Monday, April 30, 2012

FMM: Cooking Habits

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Cooking Habits

1. What is your favorite meal to prepare at home? That's hard to say because I find preparing new meals to be the most fun.  Eating, well, there are certainly plenty of old favorites, but I guess I'd say my favorite thing to make at home is something new that I'm preparing for friends.  I usually put a lot of thought into my New Year's resolutions every year, and for the last several years, I've pressed myself to host dinner parties at home with home-cooked food.  So when it's a dinner party day, it usually means hubby is helping me prep things, I'm frequently following a new recipe, I'm excited about a fun night to follow, even if the food is a flop.  I'm usually more stressed than I'd like, but it's all part of the process. 

2. Do you like to experiment in the kitchen, or do you prefer to stick to the basics? I think my answer is right in between -- I like to experiment if I have a recipe.  I'm not very good at improvising (maybe that will improve as I cook more), but I love reading and following (or attempting to follow) a new recipe. 

3. What is your favorite cookbook?  Currently I'm primarily using 1,001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes and Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  My all-time favorite cookbook is probably my own.  I'm working on the index but over the last couple years, I've been working on compiling, annotating, and indexing my favorite recipes, most of which I've received from family or friends, but a few have come off the internet too. 

4. Do you have any tricks to share that help you reach your fruits and veggies goal for the day?  It's usually not hard for me.  Most days I have a smoothie in the morning with spinach and frozen fruit.  On weekdays, for snacks at work I always take at least 1 fruit (usually 2) and at least one spinach-cheese wrap or pita (usually 2).  If I eat a frozen meal for lunch (usually the case since I usually eat at my desk and work through lunch), unless it's a frozen pizza, I always supplement it with a single serving bag of peas (single serving my @ss; peas are one of my favorite foods so I think a serving is much bigger than they do).  Most nights we have some veggies for dinner, usually followed by either Greek yogurt with fruit or just plain fruit for dessert. 

5. What’s the most interesting thing you made last week?  I tried cooking seitan for the first time.  I still need to post the recipe, but it was Greek-influenced and made in the crockpot, which meant it was nice to come home to effortless dinner. 

6. How often do you watch cooking shows on TV?  I'd say never, unless you count an occasional cooking segment on the Today Show that I see.  Most cooking shows aren't vegetarian, and looking at or thinking much about raw meat completely grosses me out. 

7. When you’re hungry, where are you most likely to look first?  Just out of habit, I usually open the fridge.  But if it's not meal time, I usually end up getting something from the pantry, most frequently a single-serve bag of microwave popcorn.  But if it's meal time, I forage first in the fridge. 

8. List a few healthy staples that can always be found in your kitchen.  It's funny because we call our staples our bananas.  Since my husband does the shopping, there was a big learning curve to get us on the same page.  If he ran out of one of his staples, he'd make a quick trip to the store to pick it up mid-week.  His staples are basically bananas, cereal, milk, canned tuna, greek yogurt, tomatoes, honey, granola and blueberries.  It seems that he's most likely to run out of bananas.  Well, it drives me crazy if we run out of one of my staples and it doesn't get replaced, so now if I'm out of one of my staples, I ask him to buy my "bananas" (though I hate bananas).  My "bananas" are English muffins, soy milk, spinach, frozen fruit of some kind, pita bread or wraps, and cheese crumbles (not picky, usually feta, blue or goat). 

9. Are you motivated to cook at home even when you’re eating alone?  Yes for lunch, but not for dinner, though when I lived alone, it wasn't hard.  Now on nights when I'm alone, I tend either to get carry out or to heat up something frozen or instant (like those microwave-able Indian food packets), rather than cooking anything.  I guess the one exception is mac and cheese, which I make myself for lunch sometimes on Fridays when I work from home and occasionally for a solo dinner.

10. How often do you try new recipes? Usually about once a week.

Now it’s your turn to share. Don’t forget to go back to Kenlie’s blog to link up in the comments!


I just finished reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, a lawyer-turned-writer and there were several parts of it that stuck with me.  One of them was the importance of having close friends and spending time with people. 

It's odd, because I feel like "social time" has to be carefully balanced for me.  If we have plans every night for many nights in a row, all I want to do is have a night at home. 

But this weekend was a good balance -- time at home and time out with friends.

Friday I worked from home and took the day off from working out.  Got a fair amount of work done, then we went to my bestie's house and went to the Rangers game with her and her husband, where we met up with another friend and her husband.  The two guys other than my husband are both huge baseball friends, but my husband really isn't a sports guy, so I was a little worried he wouldn't have fun.  But I think we all had a great time.  Hubby and one of the other guys talked shop a lot, and the Rangers lost in a MAJOR way, but there were fireworks after the game and lots of laughs.

Saturday morning was the beginning of my road back to normal running.  One of my best running buddies just got his BQ last weekend -- for a guy my age, that means basically running a 7:03 per mile pace.  So in short, he is what I consider to be smoking fast.  We obviously didn't run together this year -- while he was training for his BQ, I was going the opposite direction -- slowing my pace more and more to accommodate the weight vest. 

Even in recovery mode, given my slow road back to non-weighted running, I think it was tough for him to run with me.  Which stinks.  We've run together for years, and I love talking to him, but he's just too speedy for me.  But we made it through 6 miles together -- I made him talk most of the time so I could focus on just catching my breath.  Haha.  It worked.

After the run, we met up with his wife, who'd gone walking at the lake, and we all decided to go out to breakfast together.  My running friend's wife is great, and so much fun to talk to, though I've only spent time with her recently.  So the breakfast was great.  Hubby didn't join us though because he'd drug his feet on grocery shopping, so that was his Saturday morning plan.

