Sunday, June 30, 2013

Six Months of Awesome

Yesterday Terry and I joined some friends to celebrate Jocelyn's birthday at a local spot near Pacific Palisades beach. Jocelyn's husband Nick organized everything, including the location, lunch, and sports equipment. We even lucked out with a cool cloud cover--otherwise it would have been way too hot.

We spent the day playing beach volleyball (which explains my oddly sore muscles today), devouring sandwiches and snacks, people watching, and wishing Joc a very happy birthday.

After our fun yesterday, today turned into Sunday Funday Workday. We plowed through a bunch of chores, tackled a few errands, and managed to squeeze in a long walk in the afternoon. We also had to pack our bags, because tomorrow morning we leave for Maui! Terry and I will spend the week in paradise for a beginning-of-summer vacation.We plan to soak up some sun, hike, try local foods, and read. Not a bad way to spend the 4th of July!

We'll wake up early tomorrow morning for a workout before our flight (I'm thinking about a 30-minute HIIT + some yoga), but I also plan to continue my normal workout schedule while we're there. I find that I can enjoy vacation (lounging and eating) so much more if I get a workout in before the day's activities begin. Below I've linked some no-equipment-required workouts that I'm keeping in my back pocket for non-hiking days.

Any no-equipment workouts you recommend?

Also, we are now (as of Monday morning) officially halfway through the year. Is that crazy?! I think it's crazy. So I couldn't help but think about ways to make the rest of the year awesome. The first half felt fantastic, but why not make the rest even better? I'll start brainstorming on our flight tomorrow, but I feel like go somewhere exotic is a great goal to check off the list on the first day!

How will you make the next six months your best yet?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Technology Rocks

Please forgive my absence--and tonight's short post. I had  much longer post ready to go, until I accidentally deleted it. Apparently you can't recover a post if you don't save it. I love technology. 

So one highlight of this week was lunch at Huckleberry, a cafe in Santa Monica that I've heard about for awhile. I love the ambiance of this place and even commented to my coworker that I felt like we were in France. Sadly, we weren't. But the food was delicious!

(Source - I didn't whip out my camera this time)

I went for the burrata and roasted pepper sandwich and loved every bite. We even made friends with the people at the tables on either side of us and discovered that they loved their meals, too. (Is this normal behavior? The tables were super close together, so I can only assume the restaurant owners want us all to chat.)

Yesterday and today Terry needed to work in San Diego, so I joined him. I spent my time shopping, reading, and relaxing (rough life, I know). I met Terry and his coworker for lunch both days, and we joined a few more coworkers for dinner last night at Ponce's Mexican Restaurant. Terry's enchiladas suizas won the dish-off (<--HIMYM reference!), but my vegetable fajitas were tasty. I am already looking forward to going back to try more!

Otherwise, my days have been filled with chores around the house, kickass workouts from Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up (I'm still sore from Monday's workout!), and other miscellany. Can we agree to use the word "miscellany" more often?

Monday, June 24, 2013

These Shoes are Made for Running

Here's how I tortured my husband today while I suffered through Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up workout:

Terry says he'll definitely feel sore tomorrow! So will I after the approximately one million lunges/jumping lunges I completed, plus a HIIT. Gina does not mess around.

My HIIT today allowed me to finally try out my new running shoes! I picked them up on Wednesday but haven't run since then, and today I finally found out how much I like 'em.

Confusingly (is that a word?), the shoes aren't New Balance. Just the bag.

I had been looking for a new pair of shoes. I had Asics for over a year and wore those for my half marathon, but I thought I'd try a new brand this time. The folks at Front Runners made the process quick and simple, and I had my new Brooks within 30 minutes, including a foot assessment to check my stability needs.

I really love the new shoes! Super comfortable to run in, during sprints and jogging, and no blisters after 38 minutes today. Hopefully these guys will last me awhile.

And they're blue! I love the color--I need more blue clothes to match! Hmm...sounds like a shopping trip.

Another highlight of the day (and continuing the theme of this random post): dinner from my chef of a husband.

Copper River Sockeye Salmon from Costco,  baked sweet potato, and mixed kale salad (donated from my mom, who got it at Costco).

That's all for now, folks. Off to enjoy the rest of the night!

What's your favorite type of workout gear to shop for? 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Pics

Road trip up to the delta

Three ski runs!

Beautiful weather (well, two of the days)

Cocktail hour

Gorgeous sunsets

A little work

And a little rest

And a super moon!

Hope your weekend was fantastic!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

That Time I Got a Repeat Root Canal

Today started with yoga in the park with Jenn

and ended with a root canal. I wish it had gone the other way.

Here's the story of the root canal:

When I was in second grade, I was running with a baton (not like a conductor's baton, because why would I run with that? It was a baton you run with in a relay race. Is there a name for that kind of baton?) and I somehow whacked myself in the lower front tooth. Then I had to get a root canal. I wish it was a better story.

