Saturday, December 31, 2011

One final Long run of 2011

I am finding it hard to recap my whole year in one post.  It sure was a busy but wonderful year.  When I look back there are a few things that stand out....

Running my 3rd Half Marathon with my best running buddy

Buying our first house

Getting Married!

And lots of great runs! I finished the year with 1315 miles, my first ever year over 1000 miles.

It was a great year and I ended it on a great note with 10 miles this morning - the first run with my running buddy in a long time and my longest run in a long time.  We took a very hilly route and my hip flexors were quite sore by the end but my knee really didn't bother me which was great!

Obviously not from the New Years' Eve morning run - we were bundled up for the cold morning!

Here's hoping 2012 will be ever better!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A perfect Christmas Break

After a busy and slightly stressful Christmas (I hosted Christmas Day for the first time EVER!), things are finally back to normal and I am grateful to have this week between Christmas and New Years' off.

But I haven't been as productive as I wanted to be.  I have been slightly lazy in some ways.  I seem to have enough energy to get up at 5am and get to the gym for my weekly Total Body class but after that I am unable to move from the couch all day.

Let's take today for example...

4:48am - Alarm goes off, turn on light and drag myself out of bed to get ready for the gym.

5:13am - Arrive at gym and head to the treadmill.  Soon my running buddy joins me on the treadmill next to me and we talk as we run.

6:00am - Total Body class starts, I still stink at the aerobics warm up although I am getting a little bit better.  I am still sore from class Tuesday, which makes all the lunges, squats and pushups even harder.

7:05am - Once class is finished, I head back to the treadmill because I didn't get in as much mileage before class as I wanted.  After a mile, I stop and head home.

7:50am - Home and showered and making breakfast.  I settle in on the couch with my book and don't move until lunch.  One book down and four to go!

12:00pm - Make lunch for Brian, who is not lazy like me and is actually doing work around the house.  We eat together and then I return to the couch and Brian goes back to work.

1:37pm - I sneak into my Christmas stocking and take out some candy for a snack.

1:40pm - Return to stocking for more Christmas candy.  Must. stop. eating. candy!

And that's where I am at for today.  Still time for me to turn this day around and be semi-productive!

Do you have this week off from work?  How are you spending this week??

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve!

 I was up early to get in my run before a day filled with shopping, wrapping, cleaning, baking and lots of eating!  There was a dusting of snow on the ground when I headed out for my run but it quickly melted when the sun came out. With no snow in the forecast, it looks like we wont be having a white Christmas :(

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We are off to spend the evening with my family and have our traditional Polish Christmas Eve Dinner.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This week I am totally messed up on which day it is! I keep thinking I am a day ahead - this morning I thought it was Thursday.  I can't wait for this week to be over because next week I have off!  Since this weekend is Christmas and I know I will be eating a ton of delicious but rich foods, I have been trying to eat healthy this week.  Here are my eats from Tuesday!

Breakfast: Quaker Instant Cinnamon Oatmeal with a banana + coffee at work

Morning Snack: Deviled eggs and an apple

Lunch: Turkey burger, carrots, goldfish and cutout cookies

Pre-Run/Afternoon Snack: Clementine

Dinner: Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole (So easy and so good!)

Evening Snack: 3 Chocolate Chip cookies

I think yesterday was a pretty good day, especially with all the extra holiday food hanging around work.  I stopped myself at three cookies after dinner even though I wanted more.  It is so tough to not eat them when they are right there!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is what December running is supposed to look like

Saturday morning I woke up to dusting of SNOW and freezing temperatures.  Now this is what I expect for a run in December.

I ate a quick meal of oatmeal and coffee and then bundled up to head out into the cold.  I wore my neck warmer for the first time - definitely a must once the temperatures start to drop before 25F.

For the run, I had planned a 6+ mile loop and since this was my longest run in a while, I made sure to bring my cell phone in case I needed to call Brian for a ride if I didn't make it.  One reason I love winter running - more clothes means more pockets to hold things like cell phones and other running necessties.

I think the coffee went right to my legs because I was feeling good right from the start.  I wont lie and say my knee felt amazing from the start, it was a little uncomfortable but after a mile it calmed down and settled into the run.  I have run this route before and I just love it because it is mainly country roads filled with rolling fields and little to no traffic!

Thankfully I made it through the run and back home and even added on a little mileage to make this run an even 7 miles!

What do your December runs usually look like?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Baking and Tree Decorating

It isn't Christmas until you have the tree decorated and you make some cut out cookies! 

