Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goals for March Madness

Happy Leap Year! I'm not really sure if today is a holiday, but let's celebrate anyway! And by celebrate, I mean acknowledge that February is already over and set some goals for March.  

First, let's recap on my goals for February:

1.  Cook more and better meals during the week. Fail. My dinners have definitely not improved.  Anyone have fun interesting recipes they can share to inspire me?
2. Take a kickboxing class. Fail. Let's carry this one over to March.
3. Keep up with yoga. YES! One down! I've been very good about going to yoga at least once, sometimes twice a week.  I did miss it this past Sunday due to my knee injury, however. :(
4. Hydrate better at work. Check! :)I'm very conscious of keeping water with me or taking breaks to get water. 
5. Run at least 70 miles in February. MAJOR fail.  I ran a measly 51 miles this month. I started getting paranoid about my hip, so I cut back running to 3 times a week.  I'm not happy with not reaching my goal, but I'd much rather ward off injury than push myself just to meet a certain mileage.  An healthy runner=a happy runner.

So, I was less than successful in meeting February's goals.  I'll be carrying those into March Madness and adding a few:

1.  Complete my first half-marathon. This is going to happen.  No question! (24 days!)
2. Focus on my upper body strength.  Do at least ONE unassisted pull-up.  I know, that sounds ridiculous.  But to be honest, I was that girl dangling on the rope in gym class and skipping the pull-up part of fitness tests.  I don't think I've ever done a pull-up on my own.  This is the month.
3. Take my dog on longer walks. This will be a tough one, given his stubborn nature and general dislike of walks that go further than one block.  But longer walks will help manage his weight and get me moving a little more too!

3 goals should be enough for March, considering I have 3 fails carrying over from February.  Goodbye, February.  Hello, March Madness. Let's do this!

What are your goals this month?  How do you celebrate your accomplishments or manage your failures?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

9 Miles & 2 Scraped Knees

Severe wind warning? Maybe I should've taken this as a sign to not run today.  

But I didn't.  I have skipped too many runs the past two weeks because I've been exhausted from my internship, so I knew I had to get this long run in.  I'm getting pretty bored with my runs around Astoria park and fed up with the stop lights when I venture further into Astoria.  So after adding a new RockMyRun mix onto the iPhone, I drove over to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  AKA where I'll be completing my first half-marathon!

I've only ever driven by Flushing Meadows park, so I really had no idea where I was going to run.  Which is why my 9 miles ended up looking like this:

what a mess..

I parked near the Queens Theater and decided to just explore the park. There's a lot of stuff to see and do (botanical garden, soccer fields, skate park, lakes, etc) so I had plenty to look at.  Which is probably why, around mile 1, I bit it. HARD.  I'd like to say it was the wind that knocked me over, but it was just me-not paying attention to my surroundings.  Some parts of the concrete path were buckled and cracked, and I tripped.  Maybe I'm too excited for baseball season, because I did a sweet head first slide...leaving me with 2 scraped knees and a bruised ego.

After peeling myself off the concrete and assuring the sweet old man behind me I was fine, I decided to keep going.  I was determined to get this damn run in!  Over the next 8 miles, I did my best to ignore the throbbing pain in my knees by playing tourist in my own city and checking out the sites (while being careful to watch my steps!).

USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center
I've heard some pretty cool people play tennis here sometimes.  I've played tennis a few times. I even own a racket.  But I stink.  So I'll leave it up to the professionals.

Oh, heyyy Unisphere.
The Unisphere, a symbol of peace built for the 1964 World's Fair(see how much you can learn during a run...), is probably the coolest thing at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.  It's giant and shiny and I can't wait to see it again after I run 13.1 miles!

Even with my falling mishap, I finished my very slow 9 miles in about 1 hr 35 minutes (~10:30 pace).  I wore my fuel belt, taking in a total of 24 oz of fluid-2 bottles of water and 1 bottle of Gatorade.  I also took a Vanilla Bean Gu around mile 5.  

All in all, a good long run for me.  My knees are hurting of course, but now I'm all cleaned up and bandaged, looking forward to yoga and an Oscar party tomorrow!

Happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Seltzer & Stretching

Oh, Thursday...we meet again.  I'm exhausted and so ready for the weekend!  I'm hoping that my mood will improve by listing the many things I have to be thankful for this week.  So let's do this...I'm thankful for: awesome night out last weekend.  With my roomate and her parents.  Yep, I had a blast hanging out with some old folks.  I was treated to dinner at Honu, the restaurant roomie's uncle owns in Huntington, LI followed by a comedy show at the Paramount.   I wish I had remembered to take pictures of the amazing food to share with you, but I was too busy shoving my face!  Seriously, this place is fantastic.  If you're out in Long Island, Honu is a MUST visit restaurant.  I truly had one of the best nights out I've had in a long time. And I was sober. What has my life become?! 

Go here. Now.

...having one more rotation finished.  Well, tomorrow it will be finished.  Only a few more months to go!

...salad bars.  I had the most incredible lunch today, because the salad bar at the hospital was   super stocked with my faves!  Baby spinach, chickpeas, BEETS (i <3 beets), peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers.  So good. cherry seltzer.  And my cousin for introducing me to it!  It tastes like a Dr. Pepper with no calories and no artificial sweeteners! 

...a fantastic hip stretch in yoga last night.  I left class with jello legs and woke up super sore, but we did lots of stretching and it felt amazing. incredible parents. Tomorrow is their 33rd wedding anniversary, so Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! Love you guys!<3

....for any and all of you reading this! :)

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Banana Muffins

This week I gave a presentation on omega-3 fatty acids for my dietetic internship.  Research has shown omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health by lowering blood pressure, decreasing triglycerides and slowing the buildup of plaque in the arteries.  Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which improve symptoms of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.  My presentation focused on the role omega-3 fatty acids play in treating and preventing psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.  

Interesting stuff, right?  Maybe just for us nutrition people.  So to make the presentation more interesting and add my special touch, I obviously decided to make baked goods! I whipped up a batch of healthy banana muffins to share with my audience!  They contain heart-healthy omega-3s in the form of flax seed and with my healthy modifications add up to only about 150 calories each!  

Flax Seed Banana Muffins

1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
5 Tbsp Smart Balance, melted
2 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour 
¼ cup ground flaxseed
¾ tsp baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Combine banana, yogurt, butter and eggs in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed.
  3. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat until well combined.
  4. Combine flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a separate bowl.
  5. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and beat until blended.
  6. Pour batter into muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray.
  7. Bake at  350 °F for 55 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  8. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Dogs Under Water

It's Thursday.  Which means it's almost Friday. The week is so close to being over, which is just one of the many things I'm feeling thankful for this week.

I'm thankful for...

My new Gel Cumulus...Cumuluses? Cumuli? Whatever. My new running shoes. And my dad for sending them to me.  He's the best!
Thanks, Dad!
a new PR! I cut 1:50 off my fastest 5K time during Sunday's Valentine 5K race. And got a pretty flower at the finish line.  I'm also thankful for NYCRuns...who put on awesome races for really reasonable prices!

Yoga. I am SO sore today from last nights YTTP class.  I was feeling really tight after my run on Tuesday, so I really needed a good stretch.  Instead of (or I guess in addition to) a stretch, I got my butt kicked.  We did a ton of core work and I'm so happily sore.

doctors with legible handwriting.  Dear Dr. Chicken-Scratch, I have a hard enough time figuring out medical abbreviations.  I shouldn't have to spend hours deciphering your handwriting as well. You're not helping anyone by writing your genius medical plan if NO one but you can read it! So when I see a med student or doctor who has nice handwriting, it is much appreciated! 

fun blogs/websites/photos. Like this album of underwater dogs, from photographer Seth Casteel.  It will make your day.
Hahaha! I might be bias, but this is my fave!
3-day weekends, like the one coming up this weekend.  I have to spend my day off preparing for a presentation next week, but I will get to sleep in and work in my sweatpants all day.  Can't beat that!

Tell me what you're thankful for this week! Do you have any go-to websites/blogs for a good laugh? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Cake!

This may come as a surprise, but I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day this year.  However, I am always a fan of both baking and I decided to use this "holiday" to combine those loves and try out my version of the Pinterest sensation Red Velvet cake balls.  
the final product. delish.
These certainly aren't the healthiest dessert I've made, but I still snuck in some healthy tweaks to the recipes I found.  I up-ed the egg white to egg ratio and decreased the amount of vegetable oil when making the cake mix.  If for no other reason than taste, I will definitely make my own red velvet cake batter next time.  Those box mixes just don't match up to the "real deal".  And if you decide to try these yourself, be prepared to get a little messy.  You really have to get your hands in the cake batter, which was kind of fun! 

cake crumbs

ready for the chocolate hot tub...

done and delicious.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix (prepared using 1 egg, 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/4 cup water)
3/4 container of cream cheese frosting
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted)

1. Combine cake mix, egg/egg whites, vegetable oil and water.  
2.  Bake according to box instructions.
3.  Once cooled, crumble finished cake into a bowl. 
4.  Stir in frosting until a smooth consistency is reached.  [This gets a little messy...but is easiest using your hands! :) ]
5.  Roll "dough" into 1" balls and keep on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
6. Melt chocolate chips on VERY low heat.  Using two forks, roll each cake ball in chocolate to coat.  Cool on parchment paper and enjoy! 

Enjoy these with your valentine (or by yourself)...but remember, everything in moderation! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's 5K Race Recap

I woke up this morning to a chilly, windy day.  24 degrees, feels like 13...with around 15mph wind! This is really the first race all winter that I've even had to think about the cold.  Although I was hoping it would motivate me to run faster! :)

I threw on my Under Armour cold gear essentials and headed down to Prospect Park. 

I've said it many times that I love running in Prospect Park.  Although some parts of the loop are a little hilly, I think the park itself is beautiful and really makes for a great course.  Once again, kudos to the folks at NYCRuns for putting on a fantastic race for a sweet $21 race fee. 

There was a little confusion about where the start line was because they didn't lay the mats out until 10 minutes before the race started, and there were no mile markers, but who cares for a 3.1 mile race? The course started on the West side of the park near Center Drive and followed a counter-clockwise loop of the park to the finish at the 15th street entrance.  

My legs felt a little tight from a nice yoga workout yesterday, but I felt comfortable enough to push my pace a bit.  Maybe I just wanted to finish faster because I was cold and it was windy.  I definitely got distracted because there were lots of puppies playing in the park toward the end, because before I knew it I was crossing the finish line.  With a new 5K PR!  Of course, I forgot to stop my watch right as I finished, so I think my "official time" will be a little faster, but 26:53 is still awesome for me!  In case you're wondering that's a 8:39 pace.  :)
new 5K PR
My only complaints about the race involve other runners.  First, so many runners were wearing their race shirts during the race rather than waiting until after they've "earned" it.  This drives me nutty! It definitely is a nice long-sleeve shirt but come on! Also, about half-way through I almost fell dodging a huge loogie from a girl in front of me whose Mizunos I was admiring.  Now I have NO problem with spitting and I do it quite often on runs, but I make sure to move to the side and check for fellow runners around me before doing so! That girl may have some nice shoes, but she definitely needs to bone up on her running etiquette.  
I digress....Back to the positive stuff!  At the finish line, they handed out red carnations to all women runners, which was a very cute touch.  

I'm not much of a girly girl, so my first thought was "carnations are cute and all, but where's my bagel?"  Lucky for me, there were plenty of bagels and hot chocolate back at race HQ. 
that's better.
All in all the Valentine's 5K was a great race and a fabulous start to my day!  I'll definitely be back for more races with the NYCRuns crew.  

sweet long-sleeve race shirt!

Now it's time to relax and do some internship work before Sunday "family" dinner! 
Have a great week everyone! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A GIANT Thankful Thursday

I'm not having the best of weeks, so I'm glad I have Thankful Thursday to remind me of all of the fabulous things going on in my life!  Here's what I'm feeling thankful for:

a PR in my 10K race last weekend! It was fantastic. Check out my recap here!

the GIANTS winning the SUPERBOWL!!!

I bet I'd be even more thankful if I had left the hospital to head downtown for the ticker-tape parade on Tuesday! Oh well...the Super Bowl was awesome and I made some awesome (not-so-healthy) snacks for the party:

that my taxes are filed and I'm getting some $ back.  I sure need it right about now, ya know since I'm essentially working full-time for free.  

leggings, which are essentially sweatpants that I accessorize with a long top and boots to give me a professional look. So easy. So comfortable. So happy.

Mint M&Ms. Who knew these existed?  Yum. 

that I'm going to a fabulous wedding in Florida in June!!! Thanks for getting married, friends.  If only to give me an excuse to take a "vacation"!  The hotel is officially booked although I'm still waiting to book flights.  Honestly, who wants to fly from NY to Florida and have a layover? Not me.

Peanut Butter Cheerios. In case you didn't notice, I love peanut butter.  PB + anything = happiness.  I generally don't buy cereal, but I had to try these and I'll make ziploc bags for a great go-to snack! 

So...apparently I'm only thankful for food.  What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Race Recap: M-M-Manhattan Hot Chocolate 10K

This morning I ran the NYC Runs M-M-Manhattan Hot Chocolate 10K in Riverside Park.  I am completely exhausted from this past week, so I was happy the race started at 10am.  It took me about an hour to get from Astoria all the way over to Riverside Park for the start.  There were a lot of people in the park for both the 5k and 10k races.  

pre-race warm-ups!
It was about 40 degrees with a little wind in NYC this morning, aka PERFECT race weather!     I was a little worried about "racing" this, because my hip and feet have been hurting lately.  Although for me racing is not that fast.  So I set out to just finish the race at a comfortable pace.  The race director called for everyone to head to the start line, and announced that the 5K would be one loop inside the park, and that the "crazy" 10K runners would be doing 2 loops on the "hilly course".  What? Who knew Riverside Park was hilly? Not this girl.  

