Monday, January 30, 2012

Training Recap and a "Wild" Saturday Night

Another week of 10k training in the books. I officially have signed up for a 10k on 3/10/11... my first ever. We have to extend the training plan a little bit to fit this date (originally targeted a 10k in Feb but couldn't find any to meet my work and travel schedule. First World Problems.).

Monday- 3 mile easy run. Boyfriend and I had planned to go to a local sushi place that we hardly ever go to because their hours are weird for dinner. Of course they're closed Mondays. No sushi for me, we hit up Mediterranean instead.

Tuesday- Yoga (1 point for January goals!)

Wednesday- A major thunderstorm that spawned a couple tornadoes came through Houston! Thought it was gonna give me a rest day, but it cleared up just in time for an afternoon run. 3 miles on a surprisingly not-so-muddy trail. We finally got to go to the sushi restaurant. We ordered the Fugi Roll (raw tuna, apple, avocado) and a Mixed Don (bowl of all kinds of random fish and veggies over rice, topped with a spicy sauce).

Thursday- Supposed to be 3 mile run, but I cut it to 2.78 because of time constraints. Then rushed home, grabbed a snack (below), and headed off to yoga (twice in one week?! Dreams do come true!).

Friday- Rest day. Movie with friends, home cooked dinner with my bf.

Saturday- "long" run day.  4 miles in my bf's neighborhood. 
Saturday night we went out on the town. First we hit a highly recommended Mexican restaurant that won "best wings in Houston" for 2011. They were delicious but oh-so-spicy! It came with a creamy avocado sauce and jicama slices to cool the burn. I think I ate more jicama than wings.

I got the chicken soft tacos:

Boyfriend got these bean enchiladas- basically meat inside of little quarter folded tortillas drowned in a black bean sauce.

I also ordered this drink called Paloma Picante- lime juice, grapefruit juice, tequila, and chile powder. It sounded good but was too much tequila/chile powder and not enough grapefruit juice for me, so I gave most of it to my bf.

Then because we are super hip and it was only 8pm, we went to a bar down the street for drinks. The bar was deserted so we set up at the bar with some beer and proceeded to take goofy pictures.

Then we headed home at 9:00, like I said- Super hip. The bar was, of course, just starting to fill up, but we went home and curled into bed with books for the rest of the night. Sounds like a good night to me! (BTW I'm wearing like a giant coat and scarf because it was 60 degrees out and Florida girl couldn't handle it! Also fuzzy boots. Because when else will I get to wear them?)

Sunday- French toast. Don't worry, I split that mess with my boyfriend!
 Home yoga (WHAT?! Who am I?) to stretch out- my right hip felt super tight when I woke up. So I did a little Yoga for Runners to loosen it up. Was pretty good, although I can't do that crazy pose with the leg all up in the air so I threw in some Pigeon while the recording told people to do that. We'll see how tomorrow's run goes.  We'll see IF my run tomorrow goes.
Then I had lunch and a movie (Beauty and the Beast in 3D. Why yes, I am 6 years old, thanks for asking!) with some coworkers (I call that a Lady-date) before heading over to do T-Rex and make dinner with my bf. Now we are relaxing with wine and 007.

Here's the training according to Daily Mile. One full rest day, 4 runs, 1 strength day, and 3 Yoga practices. And one hip injury. Sigh.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Home Cooking Challenge Chicken and a Lazy Friday

Yesterday after a long, slow workday I headed out to our new favorite hangout. Chuy's is pretty good Tex-Mex food; they have a great happy hour at 4pm every day that includes free chips with a nacho bar (queso, salsa, ground beef, and a spicy ranch sauce) to dress up your chips. Also they have cheap drinks on happy hour- boyfriend and I each got a beer, snacked on chips, and the bill was only $4! Some other friends joined up with us there... free nachos man!
After that we headed with some other friends to see Underworld.  Honestly, if you've seen one Underworld, you've seen them all. A lot of effects, gore, and Kate Beckinsale walking around in a ridiculous get-up of skintight shiny black leather while she kills people and/or werewolves. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that. In fact, I aspire that my ass should look that good in skintight black leather. But, you know, the movies don't have a whole lotta substance, is all I'm saying.

Well, whatever, it was a nice hour and a half of gory, sexy, escapism, and fancy weapons.

