Gratitude Birthday Style

My 30th birthday celebrations have so far been amazing. (I say so far because there is a fancy schmancy dinner coming up for the weekend. Stay tuned.)

J gave me my gift on Saturday after the race.

Canon Rebel

Words cannot express how excited I am to be able to take better pictures for this blog and to actually learn how to use this camera. (If you are a regular reader, please brace yourself for lots of cat pictures. They are the only people in my house who will let me practice on them.)

On my actual birthday, my friends at work cooked up an elaborate scheme including a fake fight and pretending to forget. to get me out to lunch. Well the pretending to forget was ruined when a coworker came up with a balloon and donuts while wishing me a happy birthday. It was pretty funny because no one knew what to do. Continue with their elaborate ruse or admit defeat? So surprise ruined but there was still more to come.

At noon we drove over to Saffran, a new Icelandic restaurant in Orlando. It is an interesting concept, all the menu items are less than 685 calories and they do not use any white sugar, white flour, or artificial additives.

When we got to the restaurant, I was met by these smiling faces.

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Wendy and Norka.

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Jen, Me, and Emily.

They even yelled surprise when Norka and I walked in.

On the table was another surprise.

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It says 30 Sucks!

It was made by the very creative Emily (who I would totally let decorate my house) and filled with 30 maple syrup lollipops. This New Englander loves all things maple, so that was a wonderful surprise.

I also got a card with a cat on it. Maple candy, healthy food, and cats, they know me well.

When I got home, there was a surprise on my desk.

HP Touchpad

J and I were lucky to get two HP Touchpads during the great fire sale but only one showed up. J told me the order for the other one was cancelled but it wasn’t. I am having a lot of fun playing around with this new toy.

I finished my day by attending a yoga class at Groundwork Yoga. It was supposed to be a beginner class but by popular request, it was a Yin Yoga class. The class was interesting because you hold the poses for three to five minutes and this is supposed to help with flexibility and brings a kind of meditative quality to the practice because of the stillness. I really enjoyed the class and it did wonders for my super tight runners legs.

I have so much to be grateful for. Wonderful friends, a great husband, and my health. It has been a very happy birthday.

What are you grateful for?

What is you favorite type of Yoga?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Lunch Wars

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We have an epidemic in this country. From children going hungry to childhood obesity, there is one program that can make a huge difference and that is the school lunch program. Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa is a comprehensive reference for parents, educators, and other concerned citizens who know we have a problem but are unsure how we can fix it. The book was inspired by the movie that Amy produced and directed called Two Angry Moms. Her journey begins with Amy, on assignment for Martha Stewart Living Magazine, interviewing chef Ann Cooper who was running the Ross Schools wellness program in Long Island. She knew then that she would be back to do a documentary on school food.

Lunch Wars reads like a manifesto for school food activists. The information ranges from government policies from the USDA and the historical place the school lunch program has to combating hunger, to how the government subsidies free or reduced lunches. It is peppered with stories of real activists that were able to make changes in their communities whether through community gardens, eliminating vending and snack foods, or serving meals family style to reduce waste and encourage a communal atmosphere. These stories are very inspirational and you can see the various ways people are able to get real food into schools, even while maintaining a profitable lunch program.

I particularly liked the chapter on working with farmers to get local produce into schools. It helps the local community, it is good for the environment, and nothing is fresher than farm to table. This book is great for a group who knows we have a crisis but does not know where to start. Lunch Wars can be their blueprint.

Please join me over at BlogHer to discuss Lunch Wars.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Do you think we need a school food revolution?

What are your memories of school lunch?

What I Ate Wednesday Birthday Edition

Today is my 30th birthday. I feel happy but kind of sad at the same time. (Mostly sad that I have to work and this is the busiest time of the year. Not sure I ever want to work another job where the fiscal year-end is the same week as my birthday.)

Regular readers will know about my 30 Before 30 list. I will be writing an update about that later in the week.

Now onto the food.

Breakfast.

Cereal

Breakfast

Plus black coffee.

Lunch was a salad beast.

Lunch Salad

Spinach

Tuna

Grape Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Chick Peas

Feta Cheese

Olive Oil

Also a peach, not pictured.

Snacks were string cheese times two and two bananas.

String Cheese

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Dinner was leftover salad. Pretty much the same as lunch, minus the tuna.

Dinner Salad

Pasta recipe from this months Runner’s World. It was OK but the meatballs were really good.

Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Feta

Smart Taste Pasta

Turkey Meatballs (with more feta)

Feta Cheese

Do you do anything special for your Birthday?

Is 30 the new 25?

Half Marathon Training Week Eight In Review

You can follow my previous weeks training and current DVD rotation on my Workouts page.