Sparkly & Smiling before I learned about these hills...
The course was a mix of rolling hills with a few bigger inclines and some flat stretches.  Each loop had 2 significant hills and 1 smaller one.  I guess my strength training/spinning is working, because I was able to power up those hills no problem despite the fact that most of my training is on flat roadways.  Although both the 5K and 10K races were started at the same time, the runner packs quickly thinned out and at a few points I was running on my own.  The entire course was clearly marked with volunteers directing along the way.  Water was available after one loop for 10K runners and at the end for both races.

Like I always do, around mile 2 I picked out someone who was a good distance ahead of me and decided that I would beat them to the finish line.  I know that I'm only racing myself and my watch, but "fishing" definitely motivates me through every race I do.  And I guess it worked! Because despite those hills, I crushed my first 10K race time (58:25) with a finishing time of 56:30 (9:06 pace).  I actually didn't stop my watch right away, so the time might even be less! :)  If the bib-tags worked, when I receive the final results, I will of course update my official time.  
New 10K PR :) 
After chugging down 2 cups of water, I headed over to the hot chocolate table!  I'm a big fan of hot chocolate and I wouldn't complain if it was offered at every fall/winter race! :)

chocolately & delicious.
Overall, I was really impressed with this race!  Kudos to the folks at NYCRUNS.COM for putting hosting a great race.  It had the feel of a small-town race, which is a welcome change in the "big city", but it was still very well organized.  And only a $20 registration fee! Oh, and I forgot to mention the sweet souvenir mug.
tea in my new hot chocolate mug=happiness.
The remainder of the day will be spent doing errands and work for my internship so I can enjoy the big Giants Superbowl win tomorrow! GO GMEN! 

Happy PR to me and happy weekend to you all! :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Puppies and Preceptors!

Happy Thursday! The week is almost over and there is so much to be thankful for! So let's go! I'm thankful for...

having awesome preceptors and great learning experiences during my DI.  I think I've been really lucky and can't wait to see what else is in store.  (Note: I'm definitely not this happy and/or positive about the internship all the time, but I'm in a good place right now.)

Body glide.  Especially for the number of times I've run in shorts this "winter". I use the women's version, but I doubt it's any different than the regular kind.  This stuff is magical and I'd be a sore little lady without it.

seriously. get it,

getting my dog back. He's frustrating and stubborn and I hate having to wake up earlier to walk him in the mornings, but geez I miss this guy when he's not around.
reunited, and it feels so good.

Sunday dinners.  I'm loving this new "plan" we've come up with, rotating hosting homemade dinners each week with friends. Food + friends = fun. Always.
You had me at goat cheese.

quality TP. That's right, toilet paper. No matter how broke my roommate and I are, we always make it a priority to stock top-notch toilet paper.  (Note: I firmly believe that the type of TP you stock in your home says a lot about you. I'm always judging.)
This is NOT worth however much $ you saved.

that I'm running the M-M-Manhattan Hot Chocolate 10K this weekend! I've never run in Riverside Park before and I'm excited for an awesome run followed by a delicious mug of hot chocolate! (Stay tuned for the race recap this weekend!)

as always, for my supportive and generous family.  I can't say it enough.  This internship, and thus my career in nutrition, would not be happening without their help!

 What are your happy things this week? Tell me what you're feeling thankful for!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Goals

So, I think I got a little caught up in my Goals for 2012 and kind of skipped making goals for January.  Oops.  It happens.  So let's go back and check in on my December goals and set some new ones for February!

In December, did I...
...get rid of all extra baked items immediately? Yes, for the most part.  While I still do bake, at least I'll be doing it less now that the holidays are over!
...take lots of pictures? I think so.  I took photos of all the fun stuff I had going on in December, so I guess mission accomplished!
...get more sleep? Definitely. I'm doing well with this one! new running routes? Kind of.  
...leave the watch at home? Yes, or I at least ignored it on one run each week.  I like just running the distance!

And since January is now over, let's establish some goals for February:
1. Cook more (and better meals) during the week.  Most nights my dinners are super boring. Like whole wheat pasta with sauteed spinach or broccoli. Or rice and beans.  Or a quinoa/lentil/vegetable mix.  I've gotten really lazy when it comes to cooking so my goal this month is to spice it up! :)

2. Take a kickboxing class (or 10).  I really miss the intensity and impact of kickboxing and I want to get back into it!

3. Keep going to yoga once a week. I may not be getting into the breathing/relaxing thing, but the stretching and strengthening is really feeling good.

4. Hydrate better at work.  I'm fantastic at hydrating when I'm home, but at my internship I often get caught up and forget to drink water, which always leads to a headache.

5.  Run at least 70 miles this month.  I ran 63 in January, so this goal should be no problem as February has less days and my mileage will be increasing.

What are your goals for February?