Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Attempt at Creating a Circuit Workout Plus a Yummy Recipe

This morning I started out with 8 minute abs and the first body weight circuit workout that I ever created! It got me really sweaty and I'm already getting a little bit sore, so I'd like to think that it was a success so far. My arms are hurting like crazy! I only had time to do one circuit, but I've put together an image of a combination of cardio and this circuit workout that I think could be beneficial (in my not-so-expert opinion). You can repeat it as many time as you want, but I plan on doing this tomorrow and will repeat it at least three times.

Obviously, you can substitute any machine/running speed for the solely cardio portion, and you can break up the body weight exercises if need be (it's 10 minutes total if you do them all in a row). I liked to use the stationary bike when I was cross-training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon , so that's why I chose that machine. It's not the best for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time, but when you up the resistance, your legs get a great workout.

For dinner last night, I made what I'm deeming "green rollups." Now, they're not green, but they're filled with basically only green ingredients, hence the name "green rollups." I filled mine with spinach, aspargus, broccoli, white onions, and cream cheese. 

Green Rollups (makes 4)
1 can Jumbo Flaky Pillsbury Rolls
1 cup chopped broccoli
2 cups spinach
1/2 cup chopped asparagus (chopped into fourths)
1/4 onion, chopped
4 laughing cow garlic & herb cheese wedges

Separate can of Pillsbury rolls into four (serving size is 8, so that leaves two biscuits for each roll up). Try and keep the triangles as attached to each other as possible. Spread 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge onto each pair of biscuits. Layer broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and onions into each pair of biscuits. Roll up as you would normally roll the biscuits (see below for finished product). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (longer if you want crispier rollups).

This was super simple and really yummy. I think pizza dough would be a good thing to use, but the rolls baked together nicely and I didn't have as many issues with the completed products as I had anticipated when I initially rolled them together. I think I might do broccoli and cheese next time. I had a salad on the side with spinach, cucumbers, cottage cheese, tomato, onion, and zero calorie Chipotle Ranch dressing.

Be sure to check the Pinterest board for this recipe and all other recipes on my blog!

In honor of it being Thursday (and the beginning of my Spring Break), I'm leaving you with this song. Get ready for some silliness in upcoming posts ;)

(P.S. I just figured out how to do this, so everybody applaud for me :D)

I'd also love to hear your feedback on my little circuit workout I created (if you try it)!

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Somber Morning plus Workouts and Recipes

When I drafted this post last night, I had a title that reflected my excitement about being back in the gym and being back in the kitchen. That was until I woke up to some sad news this morning. Last night, there was a shooting at my alma mater, Coastal Carolina University. It happened around 7:30 pm at one of the residence halls. The young man who was shot, Anthony Darnell Liddell, passed away as a result of his injuries. The shooter is still at large. My Facebook newsfeed and my Twitter feed were covered with well wishes for the victim's family; it's amazing to think that even though many of us did not know this young man, we are all joined together, simply by the fact that we attended this small university. Please keep Anthony Liddell's family and friends in your thoughts and hearts today. I'll be wearing my teal for you, Anthony. Chanticleer pride

To read the story, please click here. Not much information has been released yet.

Below is most of what I drafted last night (with some added today), before I received this somber news:

I don't think I've ever been so excited to go to the gym, even if it's the lame gym at my condo complex. I only took two days off to rest after the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but I'm giving my legs at least a week to recover before I go running again (although I'm super excited to get back out there)! My legs honestly felt ready to go for a run today, but I didn't want to push it. Today consisted of cross-training through walking on the treadmill at an incline (two sets of 5 minutes walking at 3.5 mph at an incline of 5, and 5 minutes of walking at 3.5 mph at an incline of 7) and following an adapted version of Julie at PBFinger's workout from yesterday (I only did two sets of her circuit, but I was SWEATY!). At my condo's gym, I didn't have access to a jump rope, so I simulated jumping rope for that portion of the workout.

Today's breakfast was one inspired by Amanda at Running with Spoons. I hardly ever eat cereal as something other than a snack, but Amanda put a new spin on cereal for me! It never crossed my mind to use yogurt as a base (if that's the right word) for cereal (since I don't drink milk and usually eat cereal dry) until I stumbled across her blog. So, for breakfast today, I had Stonyfield's 1 cup of Low Fat Organic Strawberry yogurt, 1/2 cup of frosted mini wheats, 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries, and 1 tbsp of chocolate chips. It was so yummy (Thanks, Amanda)!

