Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I ate Wednesday- A week of eats!

Last week I borrowed heavily from the blogosphere to make some delicious eats. So for this WIAW, a whole week of what I ate:

Friday night- I did indeed make some delicious spaghetti squash using this recipe. It was awesome, with loads of leftovers to get me through the short week.  Wine, bread, squash, and cheese... a balanced dinner!

Saturday- Stopped in town after our run for delicious New York Style bagels. That evening my dear boyfriend wanted to watch football so I made fANNEtastic food's delicious pumpkin bean dip. I brought half to my boyfriend's house with blue corn chips, celery, and bell pepper slices for dipping. The other half I brought to work on Monday with more of the same. It got rave reviews!
Sunday- My first Brussels sprouts. My mom loves them but my dad doesn't so my mom never made them when I was a kid. They get a bad rap, so I assumed I wouldn't like them. Wrong. With instructions from fANNEtastic food and a recipe from DailyGarnish my first Brussels sprout experience went well.  We paired the super easy Asian Brussels sprouts recipe with some homemade brown fried rice (brown rice, 2 eggs, lots of veggies).
Monday- Made a giant salad using a bunch of leftover veggies (that didn't make it into the stir fry) and a chicken breast that I needed to get rid of before the vacation, along with some blue cheese.  Here's what it looked like:

Tuesday- Finished off the leftover spaghetti squash, just in time for vacation!
Wednesday- Vacation begins! We bought an Einstein's salad and bagel from the airport to share for lunch on the plane. (Continental doesn't give you any snacks! I'm a Southwest devotee, with their delicious & free 100 calorie packs, for sure!) The rest of the day we relaxed and hung out with my boyfriend's family and friends (my parents didn't get in until late).  His mom made chicken sausage for dinner (I don't eat pork, I don't think I've ever gone to his parents house and there not have been at least one sausage-based meal, but she's really good at keeping it separate or buying a kind I can eat).
Thursday-Thanksgiving! As our contribution to the feast, we made Daily Garnish's Apple cinnamon cranberry quinoa.I doubled the recipe. It smelled so good while cooking. Those soaked, cinnamon apples might be the best food ever. Sad I didn't get a picture of just our quinoa but you can see it below on my plate bottom center/right. Since it was a big day for me (my parents meeting boyfriend's parents for the first time) I started drinking early (like noon) and kept a steady stream of liquid courage going throughout the night. Probably not the best calorie intake strategy. Oh well. As promised though, I took the one plate of all the fixins and didn't go back for more. Check it out (Clockwise from Quinoa is spinach salad, stuffing, sweet potato, mashed potato, and smoked turkey; in the middle is Spinach lasagna, and I tossed the green beans on top because I was out of room):

Friday: Dan's family does leftovers pizza on the Friday after Thanksgiving- cranberry sauce as a base on a premade pizza crust, covered with leftover turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc. Then topped with mozzarella and heated in the oven. This is SO good! I had a couple slices that night and some leftover slices the next day before we left for the airport.

So there you have it... one very delicious week! (My boyfriend eating my face below to prove it!) Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nothing like the last minute...

...To sign up for a 5k!

Now that we are running 3 miles continuously a few times a week, I thought it was time to look for a 5k to spice up our training. Unfortunately it seems my options were this weekend or mid-January. Where are all the jingle balls and resolution runs this year?
Oh well. So we will be running a 5k this Saturday morning!

The Christus St. John Reindeer Run

Its local (right across the street from work and close to my boyfriend's house), its cheap, and the weather is gonna be awesome:
My goals for this race are pretty simple:
1. Run the whole thing.
2. Finish strong. Run conservative for the first 2 miles (usually this means about a 12:30 pace). Then pick up the pace a little for the next half mile. Then pick up the pace again for the next half mile. Then run the last .1 at all out pace.
3. I have no specific time goal, but it would be nice to beat my August time of 38:33. 
For one, that was a terrible race. It was a night race and we stupidly had Mexican for lunch. It was pitch black, in sand, and no mile markers. I foolishly didn't bring my Garmin because I didn't want to watch my pace too closely, but knowing the distance is critical to me doing well- without mile markers and because it was totally dark, I couldn't know how much farther I had to go and psychologically that ruined me.
Also, because we've been training pretty consistently and have built up to run the whole distance (every previous 5k has involved some walking), I think we have a good shot at it.
(Technically my PR for a 5k is 38:06- I ran a 5k in early 2009 with a couple friends. There was basically no training and I walked alot of it. For me, finishing a 5k without walking is a greater goal than a PR.)

I'm excited, but also a little nervous. I was looking forward to the Sand Crab and it was awful and I was pretty bummed afterwards. I'm trying to keep my expectations low and remind myself that it should be fun. Stay tuned for a recap!

Post thanksgiving training update

One of my two goals from last week was to keep up with my training despite the big gaping hole in my schedule created by Thanksgiving. How did I do?

Friday- Off
Saturday- 3 mile run at a park in town. It was a pretty warm day, despite being mid-November and we finished sweaty.
Sunday- Another off day. I did a bunch of shopping and packing, and it was 84 out so I definitely got my sweat on, despite not actually exercising.
Monday- Boyfriend had to work late so I had to do my 2 mile run alone! I almost decided to postpone to Tuesday to run with him (but would have to skip yoga). At the last minute I decided to stop being lazy and go for a run. And it was a good one!  I ran hard and finished really strong.
Tuesday- Yoga! After all my hemming and hawing over it, I was pretty glad I decided to fit in Yoga and a run before heading off for thanksgiving.
Wednesday- Woke up early to catch our flight to Houston No exercise, except lugging suitcases around the airport.
Thursday- We had kinda planned to go running that morning but it was really cold. We spent the day cooking and socializing instead.
Friday- Did the 2 mile run. It was still pretty cold and, though my body warmed up, my throat and lungs were burning from the cold dry air. This Florida girl doesn't like cold or dry; I think I prefer to run in 100 degree summers than winters.
Saturday- Hung Christmas lights at boyfriend's parents house. This is still novel to me but already I'm annoyed by how often lights burn out and how many times that damn tree pricked my finger. How do people do this year after year?
Sunday- 3 mile run around the neighborhood. It was cold and super windy, and I almost quit early, but my beloved running buddy said "At least make it once around the neighborhood." After that I was warmed up and ready to finish. Usually I'm pushing him, but I need him to push me too!
Monday- Per the plan, another 3 mile run!

There's my week in exercise. We hit every run on the training plan, despite the weather obstacles (hot and cold), and are going at a pretty steady 12:30 or so pace. December goals will be starting tomorrow. Yikes, I can't believe the month went by so fast!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Running Wants!

As I said in my Kitchen wants post, I have all kinds of wants. Mostly because I break things all the time (see below re: Laptop), and because I rarely actually buy something when I think of getting it (I file it in my mind for another shopping day and then I forget it when I am actually at a store).

My running wardrobe is pretty good, for a beginner already. When I started getting into the running thing, it was early summer in Houston. I was in for the hottest summer ever (no, seriously, our heat and drought shattered records for unpleasantness) and quickly found that my cheap capris and free cotton t-shirts from college were not going to cut it when standing outside, let alone trying to run. So I discovered Lululemon and Athleta. This was good (because their clothes are lovely) and also bad (because their clothes are EXPENSIVE!). I bought a few colors of the Run Swiftly shirt, and some Turbo run shorts. I LOVE these shorts, honestly I cannot say enough nice things about them. The zipper pocket is perfect, they do not ride up so my thighs don't chafe, they are adorable and slimming and comfortable and I honestly would wear them every day of my life if it weren't frowned-upon to control the International Space Station in athletic wear. I also have the Accelerate T-shirt from Athleta in a couple colors which also has a zipper pocket (I love pockets! Functional clothes rock!) and is UPF-50. This was supplemented with some Target/Champion sports bras and tops. Recently, now that its winter, I've added a pair of capri running tights (also with zipper pocket, yay!), a long sleeve under-armor knockoff, and a half zip pullover from Target.


Also I have a Garmin Forerunner 305 which has revolutionized my life. I am an engineering nerd and so I love numbers and details and stats. I think knowing the distance I've gone better enables me to push myself farther.


