Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Today I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about food and exercise (largely because I failed miserably on the food end today - but not in the way you'd expect).  Instead, I am going to have a mini-therapy session with myself, and you're coming along for the ride.  You're welcome.

I am a strong girl.

Because of things I have experienced in the past - specifically things relationship-wise (or lack thereof) - I have become somewhat hardened.

Not a lot gets to me anymore: I take things with a grain of salt and stick to my belief that everything happens for a reason, that life turns out exactly how it is supposed to, that things I experience make me who I am.  I am genuinely (and sickeningly so) happy, optimistic, and positive that life is good and that good things happen to good people.

And, I am really great about thinking of all the positives in my life: I have the greatest family and friends a girl could ask for, I love what I do, I am healthy, I am free, and I am doing good things for my world.

Instead of getting frustrated, upset, sad, or - honestly - even phased by things that don't go my way, I pour my heart into other avenues: my students, my career, my friends, my fitness, my volunteering, my writing, my cooking, etc.

Essentially, I make myself so busy and so preoccupied with other aspects of life - and with listening to and helping others with their difficulties - that I don't have the time or the energy to get emotional about things that may not be so amazing in my life.

But sometimes, very rarely, I break.

And today was one of those times.

I don't know if it's because I haven't had a good cry in a while, or because my foot is in so much pain, or because of recent events, or what, but I am just sad.

I don't give up on things.  And I don't give up on people.

It's just not who I am.  I am persistent.  And, yes, I am stubborn.

However, I think it might be time to just give up on this one.

And in the midst of "giving up," I have been happy, I have been cheerful, I have been supportive, and I have been loving.  I have put on a really great facade.

But, like I said, that tough exterior cracked today.  The flood gates opened.

And I am indelibly grateful that Mags - one of my bestest friends - essentially forced me out of the house and was seen with me in public while I was tearing up and making a fool of myself.

She knew that things weren't good and that my emotions were running haywire, and she told me that was okay.  And that was nice.  I love her to pieces.

I know that tomorrow is a new day, and I know that I will be strong again.

But that doesn't mean that I won't shed a few more tears tonight.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


As predicted, today was a much better day than yesterday - albeit still jam-packed.

I started the day with a Kind bar:

If you haven't tried these yet, you need to get a move on it!  They are SO good - and so good for you.  Each bar is made with all-natural nuts and fruits (and sometimes chocolate!), and they taste good.  And, they're each around 200 calories or so.

Mid-morning, I had a banana.

For lunch, I ate another round of the Colossus Salad that I had for dinner last night.  As expected, it was delicious again - thankfully, since I left it at school half-eaten to finish up tomorrow.

I love, love, love my silly students, but my favorite part of this particular day happened after school - and in two pieces.

First, I had a 3.5-mile run scheduled, and I had two students interested in joining me.  I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but one of the girls is more of a sister/daughter to me than a former student (she was in my class last year), and I am so, so excited that she is interested in participating in See-Us Run Des Moines, as it will be very good for her.  I had never met her friend before today, but she seems really sweet, too, and I'm looking forward to getting to know her more as we continue running together.

The girls went for a run/walk yesterday by themselves and ended up doing three laps around Gray's Lake, which is approximately six miles.  I'm guessing they did a lot more walking than running, but I was still very proud of them.  They then went to yoga and said they really enjoyed it.

Today, we set out around the neighborhood in the cold, drizzly weather.  (I was super impressed that they still wanted to run, even though it was so icky out.)  We ran a mile (in 10:37) and then stopped to walk a bit - and continued that pattern of lots of running followed by a brief respite of walking - for a total of 3.7 miles.

And made it back to school just before the downpour hit.

It wasn't a fast run by any means, but I was just so proud of the girls - and thankful I had running buddies!

The girl that I just met today was so sweet.  Afterwards, she just kept saying how excited she was to start this and thanked me repeatedly for letting her run with me - to which I responded, "Thank you for running with me!"  When we were talking about our next scheduled run (two miles tomorrow), she asked if I did this every day.  I explained that I run about four times but try to work out six days a week, and she said that she was so inspired.

It was super sweet - and I'm not going to lie: it felt pretty good to be a fitness "inspiration" to these girls.

Let me tell you how impressed they were, though, when they saw this:

You're welcome.

That is the blister from Sunday.  It started hurting before we had even run out of the parking lot, so I knew I was in for a treat when I finished 3.7 miles.

Let me tell you: it kills.  It still hurts now, even though I gooped on the Neosporin, covered it in gauze, and wrapped athletic tape around my entire foot.

Tomorrow should be interesting - especially my two-mile run.

Oh, I also forgot to tell you about my toenail.  It's not good.  Basically, the medial side of my right big toenail is lifting off from the base and is about to pop completely off.  Shockingly, it doesn't hurt, but it tingles quite a bit.

