Saturday, December 31, 2011

5 New Years Resolutions

It's that time again... the new year. 2012. Wow. Too bad the world is ending December 21st, according to the Mayan calendar.

Even though I am only going to get to see 11 months and 21 days of this year, I figure I should make some resolutions... you know, just in case the world doesn't end.

Resolution #1: Improve my attitude
I am not always the most optimistic person, especially when it comes to major life changes. This year, I will be graduating and trying to find a job, and I have to admit, all of the media coverage of the unemployment and lack of jobs around the country is not making me feel better about the idea of job hunting. But instead of getting myself into a funk over it, I am going to keep my chin up. I have a very marketable degree, I am a hard worker, and I am more than qualified for a good position.

Resolution #2: Maintain a healthy weight
I like where I am right now, both weight-wise and fitness-wise, and I really want to stay here. In the past, my weight and fitness has bounced all over the place, and I'd like to keep it stable for once. I think I have a good routine down, and I should stick with it.

Resolution #3: Run 6 races
I would like to do at least 6 races this year. They could all be 5k's, but I would like to branch out a bit. I have been considering training for an 8k, or even a sprint triathlon! I think this goal will help in maintaining my fitness level (resolution #2).

Resolution #4: Find a job
I have realized that there is no easy way to go about searching for a job. Resumes must be tweaked, cover letters must be written, and job listings are all over the place. I think I need to set aside time dedicated to the job hunt in order to find a job before I graduate. That is my number one goal for this semester.

Resolution #5: Eat less sugar
This might seem trivial, and it goes along with Resolution #2, but I have a serious sweet tooth, and it sabotages me on a daily basis. I have found that a lot of my calories and carbs are consumed in the form of sugary treats. Pretty sure my sugar addiction is inherited (my grandmother has to hide all sugary treats from my grandfather because he loves sugar), but I'd like to nip it in the bud this year. That way, 60 years from now, Zach won't have to hide sweets from me. Because I'm pretty sure that would mean the end of our relationship.

Flynn has a New Years resolution too. He is going to quit peeing in the house. He has good motivation for this one too... if he doesn't quit, he probably won't make it to see if the world does end in December 2012.

Thistle's New Years resolution is to quit being so grouchy. Somehow, I don't think she'll stick to it.

"Either give me food or EFF off."

Zach says his New Years resolution is to supervise all of the above New Years resolutions and make sure they get done. Especially Flynn's.

Does anyone else do New Years resolutions? If so, what are they? 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thistle the Hedgehog

I can't believe tomorrow is New Years Eve... guess I'd better get working on those resolutions! To be honest,  I haven't really even thought about it yet.

Today was alright. I have been sick with a sinus infection for about a week now, but I have still been getting in  workouts (after my fever went down). Today, I managed a 3.15 mile run over some really steep hills. Running that far when sick is no easy job.

Flynn has also done a lot of running. In the snow. It all finally melted today, but we got about an inch of snow a few days ago, and he has really been having fun rolling around in it... and then tracking it all over the house.

The Great Banana Challenge has been pretty successful thus far. This morning, I ate two slices of gluten-free toast with chocolate pb and bananas on them. I have to say, while I still hate how bananas taste, they make the best fuel for running. I kept up some good energy, especially considering how sick I have been and the hills I was running. 

I realize this post doesn't really have much rhyme or reason to it. Truthfully, I have just been taking random pictures to try out the settings on it. I don't think I have introduced Thistle yet, so here she is: 

Thistle is our resident grouch. She is a hedgehog, but she won't let you touch her or pet her or really get near her. What a sweetie. Tonight, Zach was feeding her a hot dog (Do hedgehogs like to eat hot dogs? yes. Should they? Probably not.) and she decided his finger would taste better so she tried to bite it off. Like I said, a real sweetie pie. 

My other random picture of the day involves my new boots, which I am a little obsessed with. My mom got me a pair for Christmas, and then I got this taller pair from Kohls. I can't ever seem to get a good picture of myself, but at least the boots look good. 

Tomorrow, I have work, and I'll be brain storming all day about New Years resolutions. I'll let you know what I come up with!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Great Banana Challenge

For as long as I can remember, I have hated bananas. Not disliked, hated. Every time I ate anything banana as a child (baby food, flavored medicine, actual bananas), I would promptly throw it back up. I don't know what the deal was with that.

Anyway, over the years, I have also made myself like a lot of healthy foods that I did not like before (green peppers, onions, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, etc.), and so, because bananas are extremely healthy for you (and convenient), I have decided to attempt to work them into my diet.

About an hour ago, I ate this:

Oatmeal with chocolate nut butter and bananas (the only way I could really eat the bananas was to cover them in peanut butter). So far, no puking. I am declaring this first trial a success.