So what do I want?
  • More Lululemon. Doesn't everyone? Their stuff makes me feel sexy, which makes me workout harder to, y'know, stay sexy. It just has a really flattering cut and style and when I feel that I look good it tricks me into feeling good. Many things have been said about the trend of women's running clothes getting *too* pretty, so I will simply say that I wear what makes me feel good, and I'll continue to do so.

  • Brooks Pure Grit. I've done some sand runs, some park runs, and want to get more into trail running. I hate running on roads because a) pick up trucks (this is Texas) and b) boring. Also these shoes are really cute. I'm a little afraid to try minimalist footwear due to the Plantar Fasciitis though.

  • Ipod Nano. I have an MP3 player. Its 6 years old and the battery is shot. It takes hours to charge and then only plays for an hour. I sometimes run with Pandora on my cell phone but then a slow song comes on and screws everything up. So its time for a new music device. I've never owned an I-anything, but the Nanos seem like the perfect size with the right amount of features. I heard about how getting a new computer screws up your iTunes, and my last laptop met the floor in a traumatic way and doesn't really work. So I've been holding off on a new ipod until I had a new computer. I bought a new computer today, so Ipod is not far off!

  • Compression socks. Preferably purple. I love purple.

  • Disney marathon. This is more a training goal than a "want" but its also expensive and requires travel, so I think it counts. I went to college in Orlando and love Disney more than any 25 year old should, so if I'm gonna run a marathon, this is gonna be the one. I might even do it dressed as Team Sparkle Ariel. I have often stated that I don't even like to drive 26 miles... but do I love Mickey Mouse enough to run it for him? Maybe.
Whew. Is that all? What are your running wants? Anything on my list making it to your Christmas list this year?  I'm Jewish so I don't really get Christmas gifts (Hannukah gifts are traditionally smaller, actually Hannukah was never a gift giving holiday until Jewish people felt left out around Christmas and decided to join in), but I do like to take advantage of the sales to buy good stuff I need anyways.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Running Buddy

You may have noticed that my running buddy is usually my boyfriend. I read a post once that suggested couples that run together are the skinny, fit types who look sexy even on mile 15. That is most definitely not us. We both get sweaty and gross after only a few minutes, we huff and puff and struggle and are quite far from being attractive by the end. So why do I always run with my boyfriend?

Well, about 6 months ago he told me he wanted to start working out and wanted me to be his running buddy (we were both serious couch potatoes at the time). He ran in high school, so I was immediately intimidated. I have always been afraid to run with trained, experienced runners, ones who ran track with coaches and actually knew what a third mile felt like and what to wear and how to work out a cramp and stretch, etc. However after some poking and prodding and sweet talking, he did convince me to get out the door with him.First time out I let him set the pace and distance- problem was he didn't know how far he could or would go either. That went about as well as you'd expect. We couldn't go on that way.

Always being the girl with a plan, I quickly set to work with some internet searches until I found us one training plan after another, 5ks to run, etc. I do much better when I have a plan and a goal; if I'm just working out to work out, I won't push myself as hard. I don't think he knew what he was getting himself into, but to his credit he's been there beside me for every race, every plan, every morning workout (definitely NOT a morning person) whether he liked it or not.  As we've both gotten into shape its clear that he's faster than me but he keeps me around for motivation. I love looking over mid-puff, sweat soaked, and seeing him puffing right alongside me.

Here's a picture of us after a recent weekend run in the park. He doesn't like being in pictures, but I snapped one while he was too oxygen deprived to protest.
Thanks, Dan, for being my running buddy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Friday!

Man, am I glad its the weekend! Its been a long week pf boring office work, and I'm fighting a bit of a cold that comes from sleep shifting (FYI: little to no sleep is not good for you!).


How did I do on exercise this week?
  • Saturday- Supposed to be a 3 mile run but I woke up with a sore throat and stuffy head (was afraid it might be strep because boyfriend's roommate had that last week, but it seems like a regular cold). Still I managed to bang out 2 miles, take a walk break, and then finish out the last 3/4 mile in decent pace.
  • Sunday- rest, but I did go clothes shopping which should totally count because I definitely broke a sweat wiggling into and out of all those pants!
  • Monday- 3 mile run. Ran the whole 3 miles (longest continuous run since my foot injury!) on the trail behind the space center. Boyfriend and I are attempting to leave work at 4:30 on run days so we can run on that trail before dark.
  • Tuesday- Awesome yoga class that stretched out my tight legs from all that running.
  • Wednesday -2 mile run.
  • Thursday- Softball game. And we lost. Finishing the season 1-7; that's some losing record!
Food-wise I didn't do as well. I still need to up my vegetable intake. I also ate out alot (4 days this week, oops!) and not very good choices either. Last night I had 2 happy hour type outings and I had a beer and food at each, so I busted on the "3 snacks and snacks include alcohol" rule.


