Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Still sick, still sans veggies

I am officially Typhoid Mary. I am drugged up 24/7, in an effort to keep the hacking cough manageable. I actually miss the gym. And sleeping through the night. I am getting grumpier by the day (I don't do well with little sleep) and I'm sure my family is getting tired of trying to hear the Jeopardy questions over the sound of my death cough. I'm sure my healthy breakfast of TastyKakes certainly is helping matters.

I'm ready for 2011. I'm excited for my NYE plans and will head to Baltimore tomorrow to begin my venture down along the east coast. The last few years I have worked hard to not have any big "I wish I could do that" wishes. Instead, I do them! The biggest, of course, being my move to Denver but I have also finished a triathlon and spent money a bit more freely. For 2011, I've wanted to travel more and I'm well on my way. I've got a long ski weekend booked for MLK weekend up in Winter Park quickly followed by a longer weekend adventure in New Orleans with Lauren. Somehow, Lauren and I have managed to see each other at least once a month since we both moved from Arlington! We will continue that feat into February.

In July, I'll combine travel with an exercise goal of the year - attempting to complete my first half marathon in San Francisco, where I can also visit my cousin Jess. But the big trip of 2011 will be the London/Scotland/Paris/Germany adventure in September - my first trip to Europe!

I'm still pulling together Katie-esque goals for 2011 (I'm not nearly as organized as she is, so by the time I decide on monthly goals, the month is already over), but this will be my first year without a single semester of classes since I was 4. I'm looking forward to filling my time!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sick

I am sick. Again. After losing my voice Thursday night, I finally got it back Sunday only to lose it again screaming my head off during the 4th quarter of the Eagles game (completely worth it!).

I seem to be getting sick more often in Denver. I'm not sure if it is the dry climate (snuggling with my humidifier seems to help) or if I have just been busy and wearing myself down, but I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that my eating habits aren't helping matters and that, whether I like it or not, I may actually have to start eating vegetables.

I am a pizza and beer girl. Everytime I go grocery shopping, which, granted, isn't very often, I enter with the high hopes of buying healthy things and making wonderfully balanced meals. But those meals rarely came to fruition and after one salad, the rest of the lettuce would go bad while the bananas in my fruit basket turned black. So I stopped pretending, accepted my limited cooking ability, and stuck with pasta, chicken, and lean cuisine frozen pizzas. Nary a green food item to be found.

But alas, I think those carefree days are behind me. Even if I do so kicking and screaming, fruits, veggies, and the vitamins and nutrients they provide must now become part of my diet. I do not have full weekends available to lay in bed, taking deep breaths of hydrating air. Vegetables are my fate.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Greetings from Missouri

I have been remiss in blogging lately. Again. Its been a busy December. After a whirlwind weekend in DC for my mentor's surprise retirement party, I came back to Denver to kickoff a project I recently won. I have been running my own proposals since June, which includes picking which staff to propose, drafting up a detailed cost proposal, and choosing which projects showcase our ability to complete the work. On my fourth proposal, I finally won! Ok, Berger won, but I like to think I won. And I guess I did, as I am now sitting in my hotel room in Van Buren, Missouri, anxiously awaiting my first internal scoping meeting/site visit in the morning.

When I told my sister that I was running an internal scoping meeting, she immediately laughed and said it reminded her a colonoscopy and asked if that's what I would be doing on this trip. I innocently explained to her that in my line of work we also have agency scoping and public scoping. It didn't help her giggles.

But anyhow, that's how I found myself driving to the airport yet one more time before flying home for Christmas. I flew with one Denver staff member and was meeting a DC coworker in St. Louis before traversing together for 3 hours to the park. While the Denver folks were already scheduled to arrive an hour before Emily, our DC counterpart, her flight was delayed and we had two hours to kill before she landed.

We picked up the rental (a REALLY nice new Jeep Cherokee), googled the address for the Arch (Technically the "St. Louis Gateway Arch: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial"), popped it into my phone's GPS and headed that way! I thought we'd only drive by and say "hmm, yep - there it is!" But we parked and headed over.


We were too close to fit it all in one picture. As we walked towards it, alone in an empty field, I couldn't help but thinking, well sure its big, but is that it? (thats what she said?) I found out that there is a whole museum/lots of signs for NMac to read located underground beneath the arch. My coworker Jack remembered traveling up inside the Arch as a kid, so we headed to the ticket counter to see how long a trip would take. We were in luck - the lifts went up every ten minutes and one was leaving now!

I was a bit skeptical to see the doors to the lift:

We were sent up in little pods and I discovered I might have a touch of claustrophobia. But it was worth it when we got to the top


And then I took a picture looking straight down:
I think the Arch was probably the best of what St. Louis has to offer, though, with the exception of maybe Sam Bradford (yum!). We quickly got back to the car and off to the airport in plenty of time to pick up Emily.

While we had to drive down a sketchy road to reach our hotel, it seems like a decent place. Its a bit odd that they don't have a clock or hairdryer, but at least they have wireless. The website had mentioned dial-up would be our internet option, so it was a welcome surprise.

Think of me tomorrow as you are cozy in your homes. While it was 62 in Denver today, the high in Van Buren won't get out of the 20s and will be spreading a wintery mix as we venture from site to site. Nothing if not an adventure!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two wheeled commute

Now that our office has moved downtown, I'm back to my bicycle commute! I'm still working the kinks out, but it is only 1.5 miles and is super easy. Given that the entire ride is on city streets, opposed to my wonderful Arlington trail, it isn't quite as peaceful as my old commute used to be, but I love it all the same.

I also officially joined the pricey gym next door and have gone twice this week already. I often forget how much working out makes me an all-around better person. Biking to work makes me alert and perky, even before coffee, and finishing my day at the gym sends me home full of energy and ready to get things done around the house. I am normally a pretty optimistic, happy-go-lucky person, but exercising regularly makes me even more so. And I like it.

What's nice about Denver (but has been a challenge to get used to, bike-wise) is that even at the same temperature, Denver weather seems warmer that DC. The sun is always out and there is no bone-chilling cold that shoots through whatever you are wearing. Back east, I had a set rotation of layers that I wore, which changed at every 10 degree increment. This morning it was 36 and I even rid myself of a layer, but was still sweating by the time I got to the office.

I also have braved the bus to work, given icy roads on Monday and 14 degree temperatures on Tuesday. I have managed not to get lost, but am still figuring out which stops are the fastest. Similar to DC, the bus seems to attract a wide assortment of characters including the young gentleman waiting at the bus stop last evening who asked whoever was on the receiving end of his cell phone if she had gotten her period yet. I hope the answer didn't ruin his day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slacker

As my dad pointed out, I have been slacking in my blog posts. My office recently moved from Lakewood to downtown Denver. So while my office view now looks like this:


...everyone can now see my monitor. So alas, future blogging will have to be down from the comfort of my home, via my stolen internets.

I haven't had much to blog about, anyhow. My practicum was finally turned in on Wednesday, at a whopping 49 pages. I hope they are kind and it won't require too many edits. I am officially two weeks away from graduate school freedom. During the final days of paper writing, I avoided the gym with reckless abandon and haven't returned since. I am getting chubbier by the day.

With the new office move, my gym is now a bus ride, apt stop, and 20 minute car drive away: aka, I haven't been going. There is a fancy-pants gym right by the new office, but it is far pricier. I will definitely be joining it, though, as the monthly fee is much cheaper than buying all new work pants.

Other than that, life has been pretty standard lately. I spent most of the long Thanksgiving break cleaning and decorating my apartment. After not having a vacuum since July, it was nice to see clean floors. I won my first proposal at work - after having run several proposals by myself this year (and losing all of them to other firms), I am now the proud project manager of a new EA at Ozarks. It will be the first project that I bid for, won, and will run all by my lonesome. A little scary, but a little exciting, too!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) For once, my ability to fight procrastination is paying off. You may remember last April, when I wrote all my final papers in advance, only to have them lost/destroyed by my virus-laden work computer. I rued the day I had written anything in advance. I have been able to work little by little on my final masters paper, though, and it has me in a good position to work on edits tonight and tomorrow, which frees me up for:

2.) ...my epic weekend plans. Friday night I'm going to the 10:15 pm showing of the new Harry Potter - in IMAX! While this showing is a bit past my old lady bedtime, I only have a half day of work courtesy of our pending office move, so I will have some downtime/naptime beforehand. Also on the agenda for friday: a visit to REI and a haircut! It has been since August 2009 when I last cut my hair, so its well overdue.