Either I can be classified as a "real runner" now, or I just dropped something heavy on my foot and don't remember it.  I'm guessing option number two is more likely.

My second most favorite part of today was spontaneously deciding to drive 45 miles north with one of my friends/colleagues to watch our boys play their substate game:

People say we look alike all the time - kids even call us the wrong name, ask if we're sisters, etc.  Thoughts?
(Also, please disregard the fact that I'm not looking at the camera.  iPhones are tricky.)
Unfortunately, we lost the game and are now finished after a really great season.  I'm really proud of the kids - and the coach, who is a great friend - for rising above and, well, kicking butt.

The game was one of my favorite parts of the day, though, because my Number Two Gal and I always have incredible conversations, and today's hour-long round-trip was no exception.  She's super sweet, smart, thoughtful, kind, sincere, and I'm very thankful that we've gotten to know each other over the past year - and have gotten closer in the last couple of months.

So it was a very good day.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I was going to start this post with how rough my day has been, but as I was cooking dinner tonight, I had a perspective check:

Yes, today was rougher than yesterday: I went to work when it was dark, and I left work when it was almost dark.

Hi, Car.  I'm so sorry you're lonely.
I had longer-than-expected meetings, I had schedules I had to set, I was irritated with dumb boys, I missed my workout, I had a million and a half things to grade, I couldn't get the computer system to work, I was doing school stuff until 9:30 this evening, etc.

It was a rough day.

But you know what?  Yesterday was a great day.  Tomorrow will also be a great day.

I am alive, and I am so blessed, grateful, and thankful for everyone and everything I have.

Before I tell you about my meal plan for today, I wanted to show you what I cooked for "family" dinner last night:

Mmm...  Mussels Josephine, a la Bonefish Grill.  We also cooked up some Bang Bang Shrimp for an appetizer (but were too hungry to take a photo) and ate some delicious crusty bread to soak up the lemon butter sauce.

If that doesn't sound healthy, I don't know what does.

This morning came way too fast - or perhaps the Oscars lasted way too late.  I whipped up a Virgin Cabo Daiquiri to take to school for breakfast and my morning snack.

Unfortunately, it didn't fill me up too much because I was starving come lunchtime.  Good thing I brought the Ultimate Breakfast (Abs Diet): oatmeal, berries, banana, etc.  It was even good cold!

After school, I scarfed down an apple prior to my meeting and then had two pieces of chocolate (one mini Reese's and one mini Hershey's with almonds) and four Twizzler's during the meeting.  (It lasted much longer than I had anticipated - which was totally cool since we got tons of great work done - but I was a hungry girl!)

At 6:30, I finally headed home.  Before I sat down to do work, I cooked up quite possibly the most delicious meal I've ever made - modeled directly after the Colossus Salad from Court Avenue Brewing Company.

OMG.  It was so good.  I made falafel.  Who makes falafel?!  This girl.

It was really easy.  I mashed up a can of chickpeas, mixed in about half an onion, some parsley, some cumin, some coriander, some salt, and some flour to make it all stick together.  I rolled it into balls (hehe...balls) and baked it (instead of frying it) to save on calories.  (At first I had it in the oven at 350, but then I opted for 450 instead - I think that was the better option.)

I also topped the salad (romaine and spring mix) with roasted portobello mushrooms, tzatziki sauce, hummus, kalamata olives, pepperocinis, feta, and a balsamic glaze.

And on the side?  Toasted pitas, very helpful in scooping up the delicious salad stuff.

Go make this.  Thank me later.  For real.

Also, check out what I got in the mail on Saturday:

It's a MiiR bottle, courtesy of a LivingSocial voucher from a few weeks ago.  The company has some super fun color combinations to customize your bottle however you choose, and their are also trendy "skins" to select to make your bottle even more individualized.  Furthermore, the water stays cold  

The best part about this company, however, is that for every bottle that is purchased, enough money is donated to provide safe, clean drinking water to someone for an entire year.

Way cool.

I hope you all had a wonderful day today.  And if you didn't, just remember: 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday, Blistery Sunday

As predicted last night, I was asleep shortly after blogging - which means that I fell asleep in the middle of this week's Grey's Anatomy (courtesy of Hulu) for the second time.  Oh well.  Third time's a charm, right?

Because I did nothing but eat and sleep yesterday, I woke up bright and early at 7:30 and headed out for a four-mile run.  It was a bit chilly but overall an absolutely beautiful morning.

I guess it doesn't look super beautiful from this photo, but I kind of like the look of the city from this angle.  The streets were empty because it was early on a Sunday, the Principal building is peeking from behind the trees, and it just looks so urban.  I love Des Moines.
I wore my tights and a dry-fit long-sleeved shirt, and I was just perfect.

