I’m back, baby!

So, this summer hasn’t been what I would call a banner season for fitness. Between being out of town over half of the weekends, social plans during the week, volunteering obligations, moving and work being hectic, I’ve been a busy lady! All good things, of course, but not great for fitting in exercise like I’d like to. I’m not trying to make excuses – I know I need to become a morning exerciser, it’s just been a hard transition to make.

Well friends, morning exercise is a different post for a different time, because this weekend was my first in Chicago since early August, and I celebrated with a 10-miler on Saturday and a 90-minute yoga class this morning! I’m a little sore, but so happy to be back on track and feeling great. Not only does exercise make me happy and healthy overall,  but I’ve put on a couple pounds this summer that I really don’t want to become a couple more.

This might seem a little backwards, but I’m actually happy I put on a few pounds from not being as active this summer. Why? I love to see that all of the effort I put in to exercising everal days each week actually makes a difference. I love running and yoga and spinning, but I don’t think the motivation would be quite as strong without a little vanity attached. Is that wrong?

Registering for Races is Cheaper Than Therapy… Kinda

I’ve been kind of down lately and crazy busy at my job and volunteer obligations.

Enter the Chicago Half Marathon, this past Sunday 9/9. This was my first race last year, and I was bummed I didn’t participate this year as I watched at least 6 of my friends e-cross the finish line and smash my PR (which is a slogging 2:41, so no real surprise there). When the registration blitz email came out yesterday, I zombie-clicked the link and went to register. I’ll be running the Chicago Half Marathon next year! Hopefully no one wants to get married that day or anything.

Just now, I decided it was time to really flex that credit card like the arm muscles I don’t have, and I finally registered for three races I’ve been talking about forever. First, I’ll be going to Cincinnati for The Great Pumpkin Run, a fall 5K with my sister! It’s technically timed, but seems like it’ll be a fun one where you run through fields and a corn maze. Also, it boasts ONE OF THE COOLEST TECH SHIRTS EVER and you get a pumpkin to take home. How unbloggerly of me would it be if I didn’t combine running and pumpkining?

The next week, I’ll finally be running the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago – a race I literally haven’t shut up about in two years. Should be fun, tasty and a perfect 9ish miles in chillier weather.

My birthday is on Thanksgiving this year, and what better way to celebrate than with the North Shore Turkey Trot 10K?  My sister and I ran it last year – it was a great little race and a fantastic way to start Thanksgiving. We’re working on convincing our parents (not runners) to do the 5K, and then we’ll all go to Walker Brother’s Pancake House after. I’ve been planning this since last Thanksgiving. Who says runners are Type A?

What I’m Loving Lately

I always love reading blog posts about what products, recipes and ideas bloggers are currently into, so I thought I would write a quick life update in this form. Enjoy!

Image

Cherries
For the last 25 years I’ve been walking around saying “Man, I hate cherries. Those are gross, they are the pits!” Turns out, they are not the pits and are actually awesome. Sometimes I eat them on my way home from the store and spit the pits into the bushes. I mean, no I don’t.

Long Runs
I started training for the Prairie State Half Marathon a few weeks ago and realized how much I love training and structure. Technically for me, “training and structure” means “try to get a few short runs/cross training/ strength/yoga during the week and a long run on the weekend.” I’ll admit, I’m not always great at fitting in my short runs since I love so many different kinds of exercise, but it’s nearly impossible to keep me from getting in my long run each week. For weekends I’m traveling, which happens to be the next three weekends, I have to get creative. I’m actually doing a long run tonight – I’m running north from work and will be meeting a friend for dinner in my post long run disgust/triumph.

Divergent/Insurgent
I’ve been meaning to read these books for awhile after reading so many positive reviews. I read the first two over my vacation last week and I had a really difficult time putting them down. For those of you who haven’t read these books, stop reading this post and read them immediately. They’re YA lit, set in a dystopian world – dystopian CHICAGO to be exact. The Chicago setting was one of my favorite parts, as was the nonstop action and the love story – especially since it was not a love triangle. So refreshing!

Image

HBO Anywhere/The Newsroom
Ah, HBO anywhere. The best gift my father has ever given me including life. In addition to rewatching Girls, I’ve been soaking up every minute of The Newsroom and I can’t get enough. Aaron Sorkin is truly a god among men. If you’re not watching this show, stop reading this post and simultaneously watch/read Divergent.

Image

Brunch
AKA “What I’m Loving Always.” Do you want to do brunch? Let’s be friends. Just don’t look at me weird when I order coffee, water AND a bloody. The heart wants what it wants. I went to Cafe 28 for a friend’s birthday on Sunday and ordered the Spinach Eggs Benedict. It was out-of-this-world delicious.