Saturday plans include brunch in Fort Collins with some coworkers followed by a tour of the New Belgium brewery, which we had to book two months in advance! The tour is an hour and a half long and boasts plentiful samples, so we are all making sure to go in with full tummies.

Sunday bright and early, I'll be on my way to Winter Park for the first skiing of the season! Thinking back, I haven't skied since at least high school, so I am eager to hit the green trails with a friend who is just starting out on skis. We'll head back after a half day of skiing for our work event at the new office, full of wine and little snacks, to get acquainted with our new digs. Thankfully, the event ends at 6, so I'll just stay downtown to watch the Eagles take on the Giants at the Linc!

3.) I'm not going any where or doing any thing for Thanksgiving, but honestly, I think I'll need the rest. I've already got a list of all the things I want to do around my apartment with all the spare time (which includes (gasp) finally buying a vacuum). Cleaning my file cabinet and shredding credit card offers are also on my list. I live life on the edge!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I haven't been writing as much lately. Truth be told, there just isn't much to write about. I'm up to my eyeballs in paper writing and homework, just trying to keep the motivation to finish the final three weeks of grad school. I haven't been running- partially because I've been so busy and partially because I've been so lazy.

Tonight, however, my plans have been canceled and I'm secretly excited to instead stay a bit later at work, rock out some homework, then go home and rock out a treadmill workout that Katie gave me last Friday and I've been itching to do. It is a speed work run/walk interval workout, and I've never pushed the treadmill speed up above the 7.0 mark, which this workout calls for. I'm excited to see how my body and legs react to that!

The only other big thing going on this week is our Lakewood office is packing up in preparation for the big move to Downtown. We will have a half day Friday, as IT comes and dismantles our server. While I would normally skip home with glee, happy to be free for the rest of the day, I will instead skip to the library to edit my final paper. Such is the life of a grad student.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Trifecta

Saturday afternoon, the Maryland Terps destroyed UVA. Destroyed. I missed the game, being cooped up in my office, plowing through 39 pages of final paper.

Sunday afternoon, the Denver Broncos lit up the Kansas City Chiefs, scoring several touchdowns while I sat approximately 30 yards away from the end zone. I was so close, I wanted to give my man Dawkins a little congratulatory slap on the tush.


Hopefully, my football teams will complete the trifecta, with the Philadelphia Eagles outscoring the Washington Redskins from Redskins Park, Maryland. After my final date with Ronnie after work, I will be sitting at the local bar, biting my nails with anxiety.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Its snowing in Denver!


2.) This sunday I'm going to the Broncos/Chiefs game. As of this morning, the predicted temperature will be a high of 37 degrees.

3.) Tonight is my second to last session with Ronnie. I'm really sad!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cranky Legs

Due to the awesomeness that was Friday night (bowling with my boss's friends), I was a wee bit hungover Saturday and therefore missed my planned 5 mile long run with the running group. I laid around feeling like death until about 10, then headed to my office to work on my final paper.

Sunday AM (also known as hangover: the sequel), I went with my coworkers to the Ronald McDonald House to cook breakfast. Upon my return home, I went out for the planned 5 miles. Within the first mile, I could feel that 5 just wasn't gonna happen. I pushed forward with my 3.1 mile loop, but struggled. My hips were tight and I had a side cramp that wouldn't quit. I did a good amount of run/walking and finished up at around 40 minutes.

Yesterday, I pushed forward on a 1-mile warm up "sprint" (its a sprint for me, however incredibly slow for anyone else in the world) then Ronnie absolutely destroyed me. We only have two more sessions left and I'm going to miss him! If I had the money, I would certainly keep it up! On Saturday while I was drying my hair, I started to see muscle definition in my arms! I'm pretty excited. I'm also pretty sure that no one can see it but me, but that doesn't stop me from trying to show them!!

This morning I went out for the same 3.1 mile loop, and although my legs were cranky for the first mile, I found my stride by the second mile. I finished with a slow time and promptly did some pigeon pose stretches on my floor to loosen my hips. I might need to start looking into a foam roller and a new pair of shoes. Ronnie has mocked the poor shape of my current running shoes (which are two years and at least 200 miles old)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sexy Echo


The echo is officially a resident of Colorado (before me, I might add). Now get off my back, Virginia!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Making Friends

Last night I went to my very first organized group run. I joined a website called "MeetUp" that has a bunch of subgroups that organize different events. I joined the Denver Running Club, which meets every tuesday at Washington Park.

I was a little worried. I can be pretty socially awkward when I don't know anyone, and I'm a fairly slow runner. I rode my bike there and was early (per usual), and sheepishly approached someone who showed up shortly thereafter. I had found the right meeting spot! A girl showed up not long after and I recognized her from the RSVP list and knew that she was new, too (I'm not at all a creeper). I asked if anyone ran around the 10-11 minute mile pace, and she did! We ran together and it was a great 3 miles! She wants to do her first half marathon this year and was also a swimmer! I'm happy to have a running buddy again.

After the run, we were all headed to a local bar. Not knowing where I was going, one of the organizers offered to put my bike on his bike rack and give me a lift (and also a ride home, thankfully - it got chilly!). I didn't eat or drink at the bar (hooray willpower!) but it was nice to get to know some more new people.

There is another run on Saturday AM and I'm thinking of going for broke, running 2 laps (5.2 miles) and then heading into the office for some paper writing. The excitement in my life never ends!

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Goals - Status Check

My second blog post ever took a look at my goals for 2010. Given that I'm two months from the finish line and starting to ponder my goals for 2011, I wanted to see how I was doing:


Start a Roth IRA - Not Done.
Increase/Fix my 401K - Not Done (yeeps!)
Get a faster time at the Philly Tri - negated by Denver move
Take vitamins more regularly - nope (unless you're my mother, in which case I always eat healthy foods and take my vitamins without fail)
Log every day in January - Done!
Floss twice a week - Kicking this one's butt! I found little disposable flossers and floss each morning.
eat slower - work in progress
Run a 5K in under 30 minutes - DONE! 29:12, baby!
Grocery shop more regularly - a work in progress
Pay off FCU credit card - DONE!
Keep a list of books read - I've only finished a few, but haven't been keeping a list.

I've been better at some things than others, but overall I'm pretty happy with what I've managed to get done. Nutrition for me is a constant battle, and one I'm gearing up to fight a little harder on in November. I've been busting my butt in the gym with my main man Ronnie, but I need to put more effort into the food side of the equation.

Overall, I'm happy to be back in Denver and back into my routine. My bed never felt more comfortable than it did last night!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Murtaugh

My favorite episode of How I Met Your Mother is called "The Murtaugh List", named after Danny Glover's character, Roger Murtaugh, of Lethal Weapon fame. In this episode, Ted recounts all of the things he's too old to do (a la "I'm too old for this sh*t").

I think I can add rotating around from couch to couch/inflatable bed to my Murtaugh List.

Each day, I'm waking up with more and more aches and pains (not helped by the fact I also lifted on Tuesday, taking my shoulders out of commission for three days - who's bright idea was THAT). I am so transient, that I've started leaving my huge suitcase at work each night and only bringing what I need to survive overnight until I return to work again. My hands are blistered from pulling the suitcase and I'm in serious need of a back massage.

Even worse, I woke up this morning and realized I was searching for Cholly, thinking she had just fallen off the side of the bed. It was when I realized I had left her in Denver. My mom once asked if I brought Cholly on work travel with me. I said no, as I was too afraid airport security would want to search the luggage of a 26-year old that traveled with a rattle doll and that it would be super awkward to explain to co-workers why I was hauled in for a full pat-down.

But today is my last day in the DC office. In what can only be termed as my best decision ever in life, I have taken Friday off to spend in Baltimore at Lauren's. I have already warned her that I don't plan on vacating my pajamas for the entire day, probably while watching How I Met Your Mother. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I'm ready to be back in Denver.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The right decision

After being back in DC for five days now, I can definitely say that moving to Denver was the right decision. It hasn't been easy, but I don't regret it.

