Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Downside of Being a Planner

First of all, I changed my layout around so that it's easier to navigate the page! It's still super girly and really pink (like the rest of my life), but hopefully there won't be any issues with finding links/leaving comments anymore! I also created a page on Facebook, so please do me a huge favor and like me.

I am a huge planner. Things usually get done how I want them and I am not afraid to admit that. I have gotten better, but being in total control is something that I am still working out. Last night I hadn't planned on going out, but when a friend told me it was her birthday this weekend, I had to go out! I went out a little earlier than she did. I was wearing my hot pants (on a side note, if I never had to wear normal jeans, I would be so happy) and had already gotten a lot of weird compliments, my favorite being "Rachel, you have some huge legs in those pants. Do you work out?" by the time my friend got there.
The amount of selfies I take has increased exponentially thanks to Instagram
We hung out a little bit and I went home relatively early because I knew that even though I went out, I had to do a long run today. As I was leaving the bar, I got a text message from the very person who has been my source of confusion these last two weeks. By the time I got home, the text message had turned into a conversation, which turned into another hour of conversation, which ended in an hour phone call. Being the planner that I am, I knew that this would happen and I did not want to have that conversation last night, if ever. One of my issues with being a planner is that I think WAY too far ahead, but what I predict is going to happen, usually does. I'd like to say that because I am very in tune with myself, others, and what's going on around me, I have a pretty good idea about what's going to happen. I'm psychic (kidding). But because I was planning way too far ahead and expressing my fears, I got upset. I didn't want to get upset. Like I said, I didn't even want to have that conversation. Our phone conversation turned from one addressing the issues to a normal conversation, which I think spells trouble for us. I ended up going to bed at 4:30 my long run didn't happen today. We are both in a time of confusion right now (for different reasons) and it's scary to see how quickly and how easily we can fall back into our old routine. I'm trying to be patient and not plan ahead or overanalyze anything, but I'm interested to see how this plays out. That's another downside of being a planner. I'm always so excited and so anxious for the end result that I sometimes forget to live and enjoy the journey to get there. I think I've gotten way better with that these past six months because I've been having a blast and have had so many amazing experiences, but it took my world being turned upside down for me to be able to do that.

However, now that my morning routine has been screwed up, I'm feeling a little anxious because it's warm outside (a little warmer than I'd like even for a short run) and I haven't done a workout. I don't really want to do an in-home workout, but I can't ride my bike because someone stole it from under my porch. It's a dilemma. Let's hope the rest of my day does as planned. I'm hosting dinner "party" number one tonight (where I'm attempting a homemade veggie pot pie) and I'm hosting another dinner party tomorrow, so I have a lot of prep work to do for both! Wish me luck!

Happy Saturday!

Are you a planner? What was your Saturday workout?

And ps. I recognize I've been complaining (sort of) lately, so here's this to laugh at:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Treadmill Workout And Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pockets

Yesterday, it was freezing in Florida, and my house is super drafty, so I couldn't warm up enough to justify running outside. I decided that instead of throwing in the towel, I would attempt a treadmill workout. Well guys, I survived! I only did 20 minutes, but I switched it up enough that my brain didn't explode from boredom and that is a success in itself.  Here's the workout I did!

It's not exciting by any means and I'm not speedy, so if you use it, you may need to adjust it based on your speeds! 6.5 mph is a slower pace for me and is very maintainable, but I'm trying to take it easy so as not to aggravate my IT band. I really liked doing the sprints, and I think I could have held out for longer, but one minute was enough for yesterday's workout. I think I might add more sprints on my next workout. I did a short arm workout and some lunges before I went on with the rest of my day.

Since I've been so slack with posting new recipes lately, I created a brand new one last night and wanted to share it. It was delicious and I did most of the prep work before I left for class so that I could pop them in the oven when I got home. Here is the recipe for some delicious Sweet Potato and Black Bean pockets:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pockets

2 Sweet Potatoes
1/2 Cup black beans
1 package Big & Flaky Pillsbury rolls

Microwave the sweet potatoes for 2 minutes to soften them up so that they are easier to peel. Let stand for 10 minutes and peel. Boil or microwave (for 3 more minutes) until potatoes are soft enough to mash. Mash your sweet potatoes. Unroll the Pillsbury dough and separate the triangles. Spread mashed sweet potatoes onto the dough and add black beans (as many as you'd like). Roll the dough from the wide part towards the center, sealing the edges together. Take the narrow end of the roll and roll it over your fat, sealed ball of sweet potatoes and black beans. Repeat for the rest! You'll get about 8 little ones out of it. Bake for 20 or so minutes at 350 degrees and enjoy!

I ate mine as the main course and threw together a nice spinach salad with cucumbers, onion, carrots, cottage cheese, and sundried tomatoes.They were super yummy, and not a bad creation for coming out of my brain. Anyone else notice that I like using biscuits for holding other foods and not as regular biscuits? Apparently, I like to share workouts I've created alongside my biscuit recipes, because that's what I did last time, too (I noticed when I clicked the link).

On an ending note, it seems like all of my blogger friends have been on the same wave-length as me lately and have been sharing motivational posts or posts that provide insight and guidance for me. I'm still as confused as I was on Tuesday, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that I need to be patient and follow my heart. There are people in my life who are being very negative about the situation, so when I try and talk to them, I shut down immediately when I feel like they have stopped listening. However, there have been some people in my life who tell me to follow my heart and say they will support me no matter what. And thank you all for dealing with my vagueness and offering your kind words and messages :D

I want to share the best part of my run this morning. When I was getting close to the end, I ran past an old man who stopped what he was doing, put his broom down, and clapped loudly and yelled "Good Morning!" as I passed by. If you're feeling frustrated or down today, just think of that old man clapping and cheering for you, and I guarantee you will have a better day!