After breakfast, I got back home around 10:30 and got to take a little nap and read while waiting for the groceries.  We unloaded, did a bit of cleaning, a bit of relaxing, a Lifetime movie, and some cooking. 

Our Saturday evening plans were going to the local Italian meet-up picnic, back at the same lake where I'd been running in the morning.  We grilled out and enjoyed an awesome potluck (yeah, Italians are the right people to party with!), and got to spend the evening speaking Italian, including with a few people who are visiting the US and know less than a dozen words of English.

Lovely night!

Yesterday was good too.  Started off with my last long group run (9 miles, tapering), then our training group had a little tailgate party.  The rest of the day was kind of a blur.  Laundry, cleaning, organizing, reading, etc.  I managed to finish the book for book club, and then went to run errands, including a much-needed trip to Goodwill to drop off a few bags of donations.  I have a lot of work to do in terms of decluttering, but even doing a little bit is progress, and I'll take it.  Then we had book club last night at a friend's house.  Great meal, lots of fun talking, though not as many people read the book as I'd hoped, considering that I had a lot of thoughts about it.  But after most of the crowd left, one other woman (a former co-worker) and I stayed with the hostess and sat outside drinking wine and talking for another hour. 

Lovely evening again, and an overall lovely weekend.  Lots of time with friends.  Maybe not as relaxing as a less social weekend, but more memorable and it's likely true that it boosts happiness more. 

Fun stuff! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Running with the Stars

A bonus to working from home on Fridays: when a message goes out on Facebook among some running groups in which you and friends are involved about a late morning Friday run with a celebrity, you have the option to rearrange your day around that run.

I heard that Dean Karnazes was going to be in town last week, so last Friday, that's what I did! 

There was a group photo, then a group run from the big sports arena basically up to my house, then back, and then he was doing a TV clip, then the whole group was going out to lunch.  I knew that wasn't going to work for me because it was going to take up the whole morning and I'm already pretty swamped at work.  Instead I decided I'd skip the picture and the run toward my house.  I got a friend who was doing it all to text me when they started running, then I just went to meet them near my house.  We all stood around at the water stop by my house, then I ran with Dean and the local running group back to the big sports arena, then I headed home.  It was really raining, so after a mile or so, I called hubby to come pick me up.  I was back at work less than an hour later, and because I was working from home, no hurry to change out of my sweaty running clothes!

Here are some photos from the day. 

Dean in motion (my favorite pic):

Standing around at the water stop on the trail.

Another group motion shot -- he runs really fast!  While I was running with him and talking to him, we were going sub-8s and he was breathing easy, barely sweating, and answering all kinds of questions and talking to people.  Crazy!

Not sure what he was talking about here.

Dean in Dallas:

I still don't know how to add pics from my cell phone and have them go in order, but this one should have been first -- the scene on the trail as I was running up to meet the group.  Not a typical sight for a Friday morning around 10:00. 

I was surprised by the response.  Lots of people decided to take the day off so that they could run with Dean.  And I'm sure lots of people did what I did -- rearranged the day so they could run in the late morning, and then get back to work. 

It was a neat opportunity.  One of the most memorable things he said was that when he's running a long distance, he doesn't think about how far he has to go.  He doesn't think about running the mile he's in (that's common advice given to marathoners, I also hate that idea).  He doesn't think about getting up the hill or to the next landmark.  He thinks about the very next footfall, telling himself it will be the best of the day.  Then he goes on to thinking about the next footfall. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work Stress

I've posted multiple times I think in the last year or so about how much I enjoy my job and the balance I have now between my job and the rest of my life.  After about a decade of working as an attorney without that balance, I appreciate it even more now.  But last week something very stressful happened at work that I can't really talk about as it's not yet public.

But for anyone who has seen Office Space, I basically have to talk to "the Bobs" this week. 

Almost like interviewing for my own job.  Ugh.  I'm not overly concerned about anything, I feel like I do my job well, but change is change and there is a lot of uncertainty for everyone right now.  Stresssss...

The good news is that I'm going to yoga after work tonight, which is likely exactly what I need. 

Anyway, can't write more both so I don't say too much and so I can show my face bright and early at work to make a good impression...

Monday, April 23, 2012


I had a lovely and relatively quiet weekend.  Long run was only 12 miles which was so nice.  The big excitement was a fire in our oven.  I should have probably let it burn out, but we have a gas stove and I was nervous so I used the fire extinguisher.  Yikes.  That stuff went EVERYWHERE.  I mean, white, sandy powder everywhere in the kitchen.  Maybe a quarter inch deep in the oven, but a light coating on all countertops, cabinets, floors, etc.  Ugh.  Just what I wanted to spend my weekend doing -- deep cleaning everything in the kitchen.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  Glad it never became more serious.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Q & A
1. Share one thing that has changed about you since you began blogging.  I had a long-term fitness goal (qualifying for Boston), that finally happened in October 2010, and that has changed my perspective a lot on how I look at my goals, and how I challenge myself. 

2. If you were forced to give up chocolate or potato chips for an entire year which one would you choose to live without? I could probably do either without too much trouble.  I guess I'd rather give up chocolate?  I don't know, tough call... 

3. What’s more attractive:  A man in a suit, or a man in uniform? Hmm, depends on the day, but I think I'd usually say uniform. 

4. If you could be a guest star on a reality show which one would it be?  Hmm, this is much easier to answer in the negative.  Not Hoarders, not I didn't know I was pregnant, not Locked up Abroad!  I guess I'd want to be on something like Amazing Race or House Hunters International.