Yesterday I went grocery shopping (9:30 am on a Tuesday is the time to go grocery shopping, there is no one there), so now I can return to the kitchen and share some new recipes since I've been slacking in the food department as of late. For dinner, I had couscous (the food so nice they named it twice) and roasted vegetables seasoned with honey and curry. It was so simple and super yummy! It had been added to the Pinterest board for sure!

Roasted Honey & Curry Vegetables with couscous

1/2 cup broccoli
10 asparagus spears
Half package of baby carrots
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp curry powder
salt (to taste)
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Roughly chop all vegetables and toss in olive oil. Add salt, curry powder, and honey; toss to coat. Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (longer if you want softer vegetables). Cook couscous according to package. When finished, transfer couscous to your serving dish and top with the roasted vegetables. Enjoy!

This recipe made two servings, so adjust it accordingly! I added a little drizzle of honey to the top of my vegetables after I placed them over the couscous, and it was so delicious. I'm excited to be back in the kitchen and I hope to have some more recipes to share with y'all soon!

Again, if you could all keep Anthony Liddell's family and friends in your thoughts today, that would be amazing. If you can, maybe throw on a little teal to show your support for the Chanticleers as they mourn the loss of a student today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Recap

Wow! What a fun weekend! The Disney Princess Half Marathon was everything I expected and more! It was well organized, had TONS of characters along the way, there were lots of encouraging fans, plenty of aid stations, and just tons of fun all around. I still can't believe I finished my first half marathon yesterday! :D Here's a recap (complete with lots of pictures) of my entire weekend!

I got into Disney World at about 11:30 am and waited to meet up with my cousins. After we got checked into their hotel room (I was crashing their pad for the weekend), we headed off to the race expo. There were a ton of runners and vendors there, and it was a very cool atmosphere. Even though there were a million people, it ran pretty smoothly and the lines moved relatively quickly. I bought a t-shirt, a tumbler, and a magnet to commemorate my weekend :D Belle and Jasmine were there, so naturally, I had to spend some time with my fellow Disney Divas. After the expo, we went to Epcot for dinner, where we went on the Finding Nemo ride and had dinner at the Coral Reef restaurant. I had a lot of yummy desserts this weekend, and it all started at the Coral Reef restaurant.

 Outside the race expo

 Minnie Mouse New Balance shoes
Chit-chatting it up with Belle
Epcot as the sun was setting

 Dessert from the Coral Reef 

 I also set my sight on these babies and decided I'd get one on Sunday

We got up and had an early lunch before heading to Hollywood Studios for the day. We did a lot of walking, but went on a ton of rides. We tried to get as many fast passes as possible, and ended up getting them for Tower of Terror, Rock 'n Roll rollercoaster, and the Toy Story ride. We went to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid (which should be the real name of my blog because I'm obsessed with the Little Mermaid and am convinced that I am Ariel), where we saw a 4-D shortened version of The Little Mermaid. I was singing all the songs and my cousin's daughter politely asked me to sing quieter (oops) and I thought that was pretty hilarious. We had dinner at Mama Melrose's in Hollywood Studios where I had an amazing pasta dish with rotini, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, onions, and a four cheese sauce. I'm having the leftovers for dinner tonight :D I also continued my carbo-loading by eating another beautifully delicious dessert. We went on the Toy Story ride and the Rock 'n Roll rollercoaster after dinner, then we went home so Tracy and I could go to bed early and be rested for race day!
 The real name of my blog
Ah-mazing cheesecake 

