Monthly Archives: November 2012

Santa Sighting

What I saw:

santa-christmas-trees-nyc

What I thought:

buddy-the-elf-santa

Yes, I did have a Buddy-the-Elf moment on my walk to the YMCA this morning.  Good thing I snapped a picture on the way there; poor Kris Kringle deflated by the time I headed home.

Dinner

Even though I really wanted pizza, I fired up the crock pot yesterday afternoon for an easy set-it-and-forget-it meal—chicken cacciatore.

11:29-dinner-crock-pot-chicken

In related news, I remembered why I never cook chicken; trimming it takes too long, and I totally blame my type A/OCD tendencies.  It took at least 30 minutes to remove all the fat and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  The end result tasted good (I followed this recipe), but the end did not justify the means.  Oh well.  At least I don’t have to cook for a few days.

Workout – Swimming

My Santa sighting occurred this morning because I went to the Y for the last time.  Tomorrow is Dec. 1, so Chelsea Piers will reopen—woohoo!  Anyway, I swam for 40 minutes and split my time between pulling and kicking drills.  I snagged a spot in one of the medium lanes, and it seemed like the other two people were swimming in molasses.  At one point, I was using a kickboard and swimming behind a guy who was also using one, plus flippers.  I figured his fins would create a big cushion, but I ended up drafting and eventually passing him several times as we circle swam.  Hmmm—maybe I am getting faster?

Breakfast

After my swim, I made a deconstructed spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich.  While out shopping the other day, I meant to get Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Whole Grain English Muffins, but I ended up grabbing the sprouted whole grains variety.  Whoops.

11:30-breakfast-sandwich

On the plus side, the muffins contain zero sugar (wow!), but they didn’t have any flavor.  I still have five more to eat, though, so we’ll see if things change.

Lunch

I spent the morning running errands and editing a freelance assignment, and I broke for lunch a little bit before 1 p.m.

11:30-lunch-salad

There’s nothing better than a salad with lots of roasted veggies.

Alright, back to writing.  Happy Friday!

Have you seen Santa yet?  What are your plans for the weekend?

The Best Pizza (Crust) Ever

Hiya—Happy Thursday!  Not only is it almost the weekend (woohoo!), but it’s also almost December—how is this possible?

Dinner

In yesterday’s post, I briefly mentioned my dinner plans—a healthified pizza.  Holy cow, talk about a huge success!

A few days ago, Tina posted a recipe for gluten-free, Paleo-friendly pizza, and since I had all of the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a try.

The crust tasted perfect–flavorful and filling.  Here’s the original recipe, which I doubled.

Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly Pizza

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour/meal

1 tbsp liquid egg whites

1 tsp ground flaxseed meal

1/2 tsp EVOO

1 tsp garlic powder

pinch of salt

Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well.

2.  Roll batter into a ball.

3.  On a baking sheet, layer a piece of aluminum foil and coat it with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread batter into a round disk; keep batter intact (no holes).

4.  Top crust with your favorite toppings.  I used sauce, spinach, turkey, and Swiss cheese.

5.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15-18 minutes until crust cooks all the way through. Remove pizza from oven.  Eat and enjoy!

I heated up the leftovers for lunch today, too—mmmm.

If I didn’t have dinner in the crock pot already, then I would totally make this pizza again tonight.

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?  Your go-to toppings?  And the age-old question—Chicago or New York-style pie?

Eight Things

Hey, everyone!  Is it really Wednesday?  This week seems to be flying by!  I crashed hard yesterday after my swim workout; the combination of traveling, working out, and recovering from Thanksgiving hit hard, and I may have spent the day watching Downton Abbey.  In my defense, it was raining, so I didn’t feel like running my errands.  Or moving for the matter.

Anyway, I got nine glorious hours of sleep last night, and I feel completely rejuvenated.  I also have a bunch of random stuff to share, so I’m going with a list format today.

1.  I really, really missed salmon when I was home.  Fish doesn’t exactly scream Thanksgiving, so it fell out of the rotation for the week.  But it’s back now—I’ve had it the past two nights—so it’s all good.

2.  I went running without my Garmin this morning. (I owe you a post on that, actually.) Honestly, I totally forgot to put it on and didn’t realize it until I left my building.  I’ve been wearing it a lot lately, so it was nice to disconnect and simply run.

3.  I spiced up my overnight oats with some cinnamon spiced granola courtesy of NatureBox.

The granola was good—fresh, tasty, and not overly sweet.  Speaking of Nature Box …

4.  I actually received a sample over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I’m slowly working my way through the snacks, so I’ll post a review in a few weeks.

