Category Archives: Exercise

Zzzzzzzz……

Hello friends,

today was all about the Zzzzzzs. Or lack thereof. I think I might be reaching my physical threshold for overtraining. Ever since my hike on Saturday, I have felt absolutely dragged out and exhausted, and to make matters worse, I haven’t been sleeping terribly well either. Not a good combination.

I was supposed to run a measly three miler today, but I just couldn’t do it. My legs are still pooped from the hike, I felt groggy all day long, and I have a 15 miler looming tomorrow.

Instead of running, I took an hour nap….and my body thanked me.

A good life decision, if you ask me.

Sometimes, structured training requires flexibility and perhaps, even more so than flexibility, a willingness to really listen to your body and give it rest when it’s crying out for it.

A part of me was mildly annoyed with myself for skipping the run, but then the kinder, more rational side of my personality reassured the anal, type-A side that missing one run wasn’t going to mess everything up. If anything, it’ll just give me more energy for my run tomorrow.

That’s what I’m trying to tell myself anyway. And with that, I’m headed off to sleepy land. I’m hoping that my body will start feeling “normal” again sometime in the near future. I’m tired of feeling tired all the time!

Question: What are your best tips for combatting exhaustion? Have you ever experienced symptoms of overtraining?

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The Cooking Vacation

Before I returned home to Colorado, I promised my parents that I would cook for them. I had visions of myself running gleefully back and forth between the well-stocked fridge and the ample counter space while whipping up gourmet meals for my family. The mere thought of my parents’ beautiful kitchen brought a smile to my face.

Now that I’m actually home, the aforementioned vision has not yet become a reality. In fact, I would daresay that I’ve been reveling in the act of not cooking. As though I’m now on a cooking break or something….

To be honest, it’s easy to take a cooking break if your mom is as good a cook as my mom. For lunch, she busted out a beautiful cold potato and zucchini soup for us to enjoy. Why would I dare turn on the oven burners when she’s around to make such amazing meals?

All I’ve had to do for the past couple days is pull out the camera when it’s time to eat and photograph my mother’s cooking. A food blogger could get spoiled with this kind of service….

I know, I know. I should be a good daughter and give her the break from cooking. She’s been doing it for the past twenty something years, after all! But why cramp the woman’s style when she obviously knows what she’s doing?

Can you spot me in that last photograph? I snuck into the spoon’s reflection….

Just for the record, you all should make this soup. It’s simple and tasty, and while I’m not sure if it takes a lot of time to make (you’d have to ask my mom), I would venture to say that it’s worth the effort. The addition of the roasted almonds was particularly delicious.

Anyway, you’ll just have to blame my mom for the lack of new and creative culinary efforts on the blogfront as of late. I’m sure I’ll return to my cooking ways soon enough; but for now, I can’t say that I’m not enjoying being spoiled by my parents. 🙂

For dinner, I continued my lazy streak. We had grilled salmon burgers (which I didn’t grill), steamed asparagus (which I didn’t steam), and potato salad (which I didn’t assemble). It takes a lot of effort to be this lazy.

The salmon burger topped with grilled onions and avocado slices…..

I just love salmon burgers….well, I guess I love most things that come in burger form, to be honest. Veggie, salmon, bison, turkey. You name it, I’ll undoubtedly enjoy it in its burgerized form.

Green, green asparagus….a meal isn’t complete without a little green goodness!

What’s taters, precious?

A meal fit for a queen….or a lazy daughter on a cooking vacation.

On the exercise front, I attempted to do an hour’s worth of Yoga For Runners, but it was a fail. It was nice to stretch out my legs from the 13 miler yesterday, but I didn’t feel the burning desire to do a gazillion chattaranga pushups in a row or hang out in boat pose for 10 minutes straight. I stopped the podcast after about 45 minutes and chilled in child’s pose for a while. That’s more my pace…especially on a cross training day. I usually use my cross training days as an excuse to do the least amount of exercise possible without actually calling them “rest days.”

Like I said, lazy.

Question: What is your favorite thing to do on a lazy day?

Midwest Road Tripping

Greetings from Kansas City, Missouri!

Didn’t think Kansas City would look this nice, did you?

Kansas City gets such a bum wrap, but there are definitely nice parts of it…..like where my aunt lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It’s chock a block full of trees and lakes and huge houses.

Not too shabby, Kansas City. Not too shabby.

The past two days of driving have been loooooong. The first day, my dad and I journeyed from Hartford to Dayton, Ohio….and it took us nearly 13 hours to complete the drive!

We departed Connecticut around 9:00 AM or so and said our last goodbyes to beautiful New England. Even though we’ve had our ups and downs (especially with your mercurial winter weather), you’ve generally been quite good to me over the past five years, New England. Thanks for the memories….

For a long stretch of I-80 through Pennsylvania, we encountered roadwork about every 10 miles, and we think that it delayed our arrival time in Dayton by at least an hour. It became so frustrating at points that I resorted to taking strange pictures just to keep myself from attacking the road workers. WHY were they doing so much roadwork on such an isolated and altogether random part of Pennsylvania? It confused me. I think they were doing it just to annoy me and my dad….and it worked. Mission accomplished, Pennsylvania roadworkers.

We saw a lot of this type of view yesterday. Lots of cars and trucks. Sitting still. Like a parking lot. Boring!

I decided that taking self-portraits would be a good idea at this point. Boredom can make you do funny things.

Head shot.

Feetsies.

Knees + feet.

As far as food goes, I’ve been subsisting primarily on the following items:

  • Souped-up Starbucks oatmeal (who honestly thinks that the toppings they give you can last you more than a couple hours? Please…my appetite needs MORE than that!): Oatmeal + banana + chia seeds + Barney Butter blob

  • Coffee: need I say more? It soothes my savage soul before spending a bazillion hours locked up in a car makes it savage again.

  • Subway’s Veggie Delite on Wheat bread + apples: I’ve had it for lunch the past two days and will try to convince my dad to eat it again tomorrow, if he’s up for it. It’s the only fast food place I can tolerate. I always get “the works” on my subs including the jalapenos and banana peppers. I like it spicy! I tried some guac on sub today, and it was especially delicious. Highly recommended for veggie delite fans!

  • Homemade trail mix + stash of Bora Bora granola bars: I’ve been snacking on these items in between stops. I love my trail mix, and the Bora Bora bars are pretty tasty too! Not to mention made with all organic ingredients….my fav flavor thus far is the Tiki Blueberry Flax. It has the right amount of crunch and sweetness to satisfy my snacking needs.

Exercise

In the exercise department, I took a 45 minute walk before the infinite car ride to Dayton, which was a pleasant way to start the day and say goodbye to the West Hartford Reservoir one last time. While I walked, my dad took a run. It worked out pretty well.

This morning, I somehow dragged my butt out of a very comfortable hotel bed and ran a painful 6 miles in 59:40 among the concrete-clad suburbs of Dayton. Even though I kept up a good pace, my legs just felt so heavy and tired. Maybe spending 13 hours cramped up in a vehicle isn’t a good idea? It didn’t help matters that I ran without music….I had never realized before how much music motivates me during my runs and helps the time go by faster. Each mile seemed ENDLESS, but I got it done. I have a rest day tomorrow for the final leg of the trip, so my next run will be in Colorado, where I know it will be beautiful and awesome! Hooray!

After the run, my dad and I made the considerably less lengthy drive from Dayton to Kansas City (only 9 hours versus 13 hrs from Hartford to Dayton).

We saw fields. Lots and lots and lots of fields.

We also passed through St. Louis, Missouri and saw the famous arch!

Gateway to the West, indeed.

Busch Stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball also popped up along the drive.

We made great time to Kansas City, so my dad and I were able to take a nice stroll before dinner in this beautiful area. It felt great to give the old legs some breathing room.

The old man….

This was his “studly model” pose.

We then ventured to a restaurant called Mongolian BBQ. It’s a place where you can build your own stir-fries using whatever meats, veggies, and sauces you like, and then the chefs will make your stir-fry for you right in front of you. It’s a cool concept, and I liked how it was executed!

I loaded up my bowl with all sorts of veggies+teriyaki sauce + a seafood medley which included salmon, crab, scallops, and shrimp.

It was awesome. Just what my body was craving….

I also had a little bit of brown rice to alongside of it. I liked that the restaurant even gave the option of having brown rice. Some places don’t even bother with it.

Blue Moon + stir-fry= a great way to end a long day of driving.

Tomorrow, we’re heading across Kansas (oh joy of joys) and FINALLY into Colorado! I can’t wait!!!!!!!!

My mountains are beckoning….

A Midsummer Night’s Gazpacho

Hello friends!

I’ve returned from a lovely and relaxing weekend spent in Boston with my amazing college friends feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on the week! I took a break from the camera over the weekend, which proved a great decision on my part. While I don’t mind taking pictures in front of people, it really was nice to set the Nikon aside for the weekend and enjoy my meals in good company without constantly whipping out the camera to take pictures of the food. If anything, I feel the photography break over the past couple of days has reinvigorated my photographic energy (for lack of a better term) for the upcoming week!

