Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Windy Wednesday

So my first winter in Denver has been incredibly mild and I'm surely in for a rude awakening next year. However, spring has brought more wind than I ever thought possible. The last three days have been constant winds, upwards to 50-75 mph gusts.

To put that in perspective, the small 100 acre wildfire in nearby Golden grew to over 12,000 acres yesterday, courtesy of the winds. On each of my bike rides home, I have nearly been blown over - either into on-coming traffic or into parked cars. I'm not sure which would be worse. On one hand, I get hit by a car. On the other, I look like the incompetent 26-year old who doesn't know how to ride a bike and crashes into inanimate objects. One bruises my body while the other, my ego.

This morning, the newscaster told me today would be significantly less windy. I'm here to tell you she is a liar. My ride to work was the worst yet! At one point on 15th street, it gusted so hard in my face, that even while peddling, my bike quickly became stationary.

Other than that, its just a mediocre Wednesday. My legs are feeling heavy with every run lately, so I think I'll finish out what I had planned for this week, then back off on the miles next week. That will mesh nicely with being in Steamboat for a long weekend, which is very much needed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Last week, my friend did a post about winning, a la Charlie Sheen, asked what we were all winning at.

Last week I would have said I was winning at running. I've consistently stuck to my running routine, no small feat for me, and was adding a mile to my long runs each week. That is until Sunday. Saturday brought about mimosas and poor eating, so I'm not really surprised that I could barely eek out 6.25 miles on Sunday when I had 7 on the roster. It broke my heart to have such a poor run, but motivated me to stick with the good eating/no drinking plan I'd been contemplating starting.

Today is day two of that plan. Mostly I'm just tired. Veggies don't fill me up like carbs do (and no worries, I haven't cut out carbs - I would be horrible to be around if I did). I feel like I can eat a massive quantity of lettuce or carrots or sugar snap peas and still be hungry within about 5 minutes. I switched out my normal greek yogurt and apple at lunch for tunafish in a lettuce wrap. It was decent, but needed a little something. I was hungry within 30 minutes so I had sugar snap peas. Then an apple. Then carrots and peanut butter. I was still starving by the time I went to the gym, but I was out of food at work. For dinner, I had broccoli, a salad, and oodles of chicken. All in all, I had over 100 grams of protein for the and had been aiming for about 75. Win!

Interestingly enough, yesterday I also got my "Nutrition Action" newsletter in the mail that my parents got both my sister and I for christmas (trying to tell us something, hmmm?). It talked about how much protein you need for muscle repair to supplement strength training and how your body really can't process more than 30 grams at any one time (whoops, 45 grams at dinner!).

Today I've brought turkey, sprouts, little bit of cheese in a lettuce wrap again. Here's hoping I finally find something that keeps me full!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Can't Touch This

Wednesday it was 73 degrees in Denver. Last night it snowed on my walk home from the bar.

But anyhow, back to the topic at hand. Those who know me well know that, generally, I don't like to be touched. Numerous friends have tried to break down this boundary for me, most notably Lauren and Beth who sandwiched me between them for the majority of 2007.

Denver has continued to push this boundary. People here are friendly. Sometimes too much so. I'm more than happy to be perky and friendly and courteous to those around me, but Denver is a city of huggers and touchers and I'm not ok with it.

Take today, for instance. I went to yoga during lunch to stretch out my angry muscles. The instructor, who is ridiculously good looking, is also a toucher. He's one of those yoga people that puts his hand on you, gently pushing you a little farther into the pose. Basically, this resulted in me feeling even more tense and, while hearing him walk around the room, silently pray "please don't touch me, please don't touch me."

I don't know how one tactfully says "I don't like to be touched." Sometimes its obvious, like the time a coworker's friend went to give me a hug goodbye and I visibly flinched. He switched to a handshake mid-way and I felt more awkward than normal. I think about caveating it sometimes, maybe a little "I'm sorry, I don't like to be touched. I'm from the East Coast." People here think that the east coast is full of uptight, high-strung, unfriendly people, so maybe that would help and they would just nod sympathetically.

