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!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Denver Lessons Learned

1.) SPF 50 doesn't even make a dent if only applied once. I was out in the sun from about 11am - 3:00pm on saturday and am thoroughly crispy.

2.) The REI here is dangerous. and amazing. A mere 3.2 miles away via the Cherry Creek Trail, it has 8 floors, two climbing walls, and a walk-in cooler to test out any cold weather gear you are thinking about purchasing. I spent entirely too much money. The REI is located in an old train station and has maintained most of the original structure.

3.) I still can't bake cookies. The altitude doesn't help. My first attempt at oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for our company picnic were flatter than ever, sometimes even see through.

4.) Having only 20 channels, approximately 15 of which are in Spanish, I have taken to watching whatever marathon the Discovery Channel is playing on sundays. This week it was the Deadliest Catch. I cried, knowing Capt Phil is now dead.

5.) My lungs are still not adjusting. I biked 5.2 miles to the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival and there was only one uphill, but my lungs felt like they were on fire.

6.) The little movie theater near me in neat, but pretty pricey. I went to see The Kids are All Right on Sunday and it was 10 bucks for a matinee.

7.) When biking home from the grocery store, be sure to center the milk in the middle of your backpack, so as not to set yourself off balance. This becomes crucial when taking turns.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

Weight Loss Edition

1.) Yesterday I ran my first mile in Denver. The altitude certainly does make a difference, as I thought death was eminent.

2.) My heartrate tapped out at 189 during that mile, which I ran in approximately 10:30 min.

3.) My current weight: 146.0

4.) Weight as of June 11: 144.8

5.) Goal weight for labor day: 139.8

6.) I had originally wanted to do a fall tri out here, but after that run, I think it will have to wait until Spring

7.) This weekend will involve biking to REI (3 miles), then attempting to get to Sloan's Lake Park (an additional 2 miles) for this: I will then attempt the feat of figuring out how to get home. Low total mileage, but in uncharted territory.

8.) Lesson learned this morning: NEVER take a vitamin on an empty stomach. Ever. I almost threw up in the kitchen at work. Gross.

9.) People here pretty much drink beer daily. Its hard to make friends while attempting to also lose weight. I may have to start working out in the morning AND after work just to keep on track.

10.) These facts aren't very fun. I should have changed the name of this post, but I'm digging the use of themes.

11.) I might have just signed myself up for 8 days in the wilds of Colorado - no shower, no extra water, no hotel. Would involve camping roadside each night. I'm pretty stoked about it. Eight 10 hour work days, followed by four days off. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.) Today is burrito breakfast thursday at work. I'm pretty excited. For two dollars per burrito, my coworker stops by some hole in the wall on the way in and gets us each a burrito. He goes on thursdays because the 'meat of the day' chorizo. I had to ask what this meat was: spicy spanish sausage.

2.) While living alone is awesome, I'm finding it can be quite boring. Last night I was starting in on my second Netflix of the evening (New in Town, which I thought would be appropriate) and was pretty darn bored. Thankfully Kyle texted around 9 and we met up for beers over at Park Tavern. I have never been so grateful for human interaction.

3.) Between boredom (read: eating a lot at night) and my only friend's love of 'good' (ie caloric) beer, I reeeeally need to get back into the swing of the gym ASAP. For the past three days, I have packed a gym bag to try the gym near work, only to just go straight home instead. Today will be attempt #4.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rudi versus the Coffee Maker

At my old office in DC, we used K-cups for brewing coffee. The epitome of laziness and wastefulness, they were blissfully simple. I had my perfect routine: Turn on computer, make coffee, read email. It was a nice way to start my day.

Here in Denver, it's a little bit different. For one, while we'd be piled up 3 deep in line for coffee in DC, I have only seen one other person in the Denver office drinking coffee. This does not compute. They get here so early! And they get less oxygen in their blood (thank you, altitude) - how on EARTH are they surviving without coffee?!

The Denver office also has a 12-cup coffee maker. My first day, I did battle with this machine, resulting in coffee so bad that not even three splendas could save it. (I lost count while scooping in the grounds). Three sips in, I was forced to give up and dump it out. This morning, I was back for round two. Carefully measuring the correct amount of water and then counting as I scooped, today's coffee is at least drinkable, but still not the delicious, perfectly made cup of coffee that awaited me each morning in DC.

Perhaps its the creamer. In DC, I brought my own in mainly because powdered creamer just seems too unnatural for me. I just hope I can manage to concoct a better cup of coffee soon, or I fear for my coworkers, as my perky facade fades into my irritable, unfriendly self.

I really am a much better person with coffee.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Roadtrip Recap

States traveled: 11
License Plates spotted: 51 (including DC), 1 Panama, 3 Canadian
National Parks Visited: 1 (Carlsbad Caverns)
Miles driven surrounded by 'nothing': 764
Winds Turbines passed: 312
Sketchy hotels we possibly got diseases from: 1
Inappropriate questions from strangers: 2 ("How's your vagina?" - New Orleans, and "Can I share some of your smartwater?" - Denver)
Byrons sleeping in one king bed: 3
Items broken during moving: ZERO (Rudi WIN)
Pot smoking, incompetent movers: 3
Creative couch maneuvers: 1
Ramps: 1
Frantic/angry calls to trucking company: 13

Overall, it was a good time! I'll randomly post pictures from the trip as the summer continues, but the roadtrip itself was awesome. I'd never used either of the moving companies I'd hired ever again, but I've heard moving-related horror stories are pretty common. People in my office have asked me how long I plan to stay in Denver, and after that stressful move, I'm never moving long distance ever again!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Settling In

Well, my plans to blog throughout the road trip when awry. I was just having too much fun to sit down at a silly computer. I'm finally in Denver (several moving mishaps aside) and almost entirely unpacked. All boxes are gone and just need to do some reorganizing.

After mom and Al left on Saturday, I panicked a little. Why was this a good idea? I don't know anyone! But my fears were quickly assuaged. Remember the random guy I met in the Dallas airport back in May? He just moved across the street from me on Saturday, so we met up at the local watering hole for beers on Saturday night. His first accomplishment? He has officially shamed me from drinking Miller Lite (in public at least). During the brew tour Al, Mom and I went on for my birthday, I discovered that yes, I DO like real beer. Its a learning curve. Anyhow, three tall Blue Moons later (I was unable to finish my third, thank you altitude), he suggested that we do a ride around town on our bikes Sunday night. Yay! Someone wants to be my friend!

So, after finally reuniting with my bed Saturday night (and what a wonderful reunion it was!) I slept in Sunday morning and set about unpacking my final boxes. Satisfied with my progress, I put in a netflix movie and promptly fell asleep. Around six, I met up with Kyle, my new friend, and we headed off.

I learned a little bit about what to wear when one bikes around town in search of good beer. I had thankfully ruled out bike shorts, but had opted for black workout capris. I should have perhaps gone with my North Face tan capris, but, to be quite honest, it is evident when I am sweating and I did not care to share my butt sweat with the greater Denver metro area. I also wore sneakers and did not bring flip flops. Faux Pax number 2. I do believe that flip flops are the state shoe of Denver. In the future, I will be sure to do all my casual riding in my teva flops so I do not stick out like a sore thumb. I thankfully opted for a plain white tee, figuring that would be easy to blend in with. It was not an easy event to dress for and I was thoroughly stressed!

Anyhow, once he pumped up my front tire (which was giving me problems) we were on our way. It felt great to be in motion again and I just tried to keep up. It was a fairly flat ride to our first destination, but I was definitely sucking wind. My lungs are definitely still adjusting. Our first stop was the Vine Street Pub - a local place about a 5 minute ride away. Even though I wasn't very hungry (I think the altitude has done a number on my appetite, too), I ordered a grilled cheese and a local wheat beer. Both were yummy!! We watched people walking towards City Park for their evening jazz night, including an entertaining pair of girls attempting to both ride one bike, and wiping out right in front of the outdoor seating.

Fully stuffed, we headed on over to LoDo (LowerDowntown) and rode down 16th Street. 16th Street has been disappointing to me - mostly national chains and a lot of touristy stuff. As we passed by side streets with better bars and restaurants, Kyle pointed those out to me. Laramie St looked particularly interesting and I'm anxious to get back to check it out!

Falling Rock is a pretty popular place, America's Favorite brew pub, allegedly. I certainly would not be able to order a Miller Lite here! Completely overwhelmed by the draught list, Kyle ordered me a Damnation from the Russian River Brewing Company. It was so good I had two!

We biked home, passing by the Denver Art Museum along the way. The architecture of the building is certainly unique and I am actually eager to check it out (and that's coming from an "I don't get it" art neophobe)

Overall, my first weekend was a success. The people are very nice and I seem to be finding enough things to keep me busy. Still working on losing portions of my east coast mentality, but it's a work in progress!