Monday, January 30, 2012

Mondays are Lame

It is hard to keep up with a blog when the most eventful thing in your life is an Inorganic chemistry pop quiz. Whoever said your last semester of college was supposed to be easy was never a chemistry major.

I am pretty worn out today, despite the fact that I really didn't do much of anything over the weekend, except eat. For some reason giant blood sugar crashes leave you feeling a little tired. On Saturday, Zach was awesome enough to make us a delicious breakfast, complete with biscuits, gravy, turkey bacon, and eggs.




I had a good picture of him cooking on my camera, but he always threatens never to make food for me again if I put him on the blog. And I like eating things a lot more than I like cooking, so I try to appease him.

Anyway, I don't have pictures from the rest of the weekend, but it was pretty much along the same lines... food, food food. It was obviously a very good weekend.

I think I need to keep better track of my workouts, so I am going to start summarizing them on Mondays, like I have seen many other bloggers do. It's a great idea (sorry to whoever I am stealing it from), and it will help keep me accountable. Last week was:
Monday: Jillian Michael's yoga
Tuesday: 30 mins elliptical, 10 minutes power walking, 15 mins weights
Wednesday: 5.52 mile run
Thursday: 1.25 hour yoga class
Friday: Off
Saturday: quick circuit workout
Sunday: Off

This week, I am going to try to incorporate some strength circuit workouts, as well as some more cardio (swimming, biking, etc.) and lay off of running. I am thinking I will probably do that 10k race, but I am waiting to see what the weather will be like.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Low-cal Mug Cake

I went to my first ever yoga class today. Prior to this, all I have ever done is the Jillian Michaels DVD, which is less like yoga and more like aerobics. But today my legs were feeling really tight, so I thought, why not?

best. decision. ever. 

I don't know if any of you have ever done yoga, but it is like a hug for your body. After you are done, you feel like you have just gotten a full-body massage, and it is the greatest thing ever. I felt all warm and fuzzy, and much less cranky than usual.

Lately, thanks to the cold weather, I have been craving more hearty desserts, like chocolate cake, so I was poking around, trying to find a healthy mug cake recipe (because a lot of them are really high in calories), and I found this little gem.

Recipe:
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp flour (I used GF)
1.5 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
1.5 tbsp apple sauce (I used vanilla greek yogurt instead)
2-3 tsp sugar or other sweetener
1/16 tbsp salt
1/16 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tbsp vanilla
1 egg white
I added about a 1/2 tbsp protein powder too. Just cause.

Combine all ingredients and microwave for 2-3 mins. I ate mine with vanilla greek yogurt on the side!

Delicious, and it won't ruin your diet, since it ends up being right around 120 calories. Win-win. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whiny Wednesday

I am really glad that I brought this back, because I needed an excuse to whine on the blog.

1. Job hunting is hard. I have applied to 23098420984 million jobs, and haven't heard back from anything yet. It is bumming me out. It probably actually has more to do with the fact that I don't graduate until May, and no one wants to hire me 3 months in advance, but still. My feelings are hurt. I am going to start including random pictures of my dog in resumes. No one can resist his cute face.

Hire me, please! (Or I will eat everything you own). 
2. This isn't really something to whine about, but I ran 5.52 miles today at a 9:30 pace. I'm sure a lot of you are laughing, but really, that's huge for me. However, that does lead to something to whine about.... everything hurts. I am not built to run on pavement for long periods of time... or any other surface for that matter. I have thoroughly iced everything and foam rolled everything (with my janky walmart foam roller) and am now wearing every piece of compression gear that I own in hopes that the damage won't be too bad tomorrow.

Post-run PB and banana on a GF waffle. Still hate bananas. Obviously,
though, I was pretty hungry at the time. 
I really don't see how you people run like 15 miles at a time. 5 miles in, I was ready to kill and eat the next thing that walked by. Also, my whole body hurt.

3. I can't decide whether to sign up for the upcoming 10k race. It is mostly out-and-back, which I'm not sure I like. And it might be really hilly. I think I am going to drive the course this weekend and see how it looks. Oh, and let's not forget I have no idea if my legs will survive 6.2 miles when they are really pissed about 5.5. To do or not to do?! 

4. More snow this weekend. Booooo, snow.

Source
Much colder? Thanks for pointing that out.

5. I am pretty much out of good food to eat and have been living off of salad, oatmeal, pb, and eggs. Even the spaghetti squash is gone now. Time to hit up the grocery store! I just hate grocery shopping... does anyone else share that sentiment? I will literally wait until I have no food left to go. And even then, it is very forced. Too expensive, too boring, too time-consuming. Why don't they just deliver them to my house?

Now I am off to meet some friends for coffee. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spaghetti, Squash, and Shoes

First, let's start with my embarrassing story of the day: I decided to get some hot cider from a cafe on campus because I was cold. Well, I got a deformed cup, and when I went to put the lid on it, it literally exploded and sent boiling hot cider flying all over me. Unfortunately, I had class, so I was covered with the stuff for the next 3 hours sitting in a molecular biology lab. It was sticky and uncomfortable, but on the bright side, the smell of apple cider probably covered up the smell of my sweaty gym clothes, since I went straight to class from the gym. Now I can't decide if this story is good or bad, but I was mad about it at the time.

Moving on... I have been in love with spaghetti squash lately. It is easy to make, and you can eat it just like spaghetti, but it's healthier! I made a ton this weekend, and now all I have to do for my dinners is chop up some onion, throw some spaghetti sauce and garlic into the mix, sprinkle a little cheese on top, and microwave it. Ta-da! It's not pretty, but it makes up for it with taste. 

I need to start a professional food photography business.


How to cook a spaghetti squash:
1. Cut squash in half (length-wise) and scoop out the seeds and pulp.
2. Lay it face down (the inside of the squash should be the part touching the pan) on a greased baking sheet/pan and bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes. It is done when you can easily insert a knife into it.
3. Remove from oven and scoop out the squash part.
...and then chow down.
This is the kind of recipe I like. Quick, few ingredients, and hard to screw up. Ashley-proof. 

In other news, I got new shoes the other day, since my old ones had a hole in them. These are okay. They are Sketchers, which I haven't owned before. They also blend in with the carpet in my bedroom, which is an added plus because it is harder to see them when they are strewn all over the floor. The only bad thing about them is that the arch support isn't amazing, but I guess that's what you get when you choose stylish over practical. Since they are just for walking to and from class and generally hanging out, I think I'll live. 


School is finally kicking it up a notch... labs have started, and I am getting a more steady flow of homework, so I might not be blogging quite as often. This semester is going to be rough, but I am psyched to graduate. Anyone want to hire me? Pretty please? 

Also, I completely forgot I was supposed to be writing "Whiny Wednesday". I just stopped doing it, apparently (I think not having school = less things to whine about). Why aren't you people keeping me in line and reminding me about these things? Good thing tomorrow is Wednesday.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kiss t-shirt

Sometimes you just have to enjoy the simple things in life. 



Like putting a Kiss t-shirt on your dog. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Get Fit Challenge Results

If you are really super attentive, you might remember that I went on and on about Get Fit Winter Break for a while. Well, I definitely did my best to complete it. I took before and after pictures, and I weighed myself. However, when I compared the before and after photos, the only difference that I saw at all was in my upper body (which was the weakest part of me, by far). 

And yes, I do have a tattoo. You can't see it really well in these pictures, but it is a branch from a dogwood tree.

Before
After

Apparently, I also got really pale. What do you guys think, can you see a difference too? My starting weight was 107, and my ending weight was 108... sooo pretty much the same (we'll call it "water weight"). I assume my abs and legs have gained strength as well, but they always look the same no matter what I do, so I'm not going to bother putting up those pictures. 

Anyway, I am declaring it a success because I can do more than one push-up now. Now for a question. I am thinking of running a 10k in a month. I have one "long run" of 5 miles, and most of my other runs are about 3 miles. Doable? Also, keep in mind that I don't have a Garmin, just a cell phone with a GPS tracking app. This is fine for my regular runs, but I feel like it will hurt me during the race not to know what my pace is, because I always run really fast towards the beginning. It doesn't matter much in a 5k, but in a 10k, do you think I'd burn myself out too fast?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Actual Birthday

Well, I am officially 22 today. I think after 21, it quits being exciting and you just feel kind of old. I decided to make myself a birthday breakfast from this recipe for custard oats. They were surprisingly good and creamy. I ate half and saved half for later in the day because they were that filling. I highly recommend them. The only thing I didn't like was that they took a while to cook, and I am impatient when it comes to breakfast.


My back is feeling quite a bit better today (only minor pain when bending over to pick something up), so I decided to hop back onto the workout wagon. I was originally going to go to the gym and bike, but I came home to a package from my mom, and inside were new Nike running clothes!!! I look like a walking Nike advertisement, I have so much of their stuff, but it's just awesome. I can't stop myself.