Sunday: Yoga 1.5 Hours

Monday: Elliptical 30 Minutes

Tuesday: Running 3.43 Miles

Wednesday: Rest (Did attempt to attend a Yoga class but was late and the doors were already locked.)

Thursday: Elliptical 30 Minutes, Upper Body 15 Minutes (Jackie Warner’s Power Circuit Training)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Miracle Miles 15K

Thoughts: Running my first 15K was amazing! It really reignited my excitement for my half. I was not sure heading into the race if I would enjoy running a longer distance race as much as a 5K but I was wrong. This race also taught me that I need to practice more with fuel and need a few longer runs under my belt.

I am slacking with the strength training and need to make sure to get at least two days of a full body strength workout every week.

Week Nine

Sunday: Yoga (Perfect recovery from Saturday’s race.)

Two 45 minute easy runs, probably on Monday and Thursday. Two full body strength training sessions. Wednesday will attempt to arrive on time to the Yoga class I missed last week. Saturday will be a speed workout 3x800m at a pace of 6 minutes and 10 seconds.

How is your training going?

Have you been trying anything new?

Miracle Miles 15K Race Report

First, I want to thank everyone for their really supportive comments on my Fears and My First 15K post. It really helped me calm down to read such encouraging comments.

Race day morning started like many others, waking up at the crack of dawn and trying to keep my eyes open. Living in the middle of nowhere (between Orlando and Tampa), I have to get up extra early for Orlando races because it can take me 45 minutes to an hour to drive there. So I coffee’d, ate, and looked at the internet while trying to wake myself up.

Getting into Orlando and finding the parking garage was actually uneventful which is amazing because I get lost places I have been to many times and with a GPS. After waiting forever in line for the worlds most disgusting Porto-Potty, I actually found one of the Orlando Bloggers who I knew would be at the race, Carolina from Peas In A Blog. It was so nice to actually know someone at the race.

Miracle Miles is a race for a great cause. It benefits the Alexander Center for Neonatology at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. It was really cute how many babies were in attendance. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

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I started the race with a plan to do 6:1 run/walk intervals. This race being my farthest run and knowing that it was going to be a scorcher, that seemed to be a reasonable plan. My legs felt fine until around mile seven where I started to get a little crampy. At that point, I slowed the intervals to 4:1 and eventually 3:1. Maybe if I had started with the 4:1 intervals at the start, I would not have experienced the cramping but hindsight is 20/20.

I did have two Cliff Shot Gels one at mile five and the other around mile seven.This is the first time I tried to open one on the run, big mistake. This should be practiced because I had a hard time getting them open. I ended up ripping into them with my teeth. I am undecided about a fuel source for my half. On my next few long runs, I really need to try a few more products and make a decision. Any recommendations will be highly welcome.

I ended the race with a chip time of 2 hours and 20 seconds. It was actually faster than I thought I would be, so I will take it.

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Overall, the course was interesting. I loved running through Downtown Orlando and getting to see the different neighborhoods that surround it. I would have appreciated a downhill, rather than an uphill at the end, but I still had a great time. This race really cemented my desire to run a half and now I am even more excited.

I did not take any pictures at the race but did make J take this picture of me at home with my first medal. Yes, it looks like a mug shot and it is before I showered but I am still proud.

Miracle Miles 15K Medal

Any recommendations on fuel?

Have you ever run a 15K? How do you feel about the distance?

Fears And My First 15K

My first long race is tomorrow and I am nervous! I feel prepared (enough) but anything new can be scary. I thought it would be fun to look back at my first race in January 2011 and remember how freaked out I was.

I wrote about my fears, the night before that first 5K. It was pretty standard fare, falling, feeling foolish, being last, and not being able to finish. Pretty similar to how I feel about the upcoming race. Then there were also the fears of the logistics, not knowing where to line up, hoping my D-Tag was on correctly, do I drink the water at the water stops, and assorted other issues that you eventually learn the answers to. (Can you tell that I am a worrier? It might actually be more frantic in my head than I am able to share here.)

Luckily, I loved the race and it made me want to keep running. Finishing that race, even though my time was slow and I walked some of it, was euphoric. I hope that tomorrow’s Miracle Miles will be similar, euphoria and pride for finishing (plus a personal distance record).

Source: flickr.com via Emilie on Pinterest

 

 

How do you feel the night before a race?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Undercover Blogger

Are you an “out” blogger? Do your friends, family, or coworkers know that you have a blog?

There are a lot of good reasons to keep work and blogging separate, some people work in offices where the personal and professional never overlap. Some may write about their jobs in a way that needs to be kept separate. Other than that, I really do not understand why you would hide a blog from other people in your life.

I post all of my blog posts on Facebook and do find it interesting how frequently people in political meetings I go to or even at work, ask me about running or suggest a new recipe. I find it really amazing to be face to face with someone who took the time to read my random thoughts,

Doesn’t a blog, regardless of the topic, ultimately reflect you? I am more likely to keep reading if I can get the person who is writing and maybe even like them a bit. Won’t the people in your life love the blog part of you?

(Full disclosure, my in-laws do not know I have a blog. Not because I have any concerns about them reading it but J does. He thinks posts like Is Your Family Making You Fat?, may not paint him in the most positive light.)

Speaking of in-laws, has anyone seen previews for the new show Monster In-Lawson A&E? It looks like it could be interesting,

Are you an “out” blogger? If you are not, why?

Half Marathon Training Week Seven In Review

You can follow my previous weeks training and current DVD rotation on my Workouts page.

Sunday: One Hour Yoga. One Hour Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: 2.38 Miles

Wednesday: 30 Minutes on the Elliptical

Thursday: 2.94 Miles

Friday: 2.23 Miles (First lunch time run!)

Saturday: 4.09 Miles

Total Miles: 11.64 Miles

Goal Miles: 20 Miles

Thoughts: I want to change my training plan. I am not making the weekly mileage and I really do not want to run more than four days per week. Consistently not making my weekly mileage is not helping my confidence for the Half.

Looking through my running books, my new plan will have longer long runs and shorter easy runs. I think this will be more manageable.

I did attend another Sunday Yoga class and am still enjoying it. I think Sunday after my long run is the perfect time and my legs are feeling great.

Week 8

Sunday: Yoga 90 Minutes

Monday: 30 Minutes on the Elliptical

Tuesday: Run for 45 Minutes Easy Pace

Wednesday: Full body strength

Thursday: Run for 45 Minutes Easy Pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Miracle Miles 15K! (Will be my first race longer than a 5K and the longest distance I have ever run.) Will be treating this race as a long run and enjoying myself.

 

How is your training going? Am I crazy switching plans halfway through training?

Orlando Magical Dining Month At Vines

Orlando Magical Dining Month is when different restaurants in Orlando offer a special menu where you get an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $30. One dollar from each meal is given to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida.

J and I decided to try Vines Grille & Wine Bar again. We ate there a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Vines is located in Dr. Phillips dubbed restaurant row because there are a ton of great restaurants in the area.

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I decided to order from the Magical Dinning Menu, J did not.

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We both started out with salad.

Arugula Truffle Salad

Arugula Truffle Salad for me. It contained fresh hearts of palm, marinated mushrooms, shaved Pecorino Romano with a truffle vinaigrette. It was excellent. The truffle did not over power the other ingredients, which it tends to do, and the peppery flavor of the arugula was a great balance for the other, lighter ingredients.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad. It contained very delicious white anchovies which I ate off J’s plate.

Oven-Roasted Black Grouper

Oven Roasted Black Grouper with an asparagus and watermelon salad. Huge portion of perfectly cooked fish. I loved how the used a syrup, which was sweet, instead of a sauce. Kept things light but interesting. The watermelon salad was very good, I have never eaten watermelon in this fashion but would like to again.

American Kobe Beef Fillet

American Kobe Beef Fillet. J loved this and would order again. It also made him want to try the Kobe burger on the menu.

Potato Gratin

Potato Gratin as a side for J.

Key Lime Pie to go (not pictured.)

Vines has a live jazz band that plays, which is such a great touch. It really makes the experience, which was already excellent, over the top.

After Vines, I finally got to go to Pinkberry!

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I had chocolate with assorted fruit and it lived up to the hype.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Is Your Family Making You Fat?

I love my husband.

J Shipyard

He is kind, considerate, and just the nicest guy you will ever meet but is he making me fat?

This week I have written a lot about motivation because I had none all week. Would I be more motivated to run if I had a partner to run with? Is it easier for couples who both enjoy working out, to achieve their goals?

J loves sweets. Cookies, candy, and ice cream are always in our house. I usually have little interest in eating them and fill up on healthier fare but sometimes it is hard. Would it be easier to kick back on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s instead of all the hours in the kitchen I spend prepping healthy lunches and dinners? Probably. Is that how I want to live? No.

Don’t get me wrong, J is very supportive of my running. He understands my going to bed early on the weekends and getting up super early to beat the heat. He waits for me to finish my workouts after work so we can eat together. It really is all I can ask for but I wish sometimes he was out there with me and that there was not a lifetime supply of Australian Liquorice in my kitchen.

When you add kids into the mix, I do not know how some people do it.

Is this what the new SJP movie is about?

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How do you balance family with your fitness goals?

Is your family making you fat?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop