Monday, February 21, 2011

Wild Weather Weekend

After enjoying a few days of this:

Yesterday we were slammed with 9 inches of snow over 24 hours.

I'm trying to keep the spirit of spring alive though. On Saturday I made a trip out to the outlet mall with my friend from high school. I picked up some discounted Pottery Barn sheets in yellow gingham, and now looking at my bed makes me feel cheery!

Later that night I enjoyed some Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat-- very smooth and not too strong-- before heading out with friends.

Sunday morning I woke up to a broken Blackberry. Whoops...

Last week was a step-down week for marathon training, so my long run was only a 5-miler. I skipped it due to all of the snow, but knocked out 3 treadmill miles instead. I'm excited for my 9-miler planned this weekend, especially because I'll be on Spring Break in Arkansas!

But before then there's still lots of work to be done. Bigcat helped me with some homework last night.

And today I made a trip out to the Verizon store and upgraded to the Droid Incredible. I went into the store thinking I was going to buy an iPhone, but after trying out a few options and looking at the costs ($400 with insurance vs $200 after rebate with insurance) I chose the Droid. So far I love it!

After that I trudged through the snow over to Whole Foods for some salad bar dinner and a quick grocery shop for the essentials.


It's still snowing outside!! I can't wait for spring.

Is anyone else sick of the snow yet?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What I'm Loving This Week

It's been a crazy week! With the temps rising in Michigan, presenting my research at lab meeting and working on marathon training, I've been busy! Here's what I'm loving this week:


While this week started out with a failed experiment and a failed genetics quiz, I still love my research. Putting together my lab meeting presentation really made me realize how much work I've gotten done this semester, and how much I enjoyed my project (overall). This full biohazard bin of plates was just after two days of experiments.

I am completely addicted to the post-workout smoothie. They're delicious, calorie-dense and full of great ingredients. Additionally, it helps me refuel when often after hard workouts my stomach is not interested in food.

I had this one yesterday. It contained spinach, frozen banana, frozen peaches, pumpkin, peanut/protein powders and rice milk.

Today after my run I had this one. Frozen banana and berries, spinach, pumpkin, rice milk and protein powders. Delicious.

It's week 3 of marathon training and I'm not sick of it yet! I cranked out two treadmill runs this week, Monday and Wednesday at paces of 9:49 to 9:22 over 3 miles.

Today it was 51 degrees!!! I was so excited and my running partner and I took off from our labs after work. It was super wet and muddy out, and sadly my left foot found its way into a mud puddle.

Our splits were insane! We went super fast every other mile.
Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 8:26 (!!!)
Mile 3: 9:15
Mile 4: 8:55 (!)

Overall the run was done in a little over 36 minutes, which was faster than my first 5K time in May of last year AND faster than I've ever run 4 miles! I love how running shows you progress :)

Finally, I love all of the love I felt on Valentine's day! I received a super cute card from my mom complete with Snoopy stickers.

And flowers from Sam :)

What are you loving this week?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bigcat's Wild Weekend

This weekend it was finally sunny and warm in Michigan! Sam was in town and Bigcat was in full lounging form.

Friday night Sam came into town and while Bigcat looked like this:
we went out to dinner at Red Hawk, a pub in downtown Ann Arbor.

Saturday morning I got up and made scones, but only after cuddling in bed.

Then at 11 I met my BFF and running buddy for our long run of the week! It was sunny and about 40 outside, so we tackled the North Campus area. It was a great run, up until we hit some hills with unplowed (snowy) sidewalks!

Mile 1: 9:40
Mile 2: 9:33
Mile 3: 9:45
Mile 4: 10:14
Mile 5: 10:20
Mile 6: 9:54
Mile 7: 9:51

We also got up to a 7:49 min/mile sprint for the last quarter mile! A great run to fill in my training plan for the weekend.

I came home to these two lazy-butts:

and made another Green Monster smoothie.
Into the blender went:
1 cup vanilla rice milk
handful of spinach
5 frozen strawberries
1 banana
2 scoops pumpkin
peanut flour
chocolate protein powder


Bigcat felt like modeling some more:
while Sam and I tried a yummy stout from a winter sampler pack his dad gave us for Christmas.
We went out to a lab party Saturday night and had tons of fun!