I "suited up" (<---anyone watch "How I Met Your Mother"?) and took off on a 2.6 mile run. I had planned to run a little farther, but cut it short due to some pain. I think my back being crooked is affecting the rest of my body's posture when hitting the pavement. Good thing I am going to the chiropractor on Friday.


Forgive the picture quality. I can't seem to get a decent picture in this dimly-lit apartment without using flash (and we all know how well flash works with mirrors). When I move out of here, I am getting a place that has so much natural light, I'll have to wear sunglasses inside. Seriously.

The tights also have a fancy-pants reflective stripe down the side and one of those handy butt pockets for your keys and such. Love it.


According to my RunKeeper, I have run 99 miles since I got these shoes. Give or take a little (two 5k races plus some un-recorded runs). I think you are supposed to get new ones around 300 miles? That's good, because right now I need new regular shoes for walking to class, etc. since my current ones have a hole in them as of yesterday.

Off to shower.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crippled

Well, I started off my first week of classes in true Ashley form and managed to seriously injure myself doing something mundane. Yesterday, I was moving everything back into my apartment and was carrying in a giant box of stuff (it probably weighed 50-60lbs) up 3 flights of stairs, when I managed to twist my body in some kind of awkward way. I felt a really sharp pain, fell over, and couldn't get up. From what I can tell, it seems that I have a pinched sciatic nerve. I fluctuate between leg numbness and shooting pain, and it is way worse when I try to transition from sitting to standing or laying to sitting, etc.

Source

I have pinched nerves before, but nothing like this! I took some Tylenol and used some Biofreeze, and that seemed to help a little. I can't get to the chiropractor until at least Friday, so I am just in a sad state. I did manage to hobble to my first class today, and I felt a little better after all the movement.

Unfortunately, the fact that I can hardly walk probably means no exercise for the next few days. So what do I do with all my pent up energy? I organized my closet. I can still sit on the floor pretty darn well, so I used that talent and cleaned out the bottom of my closet. I threw away two pairs of shoes, including my first ever pair of running shoes (RIP Mizunos) because they were about 2000 years old.


I'm sure some of you are thinking "gee, that still looks pretty messy." I should have taken a 'before' picture, because it was much worse. Keep in mind that this little closet is the only place I have to store my entire life. I love apartment living. Especially when your bedroom is about 5 square feet. Maybe in my next post, I'll give you the grand tour!

Anyway, that about sums it up. A BIG congrats to Rachael@HappyHealthyRunner who, while she didn't do anything really impressive like organizing a closet, did run her first marathon!!!! You go, girl!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Birthday Weekend

This weekend was pretty awesome... it was my official birthday weekend celebration (I turn 22 on Wednesday, but I will be in class all day then). On Friday, Zach took me out to PF Chang's, which has really great gluten-free Chinese food. 

Source
I am still a little shy with my camera in public places (especially dark places like restaurants), so I took pictures of our outfits instead: 


Then, on Saturday, we spent the afternoon in Asheville before heading to dinner. Starbucks was in order, of course. 


While trying to kill time before dinner, we went to pretty much every store in the world, including the Mast General Store in downtown. They have this awesome candy barrel section where you can pick out your own candy. I definitely took advantage of this, and my soon-to-be diabetic self enjoyed it a little too much. 

Six of everything, please.
Then, we went to dinner at Posana Cafe. It is an entirely gluten-free, French restaurant. Two of my most favorite things ever. It is also extremely fancy. I didn't take pictures, but I found this nice picture on their website:

Source
 
I had the NC Golden Tilefish, with zucchini, squash, eggplant, and potatoes in some delicious sauce, followed by the best (and largest) cheesecake dessert. The single serving was the size of a softball. I don't think I have ever been so stuffed. And then today, Zach got me a super-delicious gluten-free carrot cake. Needless to say, I have just stuffed my face this weekend and probably gained 30lbs in the process. It was totally worth it.  Until I see the scale this week. 

While we were out adventuring, we got the dog a bone treat at PetSmart. It is as long as he is, and he has been trying to destroy it since we gave it to him. No luck so far. This should keep him busy for at least the rest of the week. 


I have to go back to school tomorrow and leave my two favorite men here to fend for themselves. I have never dreaded anything more. I hope this semester flies by, and that there is not much snow, and that I can get a job lined up for when I graduate, and also, while I'm at it, maybe I could win the lottery.