5. What is the last meal that you prepared for yourself?  I made a box of mac and cheese for lunch yesterday, and then I heated up Indian food for us for dinner last night.  But this morning I'm in the middle of making slow-simmered seitan stifado that will be in the crockpot today.  Thought something Greek might be nice tonight! 

6. Is your hair colored, or is it natural?  Natural.  Absolutely 100%.  As in never ever been colored.  I guess I used lemon juice a few times about 20 years ago, but my mom never let me color my hair and now I just don't want to start.  I don't know if I don't want to see vain, I don't want to be like everyone else (feels like 80% of women in Dallas are dyed blonde), if I'm lazy or cheap, or if I'm just happy with myself the way I am. 

7. If you could leave town today and go anywhere, where would you go?  My default answer is to southern Italy.  But right now I think I'm in more of an Africa mood -- I'd love to be on safari again.  Getting up early, watching animals, eating lunch and having tea, then a lovely little nap before going to watch more animals.  Maybe I'm feeling a little antisocial today!  But my husband has never been on a safari (actually, the only place he's been in Africa is Liberia, so he doesn't have a favorable impression of the continent), so it would be nice if we could do that today.  Just us, a driver, maybe a few other tourists.  No meetings, no phone calls, just spectacular nature and animals.

8. Do you prefer to exercise at the gym, at home or outside?  In order of preference:  outside, gym, home.  I would say I work out outside 99% of the time.  I hate the gym and I never work hard enough at home.

9. Have you ever asked someone out on a date? I can’t remember ever doing it, but I know I've hinted.

10. How many cups of coffee do you drink on an average day? I have a double espresso at home most mornings.  No regular coffee under any circumstances.  No espresso or any other coffee drink anywhere in the US other than at home (unless we pack our Moka with us on vacation). 

11. Do you pack lightly, or do you over pack?  I'm usually just about right.  Even for several weeks in Europe, I try not to check luggage, so that means I pack very efficiently.  But based on my last trip (lovely Indianapolis about 2 weeks ago), I'd have to say I overpack -- three days worth of workout gear packed but never worn! 

12. What color are your nails now? Unpolished, decently shaped.  I'm not a fingernail polish person on any given day. 

13. If you could have lunch with one notable (living) person who inspires you who would it be?  Hampton Sides, the author.  I've enjoyed so many of his books so much and would love to hear about the research that didn't make the cut. 

14. Who is your favorite professional athlete?  Hmm, I am going to post about meeting a fun pro athlete (which I got to do on Friday), but even that can't take away my love of Meb Keflezighi!  Can't wait to watch him give it his all in London. 

15. Gum or mints?  Mints I guess becaue I hate hearing people chewing gum, but usually I don't like either.  I'd rather just brush my teeth. 

16. Have you ever eaten crawfish?  Never.  Seafood allergy.  But I've gone to a crawfish boil annually for about 6 years now.  One of my husband's coworkers always has a big party.

17. List one or more human characteristics that are a complete turn-off.  Someone who is not dependable.  I hate people flaking on plans, not being reliable, not following through. 

18. What is your favorite season?  My whole life my answer would have been summer.  Then I moved to Texas.  Now I'd say fall -- the weather in the fall here is much like it is in the summer up north.  But really, I still like summer and I like spring too.  I just hate being cold. 

19. Do you prefer to shake hands or hug?  It depends.  Given my current finger status (broken I think), I hate shaking hands and of course I'm not going to hug people at work.  So I guess I'd say neither.  With close friends and family, definitely hugs, but for most friends, even pretty good friends, I'm pretty happy with no physical contact.  But when my finger is in its normal state, I am fine with shaking hands with most people I encounter. 

20. Can you quote lines from Saved by the Bell from memory? If so, what’s your favorite?  Nothing comes to mind, but I definitely watched the show way longer than I would have liked.

Now it’s your turn! Take a few moments to post your answers, then go back to to link up in the comments!

Happy Monday Friends!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It is Official

I'm a certified running coach! I took the class a couple months ago, but after that I had to take the test and get my first aid certification (I already had CPR). And then there was processing time, plus the fact that we check our mail rarely and actually open what we get even more rarely.

Woot! Years ago, I would have wondered about what I could do with this (I wanted out of the practice of law that much!), but now it's just nice to have.

I coach runners through a great local running store, so it's nice to feel like I really know what I'm talking about, instead of just basing something on my opinion after 100 road races, 15 marathons, nearly a decade of running, whatever. Lawyers like proof and I guess this is proof that I kind of know my $hit!

Sorry if the pic is sideways. Don't know much about blogging from my phone. If only I could get certified in that...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pre-marathon in New Mexico

So it's a bit belated now, but I'm finally getting around to puttin up some pictures from my big trip to New Mexico for the marathon.  I took about a million pictures before and during the race.  These probably won't be quite so exciting for anyone who sees this kind of scenery regularly and lives near mountains, but for a Dallas-dweller, mountains were very exciting for me.

Exciting, but at the same time, not necessarily something you get excited to see as you drive toward a marathon!  I'm a pancake-flat marathon kind of girl.  Ah well, I was expecting it.  The mountains, the terrain, and to a lesser extent, the distance, were all elements of this race for which I felt under-prepared.  But I did know that I was ready for the weight -- I trained with 35 pounds for almost all of my exercise (except boot camp) for months. 

Anyway, the marathon post will follow, but first, some of the pre-race photos.  Unfortunately, they are out of order, but I'll try to explain them anyway. 