A day or two after landing, my sister asked how it felt to be back. It feels good. It feels familiar. But I really notice how unfriendly the east coast is. People don't smile and are pretty much in a hurry all the time. I already miss the pace of Denver.

But other than missing Denver (and my bed), I am enjoying my time in DC! The wedding in Leesburg this weekend was a blast, if not tiring, as all weddings are. I had planned on running Saturday afternoon, but time was limited. I had a great workout Thursday after work, but have been a beer-filled sloth ever since. My pants, which were loose in Denver, are now quite snug and my legs are begging for the treadmill (or possibly a run through Georgetown if it doesn't rain). While I was used to drinking upwards to 5 nalgene bottles of water each day in Denver, I have only had two in five days. And I apparently didn't need to pack the 17 moisturizers that I need out west, as the east coast humidity has my skin begging for dryness again.

I've had a wonderful time catching up with my friends and I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing Katie tomorrow, after my practicum presentation is over and done with. After tonight, I resume my nomadic life, rotating sleeping locations until I end up in Baltimore at Lauren's. We both took Friday off and I cannot wait!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) I'm in DC!
2.) I'm exhausted. My day started 4 am, followed quickly by a breakdown, as I realized my shuttle to the airport was definitely not coming for me (they called at 6:15, an hour and a half late, to tell me they were there). Thankfully I called a cab and made it to the airport on time, and am thankful I can charge the $73 to my company.

3.) Tonight begins my first night of couch-shuffle roulette. I will be staying with Beth (you may recognize her from the many bucket list posts in the spring) at her new place in Courthouse! How I Met Your Mother, brie, wine, and french bread await!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


DC - Ready or Not, here I come!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Recap



I had a fun-filled weekend!

After a relaxing night-in on Friday, I woke up early and schlepped myself onto a spin bike for 45 minutes. After a quick gym shower, I headed to my co-worker Megan's house and we headed off for Dinosaur Ridge, a neat 1.5 mile walk that features fossils and dinosaur prints that were discovered in 1937. Forgot my camera, so no pics of Dino!

Then we drove out into the mountains. The pretty, snowy mountains.


We went fishing at the Dillon Reservoir, about an hour and half away from Denver. After two hours of fishing, I caught the only fish of the day! I'm told its a pretty fish, but they very well could be lying to me.

Proud fisherwoman!

Then we headed back into town for a corn maze and a healthy Chick-Fil-A dinner. Yum!

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early and headed to Mile High Stadium. I got to the Bronco Barn a little after the Eagles game had started, and happily watched the Iggles thump the Falcons.


Broncos Barn Tailgate!

Lone eagles fan watching the game


Our seats - third row from the tippy top!

Smiling fans, before the loss.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Last night I bought my one day fishing license from the Colorado Department of Wildlife, via Sports Authority. They wanted more information than I ever thought would be relevant (excuse me, do you REALLY need to know how much I weigh?? Are you going to bring a scale out to the pond and arrest me if I'm lying??). But the $9 was worth it and now I'm fully set to go fishing with my friend Megan on Saturday (minus that whole bit about not having a rod and reel or actual knowledge of how to fish...). We're headed up into the mountains (the same mountains that received 7 inches of snow this week) and out towards Breckenridge. I'm excited!

2.) I have officially bought my first broncos gear and I hang my head in shame to admit where I bought it: Victoria's Secret. wait, what? I knew the one back in DC had UMD gear, so I wasn't all that surprised to find some really cute tee shirts there. I still defend that this is not as bad as having a pink jersey, but concede its not that much of a step up. I am also borrowing a friend's Dawkins jersey, but my friend is a dude and I'm pretty sure that its going to be enormous. As shown in yesterday's post - I'm going to the game on Sunday!!!

3.) Raise your hand if you bought jeans in your old size yesterday! *raises hand* While at Gap, I went for broke and tried on the size 6 jeans - just to see how bad they would be. To my surprise, and delight, they fit! I expected to get them mid thigh and then just begin openly weeping in the dressing room. True, there is a hint of a muffin top - but that is something I have always had in almost all my jeans anyhow (thank you, genetics). I got a pair in size 8 as well, that are less painted on and probably more work-appropriate. Denver bars, look out! Me and my size 6's are a'comin'!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


I'm ready for the weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Five Miles.

For the first time probably since last winter, I ran five miles. I was planning on walking a bit each mile, but never really felt the need to. I went on www.usatf.org to map my run before leaving the house, and added on two miles to the end of my normal 3 mile Sunday run.

After I pushed through the aches and pains of the first two miles (where I normally would have stopped, pre-Katie), and by the 3rd mile, I was still feeling strong. I stopped for a minute or two to stretch my calves, and kept on going.

And, with the help of my ipod playing "Uprising" by Muse for the last mile, I finished strong and felt like I probably could have gone a little farther. I toyed with the idea of running a 6th mile, but will save that for next week instead.

Overall, I had a great weekend of workouts (including a spin class saturday AM with a SUPER hot instructor - talk about motivation to go back!), and stuck to my goal of no alcohol.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is Katie's 30th birthday, so this blog is for her. Whether you know her or not, this blog is worth sitting down and reading today - a letter from present Katie to past Katie.

I'm not quite sure she knows how much a positive influence she has been on me. Katie and I grew up together back in PA, although she was closer with my older sister and I pal'd around with her younger sister. We all went to the same church, but different high schools and as we all grew up, didn't really see too much of each other.

Seriously. We've known each other a long time.

Then, in the fall of 2008, we reconnected over Facebook and realized we both lived in Northern Virginia. She somehow convinced me to run the Jingle All the Way 10k with her, and being the sucker for Christmas that I am, I decided to go for it, having never run more than 3.1 miles in my life.
Our first race together - I survived!

I was a little nervous the first time I drove over to her house for a training run. I couldn't even remember the last time I'd seen her. Would it be awkward? Would it be 4 miles of silence? Would I be so slow that she would hate running with me and leave me to fend for myself on the Mt Vernon Trail? And how many freakin' Glebe roads are there???

Any nervousness disappeared right away, as she opened the door, while half hiding behind it, in her sports bra, half dancing back and forth and then running back to her room, yelling that she had to finish getting dressed. It was the beginning of a great friendship filled with karaoke, yelling at the TV during football season, ill-advised cheese and mimosas, long winter runs in the snow, weeknights spent on a military base - wanting to stay in the warm car instead of running sprints along the barracks, the quiet stillness as we ran past Arlington Cemetery, and lots and lots of miles.

Cherry Blossom Run - March 2009

I think I complained at the beginning of almost every run (especially early morning races). It became kind of a tradition. But by the end of whatever miles she was dragging me along for, I was so much happier. Even those 10.5 miles she lied to me for (knowing I'd never agree to more than 8), when I was so sore the next day I had to call out of work. Its still the longest I've ever run and far more than I ever thought I could do.

Evidence of the Infamous training run. DC has never looked so peaceful. All 10.5 miles of it.

Katie has the amazing ability to do that: to quietly (and sometimes loudly) push me farther than I ever thought I could go. We're 1,500 miles apart now, but she still influences me to do more, try a longer distance, set new goals, and even has me still toying with the idea of running a destination half marathon, if only so that we could run together in some new exciting city. And I'm still running - something I'd never thought I'd be able to do on my own for any great distance.

Run 4 miles in the cold rain on NYE without training? Sure!

So happy 30th birthday, Katie! You are loved and I'm sad I can't be there to celebrate in the big way you deserve!

Our last race together - can't wait to update this with a new race!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Tonight I try spinning at my gym for the first time since I moved. My goal is pretty much just to finish the hour without puking.

2.) I have really bad hearing, which I think is a family trait. When on the phone, I compensate not being able to hear by talking extra loud. Makes sense, no? I do my best to be conscious of the decibel level I speak at, but I don't know how successful I am. When my office moves to downtown Denver in November, we are basically all getting cubes. As I am pretty sure I'm not important enough for an office, I already feel badly for my coworkers whenever I am on a conference call.

3.) I wish the Eagles were half as good as the Phillies.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fare Thee Well, Dear Friend

I have officially given up alcohol...for at least a week. What started as a goal to not drink during the week morphed into a challenge of willpower to survive a whole weekend (and one during football season, to boot) without beer or wine. Last night was trivia night, so it was my first attempt at abstaining.

