Food Friday

I am so sick of winter. Today is one of those deceptively sunny winter days – it is only 15 degrees!

I haven’t run in well over a week because of snow and ice. I’m supposed to run the Runs for Cookies virtual 5K tomorrow, but it is supposed to snow another 2 inches. Even if the weather was half decent tomorrow, I’m not sure I could run it – the entire park is still covered in snow. If it was just ice, I could wear my ice spikes (which I now have), but with the added inches of snow I’m not really sure what to do. I’ve considered walking it with Belle, but I’m afraid it will be too cold and too hard on her little paws. I might just have to sit it out and pretend it doesn’t count because it’s a virtual race. I feel very disappointed and frustrated and I’m becoming more genuinely worried that I will lose a lot of my running fitness and have to essentially start from scratch this spring. I am now remembering why I started going to the gym on campus last year around this time! Unfortunately, unless I get a full-time job (I’ve had a couple interviews, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed) I can’t really afford a gym membership here (the gym on campus was free).

On top of all this, Kris has a cold. So we are just sitting around being totally lazy while he recuperates and I worry about him because that is what I do. I have been trying to keep up with workouts at home but with everything going on I’m afraid I’m having far too many days like yesterday, where I did well with my “rest day” until dinner where Kris and I shared a large stromboli and I ate 3 brownies while watching Battlestar Galactica. Oops.


The good news is that I was able to accumulate enough content for a Food Friday post this week! This should be unsurprising, considering yesterday’s post where I bemoaned the amount of groceries that I decided to purchase.

I purchased one new thing to try this week: fancy pierogies. I briefly mentioned the pierogies (side note: WordPress wants to correct that word to “groupies”) in last night’s post, and I will note that while I have eaten many pierogies in my life, I have not purchased them in a long, long time and I had no idea how many varieties there are now, which is why they are something “new.” When I was growing up I did not know they made pierogies beyond the “cheddar and potato” variety, and after learning about other terrifying options like “potato and onion” I mostly ignored pierogie offerings. That was until the other day when I went shopping for them and couldn’t even find plain old cheddar and potato. Instead, I “had” to buy broccoli cheddar, spinach and feta, and five cheese (all with whole grain noodles). I was pleased to find these slightly fancier and healthier sounding options and plan to eat them for quick meals sauteed with some peppers! Fun fact: Mrs. T’s pierogies and Yuengling beer are made in the same county in PA (Schuylkill), further proving that PA produces all of the best things.

I also attempted two recipes for the first time: Lentil Quinoa Chili and homemade guacamole.

I liked the lentil quinoa chili, but it was not my all-time favorite vegetarian chili recipe. The only changes I made to the original recipe were that I used frozen bell pepper strips instead of buying and cutting up a pepper and I ran out of cumin so I just put in taco seasoning. I also made it in a crock pot instead of standing around cooking it for an hour. I think it just wasn’t spicy enough for me (most things aren’t). I still like it, though, and would recommend it to those who are more into flavor than heat.

A not very aesthetically pleasing picture of the chili.

I will note that the guacamole recipe I linked is a very generic one, and I followed it mostly because I have never made guac before and needed to know avocado:tomato ratios. I am fairly certain that I had never heard of guac until I was about 16 years old so obviously my parents do not make or buy it (though they love it at Mexican restaurants!) and I therefore had no idea how to make it. I also spent the last 3 years living with someone who makes incredible guac so there was no reason for me to even attempt it. The first thing I saw when I entered the grocery store was avocados and tomatoes on sale, though, so I was inspired. I think it went ok – I’ve certainly eaten worse. To my friend the amazing guacamole maker: you will be pleased to know that Kris has deemed it “good, but nowhere near as good” as yours. I blame the fact that I forgot fresh cilantro and had to use dried.

Close-up of the guac.

Traveling Light

Sorry to disappear for a few days. I had to head back out to Indiana in order to move some of my things back home. The trip was bittersweet – I was able to see a large number of my friends and have a nice time with them, but moving my things home was so final, even if I’ll have to go back out there a few more times. I know I was moving home in a couple of months anyway, so these mixed feelings would have occurred anyway, but that doesn’t make it any easier. This was my home away from home for 4 years and some of my best friends in the world are there.

Then, the day after I returned home, there was a shooting on campus (I was a student at Purdue). While it appears to be a murder that happened to take place on a college campus rather than a traditional “campus shooting” (side note: isn’t it messed up that school shootings are so normal that I need to point out this one is weird?) it was still terrifying to think that something like this could have happened to one of my friends, colleagues, or former students.