Sunday we woke up to this:
And then it was time to take Sam to the airport. After dropping him off I hit up TJ's for groceries, and picked up some dark chocolate V-day truffles! So good.
I ended the weekend with another cuddle session from my valentine:
How was your weekend? Happy Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bacteria woes

Every day in grad school I do research in a microbiology laboratory. I love science, and I love being able to do science. Right now I'm in my first year in grad school and taking classes while 'rotating' through different labs to hopefully find the one I want to spend the next 5 years doing my dissertation in.

It's a lot of hard work, but I really am passionate about science.
(from TAing Analytical Chem at Earlham)

That is, except when my experiments fail.
These are my agar plates (food for bacteria) that my bacterial colonies are growing on. Both plates should have the same amount and kind of colonies on them (big, round, fuzzy), but the one on the right was contaminated with another species (tiny and numerous). This ruined the experiment. Unfortunately these things happen at work, but they're extremely frustrating!

Today was an off day for working out. So I put down my science and went to a lab's Mardi Gras party down the hall. Sometimes you just need a break.

How's your work week been?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Tuesday

The sun is finally back in Michigan!

But it's still pretty cold. The high today was 17 degrees Fahrenheit! Yikes.

After Sunday's failed long run, I got on the treadmill yesterday hoping to do 3 miles. After the 2nd mile I felt great and decided to continue on to do my 6! Completely unplanned and I rocked out the 6 miles at 9:49 the entire time, no breaks.

Today I did an easy 20 minute bike while reading the new Runner's World magazine. I love just relaxing and stretching my legs on the bike.

After that, it was time for my Strength Training for Runners class at the university. Tonight's workout was KILLER on the hips, quads and abs! Here's another move for you guys (see the first one here).

Start out in plank position on your mat or carpet. Make sure to keep your back straight!

Then move one arm at a time to move into a raised plank position, again with a straight back. Return back to the plank position and repeat 10x.

And we did these after a bunch of weighted sit-ups. Ow.

I was starving after class so I rushed home and made a black bean fajita.

To make:
Slice and fry green pepper, onion, mushrooms and broccoli in water and olive oil.
Add about 1/3 cup of canned black beans
Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, cumin and garlic salt.
Pour into a whole wheat tortilla and top with feta cheese.


Now it's homework time!

Have you had any kick-butt workouts lately? Or any strength training moves to share? I'm so sore!

Monday, February 7, 2011

When Long Runs Don't Happen

This weekend brought another snowstorm. Saturday there was a downpour of snow!

So I postponed my planned 6 miler until Sunday. I spent all Saturday looking like this:
On Sunday, the sidewalks were still super snowy, slick, and wet. This left me with only one choice for my long run: the treadmill.

I went to the gym and got all set up. I brought a huge water bottle, reading material to cover the treadmill screen and a new playlist. The campus gym is pretty low-tech-- there are no TVs or fans so you gotta make do.

After 3 miles, I took a short walking break. As soon as I stopped running I was hit with massive stomach pain :( I tried jogging another half mile and had to call it quits. A weekend of too much chocolate and beer foiled my attempts at a long run.

On the way home I sulked a little bit. I kept having to remind myself running is not easy. In fact, I once heard a saying that only 1 out of every 3 runs truly feels 'great' and I have to agree. While I do love the sport, it's hard on the body and mind.

Rationally, I realize that missing this run won't have a major impact on my overall performance. It doesn't mean I failed as a runner or should be ashamed. Running 6 miles is hard, and trying to run it indoors is even harder. I should be proud of the 3.5 miles I did crank out on a snowy Sunday afternoon.

So I went home and made Evan's Better than Boxed Brownies for the Superbowl party. They were a big hit.
There was also tons of other food- chips, dips, pizza, wings, salsa, St. Louis butter bars and of course beer. I was rooting for the Packers, and they won!


The best commercial of the night hands down was Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit". As I watch it I remember running through Detroit for my half-marathon and looking at the beautiful monuments of the city. I hope it continues to be revived.

Who were you rooting for in the Superbowl? Or did you watch the Puppybowl instead? The puppies were adorable!
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