Spring Daydreams & Plans

2 Apr

Hi everyone! It’s been two weeks since I posted, but it seems like forever. I missed you!

These past couple weeks have been hectic, to say the least. Work is extremely busy, and paired with my training schedule (and trying to maintain somewhat of a social life), it’s been quite the journey. But I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up with workouts, and last Saturday, I ran six miles for the first time in a while, and it felt great. I almost forgot the sense of accomplishment that comes with running for a full hour.

And thankfully, my running buddy and I got our run out of the way before the crazy snow came! What in the world was that all about? I know earlier this year I wrote a blog post about how we should all stop complaining about the cold weather, but now it’s official. I’m over it.

And most importantly, so is Timmy. I mean, just look at that face! He wants absolutely nothing to do with it. Unamused.

Seriously? This stuff again? I've forgotten what grass looks like.

Seriously? This stuff again? I’ve forgotten what grass looks like.

And just like that, the skies cleared, and it was warmer. The warm breeze and sun yesterday got me thinking Spring. Here are a few things I plan to do to make this season a great one:

  • Go to the zoo. I want to take Nick’s niece to see all the animals. The zoo is always fun, but even more so with little kids!
  • Clean and organize. Warmer weather inspires me to Spring clean. I can’t wait to throw my windows open and get my entire place sparkling.
  • Have a drink on a patio. Nothing beats the warm sun on your face and a margarita in your hand.

    Or this. This will do too.

    Or this. This will do too.

  • Run, run, run! It will be SO nice to not bundle up for our Saturday morning runs and get stung with the cold air. Bring on the shorts.
  • Find a new home! It’s time, people! We’re starting the search this Friday, and by early summer, I’ll be saying goodbye to my bachelor(ette) pad. Bitter sweet.
  • Drink iced coffee! After every Saturday run, we go to Dunkin’ Donuts, but it’s been so cold lately, I haven’t had it in me to get my drink iced. I can’t wait to go back to my tried and true!

    Spring 2013 in Athens, Ohio. Ahhh...

    Spring 2013 in Athens, Ohio. Ahhh…

What can’t you wait to do this Spring?

Have a great week!

My Top 5 CLE Spots & Week 4 Check-In

19 Mar

Hey everyone! It’s been a busy week so far, and it’s only halfway through! Above all, I’m so happy that the sun was shining yesterday. Even though it was quite chilly in the evening, I got out for a 3-miler, and it was so worth it! I saw my turkey neighbor again, but she kept her distance and all was good. Maybe we’ve come to a mutual understanding: You leave me alone, I don’t scream so loud your ears ring for days.

Last week’s training was a little bit lighter. I did an hour of yoga on Monday and Thursday, followed by a 2-miler Saturday. This weekend, we’re stepping it up with a 5-miler, and I’m so excited. We’re halfway through the training schedule!

That said, has everyone visited www.thisiscle.com?  I may be behind the curve, but I recently stumbled upon it and was so inspired. I love my city, and it’s great to see a website that is dedicated to our great home. A local blogger posted her five favorite places in Cleveland, so it got me thinking about my top five. Here goes nothing! In no particular order…

  1. Jacob’s Field. I don’t care if it’s now technically Progressive Field, it’s still “The Jake” to me. I have nothing but fun memories there, and let’s be honest: dollar hot dogs, ice cold beer and baking in the sun watching the Indians is a combo that can’t be beat. Sigh. I can’t wait for summer.

    The hottest Indians game EVER (July 4, 2012)

    The hottest Indians game EVER (July 4, 2012)

  2. Lakewood Park. Living so close to this Cleveland gem is truly a blessing. The park is beautiful, and the views of downtown and the lake are breathtaking—especially in the winter. Some of my favorite nights include strolls through the park watching the sunset.
  3. East 4th Street. Every time I go to East 4th, I’m reminded how cool this city is. Great restaurants, a comedy club and wine on tap (hellloooo, Greenhouse Tavern). I’m always guaranteed a fun night and a good crowd.
  4. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Ever year since I was little, my family would go to the zoo. I never realized how great the Cleveland zoo was until I visited others—we have one of the best! My little tip: Go on a day that’s not a scorcher. Your nose will thank you.
  5. Tartine. This little wine bar/restaurant is one of my favorite romantic spots. I have very sweet memories there, and how can you not? The lighting is dim, the patio has cute little lights and flowers all over. Not many know about this place, but you can always count on wonderful house wine and food.

