Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting My Life Back On Track

Time to come clean: it's been a rough month. Between studying for prelims, moving/living in 3 different apartments, being sick and trying to finish up some research at work, my healthy eating and exercising habits have floundered.

So much so that I got sick again.
Instead of being super frustrated about it, I'm trying to think of all of the bad habits this month that led to this relapse and how I can change them.

1) High stress levels. This month involved taking required grad school qualifying examinations and moving all of over Ann Arbor, and stressing out to the max. Thankfully August is almost over! With it brings the start of classes and more research, so I'm hoping to enter with a calm mindset.
2) Poor eating/too much takeout. To be quite honest, I haven't gone grocery shopping in over three weeks! With nowhere to live permanently and spending most weekends out of town, I relied on takeout food. Even when choosing the healthiest options, I still managed to eat way more and unhealthily than usual. But, I'm excited to say that I went to the grocery store today!

Before: 80% booze and takeout containers
After: fresh foods!!
3) Lack of exercise maintenance. I have been working out a decent amount, but not with the regularity I used to. Exercise promotes a healthy immune system and is so good for you! This week, I set a new goal, and am excited to work towards it. Still, I only ran 6 miles this week.
Will being more mindful about these things make my immediate sickness better? Probably not. But I hope it ensures that the next semester is full of fun, happy and healthy times.

How do you stay on track when life gets crazy?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Philadelphia and Purpose

Last month when I was on my flight home from Colorado, I joked to my fellow grad student that without any fitness goals to train for, I feel that I lack purpose in the workout department. Sure I can workout without a training plan, but I don't feel the same push out the door like when I have a goal in mind.

A few days later, I signed up for the St. Louis Rock N Roll Half Marathon... and then promptly had to cancel due to an unintended conflict.
I floated through the next month of workouts, trying to set any small goal I could.

Recently I was chatting with a friend from college who now lives in Philly. She's training for her first 5K soon and I remembered a few other bloggers running the Philadelphia Marathon or Half Marathon. I asked her if she'd be down for 13.1 in Philly and she said yes! Kourtney and I have been friends since our freshman housing assignments were right across the hall from each other in the quiet dorm.
So I've signed up now for my third half marathon! My first two were in Detroit and Washington DC.
Training plan to come! I'm so excited to have purpose once again.

Are you running Philly in November?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Reading List

One of my absolute favorite pleasures in life is reading. I love traveling to a new place, a new time or a new circumstance with books, and devour them pretty quickly.
I love reading other blogger's book reviews and suggestions, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites from the summer. Just to get a taste of my reading style, I like fiction, memoirs, and anything that seems real, relatable or suspenseful. I find I have a hard time getting into historical fiction, sci-fi or fantasy (besides Harry Potter!).

I used to read a lot of heady nonfiction books, but between all of the science literature I read at work, I find reading an academic novel is almost a chore. So I save those for vacations :)
(duckface, anyone?)
This summer, I've read and enjoyed:
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Amaryllis in Blueberry
Before I Go to Sleep
The Hunger Games (books 1 and 2)
Seaview Inn (super trashy novel from the Iceland hostel)
and The China Study

Before I Go to Sleep was one of my favorite books of the summer. It details the life of a woman who has severe amnesia and every morning wakes up not knowing who or where she is, relying on her husband to tell her the truth about her life and care for her. This novel turned out to be much more exciting and surprising than I expected, and I couldn't predict the ending. 8/10
Room was a book that was highly talked up to me by friends, and when I read it I wasn't as enthused. It details the life of a mother and her young child who live their lives in a small shed behind their abuser's house. It's interesting because the story is told from the child's perspective, but a lot of the details and concepts kind of made me feel a little ill. 7/10
The Hunger Games series is by far the most intriguing and intense book series I've read in a while. While the series is marketed for teens, the books are deep and deal with societal issues and dark themes. The series of 3 books follows a young girl in a dystopian society (America in the future) where she must fight against 11 other citizens in a cruel tournament for the government's amusement. These books are seriously good-- I finished the second one in less than a day! 9/10

After I finish the third and last book in The Hunger Games series, I'll be on the lookout for a new book to check out. Any recommendations?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekly Workout Recap

Happy Monday, everyone!! I'm back with a recap of last week's workouts.

Last week was crazy with moving out and taking my grad school prelims, but I still managed to crank out more miles than I have since May! Wahoo!
Here was the plan:
S- 2 miles
M- 3 miles
T- yoga
W- 3 miles
R- off
F- off
S- 5-6 miles

And here's how it went down:
S- 2 miles
M- 3 miles
T- Off
W- 3 miles
R- off
F- off
S- 5 miles

total: 13 miles!!

I'm so thrilled to be getting back into my running game. My runs are still a little slower than usual, but I'm loving it!

This weekend I had a great long run in Wisconsin...
and have even been sporting the latest in fall trends: color blocking!
Up for this week:
S- Rest
M- 3 miles fast
T- 2 miles or yoga
W- Strength + abs
R- 4 miles
F- off
S- 6-7 miles

This week I have a LOT of science research to get back to, so these workouts might flip flop around. As for tonight, I have a date with a super speedy friend for a 3 miler-- let's hope I survive! Finally, I hope to pick up a desperately-needed new pair of running shoes.
Have a great workout week!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wisconsin Weekend

This summer I have spent nearly every weekend traveling. I've gone from Colorado to Lollapalooza, to Northern Michigan and now Wisconsin. All of the weekends have been great, but today was by far the most perfect day.

Today started as all Saturdays should: with a long run.
I knocked out 5 miles on the gorgeous Great River State Trail.

The trail runs right along the Mississippi River separating Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was so lovely!
5 miles done in about 50 minutes.

Next up was a tour around the big monuments of Wisconsin. My mom and I took another picture of ourselves in front of the big fish!
Certainly a change from last November!

We also saw the world's largest six pack. It's actually entirely full of barrels of beer!
Followed by an absurdly delicious tofu and roasted red pepper sandwich from the co-op.
Later we kayaked in the lake,
and enjoyed the lovely local brews.
My mom grilled up an insanely delicious dinner-- field roast veggie sausage, local sweet corn on the cob and a giant salad. Perfection.
I provided the dessert: greek yogurt cheesecake with peaches and raspberries (from jenna's recipe). It. Was. The. Bomb.
I love Wisconsin and have had the best day visiting my mom! I only wish we lived closer.
How's your weekend been?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Strange Addiction

Have any of you seen the show 'My Strange Addiction' on TLC? I actually haven't, but I've heard enough about it from friends and Twitter to know that it's a show featuring, well, people and their strange addictions.

Let me introduce you to my strange addiction.
Yep. Pumpkin.
When I first moved into my apartment, I ate pumpkin like crazy. My housemates started to poke fun at me about it, and I started to save the cans to show just how much I loved it.
This might seem a little gross. But I washed them out!
Back to the pumpkin itself. This stuff is SO. EFFING. GOOD. The pumpkin comes just canned and delicious-- no baking or scraping required. It's naturally fat free, low in sugar, and packed with good nutrients.
But what could make me go through this much pumpkin in less than a year? Smoothies. Daily yogurt bowls. Pumpkin bread. Pancakes. The possibilities are endless.
Sometimes, I just eat it with a spoon and chocolate chips. Some of my guy friends say it looks like baby food. Haters.
Anyway, I'm sad to say that I finally had to relinquish my pumpkin cans to the recycling bin. But not before I calculated that this equals 43 pounds of pumpkin consumed this year. Baller.
With three more full cans packed in my moving boxes, I don't see myself quitting any time soon.
What's your strange addiction?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Workout Recap

It's that time again! Time for the weekly workout recap.
I'll be honest: this week was really rough! After Lollapalooza, I came down with a wicked cold and am still coughing! I played it safe and didn't run all week as I'm known to make colds worse when I run with 'em.

Still, I knocked back a 2 miler on Thursday and a 2 miler on Saturday (and posted about some weird running rituals I have), making a grand total of 4 miles last week.
This coming Thursday I have my grad school prelim exam and my lease is up! I have my work cut out for me. But still, I'm hoping to knock out the following:

S- 2 miles (done!)
M- 3 miles
T- yoga
W- 3 miles
R- off
F- off (traveling to Wisconsin!)
S- 5-6 miles

Here we go!

What are your workout plans this week?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Weird Running Rituals

Running seems like an activity that should be pretty much the same for everyone. But we all have our weird rituals that make our runs special (or keep us sane). Here are some of mine:

Unless I'm somewhere super safe and by myself, I always run with one earbud in. This serves dual purpose: keeps me connected with my surroundings (ie: traffic) and also lets me chat with runner friends.
Even if it's just a mile run, I can't run without a water bottle.
Nearly every time I finish running, I have to spend at least 10 minutes sitting around in my sweaty clothes. Gross, I know, but... I just have to.
Speaking of running clothes, the brighter the sports bra, the better!
Finally, I got in the habit of finishing my runs last year by just saying "thank you" internally to myself and my body. It really is a gift that we can run as far and as often as we do. And now each time I finish, "thank you" pops into my head automatically.
What are your weird running habits?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lollapalooza 2011

Picture-heavy post-- beware!

This past weekend I took a break from studying for prelims and hit up one of the largest music festivals in the country: Lollapalooza.
The festival is a 3 day affair PACKED with bands from big-names to small and takes place in Grant Park in downtown Chicago. This was my first year attending and I had so much fun. There were over 270,000 people there between the 3 days-- insanity!
Because of the wide array of bands, there was something for everyone in our 14 person friend group. Luckily I had no problems finding people who wanted to hit up some of the electronic acts with me.

Friday we saw:

Foster the People
The Cults
Skrillex (one of my fave DJs!!)
The Skrillex show was absolutely insane. It was in a covered DJ stage and had awesome light effects. People were packed in so dense-- it was like taking a shower in other people's sweat. Definitely a highlight of the weekend.
and Ratatat.
Ratatat is one of my all-time favorite bands, so I was thrilled to see them live. I turned down the other headliners playing at the same time (Coldplay, Muse and Girl Talk) and don't regret it at all.

We were really lucky to have a free place to stay with our friend Eric's old apartment. After packing 13 people into one small apartment (including 8 in one bedroom...) we hit up the local Mexican restaurants for breakfast on Saturday.
I had a chili relleno taco-- basically a stuffed green chili pepper with cheese, fried in cornmeal and wrapped in corn tortillas. Pure heaven.

Saturday we saw so many bands:

Fitz and the Tantrums (super awesome funk band!)
We got our dance on during the Fitz and the Tantrums show. So much fun.
The Chain Gang of 1974
The Drums
Local Natives
In between acts, we grabbed some food from the 'Farmer's Market' section of Lolla. They had organic vendors that were serving delicious healthy food for the same price as the fried stuff out on the main drag! I had an awesome mushroom salad and a local peach. Yum.
Back out in the fray we hit up:

Lykke Li
and Pretty Lights (another awesome DJ)
The Pretty Lights show was fun and had an incredible light show to go along with it. Unfortunately, it was around this time that I really started to notice my sore throat and runny nose.

I ended up coming down with a cold and leaving Lollapalooza a day early-- definitely worth it for the extra sleep! Lollapalooza was an awesome experience and a ridiculously fun time with friends and I will certainly be back next year.
Were any of you at Lolla this year? Or have you ever been to a music festival?
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