Sunday (Race day!):
Tracy and I woke up at about 3:30, but neither of us really slept. We both were awake all night, stressing out about what could go wrong/the race in general. We toasted half a bagel and were on the monorail by 4, which took us to Family Reunion area of the race. After we got into the race area, we walked through the tent and walked about 1/1.5 miles to the starting line. I had originally told them my time was going to be roughly 3 hours (I had no idea about my pace and hadn't trained at all for it when I signed up, although I was a regular runner) and was placed in corral E while Tracy was placed in Corral D, but she went back to Corral E with me so we could start together. The race started at 5:35, but we didn't start until 6:03. There was a ton of energy at the beginning of the race and it really pumped me up to run my hardest. Tracy and I separated almost immediately after we started because there were a TON of people around. I was dodging people from the beginning, but after I broke away from the initial crowd, I was able to set myself a nice, slow pace. Throughout the race, there were tons of opportunities to stop and take pictures with characters and props. I didn't stop and take as many pictures as I had anticipated because the lines were really long, I often didn't realize which characters were coming up until I passed them, my favorite characters weren't on the course, and I was feeling really good and didn't want to stop. I did stop for the princes between miles 9 and 10, I think (only because Prince Eric, my first crush, was there) and for Pocahontas at mile 8 (who is one of my top fave princesses, next to Ariel/Cinderella). I also stopped to have my picture taken in front of the castle at mile 5.5. Running through Cinderella's castle was so cool! There were people playing trumpets as we went through so we felt like real royalty :D King Mickey and Queen Minnie were there, but the line was too long so I just took pictures of them and not with them. The aid stations moved smoothly, and those were the only places where I walked (only about 10-20 steps). At mile 11, when we crossed into Epcot, I dug deep and ran my heart out. I have no idea what my pace was the entire race, but I knew that I was so close to the finish line and I just ran my fastest. I was shouting words of encouragement to the women who were beginning to walk now and I was dodging in and out of runners like it was my job. I sprinted to the finish line after I reached mile 13, and it was an amazing feeling! Donald and Goofy were waiting at the finish line and I was promptly handed my medal from a volunteer. I felt like a rockstar. I finished in 2:30, which I'm happy with, especially because it was my first half marathon, there were so many people, I stopped to take pictures, and I took a bathroom break. There's nowhere to go but up, right?! I felt amazing at the end, although my legs were sore. They felt much better after I foam rolled them, and I was ready for 8 hours at Magic Kingdom. I'm honestly surprised that Tracy and I made it that long.

 My take on Ariel at 3:30 am
 Fireworks to mark the start of the race
 [photo credit: run Disney]
 Running into the Magic Kingdom (poor photo quality)
 More Ariel obsession

 Sweaty, mile 5.5 near castle

 Running into the castle
 Half way point!
Love Pocahontas as well :D
 My shirt is changing color....

 Standing next to Prince Eric, my first crush. Trying to win me some men
 I did it! Notice how dark my shirt is now....

 My loot
Post race reward..sadly, I only finished half of it.

Race review:
There was a ton of support along the sidelines and I high-fived so many random people. A lot of the women who were running next to me were shouting words of encouragement. The aid stations moved very quickly and efficiently. Things were a little chaotic at the end, because after you cross the finish line and are handed your medal, you're funneled through an area where you're handed water, Powerade, snacks, and get your official picture taken. Then, you either stand there and look for your family or head back to the finish line after exiting the family reunion area. I tried to find my cousins and it was difficult, but I eventually found them and we went together to find my cousin after she crossed the finish line. If you're looking to PR, however, I don't think this is the race for you. There were over 23,000 racers and it was often difficult to get around people who were running together. There were also tons of distractions along the sidelines, which serve as an amazing mental break, but if you don't want to get out of your zone, I would suggest choosing another race. I had a blast though, and it was an amazing way to spend my first half marathon. I'm planning on running it again next year if anyone wants to run with me!

Sunday afternoon:
We spent the rest of the day at the Magic Kingdom, where I met Ariel (my twin), went on Dumbo for the first time ever, went on Space Mountain, a Monsters Inc. ride, a Goofy rollercoaster, met some characters, and watched the fireworks over Cinderella's castle. Somehow I went the whole trip without seeing Cinderella though, so I'm kind of bummed about that, but that just means I have to come back soon! Surprisingly, our legs held up after running 13.1 miles and walking 8 hours, but when we got back to the hotel, we had a quick dinner and then I passed out. I was exhausted!
 Obviously, we're obsessed with each other. BFFs.
 The castle is my favorite color!
I finally got my cupcake! Sadly, I only ate 1/4 of it (brought the rest home)

Sadly, my weekend at Disney came to an end this morning. I had breakfast with my cousins at the hotel and it was a character breakfast, so we got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy. It was tons of fun and the food was really good. I had oatmeal, vegetable quiche, cheesy hash browns, lots of pineapple, and a little Mickey waffle. I left right after breakfast so that my cousins could get on with their day, but I was really sad to leave. It was such a fun weekend. The hour drive back to my house really took a toll on my legs, though, because I was SUPER stiff after I got out of my car. It was really difficult to carry up all of my luggage with super stiff legs. 
How cute is this?

I'm going grocery shopping in the near future, so get ready for some new recipes! I know I've been slacking. I'm taking today of in terms of exercise, and I'll probably let my body tell me when it's ready. if I do any type of exercising this week, it'll be some form of cross-training. I'm going to let my legs recover before I go for a run, but I can't wait to get back out there! I also got something exciting in the mail today, so get ready for a product review in the near future :D 

How did you spend your weekend? Who's your favorite Disney character?

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Four Year Veggieversary!