Ta-ta for now! Have a great week.

What are your top five spots in Cleveland? 

Wild Turkeys and My 10 Miler Check-In: Week 3

10 Mar

This past week was (technically) week three of my 10-miler training program. Here’s a brief summary of my workouts:

Monday: 1 hour yoga flow class

Wednesday: 3-mile run at the gym

Thursday: 1 hour yoga flow class

Saturday: Ran 4 miles

As you can see, I don’t follow the training program exactly and never have. I mainly use Hal Higdon to structure my weekend mileage. First of all, I don’t have the time or interest in working out six times a week. I also like to mix up my workouts and find I run better when I do a mix of strength training with my cardio. So, I do what feels good for me and try my hardest to follow the weekend run pattern.

This week’s lessons:

Sports bras are a must. Not that I didn’t know this already, but when I rushed to yoga after work and realized I hadn’t packed a sports bra, I almost didn’t go. But, knowing my training schedule and wanting to get four workouts in that week, I pressed on. Let’s just say, it was 60 minutes of being uncomfortable. Which is not exactly the state you should be in when trying to find your balance and look out your third eye. I’m packing a couple extra ones in my gym bag so I never forget again.

Wild turkeys exist … in Cleveland. Yes, I’ve seen wild turkeys before. In my grandparents’ backyard on the PA countryside. But on my Saturday 4-miler, my friend and I got chased down by a 4’ wild turkey. We didn’t even realize it until a friendly man driving a Lowe’s truck (I’ll call him our guardian angel) stopped his truck in the middle of the street to flag us down and help us.

I thought Thanksgiving was long gone?  Source: Wikipedia

I thought Thanksgiving was long gone?
Source: Wikipedia

Man, that thing could run. And homie was not looking happy. Supposedly it’s soon to be mating season so they’re extra territorial? I’m just happy we made it out safe without being molested by a turkey. This article says you can “shoo” them away aggressively or spray them with a hose. Good to know for next time.

These energy balls are the best thing ever. I found these on Pinterest and have been making them and eating them as a protein-packed dessert or post-run snack for a couple weeks now. They basically taste like chocolate chip banana bread? And I bet you have all the ingredients in your cabinet right now. I add a scoop of Perfect Fit Protein for an extra punch. Yum!

It was an eventful week, so let’s hope this one is a bit more … subdued. Cheers!

My 30 Before 30

6 Mar

Last week, I mentioned I was in the process of developing a “30 before 30” list. I’m only 27 (my half birthday was earlier this week!), but time is a’ticking to the big 3-0. I don’t know if it’s the organized Virgo in me or my general passion for lists, but when the girls got to talking in Vegas about a 30 before 30 checklist, I squealed a little bit inside.

Source: livingforpretty.com

Source: livingforpretty.com

I must say, writing this list was a kind of hard. Thinking of 30 things I want to do is challenging, and the thought of trying to accomplish all of them in 2 ½ years is daunting! However, this list varies from big goals to small ideas I’d love to do. I’m sharing 10 of them below, as some of these goals are personal and just for me, myself and I to know. I strongly encourage you to make a list like this. It really helped me evaluate how I’m spending my time, how much I’ve already accomplished and how much I want to live your best life! Here goes nothing…

A Glimpse of My 30 Before 30 List

  1. Go to Europe again. I’m lucky enough to have gone to Europe twice, but I would love to go again, especially with Nick. Countries on my list to visit are Italy (again!), Spain and Germany. And if I can’t make it to Europe, I hope I get the chance to go somewhere far away from home I’ve never been before. Hawaii? Jamaica? Those will do too.
  2. Make my new house a home. In June, I’m moving in with my man! And it’s a top priority that I make our new place our “home.” My apartment feels like my home now, but I can’t wait to combine our things, create our own style and build our oasis from the ground up. Fair warning: There may be some posts this summer about decorating!
  3. Host a holiday. Once we are in our new home, I’d love to host a holiday. Nothing makes me happier than having all the people I love in my home, laughing, eating and making memories.
  4. Run another half marathon … and PR! I’d like to run at least one more half marathon before I’m 30, and this time, I want to beat my personal record. Perhaps I’ll get a running start with this 10 miler? Pun intended.
  5. Learn how to meditate. I love yoga and have always read about the benefits of meditating, but now it’s time to give it a try.
  6. Get my body to where I want it. And keep it there. I’m close, but once I get to where I want to be, no more falling off the bandwagon. I feel my best when I’m working out and eating clean, so I need to do this for myself.
  7. Save, save, save. Now more than ever, I have things I want to save for—a house to buy, trips to take, a family to build. Time to get hunker down and save some serious dough.
  8. Do something completely out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure what that means, but when the opportunity arises, I’ll know. In the past, I’ve ziplined, climbed up a Swiss mountain, gone rock climbing… and I’ve never regretted any of them. So next time I’m asked if I want to do something exciting, I’m saying YES!

