Life is Testing my Blog Words…

Funny how I ended last night’s post with the words “sometimes things shake up your schedule and you just have to roll with” and then when my schedule was shaken up this morning, I did not handle it as well as I wrote it.  Yup, that must be ‘reality’ checking in on me and making sure I am practicing what I preach.  I can’t say I initially “rolled with it” seeing as I was pretty annoyed that I rolled out of bed at 5:15 despite my two-hour school delay to make it to 6am crossfit…only to find that they don’t have 6am crossfit on Tuesday mornings. I was pretty annoyed and wasn’t sure if I should just drive to a gym to workout seeing as I already had coffee and a little breakfast in me.  But I was not going to pay another $10 just to put my banana and coffee to use so I went home, took a little power nap and then suited up for a short run outside.  A mile into my run I had to head back home to grab my face mask because 4 degree weather can really sting the face. I really should start checking things before I start… like the schedule and temperature

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So, did I roll with the scheduling issue this morning. Kinda.  I managed to get in a nice morning run and I still managed to make it to crossfit this evening to WOD it up so everything worked out. But was rolling with it easier said than done – yup.  I had to remind myself that it was just a small mixup and I will simply have to adjust my schedule later in the day…and accept that the extra hour of sleep I lost is really not important.

So despite a rough start, everything worked itself out and I still managed to whip up a pretty delicious breakfast.

imageSautéed spinach, mushrooms, onions, and butternut squash in coconut oil and topped with a fried egg.

All that being said, I will say it again..sometimes things shake up your schedule and you just have to roll with it. (lets hope I didn’t jinx myself for tomorrow too..)

Hope everyone had a great Tuesday! Hump Day Tomorrow! 🙂

A Running Buddy, A New Car, and Some Self-Love

Happy Saturday!

 I usually don’t write on Saturdays because I am too busy embracing the day..or just relaxing on the couch after morning crossfit.  But since I had some work to do at Barnes and Noble, I guess I will also jump on here and say Hi!

Last post was Tuesday morning in the midst/ending of the snow storm and I wasn’t sure what was happening aside from lounging on the couch due to the driving ban.  Luckily, the fur friend, that also served as my grammar police last post, gave me the motivation to get outside and do some running.

imageHurry up Mom, stop taking pictures!”  This was AFTER we started out on what I thought, was going to be a nice little snowy walk. He was not on my level.  He started running like the tenacious Corgi he is, so being the wonderful mom that I am, I ran with him.  Doesn’t he know that heavy snow boats and a long winter jacket is not the most comfortable running outfit.  After one lap around the block, I got on his level – changed my shoes, ditched the jacket and we set out for another mile.  We were also on the same level when we got inside..crash on the couch.

I was very surprised by how great and tough it was to run in the beautiful snow so after a little afternoon nap, I ditched the fur friend or he ditched my idea, laced up and set out for a longer run.

imageIt was by no means long, but it was tough!  The slushy snow  really makes you work for each step.  And even with thick gloves, my hands were starting to go numb on me.

On Wednesday, I took the 2-hour school delay as an opportunity to hang with the 6am crossfit crew.  And by hang, I literally mean hang…on the bar for lots of Toes to Bars.

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Despite its toughness, we still managed to pull ourselves together for a few smiles in honor of Haider’s birthday! Such a great group of people.

It was also nice to get my workout done early because I had something special waiting for me in the afternoon that had to be taken care of..

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YUP! It finally came in! I may not like what it did to my bank account but I love everything else about it.

The excitement of this car transpired into the kitchen because I whipped up an amazing dinner.

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Instead of boring marinara sauce that is often loaded with salt and sugar, I decided to make my own sauce creation.  2 cans of no salt diced tomatoes with chopped mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and basil.  It was amazing and has been poured over just about everything on my plate for the last 3 days. I poured it over my ground turkey and I even used it as a salad dressing to jazz up my boring chopped head of romaine lettuce.