And honestly, I feel like I’m going to need all the energy I can muster to survive this heatwave that has recently descended upon the Northeast. As I write this, it is a balmy 97 degrees here in Hartford. It’s probably a balmy 100+ degrees in most of my apartment (thank GOD my little room has an air conditioner!).

The extended forecast doesn’t look much better. We’re talking high 90s + high humidity until the end of the work week.

Eeek.

With the temps soaring sky high in my top floor apartment, I picked up some supplies at the grocery store designed to minimize my need to turn on the stove. There’s no need to add any more heat to my kitchen, thank you very much. It’s rather Dante’s Inferno-esque as it is.

The first of the no-cook meal series came tonight in the form of that lovely and refreshing summer soup known as gazpacho.

The particular recipe I followed had a unique spin on the traditional Spanish dish via its inclusion of watermelon!

Watermelon Gazpacho

….Adapted from The Food Network’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, cored
  • 1/2 jalapeno
  • 2 cups watermelon cubes
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 tbsp diced red onion
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a blender, add cored tomato, jalapeno, and half of the watermelon. Blend until smooth.
  2. Then add vinegar, EVOO, cucumber, red onion, cilantro to blender, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Chill soup in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Remove soup from the fridge and add the rest of the watermelon cubes.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and feta, and enjoy!

This gazpacho was such a unique take on the traditional dish…I loved the way the sweetness of the watermelon complemented the acidity of the tomato and the pungent taste of the feta. It was such a nice combination of flavors.

Perfect for a bazillion degree summer night!

On the side, I enjoyed some whole wheat olive bread….

….and cottage cheese. Gotta get my protein in somewhere, and what better way than in the form of glorious 4% organic cottage cheese? Love that stuff.

All together, my meal looked like this….it was perfect for this toasty evening.

Exercise

In the exercise department, I ran 3 miles on a dreadmill in a little under 30 minutes this afternoon. I normally hate to run on the treadmill; but when it’s 82 degrees outside at 6 in the morning, that’s a pretty blatant sign that you should take it indoors for safety’s sake.

I relished my treadmill run if only because I was able to enjoy some air conditioning while I was there. It was a beautiful thing.

I hope all of you are faring well with this summer heat, wherever you may be. Dog days of summer indeed!

Question: Have you ever tried gazpacho? Do you love it or hate it?

I used to hate it, but it’s since grown on me. I now appreciate how refreshing it can be on a hot night.

Stop And Smell The Roses

In this little niche of the blog world, long distance endurance events, high intensity interval training, and 90 minutes power yoga sessions seem to dominate the discussion.

And for good reason! These types of workouts push us to our limits; they challenge us to become the individuals we never dreamed we could be. They makes us healthier and stronger while simultaneously providing us with immeasurable satisfaction and joy.

Yet, lost amongst all this talk of marathons and triathlons and duathlons are the slower-paced activities that don’t necessarily carry the same “glamor” of these events….like walking, for example!

While I love the empowering feeling that generally accompanies me in the moments after finishing up a solid run, I have found that the quieter joy found in a walk lingers with me far longer.

Today, I took a slow-paced walk this afternoon that left me far happier than the run I took this morning. The run should have been great! All the conditions were perfect….the humidity was low; the air was cool and crisp; I ran along one of my favorite routes.

Yet, the parts didn’t add up to a cohesive whole. For whatever reason, I felt sluggish and hungry and slow. I finished up my four mile run without having experienced any real “joy” during the run.

The “joy” I sought earlier was waiting for me in the form of a slow and leisurely walk taken at a park with my residents later on in the afternoon.

Here, I found what I had missed in my morning run. I took the time to slow down and savor the scenery.

I took the time to smell the roses and appreciate the immense beauty around me. Intense running workouts don’t always afford me the chance to savor these small details.

Healthy living doesn’t always have to take the obvious forms.

You don’t need to run or to bike 70 miles or swim for three hours to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle can be found in mixing it up between the intense and the slower-paced activities and in simply choosing activities that make you happy!

It can also be found in ditching the workout schedule on occasion and just enjoying the company of people who have touched your life in one way or another….like the residents who joined me on this outing today.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that healthy living is about finding a balance. I believe that’s where we’ll find true happiness….somewhere between the long run and the rose garden stroll.

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Sorry for the Scarface reference. I actually haven’t even seen the movie, but I figure I might as well take this blog titling opportunity to infuse some Al Pacino-esque attitude into my day. Honestly now… when you have the opportunity to quote Al Pacino in some way, shape, or form, you just go ahead and do it. No questions asked.

