Thursday, January 31, 2013

5 Tried, Tested & True Beginner Running Tips From.. Yours Truly!

Good afternoon Beautiful,

I took a day off from EVERYTHING yesterday, and because of it I feel bad that I haven't done any school work in quite some time... My week has been a bit chaotic and last night I decided that 10 gluten-free oreo "wannabe" cookies was a greeeeeat idea along with a Cadbury Creme Egg and a glass of my fav white wine. I laid in bed, watched the end of Dr. Phil, watched Ellen and watched Anderson... my usual line-up on nights that I refuse to do anything productive... it was great and I totally needed the time off!

With that being said, tonight I'm going to post an article I wrote a while back but never actually put on my own blog. Since I'm getting back into running more I decided to share my 5 Tried, Tested & True Beginner Running Tips from when I started running a year ago! Let me know what you think :)...

I started running in the beginning of 2012. I had set my sights on a half-marathon and I wanted to complete it in May. That gave me a total of 16 weeks to train for this race, having never run outside before in my life. What was I thinking???

I started running and realized how much I enjoyed getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and looking out across the lake that I was running around. When the runs got longer, the times got harder. I found myself dreading my runs. I didn’t want to go out for 2 hours on a Sunday morning and run. I wanted to stay in bed, curl up and watch a movie on tv. Knowing that the running was going to exhaust me, I quickly realized that the 2 hour run actually turned into a 2 hour run with a 30 minute shower to warm up, 40 minutes of lying in bed with ice on my knees and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I guess back then I’d call those days “write offs”.

However, looking back and reflecting on my first experience running a long distance (long for me, it’s not long for an ultra-marathoner!) has taught me a lot about myself and I’d like to share my findings with you!

If you have time to run, you have time to stretch

As a rule that I now follow for running, I take the amount of time I went running, and spend 10% of that on stretching. I can vividly remember coming home from a long run and just wanting to crash on the bed. I think that I would have had a lot less pain and I would have prevented the pain I now have if I would have just taken some time to stretch. I don’t just mean your legs. Running outside is a full body workout so make sure you stretch out EVERYTHING, legs, arms, butt, back, hips, abs, shoulders and neck. If it can be stretched - just stretch it!

The foam roller may feel like the devil, but he is actually your friend

I absolutely dread the foam roller. I have one in my apartment and I try to tuck it away and pretend like I can’t find it. I’m just kidding. I do use it when I feel like my IT bands are extremely tight which is usually after a longer run (or doing resistance training on my lower body). The foam roller is a magical tool for runners because runners do get so tight. The foam roller is somewhat like a rolling pin for your muscles. You will feel like you have large lumps in your muscles - those are knots and they are the most painful part of foam rolling however the foam roller gets rid of them so that your muscles are much longer and leaner!

Don’t think that running is a good enough workout for your legs

I made this mistake early on in my training. It’s a bad mindset to be in. You use your legs for hours and hours when running, why would you need to do weight training as well? Or why would I do weight training, make my legs so sore and heavy and then try and run? Trust me... I’ve been there too... I understand your concerns. However, the stronger your legs are, the more they’re able to propel you forward in the running movement, which results in you getting farther with each step which results in a faster time for your race. I would definitely recommend a lot of walking lunges, a lot of calf presses and a lot of compound movements.

No new is good on race day

When race day comes around, NEVER, and I repeat, EVER try anything brand new. Wear shoes you’ve worn plenty of times, clothes you’ve ran in a million times and socks you know aren’t going to give you blisters. Don’t try new products like gels or gummies on race day as you don’t know how they’ll react with your body. I made this mistake once on my longest training run. I took a gel and it upset my stomach so much that I had to back track to go use a washroom in a random hotel which turned the whole run into a complete disaster. Never again will I try anything for the first time on a long run.

A half-marathon is a big deal... splurg and get fitted for proper running shoes

Here are my babies. My fav
running shoes EVER..
Half-marathons are becoming more and more popular but that doesn’t make it less of a big deal. They are hard on the body, they are repetitive and exhausting. Having proper running shoes can make a world of difference in your running experience. I’ve ran in crappy shoes before and they have caused me ankle pain, knee pain and hip pain. I recently got new, much better quality (and much pricier, unfortunately) shoes and I haven’t had any of the same sort of pain since. Choosing a brand such as Asics (like my shoes!) or Inov8 would be ideal, they sell top end running shoes so you know you'd be getting a quality pair!

These are my top 5 recommendations for people who are starting out on their running journey and they are all tried, tested and true. I hope these tips are helpful and if you have any questions about anything, feel free to send me an email or visit your local running store and they’ll be able to help you out as well! Running my first half-marathon was an amazing and emotional experience and I would recommend it to anyone who’s getting into running!
 