Happy Thursday! Stay safe...I know I need a drink (or 12)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A New Take on Taco Tuesday

I have been seriously slacking in the recipe department, and if you follow the blog's Pinterest board, you've probably noticed that it hasn't been updated lately. Oops! I promise I am still cooking delicious things, but nothing has been interesting enough to share on the blog! That is about to change.

Last night, I put a twist on "Taco Tuesdays." Instead of going the usual route and making some black bean tacos, I created a Taco Stuffed Mushroom. Oh. My. Goodness. It was delicious. It was also probably the most spectacularly plated food I have ever created in my life. If you love stuffed mushrooms, I highly recommend this recipe.

Taco Stuffed Mushroom
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup black beans
2 tbsp salsa
1 piece sliced Monterrey Jack cheese
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
Avocado Slices
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Place spinach in the cap of the mushroom. Top with black beans, salsa, and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 375*. Top with Greek Yogurt and avocado slices. Enjoy!

This was really good! If you're not a vegetarian, I'm sure you could add some seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken (whatever you would add into a taco) and it would be tasty. I placed the spinach on the bottom of the mushroom so that the other toppings would weigh it down and so that it would take up some of the moisture from the mushroom cap and get nice and soft. I ate the rest of the avocado as guacamole on the side, but that wasn't pictured because it made my beautiful food picture look not-so-nice. 

On an ending note, I want to thank all of you who reached out to me in regards to yesterday's post. I think it's going to take a while for me to sort things out, but I appreciate that you are all thinking of me! Seriously, you're my favorites.

I'm off to attempt a treadmill workout because I can't warm up this morning (aka it's 45 degrees in FL). Wish me luck, because we all know that I hate running indoors.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Weekend Recap & Returning to Running as Therapy

Hi everyone! I am still alive, but I've been busy the last few days! This post is going to be another semi-serious one (sorry for that lately), so I'll start with my weekend recap first to lighten the mood :D

I started Friday morning out with the rowing machine and could only do 20ish minutes before it totally kicked my butt. I'm planning on doing it again at least once this week as it was a fun workout and I was sore for two days afterwards. It has been a while since I have been that sore after a workout, and it felt great.

Then, I spent the rest of my afternoon doing field observations for my education class. By field observations, I mean I sat on the beach, looked at the ocean, watched the birds, and got a suntan. Tough life.
On Saturday, I got up and did some yoga and foam-rolling to take care of this pesky IT band. Then, I headed out to Clearwater Beach to get some sunshine before I met up with my cousins! They were coming to the Tampa area for their family vacation, and since Tampa is relatively close to my house, I crashed their party. I met up with them at about 5 pm, and we began Drinkfest 2013. We drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of candy, and later on, my cousin, Kye, and I went in the hot tub and had a nice heart-to-heart. We also stole a fun noodle, a beer coozie, and a plastic wine glass that were left at the pool. Given my history, I'll have to say "sorry, not sorry."

On Sunday, the drinking began after breakfast and continued on the beach, where we all ended up with weird sunburns. We ate dinner, continued drinking, and then watched the end of the tournament on TV. The nice thing about day drinking is that you can be in bed by midnight and not be ashamed. I left yesterday morning and did some projects when I got home. I also went to bed really early because I was exhausted. This weekend was exactly what I needed and I didn't even realize that I needed a getaway like this. Sometimes it takes spending time with family and loved ones to make you realize what you have been missing.

Onto a more serious note: running as therapy. I returned to running this morning and did a slow two miles at 9:22 min/mi because I didn't want to do too much too quickly and irritate my IT band. I really needed to run today because I have had a lot of my mind lately. It has been a long time where I needed to go for a run as therapy, but I think I have a lot more of these runs in my future again. I'm going to be very vague with these details, because I could be over-analyzing a situation that hasn't happened (and may not even happen), but as a planner, it's hard not to think ahead. I have always been one to follow my heart and that has lead me to some amazing places. Even the times where my heart has led me into situations that have left me hurt, I never regretted it because I knew it made me happy at one point and it was exactly what I needed at that point in my life. But when is it time to stop listening to your heart and listen to your head? Can there ever be happiness when logic and the brain take over a situation and the heart is no longer in charge? I'm not sure I have ever listened to my brain over my heart, but I have always heard the voice in my head when it came time to make a decision. My therapy runs allow me to evaluate my thoughts and find (or attempt to find) a balance between my heart and my logic. Right now, I think my heart is ready to use logic and that I would continue to be happy, no matter what. It's hard to think about situations like this with other people, though, becuse their thoughts and logic become muddled in your thoughts, logic, and the voice of your heart. I believe in following my heart, and I think these therapeutic runs will help figure things out and process all of the information and advice being thrown at me by other people.

Let's end on this picture of me that's basically saying... it's time to get a hair cut. Anytime I can put my hair in any type of pony tail, it's too long.

When was a time that you followed your heart and no one understood your decision(s) but you? Do you tend to use logic or impulse more when making decisions? 

If you want more specifics about what I've been reflecting about, feel free to e-mail me! If you want to share a personal story that you think might help me stress less, feel free to e-mail me as well!

I'm going grocery shopping right now, and I have a dinner invention in my brain, so if it works out, be sure to check the blog tomorrow for the recipe!!  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Life Full of Awesome (and Awkward) Moments

Since my grumpy IT band has had me in a little bit of a sad slump these last few days (don't worry, I've been cross-training like a boss), I have spent some time reflecting on my super awesome (and sometimes awkward) moments in my life. Let's start with the awkwards.

