Banana Face

Today’s post title is brought to you by my morning snack.

I brought a banana and a teeny raisin box for a morning snack today, and I suddenly remembered that my mom used to do this for me when I was little to make fruit-eating fun.  She would even give them hair, and buttons out of raisins.  What a mom!

Banana Face was delicious, anyway.  Raisins and bananas are a good combo!  When I was little I’d always get fruit salads from dessert made of chopped apples, banana slices, raisins, and peanuts.  I wish I had an apple and another banana to make one!  Talk about nostalgia.

Today’s run was supposed to be a 3.5 miler on the treadmill.  But I got to the gym and it was insanely crowded–all the treadmills were full, and the track was closed for track practice.   I stood around for a few minutes seeing if anyone would hop off, but it didn’t happen.  So…I juggled and decided to make today tomorrow’s weights day instead!  Voila:

  • 10 minutes on the elliptical at butt-searing resistance
  • Squats, 3 X 12 at 135 lbs.
  • Overhead shoulder press, 3 X 12 at 20 lbs.
  • Lateral raises, 3 X 12 at 20 lbs.
  • Deadlifts, 3 X 12 at 40 lbs.  (the heavier weights were ALL being used!  Weird!)
  • Upright rows, 3 X 12 at 40 lbs.
  • Reverse crunches, 12 @ 25 lbs. (these killed my back for some reason, in a moderately uncomfortable way, so only one set.)
  • Prone jackknives, 2 X 12
  • Swiss ball crunches,  2 X 12

It wasn’t what I was planning, but it wound up being a nice little full body workout!  I already feel a little wiggly.  I’ll get to the 3.5 miles tomorrow.

Anyway, lately I have been feeling a little…rundown?  I don’t think that’s the word, but I was super tired yesterday and I’m really quite tired again today.  Plus, I woke up with a stuffy nose this morning, which is never a good sign (although I feel fine otherwise).  Friday and Saturday are going to be rest days to the max after tomorrow’s run.  I want my legs to be nice and fresh for Sunday’s 10K, and I feel like I need lots and lots of sleep before then.

Also, random note: I’ve given up my lunchtime Diet Coke.  I got into a two-a-day habit for awhile, but I’ve gone back down to just one for the last two weeks and I’m feeling good.  I know none is best, but that never seems to stick for me.  One is better than two!

In wedding news, I asked my mother to take charge of finding me some earrings.  I bought a pair, but I wasn’t crazy about them, and she is great at finding jewelry.  Plus, with her job, she basically shops 5 days a week!  She sent them to me and they came today.

What do you think?  I really, really like them.  I think they’re fancy enough that I don’t need a necklace, but not so busy that they’ll take away from my dress or fascinator.  Go mom!

What is your mom really good at? My mom is a great jewelry matcher and banana face maker, obviously, but she is also a really talented baker!  Her caramel brownies are to die for.

Gym Fashion

With the New Year’s Resolutioners this year came a flood of interesting gym fashion choices.   I see lots and lots of beer-related t-shirts, booty shorts, gigantic oversized converted painting clothes, spandex bike shorts, JEANS, polo shirts…pretty much everything.

Now, generally, I find there are lots and lots of people against the concept of having a dedicated gym wardrobe.  It’s the whole “why bother?  I’m WORKING OUT.”  mentality.  And, well, yes, you are working out.  I’m not going to go Stacy-and-Clinton and say “You need to be dressed perfectly all the time!  Fitted blazers and heels!”  Lord knows I go to Target in sweatpants at least once a week.  But, I will go out on a limb and offer the following observations.

  1. Wearing actual workout clothes leads to better workouts. I could not run as far as I do in a hot cotton t-shirt, or tennis shoes, or jeans.
  2. Wearing actual workout clothes is a confidence booster. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can at least fake it.  Fake it till you make it, the clothes make the man, and all that.
  3. Wearing actual workout clothes keeps you going to the gym. If you’ve got the stuff  specifically designated to working out in your drawer, and you see it every time you open it, you think about it more.  Andplusalso, I would not waste money by purchasing a workout wardrobe and wearing it once.
  4. Wearing actual workout clothes shows you progress better. For the first four or five months of my gym career, I wore old baggy pajama pants and a t-shirt.  It was totally demotivating because gyms have mirrors everywhere and, well, you can’t see your body changing under all that nonsense.  Once I got somewhat fitted clothing, I could SEE changes happening, and I felt better about myself.