[Full disclosure:  NatureBox contacted me and asked if I would like a sample package in exchange for a blog review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.]

5.  While out running errands this morning, I saw Andrew, one of the Full Throttle Endurance coaches from Chelsea Piers.  What a small world, right?  CP should reopen Dec. 1, but it’s unclear whether Full Throttle Endurance will still hold its off-season training program.  Because “normal” training begins in January, holding one month of organized off-season training doesn’t make much sense.  Anyway, once the complex opens on Saturday, I hope to work with Andrew more on swimming, and he also mentioned triathlon-specific strength training, too.

6.  Guess what came in the mail today—my USA Triathlon membership card!  Woohoo!

7.  This will make me sound extremely nerdy, but whatever—I bought an ice scoop and spice rack at The Container Store today, and I cannot begin to articulate how happy they make me.

Until I spilled vanilla extract while organizing my spices.  Now both the kitchen and I reek of vanilla.

8.  I’m trying something new for dinner tonight—a “healthified” personal pizza.  We’ll see how this goes.

How’s your Wednesday going?  Have you heard of NatureBox?  What’s been your go-to dinner lately?

Back in New York City

Greetings from New York City where Christmastime has arrived!

After being home in Central New York for Thanksgiving, I traveled back to the city yesterday afternoon.  What a sight to come back to, right?  I spotted these wreaths and trees on my walk to and from the YMCA this morning.

Even with the air smelling like pine trees, it just wasn’t the same as going to a local farm, cutting down a tree, and enjoying hot chocolate and apple fritters.

Going to Critz Farms on Sunday was so much fun!

Workout – Swimming

OK, for my fellow swimmers and triathletes, I have a pool dilemma.  At the Y, there’s a sign at each lane that designates speed (“slow,” “medium,” and “fast”), and I usually hop in the medium one.  During my last few trips, this lane has become more crowded, so I’ve been swimming in the slow lane because there are only two swimmers, tops. (“Crowded” is definitely a relatively term; I’m talking five or six people.) However, when we circle swim in the slow lane, I lap people over and over again, and I get super frustrated when there’s a swimmer coming from the opposite direction and I can’t pass immediately.  I guess my question is how many people would be too many per lane—does it make sense to join a crowded lane that fits my speed, or should I continue “balancing” the lanes and pick one with more room?

Breakfast

After my swim, I made a spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich for breakfast.

Remember my modified pancake fail at home?  It’s definitely the pan—look how great this turned out!

Lunch

A few hours later, I made a salad.  I totally dropped the ball on Meatless Monday, so I had tempeh this afternoon.

After coating the block with a little EVOO, basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder, I baked it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

When you’re working out, do you like to have space on treadmills, ellipticals, etc.?  Or can you sweat next to someone else without a problem?  Ideally, I like a one- or two-treadmill cushion; without it, I end up “racing” the person next to me!  During yoga, I like to have a few feet between mats, especially when poses focus on arms; I have a longgg wingspan.

I’m a FitFluential Ambassador!

Happy Monday, everyone!  After all the Thanksgiving and Black Friday hoopla, it’s tough start a “normal” week, isn’t it?  Have you noticed the slight addition to the blog’s right-hand sidebar?

That’s right—I received an email last week, and I’m officially a FitFluential ambassador!

If you read healthy living blogs, you’ve probably heard about the company, but if it’s new to you, here’s a bit about it:

“FitFluential is a nationwide network of highly influential fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and offline through multiple social media platforms.  Founded in April of 2011 by Kelly Olexa, FitFluential was designed to connect health and wellness brands with their ideal target market through customized, long-term experiential and contextual marketing campaigns.

“We choose our FitFluential Ambassadors based on myriad factors, but we are looking for the best of the best.  We hand pick our Ambassadors based on their content, experience, attitude, audience and potential.

“As an Ambassador, you’ll have opportunities to work with our brand partners.  That means when fitness brands want to partner with solid FitFluentials on product launches, social media campaigns or audition bloggers for long-term partnerships, our Ambassadors are the first to be invited.”

Pretty cool, right?  I’m excited to see how this opportunity pans out.  Who knows—maybe Timex will send me to Vegas or Kona to spectate and blog about the Ironman World Championships.

Hello, dream job!

What’s your dream job?  If you could switch jobs with anyone for one day, who would you choose?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of Nov. 25

Hey, friends—Happy Sunday!  Have you fully recovered from Turkey Day?  I’m still working on it.  My family celebrated Thanksgiving Part Deux on Saturday, which included aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and chocolate martinis.  Yesterday, we went to our annual family Yankee Auction party.  Can you believe we had more than 30 people under one roof?  Once the gift swap began, things got a little nutty.  Let’s just say there was alcohol, crazy hats, and a machete involved.  No injuries, though.  Ha!  This morning, I grabbed breakfast with my friend Laura, and then my family got our Christmas tree at Critz Farms!

When I wasn’t eating, drinking, or laughing, I did manage to complete all but one of my scheduled workouts. (There was an oversight on my part in terms of the CNY Triathlon Club bike trainer workout, so I went running instead.) I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, and now it’s time to get back on track.  Here’s this week’s edition of Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I’ll post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – bike (trainer workout)

Tuesday – swim; run; strength train

Wednesday – off/easy run

Thursday – a.m. yoga

Friday – swim; bike (trainer workout during the SU game)

Saturday – run; strength train

Sunday – off/easy run

Did you stay active during Thanksgiving?  How are you getting back on track after the holiday?

3rd Annual F-M Turkey Trot Recap

Before loading up on savory turkey and delicious desserts, I kicked off Thanksgiving 2012 with a local race, the 3rd Annual F-M Turkey Trot.

This was my second year trotting on Turkey Day, and it was my first time tackling the 8-K (4.9-mi.) course.  Last year, my dad and I ran the 4-K route, and it proved to be a challenge.  I was a semi-recreational runner—I ran four or five days a week, but I would simply go out and run, so no speedwork, tempo runs, etc.—and I didn’t know what a “cross-country course” entailed; the hills, mud, and roots surprised me!  To top it off, it was my first semi-trail/off-road race, so when I finished in about 24 minutes, I was very, very happy to be done.

Anyway, I knew what to expect this year.  My knowledge of the conditions, combined with my swimming and biking focus and my laid-back approach to running, basically determined my game-plan:  I wanted to take it easy, and even though it was my first time running an 8-K event, I didn’t want to go in with the mental approach of PR-ing; given my training, or lack thereof (just some speedwork and one tempo run), “racing” wouldn’t have been a smart goal.  Instead, I planned to use this semi-competitive environment to practice pacing:  For the first four miles or so, I told myself to stay in the 8-8:30 min. ballpark; for the final mile, if I felt strong, I would “race.”

The race had a late starting time of 10 a.m., I arrived at F-M High School around 9:30 a.m. and had no trouble finding a parking spot.  After picking up my t-shirt and bib, I wandered around a bit and looked for my friend Cathleen.  We played field-hockey together in high school, and we went to the same college (she’s a few years older than me), and it was great to see a familiar face.  And we totally forgot to take a picture—whoops!

After the kids’ fun run, we were directed toward the start line, which was in the middle of a vacant field, and before long, we were off!  Cathleen and I didn’t position ourselves close to the front—we were too busy talking!—so we got stuck behind slower runners; at one point, my watch read 10:35 min./mi.  Luckily, though, the environment didn’t seem competitive, and since I wasn’t racing, it was fine.

I used the first 4-K as a warm-up and slowly increased my pace to 8:07.  However, the second 4-K proved much more challenging than the opening segment:  As I made the turn at the halfway point to continue onward (the 4- and 8-K participants ran together until we reached the start line, which is when the 4-K runners headed toward the track to finish and the 8-K runners continued), I was surprised when the course went into a forest.  In an effort to avoid wiping out, I slowed to 8:20 as I traversed rocks, stumps, and tree roots.  Coming out the clearing, I met a huge hill that appeared to go straight up like a 90-degree angle.  Obviously, my pace slowed there, too.  The remainder of the course contained smaller hills, so I hung out in the 8:07-8:15 range; the pace felt comfortable, so I kept it in cruise control.  However, I did pick it up as I approached the finish line—how can you not?—and picked off about seven runners in the final 100m.  It’s all about finishing strong!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a 100 percent accurate finishing time—there were no timing chips, and most people (including me) didn’t even wear race bibs.  As each runner finished, they had the responsibility of checking the scoreboard for their time. (I also think there was one person relaying times at the finish line, but I was so hyped up on endorphins I didn’t hear anything.) However, since I wore my Garmin, I didn’t bother to look.  That said, though, I started my watch about 15 seconds before I crossed the start line—oh, bottlenecking—and it measured the course as slightly longer than five miles.  My watch read 40-ish minutes, and Cathleen told me my scoreboard time was around 39 minutes. (She’s battling an injury and decided to run the 4-K.) Either way, this ballpark equates to 8 min/miles, which I will totally take, especially for not racing.

Overall, this race signified more than meeting a time goal.  First, I was really happy with how I followed my plan, dialed into the target pace, and held it.  There were segments when I wanted to ease up, and there were moments when I wanted to go faster, but I reminded myself to execute the plan; running really is 90 percent mental.  Second, it’s been a while since I’ve done a “straight-up” (no swimming and biking beforehand) race, so it was nice to have a successful, no-stress outing.  Third, I think this event bodes well in terms of Olympic-distance triathlons.  Right now, I’m simply maintaining my running base, so if I can hold this pace without a ton of training, then maybe it would be a feasible target pace for a triathlon 10-K.  Yes, I definitely have work to do, and I’ll be the first to say running off the bike is completely different, but it seems like a challenging, yet feasible goal.

Did you do a turkey trot this year?  How are you staying active this weekend?

Thanksgiving 2012 in Pictures

Good morning, everyone–I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  We had a ton of fun yesterday–lots of food, laughs, and quality time together. (I owe you a turkey trot recap, too!) Here’s a glimpse into our Thanksgiving.

So much yummy food!  My plans for the rest of the day include shopping at Syracuse Bicycle and Fleet Feet–oh, and I got my swim in this morning!–before hanging out with my family for Thanksgiving part deux.  Enjoy the day, friends!

Thanksgiving Traditions

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m off trotting and then eating, but since I didn’t want to abandon the blog for a day, I thought it would be a good time to share some answers from a Thanksgiving survey Natalie originally posted.

1. Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?

My family usually has a special breakfast like pancakes and French toast, and we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

2. List at least three dishes that are on your family’s table every year.

Green beans, roasted carrots, and my great aunt’s recipe for twice-baked potatoes–we call them Aunt Jeana’s Potatoes.  I’m so excited for AJPs!

3. Do you prefer pumpkin pie or pecan pie?

Honestly, neither; I’m an apple pie girl.

4. Will you watch football on Thanksgiving Day?

Um, sometimes.  I don’t follow football, so it’s not like I *need* to watch a game.  My cousins and I plan to watch Animal House, though.

5. Do you plan to exercise Thursday?

You bet—I’m doing the 3rd Annual F-M Turkey Trot to be exact.

6. Do you prefer ham or turkey?

Definitely turkey.

7. Will you shop on Black Friday?

I have in the past, but I will not be waking up at an ungodly hour to shop this year.  Although I do want to go to Syracuse Bicycle at some point; the shop is hosting a huge fall clearance sale!

8. Do you take a nap on Thanksgiving?

Not usually.  After eating, my family usually plays games—Catch Phrase and Apples to Apples are our favorites!

9. Share one dish that probably won’t be on anyone else’s table.

My aunt’s three-bean casserole.  It’s quite infamous.  I’ll be sure to take a picture.

10. What are you thankful for today?

My family, my health, and my blogger friends!

Have a great day!

Thanksgiving Preparations and a Walk with Zelda

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, friends!  If your Turkey Day celebrations involve cooking, baking, or traveling, I hope you have a delicious and safe journey.

With “only 17” people coming tomorrow, we have plenty to do!

I need to start cleaning and organizing, so it’s a quick post today!

Dinner

Yesterday involved a lot of food prep, so it was a takeout kind of night.  Hello, Chinese!

I ordered hot and spicy baby shrimp—mmm.  I would definitely get it again.  Prior to last night, I don’t even remember the last time I had Chinese, so I’m sure that added to its tastiness.

I had to Instagram my fortune cookie, too.

Workout – Running

I took a rest day Monday (two days before a race, I always take a day off), and I set out this morning for an easy, 20-minute shakeout run.  The cold weather made it quite difficult to warm up—thanks a lot, 35 degrees—so I’ll have to keep that in mind during tomorrow’s turkey trot.

Breakfast

After my run, I made a spinach and egg-white open-faced breakfast sandwich.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been having a hard time cooking food in a pan; between yesterday’s “pancake” and today’s “omelet,” it’s struggle city big time.

As I ate my breakfast, a certain greyhound refused to leave my side.

Someone wanted a w-a-l-k. (Zelda recognizes the word “walk,” so we have to spell it out or simply abbreviate it to “w.”) How could I say no to that face?  The cold weather called for a coat—for both of us.

For greyhounds, the general rule of thumb states whenever you wear a jacket, they need one, too.  Anyway, we drove into town and set off!

Zelda loves stalking squirrels, which is funny because as a former racer, she had to chase a fake rabbit around the track.  She wasn’t a great competitor—she “retired early”—but I’m sure if she had to chase squirrels she would be a champion.  But then she’d probably still be racing and not living here.

Did you have any pets growing up?  How about now?  Are you a cat or dog person?