My life these last six months has become one awkward moment with the opposite sex. Most of these moments occur at the bar, with men telling me that I'm attractive (a plus) but going about it in such a weird way. For example, I had a man tell me that he liked my slouchy hat, and when I thanked him, he told me that I looked like Toadstool from Mario Brothers, but in a super cute way (still trying to figure that one out):
Thanks, bro? [source]
I have also had a guy have to get psyched up to talk to me (I observed it happening), and when he finally came up to talk to me, he told me he was too good to go to school where I went to undergrad, so I took my free beer and walked away in a true diva style. I've also gone on some awkward dates/hangouts. One date was with this guy who was really nice, but not really my type. I decided to give him a chance. Well, during drinks, he told me that he lost his license to a DUI about 4 years ago and hasn't bothered to get it back. How the heck did he expect to take me on more dates!?! I also had another guy tell me that he had a warrant out for his arrest in another state. Cool.. My favorite one is a guy who I had a HUGE crush on after my ex and I broke up. That ended when this guy asked me to do cocaine with him someday. Apparently, I lost all judgment when it came to men because I had been out of the dating pool for three years. Oops. Yesterday, I hung out with a guy from Holland, and I'm not really sure what that situation was. I had met him a couple weeks ago and spoke to him for a short bit before I left. I saw him last Saturday, he remembered my name, and he asked for my number. He also made some other comments that made me think he was interested in me. We met up on campus yesterday around lunchtime. I thought we would get a casual lunch and that this would be a "pre-date" to assess if we wanted a real date. Well, we ended up just walking around on his break and chit-chatting, but it was totally awkward. I think he felt awkward because English isn't his first language, but he laughed at inappropriate places and laughed at things I told him about myself that were not ridiculous (i.e. I didn't tell him about my love of pickles or my crippling fear of horses). We ended things on a friendly note and he lingered just a little too long, but today his texts don't seem like he's interested? Maybe it's just because he's foreign, or maybe I'm just too weird to love. Either way, I'm not upset about it. I actually live for awkward moments.

Even though my life is full of sitcom moments (hence the name of this blog), it is also full of amazing moments that I do not take time to reflect on and enjoy. Here's a minor list of things I am thankful for and reasons I am blessed:
1. Parents who have never told me "no." My parents have 100% supported me in everything that I do and have never told me that I couldn't chase my dream. I told them I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was five years old and they nurtured and encouraged that all through K-12. When it came time to go to college, they sent me away to South Carolina so I could pursue my degree in marine biology. When I was the first to graduate from college (with a degree in marine bio) in December 2011, they couldn't have been prouder of me. In August, they helped me move to Florida to pursue my Masters degree. They have been an unfaltering support system throughout the years and I am so lucky to have parents like them.

2. Best friends located all over the country and the world. I have been lucky to meet a lot of people from a lot of different places. I am always happy to come back to my best friends from high school as well as to have best friends in Canada and Germany. How awesome is my life that I can share in different cultures and still maintain contact with these people? 

3. Island Dolphin Care. Island Dolphin Care is such a healing place and I am so lucky to have been a part of it (and continue to be a part of it). IDC helped heal me when I was going through hell, and I am happy to announce that I will be conducting my research for my thesis there :D I will be developing marine science programs that will hopefully turn into a program that will allow me to become a full-time employee.

4. Failure. Without failure, we would never know success! I am thankful for failed relationships, heartbreak, and failed runs, etc. Failure has actually set me free and has allowed me to become the woman I am today. These last six months have been amazing and have helped me to discover a new side of me. 
5. Running. Even though I've taken a few days off from it, I am thankful for running. I am thankful for the freedom it gives me, the relief it gives me, and the lessons it has taught me about limits, both mental and physical. Running has helped me to develop a positive mindset and I would be lost without it. 
6. Life. I'm just thankful to have this life. I am 22 years old, live in Florida in a gorgeous condo, have had experiences with sea turtles and dolphins, am teaching in Costa Rica this summer, get paid to teach in 3 different settings, have amazing friends, have amazing siblings, parents, and friends, and I wake up every morning. What more could I ask for?

What makes your life awesome? Have you had any awkward moments lately?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Weirdness with my IT Band and Shaking Up My Workout Routine

We're gonna start with some sad news. Nugget, the raccoon I rescued, didn't make it :( At least he was warm, loved, and cared for in his last moments. RIP lil Nugs.

Now, onto business. My IT band has been bothering me off and on lately. I foam roll, ice, and stretch excessive amounts, but I have only gotten temporary relief. Saturday, after dancing on Friday night, I could only run two miles before I felt a twinge of pain. I headed home and did yoga and foam rolling and felt a lot better Sunday. I went for my normal run on Monday and felt great when I got home. I iced my hip (because that's where it's been bothering me), and when I removed the ice, I noticed that a six-inch long area of my hip (from below the hip bone to just past the joint, on my right side) was hard, swollen, and red. This lasted for roughly 18 hours, and was virtually gone when I went for a run this morning. I only ran 1.5 miles this morning and did some foam rolling with I came home, and I haven't noticed any issues with it. My hip is still very tight and is tender in some spots, but the swollenness/firmness has gone away. It is definitely not a rash, but I was hoping someone could help me out? WebMD has me convinced it's either bursitis (inflammation of the bursae along the hip) or some disease. I'm leaning towards the bursitis. Below is a picture of hip anatomy and what I'm experiencing:

From the arrow indicating the IT tract to the bursae is the area where I'm experiencing tightness/tenderness. That's also the area where the redness/inflammation was. I haven't taken any prolonged rest periods since the Princess Half, where I took a week off from running (but not from other exercises). The irritation started up after that rest period. I am taking today, Wednesday, as an impromptu rest day because I woke up and my hip was bothering me. All advice would be greatly appreciated! If you want a terribly awkward photo of the situation, I will be happy to provide one ;)

On another note, I'm looking to shake up my workout routine, especially if I have to take time off from running. I HATE workout DVDs, but I'm debating trying some out. I also haven't found an exercise routine that makes me feel as amazing as running does, so that kind of limits my options. Here are my top contenders (based on reviews that I've seen on myfitnesspal and on Amazon):

I am open to suggestions about workouts besides DVDs or I would love DVD suggestions from people who formerly hated at-home workouts and got into them. I am looking to tone up and get rid of my lil gut! I just want to break my body out of the running rut that I think it's in and become a better runner!

I have a rendezvous with the opposite sex this afternoon, and if it goes really well I will be reporting back. Also, if it goes Undercover Diva:A Sitcom-style, as my life usually does, be sure that I'll be reporting all the comedic happenings for your enjoyment.

How do you handle an injury? How long do you give your body to rest and recover?

Happy Wednesday! Happy First Day of Spring! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Weekend Recap

In case you were too busy being Irish this weekend, here's what you missed!

Just Do It: Finding Your Motivation

People Actually Read My Blog? 

This weekend was a blast! I had every intention of staying in on Friday because I had gone out on Thursday and I knew that Saturday was going to be a big night. Chris and Brooke called me around 10:30 and asked me to come out, so I got dressed and headed downtown. There were a lot of people dressed in green, which was confusing, as all of the festivities were on Saturday. Friday consisted of a lot of dancing, a little drinking, and a blast from the past that made me temporarily sad, but that was solved by good friends and lots of dancing.

On Saturday, I got up early because I wanted to get 10 miles in before I started indulging in St. Patrick's Day activities. I was only able to do 2 miles before my hip really started bugging me, so I quit while I was ahead in order to avoid further injury. I went home and did yoga and foam rolling, followed by a quick nap. I went out to the store in an attempt to buy Green River soda because I wanted a green mixer since I had planned on only drinking one green beer that night when we were downtown (I was expecting to not be served because there would be too many people). I couldn't find Green River, so I bought some Diet 7Up and lime Crystal Light. I headed over to Chris and Brooke's and then got started. Because I was drinking liquor and I usually drink beer, I was tipsy after two drinks. We ordered a pizza and then headed downtown to partake in the festivities! As soon as we got there, we went on a mission to find green beer, because I wanted at least one for the night. This is the majority of the rest of my night in pictures...

 Those thigh-highs were supposed to be knee-highs
 Green beer :D
 Me with my green beer :D
Random tall men I asked to take pictures with me

On Sunday, I got up early because I was babysitting a classmate's dog and she was dropping him off at 7:30. After he was dropped off, I went back to bed for a couple hours until I got up to make some banana and chocolate chip waffles. The green baked out on the surface, but they were very green inside :D Super yummy! I think I've had enough green food coloring this weekend to last me a lifetime. For dinner, I had shamrock and pots o' gold cheese raviolis with roasted vegetables and sauteed spinach in my homemade broccoli pesto. They were so cute and really yummy :D

Thankfully, today my hip felt better, so I did 4.5 miles at 9:03 min/mi pace, iced it, and I will probably do some foam rolling in a bit!

Happy Monday!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

People Actually Read My Blog?

It’s been going around the blog world and I was nominated  by  Sharsti @ The Blonde Hair Blue Eyed Runner ! Thank you, so, so much!!

What is a Liebster Award?
1. This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
3. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
5. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.

Eleven Random Facts About Me

1.  I have an irrational fear of horses. More specifically, I have an irrational fear that horses are going to bite my Achilles tendons. I don't like being anywhere near horses, seeing pictures of them, or watching them on TV. I get really anxious even thinking about horses. It's irrational and illogical, but it's real.

2. Hearing people eat or breathe causes me a lot of anxiety as well. If I can hear someone eat, it's all I can focus on and I get really anxious and panicky. But, it's rude to ask people to eat quietly, so I either leave the room or try my best to ignore them.

3. I'm not a huge sports fan, but I am really attracted to athletes. There's just something about an athletic man who is either currently playing a sport or is retired from a sport that I find really attractive. I think I associate it with a healthy lifestyle, and that's ALWAYS attractive. Also, if they are 6'4 or taller, that makes them double attractive. Know any single, 20-something athletes who are tall? Send them my way ;)

4. The Little Mermaid has always been and will always be, my FAVORITE movie. My heart is in the ocean and I would love to be an underwater princess. Ariel and I are BFFs.

5. Matt Nathanson is my absolute favorite artist in the history of all of the music I have listened to (I am not a music connoisseur by any means). I love his voice, his sound, his music, and I really connect to all of his lyrics. I have seen him twice in concert, met him both times, and plan on getting a tattoo of "Little Victories" which is one of my favorite songs of his and holds a really amazing message. He is also incredibly sweet to all of his fans and I cannot wait to see him on tour again this summer.

"Little Victories" - Matt Nathanson

6. I am a non-native Spanish speaker in that I am highly proficient (almost fluent) in Spanish and I was not raised speaking it. No one else in my family speaks it. I started learning in eighth grade and continued through college. I was the translator for my group when we went to Costa Rica during the summer before my sophomore year of college and I have gotten to use it during various jobs/internships and I'll get to use it this summer when I'm teaching about sea turtles in Costa Rica! I wish I could speak Spanish all of the time.