In order to move things home, I had to make sure that there was a lot of room in my car. Now, my car is surprisingly roomy due to the ability to lay the seats down completely flat and the wide hatch opening (I have a Chevy HHR), but I had Kris and Belle along for the ride, and they usually are not in the vehicle for these trips. Kris and I packed nothing but 1.5 backpacks (one had only a computer in it so I could stuff it with stuff from my office) and a tote bag for Belle for a 5 day trip. We were able to fit all of my remaining clothing (about 2 suitcases); a ton of my office supplies; all of my toiletries; all of my sewing equipment; several stuffed animals; a printer; and my Keurig into that car with us. I was quite impressed with my abilities, and the opportunity to bring Kris and Belle along to show off while simultaneously bringing all this stuff home was worth the hassle of traveling lightly.

I had no idea that traveling lightly would hinder my health so much, though. I wasn’t expecting this to be the healthiest trip in the first place. I typically slack off when traveling as it is truly one of those rare things that don’t occur every day, and I have been doing somewhat poorly lately due to the stressful changes in my life and the discouragement I feel from being unable to run very often. I will say that not all of my food choices were terrible – I had a lovely lunch of stuffed grape leaves, grilled mushroom kebabs, rice, and hummus with pita bread one day. This trip was probably one of my least healthy, though, because I didn’t even try to work out! I didn’t pack any workout clothes because I would “have some there.” Technically, I did, and I could have ran on the treadmill, but “not packing anything” ranked high on my list of excuses for not working out. I guess in the end it was me, rather than my packing skills that led to me not working out – I really had the ability to work out, but I’d already told myself I didn’t really need to because I was “on a trip.”

The other problem was the snow. I had at least thought that even if I didn’t get real workouts in that I would be able to get some walking in. I had even promised Kris that we could go to the Tippecanoe Battlefield and walk on the Wabash Trail a little so that he could see where I fell down the cliff. It was snowing terribly, though, and we had not brought any snowboots with us, so it was difficult to even walk the dogs in the parking lot of my apartment. You see, we left on Thursday in order to avoid the snow that was predicted Friday, but the storm moved south and ended up hitting us around Columbus. It didn’t seem bad at first but then people started wrecking all around us (I mean this literally). I am a relatively talented snow driver, but this was one of my scariest moments on the road and I actually had to pull of and collect myself before starting up again, and I very seriously considered getting a hotel in Columbus instead of moving along. It was 2 pm. It took us nearly 13 hours to make the 9-10 hour trip because of the snow and several other wrecks along the highway, and when we got to Lafayette, the roads were not plowed at all and the town had received like 5 inches of snow, making our last few miles very frustrating. It then snowed like 5 more inches on Saturday, making it nearly impossible to walk around. I will blame the weather and my inability to pack snowboots for my lack of exercise rather than blaming myself here.

We sent this picture to my mom from I-70 in Ohio to assure here that the roads were “perfectly fine” after my freakout.

We also managed to bring one other thing home, though this doesn’t really count in my “light” traveling because it didn’t have to fit in my car – my bicycle! Now Kris and I can actually start working towards the huge rides we have planned this summer if the snow ever melts. While we had no real snow on the way home (we left 2 hours later and managed to arrive earlier than we had on the way out), bringing the bike home made the return trip stressful. I have a super cheap bike rack and I am always terrified the whole contraption is going to go crashing down while I am on the highway ruining my bike, or, worse, causing a wreck. I tend to become very distracted by watching it in the rearview mirror and sometimes just put the bike in the car even though it takes up a ton of room so that I don’t have to deal with the stress. Note: this is mostly my worrisome nature coming out. The bike rack works perfectly fine and I would even recommend it to others given that it has survived through multiple 600+ mile trips. It is available on Amazon, though I will say I paid $10 less for it. I even gave it a 5 star review on there because I was so impressed but I just cannot be calm when I am using it. I think on my next vehicle I will get a roof rack – I don’t care if they are safer or not, I think I would feel better if I couldn’t see the bike back there threatening to fall at any moment.

Races I’m Considering

The past few days have been really busy! On Monday, we were supposed to go to a pub trivia thing, but the person who actually lives in the town where trivia was taking place cancelled, so we decided to go out for Mexican and go play board games with the other people who were supposed to go to trivia with us. The Mexican place was ok – it was at least better than the big regional chain that is around here, which was weird because it is apparently owned by them.

On Tuesday, I had a job interview and had to take Kris to the doctor about his seizure. I was overqualified for the job, so I think they might not hire me, and Kris’s doctor answered about zero questions.