The week to come: Thanksgiving! Boyfriend and I are headed to his parents house in Virginia, and my family is coming too. Bringing the two families together for the first time definitely has me a little nervous, especially for such a hectic holiday (his mom regularly has 20+ members of their large family attending her Thanksgivings). Yikes!

Exercise goal: Still sticking to the plan would require us to run 2 miles in Virginia while we're there for Thanksgiving. I'm worried about this because being Florida-raised and now living in Texas, I'm certainly a stranger to actual cold. My running wardrobe is definitely not cut out for a real winter run (it tends to short shorts and t shirts for the sweltering Houston summers) so I will probably fall back to yoga pants with my sole pair of knee length running tights underneath and my one long sleeve compression T.

Food goal: Make healthy choices early in the week, in prep for alot of food over the weekend. Then at Thanksgiving,  no stressing over food allowed. Fill one plate with whatever I want, don't go back for seconds, and don't worry about how much butter is in the mashed potatoes.

Tonight I'm going to make some spaghetti squash (recipe TBD) for dinner and tomorrow is a 3 mile run in the park. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I ate Wednesday- The last of the Pumpkin Hummus

So last week for my first WIAW post, I posted about 3 things I did with pumpkin hummus. But after that there was still a little hummus left, and I was sleep deprived trying to shift back to day shift so...
On Friday I invented a casserole and threw in some pumpkin hummus. I'll call it....

Sleep Deprivation Casserole
  • Approx 3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta (I used Rotini because its my favorite!)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • Sauteed broccoli (I used frozen, tossed in a pan with olive oil, pepper and garlic until defrosted)
  • Caramelized onions
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
Toss together, spread into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with:
  • Shredded low fat mozzarella mixed with a little Parmesan cheese

Bake at 350 covered for 20 minutes (to heat through) then uncovered for 10 minutes (to melt cheese).

It was surprisingly tasty for being a product of my tired brain, I ate some for lunch today and it was still good!

Tonight I made a giant salad:
  • Romaine
  • Chopped onion and bell pepper
  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped chicken (had some leftover from the casserole above)
  • Blue cheese
  • Cranberry Balsamic dressing
  • I added a serving of parmesean garlic pita chips as a snacky side.
Yum!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Wrapup

Most of my coworkers have today off for Veterans Day, but I'm spending the first 8 hours of today in Mission Control. The best part is that at 8am today, I get to leave here and go snuggle with my boyfriend who will be still be sleeping. I love it when my last day on the night shift falls on a weekend or holiday so I can do that. Bonus that we're having a wonderful cold front here and snuggling is practically a requirement!

This was a busy week in Mission Control, with alot of ground commanding for me to do, and crew activities to follow along with. The best nights are the one's where there's plenty to do. After all, I didn't spend a year in training to sit here like a bump on a log... I want to do stuff! Plus it makes the time go by faster and keeps you awake.

It was an ok week for exercise, considering.


  • Friday and Saturday I was too tired to work out- sleep shifting sure did a number on me this time around. I didn't ever really get into a good sleep pattern; though I set an alarm for 5:30pm each night, I was up by 3 or 4.

  • Sunday- went for a 2 mile run with my boyfriend in the afternoon (for him, morning for me) before heading into work.

  • Monday- after work, so it kinda counts as the same day as Sunday for me, I went to a yoga class. This was both good and bad. After sitting in a chair all weekend, I was stiff and the stretch felt really good. But it also ran until 10:30 am and I'd been up since 4pm the day before and had a busy night... every time we did a forward fold I got a little dizzy. So I probably won't be doing alot more late-"night" yoga classes on my night shift weeks.

  • Tuesday- Rest Day.