The other night I saw this on Instagram and I just had to repost.  I gave a pretty long speech on what these words mean to me on my Instagram but I am going to speak more to it now.

imageWhen I read that, I immediately thought of myself and my transformation over the last year.  This time last year, I was planning on competing in a fitness competition.  I have always been into working out and keeping my body healthy being a college athlete and a runner, but once I started prepping for the competition it hit a level that was not mentally healthy.  Everything I ate was tracked.  I had to eat every 2.5 hours on the dot.  I had to do morning cardio at 4 am. I had to lift after work.   I convinced myself I was dedicated, but all I really was was obsessive.  My time at the gym was based on burning calories not on training to be a better runner, not trainging to be a stronger athlete, simply training to be LEAN. I was moody, hungry, tired, and just always anxious.  “And then something happens.” For me it was someone. I met someone who understood the lifestyle but also knew what this lifestyle can mentally do to someone, especially after the fitness show is over.  It took some time to break my old habits but it was the best thing I could have done for my body and my mind. Sometimes I even have to laugh at my past because I am currently stronger, healthier, and overall HAPPIER than I ever was by just living life with wonderful people and working out to push myself as an athlete and a runner, not to be lean.  Do I still watch what I eat? Yes.  Do I still care about how my body looks? Yes.  It is certainly important to be conscious of your health and nutrition.  But I am also willing to let loose, go out for a nice burger, have a class of wine at night, lay on the couch instead of going for a run…and do it without any hesitation or guilt.  I have learned to simply love my body because it is who I am.  My body is strong, it is healthy, it has given me power and strength through times when my mind was ready to give up.  I don’t need my abs popping and I certainly do not need a judge at a fitness competition to tell me I am fit.  I know who I am.  And I know that even when I come home from date nights with the biggest belly filled with froyo and burgers, my body is still beautiful. 

imageI remember when that special someone sent this to me. It could not be more true. Just be YOU.

imageAnd now we say, good bye! Have a great a Saturday night!

Impressive Omelettes and an Inspiring New Book

It’s amazing how a long weekend can be so relaxing AND cause the following week to fly by. Mondays need to be a holiday more often…

I never ended up posting this epic crock pot creation from Monday night so before I forget, here it is…

imageFirst time ever cooking with plantains and after this meal, it certainly won’t be my last.  Though this Indian inspired Paleo dinner was delicious, I think it would be better if it was cooked stove top rather than in the crock pot.  I placed a layer of onions on the bottom, then 3 chicken breasts, poured the sauce (mixture of 1/2 cup coconut milk, curry powder, garlic, ground ginger and cumin) over the chicken and then topped with 2 sliced plantains.  The coconut milk and curry mixture tasted amazing before going into the crock pot so I have a feeling the moisture from the slow cooker caused the sauce to lose some flavor.  I will try it stove top and report back because this has potential to be a phenomenal dinner.

I am happy to report that I was able to get through a 6 mile speed workout yesterday, but I am not happy to report what I did to motivate myself for this run. Despite my new and wonderful treadmill that my awesome parents gave to me me for my birthday….I paid to go to my old gym just because I needed some extra motivation to get the speed work done. I needed that gym vibe to tackle this workout…don’t worry mom, I won’t do it again! However, it did allow me to add in some box jumps and rows after my run so we can pretend I went to the gym for the rowing machine 😉

I am also happy to report that my morning omelette have been getting pretty darn impressive.  I may only use 3 egg whites and 1 egg but after the variety of veggies I throw in, it can get pretty big…

imageI don’t know if I’m being creative or it’s just too early to think about the flavor combinations…regardless, it was delicious.  Here we have some mushrooms, onions, celery, butternut squash and baked plantains

I will wrap this post up with a couple of pages from the new book I am reading.  The book is called Power Speed Endurance by Brian Mackenzie and Glen Cordova.  This book immediately had me hooked when it started off about a runner that used to think the only way to improve his marathon time was by logging more miles…well with many injuries later, he tried a different approach to training and found significant improvement.  His change of training was in the direction of Crossfit 🙂

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Essentially, Crossfit builds athletes to not only be strong but to be powerful, agile, coordinated, fast and flexible.  I can truly say the combination of all these physical skills has greatly improved my running and has allowed to me improve my times without spending hours running and feeling the need to log high mileage. With the ability to mix up my training and do a variety of things whether it be crossfit, yoga or hitting the road for a nice run, I am never bored with my training. I can honestly say I am usually always excited to get my workouts in.  This excitement is key to making the best out of each minute of training.

A Little Treadmill Running

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

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What a great line.  I almost don’t want to write anything else in this post because nothing I say can beat those words.  But here goes a shot..

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve posted last! Some pretty good stuff has happened in the mean time😃 and by good stuff I mean SOME RUNNING! I was limiting my running to only 1 short run a week in hopes of getting my tibia tendon feeling better.  Well, this week I got in 2 great treadmill runs at higher mileage than usual. Still not where I want to be this close to my Disney Half Marathon but sometimes you just have to embrace the little steps. I don’t think I will even fully enjoy a treadmill run but a great TV show or movie can certainly help make that time speed up a bit.