Today, I attempted to make bread and failed (more on that another time) and had to deal with my computer randomly deciding that although my wireless internet was working that none of the browsers would work. The only way to fix it was to uninstall Norton Antivirus, so hopefully “Windows Defender” serves some protective purpose! I also start my part-time waitress job today (I am still interviewing for full-time positions, but took this just in case) so hopefully that goes better than the bread and computer issues did.

In other news, the “polar vortex” has finally moved on. It didn’t get as cold here as it did elsewhere, but it was still pretty darn cold! Belle was displeased with the weather, anyway. It hasn’t really warmed up enough to go running yet, either. Well, perhaps it would have been warm enough if I had waited until this afternoon, but that wasn’t really going to work for me today if I wanted to shower before doing anything else, so I just worked out at home again. I really hope it becomes a) more than 20 degrees and b) not snowy quite soon!

At least my time cooped up in the house has given me some time to think about what races I might want to do this year. I’ve included a list of several – comments are welcome, as I am clearly quite undecided and cannot possibly do ALL of these!


5K

  • Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K. This is one I’m actually “committed” to doing (meaning I signed up virtually). I’m going to try for 25 minutes, but it’s unlikely I’ll achieve that goal due to my lack of running lately. I’ll still have fun doing my first virtual 5K, though!
  • Grape Strides 5K. Apparently this is a 5K “wine run,” whatever that means. I think it would mean that I couldn’t take it too seriously, but I also think it might be a really unique experience!
  • Spirit of Gettysburg 5K. “The Spirit of Gettysburg 5K travels the first day of the historic Battle of Gettysburg.” You need to say no more to entice me.
  • Capital View 5K. A 5K that runs through a park that allows you to view the Harrisburg skyline, which sounds nice. There is also a “Dalmatian Dash” fun run. I wonder if they have breed restrictions on dogs :p
  • Chocolate Miracle 5K Race. I do have a later rant about Hershey coming up that you will see biases me against racing there, but this race actually sounds nice. They are promising free ice cream, cookies, and coffee!!

10 K

  • Hershey 10K. A 10K that goes through Hersheypark. I have a giant rant about Hershey on the half marathon description but I might be ok with this as it is mostly in the park and is short and I can’t find many other 10Ks.
  • ???

Half Marathon

  • Cook Forest Half Marathon. This course is up near where my parents live and I know that it would be very scenic, which is one reason I would like to run this. It is the day before the Capital 10 Miler, however, so I’d have to pick one or the other (mostly due to the races being on opposite sides of the state).
  • Various German/Amish Themed Half-Marathons (Rumpsringa; 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut). Both of these races sound super fun! They are both small and have great prizes (German weather houses!) and at least one has the promise of beer. I’d probably be more likely to do the Rumspringa because it’s closer to my house, but the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut sounds like it’s a bit more silly, which might be fun. Plus that is the one that promises beer!
  • The Harrisburg Half Marathon. I can only seem to find information on the 2013 race, but if this actually exists I might run it. Races in Harrisburg tend to follow the same routes, so I’d be really familiar with the course, and most of it would be within walking distance of my home. I don’t really see many downsides to running this.
  • Hershey Half Marathon. I’m not sure about this one because I am not 100% certain that I’ll be in central PA in the fall, but if I am, I suppose I should run it because it’s sort of “the race everyone does” around here. Still, it is the same weekend as the Runner’s World Festival, so I might do that instead. FYI, the website makes  the town* of Hershey sound way cooler than it really is. I mean, the theme park is cool, but see how they keep emphasizing the kiss-shaped street lights? That’s because other than a few road names that is the only Hershey themed part of town. And don’t get too excited about the “chocolate aid” station. According to my ob-gyn, who told me she ran it last year, chocolate is a lot less appetizing during a half marathon than one might think.
  • The Blue-Gray Half Marathon. This half-marathon is held in Gettysburg and assigns participants to the North and the South, with each team running different courses. As suggested by my willingness to do the Gettysburg 5K, the nerd in me longs to do this race, but there is once again the risk that I won’t be in the area. It is also the weekend after Hershey/Runner’s World so if I do one of those I might have to give up on this or just run it really, really, slow.

Dare I Say…Marathon?!

  • The Harrisburg Marathon. When I was more certain I would be in Harrisburg in the fall, I had cautiously mentioned to Kris that I might aim to do this. It is supposed to be a mostly flat, relatively easy course, which I think would be nice for a first marathon. Like most races in Harrisburg (they are all run on the same damn course), it has the added benefit of being able to walk to the starting area!

