I went to bed last night crossing my fingers and hoping that when I woke up, the forecasted 10+ inches of snow would have fallen, my office would be closed and my pretrial conference would be cancelled, so that I could have a cozy day in my sweatpants on my couch.
I woke up at 6:57 - WAY late, since my alarm goes off at 6:02. (My alarm was still going off, which means that both me and PhillyGuy slept straight through it for 55 freakin' minutes.) I went straight downstairs to collect Sophie from her house and to check my phone.
SUCCESS! I went back to sleep for a good hour and a half. So did my dogs. My husband barely stirred in the first place.
When I took the pups out for their morning constitutional, the snow removal people had already been hard at work for hours.
Cosmo doesn't like the snow that much, but Sophie LOVES it. She's part terrier and loves to dig, and this heavy snow was perfect for it.
I've actually been surprisingly productive from my spot on the couch today. Cosmo's curled up next to me snoozing, and Sophie's been napping on the top step. PhillyGuy's meeting out in Harrisburg was cancelled, so he's been home with me, and I think we're going to take advantage of being housebound by doing P90X yoga, which I love but never feel like I have the full 95+ minutes to do.
I'm also itching to run, so I might venture out to the gym and do a quick couple miles on the treadmill if my knee cooperates.
I know. What a stupid, cliche thing to say. NO SHIT, weekends are your favorite.
"Oh, you hate your job? There's a support group for that. It's called 'EVERYBODY,' and they meet at the bar." - Drew Carey. (and no, I don't hate my job. In fact, I love it. But weekends are still my favorite.)
One of the best things about the weekend is breakfast. I love going out to breakfast, I love making breakfast. Recently, I discovered that I love over-easy eggs. And even more recently than THAT, I discovered that I love over-easy eggs on an open-face bagel sandwich.
I start by preparing the bagels. I've been using Everything Bagel Thins, which suck as bagels but are perfect for sandwiches. I have one bagel thin with both halves spread with copious amounts of roasted red pepper and/or sundried tomato hummus. PhillyGuy gets two, with garlic hummus spead on one half of each and a Laughing-Cow-style soft cheese wedge spread on the other. This weekend I used Weight Watchers brand Parmesean Peppercorn flavor.
Next comes the best layer: bacon. I cooked six slices of bacon and broke each slice in half. Each bagel thin gets topped with one slice (two halves, side by side).
I may have mentioned that PhillyGuy's uncle gave us a five-pound wheel of provolone cheese for Christmas.
Obviously we need to keep chipping away at it, and I think bagel sandwiches really benefit from a few shavings of creamy, super-sharp provolone.
I like to put a handful of baby spinach on mine, but I leave the green stuff off of his.
And then the really important part is the egg.
I have no idea if I cook "over easy eggs" properly, but what I like to do is fry the egg until the white is mostly solidified, and then flip it over for about ten seconds before sliding it onto the bagel half.
This results in a ton of runny yolk that soaks into everything and makes me feel like I was a giant fool for spending the vast majority of my life convinced that I "didn't like" eggs. IDIOT. EGGS ARE DELICIOUS.
This particular weekend I also wanted to finish off the last of a Costco-size container of Fage 0, so I dumped in a bunch of berries and called it good.
And then Sophie was super excited that she got to REALLY finish it off.
And Cosmo was like, "SHUT UP EVERYONE. It's SATURDAY and I am TRYING to SLEEP."
Last year, when I signed up for Broad Street after months of successful and pain-free running, my knee started bothering me that very same day.
This year, when I signed up for Broad Street after even MORE consecutive months of successful and pain-free running (including a half marathon, dammit), and after making a public announcement about an ambitious goal, my knee started bothering me. This time, it had the decency to wait a couple of days.
Monday I hopped on the treadmill, eager to bust out my first three-mile "official" training run. I planned for three easy, steady-state miles. I actually spent hours psyching myself up, since I don't know when the last time I ran for thirty minutes on the treadmill at the same pace was...my hamster-wheel syndrome has left me doing lots and lots of intervals lately.
