about 45 minutes, and I am sweating like a pig by the time it's done.

Then, we get to move on to the best thing ever: another 45 minutes of "balance poses." The moving asanas are really humbling for someone like me -- I've always been decently flexible and I took yoga casually in college and law school, until I moved to Philly and left my "real" gym. Then, I try to do the full Warrior sequence and I'm twisting and tumbling and realizing I'm not really even that far down into it with my leg -- yeah, it's humbling. When I get into Tree and Dancer, I feel a little bit renewed. SEE? I can balance on one leg! Not only that, but my left-leg Dancer doesn't even suck that bad!

This week kicked my butt, too, though -- I was proud of myself. I held Crane for about 3 or 4 seconds at a time -- which doesn't sound that impressive, I know, but I actually yelped with pure glee when I did it. PhillyGuy is such a good sport. By the time we got to Bridge/Wheel, my shoulders were SHOT -- I can typically do wheel without much issue, but this time, I couldn't even push myself up. Bridge it was.

Afterwards I felt so fantastic -- the first 45 minutes are so, so tough, and can even be discouraging, but that last 45 makes it all worth it.

Yesterday, I skipped my planned legs-and-back day in favor of a long nap. I stayed out really late (for me!) on Friday night catching up with an old high school friend, and we were up decently early on Saturday to get the place cleaned up for a puppy playdate with my cousin, her boyfriend and their adorable 8-month-old pittie mix. Those three knuckleheads ran around at the dog park for about two hours, and I have to say it wiped me out almost as much as it wiped them out.

So, on deck for today is a run (probably 4 miles or so) and that legs/back workout. PhillyGuy is doing Kenpo, which I simply don't like. I am not particularly coordinated, and the difficulty I have following the moves keeps me from performing them effectively enough to make it worth the strain it puts on my knee. Besides...IT'S SO GORGEOUS OUT! How can I not hit the pavement??

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Small Progress!

Why am I excited this morning?

Maybe it's because I've been sleeping like.a.rock since starting P90X. Head + pillow = OUT.

Maybe it's because it's sunny and gorgeous and is going to be in the 70s (!!!!!) today!

Maybe it's because I don't have to come into the office tomorrow.

Maybe it's because getting a second dog was the best idea we ever had:

(Blurry blackberry picture. They wrestle and dance and talk to each other -- I love it!)

Or maybe it's because I'm wearing a pair of pants today that were definitely too snug just a few weeks ago. Over the winter, Nordstrom clearanced out several colors of my favorite pair of suit pants ever made, Theory's "Emery" trouser. At 40% off, I obviously needed to stock up, yes? But sizes were limited (hence, "clearance") and so I got one pair in a size down from what I'd been wearing, figuring that I was, after all, "going to" lose weight.

And holy crap, I did it! Months later, of course, but who's counting? All I know is that today, I really, really wanted to wear this gorgeous bright blue spring-weight cardigan that's been lying dormant in my closet, which was just the perfect shade to pair with grey pants. So, I crossed my fingers, tried the pants out, and...BAM! They fit!

Great sleep, fitting into my super-score trousers...I can live with this.