However, it was not a great run.  I think my activity from yesterday (nothing but eating and sleeping, remember?) was definitely a negative.  Also, I'm working on yet another headache.  And, I wore my minimalist shoes with my inserts this time, hoping to prevent shin splints.  They definitely worked for the shin splints since I'm not hurting too horribly, but I developed yet another problem:

(Beautiful ring from Stella & Dot!)
That beautiful blister developed around mile 1.5, and I stopped a few times to try and fix it.  First, I took the insert out of my right shoe.  It felt a million times better.

But then I was off balance since one of my legs was shorter than the other.

I figured that a blister was better than orthopedic issues, so I put the insert back in - which, obviously, aggravated the blister more.

So, I spent the second half of the "run" alternating between jogging and walking.  I cranked out 4.25 miles in about 51 minutes (walking the last fourth of a mile), which I guess isn't too bad, but it just didn't feel good - especially after last week's long run.

Oh well.

After my run, I quickly showered and got ready because my parents were coming to town!!!

When they got here, we (and my sister, her boyfriend, and BFF) headed to my favorite restaurant in Des Moines - Americana - for their Bombshell Brunch.  It was so, so good.  I had a sampling of the following: macaroni and cheese, biscuits and gravy, bacon, waffle bread pudding, sweet potatoes, pineapple and watermelon, granola and plain yogurt, crepes, and that may have been it.  Needless to say, I was stuffed.

After brunch, we walked around the Sculpture Garden for a bit and then called it a day.  It was such a wonderful morning.

Me and my pops - courtesy of my mom
I hope this picture made you think of this song.
I know Omaha is only two hours away, but I wish I lived closer to my parents so that I could see them more often.

Now, I'm off to start the rest of my day.  On the agenda: run errands (grocery store, Target, maybe Old Navy), grade some papers, cook "family" dinner (get excited: it's gonna be good), and watch the Academy Awards.

Oh, and maybe a nap thrown in there as well.  :)

See you tonight!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lazy Day

It's Saturday night, and guess who's home alone?  This girl!

But it's by choice, I promise.

I have had something every single night this week, and I was in dire need of a night to myself.  And so far, it's been glorious.

But let's rewind to yesterday.

School was good but busy.  I was intending to leave right after school to go work out, but I got side-tracked by an amazing conversation with a student.  He is very knowledgeable about racial issues, and talking with someone so well-versed in issues of privilege (let alone a 14-year-old!) was unreal.  So, it was a nice distraction from working out.

However, by the time our conversation was over, I saw two of my friends/colleagues heading to the weight room for their makeshift Crossfit workout.  Because it was still icy outside from the previous day's storm, I decided to skip by three-mile run and exercise with them instead.  The Workout of the Day (WOD) yesterday was a 500m row, 12 dead-lifts, and 21 box jumps.  Apparently the boys were pretty sore from the week's workout, so they skipped the dead-lifts.  Because there were only two rowing machines, I ran half a mile while they did their rowing and then did the box jumps followed by planks.  I did two reps while they did three.

And then I made them do planks.

When they were putting stuff away, I tried the rowing machine.  And loved it.  It was super fun and quite difficult - and this morning, my back and shoulders were definitely screaming at me.

It was great.

I went home and showered and lounged around for a bit, and then I headed to our boys' basketball game.  I knew I'd be going out afterwards, so I had to look somewhat put together:

I got lots of comments on my hot heels.  My favorite, though, was when I was walking to the concession stand to grab a water and popcorn (for real: should be a food group) and a little girl, probably about seven or eight, was staring at me and whispered, "I really love your shoes."

It was so cute.

After we won the substate game (!!!), Kiara, Mags, and I headed to Star Bar for a late dinner.  Shockingly, I opted for something other than the fish tacos - the veggie burger!

I ate about half of the burger and three-fourths of the salad (with balsamic vinaigrette).  It was really, really good.  Naturally, I had a glass of cabernet.  By about 10:00, though, I was exhausted and ready to head home.

This morning, I woke up and had breakfast with BFF.  It was quite the interesting experience.  We tried to go to Waveland, our favorite breakfast dive, but it was so packed that we couldn't even find a parking spot.  So, we headed downtown to Centro.  Apparently they do not open until 11:00 on Saturdays.  So, we walked a couple of blocks (in cold, windy weather and not enough layers) to Django, which was also closed.


So, for the second time in 14 hours, we headed to Star Bar.  And had a delicious breakfast:

I opted for the omelette that was jam-packed with goat cheese (mmmmmm), red peppers, and spinach.  On the side were potatoes mixed with garlic, red onion, and more red peppers as well as a couple slices of sourdough bread.

Needless to say, I was a member of the Clean-Plate Club this morning.