Taadaaaa... I'm glad I've wrote articles before because in times of need (or utter busy-ness due to utter lazy-ness) I can just post one for all of you and hope that it passes as an ok blog post! I feel bad not writing more, but I promise to post a real "life" post. :)...
 
For those who missed my last post, I'm having a pretty amazing giveaway. Sun Warrior and Raw Elements are letting me give away a large bag of Sun Warrior protein!! It's my most favourite protein ever! It tastes great, it doesn't upset my stomach and I can feel good about it because it's organic, vegan and gluten-free! I never trust the proteins that can sit on shelves for years and years in plastic containers... doesn't it seem strange that we pump ourselves full of chemicals after a workout??? I'll save that conversation for another day, but in the meantime - ENTER MY GIVEAWAY HERE!! :)
 
Thanks for letting me fake a blog post for tonight :).
 
 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's Been One Of Those Days.....

Good evening Beautiful,


Yes, it's been one of those days. I came home, cracked open a nice bottle of white and climbed directly into my sweat pants and sweater. January is almost over, and that is great because honestly - it's driving me MENTAL! 

I've been doing great with workouts this week so far! Jenny and I did some deadlifting, row's, lat pulldowns, straight arm pressdowns and some plank walks and renegades... thanks to the trainers I worked out with last week for teaching me these great exercises! Today my back and hamstrings are sore from the deadlifting, but that was to be a given.

Today I wanted to just run, destress, vent my anger on the treadmill and get a massive sweat going... so I put the treadmill on at 6.0 (I usually run at like 6.3, but today I didn't feel like it) and ran for 30 minutes straight with no walk breaks. I had a great sweat when I was done and felt amazing. Less stressed and ready to take on the world. The run was really great though and I listed to my fav singer the whoooole time - MJ! Here's the playlist I had (in case you are now inspired to download some Michael Jackson now but don't know where to start):

The Way You Make Me Feel
Off The Wall
Black or White
Jam
They Don't Really Care About Us
Smooth Criminal

I think that's what I listed to. Regardless, I'm a huge MJ fan, always have been and always will be. I remember playing the music videos over and over again on the computer so I could teach myself the choreography in my living room. I still remember some of the classic dance moves from his videos... it's so great. I had all of his CDs, and I still have Thriller on vinyl. I had his Barbie doll growing up as well. I gave it away to a friend who also adores MJ, I totally should not have done that.. oh well!

Anyways, today a guy from our Marketing Events team came in to our office (the manager actually) and he told me about the Oakville Mercedes-Benz 10km run in April. It's a timed race and the finishers medals look like this:



COOL RIGHT?? It's like a Mercedes car... except around your neck :). Turns out he had some comp registrations and offered some to me and other ladies that are going to run it with me... I'm excited to add this medal to my bling collection! I'm a bit nervous that it's fairly soon, 2 months away but I think I can do it. Worst case scenario is I walk part of it. No biggie! Especially if I start training soon... Yay!! New goal :) So excited!

While we're on the topic of exciting news, I got the test results from the first (of many) test I submitted for my Holistic Nutrition course... check it out :)

I blacked out my address. You don't need to know where I live :)
I got 88%!!!! Now... the first thing I thought was "What the hell??? This was an open book test...." and it's true. Technically I should have gotten 100%, there was nothing at all stating I couldn't look up the answers, and it's actually encouraged. However I took the whole weekend to write that exam and I remember on more than 1 occasion getting lazy and guessing because I was sick of looking up things. Turns out when you "guess", you get deducted 12% lol. Oh well! I'm still SO HAPPY with my grade! Go me :). Now if I can do that for everything else I'm graded on in my course, I'll be a Holistic Nutritionist in no time!

I wanted to share this song with you. Sarah Slean is one of my favourite artists and she just happens to be from the great ol' city of Toronto! I heard her live for the first time probably 3 years ago, when Carlton and I had first started dating and we went to the Cavalcade of Lights here at Nathan Phillips Square around Christmas time. She sang this song, and I've been in love since I heard it. However you can only buy it on iTunes if you live in the US... It doesn't make sense at all because she's Canadian, but whatever... I put on this YouTube video every time I get the urge to listen to it:


I love this song because it's so fun and so happy! The lyrics are adorable and I love, love, love her voice. Let me know what you think of it - it's definitely a song I listen to when I want to get happy!

Ohhhh right - one last thing... I wanted to share with you..... A SUPER COOL GIVEAWAY!!!!

So Sun Warrior and Raw Elements (being the amazing people that they are) have decided to let me giveaway 1 large bag of Sun Warrior protein and 1 Blender Bottle to one lucky reader!!


Here's what you have to do:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yaaaaye! I can't wait to see who wins. I totally love this protein. It's the only one I've found that doesn't upset my stomach. It's raw, it's vegan.. it tastes great! I bought my large bag for $60 + tax but I know I've seen it other places for $80... so it's not cheap, it's great quality! Get your butt in gear and enter!