7. I love learning and would be in school for the rest of my life if that was affordable. However, since it is not affordable, I will be an environmental educator for nonformal programs after I finish my Masters next May and continue learning through advancements in the field of marine biology as well as from the kids/adults I teach!

8. When I started blogging, I never expected anyone to read it except for maybe a few friends. It's not like I have a ton of readers, but I have readers that I have never met and I've found blogs that I LOVE reading that are written by people I have never met. I love the blogging community and I think I'd get along really well with these ladies if I ever have the chance to meet them!

9. I was born and raised in Chicago, but I think Florida is going to be my home for a long time. I went to undergrad in SC, but always knew that I would be leaving there. I worked in NC, but I knew that was temporary. Florida feels different; Florida makes me happy, there are so many job opportunities here, and the weather is a million times better than anywhere else I have lived, even when it's at its worst.

10. Dill pickles are my absolute favorite food. I could eat an entire jar in a single sitting.

11. I have seen every single episode of Law and Order: SVU on Netflix. During my junior/senior year of high college, I watched 10(ish) years worth of SVU. I have NO idea what it is about the show that I love, but I can't get enough of it. Even the bad acting and real-life scenarios cannot scare me away!

Questions from Sharsti:

1.Favorite movie: The Little Mermaid (I didn't realize this was a question when I did my fun-facts!)
2. If I could be anywhere right now where would I be? In a Spanish-speaking country, exploring nature and the culture
3. What’s my favorite workout? Running, by far. There's no competition.

My Questions:

1. If you could rid the world of one animal, what would it be?
2. What was your favorite subject in school?
3. If you could have one job in the entire world, what would it be?
4. What strange fears do you have?
5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
6. What is your favorite part about blogging/being a blogger?
7. Have you ever had an injury that has kept you from working out? What was it?
8. What is your favorite beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)?
9. Are you a jealous person?
10. If you could eat one food with no regard for calories, what would it be?
11. What is one thing that you want to do before you die?

And I nominate:
Cori @ OliveToRun
Rachel @ Her Name Is Rachel
Lisa @ Yo Momma Runs
Brooke @ Running In Heels

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just Do It: Finding Your Motivation

An unexpected turn of events last night got me thinking about Nike's phrase "Just do it" and about my motivation for running, working out, and maintaining my healthy lifestyle. It was interesting to think about how my motivation has changed since I first began and it also forced me to examine excuses.

Many people say to me "I wish I could run" or "I wish I could be a vegetarian" or ask me how I find the motivation to get up and get my workout done for the day. My answer is a straight-forward one: I just do it. I go to bed at a reasonable time, or if I'm up late, I use that as a lesson to manage my time better because I still force myself to do a workout in the morning. On the days when I don't feel like getting out of bed, I just do it. Making excuses is not going to get me anywhere and I know that I will feel so much better about myself after I do that workout. I have also found that the people who are saying "I wish" instead of "I can" are the ones who have not put forth a true effort to do whatever activity they are wishing they could do. My advice? Just do it. And REALLY do it. Put forth an effort to conquer that activity and never stop. Unless you have a physical limitation or have a doctor's backing for not doing a certain activity, then do it. Nothing frustrates me more than settling; I refuse to settle and I think that no one should have to settle. This morning, I had a goal of doing 10 miles for my long run, but when I hit 2-miles, my IT band started really bugging me so I quit and walked the rest of the way back home. Instead of getting upset and letting it put a damper on the rest of my day, I used it as motivation to do yoga, stretching, and foam rolling. I feel better for it and am proud of myself that I didn't use these aches as an excuse to not workout for the day and to mope around.

What motivates me?

When I first began working out, I was motivated by weight loss. I lost 15 pounds in the first two months and I loved what I was seeing, so I kept at it. Now, my motivation has changed.

1. Stress. Running and working out is a great stress reliever and it makes me feel a million times better when I'm finished. Running also helps me keep the important things in perspective and forget (even temporarily) about the little things that are stressing me out. Last night when I got home, I was frustrated and stressed out and wanted to run. It was 2 am though, so that wasn't a great idea and I instead used that as motivation to head out early this morning.
2. Maintaining Fitness. I put so much effort into losing 30 pounds that I use running and working out to maintain my fitness, but I no longer focus on losing weight. I focus on what makes me feel and look good.
3. Food. I LOVE food, especially desserts. I have honestly told people that some days, food is the only reason I get up out of bed for a run. I think about all of the delicious things I want to eat and if there's something on that list that I know I have to earn, I strap on my running shoes and head out the door. That ice cream bar or slice of cake at the end of the night is totally worth it.
4. Beer. I love beer. Thursday-Saturday are my weekends and I love to indulge in beer. Most nights I dance a lot of those calories off, but for those nights where I'm not dancing or I'm planning on drinking more than usual, I make sure I get a good workout in so I can enjoy my night with zero guilt.
5. Freedom. Running makes me feel free. Working out, even if there are other people around me at the gym, makes me feel free because it provides me with "me" time and there is no one else in the world that matters at that point but me (selfish, I know).
6. Identity. "Runner" has become an adjective associated with my name and I love it. I am a runner. I am not defined by running, but it contributes to my overall identity as a person and without it, I think I would be lost.

What is your motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle? 
Any exciting plans for St. Patrick's Day?
Downtown Melbourne is having a huge party tonight, so I plan on doing that, drinking a lot of beer, and wearing 50 shades of green.

I recently joined the Instagram train (@rachee73190) so follow me if you want to see lots of pictures of food and of me looking mismatched!