Patriot missile, found at the White Sands Missile Range Museum: 

Mountains!  Taken from the car, very close to where the marathon was:

Eeee!  A little dog in a woman's purse while I was in line at Subway, so tiny:

Fairly self-explanatory if you can read the plaque, at the White Sands Missile Range Museum:

This sign didn't make me happy -- it was at the New Mexico Welcome Center, so still many miles away from where the marathon was held:

Sorry I didn't zoom better, a car picture of the sign as you enter White Sands Missile Range:

A little stop along the road that cuts through White Sands Missile Range, you can see the pretty yellow flowers that were everywhere in the background (and some hills that look deceptively small):

The Veterans Monument in Las Cruces, containing a summary of all major conflicts and for later ones, a list of all soldiers from the area: 

Kind of disturbing -- but hard to see -- a feed lot that was along the highway, tons of cows all standing in the mud and most of them were all packed in together -- might have made me a vegetarian if I wasn't already: 

Just an example of one of the display plaques at the White Sands Missile Range Museum, with a disappointing typo that should have been caught by spellcheck, if not a proofreader before it was engraved on metal and mounted -- what is this world coming to?:

Getting to White Sands National Monument: 

Another missile on display at the White Sands Missile Range Museum

More feedlots along the highway, shows better how tightly packed the poor cows were: 

Clearly just a car photo taken in shock and awe of the mountains: 

Finally, a good pic, White Sands National Monument, beautiful soft white beachy sand in the middle of nowhere: 

At the White Sands Missile Range Museum, they're listening...

A better panorama of the many missiles on display at the White Sands Missile Range Museum, many of the more colorful and interesting ones are from the early 50s, when we were doing lots of experimenting about what worked and how:

The marathon was on the other side of these distinctive mountains.  They're called the Organ Mountains because they look like organ pipes:

Another shot of the overall display at the White Sands Missile Range Museum: 

Driving inside the White Sands National Monument: 
More mountains, heading up over the pass; Las Cruces was on one side, White Sands Missile Range (and the marathon) was on the other side: 

Because there are lots of Spanish-speakers in El Paso! (taken at the airport): 

Las Cruces Veterans Monument:

There you have it!  A marathon race report with photos will be coming too. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three years

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary! 

That meant we were extra sweet to each other all day.  Lots of lovey text messages and phone calls while we were both at work.  Pretty flowers on my desk.  A gift from me to him (leather is the theme for year three, and that is a tough one -- he got two belts and a new wallet).  A gift from my parents, a card from our neighbors, and cards to each other.  Dinner at a lovely restaurant less than a block from our house.  Special champagne after our meal.  Then back at home, leftover wedding cake that we had ordered and eaten last Friday for our "rehearsal dinner anniversary" dinner party for friends.

Woo-hoo!  When I think back to some of the guys I dated, whew, I feel like I dodged a bullet.  My husband is infinitely sweeter than I deserve.  I'm a lucky girl!  So, so, so glad I found the right one. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Friend Workout

I have this awesome friend from running -- she is faster and older than I am, so the perfect role model.  She hasn't had it easy -- major losses in her family, weight loss, and more, but she has the absolute best attitude.  A fair number of my friends have kids, so they're all moms, but in many ways, she represents "mom-like" characteristics to me more than most.

The best example is of course from my own mom.  One day my mom was undertaking her first marathon with a friend, and my sister-in-law, my then future sister-in-law (now officially my sister-in-law), and I all ran the half.  My mom did not have a good day and she didn't finish.  It was a very small race.  She was used to taking Advil before she ran, and she'd forgotten that morning.  The weather was not good (snow in mid-May).  And she was in last place -- police car following right behind her.  And while this would be no big deal in a big race, there was no one else around her.  So she stopped.  She was hurting.  She called home for a ride and then turned to tell the police officer to go follow someone else as her husband was coming to get her and she was done.  She went home, showered, changed, and then was waiting at the finish line to cheer me and my brothers' girls on. 

How in the world did she do that?  I'm still in awe.

I guess it's a mom thing.  Putting aside her own goals for her kids' happiness and just being proud of them.  I feel like that's par for the course for many moms, but at a certain point, we're all grown up and there's no reason for her not to put herself first.  But my mom still does. 

And I guess that's the thing with many of my friends with kids -- I see them as friends first.  They complain about their kids sometimes.  They worry about their own performance while running.  They're kind of just like normal people without kids.

But not this friend -- she seems like a mom through and through.  Not to say she doesn't push herself or worry about her performance or complain about her kids.  But it's more like she's a kind of mothery friend.  I've had this sense about her since I met her, but this week might be the best example.

She has been injured for about 3 months.  Femoral stress fracture, and an accompanying labrial tear.  Not good.  12 weeks of pool running and feeling generally miserable, like she'd lost a big part of her identity.  So no Boston for her a couple days ago -- but she was there watching the winners, tracking all our friends, and sending them encouraging messages and congratulations at the finish.  She is just so self-less.  She's a wonderful, caring, honest, funny and determined woman.

This morning she came to boot camp with us for the very first time. 


Boot camp is hard for anyone to start.  It wouldn't have mattered if she'd started a year ago, right when she was at her Boston training peak, it's just different from running and many other cross-training things.  Hubby and I still remember wondering if we'd ever walk again without pain when we first started.  And even now, if we just go to Italy for a couple weeks and try to work out while we're there, the first few times back at camp leave us hurting.