Other

  • Capital 10 Miler. I already mentioned I was thinking of this. It doesn’t seem like anything particularly special, but, once again, I could theoretically walk to the starting line, which is nice.
  • Runner’s World Half & Festival. You run a 5K and 10K one day, and a half the next. One of my Facebook friends did this in 2013 and it looked like a lot of fun! There are like 50 other races this particular weekend I would like to do, though.
  • Double Creek Bike Tour. I did the half-marathon last year, but Kris and I might do one of the bike rides (not races, so no pressure) this year.
  • Mad Anthony Half. I thought about doing this, because my family claims we are somehow related to Mad Anthony Wayne, so that might have been fun, but I am now refusing due to the fact that they are not supportive of the race having a colonial era theme. Where is the fun in that?!
  • Buck Ridge Burn. A trail race on part of the Appalachian Trail. Do I want to challenge myself to complete the whole 13.1, or challenge myself to get a good time on the trail 5K?
  • LCCM Duathlon. I’ve thought about branching out into tri’s, but I am a completely unprepared swimmer. Perhaps it would be a good idea to experiment first with a very short duathlon, which involves only running and biking.
  • Lower Allen Park Adventure Run. I’ve always wanted to try an adventure race, but the Warrior Dash is so overhyped and expensive, and Tough Mudder and Spartan race are probably too long for me right now. This is a smaller, local event so it might be nice to attempt this instead.

*Fun fact: Hershey, PA is not a real town. It is just the part of Derry Township, PA where all the chocolate stuff is.

Good Riddance, 2013

2013 has not been the best year. The year started with the sudden death of my grandmother, who I was very close to (my mom and I lived with my grandparents until I was 8). It also included my husband having numerous medical issues, numerous bad luck type expenses (major car issues, part of my bike being stolen, etc.), and me having to give up on my goal of earning a second master’s degree. I’m sure I’m actually forgetting bad stuff in that list, to be honest. The year also had highlights, though, so I thought I’d go through a few of them to remind myself that while it was probably one of my worst years, if I look at the big picture rather than focus on these small problems, the year has been pretty good!

January

  • I finished my first quilt! My grandmother taught me how to sew and got me into quilting. Normally I just quilt small things (table runners, purses, etc.) but she bought me the materials to make my own quilt and after I found out that she had cancer (October 2012) I made a goal to finish it before she passed away (don’t worry, I did, and she saw it over skype). In 2014 I plan to finish some of the quilts she had been working on.

The awesome quilt. It had some issues with the binding, but whatever, it was my first quilt.

  • I returned to graduate school! I had taken off fall semester of 2012 for my husband’s medical issues and was able to return for both semesters in 2013. Leaving once and returning gives me hope that I will return and finish eventually!

February

River on her first day home, being a pit-ball.

March

  • Every year my roommate and I try to throw an epic fancy cheese and wine party. We had it this year for her birthday and as an added bonus made it a masquerade!

Selfie in my sweet masquerade mask.

  • Ran my first 5k! You can read all about it on my race report!

April

  • I replaced my running shoes for the first time.

  • Played hookie from an academic conference to go see Sue (and other, lesser dinosaurs and I suppose a few other things) at the Chicago Field Museum.

  • Ran my 2nd 5K and almost broke 25 minutes (I have done it a few times in training, but never officially in a race).

Pre-race selfie.

  • Won an outstanding teaching assistant award for the political science department. Mostly because I had the patience to not yell at kids who didn’t know that Obama is not a dictator (regardless of your opinion on him, he still has to deal with Congress, so he is not factually a dictator). Hopefully my roommate wins outstanding independent instructor award this year for the patience she exhibited dealing with kids who were not only ignorant but argumentative about it (like, yelling at her for displaying statistics from reputable sources because they just “can’t be true” levels of ignorant and argumentative, and that is just the tip of the iceberg).

May

  • Independently taught my first upper-level statistics course. It was intense to teach 2 hours a day for 4 weeks but I loved it!

Bathroom mirror selfie before my first day of teaching.

  • Belle and River were introduced (because Kris came to visit in Indiana). Belle did get injured while there due to having a panic attack, but it had a silver lining: River became nicer to her because she was trying to protect her, and I bonded with my students after explaining to them that my poor doggie bled all over their exams.

Belle and River slept on this bed while Kris and I slept on an air mattress.

My roomie observed that this photo shows their true nature: Bellie begging for belly rubs and River slowing encroaching on my space.