Two Brothers Domaine DuPage
My current favorite beer. Does Two Brothers produce anything that isn’t a nectar of the gods? My roommate and I went to Rocco Ranalli’s for the first time last Friday and found out you can order pitchers of DDP. Hey, I needed to carb up for my long run somehow, right?

Getting Out of Dodge
There has been so much travel this summer and I love it. Next stop: float trip in Missouri!

Catch you on the flippity flop.

Another City Girl Dream Comes True

You guys. City Target is open. And its BEAUTIFUL.

City Target
So so pretty.

I stepped in yesterday following a grad school info session over at DePaul and got so excited. Also, there is a Pret there so I treated myself to a delicious Farmer’s Market Salad and iced coffee for lunch. Totally perfect.

Yesterday was pretty go-go-go overall – from a full day of work with a lunch interlude over at DePaul to a quick 30-minute workout in the office gym to trying to de-sweat enough to go to Girls on the Run at Piece to meeting up with some of my smartypants friends who finished taking the bar, I’m pretty tired today. I made my first stop at Starbucks, conveniently/dangerously located right by my bus stop for iced coffee and the spinach/feta wrap. Can we talk about amazing and unappreciated that wrap is? I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday when I’m not stuffing my face with sushi or guacamole. Is there a restaurant that exclusively serves those items? I’m starting it. We can call it Guac & Roll. Actually, that’s genius. Don’t steal it from me now that it is all over the interwebs.

I’m running the Prairie State Half Marathon!

… but first I’m going to learn to spell. I keep typing in “praire” because apparently I think it looks cooler.

I’ve been mulling this one over for awhile but finally bit the credit card bullet today. I love this race for so many reasons:

  • Fall running/racing is my favorite
  • It starts and ends in my hometown (yay, staying with Mom & Dad!)
  • It’s entirely run on trails and through forest preserves
  • It is totally different than the other two major races I’ve done. Chicago Half and Soldier Field 10 Miler, I loved you, but I’m excited to not be running with as many people this time around. On that note,
  • It’s small. Half is limited to 1,000 runners and full is limited to 2,000.
  • Oh yeah, and there is a full marathon going on at the same time. For some reason I LOVE that and it makes me feel more legit, even if I am doing half the distance they’re doing.

I’m so excited to get back into training and really just happy with the slightly impulsive choice I made in the Monday morning haze today.

Image

What I’ve Been Up To

 

The past two weeks have been filled with so much fun! Last weekend I visited my old stomping grounds, Madison, WI for about 16 hours. My friend Courtney and I hung out at the Terrace and Great Dane Friday night and had scones at Lazy Jane’s for breakfast. Of course, no trip to Madison is complete without Babcock ice cream, so I made sure to snag some Orange Custard Chocolate Chip before getting on the Megabus to Minneapolis. Amazing.

After my short visit to Madison, I went to Minneapolis to visit my HS friend Laura. She had a party Saturday night with lots of vegan goodies including Chocolate Avocado muffins – I need to get the recipe! We also ran the Minneapolis Color Run, which was definitely a fun experience! It was technically my first 5K (my first race ever was a half marathon) but since it was untimed and HOT we actually did some walking.

Image

I’m excited and thrilled it is already the weekend again – looking forward to my favorite hot yoga class, the Farmer’s Market, a beach day, and a possible soccer game at Wrigley!

Moving & Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms

Lesson Learned: Do not start a cleanse when you have a sinus infection. I stopped “cleansing” on Tuesday night, roughly 40 or so hours after my cleanse began. I didn’t regret trying it (or quitting early), I just decided since I don’t eat very much processed food, meat, dairy, etc. as it is, it wasn’t going to e enough to shock my system. Also, my sinus infection meant a headache was inevitable. Maybe I’ll try again sometime because it did help me to reframe how I think about food and I’ve started to be more realistic about portion sizes again.

Moved! My roommate and I moved to a new 2 bedroom apartment in Chicago. It has a great kitchen and porch, we each have our own full bathrooms and it has IN-UNIT LAUNDRY. City girl dream come true. We’ve been in the new place for 5 days and are slowly getting settled and absolutely loving it.

Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms: I recently started loving mushrooms, having grown up hating them for the first 25.5 years of my life. Caitlin posted this recipe for them a few weeks ago and I mentally bookmarked it to try it out. The result? Loved it. Super simple but tasted so decadent!

I’m so excited for this weekend – I have sushi dinner plans tonight and then plan to spend tomorrow and Sunday finishing up the apartment, farmer’s market shopping, getting my yoga on and a possible pedicure. My mom is coming on Sunday for dinner and a kayak tour. Can’t wait!

