The month of not eating out: Sneak Peak

March will be my month of not eating out. No Chinese food. No restaurants with friends (but you can come over and I'll cook for you). Basic exceptions to the rules are Chipotle is allowed on long run days (once a week not counting step backs) and coffee is generally allowed. (I can't believe how infrequently I have coffee now compared to other times in my life.)

I started keeping track of what I eat, which has been an interesting experience. (Do you realize how many calories are actually in candy? Bread? Spaghetti? Food from any restaurant?) I realized that I eat practically no vegetables if I'm not cooking them. It's not acceptable to rely on Chipotle is a vegetable source. I do eat fruit but still not as much as I should. It's also much easier to track how much I eat when I know what's in everything.

I've decided to go for a whole month of not eating out a couple of times before. The first time was just after my kitchen was finally done and that time it was mostly a financial decision plus I'd literally eaten out for a month and I was sick of it. The second time was last summer during marathon training and that was partly financial and partly a weight loss measure.

I was going to go to Chipotle today but I decided to skip Chipotle today and keep an extra Chipotle day in reserve for March. (How's that for motivation?) After running, I spent some time watching the hockey game and playing on the internets. I scoped out some recipes and went shopping.

First dish of the day is Tomato Lentil Soup: I don't have one recipe to refer you to here. I have several. I refuse to use canned tomatoes or tomato paste in my soups so this tomato soup recipe has good instructions for roasting the tomato and onion that become the base of the soup. This one has good instructions about adding the lentils and other seasoning.

In my house tomatoes get their own cutting board and their own knife so the juice and ooze doesn't contaminate anything else. (I hate tomatoes but I have been craving this soup like you wouldn't believe.)

Lots of onions in the soup too.

Yes, that is an entire head of garlic roasting along side the veggies. That actually got used in a couple different things.

An ingredient not listed in any of the recipes in sugar. I used brown sugar in my soup. It may sound odd, but I just needed a little something to cut down all the acid from those fresh (and no longer gross) tomatoes.

Next up was Lentil Pea and Potato Curry. This time I totally left the tomatoes out. (That was predictable.)
This was the last dish I made so I kept forgetting to take pictures. Here's the finished product. Anyone know where I can find some naan in the Twin Cities?

Apparently I was craving red foods today. I got beets to roast because I was watching a television show where someone was cooking them and they looked good. (No, seriously.) It helps that it's one of the few foods grown locally that I can buy right now.
This one was almost the size of my head. Are they supposed to be that big?

Roasting tip: let the tin foil be your friend.

I only have so many jelly roll trays (what some of you may call a cookie sheet). One was being used to roast the tomatoes so the beets had to marinate for a while.

But an huge amount of beets roasts down into practically nothing. It's so good. They taste like potato chips.

Now I just need to clean up. (I'm gonna lay on the couch a while longer before I go do that...)


Running and panic attacks

Usually I run to stop having panic attacks and calm down. Today not so much apparently.

  • Morning:I woke up and ate a large breakfast. We'll call that mistake number one.

    Well, no, let's go back. My alarm went off at 6:15a and I was jarred awake thinking, "oh my god, I have to go to wor... wait, what is today? It's not work. What is today? I have to go run." Once I turned the alarm off I realized I was happy in bed (sorry ladies) and that I could just stay there. (See, when the St Paul runners come to my side of town I feel much more pressure to get out of bed, but when they're over on the other side of the river and they have each other even if I don't come, I feel much less pressure to drag my tired butt out of bed.)

    So I slept 'till 9:30 and it was awesome. And then I had a big breakfast which was a mistake.

    After the breakfast I sat around and played on the computer. I talked to Chris in Seattle (thanks Facebook) for a while. It must be great to live in a place where you can see grass and plants and stuff. Wow.

  • Run!In the early afternoon I went for a run around Lake Nokomis. Now, part of the panic was my fault because I should have just picked the distance I wanted to go ahead of time and stuck to it. I did not. Part of the Nokomis run was to investigate the ice situation on the path for tomorrow's run (with the St Paul girls). The lunch I mentioned earlier was not happy about being tossed around on a run. The ice situation was much better on some parts of the lake. The puddle situation in those spots was absolutely out of control. The path was packed and between the puddles and the ice and the people I didn't get up to a nice pace, or even a regular pace which ultimately led to the panic attack.