Stay safe this weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Veggie Pizza on Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Crust

If you're looking for a low-calorie recipe, stop reading now and look at my blog's Pinterest board for other options. If you're looking for a deliciously sinful pizza recipe, read on! You could always eat it in the dark, because calories don't count if they are consumed in the dark (think: movie theater, outdoor bar at night, etc.).

After all of the excitement with Nugget, my raccoon, I wanted to continue the excitement in the kitchen. I bought a Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix at Sam's Club (seriously, go buy them if you love the biscuits) and wanted to try something different with them since each pack makes 10 biscuits and I only cook for one. I had the idea of attempting to make the biscuits into a pizza crust, but I wasn't sure how it would work out. I followed the directions on the package for making the biscuits, but the mixture was too sticky to turn into a pizza crust. I added about 1/2 a cup of flour to the mix, but I think that if you use less water, it could have the same effect.

Veggie Pizza on Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Crust
1 package Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix plus Garlic and Herb seasoning
1 stick butter
Various veggies
1/2 cup shredded cheese 

Preheat oven to 425*. Follow directions on Cheddar Bay Biscuit package and add in 1/2 cup of flour to make the dough less sticky. Shape the dough into your pizza pan. Spread 1/2 of the butter spread on the rolled out dough. Layer veggies on top. I started with a bed of spinach, topped with mushrooms, white onion, tomatoes, and zucchini. I then spread 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the top of the veggies. Pour remaining butter spread over the top. Place in oven for 35 minutes or until the biscuits are crisp.

The dough will be softer and more biscuit-like than regular pizza crusts. I cut the pizza into roughly 12 pieces. It was super delicious and I could have eaten the entire pizza! I enjoyed a few pieces while I finished my homework and watched the Lorax. Fun Fact about Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax": It was one of the first books written for the environmental movement.

How else do you use biscuits?
--I usually use biscuits for roll ups or calzones

What is your favorite type of pizza?
--Spinach and mushroom deep dish or margherite pizza

If you haven't already, please don't forget to vote for my sister's mission trip sponsored through Toms by clicking here. If you also love free things, check out Karen @ Runner Girl Eats giveaway!

Happy Thirsty Thursday! ;)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Those 16 Hours I Willingly Shared My Home with a Raccoon

Yes, you read that right. Yesterday started out like any normal day; I went for a run, ate breakfast, went to work, class, work, class, and then there was a baby raccoon. One of my classmates, E, and I heard this pitiful cry coming from the "jungle" (that's what the brushy/woody area where our building is located is called), but we couldn't figure out what creature was making that sound. We saw a ball of fur and watched it for 10 minutes before it finally looked up at us with its adorable masked face. We fell in love and soon all hope was lost for my professor to have our attention during class. Our other classmates gathered round, and one of them decided to call him Patrick in honor of the upcoming holiday. On the way to the Florida Wildlife Hospital, my classmate, J, and I decided to rename him because Patrick just didn't seem like a fitting name for something so adorable (and not a pink sea star). I have since been calling him Nugget cause he's so cute. We all went into class and made a pact that if Momma Nugget didn't come back for baby Nugget, then we would try and get him and take him to the Wildlife Hospital 10 miles down the road. Things got pretty quiet, so we thought Momma came back for him.
Nugget in the jungle

After an hour and a half in class, however, we came out and Nugget was still there. I volunteered to squeeze through the railings of the balcony and jump down to scoop him up into a trashcan we borrowed from the classroom. At this point, Nugget was pretty weak, so when I nudged him with the trash can, he looked up at me with the most pitiful look in his eyes and then crawled into the trashcan. I handed him back up to my classmates waiting on the balcony and E tried to pull me up from the depths of the jungle. The angle was awkward so he couldn't pull me up and instead handed me a chair from the classroom so that I could some height and he could pull me up from there. I stood on the chair and E and another classmate, K, pulled me back up to the balcony. We then had the issue of getting the chair back up onto the balcony. I laid between the railings, but my arms and legs were too short to reach the chair. E laid down and had me sit on his legs so that he was weighed down as he reached for the chair. He grabbed the chair and I, like a dork, wanted to help him, so I jumped up to get the chair from him and almost sent him flying into the jungle. Oops. My life is a sitcom. Below is the video of Nugget's rescue:

Sorry for the poor quality, it was an iPhone video taken by a classmate

Nugget in his trashcan

J rode with me to the Wildlife Hospital. We had planned on dropping Nugget off in their after-hours cages because they closed at 5 and it was 7 pm by the time we got there. Before we left, I made a joke to my classmates that we would get there and all of the cages would be full and that would be a sign that he should be my love and we could be best friends forever. Well, when we got there, all four cages were full. I called the humane society and animal services for help, but both were closed, so we called our classmates for their opinions. We decided it would be best if I brought him back at 9 am when the hospital opens. E met J and I at a local Starbucks and brought a cat carrier and a bowl for some water, so we transferred Nugget to the new carrier and settled him in. When I dropped J off at her house, she gave me a drip bottle that she uses for her rats so that I could attach it to the cage in case Nug got thirsty. K and her husband met me at my house with some baby food because K had done some research that said it was possible that Nug might take some baby food. We placed the dish in his carrier, but at this point, he was sleeping and not responding to any disturbances. I was nervous that he would be very noisy all through the night, given that raccoons are nocturnal animals, but he only chirped when I gave him an extra towel to make sure that he was warm during the night. Other than that, he was very quiet.