So bam. Scarface quote done. Next up, The Godfather.

Wait, you protest. Is this blog shifting its focus to cinema? What the heck does Al Pacino have to do with anything? Is this a segue into Italian food?

No, no, and no. The Al Pacino business is a bit of a non-sequitor. I apologize…but the blog title a reckless and foolhardy attempt to throw you into some random discussion of classic films from the 70s.

I DO have a new friend for you all to meet. I bought him (her?) yesterday.

Here’s a hint….

Can you see it? I’ll get a little closer for you.

Now can you guess?

I bought a DSLR!

This, my friends, is a Nikon D3000….my first DSLR camera and newest obsession!

Don’t mind my incredibly cool white shag rug in the following picture. As evidenced by the Al Pacino talk, I’m old school like that.

I bought him/her/it yesterday at Best Buy, and I’m absolutely thrilled with the camera! While I absolutely love my little point and shoot (and he has been so good and faithful to me over the past couple months of food blog pictures), the Nikon D3000 is a huge step up in quality.

I didn’t get a chance to shoot outside over the weekend because it’s been hot as all get-out here in Hartford. I’m going to wait for a more comfortable, better lit day before I take my new cam for an outside photo shoot and see what it’s really capable of.

I also have a 50 mm f1.8 lens on the way, which is supposed to be great for food photography! Now, I just need to give my camera a name…and a gender, I guess.

Any suggestions?

Alright. Now that you’ve said hello to my little friend (last Scarface reference, I promise!), I’d like to show you what it can do.

My oatmeal came alive today when shooting with the Nikon.

This was a simple batch of whipped banana oats w/raspberries, a few chocolate chips, PB, and granola.

I used the stock lens for these shots, and I was amazed at how sharp the images were! The 50mm lens is probably going to blow my mind considering that I’m impressed with the images produced using the stock lens.

Lunch included some leftovers from last night’s Greek Whole Wheat Orzo salad.

I also had an apple + cinnamon on the side.

Ah! I love the shallow depth of field you can achieve with the larger apertures. It’s hard to achieve that same blurred effect with the point and shoot.

Pre-workout snack

Before saddling up for a 45-minute Power Yoga session in my room (courtesy of yogadownload.com), I enjoyed a green monster.

This yummy guy contained:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 scoop Vanilla protein powder
  • two handfuls spinach
  • 1/4 avocado (on its last legs)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, 1/2 cup water
  • lots of ice

Gotta love the green…especially when the Nikon is around to capture it. 🙂

The Power Yoga session (Power Yoga 5 from yogadownload.com) was the perfect choice for my cross-training day! It loosened up my tight muscles from running while offering up some nice arm strength and core work. Yet, it wasn’t sooo challenging that I couldn’t complete it unlike the last time I did yoga when Dave Farmar’s podcast nearly killed my triceps. This session was geared more for beginner-intermediate yogis rather than advanced practitioners, and that suited me just fine. I’m nowhere near advanced.

Adventures in Baking

After my lovely encounter with my yoga mat, I gathered up some ingredients to make brownies for my roommate who is leaving Hartford tomorrow! She’s all done with her AmeriCorps service for the year, so she’s heading back home to Ohio…crazy how time flies. In another month, I too will be flying the coop for greener pastures.

In honor of her last day in Hartford and her remarkable ability to put up with my ridiculousness, I decided to whip up some of Ms. How Sweet’s Ooey Gooey Fudgey Brownies.

Before we get to the end result, let me just tell you that these babies are DIVINE. Possibly the best brownies I’ve ever had. Jess’s recipe is all kinds of fantastic. It delivers on all fronts: the brownies are ooey. They are gooey. They are fudgey.

They are everything brownies should be. They will dance around in my dreams for years to come.

It all started off with some melted chocolate, some sugar, and a whole lot of butter.

The surprise ingredient was added to the mix…

Marshmallows! Just like Jessica promises in the recipe, they magically melt into the batter while cooking, and the end result is the stuff foodie dreams are made of.

Mix it up.

How can you resist this? Droooooool….

While the brownies baked in the oven, I had a food photo session with the mini mallows. Is it obvious that I’m having way too much fun with this camera?

They’re so cute. Miniature food is just meant for photography.

The Tower of Babel.

Down it comes.

After enough nerdy food shots, the brownies were done! Hooray, hooray!

The marshmallows created a crispy outer layer just beckoning to be cut into.

I happily obliged.

Crispy outer layer, fudgey insides.

Sheer brownie perfection.

If heaven exists, it will be filled with these brownies.