What is your next race that you have planned? Do you have a favourite Canadian singer? What songs do you listen to when you want to cheer up?



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy 200th Post!

Good evening beautiful,

This is my 200th post! Cool huh? This lil'ol bloggy is about 1.5 years old as of now and my how she's blossomed into a lovely young blog. :). This blog is kind of like my baby. I enjoy her, take care of her, makes sure she looks suitable for the public to see, keep her healthy and make sure she's just overall well rounded. I think I've been doing a good job so far - what do you think?

This weekend was fun! On Saturday afternoon I headed on over to Whitby to hang out and run with Michelle from http://www.pushpumpprogress.com! I got there and we chit chated for a while before we had to get ready to hit the road to make it to The Running Room in time for our race. I use the term "race" loosely because it wasn't timed and it was called a Fun Run. The Whitby Poker Fun Run to be exact. It was a 5km route and at each kilometer mark there was a volunteer there handing you a secret card in an envelop and by the end you had 4 cards to take to hand in at the end and the person with the best hand wins the race! Fun, right? I managed to pull our 3 4's, but I haven't gotten a call yet that I had won so I assume someone got a better hand than I did. Darn... the winner got an Ironman branded heart rate monitor watch from The Running Room. Oh well, maybe next year!

The route was a pretty standard route but there was one mother of a hill right after the 2km mark and honestly, my quads were on FIRE and I wanted to walk.. We made it up most of the hill before Michelle and I both needed a walk break, but that was the only time we took one! We finished in about 29 minutes and some odd seconds, I don't remember the exact time, but it was a slow(er) one for both of us. I was exhausted and neither of us had done much running outside recently because of the insanely cold temperatures. Luckily yesterday wasn't too bad (it was like -6 instead of like -15 like normal) and it was bright and sunny and not windy - perfect! Here are some photo's Michelle snapped...





This was the first of our #13in2013 races... so 12 more races to go! We don't see any local races in February so we're going to have to double up a few months in order to make our goal, but we will do it none the less - and there will be photos to share each time!

After the race we went to the grocery store and picked up our dinner, cob salad and watermelon! Haha, it was so random but it was delicious. We each took insane hot showers because we were frozen and then got everything ready for Michelle's friends to come over. There were 4 other gals coming as it was one of their birthdays. Michelle made these UNREAL gluten free red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting... check it out (don't judge the frosting, Michelle thinks she's really good at icing cupcakes because she teaches cooking and owns piping bages... turns out the icing looked hilarious, but it did taste AMAZING lol.)...


So we dipped into the wine slightly, Michelle and I shared 2 bottles of white (I think it was 2?) and needless to say, we both ate our faces off. I'm actually ashamed to admit everything I ate.... Ugh, here it goes:

Jube Jubes x like 20,000
Carrots
Hummus
Chips
Dip
M&M peanuts
M&M chocolate
a cupcake
multiple glasses of white wine

Ugh, so awful. I couldn't stop myself. It's part of the PMS thing. Whatever. It's done and over with, I ran before I ate and had a nice clean meal so it wasn't ALL bad. And it was all quite satisfying... My mouth is actually watering thinking about the cupcakes now. OH YA! Michelle, the sweet thing that she is, bought me gluten free chocolate chip mix! WHAAAT?? Now I'm going to have to make the cookies and eat them all  try one and tell you all how it is! I'm super excited to bake, hopefully I'm successful for once in my life.

Other than that we talked a lot and got to know each other a lot better I feel like. Her friends were hilarious and so nice and it was definitely fun getting to shoot the shit with other girls instead of being around the guys. Some of the topics of discussion were pretty hilarious, Michelle told everyone how Carlton was on You Can't Do That On Television so that was pretty funny. Not everyone knew the show, but once Michelle described it everyone clued in.

Then this morning I came home around 11, tried to do some studying but I was tired and not focused. So I crawled into bed with Carlton and we watched My Idiot Brother. Have you seen it??? I thought it was going to be another one of those stupid movies, but it's actually really good and I really liked it! I cried at a part in the movie and got C's shirt wet. Whoopsies. We then went to the grocery store and restocked basically EVERYTHING in our condo and got some deliciously healthy foods for the week and then came home and spent 2.5 hours cleaning the condo. Needless to say I got ZERO studying done today... so there's that... *thumbs down*.

My recap of "my week in workouts" is reeeeeally lame, but obviously I won't lie to you, so this is how it went:

Monday - "rest day"
Tuesday - "rest day"
Wednesday - Workout with PT doing lots of heavy lifting day
Thursday - Workout with PT doing an insane circuit day
Friday - "rest day"
Saturday - The Whitby 5km Poker Fun Run
Sunday - "rest day"

How many "rest days" can one have in a week before they're actually considered "lazy days"? I feel like 1. So after Monday all other days were "lazy days". Shitty. Ah well, good thing tomorrow is Monday which means it's a brand new week! Haha.. oy vay.

Did you partake in any races this weekend? Please tell me at least one of you overindulged in sugar and wine... please.... please?



Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Night Home Alone w/ Chicken Noodle Soup

Good morning Beautiful,

*Yawn...*

I'm so tired. I spent last night home alone (so fun.. not quite.) because Carlton went out with some guy friend of his... I didn't know when he was going to be home but I got really tired around midnight and hit the sack. Of course he came home at I don't know what time, and after a few beverages wasn't the most graceful or quiet when he got into bed. Unfortunately this woke me up and I wasn't really able to sleep much because of some snoring habits Carlton has. He's got something going on with his sinuses and it's been like that for a while and it bothers him during the day (poor guy) and keeps me awake at night sometimes, even when I have earplugs in (which I sleep with every night). When I woke up around 7:45 this morning I figured I just might as well get up and stop the tossing and turning that I was experiencing.... but now I'm pooped. Absolutely exhausted. Today will be a 5-hour Energy type day, 10000%. But for now I'll sip on my tea while watching Dawson's Creek. I'm getting to the part where Joey and Pacey get together - THEY ARE SO MEANT TO BE!! I love them together!!!! :) Ooooo... the part where Dawson tells Joey that she needs to go be with Pacey is on right now and it's super sad. Am I really to believe that these kids are 16? My life was SO not this dramatic when I was 16.

So last night I reeeeeally wanted to order take-out, Chinese Noodle Soup. It's like my favourite cheat meal ever, all those delicious refined carbs in a broth that's 90% sodium with big chunks of chicken, it's a dream of a cheat-meal! But because I'm trying to be frugal, I decided that I would make my own. It would probably be cheaper and I'd probably get A LOT more for my money. So I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work and picked up my ingredients which totalled all of $10. Uhhhh, score! Cheaper already. I wanted a version that was somewhat healthy and gluten free... so this is the recipe...... although it's coming from memory, I didn't use a recipe (yet again) and just cooked from my brain! :)

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, diced
1.5L of organic chicken broth (I'm not advanced enough to make my own broth yet)
1/2 of a sweet onion, diced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
5ish leaves of fresh basil ripped apart
15 cherry tomatoes cut in half
15 baby carrots cut in quarters
1 package of vermentelli noodles (rice noodles, the super thin ones)
Cilantro to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Heat up olive oil in a pan and cook the diced chicken until JUST cooked, even a little under cooked.
2. Put the chicken broth in a large pot and bring to a boil.
3. Add the diced onion, green onions, basil and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Add in the chicken from the pan, all juices included, squirt in some lime juice (I didn't measure, I just squirted the lime juice container a few times), the tomatoes and the carrots and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
5. Vermentelli usually comes in a package with 6 or 8 little "bundles" of the noodes, I added 4 of the bundles to my package but it's up to you how many noodles you want in your soup. Let boil until the noodles are cooked.
6. Add cilantro and salt and pepper and turn off the heat.
7. Enjoy!!

So yesterday I took a giant step towards a healthy financial future. I got rid of my overdraft protection on my bank account. I did it right after I had gotten paid, and I had to do it fast because if I didn't, I'd totally chicken out and just keep it. I took money out of savings that was the equivalent of my overdraft last week, however I still dipped slightly into overdraft by the time I got paid yesterday, so technically I started this pay period off with less money than I got paid (since I had to pay back some of the overdraft). So basically when I got rid of it, I wanted to cry. I'm so used to having and it basically living in overdraft and I was getting sick of it! Always getting charged and always being in the negative, so I took my financial planner's advice and got rid of it. YAY ME! Basically that's a good chunk of debt gone! Woohooo! Go me! Although I'm still shitting my pants about it...

In a few hours I'm off to Whitby to see Michelle! Woohoo, thank got the weather got nicer than it was yesterday because we have a 5km fun run to attend this afternoon, and I really didn't want to run in crap weather. She made some gluten free cupcakes last night and according to her they are "orgasmic!" SO I'm very excited to try said cupcakes! It's her friends birthday at her house so we're looking forward to indulging on  some vino and cupcakes! I will be taking photos and sharing them with you all tomorrow!

Have you ever had to deal with a significant other that snores? How did you cope? Are you a Dawson's Creek fan? What's your favourite type of soup?



Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Wanted To Barf On More Than 1 Occasion

Good evening Beautiful,

Well, we've made it. Tomorrow is Friday (finally) which means we're 24 hours away from the weekend. Can you believe it? I'm really super excited for this weekend because I'm getting some quality girl time which I haven't had in a VERY long time. I'm heading to the buzzing metropolis of Whitby, ON on Saturday to run 5km and consume wine with Michelle from pushpumpprogress.com... I've mentioned this probably 5 times already but I'm excited! It's her friends birthday and we're going to her house, and (this is the best part)... the attire? LULU!!!! Oh my god, I almost passed out when Michelle told me this. Pardon, Lulu's??? I don't have to doll myself up, wear incredibly uncomfortable high heels and watch every little thing I eat that day so I don't bloat up in a tight dress? COUNT ME IN!!

For all of you now wondering, yes... I do watch every single thing I eat on days where I know I'll be going out at night. The last thing I want is to be in uncomfortable shoes and feeling bloated, so I eat incredibly clean until I start consuming vodka soda's. Here's an example of why I prefer to not be bloated... some dresses just can't hide that shit.


The dress feels tighter on than it looks in that picture. It's like Spanx, except it's your outfit... Thank you American Apparel for such a concept. AND if you're wondering... "She's 6 feet tall... how high of heel could she possibly wear"? See exhibit A...



My heels are high man, if I'm not 6'3-6'4 (most have some form of a platform in them) I'd be surprised. I used to hate being tall, always the tallest girl.. boys were always shorter than me. Turns out now I don't give a crap and it's cool to be taller than Carlton when I wear my shoes. I've learned to embrace it, and now I wear heels and show off how tall I am! It's great being able to see over crowds at a club :). Hehe.

Anyways - you'll be happy to know that since my last post I've had a solid 2 workouts (it's been 2 days since my last post where I hadn't worked out all weekend or at all this week). Yesterday I worked out with my TRX trainer Alex. We decided to do some Olympic/Cross Fit type lifting. I'll try to remember everything we did....

5 sets of 5 reps:
Sumo Deadlifts (wide stance)
Lat Pulldown
Pull-ups (with a band) - Note, I only did like 2 sets of these, 3 was my max so I opted out and did a heavier weight on the lat pulldown instead. My lil'arms can't pull me up (yet)!

Straight Arm Pressdown
1-arm chest press with dumbbell

Snatch Deadlifts (I've never heard of these before...) with alternate grip

Upright Row (to prep for cleans)

Then we did 3 sets of:
5 upright rows which I cleaned into 5 front squats which I pressed into 5 shoulder presses.

Then we did 5 sets of 20 yard sprints

Then we did 5 sets of... something... I can't remember what they're called but it was some type of drill that almost looks like a grapevine. It might come to me in a minute...

So needless to say, all of the back work made my back muscles a bit sore today. It took a lot to get me out of my desk and changed into gym clothes and upstairs to get to the gym. I was talking to the front desk motivator and then a different personal trainer told me to go warm up and he'd be with me soon - SCORE! I told him my back was a bit stiff from yesterday before we started working out. Holy effing god, this workout was A LOT harder (in a different way I guess) than yesterdays and I found myself wanting to barf on several different occasions...

2 rounds, probably for time but I disregarded that rule
Smith Machine
Seated Row
Walking Lunges
Assisted Pull-ups
Renegades (never heard of them before either. Basically holding two dumbbells and in a plank position, you row each dumbbell one at a time without losing the plank)
Bound Jumps (the hardest part of the workout)
Kettlebell swings
Chest Press on a stability ball
Hamstring Curl
That ab exercise where you're on a step and you sit in a V and bring your knees in and out.. whatever that's called
This thing where I threw and caught a medicine ball while jumping over a step
Walking plank (up to hands, down to elbows) on a BOSU

OMG GUYS!! I was so sweaty and disgusting after THE FIRST round, and then I had to do it again. I'm sure Chris was laughing in his head (he's so funny, his giggle is hilarious and he's this MASSIVE African man..). During the second round the club's Fitness Manager, Sean came and watched and also laughed on a few occasions. Thanks guys - real great. Not only did they laugh, Sean got on the assisted pull-up machine after me and proceeded to use the same weight as me to do 1-arm pull-ups. Lol.. UGH.. what a jerk (just kidding Sean, I'm mostly just jealous lol!). 

In my last two workouts I've discovered something... I have a little "ponch". What's a ponch? It's a little itty bitty muffin top forming above the waistline of my lulu's. I worked my ass off last year to get rid of it, and I will work my ass off this year AGAIN to get rid of it (although last year it was much larger). Once the weather gets better I'm going to start training for longer distances in running again. That normally helps. And I'm going to (try) to do more heavy heavy lifting like yesterday and mix it up with a hard circuit like that every now and then. I can totally do it on my own, I just lack the motivation... that's where Jenny comes in. :) If I know I can do it with her (aka put her through the torturous workout) then it will motivate me to do it as well. Yay workout buddies! :)

I'm hoping I'm able to walk tomorrow so I can go for a run on the treadmill. Burn off some of Ponch (going forward, my little pet muffin will be named Ponch, until he's disappeared). I can already feel the pain in my calves and my quads and a little in my hammies. My erector muscles are still stiff... if I know DOMS it will be worse tomorrow than it is today - oh yaye (did not mean to rhyme there). 

