What is wrong with me today?!

Today I had 3 miles race pace scheduled. I wasn’t TOO terribly concerned about it, because while my pace seems to have slowed lately, I typically run 3 miles at a faster pace than that even on easy days. Also, after my sub-25 minute 5K a couple weeks ago, I was thinking that I could probably push myself to run at least an 8:30 pace if I really pushed myself.

I kind of procrastinated about getting out the door this morning, so perhaps it was a little too hot and humid, but my performance was TERRIBLE. I was pushing myself as hard as I could – I was literally out of breath and gasping for air near the end, and I even felt sick, and I still BARELY managed to break 9:00 per mile. WTF. I was miserable the entire time and at one point even thought about how I should just give up on running and not do my half marathon. I’m not even kidding, that’s how bad the run was. In retrospect, I feel ridiculous about thinking that. Yes, I have been having some difficulty lately with running, and my pace has slowed, but I’m sure I’ll be able to run my half as long as I get the training in! I might not PR, but not every race can be a PR. 

I am curious as to why my performance has suffered so much latelyday, especially to. I mean, why was a run that barely squeaked in under 9:00 per mile so much harder than my 8:40 per mile pace I ran as an “easy” run on Thursday? Yes, it was on a treadmill, but I always use an incline on the treadmill to make it harder, so I doubt that is really the reason. Perhaps it is because the weather is so hot and humid still? Perhaps I am over-training with all the biking and increasing my running mileage? Perhaps it is because I didn’t work hard enough this summer? Who knows. I’m just very frustrated (though not frustrated enough to drop out of my race!) and I wish I could figure out how to fix whatever is wrong with my running lately 😦


Awkward Friday Post

 I hesitate to call this a “Foods on Fridays” post because I haven’t done much new food-wise this week, and I dedicated the other day completely to popcorn. I did try a new to me flavor of Clif bars (Sierra trail mix). It was ok. I’ve also decided to take a mild popcorn break due to the bloating from all the salt. Even if I figured out how many calories it had, I still was eating soooo much of it I was perpetually bloated. I did think about buying some new nuts that I saw at the store – they were chocolate peanut butter flavored mixed nuts that were sort of like the dark chocolate almonds I reviewed before – but they were EXTREMELY expensive. I might try some if I get a coupon or they go on sale, though.

Instead of food, I’m just going to talk about a random compilation of things. I have a feeling that my posts this semester are going to have this quality :/

In news completely unrelated to food, I got my computer back this week! I don’t know if I had actually mentioned this on here, but the day I got back to Lafayette, my CD drive fell out. Yes, that’s right. IT FELL OUT. The guy at Samsung who I spoke to about my warranty says that he has never heard of this happening to anyone and he had worked there for years!

The good news: they fixed the computer! They even cleaned it and fixed a few other minor cosmetic issues (i.e. I was missing a shift key). They also repaired it pretty quickly (less than 2 weeks), though I was doing ok without it due to a combination of a borrowed laptop (thanks to Gab!) and an external harddrive. 

The bad news: they wiped the hard drive. I had a back up, so I didn’t lose anything really (except possibly my GPS watch software…), but I am just BAFFLED about why they wiped it. There was nothing wrong software-wise. I’m not even sure why they had to turn it on! I’m also not used to my keyboard yet, so I keep accidentally typing things weirdly. Hopefully I re-acclimate soon!

In other good news, bike commuting is going fairly well. I’ve had a couple of near collisions (people pulling out of intersections when they shouldn’t have), but I’ve become a lot faster and more confident. Hopefully the improvements continue! I do notice a weird grinding/clanking noise when I am pedaling, though, so I need to take it in sometime this week to get it checked out before my pedals like fly off or something.

I’ll try to post a bit about my runs this weekend. I’m hoping they go better than last weekend, when my long run was laughably slow 😦 I’m guessing they won’t, though, because it as been like 95 degrees and humid everyday. Yuck!

The Most Confusing Nutrition Label in the World

Finally some time to post!

