Sunday, December 25, 2011

Xmas MMXI

Gee, I'm not sure I would have known it was Christmas if all 541 of my Facebook friends hadn't posted about it... hehe. We actually opened presents and had the ham dinner last night, because M's grandma has to fly out at 6pm today. We're supposed to do stockings today, but after two hours we still can't seem to get everyone in the same room. So I haven't been able to run yet today either, and I've only got about 2 more hours of daylight left, bleh.

We went out to dinner for M's grandma's birthday Friday night (Red Lobster) and right as we were leaving his boss's boss called to tell him that he was going to be getting a nice bonus this year! That was an unexpectedly awesome surprise. We need to figure out what we're doing with it, but I suspect a small part of it will include a very nice dinner out to celebrate.

I got the new black boots that I asked M to order me, the interchangeable pearl necklace set that I asked M to have his parents order for me (no surprises here), a scarf and an olive garden gift card from his sisters, a pair of slippers, and some christmas decorations stuff from his aunts and uncles. And money from his grandparents. I believe some new bikes might be in our future!

I was a total dork and left the gifts from my mom on our dining room chair, so we'll open those when we get back tomorrow afternoon. My sister and STBBIL gave me pajama pants and a pretty picture frame when were there last weekend though :-)

[Edit - Momma got me pink fleece-lined crocs to keep my feet warm heading to yoga classes, and an Old Navy gift card!]

Another 8 hour drive in the plans for tomorrow. I think I'd like to not travel for the holidays next year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year in Review 2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before? A deadlift. Now I can deadlift 100lbs! Also, running anything over 8 miles. I did that twice this year! (8.1 and 9.3)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? As of today I am 105.1 miles away from the 500 mile mark on Nike Running - I WILL get my shirt next year!! I have no idea if I won the fitness challenge award at work or not, but I think I have a pretty good shot since my "hours of other activities" is like 3.5x higher than the average per person.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Robyn (Elise)

4. Did anyone close to you die? The associate pastor at our former church, Joe Smith, and a close friend of M's family, Aunt Kath

5. What countries did you visit? Haiti (repeat) and the Dominican Republic (new). Plus Puerto Rico (repeat) and St. Thomas (new). I love cruising.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? A paid-off car.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? September 2nd - finally sold the condo!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Professionally, I guess being appointed as the FLC Mid-Atlantic's Deputy Regional Coordinator. Personally, losing 13 pounds!

9. What was your biggest failure? Finding a new church. I tried one, it didn't work out for me, and then I was too bummed out by the experience to try again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Kickboxing wrecked my shoulder for a couple weeks, but that's all I can think of.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My yoga studio membership - such an awesome place.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Stacy, Phil, Green and Jim for helping us move all our crap, assemble furniture, and clean/paint our condo.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Eagle Bank, for delaying our closing because they didn't have the right forms

14. Where did most of your money go? Closing costs for dumping the condo

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Moving!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? "Good Life" by OneRepublic

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? thinner!
iii. richer or poorer? about the same, I think

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Lifting weights. I didn't start until mid-September, and I wish I had done it much much earlier.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Cleaning carpets. Between Max peeing and Roxie barfing, we are keeping Bissel in business. I can't wait for hardwood floors.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Leaving for SC to visit M's family in two days

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Probably just getting together with M's extended family this year.

22. Did you discover any great new websites in 2011? Experimental Theology, MyFitnessPal

23. How many weddings? Steve and Jillian, in Plymouth MA in April

24. What was your favorite TV program? I really enjoyed The Killing and hope it comes back for a second season.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I had pretty much forgotten all about Newt Gingrich until he decided to run for president, ugh.

26. What was the best book you read? I finally bit the bullet and bought Under the Dome on my Nook, and read it at the beach. It was awesome.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Mumford and Sons, and Ray LaMontagne

28. What did you want and get? A second bathroom! And more home space! And 1.5 closets for all my clothes!

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Contagion

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? The big 3-0 birthday weekend extravaganza. I took Friday off completely, went to a yoga class in the morning and then chilled for the day. Friday night Matt took me to dinner and to see 'Wicked' at The Kennedy Center, which was absolutely incredible. Saturday we went to a winery with Carly and Eric, and then out to dinner with a bunch of friends at Don Pablos, and then back to Carly and Eric's place for ice cream cake and randomness. Sunday we had Jeremy and Christa over for dinner and board games.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Selling the condo in April instead of September.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? My new office with a sunny window necessitates layers.

34. What kept you sane? Yoga and working out

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Ryan Gosling

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Taxes

37. Who did you miss? Everyone at MHBC

38. Who were the best new people you met? Erin, Marcia, Coleen, Billy, Kristen, Tori, Kelli, and all the rest of the awesome teachers and yoginis at Flow Yoga!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011: There are far too many myths and misinformation surrounding weight loss (women are particularly susceptible to these). You don't need to starve yourself and exercise for hours a day to look and feel great.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Happiness hit her like a train on a track" - Florence + The Machine, The Dog Days Are Over

(Wow, 7 years of doing this...YIR 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Calisthenics

I was looking to add a little something extra to my workout routine in the mornings. I'm not a terribly huge morning person, so it needed to be something pretty easy preparation-wise. I'm just not going to get up to take a class at the gym before work. I only managed the 6 weeks of run + yoga because there was a group waiting for me (and because I always left my yoga mat at the studio the night before), and was only about 50% successful at my solo Tuesday morning runs in my previous running schedule. Anything I could do in my pajamas is a bonus. I looked into a few Jillian Michaels workout videos (30 Day Shred and 6-Week 6-Pack) but I also kind of don't like having to take two showers in the same day.

Enter calisthenics.

1. I had started the 100 pushups program several months ago, but it was at the same time I was doing BodyCombat and the combination of two kickboxing classes a week (with pushups at the end of those classes also) plus doing the 100 pushups program was murdering my shoulder joints. I've given up the kickboxing and feel like my arms and chest are a lot stronger though, so I'm ready to attempt that again.

2. I downloaded a 99-cent android app that has ab workouts. There are 30 different exercises, and you can choose a 5-minute, 7.5-minute, or 10-minute workout. There are three pre-programmed workouts or you can randomize exercises for the selected workout time (which is what I'll probably do).

3. I haven't been able to do a pull-up since I was 11. I know the only way to get better at pull-ups is to do pull-ups (or negative pull-ups, if like me you're starting at a rep of 0). So I ordered a pull-up bar!

So, a couple sets of pushups, an ab workout, and a couple negative pull-ups!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Cooking with fire

I don't cook much (well, I don't count Let's Dish meals as cooking). But when we got back from vacation, we found ourselves in a situation where there were only 10 Let's Dish meals in the freezer and 21 days until our next Let's Dish trip. Now I like eating out and all, but 11 days in three weeks seemed like a lot.

So, since we also found ourselves with quite a bit of fresh and frozen produce from our CSA deliveries, I decided to cook not one but TWO meals from scratch - a beef stew, and a chicken pot pie.

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The chicken pot pie was pretty easy. I pretty much based it off of this cooks.com recipe.

Cut 3 large chicken breasts (about 1.5lbs) in half lengthwise and sautee in 2tbsp olive oil until cooked through. Remove from pan, cool slightly and dice into bite-sized chunks. Add 1c Swanson chicken cooking stock to pan. Add 2 cups mixed vegetables - I used fresh celery, carrots, green beans, and frozen peas. Cover and simmer until crisp-tender. Stir in 1 can Campbell's cream of chicken with herbs soup. Combine with diced chicken and pour into an 8"x8" baking dish. Top with crescent roll dough (I used 6 of the 8 triangles in the package) and bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes.

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The beef stew was a bit more involved. I again started with a cooks.com recipe, but I made a few more changes to this one.

Mix 3tbsp flour with salt and pepper to taste in a large ziplock bag. Add 3 pounds beef stew cubes and shake to coat. Sautee beef in 3tbsp olive oil in a large pot until well browned. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and cook for another 1-2 min. Add 1/2c red wine and 1 carton of Swanson beef cooking stock to pot to deglaze (stir/scrape bottom of pot well). Stir in about 3oz (half of a small can) of tomato paste.

Add 2 sliced carrots, 3 ribs of diced celery, and three medium diced potatoes to pot. Add 2 bay leaves, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/2tsp dried thyme and 1tbsp dried parsley. Cook stew on medium-low for ~2 hours, stirring well every 20-30 minutes. Stew will be pretty thick. Add 1/2c water, 1 drained jar of pearl onions, 1/2c frozen peas and 1 package of white button mushrooms (halved or quartered depending on size). Cook for another 20-30 minutes, and adjust seasonings to taste.

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Both recipes made about 6 servings. I froze the leftover pot pie in a tupperware container (lifted off the crust, scooped the filling into the tupperware, and then replaced the crust as best I could). The beef stew I ladled into 1qt freezer bags and froze.

So, I guess it's good to know we won't starve, or go into debt eating out, if Let's Dish ever goes out of business. (Please don't go out of business...) I thought both were pretty good. Matt said the stew was "just okay" but I think he was an unfair taster because he's been sick for the past 4 days.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Distance Record

I ran 9.3 miles today, for a new distance record! I finished in 1:32:57. I do have to admit that as I crossed the finish line, the idea of running nearly 4 more miles (to complete a half marathon) made me cringe. But it should be much more seasonable when I do that...

I will probably focus my next 8-10 weeks on HRM training - 3-4 mile runs twice a week, keeping heart rate below 155. I was in the 170s during today's race, with a few hill spikes into the 180s, so I've got plenty of room for aerobic improvement. It's just so humbling, because last time I tried (during triathlon training) I had to slow down to a 13-minute mile. I'll also do HIIT once a week; I know it's good for me...it's just so hard :-)

As far as I'm concerned, the half will be my ultimate distance record. I think I like the 5-10K distance best. I'll focus on speed work after that, since I want to run a 10K under 60 minutes (which would require me to run a 9:39 split) and beat my 5K record of 28:39 (a 9:13 split).

Only 115 more miles to go until I can get my 500 mile shirt!