Workout clothes don’t have to be expensive OR terribly revealing to get the job done.  My workout wardrobe is 85% from Target.

These sports bras are my favorite.

And I love their running tanks.

Which would work swimmingly well with some capris.

I also find a lot of great high quality workout clothes for cheap at TJ Maxx.

Anyway, the point is, I think wearing whatever you can find on hand is demotivating and not a great strategy for working out consistently.  Invest a little bit in yourself.  You’re worth it!

Do you have a workout wardrobe?  Why or why not?


Take that, oats in a jar!

I was a crabby panda all day today. It is zero degrees out. Work was out of control crazy. It’s Friday, and usually my day off the gym, but I had to go run. I was not happy.

I snacked on some popcorn this afternoon. I always have popcorn for snacks on Fridays. I don’t know why.

No butter, lots of salt. (Popcorn mixed with M&Ms is the best, but unfortunately not as healthy.)

Then I went and ran. I was determined to get. it. over. with. I was not feeling it, but I started to run and I just felt light and strong and fast. It was great!  I actually think my running has proved immensely since the weather got colder.  When I was little, my asthma would vastly improve after the first hard freeze, and I think the same thing is happening now.  I haven’t had trouble with it for weeks.   Afterwards, the crabbies fell away and I was back to my normal ray of sunshine self. I left the gym and came home to find our new crock pot!

Good thing, too.  We ate our last frozen bowl of chili earlier this week!  I can’t wait to give it a try.

In other news, for those of you who think that Oats in a Jar is the best thing to do with the end of a jar of peanut butter, I present to you a very happy beagle with peanut butter on his snout:

So, a big happy check for week one of half marathon training.  I can do this!

Tonight will involve some relaxation and a little tidying for some visitors tomorrow.  Happy Friday!

What’s your favorite snack?

Coffee, tea, and feet

I forgot to show you all my new coffee mug!

I’ve been scouting for a good one since October but couldn’t justify the money.  We have  three already, but two of them just have a hole in the lid and I spill coffee all over myself, and the third is Tim’s and entirely too bulky and complicated for my liking.  Santa left me a $15 Starbucks card in my stocking, so I decided to take the plunge.  I’m very happy!  It’s not too big, cute, and has a snap-tight lid.  Hooray!

I finished the coffee at work and immediately made a mug of hot herbal tea to take the chill off.  I’ve been hydrating and moisturizing like a crazy woman and my skin still feels like sandpaper.  I don’t mind the cold; it’s the side effects I hate.

In other news, it is freezing here.  Like, really really freezing.  The high today is about 15 degrees, and Friday and Saturday will be even worse, with highs of 0 and 5 degrees, respectively.  So, I’m preemptively switching around my training plan for the week.  Instead of doing my “long run” of 4 miles (ha) this Saturday outside, I’m going to do it inside at the gym on Thursday, and do some stretching and strengthening (yoga? Maybe a Jillian DVD?) indoors on Saturday.  (For my newer readers–I live about 30 minutes from my gym.  The gym is about a block away from where I work, so it makes sense to go there on weekdays and exercise at home on the weekends.)

This is all totally okay.  Hal Higdon says so:

  • Juggling: Don’t be afraid to juggle the workouts from day to day and week to week. If you have an important business meeting on Thursday, do that workout on Wednesday instead. If your family is going to be on vacation one week when you will have more or less time to train, adjust the schedule accordingly. Be consistent with your training, and the overall details won’t matter.

This is why I really like Hal Higdon’s plans.  Runners can be really hardcore and nitpicky sometimes (and, well, if you’re trying to run Boston or something I can see why) and those plans just aren’t for me.

So, this week will be:

  • Monday: 3 miles
  • Tuesday: 2 miles and cross training
  • Wednesday: 3 miles
  • Thursday: 4 miles
  • Friday : rest
  • Saturday: stretch & strengthen

I’m sure it will benefit my overall training program to not die of frostbite.

I was planning on finishing my Promax bar before the run, but this gorgeous Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar caught my eye in the drawer and I couldn’t say no.

Yum.  This is one of my favorite flavors of Larabar!

Then I went to the gym and was lucky enough to find an empty treadmill.  The gym was considerably less busy–have the resolutioners given up already?   I ran 2 strong miles in 19:08, so a 9:34 pace.  I feel like I could have pushed a little harder, but I didn’t want to burn out early so I started slow.  Oh well!  Now I know.

Then came the “cross” part of my training.  I decided the elliptical sounded good, so I did 20 minutes at a high incline and resistance.  Good times!