Fast forward twenty (!) years. First of all, I can't help but feel old because I actually remember things that happened to me twenty years ago. And not just vaguely remember, like those flashes I get of stuff I kind of think I recollect, but actually, vividly remember.

Secondly, while I do remember the incident of hitting myself (and wondering how people don't do that more often--am I running wrong?), I don't remember the root canal itself. So I had the luxury of not remembering how horrifying it sounds when someone drills into your tooth.

But I was reminded today! A few months ago, I mentioned to my dentist that I've had occasional discomfort or sensitivity at odd times--not when I eat or drink but randomly, unrelated to other sensitivity I've experienced. My dentist ordered several types of x-rays, and eventually he and the root canal specialist discovered that I have two canals in my lower front tooth (apparently quite rare--I asked him if I'm special, and he was hesitant to confirm or deny). So my original root canal took care of one canal but not the other. And today I got to have root canal part two.

Actually, the process was horrifying from start to finish. The specialist did a fantastic job of trying to keep me calm and making me feel at ease, so at least I had that. But then she gave me the shot to numb my jaw. And after a few minutes, I blurted out, "Oh my gosh, I'm really nervous!" I tried to make it sound casual, just so they were aware of my nerves, but the specialist just laughed and said, "Oh! That's the shot. It makes you react that way--kind of panicky like adrenaline." Oohhh, okay then! I managed to calm myself down.

The rest of the procedure moved along as smoothly as it could, considering. But it's still horrifying to spend two hours wondering if the numbness is going to wear off too early and listening to someone creating a hole in your tooth. Just take my word for it.

I have no point to this post. I have no healthy advice to deliver or brilliant thoughts on how to deal with a medical procedure. I'll just say that the thing about a root canal is that it doesn't hurt enough to get special treatment from your spouse or justify eating milkshakes every day, but it also hurts just enough to feel like you can't bite into your favorite foods, like the bison burgers we're planning to enjoy tomorrow night.

The end.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Full Body 10 Circuit + WIAW

More than halfway through the week, folks! I'm rather enjoying my first week of summer so far. Terry's still working as usual, so I've even been waking up early with him to work out before he leaves. While I follow Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up, I didn't want to leave the guy without a plan, so I created a tough circuit for him to complete:

Some notes:
  • Dumbbell PliĆ© Squat with Upright Row - Be sure to push your knees out, toes pointed outward. 
  • Push Ups - To increase difficulty, try a variation, like clapping between push ups or lifting one leg; to lighten it up, drop your knees but keep your hips in line with your shoulders and knees.
  • Romanian Deadlifts - Start with a light weight if you're new to these. Don't lock your knees! Keep a very slight bend to protect your legs, and keep your back flat. Engage your core to prevent injury to your lower back. 
  • Lateral Raises - For an extra challenge, stand on one foot at a time, which engages your core.
  • Jumping Jack Burpees with Push Up - To lighten it up, do a regular burpee and skip the push up. 
  • WeightedSquats - If using dumbbells, keep your arms by your side. 
  • Lat Pull Downs OR Pull Ups 
  • Bodyweight Lateral Lunge (look at #1 on the collage) (each side) - Complete 10 reps on one side before moving to the other side. Touch the floor with both hands before coming back to standing.
  • Hanging Knee Raises - Try it with straight legs to up the challenge! To take it down a notch, lay on the floor on your back with your feet straight up in the air, then slowly lift and lower your butt, pushing your heels straight to the ceiling. 
  • Tuck Jumps - To decrease the intensity, make it a step up. 

I'd love to hear what you think if you give it a try! 

Check out the other WIAWs!

Being home during the day makes my meals far more diverse--and delicious! So after an awesome workout (Terry completed the above Full Body 10 Circuit, I struggled through today's Summer Shape Up from Fitnessista), I whipped up fried eggs with pepper jack cheese on half a tortilla. 

After a stressful visit to the vet with Scout (he's fine, just hates getting into his carrier), I whipped up a seriously summery fruit salad of blackberries, banana, and mango. These three belong together.

Last night I made my enchilada casserole, minus the chicken because I didn't have any defrosted, and I enjoyed those leftovers for lunch today.

For a quick snack in the afternoon, a bowl of Erewhon rice cereal combined with a little homemade peanut butter granola. So tasty!

For dinner tonight, I'm whipping up more of these phenomenal sandwiches.

How did I not discover this combination until now? Will I ever want to eat anything else for lunch ever again? (Seriously, I wanted to make this sandwich for lunch today instead of eating leftovers. So I e-mailed Terry at work to ask if I could switch our dinner plans and make this sandwich again. It's getting ridiculous.) 

I'm not sure what we'll do for a side dish yet, but I'm leaning toward sauteed spinach with feta, lemon, and pine nuts (an Ina Garten recipe). But I do know my dessert:

Yesterday I made strawberry ice cream! Perfect for the summer, especially with more of that peanut butter granola! Yesterday Terry called it a sweet peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I completely disagree, but it was tasty. 

Do you have a meal you could eat any time, even if you've eaten it already that day? Or am I weird? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Running Safety

As temperatures heat up and the glorious sunshine beckons you outdoors, I thought I'd take a second to encourage you to run (or walk!) safely. What can I say? I'm a safety girl. 

(I couldn't help but think of Pretty Woman when I wrote that, though this blog post will not focus on that type of safety.) Okay, moving on.

Today, Gina's Summer Shape Up called for "scenic cardio"--complete cardio outdoors! So around noon I scooted out the door for a four-mile run to campus and back. Before I left, I noticed my reflection in the mirror, and honestly I looked ridiculous.

But the items I bring with me ensure a safe and healthy run. So let's start with basic safety.
  • Bring your cell phone. This rule is my absolute must, especially when I run or walk alone. I'm by no means a paranoid person, but if I get injured or ever feel unsafe, I want to have a way of calling someone. Even when we just go for a walk, Terry and I make sure to have at least one of our phones. We once went for a short walk around our neighborhood and witnessed a motorcycle accident. I was the first "on the scene" so to speak, but I had no phone and had to direct someone else to call 911. I always think of that incident when we're about to leave the house. You just never know!

I also love all the apps my phone has to offer. I can use MyTracks for tracking our route, check the time, or engage my HIIT timer. To avoid holding the phone in my hand, we bought an arm band that fits the phone and allows me to see and use the touch screen. 
  • Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back. I make sure to tell Terry my basic route as well as when I expect to be home. Even if it's just a quick text to a local friend, at least you know someone knows where you are. Bonus: You get to brag that you're getting your exercise!
  • Be aware of your surroundings. In West LA, drivers are generally unconcerned with the well being of those on foot. I've had my share of near-misses with cars, even with my constant vigilance. If you run with an iPod, keep one earphone out or keep the volume low. I totally get the desire to crank up your favorite song, but if it in any way distracts you from watching for cars or being aware of your surroundings, it's not worth it! And you know the basic advice about being outdoors: look both ways, wait for the light, blah blah blah...
  • Run in populated areas, especially if you run at night. In our neighborhood, traffic almost never stops and tons of folks are walking around all day, so I feel pretty safe running anytime. If you live in a less dense area, stay on more major roads that you know well. 
And some body safety for good measure:
  • Wear sunscreen. There are too many options out there to pretend to have excuses now. You can buy sweatproof sports sunscreen, so just do it.
  • Warm up ahead of time. Consider my Wake Up Your Warm Up post to help!
  • Bring water for longer runs. I bring my water belt (by Fuel Belt) for anything over four miles.
  • Stretch and cool down after your run. Revisit my Q & A with Heidi (my physical therapist friend) for some advice!
Do you try to run outdoors more in the summer? What are your safety tips?


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Monday, June 17, 2013

Photos of the Day

Drink of the day: cucumber and lemon slices, a squeeze of lemon juice, and water. I love being home so I can make this watery concoction for myself. (I realize I can absolutely find some way to make this deliciousness portable, but apparently that never occurred to me throughout my years of work.)

Highlight of the day (well, for my taste buds, but I really trust their opinion): this sandwich. Whole wheat bread, toasted to a golden brown. Havarti cheese. A few slices of avocado. Some cucumber slices. And eggplant hummus from TJ's. I already can't wait to make it again tomorrow. Another great thing about summer: having a toaster at my disposal to kick lunch up a notch.

Project of the day: Attacking the stacks of boxes from my classroom, tossing out what I don't need, reorganizing and repacking, and laughing at the notes I've collected from students over the years.

Workout of the day: Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up Week 3--Workout 3 + ab burner + 20 minutes cardio. I love Gina's workouts so far! Today included plie squat burpees, which threw a twist on the already-tough move and got my heart rate through the roof!

Weirdest part of the day: Being dead. But only for educational purposes.

My coworker Erica is teaching a summer school class this summer and starts the first class with a "crime scene". The students get to explore the scene and take notes, then spend the course learning all about biomedical sciences. Finally, the students figure out how the person "died" using their new knowledge. So today I got to be the dead body!

Here's Erica's awesome crime scene: 

That tape outline is actually an outline of me. Cool, huh?

End of the day: Attending a UCLA event for donors. The event was held at Pauley Pavilion, so we got to see the new locker rooms!

That's me with my friend Sami and the incredible jerseys. I know what you're thinking: Aren't all jerseys the same? Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you that these jerseys most certainly were not the same as those you find at any ol' store. They has an extra layer of fabric, certainly the result of some brilliant sports researcher's findings regarding the most effective fabrics to benefit the player. Regardless, they felt like victory. 

And that's it! First day of summer--success. Here's to a good night's sleep and an even better day tomorrow!

What was the highlight of your day?