Then we headed to the grocery to buy ingredients for Cooking Light's Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Pan Sauce.
Chicken was ok but the sauce was AMAZING. And super easy, basically 4 ingredients- shallots, balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, and the butter that was leftover in the pan. Swap it to saute shallots in butter before adding the liquid and you could use that sauce over anything.
I added boxed couscous and salad to balance out the meal:

                                                          And beer, of course!

After, we hung out reading and watching TV before bed. Nice lazy Saturday after a loooong week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

What to do when your bananas go from
This                                                                                               To This?

Make Banana Bread, obviously!
I usually make the same banana bread every time, an old recipe from Cooking Light that I add half a cup of chocolate chips to... the idea of banana bread without chocolate doesn't appeal to me. But I wanted to mix it up this time, so I went to browse Recipage. There I found this delicious sounding recipe, Nutella Swirl Banana Bread (from Bran Appetit). Sign me up!

I followed the recipe almost exactly, omitting the hazelnuts because I don't really like nuts in my banana bread. I know its weird that I don't like nuts yet was willing to put globs of hazelnut-chocolate spread into my banana bread, but its a texture thing, not a taste thing for me. Banana bread should not be crunchy! (Personal opinion, you may make your banana bread as crunchy as you want)

(Aside: Blogger insists on auto-rotating photos and sometimes it does it ALL wrong, like below on the left. Anyone know how to fix that adorable "feature," let me know!) 
 At left, before baking. At right, fresh from the oven:

I hacked it up into 12 slices, and checked out the nutrition info on Calorie Count. Not so terrible, for a dessert. I try to keep snacks around 200 calories, so a 250 calorie slice of banana bread is close enough.

Other food pics from recently:

Leftovers Pizza- not pizza that was leftover from yesterday, pizza made with leftovers. Boyfriend cooked some pulled beef in the slow cooker, and to use up some extras we added it to a pre-made whole wheat pizza crust with: BBQ sauce, onions, spinach, and mozzarella cheese.

Making beer- boyfriend pouring the beer concoction into the keg where it will spend the next 2 weeks brewing. After that is spends 2 weeks in bottles at room temp and 2 weeks in bottles in the fridge. 6 weeks later we have beer, we hope!

Thanks for joining me for another What I Ate Wednesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Training Recap and Jan Goals Update

 Let's start with the good news- After a minor hiccup in the smart coach plan, we are back on track (but one week behind) having just accomplished my first 6 mile run ever!
Last week in review:
Monday- 5 mile run after work. No serious tummy troubles this time, yay!
Tuesday- Rest. Usually this is yoga day, but I had a simulator run scheduled from 5pm -9pm (time on the simulator is hard to get, so you have to take what they'll give you). I hoped to do some home yoga in the morning, but decided instead to sleep in.
Wednesday- 4 mile run after work. We left work kinda late and ended this run in the dark. Not wanting to get attacked by deers out in the trail did inspire us to run a little faster. Came home to some delicious beef cooking away in the slow cooker- I never had slow cooker meals before meeting my bf, but coming home after a run to a fully cooked dinner is amazing! Go slow cooker!
Thursday- Yoga. Thank goodness I made it to this yoga, my body really needed some stretching out. I cooked some beef with taco seasonings at the beginning of the week and ate it for taco salads all week long. Delicious!
In the bowl is Spinach, cheese, taco meat, avocado chunks, red onion, and salsa. On the side is tortilla chips.
Friday- Rest. Hit up happy hour with some of my coworkers then a movie (Haywire) with some of Dan's coworkers. The movie was pretty good. Its not exactly a thinking man's movie, but if you like to watch a real-life female MMA fighter kick the crap out of dudes and kill a man with her thighs, then this is a good movie for you! I personally love a good action flick, and this has enough fights, gunplay, and twisty-turns to keep me occupied.
Saturday- 6 mile run.
Sunday- T-Rex strength training workout. Lazy stir fry dinner.

Now for the goals update... Sad to say I'm pretty much blowing it on my January fitness goals.
I've been to Yoga twice this month.  So much for "do more yoga." I clearly need to stop making this a goal, having failed at it twice.
Smart coach plan was also not stuck to wholeheartedly. I don't think its such a bad thing that we decided to repeat a week, or that tummy troubles derailed a run. These things happen. But we gotta stop letting vacations and celebrations derail our training!

