Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Morning Runner Jealousy

Every beautiful morning when I drive to work, I always manage to see someone being active.  Runners, cyclists, something.  I see the morning runner, jogging along, pony tail swinging through the air, feet hitting the pavement with the beat of her ipod.  And it comes on.  Morning Runner Jealousy.  I start to envy her and her beautiful weather, the cool air she gets to enjoy, the calmness of the morning.

You see, I get to work at 7AM.  I have to be in the shower by 6:15.  Hate to tell you, but there isn't any sun that early.  For a 5 mile run, I would have to leave my house at 5AM.  My neighborhood doesn't have sidewalks either so morning runs weren't even really an option for me except on weekends.

Today is my first day of school (haha I feel like a little kid!).  I don't have class until 4PM (UGH!) but that meant I got to sleep in a little, get up nice and slow, have an easy breakfast, and then set out for that morning run!

Was it all its cracked up to be?  Yep!!!

It was actually a little chilly when I started but I knew that it would then be perfect once I warmed up.  I actually woke up with my left leg feeling a little wonky but I wasn't going to let that be an excuse.  I ate an omelet before I left (I know!  The horror!  I had protein and not carbs before a long run!!!  More on this in a bit.  I also drank some black coffee.)

I started out with a good rythm.  I made sure to concentrate on my gate and stride for at least the first half mile to ensure a safe, injury free run, especially the way my leg was feeling when I got up.  I headed toward my 4 mile route knowing I would add onto it.  Everything was going great!  Then my left food started to bother me.  That went away quickly.  Then I conquered these 2 hills that used to kick my butt.  I didn't notice I was running them until I was at the top and thought "wow, I didn't even think to walk any of that!". 

Then around mile 3 my left leg really started to bother me.  Just a tightness in my hip.  Around 3.5 miles, my left calf started to pull a bit.  I was already on the out part of an out and back.  I decided I would head back to the house after I turned around.  I ended up with just over 5 miles.  My run was slow but it was nice.  The best part is that I felt fine.  Other than the pesky leg (who thought it would be a good idea to wear heeled boots to campus yesterday?!), my energy levels were great, mentally I was good, and my breathing was perfect (because I was going really, really slow, lol).  Seriously, if my leg hadn't been bothering me, I would have easily been able to crank out an 8 miler today.

I have been concerned with covering my distances but today showed me that I'm really not that bad off.  I mean, yes I need to run more, but at least I'm not back down to like 3 miles!  That would be bad!  Since my half is on the 18th!!!

Back to the omelet.  Runners are always told "carbs carbs carbs!" but this morning, I really wanted an omelet.  And I always have stomach issues when I run.  But today I was fine.  I ate my whole omelet about 15 minutes before I left.  HA!  Another usual no no of running.  Also, I hate it when my stomach starts growling when I'm running.  I think the protein helped because it takes so much longer to digest.  I mean, they say carbs for energy but shouldn't I already have some stored energy?  If I'm really that tired, maybe I shouldn't be going for a run.  Haha.  Next long run, start with an omelet, don't wear heels the night before, sip a little black coffee, and enjoy the morning sun!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Chicken Cacciatore & Iced Coffee

I don't know if this actually qualifies as chicken "cacciatore" but that is what I'm going to call it!  Here is my creation for dinner today:

I  just threw 2 diced chicken breasts in a pan on medium heat and put the lid on.  While that cooked, I chopped a red pepper, a zucchini, and some mushrooms.  Once the chicken was pretty much cooked, I drained the liquid and added some olive oil and the veggies.  I also increased the heat slightly.  I put the lid on for a bit to cook the veggies and took the lid off once I wanted them to saute more.  I added the sauce last to heat it and served over pasta.  This made 2 servings.  Delicious and took about 15 minutes.  YUM!

On a side note, I saw 2 cool cups at Target

HA!  I so need that second one!  I rather enjoyed my iced coffee on the way to work.  Oh!  I didn't even tell you guys that Rob is the best hubby ever.  He bought me an iced coffee french press!  SO AWESOME!  I loved iced coffee and I love French Press coffee!  It also makes enough for pretty much the week.  Yay for coffee every morning!

Bodum Iced Coffee Maker (got mine on sale WAY less that on this website)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes

Seeing as I actually have a kitchen now, I have no excuse to not cook.  Last night, we made a delicious dinner with zucchini, ground turkey, pasta, and sauce.  Yum!  Nothing fancy, just cooked and mixed together.  Forgot a picture though.

This morning, we got a little more creative with oatmeal pancakes.  I got the recipe from Spark Recipes.  Jess had chocolate chips in hers while I added peanut butter and maple flavored agave nectar to mine.  These were really delicious but not like regular pancakes.  They sat in my stomach like a rock.  I have extras and I'm thinking they will be a great breakfast to take in the car with me for trips to school (2 hour drive).  Definitely will make these again!

Recipe taken from Spark Recipes:


    1 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Quaker Oats 1 1/4 cup skim milk (can use substitute buttermilk for half the milk) 1 large egg 1 Tbsp light olive oil 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp baking powder


In a medium bowl, mix oats with milk, let stand 5 minutes. Add egg and oil, then mix. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Drop by 1/4 cup measure, flatten and shape a bit, and cook on hot, nonstick skillet until brown. Flip and cook on the other side until golden.
Optional: For an antioxidant boost, add 1/2 cup blueberries to the batter before cooking (not included in nutrition count).
Top with topping of choice: maple syrup, preserves, yogurt, applesauce, etc (not included in nutrition count.)

Number of Servings: 4

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 271.3
  • Total Fat: 7.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 54.7 mg
  • Sodium: 177.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 43.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.2 g
  • Protein: 11.3 g

I survived!

Wow what a weekend!  I have gotten a lot of nothing done too.  Haha.  Friday, I was busy all day.  I had to go to school for orientation but it got canceled early due to the hurricane so we only got half way through.  That means I still haven't registered!  Ack!  Classes were supposed to start tomorrow but now they start Tuesday.  That means I have to go down tomorrow just to register and maybe get some things done around campus if I can (student ID, parking pass, etc.)  Anyway!  We were sort of glad to get out early though so we could get back home to take care of some things for the hurricane.

Irene would be hitting us directly!  Eek!  I live in South Jersey.  Its nice here because there are no natural disasters and in one week we've had an earthquake, a hurricane, and tornadoes.  I heard a tornado touched down only 5 blocks away from me last night. Scary!  So we got ready for the storm.  We would have visitors this weekend too since my friend Jess lives in a shore town where there was mandatory evacuations.

LoL, priorities, especially since I knew Rob would have to work and Jess and I would be hanging out bored listening to the rain and wind!  I figured we could enjoy some nice wine and relax.  The rain started and just didn't end.  It kept going until this morning.  We had a pump running all night keeping the water away from our front door.  It actually started coming in a bit and getting to our new hard woods!  Eek!!!  But Rob put up a nice set up and we just had to monitor the pumps all night.  Overall, the storm just wasn't that bad near our house, kind of anticlimactic.  Haha. 

Jess and I tried unpacking some stuff but I was getting frustrated.  We did decorate a little bit with the things we had

So it was a really long night, up every few hours to check the pumps. I am super tired today now.  Jess and I decided to sit outside though and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Lovely now!

Mmm iced coffee.  We set up some of my patio chairs on the back porch.  Wonderful!  Oh, and that is Mindy, Jess' cute little doggy.  She gets along ok with the cats.  They were more skittish of her.  They have all been acting nutso this weekend.  Anyway, kind of distracted right now so I guess its time to go.  Just wanted to share the pictures from the weekend and tell you all that we survived just fine!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good News for Hurricane Irene

I have good news about Hurricane Irene!  Healthy people won't starve!

Nothing but whole wheat bread was left at the store.  LoL, all the white bread was gone.  The water was pretty much gone but the soda aisle was hit pretty hard too.  The produce aisle was perfectly stocked.  Haha.  We live only a few miles from the cut off for the evacuation so it might be a pretty interesting weekend for us.  We have a friend (Jess, you know, old running buddy) staying with us since she lives on one of the coastal islands.  I'm not sure if I have to go back to school again Monday.  We'll see how bad we get hit!  Let's hope for the best! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Remodel: Kitchen

Oh my gosh!  Is that... a kitchen?! 

A real, usable kitchen!  Well, almost.  Still half of our stuff is in storage and anything I wasn't sure about, I just kind of threw into the cabinets.  LoL, but I can cook!  And that makes me very happy!!!

Local Eats: Peter's Diner

This was from last weekend.  We often stop at this diner on the way home from Philadelphia because it is along the back way home.  We usually stop in there pretty late then but this time we decided to meet a friend for breakfast on Saturday on our way to Ikea (in Philadelphia).  Its been pretty good every time I've gone and the service is always okay.  Not great but not bad.  They also give you tons of food it seems so I guess its a good price!

Anyway, it started off bad right away.  I wasn't in the mood to argue and while ordering my breakfast, I asked about grapefruit juice and she said "cranberry?"  and I just blew it off.  That annoys Rob because I didn't argue but I was happy with either and wasn't in the mood to correct this waitress (she seemed like she didn't want to be bothered by doing her job that day).  Then Rob tried to order the pancake special but asked to get a short stack instead.  She argued with him and rang him up with the short stack plus a coffee and a side of bacon which was way more expensive than the special (and he didn't get OJ).  Overall, not happy with the service!  This was just one waitress so I won't say the whole place is terrible.  This waitress was just awful.

My food was pretty good.  I just got scrambled eggs with homefries, toast, and bacon. 

Just normal breakfast!  I think everyone was happy with their order so that is a plus!  And I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing about the diner but they have a HUGE dessert display.

When we stop in late night, we sit at the counter a lot there.  I've never actually gotten any of the desserts!  They all look delicious but they are all gigantic servings too so I know I can't eat it unless I split it with someone.  Overall, we were annoyed with the waitress but fine with the food.  Nothing amazing here really.  The place is always packed.  We've actually had to wait for a table before.  The atmosphere there is pretty nice.  If you are driving by and just want to grad some basic diner food, then this place is fine but I wouldn't go out of your way.  Good late night eats!

Peter's Diner
1741 S Black Horse Pike
Williamstown, New Jersey 08094
(856) 740-4422

Back and Forth

I had the BEST run yesterday!  Ok, not as good as last week's run but it was definitely a good one!  My runs have been very sporadic lately so I'll take it when I can get one in!  Now, normally I would have blown it off since I had promised to visit my grandma but I had made it into work early enough to get home and try and get a quick run in.  I promised my FabFit friends that I would do an interval run and when I got home, I immediately got changed so that I didn't have a choice!

This was the first time I used my Garmin for an interval run and had no idea how to set it.  I set it incorrectly and figured it out along the way so my run got a little messed up.  I did start with about a 6 minute warm up and then did some make-shift intervals.  It worked out ok!

Next time I know how to program the Garmin!  I am happy with the run though.  One of my run intervals had an average pace of 8:23!  Woah that's fast!  I'm not sure how fast I should be going.  I've heard 20 seconds faster than 5K pace (which works out to be about 9 m/m for me then).  I am definitely going to keep this workout in my routine.  I just ran laps up and down the street.  It was nice not being very far from home too although very tempting to stop whenever I passed it.  Hm...

Not much else for yesterday!  I decided not to track my food for the last 2 days.  I figure if I am eating healthy and not too much, then I should be ok.  If I start stuffing my face with junk food, then it's back to tracking again! 

To end, the cute picture of the day! I apparently make a good kitty pillow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grad School Jitters

I am terrified.  Terrified of going back to school.  I mean, I am really excited because I like going to school but there are a lot of questions around going back.  Did I choose the right field (I had 2 majors to pick from and went with the unexpected one, should I have gone with the safe one)?  Is this is a good school?  Is it worth the drive there and back every day?  Am I going to be able to survive financially?  Will all my undergrad math come back to me?  Will I do ok in my classes?  Will I find a research topic I enjoy and succeed in?  Will I be able to pass the qualifying exams?

See, aren't you terrified now??

So I was thinking about a team I'm on called Fabulous Fitness.  It is a great bunch of mostly ladies (don't worry, I didn't forget you Mike!) who are all healthy, active, supportive, and just plain wonderful.  I never really was too active with any of the teams that you can participate on in Spark People but for some reason when FabFit moved over and opened a page on Facebook, I started to pay more attention.  Actually, I've made some many friends there from the FabFit team that my Facebook feed is 75% FF friends and only like 25% people I know in person.  Ha!  But I like it that way, they keep me motivated.  Anyway,  they have a saying for this team

Be Brave.  Be Bold.  Be Fierce.  Be Fabulous.

I started to think about how that fit into my life with fitness and health and then I realized its about how to live your entire life, not just your health.  I thought about how it would fit into my journey going back to grad school. 

Be Brave:  I took the steps to apply for grad school.  That was a huge step because I knew it meant I would actually have an opportunity to go back to school.  And then all those quesitons above starting popping into my head.

Be Bold:  I got the acceptance letter and I immediately sent back my reply that I would be attending this fall.

Be Fierce:  I am going to apply this to my studies, my classes, and my research.  I know I am a smart girl and I know that if I put my mind to it, I can totally succeed.  I just have to be determined.  Fierce is the perfect word for this.

Be Fabulous:  I am also a little worried about losing the self I've built over the last 2 years.  I want to be keep running, I want to keep eating healthy, I want to keep looking sharp.  I am going to continue to take care of myself while I go back to school so that I can be fabulous!

And as for my mantra, It's Not an Option, that is easy to make a list:

It's not an option to not go back to school (especially at this point!).
It's not an option to not succeed in my classes.
It's not an option to not pass the qualifiers.
It's not an option to slack off on my research.
It's not an option to give up my healthy life.
It's not an option to doubt myself.
It's not an option to not finish.

I posted a funny cartoon yesterday about why someone would go to grad school.  It is so true and made my laugh.  Why am I going back?  Well, its just something I always thought I would do, get my PhD.  Why?  Well, because I want to.  And then it dawned on my that most people don't have this crazy ambition of getting a PhD.  The fact that I even want to pursue one has already skyrocketed me in my field.  I always have a little self doubt, even though I do excellent in my classes all the while being a total procrastinator and a bit of a slacker.  I find math comes pretty easy to me (when I have a good teacher anyway).  So why am I so worried?  I know it will be hard but deep down inside I know I can do it.  This was a complete revelation for me.  All this time I was so worried about failing when I really knew that I would be fine.

Classes start on Monday.  Terrified.  I just have to remember...

Be Brave.

Be Bold.

Be Fierce.

Be Fabulous.

And as for not succeeding?

It's Not an Option.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


PhD Comics


My life has been changing a lot lately.  Things last month were really stressful.  Then I had to move in less than 2 weeks.  Now, I am going from being a full time researcher to a full time graduate student.  Wow, I feel like I've been bucked off a horse or something.  Disoriented. 

As of next week, I will be a full time graduate student with a part time job (where I work now, they are awesome letting me stay on).  I am a creature of routine.  I love doing the same thing every day on a regular schedule but that is going to completely change.  I will probably struggle for the first few weeks until I establish a new routine.  It should be interesting!

Oh, I also need a completely stress free place to work at home.  My apartment is still a wreck!  I need to work like crazy this week to get it into a more presentable condition so that I can concentrate on my schooling once it starts (Monday). 

On top of all this, I have 2 half marathons coming up and a full marathon in March.  I may have to accept the fact that I might walk quite a bit in the first one.  We'll see.  I need to fit more runs in on a more regular basis.  I have been seriously struggling with getting out there lately.  Thanks to a challenge for a group I'm in, we had to discuss our "matras".  I posted about mine, It's Not an Option.  I had sort of neglected to use it lately but not anymore!  I might even most a nice print out of those words and frame it to hang in my apartment somewhere where it will motivate me to do my best!

Anyway, this is just a lot of babbling today.  I have a lot of things I need to do today to get everything together for school.  I guess I'm just laying all these things out there for myself.  I need to remember to eat well and exercise (the eating has be terrible along with the lack of exercise).  I need to make time for myself.  Maybe I should schedule time for myself?  I can see my calendar now:  4:30 Meeting with Bob Harper  6:00 Meeting with Nike Running Sneakers.  LoL.  I just need to do it!!!  Because skipping is not an option here!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nothing but Unpacking

Wow what a weekend!  Its been nothing but moving and then I had to go to school today!  So this is just really a little recap blog.  Health and fitness?  Um, yeah.  I really need a clean kitchen and more time.  What is that going to be?  Well, I got to cook dinner tonight!  And we ate at our kitchen table!!!

It was so nice to cook and then sit down to a nice meal that didn't come pre-cooked from a store.  Just simple tilapia and corn.  Delicious!  Also opened up a nice bottle of wine to enjoy, Ateca.  Yum!  Anyway, on to my weekend.  The cats are really taking well to the transition to the apartment.

Saturday, we spent most of our day at Ikea.  We needed a few more items and organization things.  Its a good thing this store isn't closer!

I wish I had a library like that and a kitchen!  Wow!!!  Love it!  I also noticed in the car that my boots that used to be tight got a little too big!  Yay!!!

Anyway, so really, we just spent the weekend unpacking and its still a wreck!  At least we could use the kitchen today :)  So I got an email on Saturday that I would need to go to campus today.  I will be commuting about 2 hours to campus.  Just the way things worked out.  So we had to head down there today, it was my first time seeing campus!  It is very modern.  It looks like there are like 2 very old buildings (one from the 1700s) and a couple from the 1960's.  Then a couple very very new ones so most of the campus is modern.

Those last two photos are the gym!  Of course, grad students have to pay for "membership"  Ugh!  But it looks awesome.  They had outdoor basketball courts and volleyball courts!  So cool!  And an indoor track too.  Hm, I'll really need to think about signing up for it!  Its not too expensive but it would be nice to work out while I'm there!  I also found the best little coffee shop ever!

Starbucks coffee!!!  Om nom nom!  They offer coffee cards too so I got one of course.  And its right by my building.  Excellent.  LoL, I have a coffee problem!

So the visit to campus went really well.  I got a lot of paper work that I need to fill out.  I go to campus on Friday for orientation and to register.  Very exciting!  Classes start on Monday.  Well, I am pretty tired from such a long weekend.  I know I didn't say much, just really wanted to share photos.  Time to go relax with Rob!!!
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