When we're in our usual routine, neither of us gets too sore.  Occasionally we'll do something new or a much higher number of reps, and some isolated muscles will hurt.  For me, I'm most likely to get sore in my triceps.  For hubby, it's his legs -- either quads or hamstrings, sometimes gluts.  But for the most part, we'll get through any given workout intact.  But not to say we never modify exercises or something.  We've just done it long enough that we'll stop to catch our breath when we want, we'll sometimes quit early on one set of a given exercise, or we'll just do an easier version.  It's not like we're bad @sses, but we are experienced at this routine. 

So having our friend there this morning was a funny reminder of what it was like when we started.  She felt out of shape and wanted to quit.  We talked her in to staying, but oh, I know that feeling so well.  Feeling like you can't keep up, feeling like it's too much, feeling like there must be an easier and more painless way to get where I want to go. 

Our camp does a very intense warm-up.  Today, it was something like this:

25 jumping jacks
25 bicycles
25 push-ups
25 mountain climbers
25 killer abs
25 star jumps
25 Russian twists
25 burpees

Then repeat another round.

Intense.  Then we ran.  During the run, she said she was going to leave after the run, she didn't want to over do it.  It took a lot of talking to get her to stay.  To tell her the main part of the workout would be less intense in some ways (we'd be going at our own pace), and it would be more core strength and less cardio.  But she has it in her head that she should be able to do it all, full blast, non-stop, absolute top of her game, leading the pack.  She's just not very forgiving of herself.  I kept telling her the only way to get back is to keep at it.  And she stayed.  She pushed herself, hopefully not too hard.  I kind of wish she'd gone easier, taken a few more minutes for a few breathers.  That might make her more likely to come back again.  I don't want her to get reinjured or be so sore that she doesn't want to do it again. 

Either way, I'm so glad she came with us this morning, I hope she liked getting her butt kicked, but I hope it wasn't discouraging for her.  I hope she knew it was hard for me too.  Two of the exercises we did today were new to me too -- and they hurt.  But she was out there, doing it, and that's what it takes.  And I know she'll get back to where she was, though I know it won't be immediate -- and she knows that, she's coming back very cautiously, started with a slow and easy 2 mile run the other day (though I'm sure it felt neither slow nor easy for her).  But she'll get there, I know with absolute certainty. I really hope she'll join us again for boot camp, maybe even regularly.  First, I love having more friends there.  But second, I think it's a good form of cross-training, a good way to strenghen non-running muscles and to build running strength. 

Anyway, it was fun to look at the workout a bit through the eyes of a newbie.  Ah, so glad I've stayed with it! 

Sorry to be slightly discombobulated today -- I feel like work dominates about 90% of my waking thoughts right now.  And probably about 50% of my sleeping thoughts.  I dream about it all the time lately.  Hope this makes at least partial sense...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rough Marathon Monday

It's been crazy busy at work but I'm hoping there's relief in sight.  But I made the election to work very late last night in order to be able to spend the morning watching the Boston Marathon and tracking my many friends who ran. 

Of my 20 registered friends, 1 was no-go as of weeks ago (injury), 1 was no-go as of when he was supposed to fly out (didn't want to run in that weather), 1 started but didn't finish (sick from an infection she had), and the other 17 finished. 

I felt so bad for them.  Many of them started out strong and then dropped off sharply as the temperatures climbed.  The good news is, given the weather, that was the game plan for many of them.  They decided to run their race as long as they could, and then just relax and enjoy the day when they started to get hot.  But oh, it was still hard to watch.

One friend who is crazy fast ran the first half in 1:26 -- but finished in nearly 4 hours.  It broke my heart for him.  He has to run hard, but when he does it, he can run a marathon in about 2:50.  Crazy, inconceivably fast for 99% of marathoners.  Tough for him too, but he works hard at it.  As several of us were tracking him, we saw his pace slow a bit between 25k and 30k.  But then we waited, and waited, and waited, and there was still no 35k time. 

It reminded me of that movie Apollo 13.  As the time ticked by, we initially thought maybe his chip didn't read at 35k, but we'd see a time at 40k.  But then it was nearly an hour, and there was still nothing.  Then it became major worry he was seriously hurt and/or had been pulled from the race.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  But finally, just over an hour later, his 35k time posted -- just over an hour.  He had dropped from about a 6:30/mile pace to a 20:00/mile pace. 

He finished.  He said he cramped up severely and almost dropped out, but decided to limp it in.  He said even his forearms cramped up. 

But that's just one example.  A couple of my friends had steady and solid races, but all the finish times were much slower than usual.  I think I only know one friend who PRed, and it was only by a few minutes, though she'd trained her butt off.  But for her, it's an even bigger accomplishment.  But it was just sad to know how hard people had trained, all to have it be for a hot, sunny run.  Record high of 87 degrees.  Many friends were 20, 30, 45 minutes off their usual times. 

Most people have just posted brief updates on FB, indicating they were happy to be done and have not needed medical support, but I'm looking forward to having them home and getting to hear all the details.

I know it's just one more elements of the mystique of the marathon -- no matter how well you train, there are so many race-day variables beyond your control.  But oh, so bummed for all of them not to have gotten a great race day.  At least it will be memorable I suppose...

Monday, April 16, 2012

FMM: Life as a Movie

I had an awesome weekend, very relaxing actually, since Friday was insanely hectic -- a day of working, house cleaning, and preparing for a dinner party of TEN!  Yikes!  Thankfully, it was casual so we used everyday plates and silverware, which made clean -up easier -- we have enough china for that but not enough sterling, so it was nice to be more casual and have it all match.  It was actually our rehearsal dinner third anniversary party, so we had the same meal we had at our rehearsal dinner (pizza and fries) with the same people who came to Italy and joined us at our rehearsal dinner (obviously not all of them, but almost all of them who live in Dallas).  We ordered a cake too, so it was a bit of a wedding anniversary celebration too.  So much fun!  But then Saturday, the house was still in order, so no usual cleaning, and we just tried to avoid all errands pretty much.  Sunday was a rainy local marathon.  I went out to cheer for friends in the rain and that kind of blew, but I think they were happy to see me.