As for food goals, fruits and veggies, consumption is up, but it wasn't really a conscious effort so much as clementines being absolutely delicious. The Home Cooking Challenge lives on, so far, and I like the encouragement to find new veggies.

However, I have added some new goals to the list.
I would like to lose a little weight but not have to full-on diet, so I am determined to start measuring food and making good food choices.  To help out there, I purchased a new food scale. My old scale was analog; the digital ones (though more expensive) are easier to use and harder to lie about. A hard digital number has no wiggle room.

And I've added weight training to our fitness regimen- TRX circuits 1-2 times a week- and want to keep that up as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

6 miler and Beavers

This weekend the boyfriend and I set out to conquer 6 miles. That's a PDR for me... boyfriend used to run many more in high school, but that's his longest in several years.

Last weekend I lost my weekend to console, having to get up at 5:45 each day to get to work on time. Now I know that's not THAT early... but for a weekend, and considering that your adorable boyfriend is snoozing right there next to you while you have to drag yourself out of bed... yeah, lame!
So this time we kicked off the weekend right by lazing around in bed until 10am. I am reading book 2 of the Hunger Games series, and would have happily laid in bed all day reading it. But we got up, popped some Eggos in the toaster, smeared them with almond butter, and headed out the door. Since its nice out now (75 and overcast today), we don't have to wake up early on weekends to run like we did in the summer.

6 miles is 2 laps around Memorial Park, a park near downtown Houston. This park is in the fancy side of town, and it has a golf course, tennis courts, hike/bike trails, and a gravel 3 mile jogging track. Its a very nice area, usually with ample parking (something I can't say about most of the city), public bathrooms, a few water fountains and some nice tree cover (very important in the summer!).
We did it! It's not so obvious in this picture, but my face was tomato red!
 Stats: 1 hour and 14 minutes (plus a bathroom break I paused the Garmin for) and 700 calories burned.  Don't worry, I ate them all back.

After collecting ourselves and guzzling some water, we headed over to Beavers. This place is interesting, and if you are ever in Houston I definitely suggest you visit! Its in a shack in a pretty old, rundown neighborhood and parking is a nightmare. Don't let that scare you off though! The food is so interesting: part gourmet, part vegetarian, part good ol' Texas barbeque... and all delicious!  Plus it's basically Happy Hour all day Saturday. Sign me up!

 To start we ordered the Beaver Cakes: brown rice and goat cheese patties, pan fried, served with some kinda tartar sauce and house-made kimchi. I'm not a fan of things that smell of cabbage, but my boyfriend dove right in:

 I ordered the Beaver Nut Burger. I promise there's a bottom bun under there, but the burger is too big. This burger is made with brown rice, walnuts, and something spicy and delicious. It comes with kettle chips, and I also ordered a side of their coleslaw. They use a vinegar based sauce on the slaw (I HATE mayonnaise coleslaw) and, to be honest, when I decided I wanted to go to Beav's it was the first thing I imagined eating. Yum!

I'm definitely no vegetarian, but this is a very delicious burger!
Boyfriend ordered the smoker sampler- brisket, ribs, sausage, shredded beef, and Texas toast. I stole a little shredded beef to try. (I don't eat pork, or I would have tried that amazing looking sausage for sure!)

 We also got beers, of course, to celebrate. The other cool thing about this place is the large selection of local beers, from a brewery in Houston (St. Arnolds), a brewery north of Houston (Southern Star), and a brewery a couple hours away (Shiner). They have plenty of other beers too, but its nice to drink the locals.
When we got home, my boyfriend took a 2 hour nap on the couch, while I did laundry and read more of Catching Fire. Definitely a good day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Home Cooking Challenge- Meat Muffins

Monday night I made Janetha's (of Meals and Moves) Turkey and Spinach Meatloaves. I was afraid of flaxseed but gave it a shot anyways. I'm not sure if I should still be afraid of flaxseed, because it smells terrible but the meatloaf tasted delicious. Whether that's because flaxseed is yummy or because you can't taste the flaxseed, I don't know. Anyone have a good recipe that uses flaxseed for me to try to overcome my fear?

Next time I make these muffins I'm going to use kale instead of spinach because I'm also afraid of kale. Its funny, some people are afraid of foods full of fat. Not me though, I'm afraid of healthy food. I always have to trick myself by making my healthy food taste fattening (aka delicious)...

...Like the accompaniment to the meatloaf muffins. Inspired by Janetha, I also wanted green beans. But I hate steamed, boring green beans. As a kid I would only eat those if they were doused in Molly McButter, a powdered butter substance that I have never actually seen in a grocery store (probably passed it a million times and didn't notice) but that my mom always kept in stock. It was delicious, don't get me wrong.

But I don't have any "Molly Mick," as we used to call it, so I needed something different for my veggies.

I started with fresh green beans, and painstakingly snapped the end off every single one. Then I put those in a saucepan with a cup of water for 10 minutes- with a lid, to steam. Some of the water was still left, but I don't like mushy veggies so I drained the remaining water. If you like your beans softer, I would suggest 15-20 mins of steaming. In went 1 Tbsp of olive oil, two garlic cloves, and a liberal sprinkling of ground red pepper. These I sauteed for another 10 minutes or so, until the garlic was browned (be careful it doesn't burn!)  Meanwhile in another little pan, I toasted some almond slivers.

When the beans were done I turned off the heat, dumped in the almonds, and let sit until the muffins were ready. SO Yummy! Highly recommend you check out Janetha's recipe. I don't think it even needs ketchup, as she shows it with. They have enough flavor on their own!  I gave mine a dusting of cumin when I served them.
I fed these to my boyfriend, who gave them two thumbs up... and enjoys saying "meat muffin." Then I was eating leftovers for lunch in a meeting (scheduled over lunch, with the invitation to bring your lunch... which I kinda hate when people do that!) and everyone thought they smelled good. I didn't eat one of the muffins so I gave it to a friend in the meeting (also male) who also gave it 2 thumbs up. Definitely keepers!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Down For The Count

The calorie count, I mean. So I mentioned last week that for a while I was going to keep track of what I ate and the calories in it.  I am about to break down in excruciating mathematical detail (and no pictures) how I plan to lose the weight that's been creeping up recently. So if this is a trigger for you, or if it just bores you a lot, don't read. If you are a numbers or nutrition nerd, read on!  Also, you know, I'm not a doctor or even a dietician. I am just really good at Google-ing. So this is not medical advice. Its just math.

I hate restricting myself by going on diets. Mostly because I like food. No, I love food. My bf's parents joke that me and Dan's entire relationship is based on food. Its not untrue- we cook together, go out to dinner together, I think bringing him lunch is romantic. Since we both come from cultures of food-loving ethnic types (the only people who outshine the Jews on food as love, fun, and guilt, of course, is the Italians), food is a language of love to us. Alas, food is also how you get fat. (So does that mean fat is a language of love for us?)

I have a few motivations to tackle my weight gain: losing weight will make my clothes fit better, will make me healthier, a better runner... also I have a physical every 2 years at work to be medically  cleared to sit console & mine is coming up in August. I'd really like to show up healthier and fitter than in August 2010. The running we are doing is certainly helping, but its not enough by itself.

I have done Weight Watchers before, so I know about (doesn't mean I use) portion control, healthy substitutions, what to order at restaurants etc. I also know how all-consuming the counting becomes after awhile (calories or points, doesn't make a whole lot of difference), and how unsustainable it is for me. I don't really want to go there again.

So first, I thought I should assess my eating habits. My goals were to measure things, make good choices, eat when hungry. I didn't restrict myself, and in most cases did the calorie tally at the end of the day. The results:

Tuesday 1/10
3 mile run after work
Wednesday 1/11
Weight workout
Thursday 1/12
4 mile run after work
Friday 1/13
None. Dan’s bday celebration
Saturday 1/14
3ish mile walk/run after work
Sunday 1/15
Weights workout
Monday 1/16
5 mile run after work

* For Friday I had to guesstimate the calories using some Google-ing because the restaurant we went to didn't have any nutrition facts available. I did round up from search results because they weren't for the specific restaurant and ingredients; it still wasn't a terrible day, if my calorie count was anywhere close to accurate.

So then the question is, how many calories should I be eating? And this answer is not easy to come up with.  Various websites will take a stab at it though, for you.