Injured Bellie 😦

  • Two friends of mine got married and Kris was able to attend the (awesomely geeky) wedding with me.

Guests were asked to wear their Harry Potter house colors. We represented Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw!

I won the Tardis cookie jar centerpiece (as I said, awesomely geeky) and was gifted the Corgi for watching their furbabies during bachelor/bacherlorette festivities.

June

  • My roommate and I moved into a nice apartment that did not have awful maintenance men who pretend to fix your AC (ours was broken in the old place for 11 months, including months where it was so hot the dog starting throwing up).
  • Kris and I got bicycles!

Don’t worry, I bought a better lock!

  • Ran my first half marathon and beat my goal of finishing in under 2 hours! I don’t actually have any really good pictures of this, as the pro photographer didn’t catch me. There is a picture of me crossing on the post, though.
  • Finally took our delayed honeymoon to New York, where we went from loving to hating Brooklyn in the course of an afternoon and saw Wicked (which was amazing). But seriously, Brooklyn, we could only take so much hipster and you guys were apparently too cool to sell us overpriced craft beers (we were ignored in a bar).

On the Brooklyn Bridge.

They seriously gave us these cups for wine. And filled them with about 1 inch of wine.

July

  • I turned 24. Not the most exciting of ages. Really I just want to be 25 so I can save on car insurance, though I will miss saying that I am in my “early 20s.” At least I got a nice present – a GPS watch!

  • Chopped my hair off! It is so much nicer for running to be able to tuck it into a hat like a dude and wash and dry it in minutes (I can seriously blow dry my hair in under 2 minutes). I also get tons of compliments on it!

  • Kris and I went to another wedding. I mostly am posting these pictures from weddings because Kris and I are adorable. 
  • With my birthday money, I accessorizedmy bike.

August

  • Celebrated our one year wedding anniversary!

Cake from Kris’s family.

September

  • Quit the horrible second Master’s program (this was both good and bad).
  • Acquired my first running injury by falling down a hill (read:cliff) while trail running.

October

  • Ran my second half marathon. Again, it was in the rain and quite unpleasant. At least I didn’t do worse the second time around!

I look so thrilled to be there.

November

  • Made a mini-Thanksgiving for roomie/BFF and I.

  • Road-tripped to South Carolina for Thanksgiving after being stuck in the Cleveland Airport for hours.

Belle hating her harness.

Evidence of civilization.

  • Forced Kris to do his first 5K – a turkey trot – with me in record low temperatures for the area.

December

  • Got to come home to Kris and Belle to celebrate the holidays and got tons of awesome Christmas presents!

  • Kris and I plan to celebrate the new year by hanging out at home with Belle (if there are fireworks we don’t want her to panic) drinking wine and eating butternut squash and black bean enchiladas rather than the traditional pork and sauerkraut (that is the tradition in this area). I don’t really hate sauerkraut THAT much but my family always picks on me about it so I basically don’t eat it out of spite. Amusingly, I told my mom I couldn’t make it because I don’t have a crockpot and then I wound up getting a crockpot from her for Christmas.

See, when you look at it that way, the year doesn’t seem half bad! Not only did I run my first race, but I ran 5 races and was able to maintain my weight loss (well, within a reasonable range of about +/- 5 lbs) all year. Here is to hoping that 2014 is even better. Happy New Year everyone!

Cleaning Out my Gym Locker

Good news: there wasn’t anything terribly wrong with me on Sunday when I had my overly difficult run – or at least I wasn’t the only one with something wrong. I spoke with my trail running friend yesterday and she told me that when she tried to go running on Sunday that she went out for about a mile and was so tired that she had to turn around and very slowly jog back. She also felt sick and sore and had calf muscle cramps while sleeping that night (I also had cramps, but had forgotten to mention them).  Our theory is that when we went out on Saturday and the ground was frozen solid that we ran harder on the uneven surface than we would have had it been soft and uneven, wearing our bodies out more. It is the only thing we can think of considering that we usually go trail running twice a week with no problems! I was also perfectly fine for my run this morning (in the 17 degree weather -eek!). I was a bit slow, but that was because I was trying not to slip on the snow and ice (its not QUITE icy enough for my spikes yet), not because I was miserable!