Any good ideas on how to work bananas into my diet slowly? Maybe in recipes where I can't actually taste them? One day, I'd like to work up to eating plain bananas... but, baby steps. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

So... unfortunately, I have spent all of Christmas being very sick. Good timing, body. However, my amaaaazing boyfriend got me a new camera, so as soon as I learn how to use it, I will have awesome pictures, instead of crappy cell phone ones.

These pictures are where I am attempting to figure out what the settings on the camera mean, so please excuse the quality...

Zach had some presents that were almost as big as he is. What could they be?

I think he likes his flat screen! 

Even Mom's boston terrier, Dudley, was being festive. 

Everybody opening their gifts. 

My little sister got an old-school Furby. I think they look alike? 

I got a collar for my cat. She was pretty mad about it. 

I ended up getting some work out clothes, boots, a bread maker, some jeans, and of course I got some amazing gifts from Zach: a camera, the new Taylor Swift perfume, a snuggie, and an awesome coffee mug. It was a good Christmas for sure. Hopefully I'll feel a little bit better and more up for blogging soon. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fog and Christmas Crap

So around here, we always get a sh*t ton of snow for Christmas. However, this year has been abnormal in the sense that instead of snow, we have just gotten fog and rain. This morning, Zach and I set off for work, and we encountered this: 

No big deal. Just a lake of clouds. Kind of cool looking. Oh, wait...

We have to drive through this crap? It looks like that lame movie "The Mist". 

I was kind of half-expecting to end up in some other dimension. It was so creepy.

So aside from the crazy weather, I tried for a run on Wednesday. Ended up getting a whopping 1.5 miles before my shin splints threw a fit (they have seriously had some issues lately). However, due to the massive amounts of candy, cookies, and general Christmas crap that I have eaten over the past few days, I am thinking another run is in order for tomorrow if my legs can handle it. I did use my compression sleeves, and they seemed to help with the shins.

Coffee makes a failed run better. 
Speaking of Christmas crap, I made "Christmas popcorn" tonight that I got from this blog. It is SO good.

All you do is make popcorn, cover it in melted white chocolate, and add sprinkles. Couldn't be easier. Or more delicious. Or more fattening. YUM.

What kinds of delicious goodies is everyone else making?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy Week

So... I have been the worst blogger ever recently, and I am aware of this. Forgive me?

I have worked since I got out of classes, and they have been long days too, so I have come home feeling wiped, then having to exercise (kind of) and make dinner... it makes for a tired girl. Otherwise, Zach and I have just been decorating for Christmas and attempting to eat somewhat healthy.

Put up our "tree".
Got the dog some toys. 

Parmesan tilapia, steamed veggies, and
sweet potato fries. 
Steak, baked potato, and salad. 

Oops... how did these get in here? 
I know you all are seriously jealous of my cookie decorating skills. I should never have made those, considering I've been eating them 5 at a time, but hey, it's Christmas, right? That combined with my lack of exercise is promising some really good "Get Fit Christmas Break" results.

Speaking of which, does anyone have some good cardio/strength circuits to recommend? I have found some, but I don't know how credible they are. I need something that I can do at home, without gym access.

Anyway, I am both going Christmas shopping and running tomorrow, so hopefully I will have a lot more to report after that. Hope everyone else is having a great week-before-Christmas! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finally Done

So exams were stressful, as expected, but now I am done. Only one semester left, now, and then I'll be out in the real world. 

Now, I am back with Zach, and I'll be working at the pet store again until Spring semester. Guess who missed me? 

He peed all over the place when he saw me. Now he's asleep on my leg and impeding my computer-using abilities. I love that dog.

Get Fit December begins tomorrow. I'll keep you guys updated on progress!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Leaky Ceiling Part 2

Since I know you guys are just dying with anticipation to know what happened to my ceiling....

Turns out, a pipe is leaking. So right now, we have a nice trash bag ceiling panel, which is the newest in home fashion trends, I've been told.

I am actually kind of nervous we'll wake up tomorrow and find that every squirrel, bird, and mouse in a five mile radius has decided to mooch off our heated apartment.

Anyway, that trash bag is just temporary. Tomorrow, they are going to remove the rest of our kitchen ceiling so that they can fix that pipe. I'm talking the whole thing. They told us to take out anything we might need from the kitchen for a while... so no food for me for the rest of the week, I guess. Good thing I didn't just buy a week's worth of groceries yesterday or anything...

I have two finals tomorrow, which will be my hardest, and then one Wednesday and one Thursday. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaky Ceiling

So getting dressed up once is a big deal, but getting dressed up twice?! In one week?! Who am I? Actually, it wasn't really by choice. I had a final research presentation, and we were required to dress nicely. Thank you, college, for forcing me to look decent on occasion.

Look at all that fancy.
The presentation went really well. Now it is time to buckle down and study for finals. I can't believe next semester will be my last semester in undergrad. I think I'm in denial.