You guys would be proud of my self-control. I only had ONE. I savored every crumb of that one piece…and honestly, if I wasn’t making them for another person, I would have probably eaten 15. They’re that good!

Thankfully, my intention to give them as a gift is reigning in my massive love of brownies. My thighs will probably thank me in the morning for this unlikely display of self-discipline.

Dinner

After coming up with the brilliant idea to bake when it’s 90 something degrees outside, I didn’t feel like stepping near the oven again this evening. I instead whipped up a no-cook sardine salad with mini whole wheat pitas for dipping.

The mini pitas are from TJ’s. They’re cute too…just like the mini mallows.

The sardine salad contained:

  • one tin of sardines pack in olive oil
  • cucumber
  • orange bell pepper
  • sundried tomatoes
  • dried dill, oregano, basil, pepper
  • a couple of glugs of white balsamic vinegar

For something that took me about 5 minutes to whip up, it was pretty darn tasty.

Because I can’t resist playing around with the aperture….

Tahdah! That’s my dinner.

Simple, delicious, and very light. It was just what I wanted on this hot and muggy summer evening.

Alright friends, I’ve probably bombarded you with more pictures than you can handle. I think it’s obvious I love my new camera. If any of you are even remotely considering getting a DSLR, take my advice and get one as soon as you can. Even though it’s an expensive investment, it’s definitely worth the money.

Nighty night!

I Dream Of Yoga

Day 2 of the Insomniac Lindsay Syndrome resulted in my decision to skip the gym…again. I didn’t feel like battling rush hour traffic to get to the gym, and I felt slow and lethargic due to my sleep deprivation.

I dreamed of yoga instead.

Or I would have if I had been able to dream last night. This yoga vision was more along the lines of a daytime hallucination.

Anywho….

I’m not a hardcore yogi by any means, but I certainly appreciate what yoga does for my body. I always feel looser and stronger by practice’s end. Yet for some reason unbeknownst to me, I can never seem to get a consistent practice going. I tend to go through yoga phases where I’ll practice it everyday for two weeks and then forget about it for the next month.

I’m in one of my yoga lulls at the moment, so what better way to reintroduce yoga into my life than with a 75-minute Dave Farmar podcast?

Not.

I don’t know what I was thinking with this decision. 75 minutes of a Dave Farmar podcast is like doing 75 minutes of tricep pushups. The man cannot get enough of the chaturanga flow sequence…it was endless! Just when I thought we were finished with our utkatasanas and our damn warriors, he would throw in another chaturanga flow. It was a vicious cycle of constant muscle fatigue. My triceps were screaming to me after only 20 minutes. My core felt trembly doing the updog to downdog transition for the umpteenth time. It wasn’t pretty.

After surviving about 40 minutes of tricep torture, I had to turn Dave off. There was no way I could handle another 45 minutes of Dave’s jokes and chaturangas. Shut up, Dave. It’s easy to laugh when you’re not the one doing the chaturangas.

Perhaps a shorter yoga session would have been smarter? Everyone agree?

I think Dave’s classes are something I need to build up to…or attempt on more than 4 hrs of sleep. One or the other.

While yoga perfection was not in the cards for me tonight, yummy eggs certainly were.

I have to put together a quick dinner on Thursdays in order to make it to my Spanish lesson on time. Eggs offer up the perfect solution to this time constraint dilemma, so Thursdays have become my unofficial “Egg Night” as of late.

I made a “Caprese Omelet” with 2 eggs, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped basil, ground pepper, and fresh mozzarella. It was delightful, as any combination of cheese + egg normally is.

On the side, I had a piece of millet bread with some tomato paste spread on top. It looked absolutely hideous, so I didn’t take any direct pictures of it. You might be able to spot it in the background of this upcoming picture, but I suggest you instead focus your attention on the omelet. It’s significantly more appealing.

After my omelet dinner, it was obvious to me that I needed more dairy for dessert. I mean, I had just consumed my most dairy-tastic dinner in weeks. The only thing that could make the meal more balanced was some more dairy.

Duh.

I busted out the TJ’s tart fro yo, and enjoyed a serving with some raw chocolate sauce (1.5t hazelnut agave + 1/2t cocoa powder) drizzled on top. Like an ice cream sundae, but way healthier.

It stood absolutely no chance.

Done.

Must get to bed before Dave starts forcing me to do more chaturangas.

Wait, what?

My mind is not operating like it usually does.

Anyway, I’m hoping that I shall return to you a little less loopy in the morning.

Question: What’s your favorite yoga pose?

I’m all about pigeon and tree. Pigeon because it opens up my tight hips like no other pose can, and tree because it makes me feel centered and strong!