Anyway, now it's Monday, and more exciting, it's Boston Marathon Day!  So so so so glad I ran it last year and didn't register again for this year.  The weather isn't going to be pretty for my many friends running today.  But here's the usual Monday post. 

If you’ve taken part in Friend Making Monday, FMM, then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

If life were a movie, which one would you want to live in?  Hmm... I tend to like a lot of unhappy movies, especially WWII movies, so I can't really pick one of those.  Life is Beautiful would be fun if I only lived in the first minute or so. 

Other favorite and maybe more live-able movies?  Hmmm...

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso?  Not old enough yet that I want to look back on my life. 

Before Sunrise?  Made better by knowing there is a sequel, but still, I'd want more than a day. 

Jerry Maguire?  Possibly my favorite movie of all time, despite the fact that I hate sports, I love the message. 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?  Hmm, pretty cold in Narnia.

Dirty Dancing?  A summer fling that can't really go anywhere?  No, I'd want more than that. 

So maybe I should go with something that's not a favorite movie, but seems like more fun to actually live -- that would mean I should go with either a princess movie or a running movie.

Princess Diaries?  If only I liked Anne Hathaway more. And besides, they made her seem pretty awkward and unhappy before she became a princess, and that would be tougher than my relatively mild childhood. 

Pretty Woman?  Mmm, she's still a hooker for a lot of the movie.

One of the movies about Pre?  No, even if I weren't him, I wouldn't want to be close to him and lose him.

Running the Sahara?  Man, that's awesome, but wow, that's a lot of stuff to worry about.  Especially the Libya thing. 

I guess I have to go with the classic... Chariots of Fire.

Chariots of Fire

Running, performing, conquering, and keeping it all in perspective, having a life...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I'm finally back in Dallas, as of late last night, and I must say, while I enjoy my breakfast, that I can't wait to get to work today!

I've been buried lately, and I know today is going to be hectic, but I'm walking into the office as a superstar.

My biggest case was in mediation yesterday, and we settled for what we considered to be a VERY favorable number. 

It made me almost physically ill.  On advice of our local attorney there, he and I walked out of the mediation.  Not good, but ordinarily, not something I would worry would cost me my job or anything.  But here, when I walked out, the number proposed by the other side was well within my acceptable range.  It's very scary to walk away from that, even if walking away will likely mean buying the case for an even lower number. 

The thought of telling my boss though that I walked out on a number that was fine with us... aye, aye, aye.  While it's reasonable to assume that the offer would remain on the table for another week or so, it's not guaranteed. 

As we walked out, we decided to grab a bite to eat and then to call the mediator back and see if the other side would split the difference.  Risky move.  But they said yes, and it all paid off!  We bought it for even less than that original acceptable number. 

That means that I'm walking into the office as a superstar today!  Woo-hoo! 

The tough part was being at the mediation and knowing hubby was home from Italy.  I mentioned that at the mediation at one point -- I was there in good faith to settle this case, and I didn't want to be.  Hadn't seen my husband in nearly 3 weeks, but instead of being at home, I was there, negotiating, working hard to reach a deal. 

Whew!  Unfortunately though, I won't have much time to revel in my stardom and get the high 5s that I expect -- I have two other cases that have been on the back burner and are both getting quite hot and need to be addressed.

Oh, I love my job sometimes!!!  I love that I've decided to do something that keeps me thoroughly mentally engaged, but still gives me time to do non-work things that I enjoy.  My first job (big firm) did the former, but not the latter.  My second job (small firm), did the latter, but not the former.  I love that I feel like I've found the right balance.  And I love it when I feel like I've done my job well! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

FMM: Trigger Foods

I've had the most fabulous and non-lonely weekend ever.  And now it's Monday, so that means that when I fly back home tonight or tomorrow, hubby will be back from Italy! 

I spent tons of time hanging out with my brothers.  I drank too much Friday night and spent most of the day Saturday feeling miserable and laying around.  Little did I know that was my brother's plan -- there were about a million sporting events he wanted to watch on tv -- golf, a couple baseball games, etc., and he was worried how he'd convince his sports-hating big sister to stay inside watching sports on a beautiful day.  Well, a hangover will do that!  But I was really happy he was happy.  And we did tons of fun stuff.  We went to watch UIC play baseball (thought I'd freeze).  We went up to his wife's parents' place Saturday night and then did church and brunch with them on Easter.  We went to see my other bro and more importantly of course, my nieces and nephew.  We hung out a couple nights with my baby bro (and with his wife on the nights she wasn't working).  It was all-around lovely! And now it's Monday, so on to Friend Making Monday! 

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Trigger Foods

Are there foods in your life that always seem to trigger overeating? Yes.

If so, what are they?  About half the things my mom cooks, but other than that, mostly peas and Pringles.  Two foods that I need built-in portion control, or I will eat the whole bag/can. 
When are you most likely to give into strong cravings?  No particular time.  Fortunately I don't grocery shop so we basically never have Pringles at home.  And when I make peas, I'm usually forced to share with hubby, so that helps. 

Are you more likely to be triggered by salty foods or sugary foods?  Salty I think.
How do you get back on track after overeating?  I usually feel sick for a while, but drinking water and working out helps. 
Are there any foods that you allow yourself to eat without limits?  I'd say most foods -- there are very few things I'd want to eat non-stop.  I'm usually good at meals about just eating what is on my plate.