But alas, I think I'll have to keep my oddity to myself and let the hot yoga instructor touch me (oh life's so unfair!). Every cranky muscle was instantly better and I went back to the office ready to plow through some work . Or at least ready to write my blog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.) Today is the first St Patty's Day where I can actually go out and I'm not sure if I even want to. Last year I had a public meeting at night and the previous years I was stuck in class. I was all excited to go out, but now I just kind of want to get my run in and then go home. Choosing exercise over beer? I'm clearly not well.

2.) One of my friends is doing a crazy, most likely dangerous, cleansing kind of diet. I'm taking the general concept of it - fewer carbs, more protein, more veggies, no alcohol - and trying it for two weeks. I'm not gonna go nuts with it, I just think its a good idea to shake up my eating habits a bit. I couldn't ever completely cut out carbs, just for the sake of my officemates. I would be miserable company if I was carb-less, but more veggies are probably a good idea for me.

3.) My flight to Scotland, London, Paris, and Germany is officially booked, as is our hotel in Munich (thanks, mom!). Its starting to feel real and I'm starting to get really excited. Mama and Papa B and I will be headed for Scotland and London together, then as Mama and I head for France, Dad's popping over to Manchester to visit some relatives. He's been doing family tree searching for a good few years now and has input over 700 names into his family tree generator!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I did whatnow?

Somehow when I wasn't looking, I started running double digit miles in a week. Two weeks ago, I ran 12 miles, last week I ran 13. This week I'm on schedule for about 14 or 15.

That pretty much blows my mind. I never used to keep track of things like this. Never knew how fast I was running or how far in a week. I just showed up when Katie told me to (mostly, unless it was a Sunday morning...). Between actually running on my own now and logging my runs into Daily Mile (the little widget in the right hand corner of this blog), I'm amazed to see how far I've come in just over a month.

Yesterday I met with a trainer at my gym for one of my free training sessions that I got for joining the gym. I really liked her. After the weighing/measuring bit (which I did not care for) she really kicked my butt in 26 minutes!! I'm all sorts of good sore today. Since I got two one hour sessions for signing up, she was extremely nice and split the next session into two half hour sessions, so I really get three! After that, I get a free pilates reformer class with her, too. Once I survive all of that, I'm contemplating buying 8 half hour sessions with her (if I'm a good doobie and pay off my credit card first).

With sore legs, I headed for home, threw down some chicken, and headed back out to go for a run around Wash Park with my new friend Julia (thanks, LAPT!). We met up with the Tuesday Wash Park running group and did the 2.6 mile loop. My legs had a bit of trouble warming up, but felt good just about the time the run was over. 10:47 pace overall.

Overall, I feel like I'm finally getting back into shape - slowly but surely!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Fun

The St. Patty's Day parade in Denver is kind of a big deal. It is like the 5th longest in the country or world or universe (or so I'm told) and Saturday I figured out why. They'll let anyone walk in it. Seriously, there were numerous "Italy Pride" floats and other various random organizations that seemingly had nothing to do with St. Patty's Day or the Luck of the Irish. Also, after I'd imbibed a beer or two, I started yelling "THATS NOT IRISH" whenever bagpipes went by playing "Scotland the Brave". It was a good day.

Nothing says St Pattys like a stormtrooper in a kilt.

However, I had also made an excellent decision to get very little sleep on Friday night, so by the time 7pm rolled around Saturday night, I was one sleepy kid. Cue Sunday morning. I expected to sleep heavily and wake up around 10 or so, however at 7 am, I was wide awake and quite bitter about it.

I left the comfort of my bed and headed for the couch and watched random movies for a few hours then headed down to the hot tub in my building for some more Harry Potter reading. I came back up and nestled into my papasan chair and read for a few more hours, all the while Allison taunted me with "how'd that 6 mile run you had planned go?" Then around 5 pm, I finally mustered the energy and motivation and set out for my run. I have no idea where the motivation came from, but I'm glad I went. It wasn't pretty, but by the 5th mile my body had actually loosened up from the weekend abuse it had taken.

Overall, my average pace dropped from 11:20 to 11:07 minute miles, but I think that's because I actually stopped the watch at traffic lights and didn't really walk at all. Hopefully once I start doing more speedwork runs, this will drop below 11 minutes.

Unfortunately, the scale and I are still not seeing eye to eye on this whole how much I should weigh thing. While my pants are looser and my thighs are slowly going from jello to bricks, the scale has not budged. Not even 0.01 lb. I recognize that muscle weighs more than fat and blah blah blah, but I want a lower number goshdarnit!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Adventuresome Eater

I am a picky eater. I have always been. My sister is not much better, although we have both gotten better in recent years. When we did a month-long road trip across the country when we were 7 and 11, my dad jokes that we "chicken fingered and hamburgered our way". And we did.

But since moving to Denver, I have been somewhat shamed into trying new things, especially when they are free, which is always my excuse (I hate paying to try something new - what if I hate it? Then I'm out the money and still hungry!) I've been trying a lot of things off of other people's plates and surprisingly have liked a good amount of them. Not enough to order them on my own, most likely, but enough not to want to throw up.

That is until yesterday. A boss from the DC office came out and took us all out to lunch - to a sushi place. We ordered lots of things for the table and I figured tuna was a safe bet. The first one I tried had lots of craziness it in, plus spicy tuna. It wasn't bad, but definitely had something in it that was amiss. Next I tried just a simple spicy tuna roll. I think I liked this the best, but boy was it spicy! I was eager to try the white tuna roll - tuna and avocado. It sat on my plate awhile; I had used up all my new-food bravery on the first two rolls. I finally tried it and things went wrong almost instantly. I hated it. I am weird about textures and something in this roll was horrible.

I fought the urge to dry heave (I still did, though) and although it took me several minutes, I got the roll down. I think my coworker next to me was fairly concerned I was going to boot, most likely on him. They stopped encouraging me to try more sushi.

What's even odder about the whole experience is that I think it was the avocado that was giving me the weird texture issue. And I like avocado. Well, I like guacamole. I thought I was safe eating that roll. But lesson learned, I suppose.

Overall, I've still got more seafood under my belt in 2011 than I ever ate from 1984-2010 combined. I'm sure my officemates will still shame me into trying more things, but I think sushi is officially on the no-go list.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.) Saturday night I went to a local Roller Derby 'bout' and loved it. They made announcements about recruiting so I emailed them. This Sunday I'll head down to their practice arena to borrow some skates and see how I like it. If I'm terrible and fall on my butt, well, at least I'll know. If I'm not terrible, I can go back each week and train and practice until I can buy my own gear and then about 4 times a year they have try-outs. I think my favorite derby name people have suggested for me so far is RUde Awakening. Undertaker's Daughter was already taken.

2.) I had an appointment with the world's rudest optimologist on Tuesday. It took two hours, including the 20 minute lecture he gave me on how irresponsible I am for not having come in sooner, even though I couldn't afford it (um hello, I made the appointment literally the day I got vision coverage.) He did send me away with a set of soft contacts to try and a set of 'loaner' gas permeables (my new ones come in Friday). The loaner hard contacts he gave me don't fit quite right, so I've been wearing the soft ones and I actually really like them.

3.) Last night I tried to light an innocent little fire in my fireplace and ended up backfilling the entire apartment with smoke (and yes, I had opened the flue - apparently it was stuck and though the handle moved, the flue did not). I opened all my windows and put my fan on to blow the smoke out, but it wasn't working so I opened my door to the hallway, and stood there with my fan, pulling air from the hallway into my apt and through to my open windows. This apparently filled all of my neighbors apartments with smoke. They are very old and this was the first time I met them. I'm pretty sure they hate me. The one old lady didn't even try to hide it. The other one was nice and I might leave her a thank you note with some Bergen's Chocolates that I still have boxed up from Christmas.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm pretty much superwoman.

Ok, so I was remiss in blogging this yesterday, but Sunday was a HUGE FEAT.

I ran 5.86 miles.

This number may seem odd and slightly insignificant, but it is huge.

-Its the longest I've run in Denver.
-Its the longest I've run anywhere in over a year
-Its the longest I've ever run without a running buddy.

Also, it was 0.86 miles longer than I was scheduled to do. When Katie said she thought I'd come back faster than I thought, I thought she was crazy. But it feels good. I wanted to run down to a local park and back, and that ended up being a bit longer than the 5 miles on my plate. I took notice as to where the 5 mile mark was and figured that if I was really feeling poorly, I could just walk home.

I also upped my run/walk amount. Averaged about a run 15/walk 1. My pace was the same as the previous week: 11:20 min miles, which is about a minute off of where I want to be, but I've got plenty of time to speed that up!

So runners, here's my gameplan for moving forward: Keep the mileage/weekly runs that I'm doing up until 8 mile long runs (probably 2-3 weeks from now). Keep 8 mile long runs through April, working on pace. Then start the 'official' half training end of April/early May. Good idea/bad idea? Ya'll know much more about the 'theory' of training and running and muscles and all that goodness - so whaddya think??

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fun Facts

Courtesy of Katie, the ABCs of Rudi:

Age: 26
Bed size: Queen juuuuust for me!
Chore you dislike: Cleaning the shower (but I still do it, unlike Allison)
Dogs: Love. But don't have.
Essential start to your day: Coffee, oatmeal.Favorite color: Somehow I've recently managed to accrue a lot of blue.
Gold or silver: Silver, but today I'm wearing gold.
Height: 5'4", but if my mom is any indication, I will probably shrink.
Instruments you play(ed): Violin, kinda.
Job Title: Environmental Planner of Awesomeness. Ok, I added that last part.
Kids: Scare me.
Live: In an oddly shaped 1 bedroom, also all to myself.
Mom's name: Nancy
Nicknames: Rudi, Stink
Overnight hospital stays: goose egg
Pet peeves: Escaleftors
Quote from a movie: any line from any episode of How I Met Your Mother. Ever. And also "If peeing your pants is cool, then call me Miles Davis". Unfortunately, none of my coworkers had ever heard it and thought I was announcing I'd peed my pants.
Righty or lefty: Righty.Siblings: Alliy Al up in St Paul
Time you wake up: It varies between 5:30-7:00am
Underwear: Yes, I'm wearing some.
Vegetables you don't like: Just one?
What makes you run late: I am never late.
X-rays you've had: only a few. Mostly for my teethies.
Yummy food you make: A work in progress.
Zoo: Went to the San Diego one. Liked the elephants.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lead legs

Last week Katie talked about how she got yelled at for biking 40 miles one day and then doing a tempo run the next. I kept thinking, well why does that matter? This morning I learned why.

After biking to/from work and spinning yesterday, I hopped on the treadmill this morning with a goal to beat my three mile time from Tuesday. Within the first half mile, I almost quit. Heck, I almost switched to the elliptical in the first quarter mile. My legs felt like someone had filled them with lead overnight.

I reduced my speed from 6.0 mph to 5.7 mph and gave it a go. They were not easy miles, but I finished them. I actually found that my during my minute-long walks (ran 8/walked 1 again), my legs would almost stiffen up again and switching back to running was difficult. But I finished my three miles in 31:45, a whole thirteen seconds less than Tuesday's run. And that's ok.

My body is tired. It's once angry angry with me for not sitting on the couch and eating lots of junk food. Although really, it gets mad at me when I do that, too, so really my body needs just make up its darn mind. But tomorrow will be a 'rest' day, with only a yoga class during lunch to appease my tight muscles.

Tonight I've got my first restaurant week dinner! I wonder if we'll get an early-bird, senior citizen discount, since our reservation is at 5:00. I'm headed to Vita in the Highlands section of Denver and I'm pretty excited!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ouch and also, Yay!

Ok, first things first. Runners: I have a question. I have always been a winter runner. I don't like to overheat (swimmers don't sweat), so my running gear always consisted of at LEAST a tee-shirt. Yesterday it was a beautiful 62 degrees in sunny Denver so I ran in a tank top. Ouch. The insides of my upper arms got rubbed raw. It hurt an incredible amount and I came home and just rubbed vaseline all over my arms and side. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do about it? When I asked a woman in the locker room this morning, she proceeded to show me where her sports bra cuts her boobs sometimes, so I will forever be afraid to ever ask any questions in the locker room again. And just as I was getting used to all that nudity...

But back to the task at hand: Yesterday I had another kick-butt run. It was fueled a little bit by anger, but I went home determined to run my scheduled 3 miles really hard. I finally got my phone/pacer to work (although sometimes I'd look down and it would flash from 8:03 up to 11:20 without feeling like I had changed my pace all that much, so I am dubious to its quality). Anyhow, I am suddenly finishing week 4 of Katie's plan, so I had a 3-miler of run 8/walk 1 on my plate.

I rocked it. I was originally disappointed with my 3-mile time of 31:57, but after some reflection and math, I'm ok with it. Overall, that's a 10:39 pace. I figured I did at least 4 minutes of walking/waiting at traffic lights, so I factored those in at 15 mph, did a little calculations (no small feat for me, mind you) and figured out my running pace averaged 10:21. I had really wanted to see that pace begin with a 9, but that just isn't realistic. This was my first outdoor, hard run and, honestly, a 10:30 pace is my usual "i'm in good shape and have been running a lot" pace, so I should be happy. I'm on my way.

This morning I also found the secret to waking up at an unGodly hour: find a song that makes you want to dance. Set your alarm to it. Turn your alarm up really loud. I popped out of bed without even hitting snooze, danced around, then headed for my spin class. Last night I got the best night's sleep since taking my TV out of my room. I think I was actually getting too much sleep and need less now that my sleep quality is better. I went to bed after 11 and woke up at 5:30 and feel amazing. Will continue to test this theory!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Experiments in the Kitchen

Yesterday was just a wonderful Colorado day. The temperature started in the low 30's but climbed to 66 degrees by the afternoon. I left work at 4:30, rocked out 40 minutes on the elliptical and rode home.

I had been a good doobie and got groceries on Sunday, so I went home eager to cook up some dinner. I had picked up the ingredients for my homemade red sauce, so I quick threw that together and put it on the stove to simmer. I had dug my up my dad's delicious lemon-scented turkey meatballs recipe, but was without lemons to zest or squeeze, so I made my own variation. The recipe also calls for bread pieces soaked in milk, but I made do with breadcrumbs and little blips of milk poured into the mixing bowl. Instead of garlic cloves, I just threw in some garlic powder, mixed everything up and hoped for the best. About halfway through making the meatballs into little balls, I got bored and just made two big patties that I figured I could use as turkey burgers for lunch or dinner.

Yum! I'm ready to be cooked!

When it came time to actually cook the meatballs, I realized my fatal flaw of the evening: My solitary skillet was already in use cooking the red sauce - whoops! I made do with my pancake cooker (ok, a griddle, let's be honest, I don't use it for much else) and considered it an excellent example of making do with what you have.

Creative Cooking 101

When the meatballs were just about done, I threw some pasta on the stove, which was the first time I think I've ever had three burners going at once! I had plenty of meatballs leftover. I froze two sets of three and left the third set in the fridge for later this week. I froze one of the patties and also left the other for possibly a lunch experiment.


All in all, I was exercised, fed, and showered at 7pm, when How I Met Your Mother, the only show I faithfully watch each week. It is still a bit crazy to me, the pace of Denver. In DC, by 7pm I would just be getting started at my gym class at Gold's, racing to make it home by 8 to make dinner during the commercials of HIMYM. After reading in the hot tub some more (seriously, when I own my own house, I am getting one - I use the one in my building daily), I packed up my bag for the next morning and even ironed some clothes. It was the most productive day I'd had in ages, with a fully logged MFD and a semi-stocked fridge!