I’ve been working on homework pretty much nonstop since the semester started and I finally reached one of those awkward points where even though the next assignment is due in about a week we haven’t learned enough for me to finish it yet. I’ll probably start it, and probably practice inverting matrices and figuring out if vectors are linearly dependent (I’ll return to English now, apologies), but, for now, I have at least a few hours to relax. Ugh. I feel like this is my first semester of grad school all over again. I mean, technically it is (I am taking the first semester classes for the econ phd program in order to earn an MS in econ), but as a fourth year student, I feel like I shouldn’t have homework and midterms anymore (I totally should, it’s a math class, I just have some sort of mixture between senioritis and an attitude that I am way more superior than I actually am).

I’ve also avoided posting because my workouts have just been…demotivating. I have a feeling I am going to run this half marathon WAY slower than the last one, because all of my long runs have basically just sucked. On Sunday, I ran 7 miles slower than the first time I ever ran 7 miles! Plus my normal runs, at least when I am outside and don’t have a treadmill to force me to go fast, have been like mortifyingly slow. It didn’t help that I almost overheated poor River this morning when the temperature increased by TEN degrees while we were out on our run. Now I simultaneously feel like a big jerk for making her run in the heat and super lazy for not running my whole four mile run (I could have theoretically went back out or something, but we went like 3.5 miles so I decided it was close enough).

Ranting about my failures of workouts and my failures at linear algebra is not very interesting, though, so instead I’ll move on to the point of this post.


I always assumed popcorn was an “unhealthy” food. Then, when I started working at Target, I realized that one of those big bags that they sell in the cafe, which we cooked in straight up coconut oil and topped with tons of some sort of butter flavored salt stuff was only 300 calories. I also realized that Aldi has those like bags of low-fat popcorn that only have like 100 calories in them. So I thought popcorn might not be a bad snack to keep around in lieu of things like chips and pretzels, which I always overeat. After all, even if it does have some butter on it, the popcorn in bags is air rather than oil popped, so there is no way it could be as bad for me as the Target popcorn, right?

I set out to the store to buy some low-fat popcorn. When I looked at the nutrition labels to decide what to purchase, though, I was incredibly confused. The label had the nutrition for one cup of popped popcorn or two tablespoons of unpopped popcorn. It then said a serving is “x” cups (whatever it is for the brand) and how many servings are in a bag. It seemed unreasonable, though, that the bag of popcorn would have like 500 calories in it (the number of cups per serving times the number of servings times the calories per cup). After all, aren’t those bags at Aldi like 100 calories? And aren’t these bags smaller/close in size to the ones we had at Target, which involved oil popping? I decided the most reasonable thing to go with for a whole bag would be to go with how many calories there were in two tablespoons unpopped, as I assumed that was how much they put into each bag and it was usually between 150-200 calories.

I started to notice that I’ve been kind of bloaty and while I’m not really gaining weight, I’m not really losing it, either. I  have been about 5 lbs up from my “normal” weight since getting back to school, but I figured it was from overeating while traveling/stress and would go away as soon as I got back on track. Typically, my weight fluctuates a lot, too. I’ll be “up” 5 lbs after eating a burger and fries, even if it fell in my goals, but after two normal days, even if I don’t have a calorie deficit, my weight will go back down. I just hold water weight really badly, apparently. This is why it has been so weird that my weight has been stuck – I’m not super concerned about a 5 lb “gain” (I’m still at a super healthy weight and all my clothes fit), but I was concerned that whether I ate pizza or cheeseburgers or fish with veggies, I wasn’t fluctuating much anymore. The only change I could think of was the introduction of popcorn. Perhaps the extra salt was making me hold on to water weight?

I then decided to do a bit of googling. 150-200 calories for the “normal” bag of popcorn really did seem too good to be true. Yeah, I didn’t believe it was 500 calories, but 150 seemed a little low for how much of it you get to eat. Some websites seemed to suggest that a whole bag might be in that calorie range, but they were talking about super low fat popcorns that were only 15 calories/cup (mine is 30 calories/cup, because I didn’t bother with low fat thinking it was low in calories anyway). So, last night, I decided to revisit the per cup measurement on my popcorn. I typically eat it in a mixing bowl that conveniently has measurements on it, and discovered that it holds 8 cups of popcorn. Therefore, by putting in the “4 cup” serving, I was really only counting half of the popcorn calories (so like 150 instead of 300). The extra calories weren’t a lot, but I eat popcorn  a few times a week, so it is possible I have been overeating a slight amount every week because of this. Oops. At least I am aware now so that I can count all of the calories somewhat more accurately.