    I thought then it would be better to run a lap around the back of the lake (on the other side of Cedar) which was way less crowded. Sadly the puddle situation was wicked over there, but very peaceful running.

  • Post run fails and wins:When I came home I tried to take a shower. (And you're thinking "tried"; how'd you screw that up?) There's no hot water. I mean there's hot water but it's not actually hot. It's just warm enough to be not cold. This has been happening at my building a lot this winter. Mostly on the weekends. And no one knows why.

    After failing at the post-run warm up shower at home, I headed over to the gym where I sat in the hot tub for a while. Nice. Then I went to Chipotle and got a chicken burrito. With the guacamole. And I do not regret it.

    Now I'm sitting at home watching the olympics (who knew curling could be interesting to watch) and Office Space (which Beth really needs to watch) and relaxing.

  • Up next:Later on the agenda is loading and running the dishwasher and going to Target. I've finally destroyed my Sony headphones. I can't remember how long they lasted. About forever I think. Anyone have a good earbud for running? The iPod earbuds fall out of my ears when I run with them. The sony headphones (earbud with the plastic hook for your ears) are the best but the cord is so looong. (It matters because it bounces around when I run.) I liked the Nike headphones with the two length cord but the plastic hooks that fit over my ears fell off making them totally useless. We'll see what my options are this time.

And a brief linkfest for you:


Popcorn at 10:30 = The Perfect Dinner

I planned to run this morning. I quickly forgave myself when that didn't happen.

For not having any home visits and very few phone calls, work was a complete zoo. Mostly in an "I like my job and I'm very busy" kind of way. I did get to have Chipotle for lunch. I think I'm trying to set a record for the number of days I can be restricting calories and eating Chipotle. This could be an awesome plan but it could be slightly unrealistic. I stayed at work a little longer than I planned to. See the zoo comment.

I went to the gym a little after 8:00p and (miracle or miracles) got a sweet parking spot. I was planning on doing a weight workout but all of these ellipticals were free so I decided to do my run tonight instead. And run I did. Watching the Olympics while running on the elliptical is like taking rocket fuel while working out. They had the skiers on and they were flying down the hill so I was hauling tail on the machine watching them. Although I slowed down when I saw the men's 10,000km race and the guy who got disqualified. That was sad. (I feel a little pull for the Netherlands' athletes since I ran my first marathon in their country.)

I'm planning on doing my long run for the week (six miles) tomorrow morning at Lake Nokomis but that might get moved inside due to the weather. The thing I remember about marathon training is there's only so long I can spend on an elliptical before I get so bored I want to peel my fingernails off just to see what'd happen. And February is too early in the year to be at that point. But being on an elliptical is so much easier on my knees that I feel I should do it every so often just to give my body a break.

It's getting light a little earlier and staying light a little later so marathon training is getting better. It's easier to run outdoors than it was last month at this time. And it's not quite as painful to go to the gym (see above about the awesome parking). I'm also thinking about how I can add a good hill workout to the regime. I feel like Montreal Ave in St Paul is my best chance for a good hill workout but I also feel like the first time or two up the hill may give me a heart attack. I'll have to think about that one some more.


Runners on Ice: Runners encased in ice

Here's the thing about the TV that my pooky bear gave me: it cuts off the corner of the screen and I can't see exactly how many seconds are left of the hockey game. Hurry up clock. Sometimes it cuts of the top or the bottom too.
GO USA!!!!
I'm not sure why the TV does that. Although she said that she had to take it back a few times to get the thing fixed so maybe that's why.

I had a great day. Here's how it went:

6:00am Ohmugosh whutimizzit? A moment later: why is my alarm making noise? And another second later: I have to get out of bed to run. (What was I thinking when I agreed to this?)

6:30am Find Beth and Robin at Lake Nokomis before sunrise. It was forecasted to be 12* for the low. So I dressed for running in 12* (wool socks and sock liners, tights and sweat pants, cold weather running shirt, jacket, gloves and hat) and it's a good thing I did. Because it was cooler than that. And super humid out. (Yes, humidity can by a problem at 12*.)

We could actually see a (well, in the water it'd be called a thermocline) an event in the fog over the lake, like where it stopped being so foggy about 20 feet above the lake. So the more we ran the more we sweat, which didn't evaporate becuase of the humidity and then it all turned to frost which made us cold, although it provided some awesome pictures.

