Sunday, July 31, 2011

Colorado and Workout Recap

I spent all of last week in beautiful Snowmass, Colorado!

I was there for a science conference and had so much fun. I had never been to Colorado before and it was incredible.
There was beer,
and new science friends.
Between all of the mountain excursions, there was plenty of science.
I learned so much and got plenty of great ideas on directions to take my projects. The entire conference was the essence of 'work hard, play hard.'
And that we did.
On the last day of the conference, I got a chance to go out to the Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed places in Colorado. It was stunning.
I also saw a yellow-bellied marmot. Cute!
But I'll be honest, the altitude KILLED me! I only ran twice when I was there and was gasping for breath after just 0.10 of a mile on the first day. My pace dropped and it was rough. I could feel myself getting used to it after a while but still, yikes!
(shout out to my DM girls!!)

Now that I'm back in Michigan, prelim studying is taking top priority. But I have an exciting announcement to make later this week regarding my next race! For now, this week I'll be tackling the first week of this.

And thankfully, I'm back at sea-level!

Have you ever been to Colorado?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Michigan Summer Beer Festival!

Last Saturday I went to the annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival.

The festival was held in Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. It was sooo incredibly hot that day-- about 95-- but we took the city bus there and immediately dove in.

The festival ran from 1-6pm and we definitely got our money's worth. After getting past check-in, we received 15 wooden drink tokens, a tasting cup, and a map and checklist of all of the breweries featured.
With over 450 different Michigan brews available, we definitely had our work cut out for us! We started with a Batch 9,000 from Bell's Brewery.
This beer was super rich and roasty-- NOT the best way to start out a hot day of drinking! So I immediately retreated to my good ol New Holland Brewery with an Old Farmhouse Mad Hatter. Refreshing!
Later we hit up the "back forty" area of the park which held the Short's brewery table. It was there I fell in love with Short's Strawberry Short's Cake.
The beer was fruity but not too sweet and oh so crisp. True love.
I felt myself gravitating towards the fruit beers all day long because it was so hot! The beer festival did a great job of providing water taps all over the park and I made sure to hydrate as much as possible.

We ran into SO many grad student friends! It was a packed event and everywhere I turned I knew someone.
By the end of the festival, we were all hot, sweaty and tipsy. I had an insane amount of fun and definitely will be coming back next year.
I did pretty well too-- I managed to hit up New Holland, Short's, Founder's, Right Brain, Dark Horse, Crooked Tree, Bell's, Brewery Vivant, Hopcat, Arcadia, and more breweries!
Michigan truly is the great beer state. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Worst Race Photos Ever

Once when I was telling a friend about a recent race, I casually mentioned the photographers strewn about the course. My friend panicked-- "why on EARTH would anyone want a photo of them in their most unflattering state of their lives?"

My thoughts exactly. I personally have never had a good race photo and have never purchased them for this matter. I do find them absolutely hilarious, however.

Let's take a walk through some of my most glamourous race photos, shall we?
In my first 5K, I clearly was rocking out this part of the race Jersey shore style. Fist pump!

During the 5/3 Riverbank Run 25K, the photographer snapped not one, but THREE photos of me licking my lips. Must have been some barbeque in the distance.
Yet another photo where I clearly thought the race finish was like being up in the club. Funky chicken, baby. (from the DXA2 5K)
This Bayshore marathon photo makes me crack up every time I look at it. Certainly the worst race photo of all time, it's clear I was nearing death here. This is at about mile 8 of the marathon. Ha!
Every once in a while, I do manage a good race photo. But only if the photographer is especially cute. (from the Detroit Half Marathon).

What's your most embarassing/hilarious race photo? Spill!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ann Arbor Farmer's Market and CSA

This week marks my return to fresh produce! After spending most of the year lazily purchasing all of my produce at Meijer and Kroger, I've finally come to terms with the amazing amounts of local fresh fruits and vegetables available.

First stop this weekend: the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market!
I've been to the farmer's market before, but always forget how great it is! Located on Detroit street in Kerrytown, it brings together a wide range of farmers from all over the area. This weekend I went straight for the organic fruit-- raspberries and cherries.
They were so succulent and sweet I helped myself to plenty from the bag :)
The rest of the market has plenty of vegetables, flowers, plants, and handicrafts.

I didn't purchase any vegetables at the market because on Sunday I went to my very first picking of the Microbiology department CSA-- community shared agriculture! The principle of a CSA is this: farmers pick and deliver a wide range of local and in season vegetables every week for a membership cost. The Microbiology department CSA is just starting and I offered up my volunteer picking and sorting services for a free membership. Score!

After a muddy and sweaty picking on Sunday night, Monday morning after lab meeting I was rewarded with the goods!
I love that we get delivery straight to our labs. In this week's bag: kale, green beans, onions, mint, salad mix and more herbs. Plus, peonies!!
I'm so excited to be a part of the CSA and can't wait for the rest of the season. I especially love the peonies on my desk-- they really brighten up the windowless lab!
My fridge is full of fresh berries and vegetables. Here's hoping I can spend sometime enjoying them this week!
Where do you buy your fruits and vegetables?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Workout Recap #4

Does anyone else completely lose their motivation to workout on the weekends? I've been so bad about it lately.
Last week was a pretty solid week though! Here's what I had planned.
S- 3 mile jog (done!)
M- 1200m swim
T- 2 mile run (speed intervals)
W- 3 mile run
R- yoga?
F- rest
S- 4 mile run

And here's how it played out:

S- 3 mile jog
M- 1300m swim
T- 2 mile run (speed intervals) + weights
W- 3 mile run (with a new playlist!)
R- vinyasa yoga!
F- rest
S- rest
totals: 8 miles/1300m

I had so much fun with my workouts last week. I think it's the perfect mix of variety and difficulty for me! Monday I crushed my swim workout and vinyasa (hot) yoga on Thursday was so fun and challenging.
I haven't been training for anything lately, and that's mainly because I'm about to enter a month of pretty intense science work. I have a week-long conference in Colorado next week, and then I have three weeks of studying for my preliminary exams to advance to candidacy. So this week is going to more about fitting in my workouts and keeping a baseline fitness.
What I'm planning:
S- rest
M- 1200m swim
T- 2 mile speed and weights
W- 3 mile run?
R- yoga
F- rest
S- run/swim/yoga

It's going to be godawful hot all over the country this week so I don't have high hopes for my running workouts. We'll see!
What are your workout plans this week? Writing them down (and making them public) helps me stay accountable!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

5 Ways to Make Running More Fun

Let's face it: from time to time, our running routines get a little boring. Add a little spice to your runs by...

1) Running with a friend
(preferably someone faster than you!)

2) Downloading new tunes
(bonus points for trashy club music)

3) Running at night and counting the fireflies
(so serene)

4) Wearing fun workout clothes
(matching optional)

5) Having a tasty reward at the end
(beer, please!)

how do you spice up your runs?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lemon Teriyaki Tofu and Quinoa

Although I've been a vegetarian for almost a year now, I've never cooked tofu. Ever! Finally I bit the bullet and bought some this weekend and at $1.49/block, it's so cheap!

Last night I whipped this up without a recipe and it turned out so well. Behold: lemon teriyaki tofu and quinoa salad.
The star of this meal is really the sauce, a mix of lemon juice and Trader Joe's Soyaki. The flavors meld together and the result is tangy and delicious.
Here's what you need (serves 2):
1 block extra firm tofu
4 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp Soyaki (or other teriyaki or soy sauce)
1 yellow squash
1/2 large onion
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 green onions, chopped, for garnish

Start by cubing the tofu and marinating in the lemon juice and Soyaki mixture for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, start the quinoa by adding 1/2 cup quinoa to 1 cup of water and setting it to boil. After it boils, reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
Add the tofu to a pan with the chopped vegetables to sautee until tofu is lightly browned and vegetables are soft.
When ready, put quinoa in a bowl and add tofu and vegetables on top. Finish with a drizzle of Soyaki and lemon juice and sprinkle on green onions.
Try not to eat it all in one sitting.
This makes for a delicious and super filling meal! And the leftover tofu and veggies are great on a salad the next day.