    One of my favorite risks: climbing Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland. View from the top peak ... unreal.

    One of my favorite risks: climbing Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland. View from the top peak … unreal.

  9. Keep this blog going strong. Like I’ve said before, writing for this blog makes my heart happy. And it’s so special to be able to look back on my life and see my thoughts. I want to keep writing and make this blog better and better.
  10. Do a “staycation” in Cleveland. I love my city, but there are so many places I’ve never been! I’d love to take a long weekend, spend a night at a fancy hotel and hit up one of the many great restaurants we have here in CLE. ♡

I hope this list gets you thinking about what you want to do before you turn whatever age.

What’s on your list?

I’m Training for the Cleveland 10-Miler: 8-Week Series

3 Mar

Hello, friends! Today I have a very exciting announcement. In a little under eight weeks, I run my next race: the Cleveland 10 Miler!

That’s right: I’m going back to my roots. Although I’m having fun with yoga, Zumba and HIIT, I feel my best when I’m running. And since (fingers crossed) the weather is going to break soon, I can’t wait to be outside again.

For the next eight weeks, I’ll be loosely following this Hal Higdon plan to prepare and also blogging about my experience! I haven’t run a race since my half marathon in October, so I’m excited to follow a training regime again.

Rounding the corner to finish my first half marathon in 2011

Rounding the corner to finish my first half marathon in 2010

I always feel best when I’m training for a race. It gives me purpose to my weeks, knowing that after work and on the weekends I’ll be moving closer toward my goal. Not to mention that the 2012 Cleveland 10 Miler was my best race I’ve run. My friend and I finished averaging 9:50 miles. Not medal-winning by any means, but a best in my book!

I’ll go more into my personal “best practices” for training throughout the series, but some quick tips I’ve learned in the past include:

  • Focus on “foot time”: This is a tip a runner friend gave to me when I was training for my first half. If you’re scheduled to run six miles one day but can only actually run five, walk the other one mile. Your training is about being on your feet and moving for that distance. So don’t get down on yourself if you have a bad run and can’t complete your mileage at a running pace. You still traveled six miles on foot!
  • Fiber is your friend: I don’t know about you, but I get hungry when I’m training. It actually led to me gaining almost 10 pounds when preparing for my full marathon! Eat food that fills you up so you’re less likely to binge on something unhealthy. My favorite foods while training include bananas, Greek yogurt, beans, whole-grain bread for sandwiches and big spinach salads. You work hard when you train, and the last thing you’d want is for your body not to reflect it!
  • Get the gear: Training for a race is not the time to buy cheap gear. Really invest in good running shoes, a quality sports bra, sweat-wicking shirts and a nice pair of running pants. Your body will thank you when it’s not chafed and blistered.
  •  Take it all in: Always find time to be proud of yourself. A training plan is a time for you to really reflect on how far you’ve come. It’s amazing what you can do this week that you weren’t able to do last week. Be sure to take some time to enjoy the journey and revel in what you’re capable of. You’re amazing, and you’re proving it every day!

This race, I want to concentrate on feeling good and keeping a quick pace. In the past, when I’ve focused on my strength training and incorporated a lot of cross training into my weekly workouts, it’s helped me with my speed. I’ll be doing a mix of running, yoga and HIIT in the next few weeks. And every week, I’ll be giving you updates on my workouts, snacks and everything in between, to get me to April 26. Join me on my journey!

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday Morning Splurge: Apple Crisp Pancakes

28 Feb

It’s Friiiiiiiiiday! Can I get a “hell yeah”?!

OK, guys. All week, we’ve been good. We’ve eaten enough spinach salads to choke a horse. We’ve chugged coffee on our morning commute and shoved a quick, healthy snack in our mouths in between meetings. We’ve ran and practiced yoga and went to spinning class and done our HIIT workouts. We’ve worked HARD. And now, the weekend is almost here.