Step 1: Calculate Basal Metabolic Rate
That is, calculate how many calories your body burns just to exist. If you lie in bed and do nothing, your body still must burn some amount of calories to keep you alive. Websites that will attempt to calculate that for you can be found here, here, and here. These sites don't take into account different body composition/muscle-mass that can cause a body to burn more or less calories than another, so they are inexact. Gotta use what you've got.

I got 2 different numbers, between those 3 sites, so I will go for the lower one: 1521.25

Step 2: Determine your Activity Level
On top of BMR is how much fuel your body needs to do all the other things you ask it to do during the day. Walking, climbing stairs, exercising... all these take energy, which means your body burns calories to do it.
Estimating activity level is, in my opinion, the hardest part. There is no concrete criteria for which category you fall into. Also it may vary from day to day, week to week. And it makes such a difference in calories allowed. Per the criteria here, the most explanatory I could find, I think I'll call it moderately active because I run (but slowly) 3x a week, with less strenuous exercise on 2-3 other days (yoga or weight training).  You can also use this website, and put in the number of hours per day you spend at each activity level and it'll do steps 1-3 for you.

Step 3: Calculate Caloric expenditure- total calories you burn in a day
Again, tons of websites will be happy to help you, such as: this and this. Since I called myself moderately active, my multiplier is 1.55.

1521.25 x 1.55 = 2358
(Note, if I bump down to light activity, this number goes down to 2091. Huge difference!)
What this number means is, if I stay active and eat this many calories per day, I should not gain or lose any weight.  But what if I want to slim down?

Step 4: Calculating ideal calorie intake
Those same sites linked above have some advice on how to calculate ideal calorie intake. The suggestion given for weight loss is to reduce the number in Step 3 by 20%.
2358 x 0.8 = 1886
(for comparison 2091 x 0.8 = 1672)

Given that it takes approximately a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound, eating at the calorie deficits in step 4 should yield a weight loss of ~1 lb/week. Of course, that's with no cheat days or screwing up. Or vacations. Still, reaching my weight goals within 3 months is totally possible, if I be good.

So what's the plan, man?

Sorry, I'm a BSG dork. Source.

Right, so the plan, which I have, which the Cylons really did not (Yes I am still mad, Ron Moore!), is to stop calorie counting but keep measuring. I think I have shown above that when I plan, measure, and make good choices, I can stay within my calorie allowance without a problem and post a weight loss for the week. When I don't plan or measure, well, I give you Friday the 13th. But even that didn't kill me!

I weighed myself last Tuesday morning and again this morning, to give myself a benchmark for how that amount of eating might affect my weight.
1/10 Weight: 158.2         1/17 Weight: 155.4        Difference: 2.8
I don't really expect to hit numbers like that every week because I know this is at least partially related to the holidays and last weekend's heavy drinking, but I think it still proves that these methods will have some affect. 10 pounds to go! They say the last 10 lbs are the hardest, and they are. These are not the last 10 pounds, they are the next 10 pounds. I can weigh 135 lbs, but as soon as I stop dieting, I reach 145 pretty quickly. I'm ok with it, I'm less ok with 155. It's definitely time to do something.

So the rules for my non-diet diet:
  1. Measure food. Weigh food. Do not serve dinner family style. Basically, portion control. This works well for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at home. But at restaurants...
  2. Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Sounds easy but this is SO hard. For starters, I will stop halfway through any meal and ask myself whether I'm still hungry, and how much of what is left I really need to eat to be satiated. Leftovers are OK. In fact, they are encouraged!
  3. 1 cheat day per week allowed. Cheat days happen, whether you allow them or not, so might as well allow them. Do not go crazy and eat everything in sight because it's cheat day. Do enjoy yourself and your meals on cheat day.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption- lately I've been enjoying quite a few adult beverages, between the holidays, the wedding, and because the winter seasonals are my favorite beers. But they're such a waste of calories, so alcohol is to be used sparingly, when the occasion calls for it... not just because there's an open bottle of wine in the fridge.  I'm not going to limit myself to a number or day; I want to have a drink without guilt when the occasion arises.
  5. Weigh myself twice a week (and only twice a week). If the trend goes in the wrong direction, its back to calorie counting and the giant time-suck that entails. Yes, self, that is a threat.
 Sorry that was so long. Yikes!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Training Recap (Week 5) & Tummy Troubles