Anyway, because I've been so busy, I have worked out very little. I had only done one day of real cardio this week (the other days, I did yoga and pilates), so I decided to go for a run today and hope my legs did alright. I didn't make it far, though... just 1.8 miles. Something about a little too much fun leading to a little too much dehydration the next day? Whoops. 

My mirror is a bit dirty.
It was also a really cold run, if you can't tell by my bundling up. When I left, it was only 28 degrees outside, and that was at 10 am! Luckily, since it was so cold, I pretty much had the streets to myself to contemplate whether or not I was going to puke for the entire 1.8 miles. Good decisions, Ashley.

I was cooking dinner earlier with my friend DJ, when he asked if I had just thrown water on him. I thought he was going crazy, but then we looked up, and found this:

Apparently my ceiling is leaking. Leaking what? I do not know. Hopefully water. It's always exciting around here, I tell ya...never a dull moment.

Plans for tomorrow include studying, studying, gym, and studying. I have enjoyed this long weekend off a little too much, and it's going to be hard to get back into school mode for 3 days of finals, but I will be sooo happy to be done with this semester!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All Kinds of Fancy

So I haven't been able to get around to blogging much this week, and goodness knows I shouldn't be blogging right now. I have a Pchem exam tomorrow (which I don't understand, per usual) and a final presentation in Chemical Research, so I am all kinds of stressed out right now. But at least after tomorrow, I only have four finals. Ugh. College. 

Unfortunately, the end of the semester means the end of good meals. Can't be buying a bunch of food right before Christmas break! So, with that in mind, I had my last healthy meal of the week yesterday, a delicious veggie and rice stir fry.

But, after that, it was back to the college kid staple for dinner. Broke with a side of unhealthy. No, it was actually more like a gluten free sandwich, with a side of pickles and a beef stick. Seriously. I walked over to my pantry to see what I had, and I found beef sticks, a canned jar of pickles, some 500 year old crackers, and olive oil. So beef sticks and pickles on the side, it was.

Ain't no such thing as too much sodium.
Do you guys like my cheap purple plastic dishes? I can't believe they've lasted 4 years. Check back this time next week to see if I am still alive and if I have resorted to eating those 500 year old crackers yet, dipped in olive oil.

When it comes to fashion, I pretty much have no idea what I am doing. I have had most of my clothes for 3+ years, and a lot of them are ones I got used or from Walmart. I really don't wear makeup (except a little under-eye concealer... gotta hide those dark "study" circles), and my hair has pretty much two states of being: either it is really messy, or it is in a pony tail. So today, when I decided to put gel in my hair and try to force it to curl, it was a big deal.

As you can see, I still need some practice. But still, I am all kinds of fancy. And I even wore a necklace. Who am I?! Also, I am practicing being pale in honor of the newly released Twilight movie, which I haven't seen and probably won't. Maybe I should buy some self-tanner?

Okay, okay, off to do homework. For real this time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

GingerSNAP 5k Recap

This race was a really weird one. It was lined up to be an awful race, and I felt awful the whole time, but somehow I PRed by 2 minutes anyway and won first in my age division. I was sure that I hadn't won anything, though, so I didn't stay for awards, which I am really bummed about. Anyway, onto the recap...

I hadn't eaten very well the week beforehand, it was a long, stressful drive home the night before (which led to no sleep), and I was semi-dehydrated, so I wasn't really expecting much. I got up at 5:45 am, showered, got ready, and ate my oatmeal+pb combination that I love so much, and we headed off to the race. I got there around 7 and picked up my race packet, which was nothing too fancy. They did have chip timing at this race, though, which I loved.

Luckily, my mom, sister, and Zach came with me, so I had my own paparazzi.

pinning on my bib. 

Zach, being supportive by holding all my crap. 

My sister was thrilled to get up at 6 am to sit in the cold.

The race started about 10 minutes late, but it felt like an hour, because it was so cold. I had to pee pretty much the entire race, which was annoying. I also felt like I started the race with this "I just want this to be over with" mentality, which might have been the key to my fast time, haha.

Just before the start, some girl tried to sing the national anthem, but at the same time she started singing it, a train came through the town directly next to the course and totally drowned her out. Hilarious. Poor kid. Anyway, eventually, we started.

Within the first quarter mile, I managed to come down on my ankle awkwardly, and mildly sprained it. It hurt pretty bad, but I decided I would keep going and see how it felt. Eventually, the pain wasn't so bad, and I was still able to finish. It is still painful, but hurts nothing like it did during that race.

I am the one in the bright pink towards the right. 
I got a little nauseated a few times during the race but just tried to focus on my breathing, and it ended up working out, I guess. The race had a lot of out-and-backs (which is a little ridiculous for a 5k to have anyway), and I wasn't such a fan of those. Otherwise, I felt it was pretty well organized, and I would definitely run it again.

I was really surprised that after all my set-backs I still managed to PR! I came in at 27:31, as opposed to my first 5k time of 29:20.

Crossing the finish line. (on the far right of the photo, in the pink.)
I was so glad to be done.

That's an impressive face I'm making.

Zach and I after the race. The sun was clearly in our eyes.
Despite my overall attitude going into the race, it was pretty fun, and I'm glad that I did it. I'd do it again, too. Except maybe I'd prepare better for it. Oh, and bring my own porta-potty. 

Long Day

Ok, race recap coming soon, I promise. I'm waiting on those pictures from my mom still. For some reason, annoying her via email is not getting them here any sooner.

Today ended up starting off super stressful. I chose to drive back to Boone this morning, rather than last night, after all of our driving yesterday. So that meant a 5 am wake-up call, and out the door by 5:30 for a 2 hour drive in the dark to make it to my 8 am class. In my 8 am class, we had a tough memory quiz. Then, the campus technological services went down for like 6 hours, when I really needed to use them. Luckily, I got that resolved by a really amazing local printing shop.

After all of that, I was really stressed, so I headed to the gym for a sweaty workout. I did 25 minutes of hard biking, followed by 15 minutes treadmill walking at a 3-4% incline, and a half mile running at 3-4% incline. It wasn't that far, because I wasn't wearing my regular running shoes, but boy did it feel like a work-out!

After all the craziness of the day and the super tough workout, I was beat. Like how puppies run around and around and around until they just fall over.

Yeah. That was me. 
So I decided to take a "quick" nap, which promptly turned into a 3 hour nap. Whoops. I have a hard time getting up from naps. And my bed is reeeeally comfortable.

Also, I just spilled nachos and salsa all over my Biochemistry text book. That will teach me to eat/blog/study at the same time. I am the queen of multi-tasking.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Post-race exercise

I am going to wait until I have all the photos my mom took to post about my race, but I will give you a hint: the race itself was really difficult mentally for me, but I ended up PRing! By 2 minutes! I am pretty excited!

Somehow my hair always looks bad after races. 
Once I was done racing, we went to eat at SouperSalad, and I ate my full weight in salad, soup, potato salad, pudding, and ice cream. Favorite part of the day, for sure. We got home and my mom and Zach decided that a race was just not enough physical activity for one day (and definitely not enough to justify everything I ate at lunch...), and that I needed to go on a walk with them too. We took the dogs.

This dog has been driving me crazy all weekend. He needs training. Anyone want to volunteer? *cough* Zach *cough*. 

Zach loves the dog (except most of the time). It only took me 10 minutes to convince him to let me take this picture. 

Flynn (our dog) made best friends with my mom's abnormally large Boston terrier, Dudley. They have been like glue since we got here. Dudley likes that having Flynn here means getting more treats, stealing Flynn's food, etc and Flynn likes that he has someone to maul who is big enough to play back. (He normally plays with toy poodles. Unsuccessfully.) 

We are getting them matching BFF collars soon.
We had fun exploring the vast neighborhoods of Charlotte. Flynn has never seen so many cars, people, and other animals in his life. He has had a lot to bark at.

Tomorrow, I will be making the long journey from here to Zach's, and then from Zach's to Boone. I really can't wait to do my homework tomorrow, either. The good news: one week of class left, and then exams, and then I am DONE with this semester. Hallelujah.

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fit December

I am getting anxious/excited for my 5k Saturday morning, but not nearly as excited as I'm sure those of you participating in the Las Vegas marathon are! I hope y'all have a blast! I'll be running... 3.1 miles. And eating. Eating as if I've just run a marathon, too. It's the least I can do.

I have been a little stressed at the idea of moving back to middleofnowhere for winter break, mainly because it will be 100% snow, all the time, and I won't have any way to run. No indoor track, no treadmill, nada. Unless I want to run on the ice outside. So, I decided to make it interesting and drag Zach kicking and screaming to join me in a "get fit December" kind of goal.

I am thinking we will incorporate a little of this:

A little of this:

Except probably not in spanish. Also, a little of the exercise bike and circuit training (and running, if possible), along with a little of this:

This way, even if my cardio suffers a little, I'll still be ripped (see P90x photo above). I am super excited about this. Zach... not so much. I will be starting this on December 15th, and it will go through January 15th... good way to keep myself  accountable over the Holiday season as well!

We will be eating healthy, but not overdoing it (it is Christmas, after all). I would really like to see my protein intake go up, and my carb and fat intake go down. Translation: I will add protein powder to my Christmas cookies.

I will post before and after photos (unless this all fails and I actually get less fit...), and I will be taking measurements just to track progress. I'm not going to pay too much attention to the scale, though, because I know it can be misleading.

Does anybody else have any fitness goals for the holiday season?