Unfortunately, I’m having trouble with my feets again.  My totally sweet arch callus is blistering again!  (Warning–nasty foot pic ahead):

It’s hard to tell, but that is basically a large blister on the front part of the arch of my foot.  Icky.  I’m going to try tying my shoes super-tight tomorrow and see if that helps?  I’m trying to hold out on new shoes until March…sigh.  (Again, if you’re a new reader: my feet are all kinds of crazy; they are two completely different sizes so no pair of shoes will ever fit both feet; my arches are low and I get real bad blisters.  FML.)

Anyway, what are your opinions on “juggling”?  Good, bad, or only for the lazy and weak?

Winter Wonderland

Kansas City got 8 or so inches of snow while we were gone for Christmas, and another 3-4 piled on overnight!  Look!

It’s the good snow–fluffy and pretty and not icy.  The roads were fine this morning on my way to work!

This morning I snacked on the most delicious pear.  Tim is a staunch Bartlett supporter, but I picked up Anjou last week because they looked 100 times better.  And it was pretty awesome, I must say.  (Woulda been better with almond butter, though.  But isn’t everything?)

After work I headed to the gym for a bit of strength training.  I forgot my lifting gloves, so my game was off and I had another kinda ADD workout.  I did:

  • 5 minute warmup on the treadmill
  • 3 sets of 12 squats at 135 lbs.
  • 3 sets of 12 deadlifts at 75 lbs.
  • 2 sets of 12 shoulder presses at 40 lbs.
  • 2 sets of 12 Bulgarian split squats at 40 lbs.
  • 15 minutes on the elliptical with the resistance maxed out

The problem with lifting is that halfway through, I get HANGRY.  Like, thinking about breakfast cookies and pickles and almond butter constantly hangry.  And my gym’s half an hour from home!  Strangely enough, (or probably not), lifting always makes me desperately crave eggs.  So guess what was for dinner?

An egg and two egg whites with some cheese, and two slices of wheat toast, one with AB&J and one with a little buttah.  Delish!  It totally hit the spot.  I finished about 15 minutes ago, though, and my tummy’s still a-rumbling.  Hmm…

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve!  Don’t forget to enter my super awesome Road ID giveaway!

I was right!

Well, last night I said that today’s goals were church, running, finish invitations, ironing, and a little bit of packing for Christmas…but that probably one of them wouldn’t get done!  I was right–we skipped church this morning.  Oops.

However, everything else on my list got accomplished without a hitch.  Hooray!

I started the morning out with a lighter breakfast and a run.  I did 3 miles around the neighborhood in 32 degree weather…not bad, but it was WINDY!  I also had assorted gear issues throughout the run, which was frustrating.

I was trying out a few new items and some old ones today.  I wore my new Target running tights, my new Zensah compression shirt (which I received from the company in exchange for a review–thanks, Zensah!), and my Spibelt, RoadID (review coming soon) and the usual shoes, socks, and gloves.

I know I posted a glowing review of SPIbelt awhile back, and I stand by that as of that time, but it’s only fair to inform you that in the last week or two I’ve really been having trouble with it riding and flipping around and generally being a pain in the butt.  I’m not sure if the elastic is stretching out, or what, but it’s been a wee bit annoying lately. I’m going to keep trying to adjust it, maybe let the elastic out a bit, and I’ll let you know.  I don’t think it helps that my inhaler is such a weird shape that won’t ever lay flat against my body.

I did very much like my new running tights.  They kept my legs nice and toasty.

I also really, really liked this new Zensah shirt.  I’ve been looking for something that would keep me nice and toasty, but still cool and well-ventilated, on colder runs.  It was odd wearing a compression shirt for the first time–it feels kind of like wearing pantyhose on your upper body? but I LOVED this shirt.  It was a weird sensation–I could feel that it was keeping some heat in to keep my upper body warm, but I simultaneously didn’t feel HOT or overheated, if that makes sense, and I was a little bit cool.  The fabric is super soft and stretchy, too, and it didn’t hold any stink in my post-run sniff.  My only beef with the shirt is that it did seem to ride up a bit and I had to pull it down a few times.  I’m already eyeing some of their other products–definitely give this one a try!

Then I went home and showered and finished. the. INVITATIONS.  I started out with the goal of making 100, but there were a few fallen soldiers along the way–pocketfolds didn’t line up correctly, I used one or two as experiments, et cetera.  So, 93 invitations are done, which means we have exactly enough to mail with not one to spare!