  • Wednesday- another 2 miles with the bf before work. It was coldish out, so I got to try out my new half-zip long sleeved shirt and capri running tights from Target. Comfy and kept me warm enough to make this Florida girl sweat.

  • Thursday- Softball double header. And my last night at work.

This weekend's plan:



  • Friday I'll take it easy, napping in the morning and being lazy all day. I'm trying to switch back from nights to days so I'll be trying to live on little sleep and confused about what day it is.

  • Saturday- Smart coach "long" run plan is for 3 miles so my boyfriend and I will head to a park with a 3 mile loop in downtown. We like to make a day of it when we drive to the city so we'll follow it up with lunch and then an Ikea run. I have plenty of stuff to buy after my Kitchen Wants post.

  • Sunday- Rest day. Cleaning my house day. Shopping for Thanksgiving clothes day!

Goals for next week:



  • Follow the plan (supposed to run 8 miles this week-3, 2, 3).

  • Do some yoga.

  • Cook 4 times. When I'm on console I eat out alot, but now that I'm back to days I need more home-cooked healthy meals!

We'll see how I do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I ate Wednesday: Pumpkin Hummus 3 ways!

Pumpkin hummus!

A variation on the AllRecipes recipe linked above. Boyfriend and I experimented with it on Monday night, to mixed results...

Pumpkin Hummus (9 billion servings, approximately)

Ingredients:



  • 2- 15 oz cans Reduced Sodium chickpeas


  • 1- 15 oz can pureed pumpkin


  • juice of 1 lemon


  • splash of olive oil- enough to smooth the chickpea puree


  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice


  • pinch of cayenne


  • pinch of garlic powder


  • pinch of salt


Directions:



  • Drain chickpeas. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Add olive oil as needed for consistency.


  • Mix with pumpkin puree, spices in bowl.


  • Eat!


Really it was very easy, the hardest part is that my food processor is tiny so I had to do the chickpeas in 3 batches.



Then... we made pizza!
I spread the pumpkin hummus on a refrigerated pizza dough. Topped with a Fugi apple from my fridge all sliced up, some delicious chicken bacon (I don't eat pork), a mixture of gruyere and mozzarella cheeses, and some caramelized onions and cooked according to package directions. Adorable boyfriend helped me. Here's the beautiful final project:



Yum! In the future I might try ground turkey instead, or maybe some arugula or baby spinach on after the oven.



Then there was a bunch of hummus left so I took it to work and set it out in the control center with some cinnamon sugar pita chips. Reviews were mixed, people said it tasted like eating pumpkin pie filling... some liked that, some were freaked out. I didn't bring it back tonight and some folks have demanded it make a comback, so it wasn't a total miss. It is better (healthier) than bringing in doughnuts for the team too!



I still had alot left after that, so when I got up this afternoon I added it to my breakfast (excuse the crappy cell phone pic):




Whole grain Eggo waffles, spread with pumpkin hummus, topped with over easy eggs. I love it when gooey egg yolk gets all over my waffles. A good way to start my night in mission control!


And there you have it, pumpkin hummus 3 ways.

Kitchen Wants!

I have a pretty cool kitchen. I picked the house almost exclusively for the kitchen and, since I bought the house before it was built, I got to pick out alot of the tile, cabinets, counters, etc for it. While I chose the basic stuff for most of the house, I did upgrade some of the kitchen stuff. Its got very pretty purple flecked granite countertops, the darkest brown wood cabinets, a gas stove in the countertop, and lots of counter space. It also is open to the living room which means I can watch TV from the kitchen. I hate being in the house alone in the quiet, so I usually keep the TV on. Here's a shot of the only clean-esque part right now:



Also I have a decent collection of kitchen stuff, amassed since 11th grade when I went to a summer science program at the University of Florida and stayed in a dorm with a kitchen. The stuff I got that summer, plus several Ikea trips has me set up pretty well. Chief among my beloved kitchen items is: my purple KitchenAid stand mixer, plus bonus dough hook (matches the countertops) (thanks mom!), my green Ikea plates, and my wine rack (also from Ikea, thanks dad for hanging it up!). Check out that beautiful stand mixer!



But from reading food blogs, searching recipes, and, you know, having eyes, I have a huge kitchen want list. It is as follows:



  • Cutting boards. I have one cool pampered chef cutting board (again, thanks mom!), but other than that I have only two bendy Ikea plastic ones that are falling apart. I could use some new ones, maybe a bigger one for roasts and stuff, and maybe some fancy pants wood ones.


  • Immersion blender. I love making soups, but hate dragging out the full blender. Immersion blender saves you from dirtying a second container AND saves you all that "blend soup in sections then put in a bowl" nonsense (thereby dirtying a THIRD container- do I look like a dishwasher to you?). I don't even know which to choose!


  • Garlic press. Because... why the hell not?


  • Colander. I have a pasta strainer, but I need one of those little mesh things for draining small things.


  • More decoratively functional jars. I have one for keeping Kosher salt by the stove (you can see it above). Really helpful because its hard to get the right amount out of that little spout on the box and its impossible to dump it back in. I could use a giant one for flour because spooning and leveling from the bag usually gets more flour on me and the counter than in the measuring cup. Kosher salt, by the way, is the best kind of salt. And I'm not just saying that because I'm Jewish. It's true.


  • Dutch oven. Especially one of those pretty Le Cruset types. Oh crap, it even comes in purple.


  • Big apple slicer. Do they even make these? I bought the world's biggest Fugi apples from Sams. They were like grapefruits. They didn't fit in my slicer and eating them whole was not as fun as you might think.


  • Electronic kitchen scale. That actual scale is not doing it for me. Too subjective; a digital number cannot be fudged.


  • Muffin tin. I have one, but 12 muffins is not enough sometimes.


  • Bundt pan. Check out this weird, yet awesome, mutant Swedish pan!


  • Frosting tips. I frosted my last batch of cupcakes with a ziploc with a hole cut in the corner. It was ok, but a nice tip could have made them extra pretty. They were still delicious though.

See what I mean? And my birthday was in September so I guess I missed that opportunity to stock up. Then there's also my running wants list (coming soon, mostly involves things from lululemon that I should not buy) and my regular clothes wants list (I'll spare you the details but it involves, among many other things, a sweater dress, black sneakers, and replacements for my holey jeans). I will definitely be making a trip to Ikea soon. I just can't resist their cheap, bizzaro stuff! Is now a good time to tell you I fantasize about quitting my job to become a professional cupcake baker? Maybe one day...


Source

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mission Control- the story of overnights

As I've alluded to already, I work in Mission Control for the International Space Station. If you've ever seen Apollo 13, its kinda like that but a little more 2011 than 1969. Instead of old rotary phones and tube screens, we have Linux computers and rows of monitors. Controlling the space station is done not by a joystick, but by packets of computer code sent from the ground computers to the onboard computers telling it to do things. The ISS is up there above your head right now, making 16 orbits around the earth each day, with 3 people (an American, a Russian, and a Japanese crewmember) onboard. Because the ISS is in orbit and manned 247/7, we also must man the control center 24/7. There are about 15 people certified to sit at my console (the electrical power system- we keep the lights on!), so we all rotate through the three shifts a day, week in and week out.
Since there are a bunch of us, I spend some of my time in the office (regular 8am to 5pm hours), pushing paperwork, training newbies, going to meetings etc. But I also spend some of my time on either the overnight shift (11pm to 8am) or the evening shift (3pm to midnight). This week I am working the overnight shift.

As you can probably imagine, switching from a regular workday shift to the overnight is not particularly easy. Because I have office responsibilities during the weeks I'm not on console, I usually only get a day to turn my schedule around.

To shift onto the overnight schedule, I stay up as late as I can the night before (which is like 2am if I'm lucky). I then get a couple hours of shuteye before getting up to do stuff around the house from 6 to 9am. Usually I cook myself a casserole and do other food prep so I'll have easy to pack lunches during the week. When 9am rolls around I take an Ambien and go back to bed for as long as I can. This usually buys me another 6 hours of sleep. Then I get up, often have dinner/breakfast with my bf, sometimes take another nap right before work, and head off to work at 10:30.
Day 1 is ok (that was last night) because I actually get more sleep in the 24 hours before than any other time. Day 2 blows- usually I still only get 6 or so hours that day, but without the benefit of getting some bonus rest the previous night. This Day 2 (tonight) is going to be especially difficult because at 2am the clocks will bounce back to 1am. While you're enjoying your extra hour of sleep, I'll be enjoying an extra hour of overnight shift.