It being my last official day of the semester – after grading finals this afternoon, I am “done,” except for the revisions to my preliminaryexams and dissertation proposal, the experiment I am working on, and planning my class for next semester, you know, very simple thing (that was sarcasm) – I had to go clean out  my gym locker so that I wouldn’t have to pay a fee for them to clean it and lose my stuff to them. Before I started going to the gym, my major hang ups/excuses about going were mostly logistical. For example, I didn’t want to do anything to actually get sweaty at the gym because I didn’t know what I would do with my towel. I just couldn’t fathom how people took showers there! Apparently I’m weird because I was bothered by things like this, rather than normal things like working out in front of others (though I do sometimes get mildly embarrassed by how sweaty and wild my hair gets while there).

I eventually broke down and rented a locker at the university gym and started using it, and I am glad that I did because I am now able to use treadmills, do proper strength training, and I have a place to shower on campus any time that I want! I thought it might be useful to discuss what I ended up needing to keep in the locker as well as what I might change in the future.

Things I had in there when I cleaned it out today:

  • Lotion (my skin is always mega dry)
  • A towel (apparently towels weren’t that hard to figure out after all)
  • One of those scrubby shower things
  • Flip flops (the $2 kind from Old Navy)
  • Sunscreen (to keep my poor skin from being damaged!)
  • Hairspray/mousse (the only way to tame my curly hair)
  • Deodorant
  • Travel bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, and facial cleanser

Things I might change next year:

  • I might bring in a hairdryer since the ones that they provide really suck
  • I might get a full locker (they have “half” and “full” ones at our gym – basically 3 or 6 feet tall) – it’s difficult to fit my backpack and coat and clothes in there while I’m working out with all of my other things
  • I will never get a locker near the showers again – I thought it would be great to be able to quickly run over to the showers from my locker, but my stuff dries out very slowly due to all the moisture and gets musty smelling :/ (I mean after like 2 uses of a towel)
  • Somehow I need to figure out a better way to deal with certain toiletries. I have so many deodorants in various places (two at home, one in my office, one at the gym) that it is ridiculous. Not sure how to fix that yet.

Grocery Shopping

I have had a lovely weekend!

Yesterday, I played Settlers of Catan and a new to me game called Suburbia with my roommate and one of her friends. We enjoyed some wine and I enjoyed some super spicy chipotle salsa. It was spicy for me, so that meant that everyone else had to resort to medium – I can handle ridiculously spicy food. Like, I didn’t realize Indian food was spicy level of spice tolerance. We also went out for stir fry at Hu Hot (one of my favorite restaurants), where I again ate ridiculously spicy food. Yumm!

Today started out with a 5 mile trail run with one of my friends. I am always nervous about running with others, but then when I get out there I remember I like it. It can get boring out there by yourself sometimes. As I’ve said to Kris (and others) – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to train for a marathon until I have some regular running buddies, because I can’t imagine doing 18 or 20 mile runs alone! I also did some grocery shopping and baking today (there will be great things for Food Friday) and after a yummy steakhouse dinner (though we all had chicken, oops) I came home and watched some Twin Peaks with my roommate. We are about 2/3 of the way through the show and while we are sort of like “WTF” every 5 seconds we just can’t stop. WE MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

One of the other things I did today was to go grocery shopping. Ever since I started eating at maintenance, I just cannot believe how much more food I buy. I used to be able to shop for myself for like $20/week! I spend especially more now that I work out all the time and have to eat even more food. I remember when I was making this painful transition last year, I just could not understand why my grocery bill seemed to have doubled…then I realized that I was literally eating twice as much food *facepalm.* I am trying to be a little more purposeful with my shopping, though – a major reason that I baked today was that I had 2 complete containers of cream cheese that I had NO IDEA what to do with. I thought it might be a nice exercise to go over everything I bought and see if I could connect a purpose with it and reflect on that a bit. FYI, this was about $40.

Produce

  • Baby carrots. For snacks and in lunches.
  • Sliced white mushrooms. To add to pastas, stir frys, and salads.
  • Butternut squash. To make some butternut squash black bean enchiladas!
  • Clementines. They are the seasonal fruit right now. I usually try to have at least one quick to eat fruit laying around for lunch or snacks.
  • Avocado. For wraps or salads or to put on my chili or something. It didn’t have a price but it so I just got one. I should have gotten more, they were 3/$5 and in great shape (hence me buying one without a price).

Dairy

  • Shredded cheddar cheese. I melt cheese like this on lots of things, so this something I pretty much always buy. I will probably put it on chili and some enchiladas I am going to make.
  • Greek yogurt. I got one container of the store brand organic greek yogurt to try. I’ll either have this as a quick breakfast or afternoon snack.

Frozen

  • Ice cream. I always like to have some for a go-to dessert, because I usually have at least one little dessert like this before bed.