So color me shocked when my biggest challenge wasn't some kind of mental game. Nope. It was the twinge directly beneath my right kneecap that I haven't felt in months now. I kept going for a few minutes, since sometimes I get a little tiny pain that goes away after the first quarter mile or so.
But nope. So I fought back tears, hopped on the stupid recumbent bike, and felt sorry for myself for the next 40 minutes or so.
So what have I been doing (besides, of course, trying not to panic or overreact)? Quad-strengthening exercises from my PT last year. Elliptical and recumbent bike. P90X strength stuff. I'm going to try my damnedest to be patient, because even if I have to wait until February to start really training, I still have plenty of time to work on my speed.
In the meantime...I'll keep making lots of eggs.
With broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, salsa, hot sauce and cheese.
I'll keep working on my first knitting projects.
...the products of the beginner's knitting class that Sabrina and I are taking at Loop Yarn at 19th and South.
And I'll drink out of the cute new pink water bottle I bought myself today for no reason whatsoever.
And for now, I'll get ready to make dinner with PhillyGuy and snuggle with the sleepiest puppy in the world.
really, it is. I love signing up for a race and planning a new challenge. I even love the first couple weeks of training, where I'm all inspired to achieve my new goals and all of my runs are fun.
And then the novelty wears off about three weeks in and I'm in the middle of a tempo run on the treadmill thinking to myself "WHY? I mean...WHY? This isn't fun and no one is going to care if you stop!"
So, in 2010 I got a new race distance under my belt, and I overcame my knee issues enough to train consistently. But lately I've been running shorter and quicker - instead of nine or ten 10:20 miles, I'm doing three or four 8-something or 9:00 miles.
And you know what? I've missed it. A bunch. And I think I'm ready to try to get 2011's Broad Street time down to my 2008 "debut" time of 1:30.59.
I'm nervous about it, but also excited. I have 15 weeks to train, which is plenty of time for me to start off with building a bit of a base and then ramp up the speedwork. If 2010 taught me anything, it's that (i) I can add distance without aggravating my knees if I don't do speedwork or junk miles, and (ii) if I don't do speedwork or junk miles, I will add plenty of distance but will never get faster.
And I'm ready to get faster.
I'm kind of scared, too. I don't want to burn out and I don't want to hurt myself. But most of all...I don't want to fail. I don't want to talk a big game (to teh internets, nonetheless) and then start trying to come up with excuses in five or six or fifteen weeks when I don't deliver.
(sometimes you also need to start remembering to bring your good camera when you go to dinner, but I digress.)
PhillyGuy and I had tentatively planned to go to dinner last night. He had suggested our go-to spot, Resurrection Ale House. We probably end up there once every couple of months, both because of the fantastic beer selection AND because it is conveniently located directly across the street from our house.
Usually I'm excited about at least three or four different dishes on Resurrection's menu, but after reviewing it from work, I was kind of "meh" about it. Not that it sounded bad, but I wasn't getting my usual "OMG I CANNOT WAIT TO TRY THAT" feeling. So I started thinking of alternatives, and for a while, I was torn between Resurrection and Pub & Kitchen.
And then Pub & Kitchen started tweeting about their specials for the night, including a quail with oyster cornbread dressing...and I was done.
Naturally, that's what we started with. We split the quail, which came adorably presented, looking like a Lilliputian roasted chicken...
...and an English onion soup with apples and a rosemary crouton topped with melted cheddar.
(MAN, does that ever look appetizing. FML.)
The other factor that pushed Pub & Kitchen over the edge for me was the fact that I've been craving a juicy, fatty burger ever since we picked out Brickyard in NYC last weekend. Well, Brickyard didn't have a burger on the menu...but Pub & Kitchen has the Churchill burger.
Proprietary blend of meats, bone marrow butter and caramelized onions? Yes, please.
PhillyGuy was also feeling a burger. He stuck with the plain burger topped with cheddar, bacon and a fried egg.
Both were delicious. Usually, I'm all about a variety of toppings, so I was unsure about having just the onions on my burger...but it was just right. The burger itself was flavorful enough to carry itself alone. I tried a bite of PhillyGuy's burger as well, but I'm pretty sure I didn't get all of the toppings in my bite...sad face.
We also split an order of the mac & cheese, but the iPhone pictures were so awful I had to delete them both...which really says something considering the onion soup abomination I posted above. Let's try to describe: orzo wrapped in creamy sauce, studded with bits of short rib, covered in a blanket of...I don't even know what, frankly. For all I know it could have been artificial bacon bits. It was good, but a little underwhelming. The sauce was more creamy than cheesy, and I actually thought it needed salt. But then again, I tend to salt everything, so whatever.
So now I'm hanging in bed with my puppies, getting ready to wake PhillyGuy up so we can hit the gym. He spent all last week with a nasty cold, and I'm crossing my fingers that I didn't catch it. My quads are still a little sore from my 800 repeats the other day, which is always humbling (I used to be able to run a 5K in about 90 seconds to two minutes better than my time for 3 miles without killing myself!), but also makes me happy. I'm thinking it'll be a date with the elliptical and Tony Horton's chest and back this morning, and maybe a nice 5-mile run outside tomorrow...we'll see.
Especially yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I did plenty of work...but I'm WAY OVER one particular deal that I feel like I've been working on for ages, and it's been taking its toll on me. I did more than a little bit of Google-reader-stalking and twitter-refreshing.
I also spent about half the day fantasizing about the dinner I was going to make. See, I think I mentioned yesterday that the only groceries we really have in the house are frozen chicken and a giant Costco-sized bag of broccoli florets. For some reason, I became obsessed with the idea of making broccoli with pasta sauce. And I mean OBSESSED.
I went home, walked and fed the pups, made a new playlist and hit the gym for a sweaty and somewhat painful half-hour on the treadmill...while thinking about the broccoli that was to come. I did three miles of half-mile repeats at 7.5mph, with recovery at 6.0mph, totaling about 26 minutes and some change. I was a red-faced sweaty beast, but I was happy. And during my cooldown and stretching, I just could NOT stop thinking about my broccoli pasta. And how I could post about it.
So, I made my dinner. I steamed up a buttload of broccoli, drained off the salted water and added a chopped onion. While that was sauteeing together, I sliced up a few chicken breasts, seasoned with garlic, onion, salt, and Mrs. Dash tomato basil pepper. Dump in the chicken, stir to sear on all sides, dump in jar of whatever marinara-style sauce I had handy, bring to boil, simmer, done.
And yet...you'll notice that there are no pictures. Of anything. No pictures of the bright green broccoli, no pictures of my finished bowl (I served my portion of the broccoli-chicken-sauce conglomerate over a couple handfuls of baby spinach and topped the whole thing with a couple shaves of sharp provolone and some grated Locatelli), nothing.
I haven't blogged a dinner in...I don't know, a long time...and yet I couldn't even remember to pick up my stupid camera to document my broccoli bowl. Told you I was distracted.
But it's okay. The longest week ever is coming to a close. I have my iced coffee (though I need a second one this morning, I think), I have my Fage 0, and I have a growing checklist of things to do today that don't involve much human interaction...so I'm happy. PhillyGuy and I are probably going to dinner tonight...maybe Pub & Kitchen, where we haven't been in ages? Maybe Resurrection Ale House, where we go ALL.THE.TIME. (but it's so tasty!).
Or maybe we'll stay home and I'll drink wine and wear sweatpants. The possibilities are endless.
I missed fruit and yogurt. Lots. I get stuck in a carb-obsessed groove every now and again, when I can't fathom why in god's name I would ever CHOOSE to eat fruit and yogurt when I could have a doughy bagel.
And then something happens, like, oh, I don't know...not being able to fit into my pants because I've coupled the carb-obsession with slacking at the gym AND eating more than a few handfuls of chocolate chips while doing my holidaybaking.
And then one day, I force myself to walk PAST the bagel bin and straight to the cooler and grab a Fage 0 and some fruit salad. (Okay, in an ideal world, I would be packing myself a little tupperware full of fruit and Fage from home, but I decided I'd rather spend Sunday watching Annie Hall from bed than go grocery shopping, so I'm out of just about everything except for broccoli and frozen chicken.) And I die a little inside at that exact moment, but then once I get up to my office and dig in, I'm like - "FRUIT AND YOGURT! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?"