Do you notice a change in your emotions while eating trigger foods?  Mostly regret if I eat Pringles, probably mostly nostalgia if I eat peas -- my brothers used to secretly put their peas on my plate at dinner when we had them, so I'd end up eating 60% of the family pea portions.  In turn, they took all kinds of nasty foods off my plate!  On the rare occasion I let myself make and eat a whole big bag of frozen peas alone, I call my brothers a lot and tell them what I'm eating.  One of my bros STILL hates peas, which I don't get.  But peas aren't something I ever make and eat at work -- when I do, it's a single serving bag. 
Do you have a strategy to keep yourself from overeating trigger foods?  I don't grocery shop (delegated to husband) and I usually eat dinner with him.  Not shopping keeps me away from Pringles, not eating alone keeps me from eating all the peas I want. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Exciting Day! (Still Alive)

Wow, they are estimating that about a dozen tornados may have hit the Dallas area yesterday. I'll try to attach a photo I took on my cell phone of the TV showing where they think they hit.

Our house and my office are both very close to being in the line, but I think the nearest hit was at least 5 miles away.  We're more in the center of Dallas. 

I haven't posted a book review, but one of the books I've read this year is about who survives disaster and why, so I felt like I took it more seriously than I would have a year ago.

As soon as I saw there was a warning, I put my wristlet, car keys and phone in my pockets. As soon as I heard the sirens outside, I grabbed a stack of reading material and a pen, and I went to sit in a stairwell. For the first round of sirens, I was basically the only one sitting there, but I read for about 45 interruption-free minutes! Got through an entire report from counsel and almost all the supporting exhibits. Oddly, it was quite productive. Then the sirens had stopped, so I went back to my office.

I finished my half-eaten lunch and started emailing a response to defense counsel based on the report I'd read.  Then the sirens started again, so I grabbed another stack of documents and went back to my seat in the stairs.  This time the sky was really dark, and the entire office was supposed to evacuate. 

Of course, just like at the big firm where I worked, a vast majority of the attorneys elected to keep working and just shut their office doors, while most of the support staff evacuated to the stairwells. 

Wonder what that says about people.

Anyway, since this was an official evac, there were people in their shiny orange vests and lots of people brought their flashlights (one of the things I learned from 9/11 is that phones work well in a pinch to provide light). 

I do not know a single person in that photo!  In the company where I work, the attorneys are all part of a wholly-owned subsidiary, and we have basically no association with the rest of the company.  None of the people in this pic work for the same sub as I do.  Anyway, during the second evacuation, I didn't get as much work done.  All those people were talking and laughing. 

After about 15 minutes, we were released back to our offices, but I still heard sirens outside, and it was quiet so I could work again, so I stayed alone in the stairwell for about 15 more minutes and did some more reading. 

I could hear hail hitting the roof, but my car was covered (and hubby's car is safe at home; the one time my car had major hail damage, it was parked at the airport and I was out of town).  I left work around 7 (one bonus to having hubby in Italy without me and no dinner plans last night was that I could work late!  very useful since I'm feeling buried and overwhelmed at work), and was a bit nervous about my drive home -- I'd seen on FB lots of people showing downed trees, reporting power outages, etc.  But I made it home quite easily and breathed a sigh of relief when I pushed the garage button in my car and the door raised.  And I was happy enough that the garage door opening happened uneventfully that when I saw hubby's car in the garage, I must have remembered he was gone or I was already happy enough to be safe and sound, because I didn't have the usual let-down I feel lately when I remember that he's not here. 

Only about one more day and I can get out of here, and on to my brother's sweet couch!  I am feeling so homesick and miserable these last few days, I think being away from this empty house and with family will make it so much better. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I wonder how many more times I will drive home, open the garage door, see hubby's car and think "yeah!" before I remember it's just parked there and he's still gone. 

The loneliness is finally hitting me, which is odd, because I had dinner plans last night too with a friend to tell her about the marathon, so it's not like I've even spent much time home alone in the last week.  But I had to go to the grocery store after my run this morning, and that's something I never do.  He left me with a stocked fridge, but I was out of spinach and grapes, so things were getting critical. 

So apparently 10 days is about all I can handle.  At first it was kind of fun, making plans with all kinds of friends, staying up late, watching Lifetime, eating cereal for dinner if I wanted, but now I'm definitely ready for him to be home.  We've been talking every day, so I know he's having so much fun, but I'm ready. 

He texted me a picture yesterday from the town where we got married.  It's about 15 miles from where his family lives, so he went down there for the day and visited with people at the hotel where our reception was and we and our guests stayed. 

Unfortunately when he gets home this weekend, I'll be in Chi-town spending Easter with my bros before I have to work in Indy for hopefully just the first part of next week.  So hopefully just one more week apart...