Since this is a fitness blog I'll tell you that overnights are pretty difficult for diet and exercise. For the first couple days I'm hungry during the day when I sleep, and wake up starving. I usually eat dinner for breakfast (which is at dinner time) instead of my usual breakfast of waffles and almond butter. Today this backfired, and my stomach has been kind of upset since starting the night with Chili's chips and queso. I'll eat my casserole at some point tonight, and I brought a couple snacks as well. Then I'll grab a breakfast (cereal or freezer waffles) when I get home before I head back to bed.
As for exercise, on the first few days I just do NOT have the energy to exercise. Sleep shifting takes days, and though I may have had enough sleep (today's 7 hours is not too shabby) my body still does not want to be awake in the middle of the night. I have tried to exercise on previous shifts and really regret it when the 5am crash comes around. Tomorrow (sunday night), day 3, I should be ready for a short run with my bf in the evening. And Monday morning after work I hope to hit yoga after my shift, before bed.

Aside from the negatives of sleep shifting, it really is alot of fun to work in Mission Control. Small failures are like a puzzle or a mystery, to be figured out and fixed. Routine ops can be interesting as well. And though I sit in a windowless room we do have camera downlinks from the external cameras which show the earth sail by below and my shiny golden (actually quite beautiful) solar arrays tracking the sun overhead. That plus 4 sunrises and sunsets a shift is pretty incredible. Here's the view from the Spartan console. I'll explain the Gremlin another day.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November already?

Seems like just a few days ago I was sweating through a brutal Houston summer (actually that was a few days ago- Wednesday's high was 83.) and now here we are in the same month as Thanksgiving.

Now that its a new month, lets talk about goals.
First, to recap, October goals were:





  • Exercise every day.


  • Eat 3 or less portion controlled snacks a day.


How did I do? The exercise goal was mostly a miss. I kept it up for about a week, and then I got a cold. Exercising with a cold (to be graphic, with snot running down your face) is totally un-fun. I still kept my running routine up, and went to a softball double header, but I skipped yoga and took some nights off. I had to rest up because two of my Freshman year roomies (and still good buddies) Meg and Debbie came to visit me the following weekend and we had a schedule full of fun to attend to!
As for the snacking (and remember I included alcohol and sugared sodas in my count to 3), I did better at that. It was really a matter of stocking up on stuff to have on hand, like apples, bananas, Luna bars, and Justin's Nut Butter single serve packs. The trick here is that I usually spend a few nights a week at my boyfriend's house across town. I would leave my house with double snacks packed, so I would also have for the next day after staying at his place. The only time I really strayed from the snack rule was, you guessed it, when Meg and Debbie came to visit... and that was mostly about the drinking. I even planned a healthy snack one of the days they were here (cucumbers, peppers, carrots, hummus... and wine!).



So goals for November:





  • Old exercise goal: I think 7 days a week is not sustainable. I don't want to set impossible goals, so I'm going to step it back to 5. This leaves room for: 2 running days, 1 softball day, 1 yoga day, and one to fill with whatever comes along. Because of foot woes, Softball plus 2 running days is really all the running I can do. Its getting better though!


  • Exercise goal #2: I have a Smart Coach plan drawn up targeting a 10k in February. I don't actually have a race around that time, but I'm on the look out for one. If you know of any in the area (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, southern Louisiana even?) let me know! These days I can suffer through a 2 mile run without stopping, but this plan has me building up to 4 miles by the end of the month.


  • Old food goal: I think the 3 snack rule is a good one, so I'm gonna keep that.


  • Food goal #2: This is a hard category for me. I've been staring at this post for 20 minutes now. Why? Because I really love eating. I love yummy things, fried things, things topped with cheese, things covered in delicious sauces. But what my diet lacks is vegetables. Vegetables are boring and so I often skimp on the greenery. So here's the goal: I will have a serving of vegetables with every dinner (potatoes don't count, neither does corn) and I will eat them FIRST. That way I can get fuller on the greens, rather than the carbs.


So there you have it. The goals for November. What part of the food pyramid circle are you missing out on most? Do you have any good recipes to add greenery to my diet?