I will say I never waver from my iced coffee obsession, though.
Last night there was a weird crowd at the gym. It's been blissfully empty for the past week or so - it's as if everyone in my development decided to resolve to avoid the gym instead of attack it. It's been nice - no waiting for a treadmill, not feeling guilty if I decide to do more than 30 minutes of running or whatever. Last night, I hopped on the bike for 25 minutes on the "random" program, followed by P90X shoulders and arms.
And it was just me, a random cardio queen who is ALWAYS there and spends hours on either the bike or the elliptical, and two muscle-y dudes. I'm not one to feel awkward at the gym, but something about these two guys gave off a major creep factor. The one guy parked himself less than a foot away from the rack of dumbbells that I use, which meant I had to interact with him in order to change up my weights or whatever. The other guy alternated between doing sets of bicep curls (my favorite kind, where they use momentum and flick their hips in order to lift weights their biceps are not capable of lifting) and using an unoccupied machine to stretch his hamstrings. The entire time, the two of them were talking to each other, and I couldn't shake the feeling they were talking about me. It wasn't helping matters that I kept catching Uncomfortably-Close-to-Dumbbells dude in my peripheral vision with his head facing towards me. I couldn't hear a word since I had my headphones in, and I did my best to tune the world out and focus on lifting...but eeeesh. It was just weird and I kept obsessing over whether I was doing something wrong, or did they think I was a January-only-gym-bunny, or...GAH.
I hate crap like that. I NEVER worry about that kind of thing, and I (clearly) love to people-watch at the gym, too...I don't know why last night was so weird. Oh well.
I don't know about you guys, but this is turning into the longest week EVER. I cannot believe it's only Thursday. Do any of you have a three-day weekend? I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to take Monday off and I'm thrilled to pieces about it.
It did snow overnight, just like predicted. We got about six inches here in Philly, just like predicted. But...le sigh...road crews were pretty much on top of it. And so my office is not closed.
Oh well. As much as I was hoping for a day spent in my sweatpants, working from my couch, I actually don't really like working from home. Working from the couch hurts my back, and I do find it easier to type long documents on my fancy ol' desktop keyboard here at work, rather than my sleek Macbook Pro.
Anyway. Let's rewind to the weekend, huh? That seems fun.
As I've mentioned here before, Green Day is my favorite band. I hate to even say that, because the word "favorite" just doesn't do it justice. Regardless...while I was excited when I heard American Idiot was being adapted into a musical, I wasn't too nuts about seeing it - I mean, I love Green Day, not other people performing or covering their music, you know?
But that was before I found out, back in the fall, that Billie Joe Armstrong was doing a short stint on Broadway, filling in for the performer playing St. Jimmy in the show. The idea of seeing my favorite performer in an entirely new setting was unbelievable - I REALLY wanted to go. Unfortunately, my work schedule and PhillyGuy's work schedule didn't cooperate, and so we missed that run.
BUT THEN. I got word in December that Billie Joe was coming back for fifty performances during January and February. FIFTY! My schedule HAD to cooperate for at least one of those. And it did. PhillyGuy got us tickets to this past Saturday's matinee.
It. Was. Amazing. It was everything I could have wanted it to be and more. I sat there, entranced, and the entire ninety minutes flew by. Before I knew it, the show was over, and it was time for us to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening wandering around New York.
We found a little gastropub on 9th for dinner. The beer selection was great.
PhillyGuy had a Founder's IPA (I can't remember for the life of me which one now), and I had a Sierra Nevada Celebration seasonal that was on special for happy hour. (I apologize for the crappy phone pictures, but I didn't want to bring my good camera since I wasn't sure I'd be able to carry it into the theater.)
We split the phyllo-wrapped asparagus to start. This was filled with melted asiago cheese and happiness.
I had a ribeye, topped with mushrooms and onions in a green peppercorn reduction, sprinkled with a fantastic blue cheese.
PhillyGuy had the pork chop, which was served over sage and cinnamon apples with sweet potato croquettes on the side. We also split a side of brussels sprouts with bacon and cippolini onions:
...I assume you that they were NOT quite that shade of green in reality. We enjoyed our food and beer while watching the Seahawks kill the Saints, before trekking back to the train station to head home. I love the train - between our rides there and back, I started AND finished a new book on my Nook.
I'm having a hard time getting started on work today. Not a ton of people are here today, so it's pretty quiet in my office...EXCEPT for the very vocal secretary who sits outside my door. I've already heard all about how many people she had to dig out of the snow this morning and how lucky she is that she has an appointment with her chiropractor today (in baby-talk-voice, on the phone to her husband, no less), and now she and the IT guy who sits next to her are discussing the merits of taking the train vs. driving in the snow.
I also don't understand how people eat breakfast before getting to work. If I ate breakfast at 6:30 or 7am, I'd be hungry again by mid-morning. And not the kind of "oh I need a snack" hungry that I could handle with an apple...the "okay, it's lunchtime!" hungry that needs a bowl of soup or whatever.
I got on a bagel kick for a while in late fall, mostly out of laziness...but I think I might actually be bagel-ed out for a while. Fage 0, fruit and granola...I missed you!
I've been kicking around the whole "new year's resolutions/goals" thing in my head, and was thinking about it more last night at the gym. I mean, what else is there to do on a treadmill for 40 minutes, right?
I do NOT like the concept of "New Year's Resolutions." The overcrowding at the gym for the next six weeks illustrates my issues perfectly. I started working out regularly during my freshman year of college back in 2000. For the past ten years, there are six weeks, twice a year, that the gym is mobbed. Once from early January to mid-February, and again from early May through mid-June.
On an individual level, I have nothing against any one of these new people. I was new to the gym once too! Everyone, as an individual, has every right to do exactly what the new crowds are doing: start a new routine. Explore fitness and exercise. Figure out gym etiquette and figure out what kind of exercise they enjoy and what works best for them.
But...BUT. Every year, for ten years, the same phenomenon happens. Lots of people either start at the gym for the first time, or come back for the first time in years or months, because it's "a new year" or because "it's almost bikini season!" And there are lines for the treadmills, people standing around staring into space, weights not put back where they belong and people not wiping the sweat off of their machines. It's a hassle. I know it's only temporary, but it's still a hassle.
And I am resistant to the idea of setting goals just because it's a symbolic time of year because I don't want to end up like one of the January/June temporary exercisers. I don't want to get caught up in the mentality of it and make goals that I don't actually WANT to commit to. I did that for years...for me, it was dieting. I've had the physical activity thing down for about a decade now, but, as most people reading thing probably know, "abs are made in the kitchen" and all that. So I'd say, I'm going to lose ten pounds this year. Or 20 or whatever. And I'd eat well religiously for a few weeks and then slowly get back into eating how I liked to eat. It wasn't worth it to me at the time, so I didn't do it.
When I did lose that twenty or so pounds, it had nothing to do with the New Year OR with bikini season. The first time I lost weight, most of it came off over the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. I kept it off for several years before embarking on a dangerous combination of "eating whatever I feel like and blowing off the gym" during my 1L year. It was sometime in March that year when I decided I was done being overweight again. I repeated that dangerous combination during most of 2009, and I've spent the last year or so trying to decide when I'm going to be done with it this time.
All of this to say:
- I decided back in December that I'm done with it. Again and hopefully for more than a few years at a stretch this time. I'm done with not fitting in most of my pants and I'm done with looking at my rounder-than-I-would-like-it-to-be face in pictures.
- I decided around the same time that I'd like to focus on building my speed back up while continuing to run middle-distance races (10-milers and half marathons). I like the length but I miss running 9:00 miles.
BUT. For some stupid reason, I am EMBARRASSED to admit that those are my goals right now. Because I feel like they're cliche, and I'm worried that the timing of these goals is going to suck me into the symbolic New Year's crowd.
This is a really stupid thing to worry about. After all...the only person who can force me to "fall off the wagon" in February is me.
My other resolution? Practice my knitting so that when I start making my scarf next week, it doesn't look like THIS.
(Sabrina and I are taking a beginner's knitting class. Her dishrag-thing was MUCH prettier than mine is!)