After breakfast, I went home to sleep some more.  For approximately four consecutive days a month (you guess which four days those are), I have raging headaches.  Unfortunately, one of those days was today.  When I was researching with my Bible, I found something called "menstrual migraines" and am thinking that might be what these are because they are quite debilitating - and something I should probably discuss with my doctor.

Sorry for TMI, but long story short, that was Nap One of many today.

At 2:00, I met my good friend Amber out for lunch.  I haven't seen her forever, so it was really, really good to catch up - and something that we need to do much more often.  We hit up Palmer's, so obviously I opted for my regular meal: the salad that you've seen nearly 8,000 times.  I also rewarded myself for a week of hard work with the rice krispie treat that has been tempting me for weeks.

I then went home and slept for probably four hours.  Srsly.

When I woke up around 8:00 p.m., I cleaned my apartment a bit, ran to Gateway for dinner (a margherita pizza), and lounged some more.

And I'm not going to lie: I'm probably going to head to bed in about a half an hour.

I need to get a four-mile run in tomorrow, and I'm hoping to wake up around 8:00 to do so.  My parents are coming for brunch, and I am so, so excited.  I haven't seen them since Christmas, so it'll be really great.

Don't worry: I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.  :)

G'night, y'all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tutus and Tiaras

I have to say that I wish it were socially acceptable for me to dress like this on a daily basis:


How stinkin' cute are they?  I may have just spent the better part of a half an hour watching every single one of their clips on You Tube.

It's so weird that I'm single.

Now let's get to the meat of today's post: today!

This morning I woke up bright and early at 6:45 and grabbed a peach Chobani and a handful of bran cereal before heading to work.  I scarfed those down for breakfast and then ate a cup of fresh fruit salad for a mid-morning snack.

Clearly, my morning was lacking in protein.  And I was starving by lunch.

A friend and I sped to Palmer's on our lunch break, and I picked up another salad.  I'd show you a picture, but you can just click back to yesterday's post since it was the exact same thing.  The egg and turkey really helped fill me up - and cemented the fact that protein is, in fact, quite important.

I stayed at school until about 4:00 working with students on last-minute assignments, quizzes, and projects.  Then, I headed to Americana (my new favorite restaurant in Des Moines) for our monthly PPYL social.  It was a great time.  I really love the people in the group and enjoy getting to know them more and more as time goes on.  It's a fabulous bunch of people who are doing amazing things for our community - and I'm so thankful I'm a part of the organization.

Today, I ordered a couple of drinks that I sipped on while chugging gallons of water:

Strawberry Bitch and Elderflower Spritz
The Strawberry Bitch is my go-to at Americana: New Amsterdam gin, prosecco, lemon juice, simple syrup, and strawberry cordial.  I absolutely hate gin (because I think it tastes like Christmas trees), but this drink is really tasty.

And, you get to cuss when you order it.

The Elderflower Spritz was new for me this evening, and I think it'll be my new favorite: brut champagne, St. Germain, club soda, lemon wheels.  It was so light and refreshing - a perfect patio drink.

For dinner, I ordered a couple of things:

The hummus platter was only $5 (great happy hour specials) and included toasted pita chips along with whipped (I think) feta, a red-pepper hummus, a kalamata olive tapenade, and toasted (?) chickpeas.  I ate about half of this and then took home the rest to throw on top of a salad for lunch tomorrow.

I also ordered half of the pomegranate salad.  While it looks healthy because it's, oh, salad, I'm guessing it packed quite the caloric punch.  The base was a mix of spinach and arugula, topped with fresh strawberries, candied walnuts, shallots, and goat cheese.  The dressing was a pomegranate vinaigrette.

Side note: "vinaigrette" is the most difficult word ever for me to spell.  I probably write it at least two or three times a week for this blog and still cannot spell it correctly on my own.

But I digress.

Like I was saying, I'm pretty sure the salad had a lot higher calorie count than I initially thought because there was way too much dressing, and it was way too sweet.  I can't believe I forgot to ask for it on the side.  Oops.  Also, candied walnuts?!  Come on, Emily: duh.

Oh well: it was tasty.

I didn't workout today, believe it or not.  Today was - as Thursdays usually are - scheduled as my rest day.  And I was thankful for that.  I think I've been overdoing it a bit lately, and I needed a break.  In fact, I didn't even do Fab Ab February today - but am planning on doing it tomorrow before work (with tomorrow's workout being pushed to after school).  And if my shins aren't feeling better tomorrow, I believe I'll be taking my scheduled three miles down to one or two, and then maybe add in an extra run this weekend.

I have to say that I'm really excited tomorrow is Friday.  I have been absolutely exhausted the last couple of days.  Like, I got home at 7:30 tonight and contemplated heading straight to bed.  Luckily, I was distracted by Sophia Grace and Rosie and then decided to blog.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Self-Esteem Blues

I have been rockin' the self-confidence lately.  I have felt super muscular, somewhat toned, and really fit.  I have been able to tell that my body is changing, and I have been loving it.