Tuesday evening I thought I would try out the running thing because I had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday and I wanted to be able to pinpoint my pain so I could be specific as possible.  Well, that did not work out much because I actually had NO PAIN. I definitely finished that run with the biggest smile on my face.

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I had no expectations of how the run would go because 5am Crossfit had my legs feeling like jello and the most I have been able to do with no pain was 3 miles. This time around, my legs were feeling fine at mile 3 and the final episode of Orange is the New Black was getting pretty intense so I kept going.  I had to finish the episode, it was way too suspenseful to stop.  Sure enough it ended right when I hit mile 4 and I decided to call it a day.  I wanted to do a longer run on Wednesday so I didn’t try to push it.

Wednesday’s afternoon I went to my doctors for my tibia pain. We both were pretty sure it was an overuse of the tibia tendon.  I have been able to do everything in crossfit including far too many burpees and box jumps so we ruled out a stress fracture and a couple other things.  I left the doctors with no bad news which is great, but I am in the same spot as I was in terms of identifying what is going on.   I guess I am sticking with the whole “ease back into the running thing and if the lingering pain later in the runs keeps up, go back”….so naturally with that information, I went home and jumped on the treadmill.  Put on the movie “Stuck on Love” and ran a solid pain-free 4 1/2 miles.

Thursday did not have any running but I certainly made up for it in pulls up and push ups..

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And and of course all the 20 inch boxes were taken so I stepped it up literally with the 24 inch box.  I ended up doing all 75 at that height and was quite impressed with myself.

I was also quite impressed with the dinner I made after crossfit…

imageGrilled Flank Steak topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions with a side of baked asparagus and carrots.

This was another great Paleo meal, but I have to admit, I am starting to miss the little things outside of Paleo.  I miss a little wine with dinner, I miss a little arctic zero for dessert, I miss my Ezekiel toast with banana snack…I miss not having to over analyze my meals and double checking if everything is Paleo.  At the end of the day, all those things are small and really aren’t anything I should complain about, but I guess I am the type of person that doesn’t do well when I feel restricted. Even if those restrictions are so small. There is also the whole “this is a competition” thing happening as well. Yah sure, I could decide to have a little dessert after dinner, it just means I don’t get points for that meal. No big deal, right? Wrong. Not for someone like me.  The idea of getting points off just doesn’t sit well, even if I don’t even care about winning! Sometimes my brain just doesn’t make sense.  So after some thinking, I decided that if I want to do this Paleo challenge the healthy way, and by healthy I mean mentally healthy, I am going to have to just go with the flow and not take anything too serious.  I will continue to create delicious Paleo meals but allow myself to break the rules and take the point deduction. It was very reassuring to hear on Saturday morning at crossfit that others in the challenge were feeling the same way.  It is funny how the thought of not being able to have something just makes us want it more.

It was also reassuring to know that I still have a good eye and a good shot….Had a nice day trip to Cabelas on Saturday and if you know our trips to Cabelas, you know that they are not complete without a competitive shootout at the arcade. So mature of us.

imageWould you look at that score!  That score not only means WINNER, it also means I don’t have to pay for dinner 😉

Before I end this post, I thought I’d throw in a couple more food/meal creations. This Friday night dinner was made in about 10 minutes and it was the best way to use up leftover veggies that were about to bad.

imagePour a can of no salt added diced tomatoes in a pot, add some chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, carrots, left over baked Brussel sprouts and left over ground turkey.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes on medium heat and the flavors come together for a delicious and quick meal.

Another way to get rid of leftover vegetables is by throwing them all into an omlette…

imageMy ice cream craving was getting pretty intense Friday so instead of giving in, I came home from school and whipped up some banana ice cream (blend a frozen banana and some frozen berries until it reaches an ice cream consistency) topped with cacao nibs and a drizzle of almond butter.

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Oh and in the midst of this crazy week we almost took home a puppy…

imageBut we found out this morning that the people before us ended up taking it.  It was tough to hear because this cutie definitely had us hooked.  It is what it is.  Maybe it just wasn’t our time for a new pup.

Another Snow Day and Some Paleo Creations

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This is normally the case but not today.  We had another Snow Day.  Now that I am all caught up with my work, this snow day was not as exciting.  A snow day every once in a while is great but back to back starts to become annoying.  Especially when there wasn’t really any snow…

The good news is, I was able to get my pre paleo challenge benchmark WOD done at 7am rather than 5:30pm when the box is packed.  I am already excited to do it again in 6 weeks after the challenge is complete to see some growth…hopefully!