First, I just want to share a photo of the delicious breakfast I ate the last two days. A bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, strawberries, almond slivers, and WHAT ARE THOSE? Chocolate chips. The chocolate chips were an amazing addition and I might just eat this breakfast for the rest of my life. It's so so yummy.

I'll be celebrating four years as a vegetarian on Monday, February 25th, but since that's the day after the half marathon, I plan on devoting my blog post of that day to my weekend at Disney and my experience with the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I get a lot of questions and comments about my diet, so I felt it would be appropriate to publish a post about my experience as a vegetarian on/near my Veggieversary! I have also created a board on Pinterest that has all of my recipes (so far) in one place so please check that out! The most common statements that I hear are "So and so was a vegetarian, but they didn't do it right and they got really sick" or "I knew this person who was a vegetarian but would only eat Doritos or cheese pizza and they got fat." Here are some FAQs and some of my tips for transitioning to vegetarianism (if you're interested in going that route).

FAQs About My Experience as a Vegetarian

1.) Why did you become a vegetarian? I was raised Catholic, so one year I decided to give up meat for Lent just to see if I could do it. Well, it turns out that I can, and I'm still going strong, 4 years later!
2.) I really like chicken/steak/pork, and I could never give that up. How do you do it? I used to LOVE chicken and I craved/missed it in the beginning, but now I find that I don't miss it at all and I am actually turned off at the sight of certain foods. It's incredibly hard at first, but you'll find out that you don't miss it after a while. Just like what I said about running, it's more of a mental thing than it is a physical limitation. 
3.) Are you a vegetarian for moral reasons? As I said in number 1, I first became a vegetarian just to see if I could do it. It has since evolved into a combination of personal preference, environmentalism, and moral reasons. I'm turned off by the thought of eating meat again because of its texture and look. I'm attracted to the vegetarian lifestyle because I am a hippie and an environmentalist and vegetarianism has a lower carbon footprint than meat (the majority of the time). If produce is farmed and bought locally (i.e. farmer's markets), less gas is needed to transport the produce from the field to the store to the table. Meat has such a high carbon footprint because the animals are transported from the farm to the slaughterhouse to the packaging company to the grocery store and then finally to the kitchen table. Now, some of the produce that we purchase has a high carbon footprint so I'm not saying it's 100% perfect, but it does appeal to me from an environmental standpoint. Finally, factory farming is a total turn-off to me. The animals raised in factory farms are not treated humanely, are fed items that are not a part of their natural diet, are loaded up with antibiotics to combat the diseases they are exposed to in the close quarters, and are subjected to a high amount of suffering. I do not want to support that kind of business. There are other options out there for purchasing meat, so I would suggest doing research on the options that are out there if this is something you are concerned with as well.
4.) Do you eat cheese/dairy? Do you eat eggs? Do you eat fish? Vegetarianism is a spectrum. In my opinion, it's not the black and white issue that some people (including strict vegetarians) seem to think it is. Yes, I eat cheese and ice cream, but I don't drink milk. That's just a personal preference; I don't like the taste of milk (unless it's ice cream) and I don't like the way milk makes me feel. I really only eat dairy in small amounts and try to choose other options if possible. I have been LOVING coconut milk lately (my favorite brand is So Delicious). I do not normally eat eggs by themselves, nor do I like them mixed into any of my food. I will eat them if they are baked into a cake or some other baked good (obviously), but if I'm baking on my own, I will bake without eggs. This is a personal preference as well; eggs weird me out. I don't like their texture or smell and they make my stomach hurt like crazy. If I have to eat any part of an egg, I will eat the egg whites. Fish.. this is a complicated subject. I used to eat fish a lot because my mom made me leave one source of meat in my diet and I chose fish because even though it's healthy, it's not something we can eat every day. I stray away from fish now because of the environmentalist in me; if a fish is not sustainably caught (I use Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Guide to make the decision), then I won't eat it. I typically only eat seafood now if I'm at home and my mom forces me to eat it. So long story short, I don't eat fish (that's just easier to tell people).  
5.) Is eating out difficult? It can be difficult to find something to eat at a steakhouse or some other "meat-oriented" restaurant, but almost all restaurants have options for vegetarians now. If not, it's really easy to make salads or sandwiches meat-free. I usually find something on the menu where I like all of the ingredients and ask for it without the meat. In terms of fast food, Five Guys has a veggie sandwich that comes with all of the hamburger fixings (lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, etc.) except for the patty. I've done this at multiple sit down restaurants and have had no issues either. 
6.) Did you notice any changes in your body after you switched to vegetarianism? Yes! I lost about 10-15 pounds relatively quickly. I was eating a lot more vegetables (obviously) and my body dropped some of the extra weight I was carrying around because I was eating meat. I also have a lot more energy, am rarely bloated (I used to be bloated often because meat is hard on the digestive system), and I just felt healthier. My skin also cleared up and I stopped craving fried foods/greasy foods. I noticed that I eat more often now, however. I'm sure it's a combination of my workouts and the fact that I eat a mainly plant based diet, but I snack every 2 hours and have a meal every 4 hours. I've found that this prevents me from overeating at meal times though, so I'm not complaining. 
7.) Are you a vegan? What's the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? I am not a vegan. I eat eggs, dairy, honey, and do not own an entire wardrobe that is animal friendly. A vegetarian is typically described as someone who abstains from meat (but may still consume other animal products), while a vegan abstains from all animal products, including clothing (fur, leather, etc.). That's just a simplistic overview of the differences and I know that there's more to it (sorry if I offend anyone). It's incredibly important to do research on the lifestyle that you're interested in transitioning to in order to make sure that you get everything you need (vitamins and minerals wise) from your new diet.
8.) Do you have any tips on becoming a vegetarian? First and foremost, I would suggest doing your research. As I mentioned before, I have a lot of people telling me that they knew people who were vegetarians and got really sick or got fat because they were not getting the proper nutrition or eating the correct foods. I am healthy, but I think it's because I did and continue to do a lot of research on vegetarianism. I eat a number of vegetables of different colors, a high amount of leafy greens (full of calcium and iron), quinoa, oatmeal, nuts, etc. There are a large number of resources available (and amazing cookbooks for vegetarians), so if you're interested, let me know and I'll send you some information! Another suggestion I have is to start slowly. It's tough to quit "cold turkey" (haha) so if you think you might have difficulties transitioning to a vegetarian diet, I would recommend beginning by slowly eliminating certain meats from your diet. I would also recommend making sure that you have a strong support group. My mom was really turned off by the idea of me being a vegetarian, but she slowly began reading labels and now enjoys cooking vegetarian meals because it breaks up the monotony of dinners at home and allows her to try new recipes.

If you have any more questions about my experience with vegetarianism, are curious about becoming a vegetarian, or are a vegetarian and have something to add to this list, please let me know!

I'm off to Disney World soon! Wish me luck! If you want to follow some of my antics over the weekend, follow me on Twitter for some updates!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Final Training Runs and Mid-Week Randomness

Training is winding down for the Disney Princess Half Marathon! This week's training plan consists of a 3 mile run, a 2-m pace run, and a 2-mile easy run (which I will complete tomorrow). I finished yesterday's 3-mile training run at a 9:10 pace (which is closer to what I expect to run) and I did today's 2-mile pace run at an 8:30 pace (Who am I? That's speedy for me!!). I think I like running 2 miles even less than I like running three miles because it doesn't seem long enough for me. It honestly feels like I am coming back home as soon as I left the door. Thankfully, I only had to do two of these training runs. It's hard to believe that the half is on Sunday! I've been waiting FOREVER to run it! Getting super excited/nervous :D This morning I was apparently a time-managing wizard, because I managed to do my training run, an ab workout, foam roll my hip flexors and IT band, eat breakfast, check my e-mail, shower, AND get to work on time. That's two days in a row where I've had my life together. Again, who am I?

I have a random assortment of things to share today, all of which are amusing to me. I have zero groceries and am living in carb city this week, which is okay because of my race on Sunday. I spent last weekend in Sarasota and I'm spending this weekend in Orlando, so I'm not bothering to go grocery shopping. I'll go when I get back on Monday...or maybe next Tuesday. We'll see. I also have realized that I have been slacking in the recipe sharing department (we all love pictures of food), so as soon as I go grocery shopping, I'll get back to sharing my meals with you! Remember how I shared my adventures with Europe and I talked about how they made puppets out of pipe cleaners for me? Well, they did it again on Friday, and I found this little gem by my feet this morning. It was a nice start to my day, since none of the students I work with did what they're supposed to do and I gave out a lot of poor grades today.

The swelling of my knee has gone down quite a bit and my scabs are starting to peel (gross), but my leg is starting to look better. The picture I took of it today was kind of grotesque, so here's a picture of the healing process that I took yesterday. Don't be a klutz.

I have also decided to update my Twitter description and to make my Twitter public so that I can use it to promote my blog. If you don't mind me being a little ridiculous/occasionally drunk/sharing links to my blog, you should follow me :D My Twitter update is now slightly hilarious (in my opinion), because of one little gem.