I mean, check this out:

Those work pants are getting a bit tough to wear.

And that's exciting!

Today, however, was not an I-feel-like-I-look-amazing kind of day.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it must be a compilation of a few different things:

  • I ate sushi for lunch.  I love, love, love sushi, but it has lots of sodium, and white rice is not the best kind of carb.  Granted, we ordered four rolls (for three people) that  had mostly fresh veggies and raw fish, but it was still probably too much.
  • Monthly hormones are taking over my body.
  • Due to the second bullet point, I polished off lunch with a bag of Whoppers.  It has been quite a while since I've had gas station chocolate, but wow: I was craving it something fierce!
  • I ordered some new sundresses and a new swimsuit from Victoria's Secret for spring break, and it arrived today.  I was so excited to try it on because everything was super cute - on the models, that is.  Either the sizing on the website is way off, or I am completely disillusioned as to what I actually look like.
  • I feel like I've kind of fallen off the Abs Diet.  I've been eating five meals a day and have been doing a pretty good job of cramming as many of the Super Foods as possible into those meals, but I haven't been cooking as often as I'd like - smoothies and oatmeal dishes included.  I just haven't had time, and that's been really frustrating.
So, as you can see, it wasn't a good day in that regard.

This morning's breakfast was a Skinny Zesty Egg White Sandwich from Bruegger's.  I am so addicted to this.  It's an egg white, turkey sausage, swiss cheese, and sun-dried tomato paste on top of a five-grain everything bagel.  So, basically, it's heaven in your mouth - for 410 calories.

I skipped a morning snack because that kept me full until noon - five hours after I ate it!

Lunch, as I mentioned before, was sushi: I started with a squid salad (okay, I was a little hungry due to five hours of no food), and the three of us split a Philly Roll, a Dynamite Crab Roll, a Godzilla Roll, and a Snake Roll.  Some had tempura shrimp and/or cream cheese, but they were overall pretty decent choices.

Afternoon snack: Whoppers.  Ugh.

Per usual Wednesday dinner, I picked up a Palmer's salad to take to bowling:

I chugged a liter of water with the salad and then had one-and-a-half pints of light beer.

In addition to all of this eating, however, I did quite a bit of exercising.  ERB and I had planned to run three miles today, but her daughter got sick, so she was unable to run.  I was actually very thankful this was the case because my shins were still screaming at me, and I figured they could use a break.

And then I tried on the Victoria's Secret shipment.

And then I headed straight to the Y.

When I got there, I ran into a gaggle of students.  I talked to a couple of my girls, and I think they're going to start running with me and ERB after school.  It'd be really, really good for them, so I hope they follow through.

First, I completed today's Fab Ab February workout: 70 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, and a 55-second plank.  After yesterday's bazillion reps, today's workout was a piece of cake!

Second, I ran a mile in about 10:30; sadly, this is fast for me.  I then walked for about a tenth of a mile and then "hiked" for another half a mile.  I raised the incline to 5.0 and walked at a 3.5 pace.

Third, I walked and jogged around the indoor track for about five minutes, just to kill time before class.

Finally, I ended my session at the Y with Y-Pump.  Turns out that lifting after a run/"hike" is quite difficult.  Immediately, I felt that I had made a mistake.  Soon enough, though, I got into the groove and got some really sore muscles out of the class!  (I had to leave about five minutes early - thereby missing the abs portion of the class - to make it home, get showered, and get to bowling relatively on time.)

Bowling tonight was super fun because we played my friends' team, but I absolutely sucked.  Like, I only broke 100 (barely) during one of the three games.  Sad, sad, sad.

Oh well.  It was bowling.

Finally, in case you were wondering, this is what my blogging situation looks like nearly every single night:

Someone (not naming names - Charlie) does not understand the concept of personal space.

On a completely separate note, I was invited today to participate in a health activist roundtable discussing the topic of nutrition for National Nutrition Month (March) - all because of this little blog o' mine!  How cool is that?!

How do you beat the self-esteem blues?  I'm clearly needing some pick-me-ups!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Before I Sleep

While I was up at 4:45 yesterday, I didn't roll out of bed until 6:45 today.  I was one tired girl.

And, due to my lack of caffeine this morning (and going nonstop since 6:45 a.m.), I am still one tired girl.

The day started with Stoke-Your-Fire Cereal.  As usual, no fewer than three individuals asked me what the heck I was eating.  It's good, I swear.

Following a morning assembly for our wrestler who is a four-time state champion and undefeated in his entire high school career, I taught until 2:35, worked with some of my kiddos after school, and headed out on a run with one of my favorite running buddies, ERB.

