Category — Health & Fitness
This morning I went on a 5 mile solo run which also doubled as a mini-exploration.
I know that for a lot of people it might seem crazy to want to run on vacation, but I wish I could truly convey in words how peaceful it can be to have those moments to yourself, where you’re just moving with the rhythm of your own breath, and how even with that constant movement, there is a quiet stillness to everything–even your mind.
And for me, when my mind is still, I’m better able to appreciate the present.
I started off my run on the main road thinking I would just run down the road for 25 minutes and then run back, but after noticing the below dirt road at around the 10 minute mark I knew it was time to take the path less traveled.
And the path less traveled led to this….
After sitting on the beach for about 10 minutes and admiring the type of scenery that makes a girl want to sing, “America The Beautiful,” I went back to the main road and continued on my run until I came upon the below sign.
An outdoor trail that promises nature?
Oh snap. When they said “nature” they meant NATURE MOTHA FUC*&!s.
I could barely get my hand to stop shaking when I took the above photo.
Luckily the trail offered some non-scary nature also….
After a while some storm clouds started rolling in, so I figured it was time to head back.
I’ll end this entry with one last photo…
Finally, nature gives BP the finger.
August 25, 2010 1 Comment
This is my third time running this race, and ever since coming in second for the women’s division last year (it’s a small race), it’s become an on-going joke for me to talk a whole lotta game before the big day.
Coincidentally, Michal came in 2nd in the men’s division last year also, so the smack talk has just been non-stop between the two of us.
But somewhere in all those little quips…I was serious.
And so I trained the past two weeks, and I had this whole master plan laid out in my head, how two days before the race I would do one final 4 mile run on an up-hill course (my reasoning being that the 5k race would seem easy 48 hours after so much up-hill work). So Friday came, and after work I did just that. I ran an intense 4 mile up-hill course in blistering heat. Then I got home and rested a bit, because I was going to be driving to Maine later that night.
Then my mom, who was already up in Maine, called.
“Hey, did you know your little race is tomorrow morning? I just saw something about it on the TV.”
Yup, that’s right. I got the date wrong. So basically I would arrive in Maine at around 1am, and then have to wake up at around 8am to run a race, and on top of that I would only have around 12 hours of time to recover.
Want to see a picture of me before the race?
It’s probably hard to tell because this picture is pretty small, but I was literally falling asleep, and I didn’t even have the energy to warm up or stretch. I just sat on a rock and watched all the other people do cool pre-race stuff which totally psyched me out.
Luckily I had Michal there to lend his support (and talk a big game), so I at least I stayed a bit motivated.
A mile into the race though I was pretty behind, so I started regretting my decision to run the race, but then I sort of told myself, “you are on vacation, so get over yourself, and get over the fact that you will have a slow time.” And just like that I got over it, and suddenly the race seemed fun again because I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t do well, and that I would be proud of myself just for finishing it.
And then mile two came, and I was so happy to have set myself free from the pressure of getting a good time, that I started to pass a lot of people who were burning out on the hills.
And then mile three came, and I started to pass even more people.
And then I finished…
and after the results were tallied up, I came in first in the women’s division
Pretty cool, right?
Although in all honesty, I was not the first female to cross the finish line. The first WOMAN, yes, but not the first female. A few girls under the age of 19 destroyed my time, so I was fortunate that there was a separate category for “under 19.”
I wish I could show you an actual picture of me accepting the prize, or a picture of my finish, but the camera died half way through the race (my mom didn’t realize that you need to turn the camera off when you’re not using it). By that point though, I didn’t even care about the camera. I was just thrilled to have had something that seemed horrible turn out to be something really fun.
As for Michal….
Let’s just say he got 2nd place again, but this year the men’s 2nd place time was slower than the women’s 1st place time….
I guess there can only be one winner in every relationship (ohhhhhhhh snap!)
July 3, 2010 No Comments
Today I woke up determined to conquer my final frontier of exercising–swimming!
….but that didn’t really happen, because I only made it 10 laps, and the last two laps didn’t really count, because my well formed breaststroke was more of an awkward doggy paddle.
I guess swimming will be a work in progress this summer, but until then it’s back to running….
This town was designed for runners, because the entire area is completely flat and there is always a cool breeze coming off the water. They also sell lobster rolls about every 100 feet, so whenever you decide to stop running, there is already amazing seafood waiting for you.
After my pathetic swim, I re-charged with a power nap, and then grabbed my camera and decided to go on a run along the beach.