Cleanse Day 1

I survived Day 1 of the cleanse! Honestly? I don’t feel any different than I usually do. I have a slight headache, but that’s been going on since Sunday and I think I can attribute it to allergies. I’m wondering how much this cleanse will really effect me, since I’m primarily eliminating yogurt, cereal/oatmeal, cheese and caffeine. As I said in my first post, I’m already a pescetarian so I eat limited fish and no other meats. I also try to stay away from most processed foods, so overall this hasn’t been a huge shift for me yet. I’m curious to see what the rest of the week will bring.

Here are yesterday’s eats and dranks:

  • Breakfast: Fruit salad (about a pint of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) with a banana and Saigon cinnamon, green tea, lots of water
  • Morning Snack: Mango, around 11:30 – have also been drinking lots of water all morning
  • Lunch: Salad mix (spinach, romaine, carrots, cucumbers, red/yellow peppers, cilantro, green onions) with half an avocado and lime juice, plain La Croix with limes (had about 4 of these – so good and felt super fancy!)
  • Afternoon Snacks: Red pepper, black peach tea, water, sparkling water + lime, 2 bananas 
  • Dinner: Mega Mango (all fruit!) Smoothie from Jamba Juice, half an avocado, about a cup of baby carrots
  • Night Snack: Nibbles from my fruit salad

I also went to spinning after work yesterday and it went great! The only thing I noticed being a bit different was I hardly drank any of my water – usually I’m rationing it so it lasts until the end of class. Maybe because I was already really hydrated?
For dinner I enjoyed my smoothie, carrots and avocado at the Brew & View in my neighborhood. The Brew & View shows movies towards the end of their run and only charges $5 for a triple feature! Yesterday’s triple feature was perfect for me Hunger Games, Friends with Kids and Five Year Engagement. I grabbed my smoothie on my way from spinning and went to the movies in my spin clothes – super classy. I ended up watching the second half of Hunger Games, starting right when they get to the arena (I’d already seen it twice) and all of Friends with Kids. It was a great movie and I loved the cast – it starred Adam Scott (love me some Ben Wyatt a la Parks & Rec) and Jennifer Westfeldt (she wrote and directed it too. And she’s been dating Jon Hamm for 15 years.). The rest of the cast was basically a Bridesmaids reunion with the fabulous Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jon Hamm and Chris O’Dowd. I ran into one of my guy friends at the theater and he ended up watching it with me – he laughed a lot too and so even though it is actually pretty heartfelt, it’s definitely a funny movie for both guys and gals.

I’m currently sipping on some Orange Pekoe tea and enjoying the same breakfast as yesterday. Looking forward to my first Yoga at the Lake class of the season after work!

 

Fruit & Veggie Cleanse: Prep

I’m excited and a bit nervous because tomorrow morning I’m starting a 5-day fruit and veggie cleanse. Lately I’ve been losing my ability to eat intuitively and I’m hoping this cleanse will help reset my appetite. It’s the first cleanse of any kind I’ve ever attempted, but what better time to feast on fresh fruits and veggies than in June when everything is extra delicious?

To prepare for this week’s cleanse, I went to Whole Foods to stock up on fresh produce. If I ever attempt this again, I’ll need to find a cheaper store (I’ve heard Stanley’s is fantastic for produce in Chicago). When I got home, I threw blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries together for a simple fruit salad. I’ll be adding a banana each morning and eating this for breakfast. I also prepared a salad base with spinach, romaine, cucumbers, red and yellow peppers, cilantro, carrots and green onions. I’m planning to add an avocado and lime at lunch tomorrow.

The rules for the cleanse aren’t set in stone, but I’m going off the idea that I can eat any fruits and vegetables, as well as salt-free herbs and spices. I’m excited to experiment with this, but there are a few things I’m nervous about saying no to this week:

  • Caffeine/Soda in general – we get free soda at work so it’s a big vice of mine – I love Diet Coke, even in the morning!
  • Yogurt – breakfast staple
  • Oatmeal/Cereal – another diet staple
  • Cheese – I just love cheese!

I’m a pescetarian and don’t really eat much fish during the week, so that part at least will be easier for me. I’m also not going to be eating beans or nuts this week, so I’m hoping I can stay full on the vast amounts of produce I’ll be consuming. I’ve read a lot of other blogs that talk about this cleanse and most of them have said they felt very full all day, so that is definitely promising. I’ll be drinking lots of water and tea – gotta stay hydrated! I’ve also created a loose plan for exercise this week:

  • Monday: Spin at FFC
  • Tuesday: Yoga at the Lake (first class of the season!)
  • Wednesday: 80’s spinning with coworkers!
  • Thursday: Yoga on the Beach with Neha!
  • Friday: Rest day/end of cleanse
  • Saturday: CrossFit Intro Class
  • Sunday: Rest day

Most cleanses don’t encourage exercise, so I’m promising myself I’ll decide each day based on how I’m feeling. Spinning is great because you can easily modify your intensity, and free yoga classes are not typically very challenging either, but I’ll definitely be listening to my body.

I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know how it goes!