I’m still slightly confused, though. My popcorn definitely says there are 3 servings of 4 cups each per bag, but there were only 8 cups in the bag. And I always eat the popcorn out of this bowl. The bowl only has 8 cups of volume. I cannot be mis-measuring. WHERE ARE THE OTHER 4 CUPS?! By the way, this isn’t just one brand of popcorn. All of the popcorn I’ve had said it had about 12 cups per bag but fit into the 8 cup bowl. WTF?

Foods on Fridays and General Update on Life

Apologies for my lack of posts – the beginning of the semester has been a nightmare! I’ve been reteaching myself microeconomics and linear algebra (I haven’t had either since about the 2005-2008 time period) and dropping nightmarish classes (there was a girl with a master’s in math who said the math involved was too difficult). What a start to the week! At least my misspelled purse came and is at least realistic enough for my purposes and the price I paid for it and I had a nice relaxing evening with friends, pizza (from my favorite pizza place which has returned!), and creamy cinnamon rum!

Anyway, I thought before discussing food, I’d give a couple of short updates on my “workouts” this week. I call them “workouts” because technically bike commuting’s purpose is transport, not exercise, but it doubles as both.

First of all, I have started running with my roommate’s dog, River, again. I find this highly amusing because I run with her on a path along the river so if I say I am “river running” it has a double meaning. Yay puns! I tried running with her in the past and it went ok but then she got into this weird phase where she was running away a lot and I had some huge training changes and I didn’t/couldn’t run with her much and stopped. I’ve been taking her at least once a week since coming back to school now (she is much much much more well-behaved on a leash) and I must say I am enjoying it more as time passes. At first, I was annoyed because she is sort of slow (she stops to pee and sniff and just  randomly slows down sometimes). The next time I took her out, though, we had a much faster pace and I realized that even if this pace was slower than what I would normally run, I am taking her on what is supposed to be an “easy” run so what she is actually doing is forcing me to slow down and enjoy my run and just get the miles in rather than try to race myself everyday. I am guessing this will be beneficial to my training.

Additionally, on our run this week, I went to check out a path that I had been curious about. I had tried to check it out during the spring but due to the nature of the river (hah!), it was flooded. I had forgotten about it, but someone mentioned it on Facebook and then I saw some joggers going down it and so I had to see if it was passable now – and it was! It was a nice route along the river through the woods (the route we were running was actually mostly in a golf course). It also allows me to circumvent the industrial road that I typically have to ride down on my  bike commute to school…if I add a mile to my commute. It’s nice because it’s more relaxing and allows me to go a little faster (you think I’d be faster on the road, but I have to stop, and pay attention to things, and such, which takes up speed).

There is one problem with my new route, however: the extra two miles of biking per day took up WAY more energy than I anticipated. After riding to the school that way on Wednesday, I was STARVING by the time I got there and quickly ate a Clif bar. I’ve been making efforts to pack better lunches (I realized I was still packing lunches the size I took when I was on a 1200 calorie diet!), so I had a decent lunch that day, but by the time I went to work out around 4:30 I was starving. I had a 35 minute tempo run scheduled and I don’t know how I survived it. I got up to my 10K speed as the program recommends and then had to drop down to like 6mph for my cool down because I was soooo worn out. Then, when I finally got off the treadmill, I felt all faint and woozy…and I still had a 4 mile bike commute ahead of me!!! I wolfed down another energy bar (a Larabar ALT this time, which I will discuss in a moment), but it didn’t help much. I had to walk my bike part of the way and then felt sick the rest of the evening. It was very unpleasant. “Luckily” it has been a little rainy yesterday and today so I am taking the bus and my poor legs are getting a rest. They still hurt from Wednesday!!

Now, on to the food. I have several things to talk about this week.

I will give you the unhealthy reviews first so that you can forget I mentioned them and still think this is a blog about health and fitness by the end of the post. I tried two new alcoholic beverages this week: Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple and RumChata. Both are cinnamon-y drinks, and both are amazing. The first is a hard cider with cinnamon in it, which makes me wonder why hard cider doesn’t have it in the first place. The second is a cream liquor (think like Bailey’s, only it tastes way different) which is basically like putting coconut cinnamon milk into drinks. I have been making dessert type drinks (think floats with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and a creamy soda like root beer or vanilla Coke) with it, and it is pretty awesome!