Yesterday we went grocery shopping for a quick buy of some veggies and fruits that I used up during the first half of the week, check it.


I love restocking. So colourful and fun! I got some Echinecha Tea to see if it helps my sniffles. I think it does. I drank some last night and sipped on some during the day today, and so far my sniffles have gotten a little bit better. We'll see by the end of the weekend how it goes. Last night Carlton made a great dinner... I had put in some roasted potatoes and he made....


Turkey breast slices with fresh basil, mushrooms, pearl onions and garlic cloves. It was so delish. He thinks he over cooked the turkey... and maybe it was only slightly, but I still LOVED it! I'm so glad he likes to cook - it makes my life a ton easier sometimes!!

Have you had any gruesome workouts this week? What has been your favourite meal this week? When you cook, do you cook enough for that meal, or do you always cook more for leftovers?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Food Is Beautiful!


Good afternoon Beautiful,

Guess what? My workouts have been sucking. Well... actually, they can’t “suck” because they are non-existent so far this week. Yep. Juuuuust great. I haven’t broken a sweat since Friday. I thought I might as well just admit to that now and not hold it inside any longer. However, I had full intentions of working out both yesterday and today, however sometimes, as it turns out, you have to do the job you’re getting paid to do instead of working out. 

Our system at work has been extremely wonky, I use the word “down” because I couldn’t do friggen anything on it for the past two days. Which means I have/had two days of work that I couldn’t do just hanging out in my inbox and on my computer. However, today about half way through the day it was back up and running and I got ALL CAUGHT UP because I didn’t take a break. Work has been absolutely insane lately, and in an attempt to work on my work/life balance in 2013, I haven’t been working after hours. This is probably not great news for Mr. Employer, however it’s just something I needed to do for myself. So that means I need to get all of my work done in the actual work day, which sometimes means I can’t workout. Le sigh... I think you get it.

I need to actually get a few runs in this week because on Saturday Michelle and I are running our first race of #13in2013. I also really hope that the weather gets nicer. It was a snowy and very slow drive to work today. We’ve driven to work in 13 minutes before and today it took us an hour. There was no accident, just people driving 20km/hour the entire way to work, on the major highway. People in the city don’t know how to drive in the snow. Sorry city people - even though half-ditching my car once has now scarred me for life and I now hate driving in the snow, I know HOW to drive in the snow... Carlton is from Ottawa so he for sure knows how to drive in the snow. Maybe the reason I’m so nervous is because the car is his baby (we have a 2012 Acura TL) and I would cry if I ever did anything to it. Been there - not going there again... AND there is no need for that story. It just brings up bad memories. 

ANYWAYS - thank god the race is only 5km long so even if it is freezing, I will just double up on the socks, the layers and then get back to Michelle’s and have some wine to warm up my insides. I can’t wait - I’m so excited!! 

Because I haven’t worked out I don’t have much to update you on! I’m going for a more “knowledgable” type post tonight because of it! Lately (this week) I’ve been uncontrollably hungry. Like... I eat, I have a snack, I eat, I have a snack, my stomach is grumbling and I feel completely empty inside. Empty like I haven’t ate anything all damn day. I know that this happens to me when I’m going through PMS (sorry guys - maybe skip this paragraph?)... which got me thinking - what the heck is my body doing right now that’s STARVING me???

Turns out PMS hunger is more common than I had anticipated. I can’t find much about WHY we get so hungry (I assume because our lady bodies are “preparing” for the M in PMS, it raises it’s metabolism... I think I heard this somewhere before but I don’t know if it’s true - leave me a comment and tell me what you think?), however there are A LOT of message boards about women who feel like their in starvation during PMS too. I will have to do more research on this... however if you have any advice on how to kick the stomach grumbling that would be much appreciated. My weight and my wallet can’t handle much more of me eating everything I see. 

This morning when I was getting my food ready, I decided to be a photographer and snap some photos of my delicious, dairy-free, gluten-free, deliciously fresh yogurt parfait. 





Then I realized I should share more photos of my food, because I’m a geek and because I think food can be beautiful! Check it out :)....






... See! Food can be pretty :). Fresh veggies and fresh, ripe strawberries - wicked awesome! Today I realized, while I was eating my parfait, that I really enjoy the pecans that I put on my parfait. They’re crushed and I originally bought them for part of a Christmas gift, however they weren’t all used so I’m trying to use them up... turns out I enjoy them! And now is the time where I share all the fun/amazing health benefits of pecans.....! I found all of these benefits on ilovepecans.org. Yes, there is an organization dedicated to pecans. I’m not judging..
  • Eating a handful of pecans each day can help protect our nervous system. They may help in delaying the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration (like ALS). The vitamin E (antioxidants) found in pecans is the key element in neurological protection since they help protect good cells, and help get rid of bad cells.
  • The same antioxidants in pecans also help in protection of the heart, and help promote a healthy heart and disease prevention. Pecans contain different kinds of vitamin E which are known as tocopherols, plus multiple phenolic substances and many of them have antioxidant abilities. A study they researched found that adding a handful of pecans to your diet each day may help inhibit unwanted oxidation of blood lipids which helps to prevent coronary heart disease - SCORE!
  • Pecans contain plant sterols which are known for their cholesterol-lowering abilities.
  • Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. 1oz of pecans provides 10% of the recommended Daily Value of fiber! They are a high-quality source of protein that contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. They are also naturally sodium-free making them a great choice for people with high blood pressure or people on a low-sodium diet. 

So BOOM - why aren’t you eating pecans right now?

And one last piece of fun news is I finished my first blog designing project today!! Check it..



Head on over to http://fitgirlsrock.blogspot.ca to check out my full design! I had so much fun helping Melissa redesign her blog and I’m so glad she’s so happy with the final (sparkly) product! I’ll be starting another one tomorrow as well.... I’m slowly growing my portfolio! If you want a blog re-design or just a fresh look, check out my “designs” tab and shoot me an email if you’re interested! I’d love to help you out :).


Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Weekend Visit To The St. Lawrence Market, My Love of Vintage Films & Workouts This Week!


Good morning Beautiful,

This is a change for me! Usually I blog at night on Sunday’s but I decided to do it now to get it off my check list for the day! I’m doing laundry at the same time so my apologies for running back and forth (I know you can’t tell, but whatever). I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I slept crappy last night for some reason so I’m a bit tired today... maybe that calls for an afternoon nap? We’ll see. 

Friday night was super low key and fun. I spent the majority of the night finishing up my first course of my Holistic Nutritionist program! 



Wooooohooooooo!!!! I started doing the test on Friday night but I was tired and it’s a long test, 114 multiple choice questions. The test is all open book so obviously I’m looking up every single question in my text and getting the answers right. It’s time consuming and my eyes were hurting by the time I got to the third question. I packed up and Carlton and I spent the rest of the night eating the Jamaican food we ordered and watched How I Met Your Mother over a couple of ceasars. It was faaaantastic. The Jamaican food is so unreal. We get it at Jerk King at Bloor and Bathurst. I got curry chicken and I also stole a piece of jerk chicken that Carlton got. Mmmm.... I think Jamaican is my favourite type of cultural cuisine. What’s your favourite?

Yesterday myself and Carlton went to the St. Lawrence Market! It was so fun, neither of us had ever been there before... I took my camera with me in hopes that I’d get a few shots. I’m an obvious amateur at this photography thing because for whatever reason I felt awkward every time I snapped a photo among the sea of people and vendors. I did manage to grab a few shots of our trip though!

Hello there. Carlton in the elevator.

Our neighbourhood!

Our Neighbourhood!

He's a bit frustrated with Toronto drivers. :) Aren't we all.

City view.

Daisies!

Sausage vendor. Every type of sausage ever.

Candy!

A shot of a part of the market

Cheeeeeeese!!
I picked up some gorgeous strawberries and blueberries and some pomegranate seeds! They are one of my favourite things to eat, and I ate them all last night after dinner. I guess there are worse things I could binge eat, I’m just mostly sad that all of my pomegranate seeds are gone :(. When we got home from the market I put on a vintage movie, Desk Set with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. If you don’t know already, I LOVE vintage movies and vintage movie stars. My idol is Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly comes in at a close second. I actually went to see the Grace Kelly Exhibit when it came to the TIFF Bell Lightbox here in Toronto last year. I saw a lot of different letters written to her and from her, a lot of her outfits and accessories and I think the coolest of all was seeing her wedding dress and shoes. She was beautiful.


Anywho, Desk Set is a movie I own which came in a set of about 15 vintage movies that I got for Christmas last year... it’s so cool! It was made in 1959, it’s in colour and I just love it. It’s so innocent and the fashions are so clean cut and classy. However I fell asleep during the movie, not because it was boring because it’s totally not, I was just tired! I woke up and started doing more of my test. I got to page 16 and called it a day - so it’s on my “to-do” list today to finish my test so I can send it in for marking tomorrow!

So now we’re at Sunday - and I’ve been up since 7. I woke up and figured it didn’t make sense to go back to bed so I snuggled up on the couch and watched Dawson’s Creek. Once I decided to get up and be productive, I got the laundry started, I’m blogging and watching Bus Stop on Netflix, with Marilyn Monroe! Netflix has a classic movies section which I watch quite often! 


Carlton and I are going to the gym later today and then it’s testing time! Speaking of the gym, how did your workouts go this week?? This is what mine were:

Monday - 4.5km run outside
Tuesday - Resistance Training workout
Wednesday - 3ish km run because my blood sugars went low
Thursday - Dirty 30 HIIT Workout from fitinheels.com
Friday - 5.6km run outside in -13 degree weather
Saturday - Rest day
Sunday - Either upper body weights, or just run on treadmill. I’m undecided right now.

Not bad huh? I think the hardest workout of the week was the run outside on Friday because it was SO damn cold. This week is hopefully just as successful as last week in terms of workouts. My first “race” of 2013 is this Saturday in Whitby with Michelle from pushpumpprogress.com. It’s just a fun run, it’s not chipped or anything but it still counts! It’s 5km and at the end you get some cards and have to make the best poker hand you can. Cool right? Then afterwards we’ll be having a girls night with wine and gossip - good times!

If you haven’t noticed already, my lil’ ol blog looks a bit different than normal. I entered a giveaway on the Bi-annual Blogathon blog and won access to a learning portal of how to design blogs! I read through all the lessons and got myself access to some websites so I’m able to design a bunch of different ways and this was the third attempt at a new blog design that I came up with. What do you think? I’d love feedback! I’m thinking about putting a new tab up with some prices for designs for anyone who’d be interested in having me design their blog for them. I have a lot of great ideas and I think I’d be good at it! 

How was your weekend? Did you get out and about or stay in all weekend? Did you workout or take a rest? Tell me lots! 


Friday, January 18, 2013

Paleo Creamy Cauliflower Curry Soup

Good evening Beautiful,

I'm excited to share my recipe for Paleo Creamy Cauliflower Curry Soup. I made it last night and I did something I don't usually do... I made it from my brain! No, I didn't put my brain in the soup.. but I just put whatever I thought would be good into the soup and made it! I didn't have a recipe like I normally do, however I took step by step photos while cooking it so I can share my recipe with you! So here it goes!!

Paleo Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients
1.5 cups organic chicken broth
1 can organic coconut milk (the regular kind, not light)
1/2 of a white onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
cilantro to taste
red chilli peppers to taste
2 tbsp mild curry powder
1/2 tbsp hot curry powder
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 head of organic cauliflower, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Find a nice pot to do your cooking in. I would recommend tall and skinny as opposed to wide and shallow for reasons that I will explain in a future step. Put the chopped onion, shallots and garlic cloves into the pot with the extra virgin olive oil and turn the stove on to medium high heat until it starts smoking a bit and you notice the onions are getting fried and soft. I threw in some left over red onion that we had in the fridge, but it's not necessary.


2. Add in your chicken broth and turn the heat up high to bring the stock to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn it down and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the onions, shallots and garlic cloves are all soft.


3. After everything has boiled soft, add in the chopped up cauliflower and the can of coconut milk. When chopping the veggies it doesn't have to be pretty, just whack away at them... they're going to get blended anyways. Again, crank the heat up and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn it down and let it simmer about another 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft.


4. Add in the chopped cilantro and red chilli flakes to taste. I used the fresh herbs that you can squeeze out of a tube because we had no fresh herbs in the fridge that were still good (I had to throw them away). Then add in 1 of the tbsp's of mild curry powder and stir it in until everything is mixed up good.


5. This is where I recommend the tall skinny pot. My pot was wide and shallow. I went to use the emersion blender I have to blend up everything....


... but alas, it sprayed curry coconut broth all over me and all over the stove because it was hardly immersed. So I used a ladle and scooped all of the soup into my blender and blended until smooth.

6. Add in the rest of the curry and blend again. Add salt and pepper to taste.


7. ENJOY! Now you have a delicious, creamy, paleo curry cauliflower soup!! Be warned, it has a bit of a kick to it!


Nailed it!

It was delish! I ate some last night as part of dinner, I had some for breakfast and had some for lunch! And now I get to prove to my family that I can make things without a recipe. One time in college though, I was trying to make soup and burnt the milk in the pot before it even came to a boil. How do you do that?? I don't know... anyways, needless to say since I've been living in a domesticated relationship my cooking skills have increased substantially. It's great!


I don't have much else to blog about today - this was my main focus! Oh - I will tell you about the run Jenny and I went on today. It was SO nice and pretty outside that we couldn't not go for a run. However it was -13 degrees outside, so it was COLD AS EFF!! This is us before we left for the run... we had some energy in us and I wanted pictures to post and share with you guys!

Us in the middle of our run! We're freezing our asses off.

Jenny!

Me!
The view from a bridge we ran over
 Not bad huh? We ended up doing almost 6km in 37 minutes. A bit slow but we were running through some snow and in below freezing temperatures. We still did it! It felt great when we were done!

What's the best thing you made for dinner this week? Are you a good cook just off the top of your head, or do you prefer having a recipe in front of you to reference?