Happily, I was surprised by how easy it was! About an hour in, Kyle realized I wasn't drinking and tried to get me to order a beer, but it really wasn't hard at all to say no! And instead of beer, I had two or three waters, so I went home fully hydrated. I am planning on laying low on Friday night, but will miss my normal glass or two of red while watching a netflix (which I have been sorely neglecting in recent weeks). Saturday will be spent out with my coworker Dara, but she knows I'm aiming to not drink and will be a good support system, I think. Sunday is a surprise party for another coworker, so we'll voyage down to Littleton where his wife has promised "designer" mimosas. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm pretty sure they will be hard to resist! But with the Eagles on TV for the Sunday night game, I should be able to make it through the weekend unscathed.

I was toying with the idea of giving up alcohol completely until the night of the rehearsal dinner back in DC, but a wine night has been scheduled with my boss and her group of friends for the 14th, and its kind of hard to attend a wine tasting outing without actually having some wine. These events are a ton of fun, usually scheduled for when a restaurant has a half price bottle night, so I get to try a myriad of different wines that I would never get to experience otherwise.

So, faithful blog readers, hold me accountable!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Funday

Compliments of the terrible Eagles game (and obnoxious Redskins fans), I left the bar early and watched the second half from the comfort of my couch. On Saturday and Sunday, I did fairly well on accomplishing my goal of drinking less. Three beers at a party on Saturday night, two on Sunday. Not bad, but could be better.

Its funny that no matter where you are, terrible Redskins fans seem to follow. These fans were so bad that once Vick was injured and removed from the game, they yelled "Now lets fix Kolb, too!" at the screen. I don't care what team you root for, hoping for injuries is just in poor taste. After listening to them hoot and holler for the first half, I headed for home, thankful that the game was on TV.

But other than that, my weekend went quite well. I didn't exercise, though, which needs improvement. I am gaining friends in Denver and am able to fill my weekends with various social events.

My Sunday took a turn for the worse, however, after receiving an email from my grad school adviser that my practicum project (the capstone to my graduate degree), is not what she expected and I would be unable to present as planned on October 26th. While I definitely broke down after reading that, I'm coming at the situation with a bit more perspective and I'm glad I waited until this morning to email her back. I proposed another way to complete the practicum and, although my weekends may now be spent back here sitting at my desk at work, furiously writing, I requested to still be able to present in October. Hopefully she will agree and I can continue on as planned, but it was definitely upsetting. As my dad says, some days are better than others.

I am very ready to be done with grad school, but all I can do is move forward each day, which is one more day closer to December.

Another date with my main man Ronnie tonight - eager to fuel this workout with the grad school frustrations!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reality Check Update

Since seeing pictures from Labor Day and this oh-so-flattering shot, I have been far more dedicated to getting back into shape. While my food choices haven't necessarily been the best, I've been faithfully logging them into MFD, the online food diary my sister and I both subscribe to. Even the one very bad Friday when, after an absolutely horrible day, I skipped the gym, went home, ordered pizza hut with some wine, then had 4 delicious Denver brews with some friends. When I logged all of that, MFD pretty much just shook its head at me in shame and disgust.

But with addition of Ronnie and Sunday morning long runs, I have been making some headway. So here's a look back:

Sept 10th:
Weight: 148.2
Body Fat %: 1000 (approximate)
Pant size: 8/10 (I'm in an 8 today, but its not pretty)
Avg Mile pace: 10:30 (5.5 mph)

Oct 1st:
Weight: 145.8
Body Fat: Ronnie officially measured. And I'm keeping that number to myself.
Pant size: 8/10 (10s today, what can I say? This booty requires a lot of fabric)
Avg Mile Pace: Not getting much faster, but I'm running around 4.5 miles on my long runs.

Not the most dramatic drop in history, but I'll take it. I no longer feel like a sausage in my work clothes and I am starting to see muscle definition back in my legs. Ronnie is kicking my butt on a regular basis. I wanted to vomit again yesterday. We were doing cardio workouts in between lifting sets. I still find it somewhat pathetic that I can run 4 miles yet can barely eek out 15 burpies.

So my next self-imposed goal is to start taming my weekends. I eat and drink well more than I should and a few minor alterations could really make a difference. I am also trying my hardest to avoid drinking on weeknights (I'm looking at you, delicious glasses of red wine...). So with adding in those changes and continuing to train with my boy Ronnie, I'm aiming to kick October's butt all the way back to the lower 140s!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) I have another date with Ronnie tonight. Monday he said he was still 'taking it easy' on me, since my muscles were just getting back into lifting. He said today would be harder. Thanks to Monday's workout, I couldn't walk up or down stairs without a noticeable limp until this morning. I'm a little scared.

2.) Yesterday I got back into the pool for the first time since moving. The pool in my gym is underwhelming, to say the least, and doesn't provide kickboards or pull bouys. I was aiming for 2000 yards, but quickly realized that while my lungs have slowly adjusted to running at high altitude, my lungs for swimming have not. I felt as though I might actually be having a heart attack, with chest pains and burning lungs. I stuck it out for only 1400 yards, including 6 or 7 50 sprints. In 30 minutes, I only burned 250 calories and was a bit disappointed with this workout. As much as I love swimming, it just doesn't work my body the way almost every other workout can.

3.) My ipod shuffle is indestructible. As of yesterday, it has officially been dropped from a speeding bike, run over by a car, and dropped into the pool. I have underwater headphones and somehow the cover managed to unclip yesterday with my first push off of the wall. Luckily I noticed, popped up out of the water and caught the shuffle, but it definitely was submerged. I held my breath and plugged it back in - it kept right on going!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This is how I feel today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Adventures in weight training

Whenever I read Katie's blog about crazy want-to-vomit work outs, I must admit, I have never wanted to feel that way. I don't have the drive to workout like she does, although I freely admit that I get the same post-workout high that she thrives on.

Yesterday was just a typical terrible, horrible, very bad, no good kind of day. No one thing in particular, just cranky and, if I'm being honest, pretty darn hungover (darn it, I'm not 21 anymore!!). It was the perfect day to go home from work, put on sweatpants, and nom on some deliciously bad food.

But alas, I had a date with Ronnie. Since my session wasn't until 6, I went early and hopped on the elliptical for a bit. And filled with a day full of rage and aggression, I kicked that elliptical's butt! By the time 6pm rolled around, I was amped up and ready to destroy some weights. We started out with some killer lunges and didn't look back. I could barely walk after finishing them and had to stretch my hamstrings before everything else we did. It felt great!

Again, a lot of what he had me do wasn't just a simple free weight exercise. For example, for some shoulder/bicep work, he had be do the arm exercises while standing on one foot on a foam/bouncy pad - talk about a full body workout! While using a crazy movable arm machine that would have intimidated the heck out of me, he had me do the exercises while standing on the Bosu ball (which is quickly becoming my nemesis). My legs were quivering all over the place so much that I barely noticed the arm workout I was getting. For the first time, I really thought I might both puke and pass out all at once.

So far, Ronnie gets an A and I'm so glad I decided to try out having a trainer. And my bad mood was banished by the time I had left the gym - an excellent end to Monday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pats

This weekend I finally checked out Pats, the local Eagles bar in LoDo. I must say, it was pretty awesome. Not only do they import Amaroso rolls and tastykakes, but they turn nearly every TV to the eagles game and don't try to pander to other fans. One TV was playing the Phillies game while another was tuned to the Skins game so we could delight in their loss.

After each touchdown, they play the eagles fight song, after we've all finished high fiving and celebrating. But probably the best part was during each commercial break, a DJ would come on and play awesome songs (some originating from Philly, like Will Smith and Boyz to Men) until the game came back. It was pretty awesome.

My two fellow eagles fans were from Upper Dublin and West Chester and by the end of the game, I was swelling with Philly pride. After getting so much constant flack over my Philly roots, it was awesome to be surrounded by so many jovial Philly lovers, yelling at bad calls and praising DJack.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rudi and Ronnie

Ronnie is my new trainer. He's about 2 inches shorter than me and tucks his shirt into his gym shorts. He goes into semi long and involved stories about what muscles we're working and why we are working them, in addition to demonstrating the correct form. He's very nice and I've even forgiven the fact that he's originally from New Jersey.

He kicked my butt. We only really lifted for about 20 minutes, after he was done weighing me, measuring the circumference of every appendage, and calculating the my percentage of chub bub (which was a humbling experience, btw). But man alive, am I sore. After doing chest and arm machines, we moved on to free weights, where I demonstrated for him my extreme balance and grace on the bosu ball (which is essentially a pilates ball cut in half, so its on a flat surface). After I wobbled around a bit, he assured me that he wouldn't let me fall over, adding in that he caught a 300 lb woman mid-fall just last week. Awesome.

So Ronnie and I will have bi-weekly dates for the next month or so. After a few sessions, he'll come at me with that damn tape measure and body fat pincher again so we can document my progress, and preferably by then I'll have numbers that don't make me want to cry!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Droid Does...

....cost a lot of money. But I'm very happy with my new phone! After more trips to Verizon than I would care to remember, I finally have a new cell phone. Since I wasn't up for renewal, I had to go through the most convoluted process to procure a new phone at a reasonable rate. I now technically have two cell phone lines (anyone need a cell with a denver number??) and am the keeper of my very own family plan. By the end of the week, Allison will also be on my family plan, adding $10 to the total cost, but she'll pay me the usual amount she pays each month. Its a little ridiculous, but it was the only way that wasn't excessively expensive.

So what phone did I get? I went for broke and purchased my very own Droid 2, the Verizon equivalent to the iPhone. I love it! I'm still getting used to it, but so far, so good! This is quite possibly the first time in my life I have ever gotten something even remotely cutting-edge!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I don't wanna....

...be an adult anymore. Today is one of those quintessential mornings where you just want to pull the covers back over your head and ignore the world and all responsibilities.

I brought this on myself, of course. Saturday night I managed to leave my cellphone in the cab on my ride home from a rowdy night out. I have a bad history with losing or breaking cell phones, and I'm not optimistic that the cab company will have it in their lost and found bin. This is my first time losing a cell phone while living alone, however, and I never realized how difficult life was pre-cell! At least when I lost previous cell phones, I could easily borrow a roommate's. I had to send pathetic emails to friends to try to A) track down said cell and B) try to call cab companies.

annnnd a swing and miss for the denver cab companies. They said it might turn up later in the week, but for now I'm just going to replace it and then if I get it back, I'll have it as a spare (when I inevitably lose my next phone).

And I'm off to Verizon...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Today is my first meeting with my trainer for my "fit assessment" which in my head I keep calling a fat assessment, which is really the same thing. I'm looking forward to him kicking my butt!

2.) I accomplished both of my goals while on work travel: No french fries and I worked out. I even resisted getting dessert to bring back to my hotel room the first night (my traveling guilty pleasure). I even managed to lose weight while traveling.

3.) My lungs are FINALLY adjusting to the altitude. I had a great 4.35 mile run (with a touch of walking) this past Sunday before football. It felt really good to not be so sluggish and in pain.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Success

I finally got in a weekend workout. I've never been very good at working out on the weekends, especially if I don't do it first thing. Even when I had Katie texting my butt out of bed on Sunday mornings to run before football, it was only 50/50. Usually one or the other (ok, it was mostly me) would whine and groan about going and half the time would bail. One bitter cold January our heat had broken and I had stayed at a friends house and was both hungover and unwilling to go back to my 40 degree house and put on nearly frozen running clothes.

So after going to the mall and the local farmer's market this morning, I was not optimistic about working out. I actually had a glass of wine and took a nap on the couch before finally getting my act together and hauling down to the treadmill in my building.

Since I am run/walking my 3.1 mile loop tomorrow morning and my legs are tired and sore from lifting (a rarity in my life), I decided to just put on a movie on TBS and walk. 47 minutes for around 430 calories - not too shabby! I even brought down my reading and did some homework.

I'm anxiously awaiting my first training session upon my return from Padre Island. In addition to exercising while on travel, I'm vowing to avoid eating french fries (another one of my vices). Keep me honest, people!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Reality Check

I've made no secret of the fact that I have been floundering in my gym going and healthy eating since moving to Denver (ok, and when I lived in Arlington, too). I am well aware that I am heavier than I would like to be (my tight pants let me know, too, in case I haven't been paying enough attention).

But nothing quite hit home like a picture from this weekend, which, with a great feeling of humility and accountability, I am going to post:

Holy toledo, raging stomach. It was a big reality check to see how dumpy and frumpy I looked in an outfit I actually previously thought I looked ok in. Sure, I'm being caught unaware by this picture, but that means that this is HOW I REALLY LOOK. And that's a hard pill to swallow.

Thankfully, before I even saw this picture, I was already getting myself back on track. After two weeks of being really good with getting in my workouts and reducing the amount of beer and pizza in my life, Labor Day weekend arrived and I was off track until yesterday. But I finally got myself back into the gym and cooked up a healthy meal for myself before logging into facebook and frantically untagging this picture.

At my gym, each member gets a free 'fitness assessment' which is essentially a free personal training session, so yesterday I had just happened to sign up for mine and was toying with the idea of getting a personal trainer (they have an 8 session package deal for a really good price right now). So I'm taking the extra income I have now (thank you Denver for your low cost of living, and whichever neighbor I'm stealing internet from!) and reinvesting it in future Rudi. A healthier Rudi that doesn't require a seven step process to fit into freshly washed jeans.

I've started to run out of things to blog about each morning (this weekend's events only consist of a Rockies game, homework, and Sunday Funday), so I might switch to writing about how my fitness goals are coming along. Next week I'm traveling to Padre Island National Seashore for a public meeting and my lone goal is to sneak in a morning run on the beach!

ok. So, the stats to go along with that picture:
Weight: 148.2
Body Fat %: 1000 (approximate)
Pant size: 8/10 (I'm in an 8 today, but its not pretty)
Avg Mile pace: 10:30 (5.5 mph)

Determined to make these numbers drop!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Last night I locked myself out of my apartment. I've been worried about doing that since I moved in. Unlike my townhouse, my apartment door automatically locks behind me, so if I leave my keys, I'm SOL. I was just running across the street to return a borrowed vacuum (thanks Kyle!) and realized I had forgotten them. With the super having already gone home for the day, I had to suck it up and call my landlord (who is a decent landlord, but I'm not entirely fond of him). Thankfully he was only about ten minutes away and already in his car, so I only had to wait in the lobby for a little while. Very soon I'm making a copy of my key and either giving it to Kyle to hold onto or hiding it somewhere in my apartment complex.

2.) Tonight I'm headed to a half-price bottle wine night with my boss and her group of friends down in Parker. Excited to try out a new place! Will run on the treadmill after work (get to leave at 3 since I got in at 6!) in order to combat the calories.

3.) While Lauren and Katie are in town, Lauren will be getting her very first tattoo!! I'm stoked! A coworker recommended a place she went to about 40 minutes away, located in the foothills. Afterward, we'll head out a little bit further to the town of Evergreen for some shopping and a delicious lunch before making our way out in LoDo Saturday night.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back at it

Yesterday I finally had my first day of getting into a workable routine. It felt good. Since moving to Denver, I've had a hard time balancing beer, running, and filling my evenings. I left work around 4:45 and sped over to the nearby gym. Since I have workout ADD, I hopped on the elliptical for 15 minutes, then ran a mile (at 5.4 mph) and then hopped on the similar-to-the-elliptical-but-the-ramp-changes-angles machine for another 15. (Anyone know what this is called???)

It was a great 45 minute workout and burned me a total 480 calories! Woo!! That's 3 'good' beers worth of calories!

I was out of the gym by 5:45, home, showered, and ready to go by 6:45 so I headed off for trivia night. It was at a bar I haven't been to yet - the Tavern Uptown located just up the street at 17th and Pearl. Apparently this is akin to Dupont Circle - the gayborhood. While our team didn't dominate like we had the previous week, we were in the top five. The questions were a bit more challenging, but I really hope trivia becomes a weekly event.

Since miller lite and bud light were on special, I reverted back to my old ways and had five light beers for the evening. Given my strong workout and small meals, I was still on track for the day! It was very satisfying that I have finally found a way to keep to my workouts while still sneaking in some beers.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The end of the Plague

I had an incredibly boring weekend. Determined to kick this cold/flu/bronchitis (WebMD tells me I could have any one of them, and also a slew of horrible sounding diseases that I cannot pronounce), I stayed in bed quite literally all weekend.

Like the good Eagles fan I am, I tried to go watch the game on Friday evening. I had been doped up on Robitussin all day and was feeling downright jubilant, so I ventured 2.5 blocks away to Govnr's Park and bellied up to the bar. But the game wasn't on. By the time I'd ordered my beers (2 for 1 happy hour), the Saints game was playing, but the Eagles were not televised. Even worse, I tried a new beer (Sunshine Wheat - New Belgium), and I couldn't stand the taste of it. When I mentioned this to Kyle, who braved my germ cloud (not unlike Pigpen's) and watched the game with me, I realized that it was not the beer, but my tastebuds that were making the beer taste terrible.

Around 7:30 my Robitussin high ended and I became so tired and run down that I went home mid-beer. It was an overall disappointing evening, especially when I got home to find the Eagles were losing to the Chiefs (although we ended up winning in the end).

So Saturday morning I made my way to Target and stocked up on anything and everything that would make me better. Humidifier, tissues, more Robitussin, cough drops, hand sanitizer, you name it. After a quick stop down to Englewood for a previously-scheduled reflexology appointment, I swigged some more Robitussin and headed to REI for the first day of their Labor Day sale.

A pair of Keens and two tops later, I headed for home, plugged in my new humidifier, and spent the remainder of the weekend locked inside my apartment, swigging Robitussin and blowing my nose profusely. After making my way through two seasons of How I Met Your Mother, I polished off Season three of Weeds on netflix yesterday. Never have I been so excited to go back to work on a Monday, if only to leave the confines of my apartment.

I'm remarkably better this morning, left with only a residual cough when I breath deeply. I feel a bit badly, this morning 3 or 4 coworkers are now sick as well, including my boss. But when the Berger mentality is to 'work through your illness' its really not my fault. While I did take half days, there were things that needed to get done, so I had to keep coming in. I plan on taking it easy this week in order to keep it that way - big weekend plans coming up!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Well if Ben Franklin says so...

After being sick for a full week and not drinking a drop of alcohol since Monday, I am down 2.4 lbs since last Friday. I hate when my body confirms that, indeed, beer is the culprit for my Denver weight gain.

I haven't done anything that could qualify as physical exertion since Sunday and I haven't even really watched what I've been eating, but alas, there goes 2.4 lbs with zero effort. I'm not quite sure I like this.

If no beer= skinny, I think I'd rather be a bit squiggy around the edges. And a happier person :) After all, according to one of our founding fathers, "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And who am I to disagree?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) I have been massively sick all week. Normally when I sick, I feel crappy for a day, rest, take some meds, and I'm fine. This cold is not messing around. I took a half day on Tuesday, felt a little better on Wednesday, then the cold moved back into my head and I sound terrible/am filled with snot today. Of course this is the first busy work week I've had since the move and am unable to take a full day off. Phooey.

2.) I haven't had any wine or beer since my 1 glass that I had Monday. This may be a record for consecutive days since I moved here.

3.) In a mere 8 days, my old roommate Lauren and our friend Katie are coming out to visit me!!! I could not be more excited.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rudi vs Beer

Sunday morning I finally ran the 3.1 mile loop I mapped out about two weeks ago. My growing beer belly, while oh-so-feminine and attractive, has reached epic proportions and needs to be tamed.

I started out a little after 9, thinking it would still be cool. It usually stays in the 70s here until 11 or 12, so I thought I was good to go. I was mistaken. It was HOT. Thankfully, I was able to stay somewhat on tree lined streets, but ironically the big park I picked out as my turn around point was wide open and the sun was blazing in all of its mile high glory.

I also failed to realize the hills involved in my 5k mapping adventure. Around 2 miles, it was just one long uphill in the bright sun. I diverted off course a bit, following a lesser incline in a shaded area to the west of the park.

I had planned on doing a run/walk, as both my lungs and heart protest to too much running, but hadn't determined the intervals. Accepting how out of shape I am, I opted to run 1:30/walk 1:00. After a few intervals, my heartrate was refusing to drop out of the 170s during the walk, so I upped it to a 2:00 min walk, with the last minute being a power walk.

Overall, it took me a long 40 minutes (44 with a "for the love of God why won't my heartrate drop" cool down).

Total Calories burned: 469
Max Heart rate: 192
Average heart rate: 170

It was my goal to be able to run 3.1 before football season started, but I think I'd even be happy just to run/walk a lap, then walk a lap before football games on Sundays. After moving for 6.2 miles, drinking beer is a perfectly acceptable all day event, right??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Last night we gathered up a team for trivia night at the local watering hole. We got there at 6, thinking trivia started at 7 and we wanted to grab a few beers at the happy hour price before it ended at 6:30 (although 6:15, bar time). Unfortunately trivia didn't actually start until 8, but we bravely drank beer until it began. Five 5 barrels and one free pitcher of PBR later, I am rethinking my ability to drink 'good beer' on a weeknight (or in any large quantity). I was hangover-central today, saved only by the fact that thursday AM is Breakfast Burrito day in the office. Oh, and my team WON trivia night!

2.) Spokane is officially on the list of cities I would never, ever want to live in.

3.) This weekend I am FINALLY getting my very first massage. For the past three years, I've said "oh I'll get a massage when I (insert milestone/accomplishment)" but I never actually do it because I'm cheap and have trouble justifying the money. But there is an Aveda teaching salon here in Denver and it offers discounted services! Woot! Afterward, I'm either going to take myself to see Eat, Pray, Love or Get Low. Lovely little Saturday!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weekend recap

Camping was a lot of fun and the Echo performed admirably in the mountains! I wasn't the fastest car on the uphills, but I certainly wasn't the slowest! Thank you, giant RVs and trailers.

Buena Vista is about 2.5 hours from Denver, beyond the Front Range and in an area known as South Park (which I learned is also the setting for the cartoon - allegedly. I'm pretty gullible so Kyle very well could have been pulling my leg). Its crazy - once you get over the Front Range, there is this wide open area full of farms and little towns before you get to the next set of mountains.

About 14 of us set up camp at a small campground right off of Route 24. The location left a little to be desired, but it suited me just fine for my first excursion. On Saturday I hopped into a car with one of the couples (it was me and approximately 7 couples. singleton, anyone?) - but we headed over to the next town, Leadville, to watch the finish of the Leadville Trail 100 - a pretty big mountain bike event, or so I'm told. Big time biker Levi (some long last name) finished first, breaking Lance Armstrong's record finishing time from the previous year.

Leadville was a very cute little town with a surprising amount of pink and purple homes. We never quite figured out why. After watching the first ten finishers, we headed back to the campsite, passing Mt. Elbert (the tallest peak in Colorado), Mt Harvard, and Mt Yale on the way back. Mt Princeton was right below our site, finishing out the collegiate range.

Our campsite was at 8,200 feet, but I got up to 10,200 in Leadville. Given that I'm still adjusting to any kind of activity at 5,200 feet, hiking was out of the question. Mt. Yale is a "14-er", and I'm anxious to give it a climb next year once I've done a little more running and a little less beer drinking.

I'm in Spokane for work, so pictures will be forthcoming upon my return!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Roadtrip Highlights

Once Alliy arrived in DC, we made a beeline for Georgetown Cupcakes. Yum!


After packing up the truck and sitting in horrendous traffic on I-95, we arrived in Murrell's Inlet, SC


On our way out of Pensacola, we lucked out and were on the beach while the Blue Angels were practicing

Then we headed on to New Orleans, where we promptly went to Bourbon Street and got a Hurricane.

And Beignets at Cafe du Monde!

Before we left, we stopped by Sandra Bullocks house to say hi.

And then we were on to Katy, Tx to say hello to old friends (mom's sorority sister and bridesmaid)

After a quick overnight stop, we arrived at the Alamo!

We got a bit silly in Texas...

And then we drove. A lot. With not much to see.

We visited the Carlsbad Caverns (there are caverns behind us, I promise)

And forced mom to let us pull over in pitch black to take a picture of entering Colorado!


Our last stop before Denver was the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I played a little soccer while Al practiced her balance beam and mom did a bit of fencing.


It was a great trip!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) I had a brilliant plan last night to have two beers at happy hour and then go for a run. Shockingly (sarcasm sign), it failed miserably. After three beers (Fat Tire) at bar #1 with a coworker and Kyle (yay, TWO friends!), the coworker (Dave the intern) headed out while Kyle and I biked over to our local bar, Park Tavern, for two more beers. We had to walk our bikes home.

2.) This weekend I'm going camping! I'm a little apprehensive about driving 2.5 hours to hang out with people I've really only met once (with the exception of my boss), but that fear is offset by the excitement of really seeing what Colorado has to offer! I'll bring my camera and be sure to post pictures (in a relatively timely manner) next week.

3.) Tuesday I stayed late at work to start writing my paper for my practicum. My portion of the paper will be combined with my practicum advisor's writing and will become a journal article for a special issue of "Human Dimensions of Wildlife" to be published sometime next year. Once the article is completed in early September, only three credits will stand between me and graduate school freedom!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ready for Some Football

It's so very close to being that time of year. Football season. With training camps in full swing, I now have new news to read when I log into the NFL section of ESPN.com. Unlike last year, the Eagles seem to be staying fairly healthy during camp, unlike last year when our offensive line dropped like flies.

I'm pretty excited for the season to start, not only to sit guilt-free in a bar for hours on end every sunday but also to see how the young team pulls together. I have faith in Kevin Kolb (if you're curious how to pronounce his name, my Fantasy Football team is named "Corn on the Kolb"), but we have have a solid group of receivers. The defense last year left plenty to be desired, but with some new safeties on board, I am eager to see how the Eagles D shapes up. The Eagles went from having one of the best and most impressive Defensive lines (also the heaviest, I believe - mmmm cheesesteaks), to fairly pitiful last year. It was disheartening to watch missed tackles and our blitz-heavy defense playing sloppy.

So while I'm eager to see a new Eagles team (I had two more paragraphs written about the offense and trading McNabb, but I'll spare you all), I am also very excited for bottomless mimosas at the bar down the street and drinking copious amounts of beer in good company while mentally tallying up fantasy team points. There truly is no better game and no better time of year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blogging Slacker

So, every morning I have had the intention of writing a blog post recapping my DC bucket list. What I'd recommend, what was overrated, etc, etc. But it seems like such a daunting task. After all, that's going to be one LONG blog! So instead, every morning I've haphazardly found something else to blog about in order to procrastinate just one more day.

Today is no different. This morning I FINALLY made it down to the gym in my apartment building before work. I slogged out 30 minutes on the elliptical, which was surprisingly difficult. Without feeling like I was putting in much effort, my heart rate got to 171 and I was sweating quite a bit. But its a start. And a good one at that.

Given that I was up early, it was no surprise that I made it to work early and am feeling productive (non-work related blogging aside). I always know how good exercise makes me feel afterwards, its just that push of making myself do it. But, for now at least, I am motivated to keep going. Also motivating? My pants are starting to get snug again (shakes fist at delicious yet caloric good beer).

But today, I need that feeling of productivity to plow through some work as well as knock out one of my last few papers of grad school. After work, I'm locking myself up in my office and I'm not leaving until at least 10 pages are staring back at me (safely saved in several place, including email. I do not want a repeat of the spring semester!)

How do you guys motivate to get your workout done?? Any tricks or tips?

Monday, August 9, 2010

You've spoiled me, East Coast. While I'm really enjoying Denver and it's lack of humidity, there are a few aspects of the East Coast that really can't match up.

I tried out a new church this weekend. While I have always appreciated the experiences I had at Central, I don't think I ever really grasped how much that church (used) to have its act together. The music program was beyond phenomenal and the youth groups were very active. I still credit the church for keeping me out of much more trouble in high school.

The church I tried was the First Baptist Church of Denver, a mere 15 minute walk from my apartment which was delightful at 10 am on a Sunday, before many other people are out and about. I had to ask someone where the sanctuary was, which was a bit embarrassing - I mean, who can't find the biggest room in the entire building?? The attendance was low, but that's to be expected for a Sunday in August. The reason I had picked this church was because its traditional service and open church choir. The new age non-denominational church groups have always been a bit of a put off to me, as they seem to really strive to not fit the traditional church mold, as if they will only attract members by pretending not to be a church.

But within five minutes, the associate minister recognized that I was new and came by and said hello and offered me a welcome packet. The senior pastor had a great message that I really enjoyed, and instead of preaching, it felt like more of a conversation, even though the congregation wasn't talking back. One verse into the first hymn, however, I discovered that I reeeally can't hit those high notes anymore, but I have no idea how to sing alto, so I squeaked my way through it, offending the ears of those around me.

During the portion of the service where you get up and talk to the people around you (I felt very uncomfortable - one woman even hugged me, pushing my personal space issues to the limit), but a girl around my age (with spiky pink hair) introduced herself to me and said she led the young adult group. Given that there were only 3 young adults in attendance, I have a feeling its a small group to lead.

Overall, I'll definitely return. Everyone seemed welcoming and friendly, but it was certainly nothing compared to what Central once was and I will have to be conscious not to compare the two.


Sidenote: I've already hit an internal conflict. The church service runs from 10:30 - 11:30, while sunday football begins at 11 am in Denver. When the Eagles play the early game, it will be hard to decide to go to church instead of the local bar...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Last night I officially became a volunteer for the Red Cross. The Mile High chapter is MUCH more efficient than the Arlington chapter. My first training session is saturday (yikes!) and I've signed up for the Disaster Action Team. Basically, I'll haul my butt out of bed at 2 in the morning upon occasion and help families and firefighters at fire scenes.

2.) I've got plans for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with DIFFERENT PEOPLE. This is impressive and I'm hoping to expand the number of people I know. It's really hard to form a social circle from scratch.

3.) Earlier in the week, the space heater I keep under my desk broke (well, actually it started smelling like electrical burning and then was sparking. I'm too afraid to turn it back on). Oddly enough, I'm having trouble finding another space heater in August, so I'm instead wearing a giant cardigan sweater and slippers while at my desk. Brr.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Making Levar Burton Proud

Right around the corner from my old office in DC was this wonderful little used bookstore. Lauren and I would drive over every now and then on Saturdays and wander around, picking up bagfuls of new books to take home with us and fill our bookshelves. On one trip alone, I came home with no less than a dozen books.

Unfortunately, I have also been in grad school for the past three years, severely limiting my reading time. And when I wasn't reading for school, I wanted to turn my brain off as much as possible which usually meant sitting mindlessly in front of the TV.

Now that I've adjusted to living alone, I have found so many more hours for reading. Having no roommate to goof off with and not a whole lot of TV channels to watch, I'm happily filling my nights and weekends with all of those books that were dormant on my shelves.

As previously mentioned, I have book ADD - I'm STILL trying to finish The Happiness Project (she moved onto topics such as spouses and children, which I couldn't relate to as much), and am almost done A Walk in the Woods for approximately the millionth time. American Wife still sits unfinished on my nightstand, keeping My Horizontal Life company.

But in spite of those pages waiting to be finished, last night I started yet a new book: Eat, Pray, Love. Yes, I realize I'm a few years behind the times. Quite frankly, I hadn't wanted to read it when it was being hyped, but now that the movie is being released, I'd rather read the book and compare (although, really, a book is almost always better).

So far, this book falls into a unique category of "books that keep me awake." Usually I read right before bed, and therefore most books make me sleepy. After reading for 3 hours last night, I was still wide awake, trying to read just one more chapter. I have plans tonight, but I'm excited to get home after them and crawl back into bed with Liz and her yearlong adventure in self-discovery.

But after I finish this book, I swear I'm going to finish the others. Unless something better comes along...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Take me out to the Ballgame

Sunday afternoon I went to my very first Rockies game. The Rockies were finishing up a three game sweep of the Cubs and the previous two games had been nothing short of incredible. On Friday, the Rockies scored a record 12 runs in the bottom of the 8th, which captured both franchies and MLB records for hits in one inning and consecutive hits (13 and 11).

Saturday's game resulted in an apparently elusive "cycle", where one hitter hits a single, double, triple, and home run all in one game.

So Sunday, I was moderately excited to go to the game. Not being a huge fan of baseball, I was at least excited to see what the beer selection would be at the ballpark. It was pretty standard fare, Blue Moon, Coors Light and Coors "heavy" (Also known as Coors Banquet - who knew??).

I met a few of Kyle's friends and they were very nice, but most live outside of the city. I thought I had found a fellow eagles fan, a girl who graduated from Springford, but she is unfortunately more into baseball and hockey. It was nice to talk Philly for awhile, though.

The stadium is located in or near LoDo (I'm still not sure of the boundaries), where to the east you can see the skyscrapers and to the west you can see the mountains. Or so I'm told. It was a bit hazy that day, so the mountains were only occasionally visible. The game was apparently a good one, with the Rockies winning 8-7. Afterward Kyle and I went to a yummy burger joint on Colfax, a dodgy street known for dive bars and interesting characters. Our last stop was called The Cheeky Monk - a Belgian beer place that my Dad will really enjoy when he comes out to visit (so long as my mom can ignore the sketchiness of the area its in). Colfax is not somewhere I'd want to be alone after dark.

So that was pretty much my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

1.) I lean into turns when I drive.

2.) My mom once 'jokingly' asked if I was gay. She hates when I tell the story, but its my favorite anecdote. I'm not, but I really would have appreciated the gesture if I was.

3.) I hate working out. really hate it. But I love beer and pizza and don't want to weigh 400 lbs. When I joined the local gym here, he asked what workouts i was 'into'. I said I was 'into' beer.

4.) One of my favorite things is climbing into a freshly made bed with clean sheets. Before I go away on work trips or vacation, I'll clean my room and wash my sheets for when I come home.

5.) I've recently been obsessed with this blog

6.) I can't wait for football season to start again. Can't. Wait. Football starts at 11am here and runs until around 10pm. Talk about Sunday Funday!

7.) I dislike baseball, but will go to the games just for the beer. I'm going to my first Rockies game on Sunday. I've been told I'm not allowed to wear my Phillies tee.

8.) I finally realized how bad Miller Lite tastes. Recently, my favorite beer has been Fat Tire.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No me gusta pantelones

I don't like pants. It's not that I'm terribly fond of skirts, I just don't like the restriction of pants. Its the same reason I wear flip flops over mostly any other shoe, but that's for another day.

I've never really cared for wearing pants. In college and a little while after, I was famous (or infamous) for walking in the door of my apartment and promptly removing my pants, usually leaving them in a crumpled heap by the doorway, I'm sure much to the chagrin of my roommates. After one summer of landscaping when I was left with a dark tan line across mid thigh, my college roommate Devon lovingly termed socks, tee-shirt and my 'white shorts' - really just my pale thighs - my uniform.

So it was with a bit of apprehension that I ventured to REI last weekend to find some new pants. I don't wear shorts (please see yesterday's post), and I only had one pair of North Face capri pants. I had bought these pants a size too big so I could climb in them, but they gave me a serious case of droopy drawers. I was in dire need of new pants.

What I found was so much better. After finally finding the women's section (all the way at the top, REI tricksters), I was a bit overwhelmed by the selection. I picked out a random smattering of colors, lengths and sizes and headed for the dressing room. About three pairs in, I had found my dream pants: Columbia's Just Right Knee Pants.

Now the REI picture does these pants no justice. The material is beyond light. Perfect for biking and wicking away sweat or hiking in the rain. It's just slightly stretchy - enough to be comfortable with a lot of movement, but not so tight that its spandexy (because NO one wants to see that). It has a simple, small zipper with a flat button closure - no added bulk around my middle. This was a big issue with my North Face pants, which tied at the top - not flattering to my already extended belly area. I was in heaven.

After picking out my dark green pair, several shirts, and another pair of knee-length khaki shorts, I set out to explore the rest of the store. I wandered through the fleece jackets, mentally picking out which one I wanted once my moving expenses have been paid off. Meandered through the women's pack area, seeing which ones I liked and plotting to return in March to claim one with my dividends. But all the while, I couldn't stop thinking about my new pair of pants.

At $50, these pants weren't outrageous, but they weren't cheap. After sitting down in the middle of the biking aisle and counting up my purchases, I returned to the women's area and got a second pair in light grey. Impulsive? Yes. Regrettable? Not one bit! I wore the green pair on my ride to the movies and grocery store on Sunday and they still felt every bit as good as they did standing the dressing room.

I might just learn to love pants after all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back to the treadmill

This week I have finally gotten back into my workout pattern. During my last few weeks in DC, I stopped working out so A.) I could pack at night, and B.) so I could spend more time with Lauren. I figured, why waste all that time in the gym when I only had a few weeks left? It wasn't very hard to convince myself that my time was better spent elsewhere. And, ok, I really hate going to the gym.

In Denver, however, I get winded going up a flight of stairs so I figured my lungs and heart would adjust to the altitude faster if I started working out again. After many failed attempts to actually go to the gym last week, I finally ran a mile around my neighborhood last week, followed by a ride around town on the weekend.

Monday I was back in the gym, starting my lifting routine. I started with legs, thinking those clydesdales were ready for whatever came at them. Unlike Katie and her Eastern European heritage, I have no idea whether or not the Scottish were built for hard labor. I always thought they were pretty much just built for hard drinking. Instead of sturdy thighs, I'm supposed to have a sturdy liver for imbibing scotch and eating haggis.

But alas, I've got "functional legs". They get me where I'm going, but they've never looked terribly good while doing it. My calves are so large, I often can't buy boots because I can't squeeze them in. Thank goodness I have tiny ankles or I'd have a serious case of cankles. But anyhow, back to lifting...

I started with legs. They were a little cranky yesterday, but nothing bad so I decided to run Tuesday night. Since the previous mile had obliterated me and I wanted to get a little more distance, I alternated run 0.5 mile, walk 0.25. Towards the end of the 3rd mile, my heart rate barely dropped during the walking. it felt great to really dig deep and push hard during the last run, though. I got so impatient waiting for the 0.5 mile to be over, that I upped the speed of the treadmill.

I can barely walk today, but it feels good. Sure, my coworkers are probably questioning why I'm hobbling around the office, but its about time they get to realizing how odd I really am - no sense hiding behind a facade. I'm awkward and proud of it.

Overall, it took me 38:30 to finish this 5k, my slowest time by far and almost a full 10 minutes off of my PR. But that's ok. Now I have a starting point from which I can compare all future runs. I plan on doing this run/walk once a week, aiming to lower my time (and heart rate) each time. My thighs may not get any smaller, but they'll be faster at getting me where I'm going.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Culinary Success

Sunday evening after my venture to the local indie movie theater, I popped over to the Safeway (i know what you're thinking, but this is a fancy pants Safeway - in no way ghetto!) to pick up all the ingredients for Katie's Pesto tofu italian goodness.

Now, I've never cooked tofu before, nor have I ever really used pesto and so far, all of my culinary adventures in Denver have pretty much been utter failures. But nonetheless, I excitedly drove home after the gym on Monday, eager to see how badly I could screw up this recipe.

Having no idea how long it takes to cook tofu, I was unsure whether to start sauteing it or get my water boiling for my pasta. I opted to do both at once. It is my pet peeve when I don't finish cooking everything at once, and inevitably something gets cold while waiting for other parts to the meal to finish up.

I dumped the pre-cubed extra firm tofu into the pan only to realize my first error: I had used too much olive oil. Instead of a light saute, I was pretty much deep frying these suckers. And burning myself with popping oil to boot. I grabbed a pot lid and covered the pan while I planned my next move. I opted for pouring some hot oil from the pan down the garbage disposal and, for now, disaster seemed to be averted.

I then took to pulling random spices out of the cabinet, sprinkling on some of the Penzees spices that dad got me for christmas. I went heavy on the garlic (mmm, garlic, can you smell it from there? Its probably still on my breath this morning...), knowing that tofu pretty much adapts to whatever you flavor it with.

15 minutes later, I was draining the pasta, swirling in a scoop of pesto and mixing in the tofu. This meal was actually looking pretty tasty! So tasty that I even took a picture. It was delicious! I probably overcooked the tofu a bit, but it was crispy and delicious regardless. And at only 80 calories, it was an excellent way to add protein to my "I heart carbs' life.

Overall, I definitely look forward to making this meal again. Now I just have to find at least two more suitable tofu recipes to use up what's left in the fridge. Nom!