We had a three-miler scheduled for today but only ended up running two (well, 1.9) due to an appointment conflict.  It was actually pretty good that we cut it a mile short because my shins were killing me.  They haven't really been bothering me a lot lately, but I think the four-mile run on Sunday kind of did me in.

My shoes are Saucony Kinvaras, and they're quite minimalist.  I absolutely love them: they're super cute (obviously the most important aspect of a running shoe), and they're extremely lightweight.  However, they're lightweight because they don't offer a lot of support.  (Duh, that's pretty much the definition of minimalist.)  Therefore, they've been giving me some shin splints.

We changed the two miles we had scheduled for tomorrow to a three-mile run, so I'm thinking I should bring my tried-and-true Asics with me - and give the Sauconys (and my shins) a break.

(I had a Kind Bar as a morning snack followed by my leftover fish taco and an apple for lunch.  For an afternoon snack, I had an Almond Joy smoothie.)

When I got home I got started on my "make-up work" with Fab Ab February.  For a variety of reasons, I had not done these workouts since last Thursday, which required I do a total of 250 sit-ups (60-60-60-70), 66 push-ups (15-15-18-18), and 3 minutes and 33 seconds of planks (45s-50s-50s-55s).

Holy smokes.

Crazy Cat Lady Side Note: those four sets of Fab Abs also included approximately eight head-butts from felines as well as two certain somebodies playing limbo under my planks.

Like that's not distracting.

After working out like crazy, I headed to the nail salon because, yes, I'm a bit anal about my nails, and I just can't keep them looking good if they don't have acrylic lacquered on top.  I've tried - and failed.

Then, I headed to Grimes for a good friend's Pampered Chef party.  In addition to eating too many appetizers (I said no to wine, though!), I bought a couple of things, including a mango curry sauce that is going to be delicious on chicken.  Or cream cheese.

However, I never ate "real" dinner tonight (and actually didn't go too overboard on apps at the party), so I'm thinking I'll probably wake up famished at 3 a.m.

On a completely different note, I want this:

It'll be a different font and hopefully along the arch of my foot, but I really, really want to get it done soon.


Headed to bed as soon as this laundry is done - tomorrow's going to be an early morning.


Monday, February 20, 2012

A Holiday?

I have decided that Presidents' Day is not, in fact, a holiday.

I mean, if Google doesn't even bother to change its picture, it shouldn't be counted, right?

Also, I had to work today.  Therefore, it's not a holiday.

2013: get it straight.

Today was a good - albeit loooooooong - day.  My alarm was set for 4:40 a.m. because I was trying to hit a 5:10 a.m. Y Pump class.  Mags, my wake-up call, rang in at 4:45, and I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep.  But, after lying there for about five minutes thinking about how I should wake up and work out, I finally rolled out of bed and got ready for the gym.

And showed up just in time for the class.

It was a pretty good one.  The exercises were different from the last two times I've been, and let me tell you: my triceps were screaming.  However, the instructor was a little less-than-ideal: there were times that she'd just stop in the middle of the workout.

If I'm holding a plank for 40 seconds, by God, you will, too!

I mean, seriously.

It felt good to get the workout done bright and early.  And I even had time after my shower to do some dishes, straighten the house, etc.

I had a productive morning!

I headed to school for two sessions of professional development and a delicious lunch catered by the administration:

Palmer's!  I had about three-fourths of a turkey sandwich, a hefty portion of pasta primavera, and half of the ginormous brownie.  It was all delicious - but I was hungry about two hours later and gobbled down a tiny Kit Kat in one bite.  (Seriously: it was the tiniest Kit Kat ever - like, smaller than bite-size.)

At professional development today, I took a couple of pictures that I thought you'd like to see.  First, we were discussing using nonlinguistic representations as an instructional strategy and were focusing on symmetry in the art room.  We were discussing that human faces are slightly asymmetrical, so I took a picture of myself to see if that was true:

Yep.  That right there, folks, is a goofy lookin' face.  Also, my right eye is smaller than my left.

In our technology session, we worked on using different sites to alter photographs.  So, I made a motivational poster:

And that, my friends, will conclude Show & Tell.  You're welcome.

After school, I hit up the chiropractor for an adjustment and some stim on my back.  I love that machine: it's like a "free" massage.

Then I headed to the grocery store since I didn't get there this weekend.  I bought everything needed to make a rock-star dinner, modeled after my new favorite meal: get ready for its debut (tomorrow, maybe).

Finally, I had a meeting for Planned Parenthood at Star Bar.  Of course, I opted for the catfish tacos with a side salad and balsamic vinaigrette.  And of course, I forgot to take a picture of it.  I inhaled the salad in about three bites and ate one of the tacos, saving the other for lunch tomorrow.

I also drank two glasses of cabernet - oops.