Last weekend, I was able to complete both!  On Friday I hosted my first Christmas cookie exchange party.  All my best girl friends made their favorite Christmas cookies and brought them to my house.  We had fun evening of just the girls and then we gathered around the dining room table to eat and exchange cookies! 

All those delicious cookies!  So many different varieties!  I made the classic cutout cookies to share with my friends.  I love this recipe (from my mom) because you don't have to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out like many other cutout recipes require.

 Christmas Cutout Cookies

4 cups Flour
1 cup shortening
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix first four dry ingredients, as if making a pie crust so that all crisco is mixed into flour.  In another bowl combine all the wet ingredients and mix together.  Then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together to form dough.  Refrigerate if desired, otherwise roll out dough and use cookie cutters to make cookies.  Preheat oven to 350F and place cookies in oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Once cooled then frost with your favorite frosting and decorate with sprinkles!

Saturday, Brian and I decorated our first Christmas tree together.  Between last Christmas and our wedding we have been given many ornaments to decorate our tree.  I just do not like the LED lights - I miss the old colored ones but they are hard to find.

Now all that is left is to get on that Christmas gift shopping! I have yet to pick up a single gift for anyone.  Looks like I will be quite busy this weekend.

Also, you may remember the Lamp Post that appeared in my foyer a few weeks ago.  It is still there and a Santa statue (a gift from my mother in law) has now appeared beside it.  I guess this is something I am going to just have to live with.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tempo Thursday

I know, I know - last week I said I was going to take a break from running.  And I did.  When I wrote that post I had every intention of not running until I was completely pain free.  The little break did make my knee feel a lot better.  And so I decided to try a run again on Monday and it went really well.  I guess I can be kind of dramatic sometimes.

At my ART appointment on Tuesday, I brought up the subject of running back to back days.  Last time I tried it at Thanksgiving I could barely walk down the stairs but I thought I might be ready for it and my ART guy cautiously agreed.  So I ran Wednesday morning - just an easy run and then planned to try another run Thursday morning on the treadmill at the gym.

Despite my grumpy face, I was excited to run.  Just not quite fully awake yet.

Of course I was a bit nervous how my knee would feel and as I started running my knee was stiff but as I kept going it slowly eased away and I decided I was ready for a tiny tempo to see where I was at.

My biggest worry with this injury break was how much fitness I would lose.  I had been in a really good place fitness wise and I have been trying not to think about how much endurance and speed I have lost.  This morning I tried 4x1000m at tempo pace to test out where I was at.

And it went really well.  I did 2 of the 1000s at 7:19 pace on the treadmill and then 2 more 1000s at 7:14 pace.  This is a good place to start building my running back up.  Now to just find a race to train for....

Also this week at my ART appointment we did a little assessment of how far I have come since my first visit back before Thanksgiving.  Besides having better hip extension and flexibility now, I can also finally do a lunge without pain which I think is a huge step.  Since the major problem (my hip) has been worked on, we moved on to other areas of my right leg.

I have had arch cramping and slight pain since I stopped running college track back in 2009.  I remember when it first started and I really had no idea why.  It has bothered me on and off since then but never enough for me to stop running.  I always thought that my arch was cramping because I didn't have enough potassium, but I could never figure out why it was ONLY my right arch.

On Tuesday, my ART guy worked on my right shin muscles and I could feel a weird sensation down in my arch.  Seems like the tightness in my shin was causing the arch discomfort.  How crazy is that? It always amazes me how every part of the body is connected.

He also worked on my quad.  At every appointment he always warns me that I "might" bruise but I never do until this week!  It seems he may have finally pressed hard enough to cause a tiny little bruise.  Please check out my lovely captioned picture for more information!

So it seems I am making a slow comeback to running.  Things are feeling good and I although I am not 100% pain free, I can run and I know that I am getting better.  Still have that weird bump on the top of me knee/patella though.

Happy Almost Friday!

***Just don't let me stop cross training a few months down the road.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Conquer the Morning

This was me at about 5:50am this morning after my 3.75 mile run. 

And I look pretty happy for someone who ran mostly pain free.  It usually is so hard for me to smile in the morning.  It's like my facial muscles will not work until I have a shower, coffee and/or breakfast.

I think one of the reasons I am able to get up and run in the mornings is because my alarm really is not going off that much earlier than my normal waking time for work if I don't work out.

Morning workout day - Alarm set for 4:45 or 5am depending on length of run
Non-morning workout day - Alarm set for 5:45 or 6am

It really is just an extra 45 minutes to an hour of sleep that I am missing out on.  I think waking up in the morning for a workout gets tricky when you try and wake up so much earlier than you are used to.

Plus easing into a morning workout routine helps make it easier and with all new things, the first week is always the hardest and most taxing on your body.

Finally a decent picture of the moon

What time do you wake up for a workout compared to a non workout day? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

A little peer pressure

My running buddy has been an avid cross trainer for years.  Every week, unless scheduling conflicts arise, you can find her at several cross training classes at the gym ranging from spinning class to Pilates.  Every since we started running together, she has been trying to get me to come to those classes with her.

In the past I had refused, partly because I lived on the other side of town and it wasn't convient to attend the same classes as her.  And I was afraid to go to the class at my own gym by myself.

So I continued on for months and months without much cross training.  Then with the wedding, I moved across town and became closer to the gym that my buddy attends but I still resisted attending the classes.  She did not give up on me and continued to pressure me to come to the classes.

And then I was struck with this nagging knee pain and my weekly running was cut down and I wanted a way to stay in shape.  I decided that maybe my running buddy was on to something and I should try out some of the cross training classes.

The first class I attended with her was Total Body Conditioning (TBC) and it was awesome.  Except for the next morning when I was sore EVERYWHERE, but other than that it was so much fun!

Now I am addicted and plan my weeks around these classes.  On Monday there is yoga, Wednesday there is spinning class, Thursday is TBC and Saturday is Pilates.  A very full week but after just a few weeks of attending these classes I can already tell a difference.  I am understanding how important these classes are to my running ability. 

Looking back, I wish I hadn't been afraid to attend the classes alone.  Sometimes I am just so afraid to do new things alone.  Thank goodness my running buddy kept on me and finally persuaded me to go.  Having a buddy to go to class with will definitely help me to stay with it even when the running mileage goes up!

Are you afraid to try new things alone? How much do you cross train a week?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mini Streak

I have been on a mini streak for exercising consecutive days and it has felt good.  Getting up every morning from Monday to Friday is tiring but its great to get that workout in before the day starts.

Last week I was able to get up every single morning and make it to the gym for a workout.  This week, I made it four mornings before I called off my streak.  As you can see, my smile definitely was not there yesterday morning.  I was tired and grumpy but I wanted to run so I got up. 

This morning when my alarm went off at 4:45am, I decided that 11 days in a row of getting up to exercise was enough so I reset my alarm and went back to sleep.

 The other reason I decided to call off my streak is my knee.  ART has definitely been helping me to feel better and I am pretty sure the original pain I felt back in November is gone.  The Doc really worked on my hip these past few weeks to get all the scar tissue out that I had from my college injury.  In turn, I now have better extension through my hip which is a good thing.  The bad thing is that in my attempt to cross train instead of run, I may have caused another problem.

I have this very small fluid capsule on the patella of my knee.  At first it really bothered me and going down stairs was tough but over the last few weeks it has gotten better.  I am even able to run a few miles before I feel mild discomfort from it.  With all my internet research I cannot find anything about this, so I have no idea what it really is but some days it does cause pain especially when I lunge.  The lunge only hurts when my painful knee is the rear leg - when I lunge with my painful knee I am fine. But yoga (And of course ART) makes it feel better.

So there is still a lot of mystery left with my knee and it honestly is discouraging.  Anyone who has had an injury knows that you just want to run pain free and there are days when you think you never will get to that point.  I hate to see 2011 end this way so I know that I need to take a break.  For me not doing ANY exercise is the hardest thing.  I get grumpy and angry and not very pleasant.  But in an attempt for a bright future filled with running, it may be that I need to not exercise and find a way to be ok with that.

And so that is my plan.  Rest and then taking it one day at a time.  And also not doing any crazy new cross training that maybe my body is not ready for.  This is going to be tough.  But I am already one day into my rest streak.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday

It's Wednesday! And time for another What I ate Wednesday hosted by Peas and Crayons!

It seems like my meals are a lot more interesting on the weekends, so here is my eats from Sunday!

Coffee and two homemade waffles

Grilled cheese and tomato sandwich with chips and oreos

Giada's Macaroni and Cheese and salad and brownies

I have been trying out a lot of Giada's recipes lately and some of them have turned out really well, like this macaroni and cheese.  It was the perfect Sunday night meal!

I am surprised that I made it through the day without a snack - I suppose that is what happens when you sleep in and have two big waffles! 

Are your meals different on the weekends compared to the weekdays?

Someone reminded me this morning - 70 years ago today was the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Definitely a day to be thankful for the sacrifices our soldiers in the past and present have made for our freedom.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our first Christmas Tree

When you live with a crazy Christmas addict, finding the perfect tree can literally take forever.  Ok I exaggerate a little bit, but we definitely spent over half an hour roaming the rows and rows of trees at our local nursery trying to find the "perfect" one!