Lets recap week 5 of my training plan:
Monday- No running, just wandering around the airports. We spent 7 hours traveling, and got home just in time for dinner. I threw together a dinner of grocery store rotisserie chicken and salad (ran into the grocery for 2.2 seconds to grab a chicken and a bag of lettuce). Not too shabby.
Tuesday- 3 mile run. We got out of work late (I had a class until 5) so we only had time for a short run before it got dark and cold. Then we snagged dinner at Bullritos. I pretended to be a good girl and ordered a bowl instead of a burrito. Yum! I ate about 2/3 for dinner and had the rest for lunch the next day. Lunches made of leftover dinners are my favorite!

Wednesday- I have decided we need to add weight training (inspired by tons of fit and toned bloggers who talk about its benefits) so we did a T-Rex circuit. And then Maple Glazed Salmon with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Thursday- 4 mile tempo run. This went well, so I was happy. Dinner was grocery store sushi with a side of edamame (I bought them frozen and heated in the microwave... super easy!):

Friday- Day off for celebrating Dan's bday!
Saturday- Work at 7am. How lame is that? No amount of space station commanding can make going to work at 7 on a Saturday seem fun, I promise. Afterwards, met with running buddy for 6 mile run. Cut run short due to dreaded tummy troubles! Bummer.
Sunday- T-ReX workout then dinner with bf after work. I wanted to take a picture to show you the T-Rex, but I don't know what to do with my face while I'm being photographed exercising. What do you do with your face?

So let's talk about tummy troubles. Saturday I had high hopes for a 6 mile run. In fact, for the first two miles, we held to a good pace, I was breathing well, and my legs felt like they had another 4 miles in them. Sadly my stomach did not have any more miles in it. If you don't like poop stories, you should probably skip the next paragraph. Its not so graphic, but some people are squeamish....

At 2.1 my stomach was not happy, so I stopped to walk. This helped.... so I started running again, which did not help! We were running on a 2.6 mile trail... it ends and starts at the same parking lot but doesn't really connect, unless you want to run through the parking lot. In the parking lot is a bathroom. So we ran/walked another 0.6 miles or so, to the bathroom. Its a trade-off between running getting you there faster and walking making your stomach feel better. Run/walk/waddle/repeat. After that I decided we should give it another go. We ran maybe 0.2 more miles, back to the start of the running trail, and I knew that was it. I was not going to make it another 2.6 miles around. So we quit after 3 miles of running and I limped back to the bathroom.  Once I stopped running I felt better, but not 100%, still both nauseous and crampy.

I must say I'm pretty bummed about this. This used to happen a lot when I first started, but in recent times has gotten better. I'm able to pretty regularly complete 4 and 5 miles runs without troubles. So what happened on this run that I only made it 2 miles?
  • Food the night before? We ate chicken wings, drank alcohol, had a big, not-so-healthy hibachi dinner. 
  • Food the day of? I usually run in the afternoon after work, and rarely does my breakfast or lunch bother me. But yesterday I ate lunch a little later than usual and we ran a little earlier than usual. I had egg salad w/ hummus, with sliced veggies and pita chips on the side... usually this is a good lunch, but this time it wasn't sitting right.
  • Vitamin Water? Usually I drink water with lunch on run days, but Sunday I had a vitamin water zero instead. It was delicious... but maybe the artificial sweetener affected my run? I should note that I drink Diet Coke all the time (even first thing in the morning, and right before a run) and it doesn't ever bother me; stevia is supposed to be less bad for you than aspartame, but maybe I'm backwards.
I guess I need to keep a food journal and see if I can trace the tummy troubles to a common source.

In the meantime, we have now skipped both of our planned 6 mile runs for the training plan as well as cut down mileage on another run. Dan expressed that his legs felt tired and heavy on the last run. Next week was supposed to up our mileage even more, but I think we need to repeat this week of the plan before moving on. Glad I'm doing this with plenty of time before the actual race!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday the 13th!

This Friday the 13th was also my dear bf's birthday!  He's old now, kissing the mid-twenties goodbye.