Weekend mornings are my favorite for a number of reasons. On Saturday mornings, I’ll get up, grab a quick, small breakfast and then go for a long run with one of my best friends. After that, we usually hit up a local coffee shop and enjoy a cup of coffee while catching up on the week’s events.

But Sunday morning. Ah, Sunday morning. You’re so easy (sorry, I had to). Sundays I (typically) sleep in a bit and then make us breakfast. I don’t do anything extravagant, but anything beyond my  weekday oatmeal-to-go feels indulgent. And if it includes bacon, my man is game.

One of my favorite breakfasts to make is pancakes. They’re easy, quick and there are about 100 different ways you can make them. Just a few things I like to add include pumpkin, dark chocolate chips, blueberries honey, cinnamon, protein powder (not all together) … the list is endless.

Drool-worthy. Source: lmld.org

Drool-worthy.
Source: lmld.org

Here is a yummy pancake recipe from my sister that tastes like dessert but won’t knock you off track with your diet. I like to top them with peanut butter for an extra kick of protein—who doesn’t love PB and apples?

Apple Crisp Pancakes

  • 1 ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix made according to directions (You can use any pancake mix. I didn’t use gluten free for any specific reason, but they turned out really good this way.)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 small apple or ½ a medium apple, chopped in very small pieces
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • Brown sugar and pure maple syrup (for topping)

Make pancake mix according to directions. Fold in the rest of the ingredients, and add a tablespoon of extra milk at a time if the consistency is too thick. Spray non-stick pan with cooking spray and cook  about 3 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown. Sprinkle with brown sugar and maple syrup and enjoy!

Leftovers: Stick a leftover pancake in the toaster for a quick healthy breakfast during the week!

Enjoy, and have a great weekend. You deserve it.

I Can do Anything for 20 Minutes: My First HIIT Experience

25 Feb

“I can do anything for [insert timeframe here].”

This is one of the mantras I’ve said over and over again to myself during my all my races. It’s what got me through the last leg of my marathon (“I can do anything for another hour.”) and what I say in any less-than-ideal situations (ie. a long flight or a doctor’s appointment). And so is the theme for HIIT—high-intensity interval training.

HIIT is a growing fitness trend, and after trying my first HIIT workout last night, I can understand why.  I’m sure many of you have done it already, but I’m new to the scene. And I have to say, after completing this routine, I’m hooked. Side note: To get a full workout in, I’d pair this video with a 30-minute run or do these circuits twice through.

I’m the type of person that if I don’t leave a workout drenched in sweat and out of breath, I don’t feel like I made good use of my time. I blame it on being a runner. HIIT gets your heart pounding right away. You give it your absolute all for a certain period of time (usually 30 seconds or less) and then take a quick break before doing it all again. Because these high-intensity intervals are paired with quick breaks, it’s good for your ticker.

Here's a HIIT workout I plan to try later this week.  Source: popsugar.com

Here’s a HIIT workout I plan to try later this week.
Source: popsugar.com

Why else do I love it so much?

I can do it in my apartment. Guys, this weather is starting to wear on my gym motivation. And after a long day at work and an even longer commute home, the last thing I want to go is leave my home again to fight the cold and snow. Plus, there’s usually no equipment involved with HIIT—just your body weight. But that doesn’t mean it’s not VERY challenging (can you say tricep pushups with a kick-back?)!

It’s quick. In the summer when I want to go outside and run, I want to dedicate most of my time toward that, not lifting weights at the gym. So this workout is the perfect supplement to the cardio I love to do so I can still get strength training in my weekly routine. Which leads me to…

It builds muscle. One of my goals is to not necessarily lose a ton of weight, but to tighten up. But I’ve always struggled with building muscle, because frankly, it’s not as fun to me as some cardio (running, spinning, etc.). I want buns of steel, ya catch my drift? HIIT is the perfect combination of cardio and strength training.

So I’m off in search of other HIIT workouts to fill my schedule. Have you tried HIIT? If so, what workout is your favorite?

Right now, I’m in the process of building a “30 before 30” list with some of my friends. I’ll be sharing some of my to-do’s next week … stay tuned!

Anchored in CLE

One girl's adventures in Northeast Ohio.

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