Another benefit to this snow day was a morning full of baking paleo creations!  The key to eating healthy and clean without feeling deprived or insane is creating meals and snacks that are just as tasty and delicious without all the unnecessary crap.  It may take some extra time and money to get the ingredients but the way your body reacts when it is fueled with quality food is well worth it.   I give myself a cheat meal every week to reward myself but sometimes it just reminds me why I don’t eat like that on a regular basis.  After eating out, I always feel bloated, and sometimes shakey and hot from the sugar and carbs.

Lets get back to these paleo creations I was talking about because they are way too great to not show.  But first, let me just address some business I had to take care of last night before the paleo challenge began…

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Yup, it was necessary to get rid of all non-paleo temptations.  So after I polished off the Ezekiel bread with a chicken sandwich with sautéed onion and mushroom, I had to move on to finishing off the last of my arctic zero.

Now onto the things that replace these processed foods.  After this morning’s WOD, I had to get some food in me before I started the baking marathon.  I opted for a nice little stack of banana pancakes with some pure maple syrup. (Blended 1 banana, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp coconut flour, cinnamon and a pinch of baking soda)

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Next was some homemade Paleo Ketchup because if you know me, you KNOW that I can’t go without ketchup.  I found a pretty simple recipe that just called for tomato paste, water, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, pepper, Himalayan pink salt, cinnamon, ground cloves and a splash of maple syrup.

Now let’s get to the fun stuff… Paleo Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies made with almond flour, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla bean extract, paleo chocolate chips, cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes.   Can’t wait to try one after dinner, the smell is killer!

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Speaking of dinner…

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Yup.  No words necessary.  

And the best part of all…it took about 5 minutes to prep.  2/3 cup of low sodium chicken broth, a layer of chopped sweet onion, 3 chicken breasts, chopped apple, a variety of spices and a drizzle of honey.

It is safe to say that the paled challenge is off to a great start!  I am excited to take part in this challenge for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I don’t know how to turn down a challege..ha ha.

Second, I still have some thoughts lingering from my “want to be super lean” stage where I obsessed about food and the amount of sugar and carbs.  I used to think an apple was a bad snack because it had sugar and carbs.  I was obsessed with eating every 2-3 hours because I thought that was what I HAD to do to gain muscle.  I have come a long way from that part of my life and that mindset.  Thankfully. First and foremost, I don’t obsess.  Food is not something that should be a stressor. Second, I eat when I am hungry, not based on a time and I feed that hunger with foods that are wholesome and nutrient dense.  However, every once in a while I have those little moments where I over think about the carbs or suagr content in something as healthy as a banana or oatmeal.  This paleo challenge is helping me rid all those thoughts.  With many foods now eliminated, I can’t opt for those low-calorie choices simply because they are low-calorie.  I HAVE to opt for fruit, nuts, avocados, meats, honey..I can’t over analyze the carbs, fats, and sugar.  That being said, it is certainly important to be aware and mindful…MODERATION IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT.  

Well I apologize if all the food pictures and the little personal rant was not very exciting.  Maybe this will help you crack a smile!

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….or maybe I just found it funny because I am 100% guilty of this!

A Few Paleo Trial Runs

Happy Friday!  I thought this day would never come!

…and it almost was almost my last.  I don’t think the schools in the area expected the snow to come down as hard as it did because there were few delays despite the terrible conditions.  My little Honda Civic (yup, I still have that little thing because my new CRV had to be ordered..grrrr.) was sliding all over the road.  I have never been more relieved to get to school.

Before I embraced the snowy conditions, I did a Paleo breakfast trial run.  I start Monday so I wanted to prepare myself for new breakfast options and how long prep will take.  Majority of paleo the breakfast recipes that I see floating around Instagram and Paleo Cookbooks are vegetable omelette, frittata, avocado egg cups, and BACON….all of which are delicious, but I am more of sweet breakfast person rather than savory. SO, I gave my paleo breakfast a sweet twist.

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This right here, was perfect.  Paleo. check. Easy. check. Sweet. check.  I microwaved a small sweet potato for a few minutes, cut it up and sautéed the chunks with some onions while I whisked 2 eggs and 2 egg whites.  Poured the egg whites over the sweet potatoes and onions, added some cinnamon, some coconut flakes, some goji berries and scrambled it all togehter.  It reminded me of a Thanksgivingish savory and sweet breakfast.

I guess you could say I also did a Paleo lunch trial run but really it is just a sign that we are really lacking in the grocery department…

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It was a simply a lazy mix of everything I could find in the fridge.  Chopped up romaine, tuna, avocado and Goji berries for some crunch.  I may not have a Paleo salad dressing recipe created yet, however, I WILL be working on a Homemade Ketchup. That is one condiment, I CAN’T go without.  With some #paleoketchup searches on Instagram and a few google searches, I have found a solid selection of recipes that sound good and the process does not sound like an overwhelming science experiment.  I am all about quick, simple and delicious.  Especially when you go through ketchup as fast as I do.

It may have been a snowy ‘White Out’ over here but ProCompression was not on the same page.

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They are all about the ‘Blackout’ which is fine by me because I could use a new pair of black compression socks and a 30% discount.

Since I have already mentioned my breakfast and lunch for the day, I guess I should just finish off with dinner because it was another wonderful Crock pot creation.  Curry chicken with a side of Garlic Cauliflower Mash (recipe from nomnompaleo.com).  I just can’t seem to get enough of Indian food and Indian inspired meals these days.

Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Friday! Time to relax and catch up on T.V and sleep! 🙂

Dealing with Stress 101: Crossfit/Running, NyQuil and Pray for a Snowday

Transitioning back to work after a long vacation is always hard but this week was MUCH more difficult than usual.  And I am to blame for this terrible transititon because I didn’t really make a dent in my massive workload that I planned to tackle over vacation.  I have a pretty large, and important portfolio due tomorrow and it was REALLY stressing me out earlier on the week.  I tried to remind myself that IT WILL GET DONE.  It may mean pulling an all nighter on Thursday or skipping crossfit for a couple days but I am the type of person that will find a way to get things done.  Isn’t that what I went to college for??? Learning to procrastinate and then learning to get out of that hole you dug…yup that was what my $45,00 tuition got me  But no matter how many times I reminded myself of that, I just couldn’t shake off the stress.

That is where running and crossfit come in.  The second I walk into Crossfit or head out for a run, my stress just seeems to dissipate.  At Crossfit, I have 60 minutes where my energy is focused solely on my lifts and my mind is in completely in the zone.  When I am running, I don’t necessarily tune out the stressor but I start to think about it with endorphins running through my body and I can think clearly about how I will tackle the problem.  That is why I love being both a runner and a crossfitter.  Running is what helps me sift through my thoughts and find answers to problems and crossfit allows me to just break free from the thought in general and focus my stress and anger on a great lift.  Oh, and then their is yoga where all thoughts just disappear because I am just trying to breathe/survive in the high temperature

So Tuesday morning when I was wide awake at 4:30 am because the stress was keeping me awake, I just laced up and layered up, and head out for a couple morning miles to clear my head.

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Maybe my brain was just frozen, but it certainly felt like it helped with clearing my thoughts.

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I also could not believe that my ‘throw on as many layers as possible in the dark’ outfit somehow managed to match.  That’s a first.

And this oatmeal bowl also contributed to my positive vibes.  How can frozen bananas, cacoa nibs, and coconut on top of warm oatmeal not induce instant happiness?

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After an evening crossfit session, I was able to make a pretty big dent in my workload.  I rewarded myself with a giant sip of Nyquil and an 8:30 pm bedtime.  9 hours of sleep never felt so good.

Another great way to manage stress is to pray for a school cancellation.  I can’t guarantee it will work all the time (perks of being a teacher) but I am pretty thankful and lucky that it worked for me today.

After yesterday’s crossfit session , I quickly whipped up my favorite dinner before another night of shipping away at my work…

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This dinner was great for two reasons.  1.) It was my first time baking cabbage which is now a newfound love.  2.) While consuming this meal the news added my school to the list of cancellations.  The thought of having ALL day to work on my portfolio had me smiling from ear to ear.

However, I can’t say I had that same ear to ear smile when reading today’s WOD at 5:30 am…

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Even with work cancelled, I figured it was best to get up for 6am crossfit for 2 reasons.  1.) I wanted the entire day revolved around my work. 2.) All those burpees hanging over my head until the evening classes would have just added to my stress. ha ha.

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And of course, another post workout oatmeal breakfast bowl.  For those of you who are sick of my constant oatmeal posts, you are in luck!!  On Monday I will be starting a 6 week Paleo Challenge that my crossfit box is putting on.  No oatmeal for 6 weeks! I am thinking some savory sweet potatoe omlettes, maybe banana pancakes!

Time to wrap up this post because I have a massage to get to. Yup, that is the reward I am giving myself for (almost) surviving the week and for completing my portfolio.  Putting that college tuition to use..