Nuts

  • Emerald breakfast on the go. I like these for quick snacks to put in my desk. They are cheaper than Clif bars (though I might have ordered one of each of the seasonal flavors this week…) which is a plus. I got the maple flavor to try. So far I have tried breakfast blend and berry nut blend and I prefer breakfast blend.
  • Raw almonds. These are on sale right now, so I bought a pound. I experimented with making homemade almond butter and will probably try to make some flavored almonds. These replaced my Sam’s Club sized container of cocoa almonds I finished with my lunch today.

Grains

  • Oatmeal. I eat it for breakfast and bake with it. I got the gigantic-est one.
  • Bread. It’s bread, I don’t think it needs a justification. I usually get enough out for just a couple sandwiches and freeze the rest, and it lasts for weeks.

Canned Goods

  • Enchilada sauce. For the enchiladas.
  • Rotel. Also for the enchiladas.

Other? (AKA stuff I didn’t know where else to put)

  • Garlic hummus. For dipping carrots in and putting on wraps.
  • Cocoa powder. For the potential cocoa almonds.
  • Extra dark chocolate bar. I had a coupon that makes it free, so there was no reason not to buy it.

Evaluation: I really came out of there feeling like I had roamed around without a purpose and probably purchased too much stuff. After writing out my justifications, I think I did better than expected, though. I might not have needed ice cream because I baked a dessert, and I might not have NEEDED bread since I have leftover chili and will probably have leftover enchiladas to eat in lunches. I also may have bought slightly too many snacks, but I might also eat more snacks than I am admitting here.

Sorry if my grocery list was boring! I just really wanted this exercise in reflection. If you really want something to contrast this list with, a grocery list before I lost weight was more like:

  • 1 case of diet soda
  • Several (like 3) frozen pizzas
  • Tortilla chips
  • Queso dip
  • Cereal or yogurt (not greek) for breakfast
  • Lunchmeat/cheese/bread
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream

While I still eat all of these things (well, I rarely eat potato chips, they aren’t very filling so I only eat them at parties and stuff like that), keep in mind that this was my regular list and not my list of occasional additions (i.e. I have all the ingredients for nachos right now but they last for like, a month now). I think it is really telling that that list has no veggies and the only snacks are chips, cookies and nachos. Also, I find it interesting that I drink far less diet soda now that I am not trying to lose weight. Not that I drink regular soda or think that there is a problem with diet soda. I love diet soda (I’m a HUGE Coke Zero fan) I just don’t rely on drinking it at home because I drink so much more water now. I used to drink 3-4 cans a day because I didn’t really realize I could drink anything else! I would say one other major difference is that frozen pizza is less of a diet staple for me. This is probably more the result of me actually figuring out how to cook than me trying to be healthier, though (after all, they do make pizza with vegetables on it, apparently).

 

 

 

Wabash Heritage Trail Quarter Marathon Race Report

Holy cow is that title a mouthful!

Before I begin with the long description, I guess I should tell you that it ended up going ok! I came in 6th out of the ladies (22nd out of 51, so I was at least in the top half) with a time of 1:21:06. Keep in mind that the quarter marathon was more like 7 miles than 6.5, by the way. The rain really slowed me down, but it slowed down EVERYONE.

I did trip SEVERAL times, but it only counts if you fall down into the mud, right?

As I’ve been mentioning for the last few days, I was REALLY nervous about this race. I’ve never done a trail race, and especially not one in the rain. I wasn’t quite sure how things would turn out and was even considering not doing the race. After seeing the bright orange shirts, though, I figured I should probably complete the race so that I could wear it. Also, since I was running it with a friend, I figured I shouldn’t make her go alone.

I tried to calm myself down by making sure I was fully prepped for the race. Last night, I packed a bag with a complete change of clothes, a towel, and my water bottle and laid out everything I was wearing for the race.  I’m glad I did this last night because I realized I had no safety pins and had time to go pick some up (By the way, did you know Target has a sewing section? Because that is where they keep the safety pins, FYI). I decided to wear running tights (so as to not scratch up my legs in the woods again), my favorite running shirt, and my running hat. I typically break out my expensive Balega socks for races, but opted not to this time so that I would not ruin them in the mud. I got a plastic bag to put my car keys in (there is a small zipper pocket in my tights for keys) and charged up my GPS watch. I figured that even if I can’t import from it right now, it would be the better option than my phone in the rain.