Because I have nothing else to bore you with and am likely to crash in T minus three minutes, I will leave you with a Valentine I received from one of my all-time favorite students on Friday:

I love my job.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lesson Learned

Let me start with something I've been meaning to tell you for weeks - maybe even months.

(Every time I run, I think, Oooooh!  I need to remember to write about this!  And then the thought slips my mind when I stop writing and am actually capable of jotting down my idea.)

My sense of smell is ├╝ber-sensitive when I am working out - especially when I'm running.

When I was running on the treadmill the other day, a woman hopped on the elliptical in front of me and reeked of perfume.  (In reality, she likely only had a normal spritz on, but I felt like I was going to drown in floral.)

When I run outside and pass someone puffing away on a cigarette, I take one whiff of those noxious fumes and nearly vomit.

When I run downtown and pass the plethora of restaurants and inhale their appetizing aromas, I gag at the thought of any sort of food.

It's bad.

Today was a fun-filled day of fab friends and exhausting exercise.  However, I made some mistakes - and learned some lessons - that I am going to discuss with you right now.

First, I lazed about for much of the morning and finally headed to my good friends' house for brunch.  I stopped at the store to grab a bottle of champagne (everyone else enjoyed mimosas), and then I did something totally disgusting: I was craving an eclair, so I bought a package, ate one, and threw the rest away.

How embarrassing.

Mistake #1: eating pastries - not just before working out but, pretty much, ever.

At brunch, I drank a few sips of water and two cups of coffee and inhaled the deliciousness that Mindy cooked:

In the top left, we have a potato and egg casserole, followed by bacon, blueberry bread/pudding, pineapple, and avocado.  I avoided the pastries because - oh yeah - I had already stuffed an eclair in my face.

Again, so embarrassing.

Mistake #2: not eating healthy food prior to working out.

Mistake #3: not drinking enough water prior to working out.

I left brunch early to go to Zumba.  This was my first class ever, and I was so, so, so nervous.  I tried so hard to look like this:

but I'm pretty sure I looked like this for most of the time:

Coordination and rhythm are not my strong suits.

That being said, I will definitely be going back.  It was fun - and I'm sure it will be more fun when I'm not stressed about following the instructor.  And, it was a darn good workout.  I was sweating profusely when I left.

Mistake #3: not drinking enough water after a workout.

After I left the Y, I headed straight for Caribou: I had lots of school work to get done and knew I was not going to be productive if I went home.  After all, there was a Law and Order: SVU marathon on, and, well, we know how that goes.

At the coffee shop, I graded two classes of assignments, started reading a book that I will be teaching in a couple of weeks, and drank a chai latte.

Mistake #4: drinking more coffee and no water after a workout.

I was also distracted the whole time watching a dad and his little boy play a game of chess.  It was probably the cutest thing ever:

Finally, Mags called me to go for our long run.  

Yes, you heard that correctly: not only did I do an hour of Zumba without eating healthfully or drinking water, but I was also going to head out on a four-mile run.

Generally, unlike coordination and rhythm, intelligence is my strong suit but, apparently, not today.

I got all prepped:

Road I.D. + Garmin + route scrawled on back of hand (didn't think that one through since it quickly smeared into each wrinkle as soon as I started sweating).
And headed to pick up Mags.  We headed downtown and started our loop at 15th and Grand - on the west side of the sculpture garden.  We started out east on Locust until we hit 5th Street where we headed south to Court Avenue.  We ran through the strip of bars and restaurants and continued heading east (up a huge hill) until we reached the state capitol:

How gorgeous was it today?!

We headed north on Finkbine (the street that curves in front of the capitol), and I walked for about a block, and then we turned back west on Des Moines Street, which was a nice downhill slope, giving us a beautiful view of downtown Des Moines:

Sorry for the blurred picture: I was running.
We continued the rest of the way - Mags a bit in front of me since she's a bit faster - to Robert D. Ray Drive, south to Grand Avenue, west to 15th Street, and back to our car.

It was a great, great run, and one of my best in a long time:

And it felt gooooooood!

But then I headed home, took the fastest shower ever, ran to the grocery store, and went straight to BFF's house for "family" dinner.

Mistake #5: not taking a break after a run.

Mistake #6: not refueling immediately after a run.

Mistake #7: not chugging water after a run.

I drank some coconut water as soon as I got to BFF's house and munched on what was probably too many chips and guacamole and salsa (oh, and a delicious chocolate chip cookie).  And then I nearly vomited.  

I could not eat dinner because I felt so sick from my abundance of poor decisions.  I drank a huge mason jar of water and choked down some ibuprofen for my sore muscles (darn minimalist shoes), and I think that made me feel even sicker.

I wrapped up my dinner plate and headed home.  I'm going to drink some more water and then crash.