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, healthy things!

I mentioned last week that I purchased a new bar with a high protein content: Larabar ALT. I bought three flavors, but somehow lost one, so I’ve only tried pumpkin pie and peanut butter cookie. Both are amazing. GO BUY THEM ALL. They have a great consistency and around 200 calories and 10g of protein each, so they are a great snack that tastes just like a dessert. I’ve also purchased a couple new flavors of Clif bars to try this week (Sierra trail mix and chocolate almond) so we will see how that goes.

Another new thing I’ve been eating lately is some new (to me) flavors of Kashi cereals. I had a coupon, so I thought I’d try some of them out. I love the one that is supposed to be like honey nut cheerios (mostly because some of the little o’s are shaped like hearts). The granola type cereal I bought, however, does not really suit my taste. It is a good quality cereal and I would not recommend against it, but it’s not my favorite flavor 😦 I still like it enough that I will use up the box, though.

Another thing I tried that I was underwhelmed by was Kroger brand Greek yogurt. After having good luck with Giant brand back in PA, I thought I’d give this store brand a shot. Again, it’s a taste issue, not a quality issue. Unlike some other cheap Greek yogurts, this one is actually made with nothing but strained milk and active cultures (a lot of cheapies use fillers) and it has plenty of protein (some cheapies have very little). It wasn’t quite as creamy as Chobani or Fage, though, so I wish I’d bought Fage for only 3 cents more per ounce. Still, I would actually HIGHLY recommend this yogurt if you want the benefits of Greek yogurt (i.e. more protein) but don’t like the texture. Because it isn’t as creamy, the texture is more comparable to regular yogurt. I might actually try to find something similar my mom can buy where she is, because this is her problem with Greek yogurt (she has tried several different flavors to no avail, but all expensive brands…maybe the cheapies’ secret is their lack of creaminess…).

5K “PR”

Today was a day that started out somewhat poorly, but then improved.

First, I woke up a bit later than planned. I’ve been really tired ever since I moved back out to Indiana. I think it’s because of the addition of bike commuting to my daily routine on top of half marathon training. So I planned on getting up around 7, but didn’t get up until 9. It didn’t really matter that much, I guess, because I didn’t really have anything planned. I just really dislike waking up late because it makes me feel like I’m wasting the day.

Then, when I finally decided to go be productive, I set out the following plan:

  • Go to gym for 5K run
  • Go to carwash to sweep and wash gross car
  • Return home to eat leftovers for lunch
  • Clean bathroom
  • Maybe clean kitchen floor while in cleaning mode
  • Finally relax by continuing to agonize over minutiae shop for purses and shoes online

I left at about 11 am to go to the gym. When I arrived, however, I discovered that it was not opening until 1 pm for some inexplicable reason. This seemed really weird to me, as all of the students are back, and all of them were trying to go to the gym. Like, 5 people walked up and yelled at the door at the same time as me. This is not normal for a Sunday (campus is usually blissfully dead), but it was normal for the first week of classes, so I was confused. Oh well, I decided, I’ll just grab some lunch (I had a bagel for breakfast and they are among the least filling things in the world) and go clean the car.

This went ok. I had a lackluster lunch at Subway and then attempted to clean my car. I think I need an industrial sized lint roller to get out all of the white dog fur, though, because 3 full vacuumings did basically nothing (well, it got out other dirt, but exactly zero hairs).  I also still need to wipe down the inside of the car, because by the time I finished sweeping, I was too lazy to buy Armor All packets out of the vending machine to wipe it down. They will be cheaper at a regular store anyway. And, speaking of regular stores, I discovered that I probably need new floor mats and seat covers. The velvety stuff on my seatcovers (to be fair, I bought these when I was 16) is coming off and I have apparently worn a hole in the floor mat where my foot sits while I drive. Lovely.  I might keep this car for a longish time, though, so buying new stuff should be worth it.

After cleaning the car, I finally returned to the gym. I was still about 15-20 minutes early, so I just sat in my car and browsed the internet to kill time. I really should have gone and waited at the doors apparently, though, because after I walked over there at about 12:55, I discovered there was a line to check in that stretched the whole way to the door! Luckily, these people were not runners (I assume) and I did not have to wait in line to use a treadmill. I’m guessing a large part of the line was people signing up for lockers now that they are in town.