I checked on Nugget before I went on my run this morning, and he appeared to be very alert. He was very quiet and hadn't eaten, so I took the food out of his carrier before I left. When I came back and walked by his carrier, he began to cry and chirp, which I took as a sign that he was hungry (which I was thinking was a good thing). His crying only lasted about 15 minutes, though. I packed him up in my car at 9 and we headed to the hospital:

When I got to the hospital, it was very quiet inside. There were signs all over asking people to keep their voices down as the animals were trying to heal. I wanted a tour of the facility, but the lady told me that due to federal regulations, they were not allowed to give tours. I gave the lady the rundown of how I got Nugget, if anyone touched him, if he ate/drank, and how long I had him. I then filled out paperwork answering those same questions. When the woman reached into the cat carrier to transfer him to his new home at the hospital, Nugget began shrieking, but he wasn't wiggling or fighting her. He was only making noises. It was at this point that the woman said that Nugget is very sick and she was not sure what his outcome will be. I didn't press further, but she gave me his chart number so that I can call and check on his progress! Be sure that I will be doing that and keeping y'all updated!

It is important to remember that raccoons are wild animals and that they should never be fed in the wild.  I am against feeding any wild animal (including throwing bread to the birds) because it alters that animal's natural behaviors and will more than likely end up with the animal being destroyed. Please keep that in mind the next time you are debating whether or not to give food to a wild animal!

If you want more information about raccoons or the Florida Wildlife Hospital, check the links below:

Florida Wildlife Hospital

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Surprises in Various Mailboxes & Orange Tofu

As I said in yesterday's post, I woke up with a fierce headache yesterday morning. I hadn't been feeling well, but I think I have some sinus issues going on and not a full-blown cold (let's hope). The reason that I think this is because 1) my head was pounding and 2) it hurts my whole head to blow my nose. I didn't want to get out of bed right away yesterday because I didn't feel well, so I slept for another hour and then got up to go for a run, despite having a headache. When I woke up, I saw that I had an e-mail from the Matt Nathanson (my favorite artist in the history of the world) mailing list and he included a link to his new song, before it had even aired! I was ecstatic because it ROCKS (you can hear it/watch the lyric video at the end of this post). I listened to it about 10 times before I got out of bed and I probably listened to it a million more times throughout the rest of the day. Obviously, I know all of the words now. That surprise really set the tone for the rest of my day. Later in the afternoon, I checked my mailbox and saw that I had a package from home! Inside my package was this:

(oops, didn't realize I took the picture of the Spanish side)

Grandma had gotten me this waffle maker for Christmas, but it didn't make it into my two suitcases when I returned to Florida, so mom must have finally decided to send it. If anyone wants to come over for green waffles (in honor of St. Patty's Day) on Sunday, let me know! I can't wait to try a whole bunch of concoctions and to adapt some of the pancake recipes (since I hate pancakes) that I have seen on other blogs! 

I also went grocery shopping yesterday morning and I got the brilliant idea to get crazy in the kitchen and make orange tofu. By crazy in the kitchen, I mean I winged it AND made my own orange marinade. It was SO good. Like, lick the spatula good. I served my mixture over brown rice and wanted to eat the entire pan. Yum!

Orange Tofu

2 small/medium navel oranges
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Tofu Mixture
4 oz tofu, cut into pieces
1 bell pepper (any color)
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup eggplant, chopped 
crushed red pepper, to taste

Peel and seed navel oranges and put into food processor. Add crushed red pepper, lime juice, and soy sauce. Blend until liquid. Place tofu, bell pepper, mushrooms, eggplant, and additional red pepper in a ziploc bag. Pour marinade into bag, seal, and marinade for at least 2 hours (I marinaded for 8 hours). Place mixture into a wok (or some other frying pan) and cook until eggplant is tender and the tofu is warm. Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

These pictures just point out to me that I just need to suck it up and join the Instagram train so that I can make my pictures look more appealing. The orange tofu was seriously amazing and you can make it as hot/mild as you would like! As always, check the Pinterest page for easy pinning of this recipe!

And as promised, here's Matt Nathanson's newest single, "Mission Bells":

What is the best recipe you've winged lately? Who is your favorite musical artist?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rest Day, Leftovers, and My Next Race

In case you missed yesterday's post, you can find it here:

The Namesake of The Blog Emerges, A New Resolution, & A Green Recipe

Yesterday was my rest day, as Sundays typically are. I woke up with a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat and was feeling rundown, so I immediately moved from my bed to my couch and stayed there for a couple hours before I went back to bed for a 4-hour nap. I drank a lot of tea and felt a little better before I went to bed, but I was very exhausted all day. I feel better today, except that I woke with a fierce headache. I wore my new flamingo knee-highs yesterday in hopes of keeping my feet warm and they were just too cute, so they instantly made me feel happier. I also took the opportunity to give my IT band a really good foam rolling, because it's been really bothering me lately. It's very tempermental, so any suggestions of hip strengthening exercises would be greatly appreciated!

 Flamingo knee-highs, how cute!

Because I wasn't feeling too hot, yesterday consisted mainly of leftovers. Lunch was my leftover Caprese flatbread from Olive Garden with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese :

Dinner was my leftover lentil burger topped with pepper jack cheese, white onion, and tomato slices (I baked it this time in the oven for about 30 minutes), served with baked red potato wedges and a dill pickle:

I've been trying to decide what I want my next race to be and I am torn between a few races, but I knew that I wanted to commit to at least one. On my list, there's a Mud Run in Melbourne (where I live) in May, the Tower of Terror 10-Miler in October, the Space Coast Half Marathon in December, and of course I'd love to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon again next February. After researching some of these races, I decided on the Tower of Terror 10-miler because the beneficiary is Autism Speaks. I've already discussed my love of Special Needs Populations on this blog, so it was a no-brainer that I needed to sign up for this race. My mom expressed concerns that it was too close to my best friend's wedding (the race is October 5, the wedding is October 12 and I am a bridesmaid), but as long as I keep myself healthy, I think I should be good to go for the wedding! I'm interested to see how this will work out, as the race is at 10 pm and I have never done a night race. It is sure to be a lot of fun, though!! I'm also hoping to get in a race between now and then, but at least I have a commitment and a goal :D

Have you ever run a night race? What is your next race going to be?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Namesake of This Blog Emerges, A New Resolution, & A Green Recipe

For the most part, I am really easy going, sweet, and friendly, but yesterday, I was a total Undercover Diva for some parts of the day. My day started out normally with a 6 mile run, where some woman sketchily rode her bike very close to me for the last 1.5 miles and every time she gained enough speed to pass me, she would slow down so that she was behind me. She was most definitely following me, which was bizarre because I was running in a high-traffic area and she was riding on the opposite side of my iPhone, so I'm not sure what she wanted. I decided to play it safe and run past the parking lot so she couldn't see my car, and as she got closer to me, I quickly turned around and sprinted in the opposite direction. She turned to follow, but I think she realized that I caught onto her and she continued in the other direction. Bizarre, but bizarre things happen to me every day, so I didn't think much of it, other than to tell my mom what had happened. I stopped at Party City on the way home to pick up some things for St. Patrick's Day next weekend, then I went home, refueled, did chores, and waited for a friend to come over.

My friend and her puppy stayed for a couple hours, then all hell broke loose and my Diva came out. I have had my eye on the Yonanas! machine for the last six months, and yesterday I remembered that I have a ton of coupons and a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I couldn't find it at ALL. I have zero idea where they are. Strike one for Rachel. In my rummaging, I came across something sentimental from the ex (Strike two for Rachel), which made me sad for a few minutes, so I went to Target. Isn't it funny how you can be over someone and not have been sad for a long time, but something small can bring back happy memories and make you sad? Don't worry, it was short lived!! On my way to Target, I stopped at the ATM to deposit a check that came in the mail, but I somehow forgot my PIN number and got locked out of the ATM, so I had to electronically deposit my check from my phone (First World Problems). Strike three for Rachel. By the time I got to Target, I was in a foul mood, so when my mom called me, she got the brunt of it (Sorry, Momma!) I did end up buying a pair of neon yellow tights at Target, and Chris and Brooke called me and asked me to come to dinner, so I figured things were looking up. We went out for Mexican, ate our body weight in chips, salsa, and queso, and had two pitchers of mango margaritas. Then, our food came. I had ordered chile relleno enchiladas stuffed with cheese and mushrooms. When I took a couple bites, however, I noticed that there were bits of ground beef inside of the enchiladas. Needless to say, as a vegetarian, I stopped eating right there. Strike four for Rachel. It then took the waiter 10 years to come back to our table, so even if I had wanted a replacement meal, I never would have gotten one because he didn't come back until the end of the meal. Oh well, at least I got the meal for free and only had to pay for booze and cheese ;) (Does that eliminate one of my strikes from the day?) We then went home and got ready to go to Main Street for their anniversary party. We decided to create our own 90s party because I wanted to wear my highlighter yellow tights, so the three of us looked amazing and totally stood out even more than we usually do while we're dancing (BTW Chris and Brooke are amazing dancers, so anyone who wants to come to Melbourne to dance, holla atcha girl). I ended up seeing a guy I had a thing with, and he was giving very mixed signals so I was getting very frustrated. At the end of the night, I exited in a very melodramatic fashion and proceeded to respond very bluntly to his texts and was being overall ridiculous. Oops (an apology has been issued this morning). Strike five for Rachel. I am normally very open, honest, and blunt, but last night I was just over-the-top. It wasn't anything that caused a scene at the bar, but it was enough for all of us involved to realize that I was being a little ridiculous. However, no one but myself called me out on it...  I'm going to blame the alcohol, but it really was just a volatile combination of my diva side, my rough day, and my alcohol indulgence. Excuses don't fix everything, but at least he's going back to Ireland next week so he won't have to deal with that again, right? It was very out of character for me, and he knows that, but I still feel guilty. I'm feeling more like myself today, though, so thank goodness!

Chris and Brooke have taken a pledge to drink less and workout more. I have already been doing additional workouts as part of Lent, but I do drink a lot. I'm going to cut back to one night of indulgence and hold myself to 0-2 drinks on the other night(s) I go out. This is a change for me, if you know me (or if you follow me on Twitter). I think this will help me shed the extra 3-5 pounds I've gained the last couple of months, so wish me luck. I figure if I declare it on the blog, it will make me more accountable!

Now for a new recipe! I have been seriously slacking lately in this department, and I'm sorry. I'm still eating yummy food, but nothing that I have felt the need to share! I had broccoli that was going to go bad soon, so this morning I made broccoli pesto in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday! It was simple and my sample of it tasted so yummy! I am freezing it until next Sunday, though, so it doesn't go bad and I plan on using it on my Pots of Gold and Shamrock Raviolis that I picked up from Sam's Club.

Broccoli Pesto
1 head of broccoli, chopped
Olive oil (varies)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Add chopped broccoli, salt and pepper, and 1/4 tbsp of olive oil to a food processor. Process until broccoli and olive oil are coarsely combined and sticking to the side. Use a spatula to push combination back towards the blade and add more olive oil. Process and repeat until the broccoli pesto becomes pasty. Enjoy!

I think this would be great on pasta, sandwiches, or mashed potatoes!

I have added this to the Pinterest board for easy pinning! Happy Sunday!