I’ve done this route quite a few times over the years, but I’ve never taken pictures, so it was fun getting to document the scenic views.
You see, if I had stayed in the pool I would have missed out on all this.
June 19, 2010 No Comments
Who knew that above Heroes Tunnel on the Merritt Parkway is a scenic state park with over 12 miles of trails?
Being a Connecticut native, I’ve driven through this iconic tunnel hundreds of times, but only just discovered the parks existence this past weekend while researching state parks online.
When I first looked at the map and saw a big yellow blob titled, “West Rock State Park,” right over the Merritt, I thought it was a mistake.
Despite my skepticism, I decided to venture up there on Sunday, and was relieved to find it existed.
To be honest, I half expected the park to be a boring open space with some amateur man-made trails. Even after seeing the entrance, I remember thinking, “this is going to be lame.”
And then I entered the park, and I was a bit taken a back by how wrong I was.
Once you enter there is this gigantic lake that appears out of nowhere, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
From the lake, there are a variety of different trail options, but I mapped out a 3.5 mile course which takes you up along the side of the mountain, and then circles you back down around the base of the lake.
The forest was so lush with vegetation, that it almost seemed foreign.
If someone were to show me the photos I took, my first guess would not be Connecticut.
The path I mapped out was a fairly strenuous 2 hour hike to the top, and there were lots of rocky sections…
So if you’re looking for something a bit more moderate, I recommend sticking to the trails that circle around the base of the lake. I actually merged onto these trails during the last 25 minutes of my hike, and it was a nice cool down
When I finally exited the woods, the sun was blinding, but once my eyes adjusted I got to experience one last view before I left.
I live for pretty landscapes.
May 18, 2010 1 Comment
For most people, french toast is often thought of as a full-flavored sugary treat, only meant to be enjoyed on the occasional Sunday morning, but with the right modifications, french toast can provide your body with a near perfect ratio of protein, carbs, and healthy fats (which means you can put down that box of Special K and start eating real food again).
Ingredients (serves one):
- 3 slices of light whole wheat bread
- 1 egg (I use real egg, but you can use egg substitute)
- 1/3 cup Soy Milk (I’ve also used almond milk and skim milk)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
- Frozen strawberries
- Peanut Butter!
Start by preparing dipping mixture in a bowl. Beat together egg, soy milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and ground flaxseed.
Heat a large pan on medium heat (or if you’re lucky enough to have a skillet, use that). While the pan is getting warm, prepare strawberry topping by placing a large handful of frozen strawberries in a bowl, and then heating in the microwave for about a minute. Once they’re soft, mash them up in the bowl, and then heat again for another 30 seconds. Mash again until you get desired consistency.
You will save a lot of money by purchasing your organic fruit in the freezer aisle.
Once your strawberry topping is done, it’s time to cook the french toast.
Coat your pan with olive oil, and then coat your three pieces of bread with the egg mixture (if any is left over just pour it on top of the bread once it’s in the pan). Place the coated pieces of bread in the pan, and then cook for about three minutes on each side.
Once your french toast is done, spread a thick layer of peanut butter on each piece, and then cover with strawberry topping. I usually sprinkle more cinnamon on top, and sometimes drizzle a little agave syrup over the finished product.
Feel free to stack your french toast like a sandwich, and then cover with more strawberries.
The possibilities are endless. You can even create your peanut butter sandwich first, and then dip it in the egg mixture, so the peanut butter gets warm and gooey as it cooks in the pan.
Be warned that french toast addiction might follow…
But since there is absolutely nothing unhealthy about this meal, eating it every day for the next year is OK.
May 17, 2010 1 Comment
Even when I was a vegetarian, I absolutely hated tofu, but over the years I’ve come to realize that this was probably because I never learned how to properly season or cook it.
Thanks to this challenge, I decided to re-visit my hatred for tofu, and combine it with something I love–GRILLING!
First things first though…pit stop at Trader Joe’s…..
Ingredients (serves two):
- 1 package of Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki marinade
- 3 Bell Peppers (assorted colors)
- 1 large Zucchini
- olive oil
- kale and brown rice (the side dishes I served with this meal, but feel free to serve whatever side dishes you want)
Tip: No matter what brand of Tofu you decide on, always make sure it’s “Extra Firm” if you want to grill it. Also be sure to get as much water out of the tofu as possible before you marinade it. I use paper towels, and press them into the tofu to get out extra moisture.
Directions: Slice tofu into 4 or 5 even pieces, and then coat them with Soyaki marinade inside a ziplock bag. Let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes (I just did 30 minutes, but some people marinade their tofu overnight).
While waiting for tofu to marinade, cut bell peppers into thirds, and cut zucchini into long slices for grilling. I like to brush olive oil and balsamic vinegar on my vegetables before grilling.
When grill is ready (keep heat on low), brush a generous amount of olive oil on the area where you will be grilling the tofu. If you don’t, the tofu will stick.
Place tofu and vegetables on the grill, and cook for about 6 minutes on each side.
Look at how pretty the grilled tofu looks. The grilled vegetables came out nice also….
And now for the final product….
…..A beyond simple vegetarian meal that took only about 5 minutes of prep, and 12 minutes of cooking time. Did I mention it tasted INCREDIBLE also? The only thing not pictured is the kale and brown rice I paired with this meal (always pair some sort of grain with such a low-carb meal, especially if you’re active!).
I was honestly shocked by how much I loved this meal, and I already have plans to throw together a tofu burrito to bring to lunch tomorrow.
I think I’m going to enjoy the Meatless May Challenge a lot more than I thought.
May 6, 2010 1 Comment
Before I begin this entry, you need to know a few things about my past:
- I was a vegetarian for 10 years.
- I was a member of PETA for 7 out of those 10 years.
- In middle school I used to sit outside Shaws and sell pencil eraser caps to raise donations for an animal rescue organization.
- I once boycotted our high school science department for using animal dissection as a teaching tool (plastic replicas would be more cost-effective and humane!!!) And oh how the feelings of unjustice come flooding back…
Now to update you on the present:
- I am no longer a vegetarian, and this makes me sad.
I suppose the beginning of the end for my vegetarian ways was in high school when I first developed anemia due to an iron deficiency from not eating any meat. The reason this iron deficiency happened was because I was still too young to understand healthy nutrition, and since I did not come from a vegetarian family, this usually meant that instead of eating my mothers meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans, I would just eat lots and lots of mashed potatoes. I had no concept of what it meant to be a healthy vegetarian, and my parents often joked that I was “breadetarian,” because instead of meat, I would just eat a second serving of bread.
By the time I hit my sophomore year of college, I started eating meat again. It started in drips and drabs, but pretty soon I was eating turkey sandwiches almost everyday, and to be honest, my body felt great. I was no longer fighting exhaustion, I started running and weight training, and I even started losing weight, and I attributed it all to having let meat back into my life.
Of course I now realize that it was not the meat…well technically it was the meat…but the bigger point I’m trying to make is that it was the iron and protein within the meat that helped my body to properly function again, and I could have gotten that same sort of nutrition from vegetarian sources such as soy, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, and dairy products if I had just had the knowledge that I do now.
Shortly after graduating college I went back to being a vegetarian, but again fell off the band wagon about a year ago, and looking back, I’m not surprised, because although my vegetarian diet was better than what it used to be, my overall diet was still not healthy. I hardly ever cooked healthy vegetarian meals, and I had convinced myself that carbs and fats were bad.
I finally gave my diet a make-over about a year ago, and I suppose if I had to categorize how I now eat, I would describe it as “Mediterranean,” because my diet mostly consists of vegetables, nuts and seeds, olive oil on everything, A LOT of whole grains, lean cuts of chicken and turkey, and fish. Basically the biggest change I made was integrating a lot of healthy fats and carbs back into my diet (I used to be afraid that peanut butter would make me gain weight, and now I go through a jar a week!).
Now that I feel like I finally have a grip on balanced nutrition, I want to tackle being a vegetarian again, and I thought May would be the perfect time to see if I could go meatless once again. My main goal for this challenge is to learn how to cook extremely basic vegetarian recipes so that I can continue to get the protein and nutrients my body needs, without needing meat.
Even if by the end of the month I don’t go completely vegetarian again, I will at least have a new arsenal of vegetarian recipes that will hopefully replace many more meat meals in the future.
Before I end this entry, I just want to make a brief plea, that if you haven’t yet seen the documentary Food Inc, please please please watch it (if you have a Netflix account you can stream it for free on your computer). At the very least watch the trailer here!
It teaches people that eating less meat isn’t just about being more humane to animals, it’s about making our food safer and healthier, and saving our planet in the process.
May 6, 2010 No Comments
This afternoon was crazy. I can’t believe how much ground I covered in Boston today. I guess I’m just so glad to be here, that I want to be moving towards some sort of destination at all times.
The afternoon started at the Trident Cafe, which probably ranks second to The Otherside for places I’ve eaten at the most.
I met some friends from college there…Kate and Drew…..
What pretty people! It was so nice to catch up with them, and I’m excited about hanging out with them again later on tonight.
After lunch, Michal and I headed to the Apple store, because he was dying to try out the new iPad.
It was very difficult to rip Michal away from the iPad station.
I on the other hand, was just excited about the idea of pulling up my own blog on the iPad, and then taking a picture of it to post here (so dorky, I know, but at the time it seemed so cool).
After the Apple store, we headed over to Marathon Sports, which is the best place I’ve ever found for purchasing running sneakers.
I went here for the first time as a senior in college, and they assessed my running stride, and matched me to an amazing pair of Brooks sneakers. I wore the sneakers into the ground, and never once got a shin splint. Once I moved away from Boston though, I sort of bought sneakers haphazardly at other stores, and have had problems ever since.
After assessing my running stride again, they hooked me up with a new pair of sneakers which felt incredible!
Coincidentally, they were Brooks again. I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
After Marathon Sports we decided to make one last stop at the Boston Public Gardens before heading back to my friends apartment.
How is it that the Boston Public Gardens NEVER get old?
After the gardens, we headed back, and got in at around 5:30 from being out the entire day. I was so tired that I actually got a coffee from Starbucks (haven’t drank coffee in maybe a year). This was followed by three advil.
Now I just need to figure out how to get my legs to move again.
April 10, 2010 No Comments
Oh Boston, how I’ve missed you…
I got into Boston pretty late last night, but I was way too excited to sleep in this morning, so I woke up at around 8am and decided to go for a run along my old route along the Charles River.
How can you not want to be a runner if you live near the Charles River…
Don’t let the sun and greenery fool you though. This mornings run was extremely windy and cold, but luckily I’m familiar with Boston weather, so I knew that bringing a fleece and running gloves is still a necessary precaution when visiting Boston in April.
I think my face in this picture is sort of saying “why did I ever leave.”
On the run back, I took a short detour to pass the apartment where I lived during my Junior and Senior year of college. Seeing this place brought back lots of fond memories…
I then took Michal for a loop around the block so we could eat a hearty breakfast at The Otherside Cafe.
I’ve probably eaten here more times than any other restaurant in my life. And it’s not even really because of the food. It’s more that this place was just always part of my neighborhood. Even when I moved apartments after college, I ended up moving just one street away.
Michal and I started with some tea, but sadly, these are the last pictures I have of our Otherside experience. We were so hungry, that when the food came we inhaled it, and completely forgot to take photos.
It was really good food though. There were lots of eggs, cheese, and potatoes involved–with oil being the main ingredient.
April 10, 2010 3 Comments
Bike shopping is hard work! Since this will be the first “real” bike I’ve ever purchased, I’m really taking the time to test-ride a wide variety of brands and models. At first I was going to purchase an entry level racing bike, but after this week, I’m now leaning more towards a high performance sports hybrid. I’m just glad my father volunteered to help me with my quest for a bike, because he really made things easier in every possibly way, from bringing me to the best bike shops to doing research for me online. With his help, I pretty much have it narrowed down to the following:
1) Iseo by Bianchi
2) Alyssa by Raleigh
3) Vita by Specialized
4) Camaleonte by Bianchi
5) Tricross by Specialized
I’m pretty sure it’s going to come down to either the Camaleonte or the Tricross (although the Iseo was the first bike I rode, and I sort of have this weird attachment to it now). I haven’t actually ridden the Tricross yet (they’re bringing my size in from the warehouse), but the Tricross is pretty much on a whole different level than all the other bikes. Not only is it double the price, but it’s basically a racing bike designed to go over any terrain (rather than a hybrid designed to sort of be like a racing bike). The practical side to paying more for the Tricross, is that if in a years time I decide I want to start racing competitively, I just have to switch out the tires.
I’ll be test-riding the Tricross and a few others next week, so I’ll keep you posted on what I decide.
Alright, I’m off to go finish packing for BOSTON! I leave directly after work tomorrow, and I’ll be there for the entire weekend, so I am EXTREMELY excited to see some college friends, eat at b.good burger, and try and squeeze in a nice run around the Charles. There may or may not also be a prohibition themed party somewhere in that mix.
April 8, 2010 1 Comment