When I woke up this morning, it was POURING and still dark outside. A quick look at weather.com showed me that the rain was expected to end around 8:15 AM, though, which was good because my race was starting around 8:20. I figured the worst case scenario was light rain rather than the downpour we were currently having. I opted to wear a raincoat over my attire just in case. I was glad I made this decision – I wound up leaving it in the car, but it was able to keep me dry until the rain finally did stop. My hat also prevented my glasses from getting wet, thank goodness! The dark and rain did cause one problem I didn’t expect – parking was kind of a nightmare! They didn’t have enough space at the park where the race was starting for everyone to park, but they were trying to cram as many people in as possible in. I was afraid my car, which has quite pathetic skills when it comes to dealing with rough terrain, would get stuck in the mud if I parked in the grass where others were parking, though, and went to park on the “city streets,” as the race website had encouraged people to do. Battle Ground, IN is about the size of my hometown (read: there isn’t even a gas station), though, so finding on street parking was mildly difficult – not because there were a lot of cars, but because the streets don’t have space for people to park! Plus, it was dark and rainy and I could hardly see where I was going. It was quite unpleasant.

Now, the race was put on by Planet Adventure, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. They promised all kinds of race support on their website, which seemed very thorough, but I have heard horror stories (I think I read a story on Reddit once where PA took everyone’s money but then canceled a race and didn’t tell anyone, but I am sure there has to be more to that story). I had only 2 minor complaints, though. The first is that the stuff they gave out is VERY branded. That is not THAT bad, though, as the stuff is pretty cute and I learned at the race that this is sort of one of their “big” events (it was the first trail event they ever did as a company, I think they said) so I am ok with them wanting to brag themselves up. The second complaint is that when I arrived, I noticed a Miller tent. Now, I always hear about these other people running races with beer, but I’ve never been to one, so I was pretty excited, even if it was gross Miller -I’ll take pretty much any free beer! When I got to the finish line, though, no beer was to be found. The only thing at the tent was bottled water. I’m not sure if they were saving beer for the full/half marathoners or if there was just no beer but they had to break out that tent due to the rain. Either way, I don’t consider it a major problem with the race because they never promised beer in the first place, and they did have all of the other support that they promised, such as water/powerade/trail mix stops pretty much every couple miles and great snacks like chocolate milk and bananas at the end (and also for some reason tiny potatoes?).

Bathroom selfie with my race swag. Sorry it is so blurry!

Close-up of the medal. Again, apologies – I am not a photographer. I tried to get River to model it but it was too big for her really and you can’t see it well in the photo. I really like that medal is a leaf – my friend joked that she is glad she did not finish in the top three, because she liked the medal more than the plaque they gave the winners!

They also did a fantastic job marking the course. I say this because they marked it well enough that I never got lost! This is already impressive (I have no sense of direction) but it is even more impressive if you consider that I was alone on the trail for TWO WHOLE MILES. Seriously, I am not sure what happened. When I was nearing the turnaround point, I was near a ton of people, and I was about 10 minutes behind my friend (I knew this because I saw her running back to the finish). After the turnaround, though, I started to pass TONS of people, and after I hit the marker indicating that I was two miles from the finish, I never saw another person, so I was quite nervous I had done something wrong. I also thought that maybe I had sped up a lot but I still finished about 10 minutes behind my friend so I don’t think I did. The only thing I can think is that the other quarter marathoners slowed WAY down. They must have slowed down quite a lot, because the person who “finished” after me was actually the guy in first place for the full marathon (he wasn’t finishing, they just had to run the course 2x so he was reaching his turnaround point). I think a lot of the quarter marathoners were a little underprepared or something. Near mile 2 of the race, we had to cross a creek. It said directly in the race description that we would need to do this. A lot of people were surprised and complaining when we reached it, though, because they had only brought one pair of shoes (who does that for a trail race in the rain?!). Then, after the creek, the trail was basically pure mud for the next mile and half to the turnaround point, which you had to promptly turn around and run/slide through again. I think at this point a lot of the quarter marathoners, many of which had also probably gone out too fast, were just like “Fuck it, I’m walking” because I was ZOOMING past them at my incredible 12:00/mile pace. By this point, I was tired and just wanted to get back, so I tried to run in the weeds and just keep my footing as much as possible. I think I handled the mud fairly well – as my meme indicates, I fell only once, and it was because the mud obscured a branch. I didn’t even get hurt because I fell on nothing but mud. So I just got muddy!

Overall, this was a fun experience. I am now far less nervous about running in the rain and I am glad I have been able to experiment with trail running. Perhaps there will be more trail races in my future!