Maybe I'll try to fly up to Chicago on Wed instead of my scheduled Thurs flight, it would be less time alone.  I know my brothers are planning some fun things.  And now that they're both married, I'm assuming their houses will be much less grubby than when they lived together! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

FMM: When I Was a Kid

I had a lovely weekend.  I wasn't as lonely as I thought I would be.  Hard to believe I haven't seen my husband in over a week already.  I went to a concert and dinner with friends on Friday night (they brought their son, who is a grown-up 12 year old, but it still made for a kind of funny "double date").  I walked 7 miles (with a stop for breakfast around mile 5) with two friends to give them my official marathon recap.  And I spent lots of time sitting around the house, baking cookies, reading and napping.  I also got in a 10 mile group run and one yoga class.  I also saw a chiro after the group run about the nagging pain in my left calf.  He said it's my gastroc -- again.  I wasn't blogging then, but I had major pain in my right gastrocnemius (that's one of the calf muscles) right before the Chicago marathon in 2007 -- I was lucky that I did intense therapy for about 2 weeks and it was under control by race day.  But now, no need for therapy.  Instead, given that the marathon is over (race recap to follow), I'm just going to cut my miles a lot, ice it, and try to take it easy.  Conveniently, that was kind of my plan anyway!  
So now, since it's Monday (and I'm bummed that I missed last weeks' topic), it's Friend Making Monday time.
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

When I was a kid…

  1. My parents told me…that my face would stay that way if the wind changed and I was making an ugly face at one of my brothers.  For some reason, I never questioned this and believed it for way too many years.  Why I didn't think critically that I never saw a single person with a permanent tongue sticking out never entered my little mind.  Why I didn't ask exactly how much wind change would cause this, given the wind does change directions with some regularity, again, is not even something I thought to ask.  
  2. I wanted to grow up to be a… teacher I think, but by the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer.  I used to play school with my little brothers, mostly because I was bossy and as the teacher, I got to tell them what to do.   
  3. I refused to eat… raw tomatoes.  Still hate them.  I also developed my aversion to plain eggs (like scrambled) as a kid, and I still won't eat plain eggs.  I also refused to eat venison, though my dad always chuckled that I'd enjoyed eating it until I knew what it was -- I guess my vegetarian proclivity started quite early.  My brothers used to laugh and call it Bambi.  Among foods that I used to refuse to eat but have now grown to love:  avocados and "real" cheese (I used to like only Velveeta or American, unless it was on pizza). 
  4. My favorite thing to do outside was…  lay out, starting when I was about 12.  I wasn't allowed to dye my hair, but I'd heard lemon juice and sun would lighten it.  I used to always put a big peace symbol earring on my leg in an attempt to create a sun tattoo (since I wasn't allowed to get a real tattoo, given that I was about 12, that probably counts as good parenting).  And funny enough, I still have never colored my hair.  I'm finding gray hairs at an alarming rate now, but I think I'm gradually accepting it and hope to refrain from coloring my whole life.  
  5. I broke my…brother's jaw indirectly.  I never broke any of my own bones, but one time he tried to bike home really fast to watch me eat a miserable dinner that he'd hated (split pea soup!) and I had gotten to skip before softball, and he hit a rock and fell, breaking his jaw and losing about 4 teeth in the process.  The upside -- I stayed home to babysit my younger brothers while my folks were at the hospital so I got to pick my own dinner -- lemon yogurt, pickles, and 7-Up (and soda was a major treat in our house).  I think my brother hated me for at least 5 years after that.  
  6. I liked to wear…the color purple.  One of my favorite outfits was purple corduroy pants and a lavender polo shirt.  
  7. My parents always… ate dinner with us, unless my dad was travelling, and then he'd always call my mom at night.  He used to hate it when we had call-waiting and I was on the phone with friends and I either wouldn't click over or I'd put him on hold for half an hour while I finished my conversation.  I used to get in big trouble for that!  But eventually we got a "kids'" phone line, which was a MAJOR score.
  8. I thought that Santa was…real until about 3rd or 4th grade.  I still remember the color of the car I was in when I asked Mom (again) and she finally told me the truth.  And I remember then following up with questions about the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and, as she'd feared (the reason she didn't want to tell me about Santa, but my dad won and they did), Jesus.  
  9. My favorite cartoon was...Smurfs.
  10. I was the…most argumentative but the best student.
  11. I got in trouble when…I would fight with my brothers.  We used to argue like crazy, particularly me and the next youngest (like I said, he hated me for getting to skip that awful split pea soup dinner). We'd fight about who got to control the tv channel, and everything else.
  12. My bedroom was…generally a mess and I hated cleaning it.  I remember putting down tape and dividing it into about 16 sections and saying I'd clean one at a time.  It also had one stripe of uneven carpet where I'd "trimmed" it after I tried to shake an open bottle of nail polish and it had left a huge streak of stain.  
  13. My favorite food was…steak, peas, macaroni and cheese, and baked potatoes.  I went back and forth between those last two, but steak and peas were ALWAYS my choice for my birthday dinner.  So maybe the dislike of venison was a clue to the fact I'd go veggie, but I guess somehow I wasn't quite enlightened enough to realize that there was no reason to love cows less than Bambi, or Fido for that matter.  But I did love steak...
  14. My parents always made me…clean my plate at dinner.  Or at breakfast if I'd been allowed to go to bed without cleaning it the night before.  
  15. My first crush was…probably Johnny Depp, Randy Travis or Jordan Knight (NKOTB).  Hard to remember who was first.
  16. My favorite toy was…my Cabbage Patch Doll, Claire Carlie, or my Barbie collection.
  17. I thought school was…generally okay, but wow, I loved summer vacation.  
  18. My biggest fear was…no idea.  I don't remember being particularly afraid of anything other than bugs, especially roaches, but also spiders.
  19. My favorite story was…either the Narnia books, the Nancy Drew series, or an obscure English book series we all read as children, the Noddy books.  
  20. My favorite memories…are hard to say.  I was thinking family vacations, but we also had so much fun at home.  And then I was thinking just family time all together, but wow, I loved it when my parents did things with me individually.  I guess I would go with big family monopoly games -- sometimes we'd get soda, and we'd always get to stay up past our bedtimes.  
Now it’s your turn!  Don’t forget to answer the questions on your blog and go back to to link up in the comments!  Happy Monday!