How do you cook tofu?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekly Workout Recap #3

Another week, another slew of workouts in the bag. Last week I planned to amp up my running this week. Let's see how it went down.

S- Wakeboarding
M- Golf
T- 2 miles
W- 1500m swim
R- 3 miles
S- 5-6 miles

T- 2 miles
W- 1000m swim
R- 3.25 miles

Mileage/meterage: 5.25 run, 1000m swim

Mileage? Not so 'amped up'. Overall though, Tuesday's run went pretty well, Wednesday I was so sore from wakeboarding that I cut my swim short, and Thursday's run was super hot. I had too much fun this weekend, and so didn't quite squeeze in my longer run as planned.
Without anything on the horizon to train for, I've been slacking a bit in the workout department. After 5 months of training for the marathon, I feel like I deserve a little bit of a mental break from training! But I'm also hoping to increase my endurance and use the off time to brush up on my speed.

Here's what's up for this week:
S- 3 mile jog (done!)
M- 1200m swim
T- 2 mile run (speed intervals)
W- 3 mile run
R- yoga?
F- rest
S- 4 mile run

This week I'm changing up my goals a little: only increasing the swim by a little bit and attempting to break 10 miles/week. I'm also adding a speed session and I must go to yoga this week-- I have a Groupon burning a hole in my pocket.
Today I did a light 3 mile jog in between events during Sam's running of the Grand Haven Triathlon. I spectated, and jogged slowly around the neighborhoods and through the course (with lots of starts and stops) so I don't count this mileage as 'quality' but simply as activity.

What are your fitness goals for this week?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Top 5 Internet Procrastination Suggestions

I was going to start writing another post in my "why I went vegetarian" series but then I realized-- it's FRIDAY!

So in order to encourage further procrastinating on work, studying and real life responsibilities, I present to you my top 5 ways to procrastinate on the internet (beyond Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other blogs). [click images for sources]

1) Webcomics
90's Flowchart
Oh how I adore thee, comics of the web. There are seriously thousands and thousands of comics you can find online, and you can even find comics originally found in print (like Calvin and Hobbes). Some of them have storylines you can follow, but most are just funny.

When Texts from Last Night hit the scene in Spring of 2009, I was studying abroad in New Zealand and didn't really understand the whole craze. After returning, I realized that some of the greatest humor that can be found in our society boils down to the errant text message or spell-check mistake sent to the wrong person. The less-raunchy version of TFLN comes to us in the form of When Parents Text, a website that catalogs hilarious texts submitted from real people (and their parents). I hit up this site about once a week and always end up laughing out loud at my desk.

funny dog pictures - Very interestings
Surely many of you have heard of the famed internet-meme-turned-obsession Lolcats. But have you heard of Loldogs? It's absolutely hilarious, and you can waste hours scrolling through pages and pages of cute dogs captioned with hilarious titles.

For those of you looking for active procrastination, I highly recommend Engadget, an awesome tech blog that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the tech world. Besides that, where else on the web can you read a 10 page review on the latest Kindle AND then the subsequent 500 plus comments? Hours of entertainment and highly influential in most of my electronics purchases.

Another highly useful site (that you won't be embarrassed to be caught checking out during the workday) is Lifehacker. The writers of this site amass tons of knowledge and create great how-to posts, everything from how to securely tie something to your car to how to talk to the police. The instructions are easy to follow and often pretty hilarious. Even when I don't need help with something, I usually peruse the site to see if I can learn a new skill. Mushroom foraging, anyone?

Now that I've wasted approximately 2 hours composing this post, go forth and procrastinate!

What are your favorite internet procrastination sites?

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