Sadly I had to be up bright and early this morning for work (had to be at console by 7am, lamest Saturday ever) so we couldn't do alot of partying.  I am trying to keep track of calories but it wasn't so easy without nutrition facts or measuring devices available. I still attempted to make better choices, but didn't want to let that get in the way of the fun!

After work we headed out for drinks. Bf's friends chose Hooters because it is on the proper side of the highway for them to stop at on their way home from work. I am, as you might imagine, not a huge fan of Hooters. Not only for their "delightfully tacky" undergarments that pass for clothing, but also because the food is not exactly healthy.  I got a good laugh from the little "Dr. Hootie" icon in the menu supposed to indicate the healthy menu items.
We were both hungry and our dinner reservation wasn't until 7, so we ordered 10 "naked" wings. These are fried but aren't breaded... I had to bargain him down from french fries as it was, so I did the best I could.  I also had a beer. (Blue Moon, so there's totally fruit on the side, which makes it healthy!)

After some drinks with the boys (I switched to water after 1 beer) we headed over to the Kemah Boardwalk, an outdoor dining/shopping/carnival/rides area that overlooks Galveston Bay. We had dinner reservations at RED Sushi for hibachi. We were told our table wasn't quite ready, so we got drinks at the bar. I ordered the Mango Mojito which was delicious. Boyfriend ordered a Red Dragon, which sounds manly but was actually a fruity pink drink.

At our table we were seated with this family with two cute and well behaved kids. The older one was a 4 year old boy who definitely enjoyed the show. The chef told him the butter was "vanilla ice cream" so every time he added a scoop of butter to something, the kid said "Ice cream!" I like that kid.

Me, I'm just here for the fire!

(And the food, of course...)



Rice: (I ordered steamed rice to try to be a little healthier, but the fried rice had soybeans in it so I stole a bean or two from Dan. Yum!)

Dinner (clockwise: steamed rice, teriyaki chicken, shrimp, and veggies!) :

Since it was Dan's birthday I told him he should go big. He got a combo with a lobster tail. They popped it out of the shell and cut it up to cook, but then stuck it back in the shell to eat. Yum!

Our leftovers went into one box for Dan, since it was his party after all, but I am a little ashamed to say I ate all my meat and hardly any veggies before packing it up. That's backwards! At least I packed up over half the rice. Still, it was a delicious dinner with a wonderful boy. Happy Birthday Dan! (He doesn't like to be in pictures, and I have to let him this time, since it's his birthday...) Now I'm in Mission Control holding down the fort until 4, then heading off for a 6 (eek!) mile run.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Maple Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

Whew, this week is going by so fast. Tuesday we went for a run after work and then I went to a meeting for an organization I am in. I didn't get home until 10, but on my way there (since it was downtown) I stopped at the fancy Trader Joes-type grocery story Rice Epicurean. I picked up some quinoa and lentils (hard to find out in the suburbs) for future cooking experiments.
Wednesday we did a weights workout on the TRX. My boyfriend's brother is a personal trainer and hooked him up with this contraption, which I call T-Rex. I am still not sure how I feel about the T-Rex. Its obviously convenient and a space saver- a whole gym in a few straps. But for me, with very little upper body strength, I can't do alot of the moves. Also for the ones I can do, I'm not sure I'm doing it right. It doesn't encourage good form the way the real gym machines do. I'm willing to give it a few more tries. Anyone out there have some experience/tips for the TRX?

We also made dinner. Though these recipes were picked out by my boyfriend, I'm counting them in the 2012 Home Cooking Challenge because a) I helped! and b) I'm so short on time this week I kinda have to, or blow it in week 2.

Both recipes were from and both were huge keepers!

Maple Salmon and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The best thing about the recipes is that they were SO easy, but didn't taste like it! The maple sauce on the fish was absolutely amazing. We are out to find out what else we can cook in maple glaze. For the sprouts we added a chopped garlic clove to the recipe, and those also came out excellent. I never thought I would say this, but Brussels sprouts are rapidly replacing broccoli as my favorite vegetable. Also added a toasted roll, because I like carbs.

Another thing I'm doing this week is keeping track of my calories. I am trying to determine if its enough for me to eat mindfully, measure, and keep my inner snack monster under control... or if I need to restrict more in order to reach my weight loss goals. Full report on that in a few days.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wedding Weekend Recap

Hey folks, I'm back! Boyfriend and I headed to Virginia Thursday night for his little sister's wedding, and just got back.  We missed a heck of a storm in Houston, but both houses look ok. Thank goodness!