If you didn't find the hidden gem, here's a hint from Halloween 2011:

If you still didn't figure it out, then have someone else come to the computer and look at these pictures, cause you'll lose it (I hope) when you figure it out.

Since my So, You want to be a runner? blog post was really popular the other day, I have a similar post planned for Friday. It's not on running, but I hope it's on another topic that many of you will be interested in! I know that I'm interested in it :D Stay tuned!

What are your random thoughts of the day? What was your workout for the day?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Surviving Sarasota

Well, somehow I survived Sarasota..again. I think 22 can successfully be described as the year that I lost my mind, and I'm okay with that.

I rallied and got up at 8:30 am (after going to bed at 6 am) and was out the door to Sarasota by 9:15. I somehow stayed awake the entire 3-hour drive with no coffee, but I did eat 1.5 cucumbers on the way there. For some odd reason, cucumbers are my favorite road trip snack and I had a cucumber and a half that I had sliced up the night before because I hadn't used it all during the week. I got to Kel's at about 12:15 and we headed to lunch right away because we were both starving. We both really wanted Mexican food, so we headed down to Main Street to eat at Two Senoritas. There were SO many people out and we had to literally fight our way through the crowds to even get to the restaurant. When we got there, we were warned that we would have to wait to be seated because they were busy and were two servers short. We honestly didn't have to wait that long to be seated, but we did have to wait forever for our waiter to greet us and bring us waters. I ordered a margarita and Kel ordered a Mojito but we were both so disappointed in our drinks that we had to send them back. My margarita tasted like straight up syrup and I couldn't even drink it. So so sad. The salsa was amazing though and when my food came it was pretty decent. I got spinach enchiladas and Kel got a taco salad (which was not what she ordered, but we had already sent our drinks back so she just ate it anyway). While we were waiting for our plates to be cleared (which they never were), the doors to the outdoor patio literally exploded open on us; they jammed my fingers and Kelly screamed, but we couldn't stop laughing. Our check finally came, but he didn't ask us if we wanted separate checks and since we had so many difficulties already, we just put both of our cards into the billfold and split it down the middle. Big mistake. He charged my card twice and Kelly's card zero times. We had the manager fix it, but so far the other two charges haven't cleared from my bank account (fingers crossed I don't have to fight them!) I don't think we will be going back there again.

After we finished lunch, we ran to Trader Joe's because Kel wanted me to try their guacamole with Greek yogurt. I LOVE Trader Joe's, but we don't have one anywhere near Melbourne, so I bought a random assortment of snacks. I got a tub of dark chocolate almonds, a jar of cookie butter, and a dark chocolate coconut caramel bar. Again, there were 10,000 people there, but all of the items we purchased were worth waiting for.

When we got back to Kelly's house, we took a nap because we were planning on going out and I was running on almost zero sleep. After our nap, we ate about 3/4 of the tub of guacamole (which was AMAZING) and started getting ready to go out. It was really cold, but I had only packed one outfit for going out, so I sucked it up because being fashionable always outweighs practicality ;) We started out at the Hub and had mango margaritas, which were so much better than the one I tried earlier, and took a shot. The shot was huge and difficult to get down, but we were having fun and being silly so it didn't matter. We walked down the street to Old Salty Dog and got the LARGEST beers ever  (I don't know why I didn't take pictures of those) for 2.50 each. What a deal! We then went to Beach Club, where I was a dancing machine (per usual) and got really silly. I woke up the next morning with a knee swollen to the size of a softball, some scrapes, and lots of bruising. I'm not sure why the universe hates me in Sarasota, but last time, my shin got scraped and I have a scar. Maybe I just need to be more careful. We went to bed at 5:30, like crazy people, making that the second night in a row where I was up until an obscenely late time. Seriously, I've lost my mind.