Off to finish my final semester of college. Happy birthday to me! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stuck in Colder Weather

The weather here really can't make up its mind. We went from tornadoes to snow in 48 hours. It got so cold last night that our back sliding door actually was frozen shut this morning. I had to take the dog out the front way, showing off my robe and hot pink fuzzy slippers to all the neighbors in the process. It was tragic.


Since obviously there will be no outdoor activities today, I decided to do the intermediate Pilates exercise listed in my new book. It was actually a little too easy... I think I'll try the advanced one next time. I ended my workout with a small circuit exercise and then hit the shower. When I came out, I could not find the dog. I looked everywhere. I had pretty much decided he'd run away from home because I wouldn't share my lunch with him until I noticed this: 


Somehow, he had managed to build a cocoon for himself out of my snuggie and Zach's jacket. My only clues to his whereabouts were a half-eaten milk bone and a small area of dog butt that wasn't covered up. I guess somebody was cold.

Yesterday, I decided to bite the bullet and get a hair cut. As much as I liked my hair that hadn't been cut for 6 months, I am hoping it makes me look more professional and less homeless. For some reason, the bathroom lighting made me orange. Good to know what I would look like if I ever decided to spray tan.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just read that Sherry Arnold was found dead. It breaks my heart to hear it. I hope that everyone in the running community will be more cautious when they are running alone, because there are horrible, horrible people out there, and runners are easy targets. I want a world where people can go for a run any time of the day or night and know that those who would try to hurt them are behind bars. But sadly, things are not like that right now, so please take as many precautions as you can to keep yourself safe out there! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Five Miles

So this will probably make those of you who are marathoners giggle a bit, but up until yesterday, the farthest my legs had ever carried me was 4.25 miles. Today, for some reason, I managed to bust out a 5 mile run. Who am I? I am so proud of myself. I think I am capable of a lot more than I realize; I just typically have no self-confidence.

Anyway, needless to say, after running nearly twice the distance that I normally run, I was hungry, so I made this awesome oatmeal smoothie, adapted from this recipe.
Serves 2-4 (or in my case, just me. I am a pig.)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup ice
1 serving container of strawberry greek yogurt
1 banana (I'd suggest using just 1/2 if you are not a banana fan. could definitely taste it)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1/3 scoop vanilla protein powder

This picture should really be turned the other way,
but I can't change it. Stupid Blogger.

It was really good, but like I said earlier, the banana taste was pretty overpowering. It could have been because I used a banana that wasn't quite ripe, or it could be because I hate bananas. Incorporating them into my diet has been harder than anticipated.

I recovered from my run by laying around on the couch all day, catching up on episodes of White Collar.

Yummm, Matt Bomer.  Source.

After a Matt Bomer overdose (the best kind), we went to Zach's parents' house to eat, and his dad showed us his gun collection. Nothing to make you feel at home like guns.

Next time I go running, I'm going to take my camera. The views are gorgeous, which is probably the only thing that makes running 5 miles straight up hill worth it.

Do you guys have nice views while running? How do you combat running boredom?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Road ID

After reading this post, about ShutUpandRun's relative/friend who just went missing during a run, I was reminded exactly how dangerous running can be. Granted, random abductions are not common, but when they do happen, you typically hear about them happening to an early morning runner. Even though abductions are a small worry, there are a lot of other things that can go wrong on a run, like getting seriously injured, hit by a car, or passing out from dehydration or low blood sugar. 

Even though I don't go on terribly long runs, you never know what might happen, so I decided to get a Road ID. I had a $15 gift card for one that I won at my last 5k (when I came in first in my age group), so I only had to pay  $2. Can't beat that, right? Granted, it won't do much for me if I'm nabbed by a serial killer (other than save some money on DNA/dental identification when they find my body... not to be morbid or anything), but if I end up unconscious somewhere, it will definitely be helpful.

I chose this one, the Road ID Slim:

Source

Obviously, this isn't mine, but it looks similar. I chose to put my name on the top, along with my birth year, and then the next three lines are phone numbers: my dad's, my mom's, and Zach's. The fifth line lists my allergies. I chose not to put an inspirational saying on it because, when it comes down to it, I'd rather have useful information on there (like Zach's phone number, because my parents rarely answer their phones) than something fun. Obviously, this means Zach is pretty much stuck with me for life, now that he's on my Road ID.

Having this ID will give me a little more peace of mind on my runs, but this woman's disappearance still really struck a chord with me. Check out the information and re-post it if you would like... I figure the more people that know about it, the more likely she is to be found quickly, and the first 48 hours are crucial in a case like this.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Two New Books

Does anyone remember that "Get Fit Winter Break" thing I am doing? Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have gained SO much more muscle. The bad news? Between the delicious Christmas food and lack of ability to do cardio (thanks to the weather and lack of a gym), I have also gained fat. However, I am trying not to get discouraged. I just need to incorporate more cardio and watch what I am shoveling into my mouth.

Today's workout was inspired by one of two new amazing books I found at Mr. K's Used Book Store yesterday (they were only $12 together...what a steal!)


I decided to go with Jillian this morning, since I needed a good butt kicking. I had to eliminate/modify some exercises, because she assumes you have access to gym equipment when you are doing these circuit workouts, but I think I did okay.
The workout:
As many pull-ups as possible (modified from lat pull-downs, I don't have a pull-down machine): 6
15 dumbbell rows
50 basic lunges (25 each leg)
1 minute hill run no treadmill
15 low dumbbell rows
15 seated hamstring curls modified to 15 hamstring curls + 15 bent over rows w/5lb weights
step ups  no steps
crab walk 10 steps forward
reverse plank with 5 leg lifts each leg
crab walk 10 steps backwards
reverse plank with 5 leg lifts each leg
20 supermans & 20 second hold
25 reverse crunches
mountain climbers, 1 minute
20 pendulum lunges with hammer curls (10 each leg)
hammer curls to exhaustion (40 reps in my case... wasn't really exhausted, just bored)
20 static lunges with reverse cable fly (10 each leg)
1 minute hill run no treadmill
30 one-leg pelvic thrusts (15 each leg)
25 toe touch crunches
mountain climbers, 1 minute

MAN, doesn't that look like a lot?! It wasn't too bad. I actually finished much faster than you're supposed to, probably because I left out some stuff and wasn't running around the gym in the process. I followed it up with 20 minutes biking on the stationary bike (5 mins warm up, 1 min fast at high tension, 2 mins recovery) and then did 3 more pull-ups, 10 push ups, and some knee exercises.

I listened to Pandora's dance cardio station the whole time I did these. Great workout music! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Angry Dog

Since our water was frozen yesterday, Zach's dad came down and went under the house with a hair dryer to try to thaw out the pipes. The dog did not like it at all. He ran around barking and pacing the floors, and finding various lookout posts around the house.


Yes, we do have an old computer set up in the kitchen that Zach uses as some kind of a server... life with a computer science major.



After all the excitement, the dog and I relaxed in my snuggie. I managed to look 12 years old in this picture, per usual. I still have people asking what middle school I go to. Annoying. 


Today, I went for a relaxing 2.8 mile run around town (it had warmed up to about 35 degrees), and then I got ingredients to make these awesome healthy bites, modified from this recipe. In the mix: oats, pb, honey, cinnamon, ground flax seed, coconut flakes, pecan pieces, and mini chocolate chips. I meant to add in protein powder but forgot. Whoops. They're still delicious. 


Tomorrow, Zach, his mother, his grandmother, and I are going out for lunch at Chili's (I am obsessed with their soup and salad lunch combo). Should be fun!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Frozen Tundra

Greetings from Antarctica. Last night we had an "arctic front" come through, and we got about 2 inches of snow, which doesn't sound bad, but then add in the fact that the temperature dropped to 15 below freezing with massive wind gusts, and it is bad. It was so cold, Flynn decided he would hold it rather than face the frozen tundra to potty this morning. Evidently, our water pipes froze overnight too, because we didn't think to leave our water running. I hope they don't burst!



It is amazing what you realize that you need water for when you no longer have it. I can't shower, can't brush my teeth, can't wash my hands, can't flush the toilet, can't do dishes (ok, maybe I'm not too upset about that one), can't do laundry, etc. I really hope our pipes unfreeze soon, or we are going to be living in a really gross house.

I have done okay on the workout front this week. Yesterday, Zach and I went on a really cold 2.5 mile walk, and then I biked for 20 minutes and did a mock Crossfit workout (which I copied from CarrotsnCake)
5 times each-
10 push ups
10 crunches/sit ups
10 mountain climbers
10 squats

The circuit was supposed to be completed 10 times, but I was pretty fatigued after just 5. Then, I did a 40 minute Pilates video this morning. So far, my goals for the new year are coming along well.

Flynn has been spending quality time with his rawhide all day.

Now, Flynn and I are laying on the couch, watching a marathon of White Collar (great show) and hoping the water un-freezes before tonight. Because I really would like to be able to shower. I will probably still not do the dishes, though.