Wedding weekend was just incredible. My boyfriend has a huge family, but it is full of awesome people. Thursday night we landed late but had a drink with his brother and sister-in-law in the kitchen before turning in. Friday was a wedding prep day and we helped out where we could before heading off to the rehearsal and dinner. This was followed up with drinks at the hotel bar and then more drinks at a bar down the street, with the younger crowd of relatives (cousins/siblings in their 20's). It was awesome, the family is so welcoming to me and so sweet and fun. And around 11pm I realized I had taken absolutely NO pics for the blog. Sorry blog readers for letting you down, but sometimes life is too amazing to stop for photos... this was one of those times.

Saturday we took it easy before the ceremony at 2, then had a little party in our hotel room (including some bourbon my dad bought at Thanksgiving and some beer we chilled in the bathroom sink) before heading down to the reception.  Again it was pretty awesome, and I snapped exactly 2 pictures:

 Me and Dan at the reception.
The girls: on the left is Dan's awesome sister-in-law Chelsea and on the right is Dan's cousin Mary.

Its funny that we're arranged in height order, this was not intentional. Mary was one of the bridesmaids so you can see the gorgeous kelly green color the bride picked out. Mary happens to be one of the very few people (3, in my entire life) that I clicked with immediately. Its sad she lives in Ohio because if I saw her on a regular basis I know we would be BFFs. Actually, I kinda already consider her one of my best friends and we've only seen each other twice. Sometimes, you just know!

As for week 5 of training. Well it went alright.  We left off halfway through week 4. 

I am happy to report that we did our 5 mile run on New Years Eve to make it 50 miles for December! That was exciting for me. My highest mileage month ever.

Monday- 4 mile run. 
Tuesday- Yoga. Definitely felt it afterwards, having not done yoga for 2 weeks. Can't let that keep happening!
Wednesday- 4 mile speedwork. Speedwork is kinda fun, in a self-torture kind of way.
Thursday- Rest. And travel to Virginia.
Friday- Rest and wedding prep.
Saturday- Oops. Was supposed to be a 6 mile run (which would have been a PDR for me) but after a late night of drinking, we couldn't muster the energy. To be honest I wasn't too keen on running 6 miles and then traipsing around in heels until all hours of the night. And I'm a little glad, because my poor legs had had enough by the end of the night.
Sunday- After an even later night of heavier drinking, we were again in no shape to run. Actually we were hardly in a shape to walk, and spent most of the day nauseous, exhausted, and unhappy. I definitely exclaimed "I'm never drinking again!" I don't drink to excess often, and it was a special occasion, but even so, I went overboard.

I'll leave you with one random note. My shoes:
I went to DSW for unrelated shoes (sensible, comfortable work shoes) and saw these from 3 rows over. I ran to them, in a comical fashion. Before I got there I had already decided that no matter how uncomfortable, and whether or not they had my size, and despite having nothing I planned to wear them to, I would have them. They are actually decently comfortable (it takes a good few hours of dancing/walking/standing for my feet to cry). But the bows! (Not pictured are the 3 inch heels)  I don't have a shoe problem, I've got it under control. Has this ever happened to you? Just me then? Sparkly bows, guys, that's where its at.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I ate Wednesday

Today I will show you an entire day of eats from last Wednesday:

A post-run (4 miles!) breakfast: 0% plain Chobani, Honey Nut Cheerios, diced apple, sprinkle of cinnamon.
 Lunch: Egg salad (2 hard boiled eggs, chopped onion, dollop of hummus), sliced veggies and pita chips for dipping.
 Random snack: Clementine. I love these little guys!

Another snack: Overnight oats- Chobani, rolled oats, splash of milk, JIF natural peanut butter, blackberries, golden raisins, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

 Dinner: It kinda looks like slop, but it was the last of the Healthy Chicken Enchiladas and they were fabulous!
 Finished the night with delicious Passion tea- hibiscus and passion fruit in this herbal tea makes it turn bright purple. Despite its caffeine-free status, it's my favorite tea ever!
That was a yummy day!