So, why exactly was I wasting my time using a treadmill on a lovely Sunday morning/afternoon? After discovering that the gym was closed until 1, I did consider running outside, but then I remembered that my shoes were locked up inside of the gym, so that was not actually an option. Additionally, I planned on running at the gym because according to my training plan, I was supposed to run a 5K race today, but I couldn’t find any races. The next best thing I could think of was to run a race pace 5K, and I figured doing it on a treadmill would ensure I actually met that pace and didn’t just jog around enjoying the scenery.

After I FINALLY got into the gym, my plan payed off! I set the treadmill to 8 minutes per mile and figured I’d speed up near the end. This would put me on track for a 25 minute 5K, which I have been trying to achieve for quite awhile. I sort of achieved this goal at a 5K during the spring, but I wasn’t 100% sure whether that was real or a GPS inaccuracy. Today, I proved to myself that I could do it, running 3.1 miles in 24:47! Yay! I still need to do it in a race to feel official about it, but now I at least know that I can. It was especially rewarding to realize that I could do it after my crappy paces all summer.

Then, the day continued to go well! I came home and finished all of those chores, and I even found a purse. Well, I’m considering the purse a good thing for now. I’ve been looking for a small crossbody bag that I can put into my backpack as all of my other purses are GIANT totes or are backpacks themselves, but I am EXTREMELY picky. I drug my poor roomie/friend all around yesterday afternoon basically whining about how the purses at Macy’s weren’t perfect enough and I would have to go and look at them online again. Then, once I went online, I kept changing my mind. I could save a lot of money if I went with nylon, but I really prefer leather; I could get a really cute pink kate spade purse, but I really wanted brown or black (which cost more). You get the picture. I finally started browsing around on Ebay, where I rarely buy things despite my thrifty nature. Luckily, I came across a Coach purse that had no bids (I’m guessing because they mispelled Coach). If it arrives in terrible condition next week, you all can laugh at me, but I did some mini-research and it appears to be real (it at least has a realistic serial number). Even if it is fake, I’ll probably like it. I actually have a fake Coach (purchased for $5 at a yard sale) that is almost exactly like it that I really really like but almost never carry because it has this stupid cell phone thing on the outside that is the wrong shape for my phone. I really hate that it has this completely dysfunctional pocket that messes up the clean lines of the outside so I don’t carry it. Despite being fake, it is made of nice, durable, leather, so I actually really feel like it was a steal.  I still haven’t found shoes yet, though, because I’m the pickiest person in the world.

Also, now that I’ve been so productive (I ran 3 miles and cleaned 2 whole things!), I’m super bored. I should enjoy it while it lasts, because once the semester starts tomorrow, I won’t be bored for 15 more weeks. Maybe I’ll agonize about finding perfect floor mats for my car.



Whenever I get back to school, I have a hard time keeping track of days of the week because honestly, they barely matter in grad school. Yesterday was Friday, which I sort of knew, because I knew I was going to a party on Friday, but I kept forgetting all day that I would be busy at a party in the evening and be unable to put up my foods on Fridays post that day. Oops!

Well, I sort of want to pretend it is ok, because I only really had one food thing to talk about anyway, but I know that isn’t really an excuse. It is basically my one planned post of the week, so I should really stay on top of it. Apologies.

So, what was I going to talk about on “Foods on  Fridays Saturdays,” anyway?

I tried something new this week! I was at Walmart buying supplies to aid in my computer catastrophe when I realized I had nothing to eat for breakfast the  next day. I went to purchase some bagels and neufchatel cheese, which I prefer over low-fat cream cheese, when I discovered that they only had fat-free or full-fat cream cheese. Like, they didn’t even have low-fat cream cheese, let alone neufchatel. Ugh, this is why I dislike Walmart (I knew their external hard drives and printers would be cheapest, though). They did, however, have cream cheese + greek yogurt which had similar nutrition stats to low fat cream cheese. I’ve been eating  it all week, and I have to say it is a tolerable substitute. I still very much prefer neufchatel cheese, because this greek yogurt cream cheese still has a hint of that weird fake sweet taste that low and fat-free cream cheese have,  but I would eat this over low-fat cream cheese any day. because it is still creamy.

I also had a coupon for Larabars (I got them for like 65 cents each!!) so I bought a few flavors of the ALT variety to try. These seem to be their high protein version of their bars (over 10g each). I bought lemon, peanut butter cookie, and pumpkin pie to try. I fully intended to try at least one and review them for you, but I didn’t run into a situation where I needed to eat a protein bar. I am sure that during the first week of the semester I will end up in a frazzled enough position to try one, though. They sound good, at least. Hopefully they aren’t a weird texture like Quest bars. I’m still not sure how anyone likes those (and yes, I’ve tried the microwaved cookie dough flavor).  Hopefully I will find something other than Clif bars that I can eat!

Oh, and this has nothing to do with food, per se, but today I ran to the thrift store to see if I could find a “new” purse.  I didn’t find a purse, but I did find 2 brand new pairs of Levi’s for $7 each! Just a PSA to check thrift stores first! Now off to the mall to find an actual brand new purse!

Bike Commuting: A Beginner’s Reflections

First of all, I’d like to give a shout out to my roomie and awesome friend who is letting me borrow her old laptop that works better than my old and new laptops combined  (i.e. it actually turns on), despite being broken. If it wasn’t for this, I’d have to like…read or something? What do people do without the internet?!

Anyway, on to the fitness:

I started riding my bike to and from campus yesterday. It went okay. Nothing terrible happened, but it hasn’t been without any hangups. I figured I would post a few reflections about my experience thus far.

  • If you are on a multi-use path that is the typical location of the sidewalk and the light won’t turn for you, press the walk button (learned this the hard way after sitting through like 3 lights).
  • Multi-use paths/bike lanes don’t always help. They can put you into really bad positions at intersections.
  • My button down tops will need to be kept in my bag or buttoned up so that they don’t flap around.
  • Speaking of clothes, I am going to have to start doing more laundry. I don’t get that sweaty, but I keep getting random dirt on my clothes while riding.
  • Make sure things are SECURELY fastened to the bike or they will fall off (my headlight may have fallen off).
  • My campus is not very bike friendly. Instead of simply having stop signs at the end of the bike path, they put curbs there so that you have to dismount and carry your bike to ensure stopping. Also, if you want to cross the river on the pedestrian/bike bridge, be prepared to carry your bike up TWO FLIGHTS OF STAIRS so that you can cross over the railroad tracks. there is an elevator, but it barely fit me and my teeny tiny bike. Luckily, I live on the bridge side of the tracks, so I can just ride up a hill onto the bridge, but I discovered this when I decided to ride my bike downtown and had to cross the tracks.
  • I am probably overly terrified of theft. Kris had a bike stolen once, so I now live in fear of another being stolen (it doesn’t help that random strangers compliment my bike – makes me feel like it stands out and it isn’t even THAT nice in the grand scheme of bikes). However, at the bus station, there was seriously a bike just laying under a bush near the rack like that somehow hid the thing (did not get stolen while mine was parked). Also, I left my rear blinky light on and blinking and it did not get stolen. I still bought a u-lock and registered my bike with the campus police, who “helpfully” reminded me that my bike is less likely to get stolen if I attach it to a rack. Wut? People don’t do that?
  • Don’t stop at the bottom of a hill. You won’t get up the hill (easily).
  • No matter how much I run, I don’t think I’ll get better at biking. I mean, I know they use different muscles, but I thought some of that cardio would translate. Nope, I still really really suck at biking (as in I’m slow and worn out from my under 3 mile commute).
  • The slowness may be because carrying a lot of stuff weighs A LOT. I’m sort of glad I don’t have my laptop in town right now so I can build up my endurance a bit before it comes in.
  • Despite the slowness, it still takes bout the same amount of time as commuting in a car due to the different route.
  • Also, I imagine I will get better at things. I won’t always have to walk uphills because I accidentally stopped at the bottom of them; I won’t always have to fumble slowly with my u-lock and panniers (already doing better); I won’t always have to stop and look at my directions again.
  • Going downhill is probably worse than going uphill. Uphill takes a lot of work; downhill involves a lot of terror that you will not be able to stop properly at the bottom of said hill, especially when the downhill involves switching to a left-hand turn lane.

I could probably think of more, but I think this gives the general idea. Clearly, I am capable of doing this, but I have a few kinks to work out, first.