My workout plan for the week:
  • Monday: Y-Pump (5:10 a.m., hopefully, if I'm feeling better)
  • Tuesday: 3-mile run
  • Wednesday: Y-Pump and a 2-mile run (after school)
  • Thursday: rest day
  • Friday: 3-mile run
  • Saturday: Y-Pump and a 4-mile run
  • Sunday: Zumba
I feel like that's a lot of working out, but the running is a must for my training schedule, and I think the strength training (Y-Pump) and cross-training (Zumba) are really important for injury-prevention.

On a completely different note, I had another first date last night.  (Yes, I'm the Queen of First Dates.)  This one was awesome.  I am really, really excited about the potential.  However, if I say any more about it, I'll likely screw it up, so I'll just leave it at that for now.  Stay tuned.

What is your workout schedule for the week?  How do you incorporate a good mix of strength- and cross-training when you're training for an event - especially a race?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Exercise Plan

I wanted to first apologize for the irregular blogging this week.  First, I only blogged on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; second, I did not even blog about healthy living on Tuesday or Thursday.

However, I promise I was doing what I was supposed to be doing!

On Monday, as you know, I did a Y-Pump class in addition to Fab Ab February.

On Tuesday, I ran three miles - on a treadmill.  Ugh.  I also did Fab Ab February.

On Wednesday, I ran two miles with ERB, one of my co-workers and a See-Us Run Des Moines mentor.  It was really, really great catching up with her, and the run was super easy since we were yapping the whole way.

On Thursday, I was supposed to do Zumba but did not for a couple of reasons.  First, I chickened out: I am not at all coordinated and am pretty much the world's worst dancer, and those two qualities make me super nervous for a dance-based exercise class.  Second, I felt like I could really benefit from a rest day.  So, Mags and I headed to Star Bar for catfish tacos and a glass of wine, and then I headed to Americana for a date - a good one!

On Friday, ERB and I ran another three miles.  Thankfully we had already committed to each other because I really, really didn't want to run.  It was a beautiful day, but I just wasn't in the mood for some reason.  However, we headed out down a familiar path (Polk Boulevard, which I could run with my eyes closed), and down the hill toward Ashworth Pool and Greenwood Park.  After all:

It was a great run going out, and we did a mile-and-a-half in just over 16 minutes.  The way back, though, was when it got tough, as much of it was uphill.  We walked a few times and caught our breath, but we finished strong - three miles in 35 minutes.  Plus, as always, it was great running with ERB: great friend, great conversation, and one of my most favoritest running buddies.

Today, I woke up around 8:00 and lounged around a bit before heading to the YMCA for Y-Pump:

It felt really, really good.  (Plus, I had on a really cute outfit, and I can totally tell my body is looking different when I stare at it for 45 minutes in a floor-to-ceiling mirror.)

Here's something I'm finding interesting: there are times when I finish working out (yesterday and today, especially) and get into my car, start driving, and start thinking, Okay, you need to get a workout in - when are you going to do that today?  Then I remind myself, Emily, you're so dumb sometimes: you just worked out!

What the heck?!

Instead of turning around and heading back to the gym, I went to Panera.  I have been craving a cinnamon crunch bagel something fierce lately.  I haven't had one of those in years - and didn't even drool over them as much as everyone else when I was younger.  But I have been dying for one lately!

So today, I succumbed to the craving and devoured an entire bagel in about 30 seconds.  And it was oh, so good.

After a three-and-a-half hour nap today (I know!), I did Wednesday's Fab Ab February workout - oops.  In approximately ten minutes, I will be doing Thursday's Fab Ab February workout - oops.

Tomorrow, after running four miles and doing an hour-long Zumba class (if I don't chicken out again), I will be doing Friday's and Saturday's Fab Ab February workout - oops and oops.

Good thing I have help:

This shot is taken from face-level, looking directly above my chest.  She's such a good helper.
The planks are getting a bit more difficult, though:

I literally had to remind myself of this over and over and over for the last 20 seconds:

Your body is stronger than your mind thinks it is.

And it worked!  I did it without taking any breaks.  I hope that mantra is just as effective on February 29th when I'm doing a two-minute plank.  :)

Alright: time for me to do one more round of Fab Ab February, take my first shower of the day, and head downtown for yet another date.  The boys are just beating down my door, I tell ya!

Question: any advice for a Zumba newbie?  Any locals wanna Zumba-it-up with me?  I'm so nervous!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Adventure

Let's storyboard something:




How could these images possibly be connected?!

Oh yeah: Kiara and I booked our Spring Break 2012 trip today!  It's official!  This will be us in approximately 31 days:

And, of course that means I'll be doing a lot more of this...

And this...

And eating a lot more of this...

And spending a lot more time here...


Ohhh yeahhh...

Spring Break 2012!