Sunday, March 23, 2014

A New Addition

 Well, in true "crazy cat lady" fashion, I've already adopted a new cat. Ginger is a 4-year-old sweetie who I saw online through a local shelter. The day Max died, I had 3 different offers for kittens. While I knew I wanted another cat, I also knew I didn't really want a kitten. Kittens require things like declawing and spaying/neutering - things that cost a lot of money. Also, my Min is old and I didn't think she'd be thrilled with an excitable little kitten running around. 

So, I decided to look at shelters and see if any cats caught my eye. Ginger is already front declawed and has been spayed (or neutered - whichever female cats get). Plus she has all of her shots!

Ginger was described as "obese". But...well...she seems normal to me. These shelter people didn't know Max! They told me she was really shy and would probably hide a lot at first. However, she was being fostered by a family with 4 cats, 2 other foster cats, and 2 small children - so she may have just disliked all of the noise! 

She's been adjusting well, spending a lot of time in my office (her room for now!), and occasionally coming out to explore or sit with me. 

Min is not a fan so far. They growl and hiss at each other, but haven't been aggressive. Min and Max never really acknowledged each other, so I don't expect Min and Ginger to be BFFs, but hopefully she stops growling soon. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Five - Selfie Edition

1. A side-by-side of last year's RNR race (left) and this year's! Both were snapped by a friend - and though my stride and my body are definitely facial expression is almost identical! HAHA!!!

2. I joined the "cool runner" club and got a Garmin watch! It's the 610, and I got it for a steal!!! It retails brand new for around $400 - but I got a refurbished one on Groupon for $189. I am officially in love.  It's so nice to be able to track my pace and distance right on the watch instead of having to dig out my phone.

3. This little sweetie has been getting lots of extra love this week. Though, her face here pretty much says "enough extra love, thanks" - haha!! 

4.  Yesterday I ran in a running skirt for the first time since the fall!! I'm ignoring all things I hear/read about a possibility of snow next week.  It's not happening. It just can't.

5. Today is "Superhero Day" at school. Or as I like to call it "Where a Running Costume" day - because that's pretty much what I'm doing. A sparkle skirt, some ProCompression socks, and a running tee! I sewed some ribbon onto a piece of extra fabric for a cape - and voila! Super Runner! (Super COMFY too!)


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll USA Recap

First of all - THANK YOU for all of the kindness that's been shown to me since my buddy Max died yesterday. I've gotten so many sweet texts, snapchats, calls, emails, messages, cards, and even a 6-pack of beer! It's nice to know that the significance of this furry friend in my life was noticed by the "real" friends in my life, too! 

And now on a brighter note...the Rock 'n' Roll Race Weekend Recap! (it's really long - but I always get annoyed when bloggers do a whole blog for the expo, then another whole blog for the race - so it's all in one here!)

My fellow boot camp friends, Mark, Julie, and I headed south for a trip to the Expo for packet pick-up first.  We had fun wandering the Expo and picking up samples and checking out all kinds of fun running products! Julie and I stopped to chat with this guy for a few minutes and then discovered he was "Big Vinnie" from The Biggest Loser! Remember Vinnie? He was the 450 pound country singer who wore overalls. Now he's "big" for another reason - he's a lifter!

We walked away with plenty of good samples, and may have tried enough Power Bar pieces to make a full meal. I was particularly interested in trying Sport Beans, since I've been looking at them as a fuel option. We drank lots of Nuun Hydration samples, drooled over other race medals, and chatted up the Spartan Race guys. It was a great event - though I was disappointed in the Brooks section. Apparently at the Philly race, they had a lot of fun activities that they didn't have in DC. I guess that means I'll just have to run RNR Philly!

After the expo, we headed to our hotel and ended up eating dinner there. We carb loaded and hydrated simultaneously with some beer - haha! We met up with some friends of Julie's, Aaron and Jenny. Jenny was running her first marathon - and she rocked it with a 3:39 finish time!! 

Before we knew it - it was race morning!! There was a Starbucks in our hotel lobby, whose hours said they'd be open at 6am.  Julie texted me from the lobby at 5:30 to say it was open - and I seriously JUMPED out of bed and started heading there. Mark had the same reaction when I told him it was open. Clearly, we like beer and caffeine before we run.
(Me, Julie, and Mark before the race)
Julie and I just met 2 weeks ago. We both attend the same boot camp, but not the same class time. Some members of the group met to do a long run, and since Julie and I ran about the same pace and had the same time goal (under 2:00), we decided to stick together. We lined up in corral 6 (Julie's corral - I was technically 13...and speedy Mark was up in 2).

My college roommate, Kristin, and her husband, Justin, live in DC so they were at mile 4 and mile 10 with their cameras ready! 

Julie and I were really trying to start slow - which in the end, may have backfired on us and we started TOO slow. Our average pace needed to be 9:09, and I figured if we did 9:30ish the first mile, we could get faster each mile and be fine.  But - we did mile one in over 10 minutes. Then, we were running 8:45 miles for the next few and my legs were just not prepared for that pace. 

My pace bracelet had splits for both 1:59 and 2:05, so at about mile 6.5, I dropped back and settled in for my secondary goal of 2:05. I pretty much felt like death and was hurting most of the race. In fact, this is me at mile 10 and I believe I was just saying "I really needed to see you guys because I feel awful!!!".

(and for those thinking I always smile when I run - at one point in the race I heard a spectator say "Wow - her face looks miserable" when I ran by. I am not always smiling - I am just good at locating cameras!)

After the race, we all celebrated in the beer garden! Each of us got a PR (personal record) - Julie came in at 2:01 and Mark smoked us at 1:32. 

While I didn't make my BIG goal of under 2 hours, I had set myself the "secondary goal" of under 2:05 - and I did it! This time took almost 12 minutes off of my performance in Baltimore, and had me running at a pace I used to dream about for a 5k - let alone a 13.1!

And of course, we had to rehydrate the same way we pre-hydrated - some good beer! Julie's family met her at the finish line, so she went to do some touring with them. Mark and I spotted this Capitol City Brewing Company and enjoyed some DELICIOUS food and beer! We both left with growlers of their Prohibition Porter.  If you ever spot one of these places - stop in!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Sad Goodbye

I did something this morning that I knew was coming eventually, but I've been dreading. I drove my sweet, chubby Maximum to the animal hospital and came home empty handed. 

He was listless, not breathing very deeply, and just kind of laying there this morning. I knew it wasn't good, and since he was almost 15 years old, I had a feeling this was it for him. 

I stood there signing a "do not resuscitate" order and answering questions about whether I wanted to be with him when he died or if I wanted his ashes. It was all so weird and yet, familiar. It's strange to do something like that for a cat when you've done it for a human not many years before. 

And now I'm going to embrace the "crazy cat lady" and blog about how awesome my cat was. 

Maximum had serious personality and was a great companion. He was never far from where I was in the house - unless I was moving around a lot and following me got exhausting for his fatness!!! 

When Isaac was alive, I would leave the bedroom and walk down the hall in the morning and Max would be walking the opposite direction. He'd heave himself up onto the bed and sprawl out in my empty spot next to Isaac. Max spent Isaac's last hours tucked underneath his hospital bed, as if he was just trying to be there for Isaac in his last moments. 

The night Isaac died, Max spent the whole night (and many, many more after that) tucked beside me. It made the empty half of the bed so much less empty. 

He did silly things like chase ice cubes in the kitchen, come snuggle when I whistled "Jingle Bell Rock", and drink water out of the bath room faucet. 

He'd squeeze himself into small places, let me cart him around without much fuss, and allow me to just be silly. 

Maximum, thanks for 10 1/2 years of company, loyal love, snuggles, and smiles. You were an awesome cat and you will be missed!!

(P.S. - Max's sister, Minimum, is snuggled next to me as I type!)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Five - NEWS!

Five on Friday

1. Tomorrow I'm running the Rock 'n' Roll USA Half Marathon in DC!!!!  This is exciting because this race was my first half marathon last year. The funny thing is, as I'm typing this it is Thursday - and I haven't planned my outfit or packed or made a packing list. I can tell I'm getting "used to" this whole distance race thing now!! This time last year I was FREAKING OUT. I had read and reread all of the pre-race info (and highlighted it), I had a huge packing list, and I was stalking the weather.  Ok - I've been stalking the weather all week this time, too. (it's supposed to be in the 60s and partly cloudy - woot woot!!!)

2. Pre-sale for 2 fabulous Boston Strong tees ends soon. You can order the gray "strong" tee (with matching Sweaty Band!!) from Another Mother Runner (which, btw, is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while running!). Also, Fellow Flowers has a bright blue tee that says "You cannot destroy the will of a runner" that is super cute.  I bought that one!

3. In an effort to pack some extra nutrition in during race week, I've been making green smoothies every day this week. If you want to freak out a group of 5th graders, drink a green smoothie. My students are totally fascinated by them and have been asking every day what I make them with! A few have even tried them at home - woohoo!!  I made a totally gross looking one on Wednesday that was the BEST tasting. Spinach, coconut milk, half a banana, Tera's Whey Coffee Protein Powder, cocoa powder, and Stevia.  YUM!!!

4. I've been back at the chiropractor the past few weeks and I am loving it!!!  Dr. T (at ChiroDynamics for you local friends) is awesome! He is more than just a back cracker - in fact the adjustment is probably the least important part of the visit. I get muscle stimulation and moist heat first, then he does massage. This is not your spa-like massage, either. It's just what I wanted - get in there with an elbow and do not mess around. He's also given me a whole mess of stretches to help with my hip tightness - which of course I do every day. (not really...but I should) 

5. Ok so the "big news" is....I changed my registration for next year's Baltimore Running Festival to the FULL MARATHON.  EEEEEKKK!!!!  I had really decided 2014 was NOT going to be the year of the 26.2 for me. But, I've been feeling AWESOME this round of half marathon training.  I haven't had to KT Tape or use crazy amounts of ice after my long runs. I'm not even usually sore after them, so I'm thinking my body might be okay with the 26.2 training.  I decided on Baltimore for a few reasons:
  • it's semi-local (there is a Light Rail that makes transportation easy and spending the night unnecessary)
  • I ran half of the course in October and loved it.
  • The crowd support was AWESOME in Baltimore! The last mile or 2 was completely packed with people cheering - it still gives me chills to think about it!
  • It was only $20 more to increase my registration.
  • I had 2 friends run it as their first full in October and 1 friend run it in a Dunkin Donuts coffee costume - so I know that while it is a challenging course, it's not off the charts ridiculous.
  • My 2014 word of the year is FIERCE and I'm pretty sure running a marathon is a pretty fierce goal.

So there you have it - 5 random things from life lately!
I'll be back next week with a race recap - and hopefully a PR!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Recipe Trials

I've tried a few recipes this week that I thought I'd share with you guys because they were delicious!!

My "pan bread" (a cross between a tortilla, crepe, and pancake) turned into pancakes. Ashley said to use 1/3 of the batter for each cake, but I'm bad at math and used 1/2 - haha! They were 2 PERFECT pancakes though! I topped mine with a drizzle of maple syrup, half a sliced banana, and some toasted coconut. Fancy - but easy!

I followed the recipe exactly, and this is the best cauliflower crust I've made. This is an easy way to get in a ton of veggies.  It's not as crisp as "regular" crust, but I could still pick up slices.

This was more of a "torte" than a cake - but it was really moist and delicious! I will definitely be making it again! I topped it with this chocolate avocado frosting. The side of Chocolate Porter is optional - but encouraged! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Giving Myself Grace

I've cut myself some slack in some areas of life lately - and I think this practice is something we all don't do enough of.

For example, on the 24th of February - the 4 year anniversary of Isaac's death - I held it together and felt good all day. I ate healthy, I was pleasant at work, and I even worked out. Then I came home from my workout, curled up on my couch and ate pancakes for dinner. I cut myself some slack. I abandoned my healthy dinner and let myself feel the sadness and eat the carbs! 

Yesterday and today, I've been fighting sort of a cold. It's not even affecting me enough to call it an actual "cold", but it has me feeling pretty tired. So yesterday, I stayed in my PJs until almost 6pm and took a 2nd workout rest day for the week. Today, instead of my planned boot camp workout - I went to yoga and downward dogged my way to bliss. 

Sometimes I think we need to cut ourselves some slack. I ran 12 awesome miles on Saturday - so taking an extra rest day because I didn't feel well isn't being weak or backing down. It's being smart. It's listening to my body. It's giving myself a little grace. 

Yes there are times when we need to fight - we need to eat the salad when we want the donut or run the miles when we want the couch. 

But sometimes, it's important to realize that you are enough. That if the dishes don't get done, or you miss 1 workout, or you eat 1 donut, or you take an afternoon nap instead of doing work - sometimes you're happier for those choices. 

So cut yourself some slack. Work hard - but take rest when it's needed!