Our guest list currently is 206 people, but what with people living together and families and whatnot, we need 93 invites.  And they. are. done!  Time to move on to my next DIY projects: menus, programs, and lord knows what else.  I’m really a glutton for punishment, eh?  The final result:

The colors are much prettier in real life.

The rest of the afternoon/evening was pretty boring.  Ironing, bills, getting stuff together for Christmas, et cetera.  December is “Clean out the Fridge/Freezer/Pantry” month around here–we always try to eat down all our food stores so we can start fresh in the new year with new stuff, so it’s pretty bare!  I cleaned it down to the bare bones today–we’ll be eating some pretty random food on Monday and Tuesday!  I’m planning a big Costco trip when we get back from Christmas.  Fun!

Do you ever intentionally eat through your food stores?  When and why?

Manic Monday

This day has been kind of…all over the place.  I guess I’ll go chronologically.

I woke up this morning and on a whim decided to weigh myself.  In theory, three weeks ago I promise you I’d weigh in every Friday on the blog, but last Friday we were out of town so I didn’t.  Anyway, the last two times I’ve weighed myself I was 164.8 pounds.  This morning (and go figure, the Monday after Thanksgiving), I was 161.2, meaning somewhere in the last week and a half, I’ve lost 3.6 pounds.  Now, I know the scale fluctuates…but that is a pretty significant difference, so I hope it means at least a little something good.  I have been focusing on saying “no” and eating mindfully lately, so maybe that’s it.  Or, maybe my body wants more food?  Oh, who knows.

Then I got in the car.  My commute to work in the morning is half an hour, so I usually leave around 7:20 and get in the office around 7:50.  Well, a truck full of hydrochloric acid overturned on the bridge that connects me to work and suffice it to say, I didn’t get to work until 9:40 or so.  Worst.  Commute. Ever.  I had a few brief panic attacks, called T 3 times, and cried once.  (I’m a crier.  It’s a stress reaction.)

I sampled the Oikos strawberry at lunch, though, and that made me extremely happy.  I cannot think of a sophisticated way to describe this yogurt other than that it tastes like red gummi bears.  It is delicious.

Before stirring:

After stirring:

Post-assembly:

(Psst.  Don’t forget to enter my Oikos giveaway below!)

I worked all afternoon with a slight headache.  Since I couldn’t find the different Oikos flavors at my usual Super Target, I went to Hy-Vee yesterday.  Well, they have a MUCH better bar selection than my usual grocery store does.  And I went a little nuts.

Whoops.  At least bars don’t expire.

For my afternoon snack I chose a bar that combines two of my favorite things: almonds and coconut.  I am generally suspicious of bars that do not contain chocolate, but I figured I should give this one a try.  And oh my GOD am I glad I did.  This may skyrocket to the top 5 of my “favorite bars ever” list, which is a BIG DEAL.  It’s substantial and chewy and sweet but not TOO sweet.  Behold:

The only drawback is that these are pretty expensive…BUT, I think they’re sold at Starbucks, and I travel a lot on an expense account, so I know what I’ll be snacking on on the road now!

After my traffic nightmare, I needed a good workout.  I just wanted to run hard intervals for some reason, so I did.  Here’s the rundown (0% incline.  I get enough hills at home.):

  • 0-1:00: 5.5 mph
  • 1:00-2:00 6.0 mph
  • 2:00-3:00 6.5 mph
  • 3:00-4:00 7.0 mph
  • 4:00-5:00 7.5 mph
  • (Repeat above pattern 2 more times)
  • 15:00-16:00 5.0 mph
  • 16:00-17:00 6.0 mph
  • 17:00-18:00 6.2 mph
  • 18:00-19:00 6.5 mph
  • (Repeat the 6.0-6.5 pattern 2 more times)
  • 25:00-26:00 6.0 mph
  • 26:00-28:00 6.2 mph
  • 28:00-30:00 6.5 mph
  • Cool down

I don’t know why I don’t do intervals more often.  They make the time fly and I think they really do help with my speed.  It’s nice to run at an 8:00 pace and think, “hey, this isn’t so bad!”  For some reason, though, my shins were hurting a bit, which is weird because they didn’t hurt running outside this weekend.  Maybe something about the treadmill?

Anyway, by the time my workout had ended the traffic issue seemed to be resolved, although I did have to take an alternate route.  I came home to a lovely plate of roast chicken leftovers, plus cranberry sauce!

Love these little Christmas tree dishes.

What’s been your worst driving experience?