After running I enjoyed a hot shower. Remember this summer when I thought ice baths were the best thing ever? Yeah, I don't remember it either.

10:00am I had an huge breakfast after all the running: a fried egg sandwich with two fried eggs and three pieces of bacon. YUM!

11:00am I did my taxes today. It took about an hour, maybe a little more. Sweet. Then I started cleaning and by cleaning I mean that I shredded a freaking ton of paper. And then I broke the part of the box that holds the hangers of the hanging files. Which tells you how many papers I had to shred.

2:30pm Was I shredding papers that long? I sat down for a few minutes. Then my teenager called me and I gave her a ride home from work. It was nice to see her.

4:00pm I went to the Y for a soak in the hot tub. Evidently the hot shower earlier wasn't enough.

5:00pm Dinner at Chipotle with my neighbor Steve. His burrito was packed with way more ingredients than mine which made me feel dainty and feminine (while eating a burrito the size of my head).

7:00pm I called Mom and Dad and talked for a while.

And once I got done with that phone call I turned on the hockey game and here we are. Plus now I'm talking to Amanda on the phone hearing all about her weekend and all the things that happened after I bought her Tex-mex on Friday.


My Running Playlist

As a runner, I'm always looking for more great music for the iPod, especially on those long loooong runs (which won't be happening for at least another month or two). Here's some of what I'm currently listening to (all of these links have sound):

Any good ones I missed?


Running in the slush and sun

Side note: I love watching the Olympics!

Related to running my life, I freaking love my laptop from work. I really like that I can work at home. Trying to run in the winter just didn't work last year. (You can tell all the times I wasn't running because it coincided with long absences from blog writing.) Now with the lap top I can go to work, leave in the middle of the day and go for a run, and then do some more work at the end of the day.

Today I left around 2:00 and went for a run at my usual spot. I was yak-trak free for the first time in what must be a month or two. There was some snow and some slush but enough concrete and enough footing that it actually felt good to be without the trax for a while. Although by the second lap of running in the slush my knee was beginning to protest. (It's ok little knee. We'll take a day off tomorrow and see how that goes.) It was a gorgeous day with tons of sunshine and about 30*. I had fun running in only one pair of pants. When it get's really cold I wear running tights under my sweat pants.

It was good to go for a run and not have a heart attack after all the crap I ate yesterday. Amanda and I went to The Blue Door and basically ate grease in a few different forms. When I woke up I felt like I had a freaking brick in my stomach. (That's from all the meat I ate yesterday.) Maybe I went faster today because I needed the iron. (I can *almost* explain why runners need more iron than every body else. I'd say I get it right about 80% of the time.)

After the running my teenager called me and had me take her over to Uptown. Can I use the "report a pothole" feature on the city of Minneapolis website to report all of 31st street? Nicollett Ave wasn't much better, especially around 35th. What the heck happened to that road. I actually had to check and make sure I didn't have a flat tire at one point.

To cap off my productivity I did laundry tonight. Usually I do laundry once every two weeks so I was way ahead of schedule.


dude, write on your blog....

Yeah, I've not written anything for a while. (Woops. Sorry about that.) But pairs figure skating is on tonight and that's not so interesting to me. (Show me the Luge and the speed skaters. Oooh, and the skiing.) So here I am.

Last week was my "rest week" for the marathon/half-marathon training. Is it called a rest week? Step back weeks? This is the schedule I use. I'm adapting the long runs because the Flying Pig comes way before I hit the 13 mile long runs in training. I'll make the long runs get longer faster but keep the weekly mileage the same. You may notice there are no 13 milers on that first training program. This is the second training program that I'll do this summer that has all the big long runs. (In the winter the only thing I remember is how much fun I had doing all those long runs.)

I started off this week right with a run at my favorite stomping grounds (dude, they plow it) with Beth. Thanks again for coming to Minneapolis and dragging my slow butt around the lake. We can cross the bridge anytime you want!

(Oooooh, speed skating, great.)

I then actually had to work today. (Funny story, so did Beth.) I was at work for a few hours, but it's snowing so I decided to drive home before it got bad. I may drag out the laptop and do some more work tonight. It was actually nice to be at the office for a while when it's totally quiet and there's no expectation to return emails or voice mails.

I stopped at Chipotle again. I think I'm trying to set a record for consecutive number of days I can eat Chipotle. A friend (who I guess will remain nameless unless they want to introduce themselves) showed me this calorie counting program for the iPhone (iPod Touch) to help people loose weight. I decided I'd give it a try. Mostly I just write down what I ate and how many calories are in it, and then how much exercise I did and how many calories it burned. There's some pre-programmed food in it (Chipotle is in there) and some pre-programmed exercises so there's less guessing.

Basically my little program told me if I ate 1700 calories per day instead of 2000 I'd loose a pound per week. And then I can add the calories I burn from exercise back into the calories I can eat for the day. Why'd I bring this up when talking about Chipotle? Turns out it's possible to eat Chipotle and still limit calories. Somehow it's not so hard to skip the last meal of the day when lunch was 900 calories.

I thought it would be interesting since I've never really tried to keep track of the food I eat. I also wanted to give it a go since I think it'd be easier to run faster if I was lighter. (Maybe I'll be able to keep up with Beth then.)

Other lessons learned:
  • My boss keeps all these chocolates in her office that I love to come in and eat. 45 calories per little piece can add up.

  • Sometimes it's worth the extra calories to eat the whole milk yogurt. It's almost always worth it.

  • I'm amazed at how much more full I feel after meals when I'm paying attention to what I eat.

  • Other than last week (when I felt like crap and didn't want to go grocery shopping) I ate way less crap when I had to think about what I was eating.

  • I don't always stay under 1700 calories (or under 2,000 when friends take me out and provide alcohol) and I've decided that's totally ok. I can look at this as a data gathering expedition and not see myself as a failure or needing to give up if I don't do exactly what the software tells me.

  • Speaking of, Beer has a lot of calories, more than my yogurt, or my eggs. But sometimes, it's yum.

  • Lentil soup is a bowl full of yum and fits well with this eat fewer calories thing.

  • It's much harder to count calories when I didn't prepare the food. The big chain restaurants are in this program, but the local restaurants (hello Chinese food) are not and food I eat at my friends' house is similarly missing. (Although you should all keep making me food.)

  • It's much easier to feel full when I run in the morning. (No, seriously, my body just uses food better the rest of the day. I can't explain it.)

(China has never won a figure skating gold medal? I am shocked.)


A long overdue Photofest...

I have long been partial to the trackball because it requires so little wrist movement. (It's all I can do to avoid a joke about shiny balls. Oh. Woops.)

This must have been Superbowl Sunday. On of the best tastes on earth is minorly stale popcorn. I like to pop it in the morning and let it sit out all day. It looks soooo good I could almost eat the picture.

Another pair of earrings. I realize those would be uninteresting if you're a guy.

Taken after my "at home you-tube videos workout" these are my weights. Yes, they are yellow.

Say hello to my iPod. (Seriously, sometimes it's whatever is laying on the table next to the camera.)

I have one of the white macbooks that attract all manner of dirt and grime from hands and wrists so I have a protector on the thing. It's starting to peel but it's worked like a charm for the past couple of years.

Me after a run. Runs in a Minnesota winter absolutely don't count unless you come back with icicles in your hair.

Yum. 'Nuff said.

Another iPod. Yes, I do own several.

This hat was, um, accidentally mailed to an associate who already had one from jumping in a freaking lake on new year's day so it was gifted to me. Sweet. I'm actually wearing it right now. Maybe that means I should turn up my heat.

Best running food ever.



A brief interlude from the snow outside:

I'm buying my plane tickets to Austin to see my cousin get married this summer (congratulations Brian!). I was going to use the voucher from MLK day. I went to cash in the voucher. There was another $300 voucher sitting in my account from last year. I have no memory of that earlier voucher. But sweet! Now I just need to save up my vacation days to go some place fun.

I have a place or two in mind. Where do you think I should go?

A brief linkfest


Such a Southener

Ok, right off the bat, there was a type in my title that I'm glad I caught. (The first H got typed as a K at first. That wouldn't been embarrassing.)

This is the weather report for the next few days. I was watching and Sven just told me it's gonna snow through Tuesday, stop on Wednesday, and snow again Thursday and Friday.

So, good southerner (I grew up north of the Mason Dixon Line but well south of the "Waffle House - IHOP" line) that I am, I heard the word "Snow" on Friday at work and spent some time checking out the weather. Originally I hadn't planned on taking home my work lap top, just thinking about keeping weekends totally work free. After consulting the weather, I realized I might want to spend some time working from home on Monday and packed the lap top.

The thing about the cultural south is we stay inside until the snow has fallen and the (one or two) plows get out. We check the weather and plan ahead. Busiest time at the grocery store? Right before a big snow storm. There will be no milk, no eggs and no beer for you. The good news is all of your neighbors have been to the store too.

The thing about Minnesota is we act like we don't care about snow storms. We don't plan our grocery trips around them. We go grocery shopping during the storm. Or wait 'till after. We don't cancel school or close work. Ever. As somewhat of an outsider, my interpretation is that Minnesotan's like their bragging rights about dealing with snow and cold. Planning ahead for snow storms would give the storm too much power over us. So we ignore the weather and complain about the traffic.

(Side note: the "Bud Light House" commercial is pretty good. The Snickers commercial is clever but doesn't speak to me as much. Ok, the Doritos one is pretty good too.)

I still plan ahead for the snow storms and go to work after rush hour is over.

Maybe I should go back to watching the super bowl commercials.

***Update - I found this article right after I wrote this post. So I'm coming back to add it. This is what grocery stores look like in the cultural south when snow is predicted. Do I know my people?***


So I had this dream and now I'm registered for the marathon...

I realized last night as I was falling asleep that registration is now open for the Twin Cities Marathon. Apparently that thought influenced me because I had this dream... Someone I knew took me to the starting line of the marathon (in my dream it was the Twin Cities Marathon, but the course totally wasn't our marathon) and cheered for me. The course took us through this castle/labyrinth/something and I kept going through it the wrong way and getting bounced back to the beginning. Understand now that I'm running through the halls trying to keep up with the marathoners. And every time I got bounced back I had to wear some different costume, all of which were hot and involved a lot of fur. It was like ground hog day on an acid trip. And I was getting further and further behind everyone else. I also remember one other part of the course that looked kind of like Cathedral Hill and my friend was there too. I don't remember actually finishin the marathon in my dream but I'm sure I did or I woke up from thinking about running in all those costumes.

Today, after all that, I decided to actually register for the marathon. (Hey, now I'm economically invested.) I also registered for the Flying Pig Half Marathon, known by some as Hill Training. I was thinking about running the Minneapolis Half Marathon like last year but I think I've spent enough on race entries for one day. (Though, seriously, to all of you from Minnesota the Minneapolis Half or full Marathon is a great race and a great course.)

This has been a rough week for running and working out in general. Between the snow and my attitude about the gym in the winter, not much is getting done. I might try just going for a walk this weekend. Walking in the snow is fun right? It's not supposed to be that cold.


Going Crazy not Running

Just for the record: I want to run. I'm going mildly insane with all the ice we have up here. I was actually glad when it snowed today because it'll mean a snow pack to run on instead of, well, ice. (Hey, it's still winter. I'll do almost anything to avoid the gym.)

Speaking of doing almost anything, it really did snow today. I was mildly traumatized by the five or six accidents I saw on my way back from a home visit today so I decided not to venture out once I got home from work. Instead, I did four exercise videos. I started off with Eight Minute Buns because, believe it or not, that one's actually the hardest. Next I did Eight Minute Legs. It was hard for me to do it with the chair, much easier to stand up straight and hold my arms on either side of me. It must be all that gymnastics I did when I was a kid. Better balance without assistance. Then Eight Minute Abs which is almost as hard as the buns. And finally, Eight Minute Arms with 3lb weights (because it's what I have here). This was the easiest by far. I could keep up with the repetitions on every exercise. I think the guy who does the videos sounds positive and encouraging. Is that weird?

At work we finally got our new laptops and I got my first taste of Windows 7. I must say, it's pretty nice. I think I'll always be a mac girl, but Windows 7 has a much better user interface than XP. I tried Office 2007 too. I'm not loving the ribbons. But I did figure out how to turn them off entirely so that made me happy. Plus, dude, I got a laptop for my job. Awesome.

Other than that, I've done some playing on the web, although not much. Here's what I've come up with so far: