Sunday, May 30, 2010

Farmer's Market and Sweaty Six

Yesterday morning, Cosmo and I took a little stroll to the Fitler's Square farmer's market.

I felt a little guilty taking one dog and not the other, but Sophie is...well...not the world's greatest walker. She's good for about four or five blocks or so, and then her little legs start to get tired, and she plops her little butt down in the middle of the sidewalk whenever it pleases her. Which is like...twice a block. That becomes a serious pain in the ass when you're carrying groceries and walking another (normal) dog.

So, I left Sophie snuggling in bed with PhillyGuy, and off we went in the sunshine.

(Can you see his awesome collar? It's pirate dogs with eyepatches. It's the collar he had at the shelter -- I never would have picked it out, but it cracks me up)

As predicted, Cosmo was a perfect gentlemen in the farmer's market. It was sort of a clusterfuck in there -- usually, it's not quite as crowded as it was yesterday, but it was almost impossible to squeeze through everyone. All I had intended to get was a bunch of fresh crimini (aka "baby bella") mushrooms, but the Jersey strawberries on the end of the row caught my eye. Even if they were a whopping $6.50 per quart, they just looked SO fresh and juicy and about a billion times better than the half flats of unnaturally enormous berries I've been picking up at Costco.


I chopped up about half of the mushrooms, and tossed them into a frittatta with spinach, chopped broccoli, some crumbled bacon and an ungodly amount of eggwhites. I've been craving eggs for a couple of weeks now, and it was nice to finally have the time to make them.

Afterwards, we took the pups for a long-overdue trip to the dog park -- where they exhausted themselves completely:

This morning, I woke up and headed out for a six-miler. This is the first "official" long run of my training schedule for the Distance Run/Rock & Roll half. Not going to lie, I wasn't necessarily feelin' it, especially when I caught the weather on the news and heard the phrase "relative humidity is at 87%" (um, worse than Broad Street? awesome). It was only going to get hotter, though, so I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. I ran a pretty random route through the city, since I figured (correctly) that I'd have a better chance of it staying shady on the actual streets than on the trail along the river. It was hot, it was sweaty, and I did stop a couple times to stretch and breathe -- but I did it. 6 miles in about 1:01.

Let me take a minute to pimp, AGAIN, the best hot-weather running tank EVER: the lululemon run:swiftly tank.

Me, post-run:


I bought this tank the day before Broad Street, breaking pretty much all of the rules regarding trying new things on race day. And I'm so glad I did. It's looser-fitting up top and slim through the hips. It's literally the closest thing I can do to running shirtless, without ACTUALLY taking my shirt off. I barely even feel it on, and it's just so amazing for nice, toasty runs like this one. I very clearly need to buy at least one more, with so many summertime long runs coming up.

One more, cheesin' for the camera and so happy to be back in the A/C:

I wear that grotty Sam Adams Light visor on almost every run. I have since I got it when I was bartending back in college. I periodically throw it in the dishwasher when it gets too salty. I should really do that soon.

Now we're off to my mom's for a Memorial Day/family graduation celebration party. It's sunny and in the high 80's -- perfect BBQ weather. Hope you guys are all having a great holiday weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mental Challenges

Every morning, I dutifully chug back a handful of supplements.

That's one multivitamin (Target brand), one fish oil, and two glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM. I've been regularly taking them for about a year. And I am pretty sure they do nothing for me, since my knees have not been miraculously cured -- but whatever.

It's funny. More or less ever since I started running, the treadmill and I have been BFFs. I find it much easier to pace myself. And it's climate-controlled! I always preferred doing my workouts on the treadmill. If I was running for 60 minutes or less, it was treadmill city for me. Period.

But running on a treadmill had always been the ONLY form of indoor cardio that I enjoyed. The elliptical, for example, was equivalent to torture for me. Same with the bike. And don't get me started on the stairmaster -- I used that thing one time in college, and NEVER AGAIN. But something about those machines just made time stop. I'd get a magazine to flip through, but it never really helped. My legs would burn and sweat would drip off of my face and I felt every single second tick by.

Running, somehow, was not the same. Usually I was done with my first mile before I could even blink. Another mile would zoom by and my warmup was done, and then whatever workout I was doing, whether it was short intervals, mile repeats or a tempo run, would be knocked out even faster. It's not like it was easy, of course -- I'd be working and huffin' and puffin', but for some reason, the time just flew by.

And then I took my most recent lil' running sabbatical. And something changed. Whatever little switch in my brain controls the "hamster wheel syndrome" just flipped. And now running on a treadmill has become a mental battle like I've never really had to deal with before.

I need to just get over it, because I do it to myself. I had one long, gouge-my-eyes-out type treadmill run a few weeks ago, and I honestly think that I've just let it get to my head. Last night, for example -- on my plate was a five-mile tempo run. This used to be the type of thing that I would hate to do outside, since I'd be concerned about keeping my pace steady and fast enough. But ALL I wanted to do was run it outside. Unfortunately, the weather report called for thunderstorms. On my walk home, and then while walking the dogs, I kept looking at the sky nervously. I checked the radar. I desparately wanted to avoid the treadmill -- "FIVE WHOLE MILES on that thing??? That's going to be so painful!"

But I didn't trust the weather -- running in the rain is one thing, but lightning and thunder is another completely. So, to the gym with me. And I didn't even TRY to think positive. I spent the entire first mile with thoughts of "OMG this is going to take FOREVER" and "it's OK, it'll be boring but you'll be fine when you're done!" NOT helpful.

And it is a mental challenge, you know? Because I can do these things. With a modicum of effort, sure. And you bet I stopped between the last three miles to stretch and release the lactic acid built up in my legs (I suppose the point of the tempo run is to learn to run with that damn buildup, but such is life), but it was significantly more of a mental battle than a physical one.

Run: 5 miles in 48:50, including warmup and cooldown miles at 10:00, and three miles at 9:22. Four thousand miles on my brain.

But really -- the main, number one, up-front mental challenge, of course, is GETTING THROUGH THIS DAY. Just a few more documents to draft and probably a frantic panicked afternoon of getting random things out of the way -- and then! Vacation! What are you guys all doing this weekend?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two More Days

until my week of freedom. Good god, I can't wait.

I've been plowing through my to-do list at a decent pace this week, which is always a good thing. But I'm not going to lie -- it's taken a pretty good amount of self control to keep myself focused. My distraction levels are way up.

Also way up is my tendency to get songs stuck in my head. Right now, it's a great little number from the classic Bloodhound Gang CD "Hooray for Boobies." Great. Let me just draft a bunch of important documents while the lyrics "Nowhere to go, I can't wake up late, just sit around and wait for my Old Spice to activate" bounce through my head. (Look, I never claimed to be cultured, OK?)

Last night PhillyGuy and I managed to hit the gym together for the first time in a good week or two. We motored through our buddy Tony's Chest, Shoulders and Triceps, which is one of my favorite workouts from P90X. I'm actually improving -- I can do a couple of one-arm pushups. On my knees, of course. And I can only go down a few inches before my chest and arm threaten to collapse on me. But it's definitely deeper than when I first tried it, and I bet within a couple of weeks I'll be able to do at least one full-depth pushup. (On my knees, of course. Let's not get crazy.)

We didn't lug the laptop to the gym with us, since the booklet of written exercises is perfectly fine for this workout. A lot of times, I actually prefer going with just the book -- I get the workout done much faster. At first, you don't realize how much time Tony kills between exercises with his incessant chattiness and "instruction" -- but add an extra 20-30 seconds between every set, and that starts adding up. I also find the initial "warmup" exercises excessively long. Do I really benefit that much from marching in place for 45 seconds before doing pushups? I'm not convinced. So, I skip most of that. I do a few stretches and get to it, and I end up shaving a good 15 minutes or so off the workout time, while still blowing up my arms and chest.

After we headed home, we set up our yoga mats in the living room to do Ab Ripper X. Which the dogs were not all that happy about. Sophie was convinced we were trying to have fun without her and didn't really understand why we were on the floor, if not to play with her. Trying to do roll up/v-ups with a twelve-pound dog running underneath your back and barking at your head is challenging...just not at all in the way it's supposed to be.

I'm really looking forward to my run tonight -- a five-mile tempo run. I haven't done a tempo run in forever. I'm debating whether to run on the treadmill or's humid as crap out, and they're also calling for thunderstorms later. BUT...knowing how bored I got the last time I did five miles on a treadmill? I'm just not at all sure I want to deal with that.

PLUS, if I run outside I can wear my new running skirt. I somehow don't think it's OK to wear a running skirt at the gym. Don't ask me why -- a lot of my "rules" are not necessarily based in logic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am a Disgrace

OK, seriously. I got up to grab something off of the printer this morning, and when I came back into my office, I caught a look at my desk.

This is really bad. And kind of embarassing. How do I work like this?

I wonder if my horrendously messy desk contributes to my occasional feelings of "OMGWTFHOWAMIEVERGONNAGETTHISDONE." I mean, I know where everything is. And sometimes, I just need forty different documents splayed out all over. But maybe, just maybe, it doesn't need to be QUITE this much of a paper explosion.


Know what, though? After today, I just have TWO MORE DAYS until I'm off for an entire freakin' week.

We're not going anywhere. PhillyGuy and I kicked around the idea of going to Vegas or Key West or maybe the shore, but the more I thought about it, the more overwhelmed I was with even the idea of going somewhere.

"But...we'd have to PACK OUR CLOTHES...and then when you get back you need to UNPACK THEM."

Not even kidding. It made me want to cry. When the idea of vacation even seems like too much of a hassle, I think it's a clear sign you need some downtime, yes?

So I'm blowing out of this paper explosion and not lookin' back for a whole week. I can wake up when I want (well, within reason -- the dogs sort of like it when they can go outside in the morning). I can work out when I want. I can take a random day and drive down the shore if I so desire. I can make breakfast! Take walks! OMG...TAKE NAPS.

Yup. Paradise.

I just need to get through the next couple of days -- and maybe clean up this desk while I'm at it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

So Sleepy

from staying up until way, WAY past my bedtime to watch the finale of Lost. I. LOVED. IT. I cried about forty billion times. I honestly can't think of a better way for the show to wrap up and I don't really get the whole "OMG WTF" wave of responses. Considering what a letdown it could have been, I think they pulled things together nicely. I found it WAY more satisfying than the Sopranos finale.

I spent most of yesterday running errands -- it had been a really, really long time since we'd done any real grocery shopping, so it was an expensive couple of trips. Wegman's, Target, Costco AND the time I was done, I was ready to jump out of a window somewhere. Sundays at Costco are a special level of hell, what with everyone milling around aimlessly with their ginormous carts, stopping in the middle of an aisle to try a sample of some kind of nasty potato salad or's like a freaking obstacle course.

I'd love to wear a blood pressure monitor while in there, just to see what happens.

I left the house around 9:30 with my trusty reusable Starbucks cold cup filled with Via. A couple hours into the trip, I scarfed down a Clif Builder's Bar between stores. Needless to say, when I finally got home around 1:45 or 2pm, I was starving, and as soon as we were done putting away the fifteen thousand pounds of groceries, I made myself some scrambled eggwhites with spinach, mushrooms, peppers and olives.

Later on, I headed out for a six mile run along the river. I intended to run ten-minute miles -- conserving energy and going easy on myself and all that.


I always, always do this. I set out to go slow, and my body finds a "comfortable" pace -- about 30-40 seconds per mile faster than it should be. This wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that I'm not in that kind of shape right now, and so I run out of gas at the end. I had to walk for a little bit in the middle of mile 6, and it took every ounce of energy I had to keep up my shuffle back to my gate.

But -- see that little .16-mile nubbin there at the end? When I got home from my run, I came inside and called the dogs down to me so I could take them out. See, Sophie's something of a wanderer. I've always wanted to put my Garmin on her and just kind of let her go, just to see where she'd head to. So, for kicks, I turned it back on when I took the dogs out, and I let her take the lead so I could see where we'd go.

That, my friends, is what happens when you let a thirteen-month-old dog who regularly gets herself stuck under the couch be in charge.

(When she was a baby, she fit very nicely under there. Now, she can still manage to squeeze herself in, but can't ever seen to get back out. Usually, when she starts making pathetic little whining sounds, we know it's time to head into the other room and lift up the couch so she can bolt out of there. Saturday night, I heard the familiar pathetic whimpering, and headed in to see that: little tiny pathetic puppy eyes. Obviously, I ran back into the other room to get my camera. I'm a great person.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Farmers Market for You

I'm already up one for the day, since I actually managed to, you know, GET OUT OF BED AND GO FOR A RUN instead of falling back asleep. Of course, I think it helps that it was 7:30 and not 4:55.

After walking the puppies and downing some instant caffeine (Via freakin' rocks) while watching Real Housewives of OC "Lost Footage," I was more than ready to head out. Inspired by Melissa at Miles for Markets, I planned to do an easy four-mile out-and-back down South Street to Headhouse Square for the farmer's market.

I stuck to an easy, comfortable pace, which ended up getting me down to 2nd & South in about 19:48. Cruising down South Street east of Broad always makes me want to cry a little bit. Like most people who grew up in this area, high school for me was punctuated by more than a few Friday night visits to South Street. It was nothing short of AWESOME. Funky, random little stores, Zipperheads, and a fantastic crowd of really, REALLY cool people.

(Great shot of Zipperheads, courtesy of Wikipedia, for those who might not remember:)

Well, Zipperheads is gone now. And apparently, so are all the really cool people. Although I strongly suspect that South Street may have always been prefer to believe that it was just a different, more awesome place when I was sixteen or seventeen. So tragic.

So, mourning for the South Street of my youth , I hung a left into Headhouse Square, wildly anticipating the Farmer's Market.

That is not really what I got.

After talking to one of the people at the single booth that was setting up, I found out that the market doesn't open until 10am -- which I consider kind of late for a Farmer's Market. It was 9:15. FAIL. Oh, well. I took a few pictures, stretched my calves and then hightailed it out of there:

I ran back up Lombard instead of South Street. MAN, what a difference a block makes. It was shady and quiet and tree-lined, instead of being lined by (not-so-funky) stores and a Dairy Queen. Most of it, I just ran, looking around and singing along (hopefully not out loud) to my iPod and just enjoying the relative quiet of a Saturday morning.

I wound up back home around 40 minutes later, sweating and smiling.

Today's fun playlist:

Now I'm hungry and so, SO ready to head out and get a much-needed pedicure. I usually get my nails done every other week, and it's been over a month since I've had time -- I think about 7 weeks since I've had a pedicure. My poor feet are really in need of a little TLC...especially since my big toenail is bruised to high heaven from Broad Street.

Happy weekend all!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dream Theater

First of all:

I cannot put into words how much I love my commute. I walk 1.17 miles (according to my Garmin -- I ran it one day because I was curious) through some of the prettiest neighborhoods in the city. Even when it's cold and not-so-gorgeous, I look forward to my 15 or 20 minutes of peacefulness. And on mornings like today, when it's mid-60s and sunny? I get ridiculously, ridiculously excited about it.

What really kills me, though? For some reason, I was wide awake at about 4:55 this morning. I flipped on the news and sat there for a minute, petting my dogs and generally thinking how awesome it was that I had a whole hour before my alarm was going to go off.

(Not that I get up when my alarm goes off. Since at least high school, I've been setting my alarm for 20-30 minutes before I actually need to be out of bed so that I can hit the snooze button a few times first. Don't ask me how I started that habit, but it's just how I roll.)

And then, I was like "WAIT A MINUTE, PHILLYGIRL. You have all this extra time. You're not tired. You're awake. Let's get out of bed and go for a run!" I was very pleased with myself. The sun was coming up, but I'd still be able to watch it rise. I'd put my Garmin out on the balcony to catch a signal while I got dressed. And I'd be able to start my day knowing I'd gotten in a good 5 or 6 miles.

Know what happened then? I must have fallen back to sleep mid-thought, because I DREAMED that I got out of bed, got dressed (I even dreamed that I was down to my one gray pair of lululemon wunder under crops and that all the black ones were in the laundry!), and got out the door. I even dreamed that my Garmin picked up a signal immediately (which should have been a sure sign that this was not reality, since that NEVER happens). And I was off.

And the next thing I knew, my alarm was going off. It was 6:05 and I was most certainly still in bed, not rocking my Garmin or my lulu's. I wanted to kick myself.

Oh well. It would have been the perfect morning to run -- but it was also the perfect morning to walk to work with an iced coffee and flipflops and a big dumb grin because it's so freakin' gorgeous out.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oh, Yoga

It has been a long time since PhillyGuy and I did P90X yoga. For some reason, we manage to skip it almost every week. It's probably been three weeks or a month since we actually did this workout.

And it shows.

I didn't completely lose all of the progress that I had made over the first five weeks, but I was definitely feeling it last night. Tony Horton's particular brand of "haha look how long I can make you hold yourself in a lunge!!!!" yoga is bruuuuuuutal on my poor legs.

I've mentioned before how the first 45 minutes is a tough progression of moving asanas. You spend an awful lot of time moving from runner's pose to a series of Warrior poses which culminate in increasingly more difficult poses -- triangle, right angle, reverse warrior, twisting triangle, blah blah blah. The last series has you start in runner's pose, move into Warrior 3, and then go into a series of variations on killing your quads single-legged poses like half moon, standing splits, and twisting half moon.

So, about twisting half moon. It's SUPPOSED to look something like this:

Usually, when I do it, my back leg is SORT OF up in the air and my standing leg is bent at the knee like crazy. Yesterday, though, I'm pretty sure I looked more like this:

And I was shaking throughout. MAN, that stuff is challenging.

I'm itching to run today. I'm supposed to do legs and back. Maybe I'll do both. I don't know. All I DO know is that the office manager just came around and offered me some Phillies tickets for today. Apparently, a client returned them, so they're up for grabs. Um, it's going to be 80 and sunny today. It's an afternoon game. These are free tickets, AND good seats. WHY CAN I NOT GO???


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Obsession

Best. Afternoon. Snack. Ever.

Thank you, Sook-Hee's Produce Market, for introducing me to the brilliance that is squeeze packs of nut butter.

First Half!

So, I did it.

I just registered for the Philadelphia Distance Run...which is apparently now known as the "ING Rock n' Roll Half Marathon - Philadelphia."

This is my first half. Or, well, it will be. Years ago, my friend's mother gave me her bib for the Disney half, but I (wait for it) injured myself during training and did not run it. (Please try to hold back your astonishment.)

I have plenty of time to train and for once in my life, have finally figured out that I don't need to go insane on every single run. And I strongly suspect that if I DON'T go insane on every single run, I might juuuuuust manage not to hurt myself five weeks into training.

If my training looks like it's going well, I think I'm going to go really nuts and register for the November half also.

Not going to lie, I'm a little excited to train. Like, I kind of want to dance around my office. (I probably won't do that. Might somehow affect my chances of making partner.)

So, who is going to run it with me???

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where is Summer??

**Have I added you to my Google Reader yet? PLEASE comment so I can be sure!**

Seriously, Philly. WTF? It's MAY. More than halfway to June. And it's 51 and rainy out, and here I am in my office in a skirt and tights. TIGHTS. These should have been long since retired for the season. What happened to our hot, sunny, gorgeous weather?

Lame. It started raining last night around 7 or 7:30 -- right when I was getting ready to work out. I'd decided to run, but was on the fence about whether to do it outside or on the treadmill. The rain sort of sealed that decision for me.

I hopped on the treadmill with no real plan in mind, except that I knew I wanted to cover about five miles. At first, I figured I'd just run slow and steady, straight through. And then I got about a mile and a half into it and wanted to gouge my eyes out, I was so bored. So, I turned it into a speedwork session:

- 2 mile warmup at 6.5mph (I think I sped up to 7.0 for the last .25 or so, but I don't remember for sure)
- Walked about 80-90 seconds, to 19:50 on the clock
- Six intervals: 60 seconds strong run at 8.6mph, 90 seconds walk at 3.8 - took me to 3.65mi total
- 1.35 mile cooldown at 6.0mph

Total: 5 miles, 48:38.

It's been a while since I ran "fast," and I really hit my stride sometime during the third interval. It just felt amazing. I LOVE intervals. My speed is good, my form is great, I'm workin' (but not TOO hard) and it just feels RIGHT. To the contrary, during the last chunk, I was hit by a realization. One: I felt like I could run forever. My legs were great, my lungs were great, and I was pretty comfortable. Two: because I was comfortable, I was bored out of my MIND.

I guess this is why long runs and the treadmill don't mix. Physically, I could probably have knocked out another three or four miles at that pace, but the idea of staring at the clock (or, better yet, the half-finished swimming pool directly outside the window in front of me) for another 30 or 40 minutes was enough to make me consider slitting my wrists.

Honestly, the best part of my workout?

I sweat a lot. I really feel good when I sweat visibly. I'm sick and twisted like that.

Also, I meant what I said. I would die of happiness if Kendra and Hank moved across the street from me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Addition

I don't think I ever posted my newly-updated bulletin board. In general, my office is pretty bare. Nothing on my walls. No pretty plants to liven the place up. I just never got around to bringing things in to decorate. I'm going on my third year here, so I should probably do that soon. In the meantime, the only drop of personalization in here is my bulletin board.

What used to look like this:

Now looks like this:

You can't tell as well in this picture, but the 2010 bib is significantly more mangled than the 2008 bib. 2008 looks freakin' pristine compared to the bleaching and fading and crumpling that is 2010.

I earned every single bit of that.

Detox, Party of One

***SEE PSA BELOW -- make sure I add you to my Google Reader!***

This weekend FLEW by. You'd think after spending nine and a half hours in the car on the way back from NC last night, I'd be a total zombie this morning -- but surprisingly, I'm not.

I AM, however, craving things like "veggies" and "fruit" and "sweaty sweaty exercise" with every fiber of my being.

I've been doing reasonably well on this whole "weight loss" thing. Since the end of March, when PhillyGuy and I started cleaning up our diets and getting cozy with Tony Horton, I've lost about 6 or 7 lbs and several inches off of my waist. I'm noticeably stronger. My clothes fit better and I'm getting closer to regaining that enormous portion of my wardrobe that has been unwearable for the past eight or ten months or so.

But then...we do something crazy, like packing the puppies into the car and taking a road trip to Duke to see my sister-in-law graduate with her master's.

All things considered, honestly, this wasn't that bad. We made it to the hotel gym for an arm-burning sessions of P90X biceps & back on Saturday morning, where I noticed that -- go me! -- I've mad significant improvements in my back strength. Since there wasn't an assisted pullup bar, and I still can't do a full unassisted pullup, I substituted lat pulldowns for the pullups in the workout. I was knocking out sets of 8-10 pulldowns at 90lbs, which is a good 15-20lbs more than I'd been lifting before.

And yeah, I ate more carbs than I have in a while. And yeah, I had some dessert on Friday night. And yeah, I had a few bites of an ice cream sandwich on Saturday night. And yeah, I polished off a (thankfully snack-size) bag of Jalepeno Cheddar Chex Mix on the car ride home yesterday.

But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't that bad. It certainly could have been much, much worse. I definitely have a crappy-food-hangover of sorts today. I woke up CRAVING fruit and yogurt. Unfortunately, since we didn't roll into Philly until about 10:30 last night, we didn't have time to go food shopping, and pickin's were slim. For breakfast this morning, I polished off the last of my Fage 0 with two chopped up kiwis and a handful of very, VERY sad-looking blackberries.

I was also CRAVING exercise. I was a bit slow to get moving this morning, so PhillyGuy and I took the puppies for their morning constitutional about a half hour later than usual. Just in time for me to see several people either leaving the gym or returning from an AM run. Which, naturally, made me curse myself for not waking up at 5:30 to knock out a few miles before work.

Since, you know, it's totally in my nature to do that.

So, now that I've started my morning with fruit and yogurt (and an extra cup of iced coffee -- thank you, sweet baby Jebus, for the invention of Starbucks Via and the convenience of powdered, delicious coffee that lives in my desk drawer), I'm about to spend the rest of the day knocking out work that I would have done on Friday and fantasizing about whether I want to run a few miles before my legs and back workout tonight.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: As I mentioned on Twitter, I set up Google Reader for the first time last week. (Hi, my name is PhillyGirlRuns and I live under a rock. A rock where I don't learn about things like acorn squash and Garmins and Google Reader until EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD has done it.) I'm still remembering to add new blogs every day -- PLEASE leave me a comment so I can make sure I've included yours!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No Creative Titles

This week at work continues to be pretty brutal. I stayed up late Monday night working on a document, stayed in the office late on Tuesday to draft a billion different documents, and came back in less than 12 hours later on Wednesday morning to attend a "speed networking" breakfast session that we hosted.

I'm off tomorrow, but am less than completely enthused about that as the only reason I'm off is that we need to drive eight hours south to my sister-in-law's graduation.

I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling pretty beat up this week. I finally, FINALLY got the chance to get to the gym last night after having to skip Monday and Tuesday, and I cannot even describe how good it felt to sweat.

Last night was chest, triceps and shoulders. It burns and it beats me up and I love it. Did you know that it's far easier than it looks to do pushups with a clap in between? I mean, I do them on my knees and all that, but I was pretty certain I'd never be able to do them at all, and I can do a good 12 or so without much issue.

Tony Horton, on the other hand, is absurd. He does "plyo pushups." What does that mean? Well, when the rest of his crew is doing these "simple" and "easy" pushups with a clap in the middle, Mr. Horton is actually getting his ENTIRE BODY OFF OF THE FLOOR. That's right. He starts in your normal, standard pushup position, and then some kind of crazy magic happens and he explodes off of the ground. Hands, feet, everything. Like it's nothing. It makes my on-my-knees-clapping action look kind of pathetic.

And then there is the truly pathetic: my attempts at one-arm pushups. Right now, I can sort of bend my elbow a little bit and straighten again. I get about an inch or two down towards the floor and that's the extent of it. IT. IS. HARD. And I kind of like it.

(That's what she said.)

Ab Ripper X was...well, Ab Ripper X. I have a really weak core. It's getting stronger. I can now do at least 15-20 of each exercise consistently. Except for the Mason twists at the end -- the issue there is not the actual oblique piece of it, but the fact that I get incredibly dizzy and am certain I'm going to vomit. I need to come up with an alternative oblique exercise to do there.

On the plus side, while I'm sore this morning, I can do things like "sit up in bed" and "laugh" and "sneeze" without being very concerned that my stomach is actually about to split in half.

My plan for the weekend is to bring Tony on the trip with us. We'll do biceps and back tomorrow morning before we leave, which will leave Yoga for Saturday (will be a challenge, but not impossible, in the hotel room) and legs and back for Sunday (shorter workout, lends itself decently to whatever gym the hotel might have). Hopefully, this won't be a repeat of the last time we went away -- but we'll see.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not so Hot

blech. Not feeling so hot today, blogworld.

I think it's a combination of things.

My poor Sophie is a little injured. Until today, we thought it was one of her legs. All I know is that for the past two nights, she's been VERY snappy and growl-y when you touch her or bump her, even in the slightest. What that translates to, since she sleeps on the bed with us, is her barking sharply if I, say, move around in my sleep. Or, you know, if she settles in on the pillows next to my head while I sleep, and PhillyGuy lovingly reaches over to give her a little pet, she flips out and bites my head.

(I want you to be clear on that. PhillyGuy pets puppy, puppy doesn't like it, puppy snaps and bites PhillyGIRL's head. When I'm just minding my own business, passed the F out like a normal person.)

I'm a pretty light sleeper. So, for the past two nights, Sophie has been waking me up every hour or so.

On top of that, I have two enormous, enormous deals closing this week. That means I have to draft roughly seventy bajillion tomorrow. Since they both need to close by Thursday.

I'm yawning. I'm sleep-deprived. I'm slightly overwhelmed. And I am NOT feeling good. I ate a Clif Builder's Bar a little while ago, since I'm basically chained to my desk until I get a few more things drafted...and who knows how long that will take. Something about the bar must not have agreed with me, because I'm suddenly feeling nauseated and uncomfortable.

Can I please just go home and go to bed?

(PS: PhillyGuy took our girl to the vet this morning, where she was diagnosed with a back injury -- most likely from the wrestling and general puppy-hurricane-ing that she and Cosmo do regularly. She got a freaking CORTISONE SHOT and some anti-inflammatories. Yes, that's right -- my 15-lb dog got a cortisone shot.)

She looks thrilled about it, right?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Good grief, this day flew by.

...did I really just say "good grief?" Um, kill me.


Last night, I met some friends for dinner at Tequila's. Unfortunately, no pics -- I'm still coming to terms with being the food paparazzi and haven't told most of my friends about the lil' bloggy here. But...dinner was fantastic!

We started with a round of margaritas at the bar while we waited for our table to be put together. I had initially ordered a drink made with some type of jalepeno-infused liquor, but they were out -- moderately depressing, but I got over it quickly. By the time we had drained our margaritas, our table was ready, and we started off with a pitcher of red sangria while we looked over the menus.

Along with the complimentary chips and two kinds of salsa (a pico de gallo, chunky-style, and a tomatillo/green salsa), we started with an order of queso de mariscos (melted white cheese over crabmeat and peppers) and the night's special guacamole, with crumbled queso fresco and chipotle sauce. After some serious debate, I went with the chicken mole for dinner -- sealed by assurance from my friend that they have some of the best mole sauce in the city.

Verdict? Um, yes. The sauce was exceptionally smooth and I more or less wanted to bathe in it.

We left the restaurant around ten, and even though my friends were headed to a bar to continue the night, I headed home to let out the puppies and get some sleep...I needed to prepare for Mother's Day brunch!

Even though I love to entertain, for some reason, we rarely do it. We've been in our house since November 2008, and I think we've only had people over four or five times.

My menu was very Sabrina-inspired:

- Mini veggie frittattas (similar to Sabrina's - EggBeaters with a splash of milk, seasoned with parmesan cheese and Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, with chopped broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper and spinach)
- Smoked salmon and bagels, sliced into quarters, with two kinds of cream cheese (plain and chive)
- Breakfast potatoes (white potatoes and sweet onions, sliced to 1/8" on the mandolin, seasoned with a bit of Season-All (I KNOW, I KNOW) and dotted with butter, baked in foil packets at 350 for about 45 minutes and then crisped up in a pan right before serving)
- Fruit salad (pineapple, honeydew, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries)

The star, though, was Heather and Sabrina's Soft Pretzel Bread Pudding. Sweet baby jebus. I ran out in the morning to pick up the pretzels, and, since they were fresh, tore them into pieces and dried them in the oven for about ten minutes at 250 degrees first.

This dessert was unreal. You need to make it, immediately. I'm not even kidding. At first, no one was particularly excited about dessert at 2pm (though, really, why wouldn't you be? dude, it's DESSERT at 2pm!)...and then they started tasting. And then everyone wanted the recipe. And then I felt like a complete success. WOOHOO!

The rest of the day flew by, between the cleanup and a quick trip out to Home Depot to replace our propane tank. (Do I know how to have a good weekend or what??) I hit the gym a while ago for a short run -- I did 30 minutes, including intervals for the first 20 minutes (90 seconds at an easy 6.5mph jog, 30 seconds at 8.0) and the last 10 minutes at a steady 6.5. I have to admit, it was a big battle for me mentally, since -- as always -- I'm used to going faster and was feeling frustrated, but by the end I was full of endorphins and happy sweat.

I've been settled into the couch for the past hour and 40 minutes, watching Titanic. I haven't seen this movie in AGES. It came out when I was a sophomore in high school, and, like most sixteen-year-olds, I was enthralled and obsessed with Jack and Kate's tragic love story. I saw it in theaters twice. The first time, my friend and I bawled our eyes out -- like, total ugly cry. We were still crying when my dad picked us up and we got into the car. The second time, I saw it with a guy -- I can't remember the timing of it, but I'm pretty sure we'd been dating and had broken up within a month before we saw the movie. I spent most of it trying to be really cool, and ended up choking back the tears at the end -- which, in retrospect, was probably just as ugly as the ugly cry.

Wonder if it'll still have that effect on me

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two Tickets to the Gun Show

Pretty sure back and biceps is my favorite P90X workout yet.

I mean, I'm good at this whole "lifting" thing. My biceps have always been pretty decent (you know, "for a girl" and all that) and my back is definitely strong (again with the "for a girl" disclaimer). In general, I'm a heavy-weights-are-awesome kind of person, moreso than a covered-in-pink-vinyl-dumbbells kind of person. I'm even improving -- noticeably -- on my pullups.

However, one thing I'm not so hot at is a little trick called "visualization."

See, in back & biceps, about midway through, there's this little monstrosity called "corn cob pullups."

Above, you can see what they're supposed to look like. And if I had the DVD with me at the gym, that's what mine WOULD have looked like (I mean, assuming I could even do one, which it's very possible that I can't).

But since I didn't have the DVD, thanks to PhillyGuy, who tends to leave them in his laptop and take them to class with him...well, I just read the description and did what I THOUGHT it translated to.

Which was totally wrong. I must have looked like a giant ass on the assisted pullup machine. I grabbed wide, pulled up, then LET GO OF THE BAR with my left hand, brought it next to my right, and lowered down. Pulled up, went wide again, down, up. Let go with my right hand, brought it to my left. Down. Up. Blah blah blah. Um, it was hard, sure. but also totally and completely wrong. I'm interested to see how these are next week, when I actually do them properly.

Here's the rest of the lineup:

•Wide Grip Pull-Ups
•One-Arm Cross-Body Curls
•Switch Grip Pull-Ups
•Elbows-Out Lawnmowers
•Standing Bicep Curls
•One-Arm Concentration Curls
•Corn Cob Pull-Ups
•Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows
•Open-Arm Curls
•Static-Arm Curls
•Towel Pull-Ups
•Congdon Locomotives
•Crouching Cohen Curls
•One-Arm Corkscrew Curls
•Seated Bent-Over Back Flys
•Hammer Curls
•Max Rep Pull-Ups
•In-Out Hammer Curls
•Strip-Set Curls (four sets of eight curls with weights decreasing from 20lbs to 5lbs each set)

By the end, my arms were smoked. I LOVE IT. If nothing else, I'm going to end up freakin' jacked.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Back to It

After Broad Street, I took Monday off from the gym unintentionally -- I had planned to work out, but ended up having to spend the evening preparing for a deposition. BOOOOOO. Yesterday, I intentionally took the day off, too. I rationalized it by figuring my body could use the extra recovery -- but really, in my mind, I knew that I just didn't feel like going to the gym.

So I didn't.

We made dinner instead -- grilled chicken for me, with half a jar of salsa, some pepperjack cheese, Fage 0 and sliced olives. PhillyGuy made some kind of pasta dish with whole wheat rotini, broccoli, chicken and onions in a vodka sauce that we had sitting around.

We were settled in, happily watching Lost and eating dinner, when suddenly, all hell broke loose. And by that, I mean that Sophie got the zoomies and went apeshit doing laps around our dining room table. That is NEVER a good sign -- so I leapt up and ran over to grab her, but not in time to stop her from starting to pee on our rug.

Ugh. So, I scooped her up mid-pee and ran downstairs. Naturally, Cosmo followed us, so I took them both outside.

Where Cosmo proceeded to pee on Sophie's head.


We ran upstairs, Sophie in my arms, and went straight up to the bathroom, where the dogs proceeded to get bathed. Poor Sophie, with her pee-soaked (okay, more like pee-drizzled) head went first. She doesn't LOVE the bath, but sits there and tolerates it. Cosmo, on the other hand, was terrified. As soon as he figured out what was coming, he froze and tried to find a way out of the bathroom. PhillyGuy hung out, trying to calm him down.

Cosmo was a good sport, though. He stood frozen and tense in the tub with his head lodged firmly against my stomach. I could see his hind legs shaking a little bit as I washed him. Poor guy -- he is such a good dog, and it's obvious his old family didn't treat him right. Yesterday, he puked on the floor after drinking too much water too quickly, and was so terrified that he ran into his crate, jammed himself in the back, and refused to come out, even for a treat.

Poor dogs. Thank god for DVR, though -- even with the 25-minute break to clean up pee, take the dogs out and then bathe them both, we still got to settle back in and watch the rest of Lost.

Is anyone else really depressed about that show now? Pretty much all of my favorite characters, with the exception of Hurley, are now dead. I can't stand Jack and Kate, and yet -- here they are. BOOOOOOO.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Broad Street Recap

Oh, Broad Street.

I think I'll always have a special place in my heart for this race. It was my first distance race, and my first race other than the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k. I consider it my first "real" race -- and the first time I ran it (in 2008) was the first time I'd ever run 10 miles. I've never "officially" run a longer distance.

This year...well, let's just say another PR wasn't in the cards like I'd originally hoped. After my knee injury flared up again in February -- the same day I registered for the race -- I more or less didn't train, at all. I started P90X and ran about once a week, on average, for about four miles or so at a time.

Even though my doctor told me I could train and still run it, my actual training didn't really put me where I needed to be, and as of a few weeks ago, I'd all but given up on the race. I considered selling my bib, or going to pick up the t-shirt at the expo and just cheering on the sidelines. But, for whatever reason, I got a wild hair up my ass to see what I could do. When I was able to run eight miles somewhat comfortably, without dying, the week before the race, I figured -- what the hell.

Thankfully, Stephanie from The Bright Side answered my plea on Twitter, and welcomed me to run with her and her sister during the race. And good grief, thank GOD for Stephanie.

The morning of the race, as everyone knows, was not exactly ideal conditions. The humidity was bordering on obnoxious, even at 7:15 in the morning when I got off the subway at Olney. At first, it was overcast -- which we all agreed wouldn't be SO bad. Naturally, before the first gun went off for the wheelchair start, the sun came out. How...sweet.

This year, they introduced corrals and a wave start -- as opposed to 2008, for example, when they just had people standing with signs. "9:00 PACE HERE. 8:00 PACE HERE." etc, etc. -- and all 25,000 or so people just started at once, which led to some great bottlenecking.

Although I was assigned to the green corral (with the other 4,499 people who intended to finish between 1:29 and 1:30), I started a corral back with Stephanie and her sister. Our corral didn't cross the starting line until almost 8:50 -- a good 18 minutes after the official start, and, as I pointed out, after the leaders had probably covered four miles already.

I spent the first three miles of the race like I spend the first chunk of any race -- with an excellent negative internal monologue. "WHY did I sign up for this? WHAT am I doing? There is NO WAY I can finish...what was I thinking? I could still be in bed -- in the air conditioning -- with my dogs and my husband. What is WRONG with me? This is no way to spend a Saturday morning!" etc, etc, etc. I even told myself that, if I just made it to South Street, where PhillyGuy would be looking for me -- I could just hang a hard right and the two of us would head home together.

Not shockingly, those were the hardest miles. They were also our fastest. When Stephanie and I stopped to walk through the first water station, we were both starting to feel it. As I told her then, there were times during that first chunk where I was absolutely, positively, one-thousand-percent certain that I was about to die...and then times when I felt GOOD. Like, okay, I can do this.

I finally started to hit my stride as we approached Spring Garden. It was around that time that I took my first (and only) gel. God, I hate that stuff...but it really does work.

The next few miles started to tick by. Although the tightness in my legs and hips was increasing, the miles were going by much faster, and every time we ran through one of the fire-hydrants-turned-sprinklers, I felt downright refreshed and happy (for a GOOD two seconds a time!). We circled City Hall, where a band was rockin' out "Mustang Sally." I was anxiously awaiting South Street, where PhillyGuy was waiting for me -- and this year, with a camera! He even got a great picture of me and Steph:

What? You don't see me? Let me help.

The perils of running a race with your 30,000 closest friends? When your husband has a great shot of you waving and smiling, you can get overtaken in an instant by someone...maybe someone in a blue shirt...juuuuuuust fast enough to step directly into the shot. Oh, and check out the dude running without a bib. BANDIT!

From then on, it was GAME ON. The last half of the race was -- while significantly slower than the first -- by far my better half. Sure, my legs were screamin' and sure, my hips were unbelievably tight. Sure, we walked it out at the remaining water stations, and sure, we walked a little during Mile 7 as well. But for me, the miles were starting to fly by, and as we got further and further south, I was actually believing that I was -- for real! -- going to finish this.

After we walked for a chunk of Mile 7 to stretch out our legs, Steph and I agreed we'd knock out the last two miles without stopping -- and we did. My god, I have never been so happy to see the Naval Shipyard. Although the vast majority of our gas was long since spent, we both managed to pick it up and "sprint" (if you can call it that!) for the last tenth of a mile or so towards the finish line.

My official chip time was 1:47:57, which sounds about right -- I didn't hit the "stop" button on my Garmin until after we'd gone over the finish line -- I was too busy smiling and waving like a toolbox.


Not too shabby, considering the absolutely abysmal conditions. I am sunburned like a mofo, and I believe the official reading was 67% humidity. On any other day, this would have been a treadmill workout, no question about it. I cannot even describe how important it was that I had Steph to run with, either -- if it weren't for her there next to me, it's very likely that I'd have stopped to walk sometime during one of those first three negative, painful miles -- and probably would have added an easy 20 or so minutes to my total time.

After PhillyGuy and I managed to find each other at the shipyard, we started to walk (well, he walked -- I sort of waddled) back to the subway. I was tired and sweaty and happy -- but not nearly as happy as I was when we made our way back to the city, and I finally sat down to this:

A post-race burrito. The most delicious meal I have ever eaten.

I spent a big chunk of the afternoon napping in bed with my dogs. Sophie curled up next to my head on a pillow, while Cosmo snuggled next to my leg. I closed my eyes sometime around 1:30pm and did not open them again until 3:30...and my god, was that glorious.

So...let's see. Am I pleasantly surprised to find that I have a base level of fitness that allows me to complete a 10-mile run without any prior training? Definitely. Would I ever do this again without training? Um, no chance. Even though I came in 17 minutes over my 2008 time, this run was about four billion times more difficult than 2008.

HOWEVER...I've learned something. And this might sound really obvious or really stupid, but it's sort of opened up a new world for me. I don't HAVE to do all of my long runs at a 9:00 pace. In fact -- if I just slow it down a little bit -- I can go a whole lot further and not burn out so quickly.

Um. Rocket science? not so much. But maybe, with this epiphany, there might just be a Philly Half in my not-so-distance future.

Monday, May 3, 2010


More detail coming later. In short -- I did NOT die, although there were a few times where I was certain that I was going to, moreso in the first half of the race.

I came in at a whopping 17 minutes slower than my previous Broad Street time -- but considering (1) the 67% humidity (no, really), and (2) my complete lack of training, I am incredibly happy with that. It would have been a much slower time if I didn't have Stephanie to run with and keep me going!

The lululemon Run:Swiftly tank was an absolute lifesaver. It's like running shirtless while still being clothed. Also, props to SPIbelt for allowing my to keep my cell phone with me and avoid the gear check completely.

I'm a little sunburnt and a little sore today, but all in all, I feel remarkably good. I love Broad Street!