Thursday, April 18, 2013

Delayed-but Worth It!

So I missed the second "First Friday" and I apologize... but its for good reason(s)! The Saturday after April 5, I took a yoga seminar ( and learned how to do my first backbend (without breaking my back!)

There have been a lot of firsts between today and the first Friday of March... and a lot of other things too so this is a picture-happy post, but I promise there will still be some "firsts" come May. So to continue... 

After St. Patrick's Day there really wasn't much time before Easter, and I was really busy with work, visiting with friends who were in town and dog-sitting (adding an additional 20 minutes onto my commute). It made keeping clean while eating and working out very hard to manage. I learned, that as hard as it is for me to live without dogs (I always had one growing up) I know I've made the right decision by not getting one at this point in my life... I don't have the time, and it was very frustrating for me to have to go take care of the dogs rather than go to the gym (proximity between work-house-gym was ridiculously inconvenient) especially when I've been putting so much time and effort into it. So, thanks to the online fitness community and the safeness of the suburbs, I got back to basics with exercise for the week. 
 After a nice 2 mile run, I put my legs up for some circulation and this calming view.. I had some good company to enjoy it with as well. ;)
This exercise I got from The Blonde Ponytail and was doing pretty well until... really? An entire porch and you have to lay on my towel? But hey... the drive may have been heinous, but the view was pretty worth it #sunsets #helicopter

So after a couple weeks of crazy schedules and driving all over the expanse of Jacksonville, all of a sudden it was Easter... in March. WHAT? It was also the last full weekend I would get to spend with my houseguests so we celebrated by eating our hearts out. I had planned to go to a great local haunt - if anyone ever travels to Jax, you have to check out Clark's Fishcamp for food - its AMAZING - seriously, but the wait was crazy over the holiday weekend, so we found this little gem... and turned an evening out into the dining experience of the year. Its going to take a lot to top this one. 

 Blackstone Grille- a steakhouse with an Asian twist. Everything fresh. #finedining

Easter Sunday Brunch was another awesome find. Who knew an oyster bar, a typical late night outing, would have such delicious breakfast food - and a really picturesque setting?
 Now if only I could eat breakfast like the Rock... I would weigh 5,000 pounds  - but for real. Delish. 

I have also learned the MAJOR benefits of Whole Foods... totally worth the drive for some PB2 for my oatmeal... with a banana... in a smoothie... on protein pancakes... highly recommend it for anyone who loves the taste of JIF but hates the high sodium. 
 I also picked up this awesome mug at Fresh Market - it made me smile thinking of all of my friends across the country and around the world. 
"Good friends are like stars, you don't always have to see them to know they are there."

*Side Note: I totally under-appreciated bananas (even thought I eat them on a regular basis) until now. Check out this great article on Health Facts for Bananas.

I also learned how to make some very awesome basic guacamole... too bad I ate it all before I took a picture... I love food.

On the other hand... I did pick up this great recipe for a high-protein Tuna-Avocado Salad which is great for sandwiches, wraps, or you can just throw it in a container with some spinach like I've been doing for a filling lunch without the carbs. I didn't use exact measurements, but I did use one whole avocado, about 3 spoon-fulls of 0% Greek yogurt, and a small (5.4oz) can of tuna. Dash of lemon, salt, and pepper and mix it all together!

I also did my part two-part race. Not an obstacle race, but like a miniature pre-cursor to a triathlon, called an Aquathlon (this one was 350m swim, and 5km run). I was super excited that my Alma-mater, the University of North Florida was providing this opportunity  because I had heard of duathlons but thats running and biking... and not only do I not have the proper road-bike, but I have no experience in biking either outside of 10-years-old riding down the street singing "Build Me Up Buttercup" - Now and Then circa 1995 style. 

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I digress. So I talked to a couple of triathletes and did a trial run... swam 400meters and then ran 2.5miles in my swim suit with the clothes I had on to see if I could survive the conditions. I thought about buying some tri-shorts, which can be worn in the pool... but I really wanted to do some shopping around first. So I used an old pair of spandex shorts and I water-tested my shirt ahead of time to see how fast it would dry. When it came down to the race (which was a small group of people >40) I was feeling pretty good. 

However I let the adrenaline get the better of me in the first 2 laps. We were swimming in 50m lanes, snaking our way down 7 lanes of the pool. I got tired out and had to cut back on my pace (i couldn't stop in the deep end of a 50m lane to catch my breath...) but I still made good time. The transition part of the race ate my time; I had too many items to put on, and took too long to do it all. I found out later that in a traditional race, they would time each section, including the transition, so that racers know their exact times. I'm not a fast runner, in fact I take more of a jogging pace (working on it) so I finished up in 45 minutes. 

I talked with a couple of the top-finishing women afterwards (both marathon runners, triathletes, and Ironman finishers). It was motivating and inspiring to hear them talk about it, and once again I find myself sincerely appreciative of the encouragement that these pro-athletes have to give to those of us starting out. Overall, the race felt good! I liked the pace, I liked the set up, I liked the challenge of two sports - and I'm hoping aquathlons become more popular! Looking forward to the next one.
These two women are amazing. I hope I am that strong and fit when I grow up. 

And back off to work for the week! Who knew this sweaty, chlorine-smelling mess of a woman could clean up?
What do you prefer for "work"? Gym clothes? Or business clothes? 

After a weekend of activity - I set out to spending some time in the kitchen. Say hello to my first attempt at protein pancakes... topped off with some PB2. Super simple recipe, and if you have a Magic Bullet or a even just a blender, all you need is some oatmeal (1/3 to 1/2 cup), protein powder (1 to 2 scoops), and either egg whites (about 2) or soy/almond milk (a couple of splash's) or even peanut butter all blended together and your good to go. FYI - they cook VERY fast. I eventually got the hang of it.

And lastly... my tribute to the Boston Runners. I may be a day late, but after the shock of hearing about it in the midst of a crazy work schedule... fear for my friends who have family and friends there... and disgust at the portrayal of the event by the media, I kicked some cardio butt in honor of everyone working for their 26.2 in Boston. (The treadmill shut off before I got a picture, the other pictures are from the stair master.) Let me just tell you, I was sweating and I still wanted to keep going. 

Something we can all take from this, not only in running but also in life, comes from this quote:
"Let’s instead do what runners do best.  Let’s be strong.  Let’s be patient as information comes in.  Let’s pace ourselves.  Let’s endure.  Let’s close the gap and tighten up the pack.  Let’s recover together.
The road ahead is long.  But little do they know, we’re good with that."

'Til next time!

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