 Mango Margs
 Red headed sluts
This picture does not do the damage justice (don't worry, it won't interfere with my race)

In the morning, I rallied the troops and we met our friend Justin (from college, he lives in Tampa) for an amazing breakfast at Station 400. I was STARVING and took zero pictures of my meal, but I had an egg white omelet with goat cheese, asparagus, and chives. It was served with rye toast and hash browns. I don't usually like eggs, but this was pretty good. I also had an amazing strawberry mimosa with strawberry pearls at the bottom of the glass. After breakfast, we went to Siesta Key to show Justin around and had a beer at the Daiquiri Deck before it was time for Justin to head back to Tampa.  Kel and I then ran a few errands before heading back to her house, where I finished the rest of the guac, took a power nap, and we got ready for lady date part 5000. We went to Eat Here on Siesta Key and it was AMAZING! We were living in carb city there, but it was so worth it. We got their bruschetta, which consisted of chopped tomatoes, pesto, and an olive tapenade. We also got a vegetable pizza and the best grilled cheese ever. The grilled cheese was made with garlic bread and had muenster and gueyre cheeses and carmelized onions. Holy. cow. We also had these amazing pomegranate martinis. Seriously, I was in a food coma by the time we went home. We really wanted ice cream, so we walked over to an ice cream shoppe before we realized that they were cash only and we had spent all of our cash already. We thought we would go back to the Beach Club then for their happy hour, but once we got there, we decided that we did not want to be there, so we just went home. We relaxed and watched a movie before going to bed at a reasonable time.

 Grilled cheese to die for
 Pomegranate Martini

Kel was going to Disney World today with her work, so we were up and out of the house by 5:30 am. I got home by 9 and got right into bed. I was and still am exhausted. I also had the most ridiculous road rage ever while I was driving. I hardly ever get road rage because you never know who's crazy and who's going to hurt you if you get mad at them, but today I was literally just screaming in my car because I caught every red light and people were driving so so slow. I think it was just the fact that I was overexhausted and just wanted to be home, because I feel a lot better now.

How was your weekend? Have you ever felt like you have lost your mind (in a good or in a bad way)?

Friday, February 15, 2013

So, you want to be a runner?

Today has been a VERY exciting day so far! First, I found out that I won Running in Heel's ENERGYbits giveaway! I am SO excited to get my sample and then do a review for you on my blog :D I'm starting to feel like a real life fitness/health/life blogger (maybe a company will send me free products now? *wink wink nudge nudge*) Then, I finally conned my football coaches out of free football swag for being the tutor ! It only took me a semester and a half of bothering them, but I got them! I'm so excited to be official now :P I went for a 5.5 mile pace run (at 9:20 average pace) before I went to Target to get my clearanced Valentine's Day candy! I was a disgusting and sweaty mess, but I walked away with a package of dark chocolate M&Ms, peanut butter M&Ms, and 2 packages of Dove promises. I also got a clearanced Champion C9 long-sleeved running top, which I'm currently wearing (along with my $5 yoga shorts) because it's so comfy. I am a happy girl today.
The loot

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions from my friends about starting to run. I figured it would be appropriate to do a post on running since I am running my first half marathon in 9 days! At this time last year, I was finishing up physical therapy for my dislocated knee cap and could barely run two miles without stopping for multiple breaks or without having any knee pain. Running 13.1 miles was not even on my radar. After I finished therapy, I started to run more and more, but I couldn't get further than 2.5 miles without taking breaks and just giving up. I thought I would never get past that distance, and while I was happy that I was able to run, I was beyond frustrated with myself. Then, a conversation I had with another runner changed my life, and it's going to be number one on my list:

So you want to be a runner: 

1) Your body can carry you further than you think; quitting is more mental than it is physical. The runner who I spoke with told me "Just set a goal in your head and don't stop until you reach that goal. Your brain is giving up before your legs and lungs are." If you're just starting out, this can be as simple as telling yourself "I'm going to run to the end of the block" or "I'm going to run for five minutes." If you've been running for a little bit but are having trouble increasing your distance, tell yourself "I'm going to run X miles." You might feel like you're dying in the beginning (the first mile is ALWAYS the worst for me), but don't give up (but don't overexert/hurt yourself). I promise you that this will change your running life.

2) Get yourself some good gear. Do NOT skimp on running shoes (they are expensive but totally worth it), get yourself some proper clothing (if you have thick thighs like me, cotton shorts are not your friend and will cause you to chafe once you start going long distances), and download an app (if you have a smart phone). If you take care of your feet, they will take care of you. Ill-fitting shoes or old shoes will give you shin splints, feet problems, and blisters, all of which are ZERO fun. I got compression shorts (moisture wicking) for my birthday this year and I LOVE them. I wear them for any distance over 6 miles because that's when I find that I start to chafe. It's important to have the correct t-shirt style too (if you wear t-shirts while you run) because sometimes your stomach/chest can chafe as well. If you want to track your distance, I'd recommend using some sort of application on your smart phone. I use MapMyRun, but Nike+ is a good app and I've heard good things about RunKeeper as well. MapMyRun talks to you at each mile, telling you your overall time, your distance, and your average pace. They also recently updated it to tell you your split times, which is super cool because the app is FREE! Amazing.

3) Just start. Don't make excuses! Find a time that works for you, and just do it! If you're not sure where to start or are afraid of burning out, there are a lot of programs out there designed to help runners get started. Couch to 5k is a popular program that is 9-weeks long and is designed to get you from the couch to a 5k (3.1 miles) race! I didn't use a program when I first started out, I kind of just went with it! I did use Hal Higdon's Novice 2 training plan to train for my half marathon; I chose Novice 2 based on what I was running before I started training, but there are multiple levels for various distances.

4) Find your motivation. Figure out why you want to run, and use that to remind yourself why you're running when you have days where you just do not feel like moving. My motivation for running began because I was looking to lose weight and I knew running would grant me more calories for more food during the day. Eating more food is a great motivator for me now, but my motivation for running has since evolved into a love for running. There are very few days where I have to convince myself  to get out of bed and go running, but when I do, I remind myself how free and how amazing I feel after I run. Running gives me more energy, allows me to think and breathe, and gives me a high like I could never explain. Being sweaty is my favorite feeling. 

5) Running gives you a sense of community. Runners ALWAYS smile and say hello to each other as they pass; they even high-five sometimes. It's nice to be a part of a community and it's a way to break the ice when you find someone else who runs. Honestly, I've had so many conversations with random people where we compare our experiences with running and give each other advice and encouragement. 

I also want you guys to know that if you run ANY distance, you're a runner. You don't have to run every day, run any races, or win any medals, but if you run, you are a runner. No one will look down on you for running a half mile or a half marathon because there are people out there who cannot do that and you should take pride in your accomplishments. Good luck to all those who are starting to run! If you have any questions, let me know!

To my readers who are runners, what would you add to this list?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recommitting to Healthy Living and My New Fitness Best Friends

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which marked the start of the Lenten season. I am not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but I was raised in a home where we always observed Lent and I'm trying to at least continue that tradition living on my own. Even if you're not religious, the Lenten season (or any period of fasting) is an excellent opportunity to make yourself a better person. While I am really committed to working out and eating well (for the most part), I have an issue with snacking late at night/overeating after drinking. For Lent this year, I'm giving up late night snack fests (aka slices of pizza after drinking) and I'm taking on strength training through body weight exercises. Yesterday, I used this Ab Exercise created by Brooke at Running in Heels. I didn't do the 8 minute run because I had run in the morning, but the other exercises killed my abs (Thanks, Brooke!). This morning I did 8 Minute Abs and it killed me, per usual. Since today was my "rest" day, I'm only doing abs and I might do some yoga in the evening, but that's it. Tonight will be the first test of my "stop eating everything in sight" resolution for Lent. It will probably mean eating a bigger dinner before I go out or drinking less beer, but both of these are achievable feats, and I think I can do it. I'll let you know ;)

In honor of Valentine's Day today, I bought myself a few little presents when I was at Walmart picking up supplies to put together my Valentines gifts for my friends. I have two favorite purchases: my new foam roller and my new yoga shorts ($5). I've never really used a foam roller, but my IT band was REALLY tight on my right side yesterday, so instead of bothering Mike and the football team, I bought my own (it was $15, not expensive at all). Holy. Cow. I felt AMAZING afterwards, although I'm kind of bruised along my sides right now. I can't wait to do it again. I rolled out my hip flexors, my back, my IT band, and my shins. LOVE IT. Seriously, my new BFF. I didn't take a picture of me foam rolling because I was wearing my new yoga shorts and I wasn't sure if the world really wanted to see how bootylicious I am. I seriously love these shorts; they're comfy, they're so soft, they're not too tight, and they make my butt (my favorite body part) look fabulous. What more could a girl ask for? I'm seriously debating going back for more. I also bought a new pair of running shorts ($6) but I haven't tried those out yet.

I have been distributing Valentines gifts to my friends today and I'm having a blast. It always feels so nice to give things to people, even if it's a small thing. Tonight, I have a lady date with some friends. We're planning on ordering a heart shaped pizza from Papa John's and drinking some beer. Then, we're going to Main Street (since it's Thursday) and I plan on distributing more Valentines to random people. I'm also debating whether or not Valentine's Day is an excuse to wear my pink tutu from Halloween... I think it is, but I'm not sure if I'll look like a total weirdo just running around in a hot pink ballerina tutu.

I thought it was fitting to take a picture of my Valentine's Day gifts for friends against my pink walls

Happy Valentine's Day, my loves! Do you have any special plans? Did you make anything to hand out to the people you love?