Sunday, January 24, 2010

Takin' it Easy....

Yeah, okay, I admit it. I am slacking.  (With regard to both blogging and running.)  But I'm tired! :)

This week was an okay one; nothing much to report.  Work was crazy as usual.  I used the crockpot pretty much every day to make our meals - thanks to this site (well, to be more specific, the book that was created out of the site, called Make It Fast, Cook It Slow by Stephanie O'Dea.

Here's a  list of the delicious, fool-proof (no, seriously, fool-proof) recipes I have tried thus far using my slow cooker:

  •  Basic chili
  • Vegetarian "No-Noodle" Lasagna (eggplant and yellow squash slices act as "noodles")
  • Chicken and dumpling soup
  • Pork stew with peppers and eggplant
  • Cranberry beef
  • Korean ribs (aaamaaaaaazzzzing!!)
  • Pineapple pork tenderloin
  • Pomegranate beef
Here are some pictures (I didn't capture all of them, but here's a sampling).

Vegetarian No-Noodle Lasagna

Cranberry Beef

Pineapple Pork Tenderloin

Pomegranate Beef

So, that's been making me really happy over the past few weeks.

Recipes on tap for this week include White bean and turkey sausage soup and Buffalo Chicken Lasagna.  Nom nom!!

In other activity-related news, I've been doing a lot of yoga lately.  It's suiting the winter blues just fine.  And running is still happening, just on a lesser scale. The weird thing is that I think I still haven't recovered physically from the marathon in November, not necessarily only because I trained hard and it was a tough course.  I realize that I have never truly taken a break from running, even when I knew it was best.  So it's not just this past race that has me all tired, it's years of running without a set period of recovery.  Hence, recurring injuries and overtraining blues. 

I am also finding myself, for the first time in the winter, without a gym membership (well, if you count the "fake gym," I guess I do), and it's forcing me to come to terms with the limitations I naturally want - need? to put on my body this season.  I have said this before, but I think that in the past I have never taken time off at all because I was always nervous that I would "lose it" and that I would never come back.  Well, I know better now.  But I'm still taking some time off from heavy training.

Hope you guys are having a great end to the weekend! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back from Vacation....

...and boy, did I need it!

Ok, I guess I always get the winter blues.  I try not to, but it always creeps up on me!

So I was extremely excited when my husband was sent on a business trip to Orlando, Florida and I was able to tag along for a few days!!!

Plus, we still haven't taken an official honeymoon (yet), so we kept calling this our mini-moon. :)

Here's the summary:

Thursday - flew down, felt warm sun on my body for the first time in months! Hung around the hotel and just soaked it all in while Derek was at a meeting.  At night, went to Trevi, an Italian restaurant inside the hotel.

Friday - ran at the hotel's fitness center in the morning (I would have definitely taken advantage of the warm weather and gone outside, but the path was around a golf course and I didn't want to get in anyone's way!), then went to Magic Kingdom

Afterwards, took a drive a bit north and went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse for dinner.  We also toasted our mini-moon with a mini bottle of champagne that Derek picked up for us!

Saturday - played tennis at the hotel with Derek, then had brunch at Trevi.  After a shower, tried golf for the very first time!  I sucked, but it was fun.  Then we took a drive to downtown Orlando midday and ate our fair share of fish and seafood (um, and drank a whole lotta beer) at Cityfish.  A nice, laid-back way to close out the weekend.

Sunday - ran on the treadmill again (man, I really dislike treadmill running now, which is ironic being that it's how I started running and how I almost always used to run), then packed up all our stuff and headed to the airport.

In the airport I listened (or, tried to listen because there was so much hustle and bustle around me) to Obama's speech at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church commemorating MLK Day and just commenting in general about all that's going on right now.  He closed his speech by reiterating that, though we are experiencing a "dark winter," his faith keeps him calm.  Interesting to think about.  Even though religion doesn't play a huge role in my life, I do occasionally think about faith and how trusting in the good of humanity can do wonders for your state of mind.  Although I'm mostly a cynic, I also hope for the best and try to stay optimistic about positive changes for the future.  And with this in mind, I think of Haiti and keep those who have suffered in my prayers.

Here's hoping this week is a good one for all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Winter Warriors of the Human and Auto Kind

Today, my husband and I did something amazing.  We both went out for a three-mile run in the snow!!!!

I say this is amazing because...a) we did it before 9 am.  b) we BOTH had the motivation and desire to get dressed in our warmest clothes and go out. and c) neither one of us complained the entire time!

In fact, we were going to do only 2 miles, because it was really coming down and the trail hadn't been cleared.  However, we went an extra half-mile or so in, making it 3 total.

I must admit that I have been really bad about exercising this week.  REALLY bad!  In fact, I kept thinking that I started the year off on a bad note by not running on January 1st.  However, I have been thinking lately that I always push myself, and never really give myself a "vacation" from running.  I've only ever been sidelined because of injury, not because I chose to take it easy for a month or two.  Not only that, but I have always beaten myself up about it.  I am trying not to do that anymore.  At first, I used to get worried that if I strayed from running for a few days or a week, I'd "lose the urge."  That's just not true.  I may lose fitness -- and I am prepared to deal with that while I take January as an easier month -- but it's finally hit me that I will not lose the runner I've become, because it's too important to me now to ditch!

The other VERY EXCITING NEWS...we got a new car yesterday!!  It was kind of unexpected.  We didn't really think we were going to drive it out of the lot, either!  But we did.  Of course, we're really going to have to cut corners now, but it's worth it because first of all, having only one car, in a city where you NEED to drive everywhere sucks.  Secondly, our Ford Focus, Sheila, is awesome and I love her, but only when the weather is nice.  I get a little frightened driving a small car like that in midwestern winters.  Derek and I have been saying that the next time we get a car, it'll be either an all-wheel drive vehicle, or at least a bigger car more equipped to handle snow and ice. it is!

A 2010 Toyota Rav 4!  As you can see, I am really excited.

And here I am getting nice and friendly with our new buddy.

2010 rocks so far.