Christmas is by far Brian's favorite holiday so we had to look at every tree available until we found the best tree.  We walked up and down the roads over and over again inspecting every tree.   I actually thought we found the one we would take home and I took a picture. 

But then we walked away and couldn't find it again! Further down the rows and rows we finally found the one - the one that would fit in my car and in our house!

The man working at the nursery kindly loaded it into my car and tied down the trunk and we headed home.  Once home, we quickly cleaned up the living room to make room for our first Christmas tree!

And that is as far as we got! We don't even have any lights yet to put on the tree.  When we went to Target later that night, they were OUT of colored Christmas lights!  So we are just going to have to wait until another shipment comes in.

Don't worry little tree - we promise to decorate you very soon!

My family has had a fake tree for years, so this was a change to have a real one in the house.  I am kind of excited about it but I am not excited about all the pine needles falling on  the ground.

If you celebrate Christmas, which do you have? Fake or Real??

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blackjack (21 things)

Marlene tagged me to play along and share 21 random facts that you might not know about me!

So here goes...

1. I didn't really want to change my name after I got married but I did it anyway - I really liked my old name but I know that Brian and I are now a new family and having the same name meant a lot to him so that is why I changed it.

2. I am scared to death of having to have a C-section when I have kids.  I do not want that and hope that I can give birth naturally.

3. My first official road race was my freshman year of college.  My basketball coach made us run the 5k after our two hour morning practice.  I don't remember my official time, maybe 23:30 or so but I do remember my legs were so dead from the double workout.

4. I went to high school, college and now live and work all within a 20 mile radius.  In fact, I currently work about a mile from where I went to high school.  I sometimes wish I had gone out of state for college or even for my first job but I love where I live and don't know if I will ever leave. 

5. My favorite food is pizza - I could eat it all the time and I often crave it.  My favorite is homemade pizza crust with pasta sauce, mozzarella and tomato!

 6. I have met some of my best friends through running.  My running buddy and I originally met on DailyMile and I managed to convince her to join my running club.  Whenever someone asks us how we met, I always feel weird because we met online and usually you don't meet girls and/or running friends online!

7.  I love to cook but I had never made homemade sauce until a few weeks ago!  It seems there are a bunch of things I have never made and I am making my way through the recipes.

8. My favorite time of the month to run is when there is a full moon on a clear morning.  I just love the brightness the moon provides so I feel like I don't really need a headlamp.  I always try to take pictures of the moon but they never come out!

9. I am currently an aunt to three beautiful little boys and soon to be aunt to another BOY! Seems like this family is just full of boys.  Brian and I may be the last chance to have a girl!

10.  Coffee really has no effect on me.  I drink it every morning but it never really seems to wake up me.  I enjoy having a hot beverage to sip on at my desk.

11.  I am obsessed with cake platters.  I have three already and have had to stop myself from buying more because I know I wont use them.

12. Last week I wore a sweater dress to work for the first time.  Being the only girl in my group, I often get comments when I wear more fashionable outfits but this time I actually got some compliments!

13. When I was in high school I applied to West Point and Annapolis but I was wait-listed.  I am not sure I would have gone if I had got in and if I had gone, I am not sure it would have been the right choice.  I am pretty happy with the college choice I did make and how my life has turned out.

14. Every Christmas Eve, my aunt makes a full polish Christmas meal.  It is delicious and I just hope that she will teach me the recipes that she learned from my Grandma.

15. I hate tight fitting clothes - I would much rather be in loose fitting clothing because it is more comfortable.  I live in sweatpants at home.

16.  If you were able to look at my iPhoto on my computer you would find more sunset and sunrise photos than anything else.  I am kind of obsessed with them too.

17.  I am 5 foot 9 inches (barely) and I played the forward/post position in basketball.

18.  I have always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride.  Hopefully Brian will take me someday!

19. I am trying to sell my wedding dress - I would rather have someone else get use of the dress instead of having it just sit in a closet for the next 25+ years.

20. I hardly ever drink alcohol and I do not like the taste of beer but in the past few years I have begun to enjoy the taste of wine.

21. I have this strange, although slight, urge to run a marathon.  The distance still scares me A LOT.

I am tagging people who commented on this weeks posts:

Jessica @ Running to be Skinny
Christine @ Dream Big Runner
Amanda @ RunToTheFinish
Rena @ Miles To go Before I sleep
Chelsea @ Theology and Geometry
Kim @ IlaxStudio
Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner
Amber @ Girl with The Red Hair
Molly @ I'm a Sleeper Baker
Miss Zippy
Elizabeth @ Racing Stripes

Happy Friday!!