Square 1.

Today I ran 3.25 miles outside in 34 minutes and 58 seconds. I stopped to walk twice (but kept the watch running, don’t you worry!). I felt preoccupied by a lot of… Jiggling. I am feeling a little rough. More than a little out shape. Not so much like a Runner anymore. Yes, a Runner, capital R. What was once such a huge part of my identity now feels so far away. Sure, I run a couple of times a month here and there. I bust out 4 miles on a treadmill to an episode of Law & Order: SVU. I can sign up for a small 5k and hold my own.but my Garmin went uncharged for far too long. My heart rate monitor is currently missing. My running shoes haven’t been replaced in over 6 months because there’s no need with such low mileage. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs over here.

The wonderful part is that it’s something I can get back. It’s a journey I can go on again. Maybe this time I can even remember to focus on my form, to stretch after every run, to not over do it, to balance cardio with strength, etc. etc. etc. You know, basically all those things we, as Runners, know we should do (but most times) we don’t.  This time it will all be different, it will all be better. Or it won’t. Either way it’s a journey that I am so excited to restart.

Hello, can anyone hear me?

Nearly two years, one new kitten, two different jobs and one move across state lines later and I am ready to come back! My plan is to get a few posts finalized and scheduled and resume regular posting as of January 1st, because what better way to start a new year? I’ll be posting some teasers and updates over the next few weeks to get you all excited for Cardio, Cats and Cooking 2.0 so keep me on your radar. I’ve missed this outlet so much and cannot wait to be back full time!

 

Impromptu 10-Mile Drop- Recap

I once had grand plans of running a nice little 20 mile race (and even grander ones of then doing a marathon two weeks later, ha!). I mentioned it in passing, I registered, I attempted to train. And then life started to get in the way. Mother Nature decided to make this the worst winter ever, I thought working 20-30 extra hours per week would be a good idea (and totally wouldn’t affect my training!), etc. etc. I stopped blogging about my training (as well as blogging regularly) and kept making plans for “next week to be better”. I finally got myself together and had a training plan that seemed realistic, I was feeling optimistic, excited even. And then those extra hours of retail work (in dress shoes mind you) came back to haunt me. That really awesome busy week where I made reference to my training going “well-ish” did me in. I woke up on Saturday morning thinking I would be running 14 miles but instead feeling like my achilles tendon had been tied in a knot. I know that you can’t really considering working in retail as “cross-training” but it is still hours on your feet and I was dealing with the repercussions. It took me almost a week to feel back to normal-ish and I threw out the idea of running 20 miles. I planned to go to Cleveland and support my sister as she conquered the 20-Mile Drop.

I packed for CLE and threw some running clothes in my bag “just in case”. I went for a 2-mile shake out run with my sister on Saturday morning to test my foot and enjoy the weather. When we went to packet pick up (because you better believe I was still getting my race shirt- even if I would forever feel like a big phony wearing it) I decided to ask to drop down to the 10 Mile Drop, still thinking I probably wouldn’t run. I kept putting off making a final decision, I was going back and forth. The weather was supposed to be warm & sunny (my favorite!) and I feel like running 10 miles shouldn’t be a big deal to me but what if I injured myself? That would suck. I went to sleep STILL not knowing what I was doing the next day, the 10 mile race started an hour and twenty minutes after the 20 so I figured I’d just wait a bit longer to decide. I dressed in running gear and ate PB toast for breakfast @ 5:45a, but also packed normal clothes because I wasn’t sure I wanted to run yet. I hung out with my brother-in-law and caught my sister at mile 4. As we were cheering all the runners on I could feel their excitement and finally definitively said “yup, I’m running”. My brother-in-law got me to the starting line just in time and without a chance to really process what I had done, I was already running.

run

As the 10-Mile DROP title suggests, the race had a net loss of elevation. But what the title DIDN’T suggest is that it was actually full of evil, evil steep inclines followed by gradual declines. I really had no expectations for this race and didn’t even know how to pace myself. I settled on aiming for 10-ish minute miles. Here are my brief thoughts throughout the race:

Mile 1: nice and downhill. “Man, I’m so glad I decided to run this race. What a lovely day to run!”

Mile 1.5: “These capris are ever so slightly too big. Why did I pack these? This is going to be annoying.”

Mile 2-3: “My pace is awesome, should I slow down? Nah, I feel good. I guess I should eat a Shot Blok though. Eeww, strawberry? Why did I bring this? Does this even have caffeine in it? I need caffeine.” 5K split: 31:31

Mile 4: “I thought this race was downhill, why are there so many climbs? This is the worst. I’m also really hot. Why am I wearing capris and a t-shirt when it’s in the high 70s? this was a terrible idea.”

Mile 5: “Halfway done, awesome. I am totally on pace to nail a sub 10-minute average. I’ll feel even better about this once I hit the 10K!”

Mile 6-7: “I don’t feel better about this at all. The hills are never ending, I hate hills. Are there ANY declines in this race? Screw 10-minute miles I don’t even care. I’m so hungry but I cannot stomach a strawberry Shot Blok. Is my face on fire? I feel like my face is on fire. I probably should have put on sunscreen.”

Mile 8-9: “It’s probably a good idea to just walk up every hill from now on because this is dumb.”
Well-meaning Race Volunteer “Please stay to the far right, just until you make it up the hill”
Angry Ashley: “I’m literally never going to make it up this hill”
W-M RV: “There’s only one more big hill to go, you’re almost there!!”
A.A. (in my mind only): You’ve got to be effing kidding me.

Mile 10: “I’ll just sprint this last mile. And by “sprint” I mean not stop to walk anymore. I will also only listen to Katy Perry’s ROAR because without that song I literally will not be able to finish”

Total Time: 1:43:XX

Overall I’m glad I decided to run but it was NOT easy. It was the hottest day of the year (by a significant margin) and I was barely trained for 10 miles, let alone 10 pretty hilly miles. It’s nice to know that I’m finally at a place with running where double digits isn’t this big elusive thing anymore. It also got me really excited for sign up for some summer/fall halves and start putting together some more-manageable training plans. Pretty sure my sister (who crushed the 20 Mile Drop despite the sweltering temperatures and surprise hills) feels completely differently though🙂

10miledrop

Breakfast + a Show

Yesterday was the first day that it really and truly felt like spring and I don’t even think I need to tell you how excited that makes me! I had very little time to spend outside but I made sure to grab some frozen yogurt and enjoy the sunlight while I could. It.was.AWESOME.

I woke up feeling rejuvenated and excited for more warm weather and decided to celebrate with an old favorite: Greek yogurt pancakes! It’s been awhile, right?

GYpancakes

That old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” absolutely applies to pancakes, these babies were heavenly!

While enjoying my breakfast I noticed that my cats were acting CRAZY, which is pretty typical for the morning since I’m usually mean and feed myself before feeding them, but this was a whole different kind of crazy. They were pacing back and forth near the window and almost seemed to be having a kitty conference and it looked like the topic of conversation was quite serious. And then I noticed the outdoor tabby cat that hangs out behind our apartment! He had jumped on the AC unit and was level with the window. I wish I would have switched my phone to video mode because what transpired was quite amusing. Charlotte hesitantly peeked over the window to get a little sneak peek of our outdoor friend:

kittyencounter1

She then backed down and I could tell she was getting ready to jump into the window. Here’s an important thing about Charlotte- she is EXTREMELY skiddish and terrified of most things. Every time she meets a new cat her only reaction is to squat down and hiss. And she doesn’t just hiss at the cat, she hisses at everything. She’ll just sit there and continue to hiss. As predicted she hopped into the window and started freaking out. She was hissing and trying to back away but the window ledge was smaller than she anticipated and she fell off but was hanging by her two front paws for a second and it was adorable!

It's hard to tell because the photo quality is embarrassingly bad but she is just hanging off the ledge here!

It’s hard to tell because the photo quality is embarrassingly bad but she is just hanging off the ledge here!

Outdoor kitty literally had no reaction to this, he just continued to sit there and stare at her like she was crazy. Oh cats.

I’m heading up to Cleveland this weekend to see my sister and not run that 20 mile race I talked about (more on that later), but I will be cheering her on! Should make for a good mini-vacation. What’re your weekend plans?

So much cooking!

Recently I’ve spent a huge majority of my free time in the kitchen and it was so, so worth it!

Last week I discovered that my bananas were well past their most desirable ripeness so I was forced to make banana bread from them (oh the horror!). I used this recipe from Hungry Meets Healthy with a few small changes- vanilla Greek yogurt (because that’s what I had on hand) and applesauce instead of coconut oil (because I didn’t have any coconut oil). It’s definitely better with coconut oil- I found it to be on just a tad bit on the dry side- but it was still completely delicious!

instabbread

eatingbbread

For dinner I was hardcore craving vegetables so I roasted some brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus. I also made mashed sweet potatoes with vanilla almond milk and cinnamon (so good!) and baked some tofu that was marinated in cumin, agave nectar and a splash of soy. This meal was truly amazing.

veggin'

Saturday was a marathon day in the kitchen- 6 hours of pierogi making! My family is Slovenian and it’s an annual tradition for us to spend Good Friday making (and eating!) peirogi, but since I work and won’t be making the trip up to Cleveland this year I knew that I had to get my pierogi fix in somehow! We used my family recipe for the dough and made two fillings- sweet cheese + potato cheese. I wish we would have actually counted the pierogi in the end but it’s safe to say we made well over 100.

rollin'

bakin'

(this pan x 3)

eatin'

(this plate x a million🙂 )

Sunday involved some (unpictured) sundried tomato hummus and this lasagna but I subbed roasted eggplant and zucchini for the noodles. It was good but didn’t hold up as well as I would have liked, I’ll have to keep tweaking it.

And just for good measure, banana splits!

bananasplits

What have you been eating recently?

Technology: 1, Ashley: 0

In an attempt to be all proactive and tech savvy, I was cleaning up and updating my laptop and in the process I completely killed it. My hard drive is apparently damaged and the OS installer is stuck in a loop. Of course I can’t find the original OS disk that came with my MacBook Pro (because it’s a bajillion years old) so that’s a bummer. I’m irresponsible and haven’t backed up my laptop in maybe 3 years so I can’t go straight for the wipe and reinstall method either. Any Apple geniuses out there who have any helpful hints? I’d prefer to not lose the past 5 years of music, pictures, documents, etc but I’m seriously considering just wiping it all and starting over (if that’s even as option?). Help!

Random Ramblings

Just to give everyone a little insight into this INSANE week of mine, I’d like to share that so far (Monday-Wednesday) I’ve already worked 39 hours. THIRTY NINE HOURS. Crazy crazy Ashley.

I truly feel that I’m a thrive-under-pressure kind of girl. For some reason, the busier I am the more motivated I am to squeeze in even MORE. It all seems a bit backwards to me, really. But this week I just feel very Go! Go! Go! and at the same time quite put together. For the most part I’ve been able to get myself up @ 530a, get to the gym, home, shower, prepared breakfast, lunch + giant snack, get to job #1, straight to job #2, home, quick dinner/late night snack, sleep, repeat! It’s felt easy. Until this morning. For the first time in maybe my entire life I slept right through my alarm. Not like I woke up, turned it off and reset it for later (a semi-regular occurrence) but I woke up a solid 1.5 hours later and realized that my alarm had been going off for that entire time! Apparently I needed a little extra sleep this morning. Luckily today is my easy day so I’ll be able to squeeze in some quality time with my good friend Jillian after work! We haven’t hung out in awhile so I’m not sure how enjoyable it will be but I know I need it. Last week I ordered a new DVD, 6 Weeks to 6 Pack, through a Groupon deal (shot out to my sister for telling me about it!) but unfortunately it hasn’t even shipped yet, boo😦

Smoothie experimentation has been going extremely well! In the blender this morning: frozen banana, frozen blueberries, fresh spinach, vanilla almond milk + plain greek yogurt. YUM.

And, for those of you who are wondering, in my mug : Yogi Green Tea Super Antioxidant (it’s delicious).

This morning the weather man basically promised us that this should be the end of the cold weather and I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want that to be the truth! I NEED sunlight and 60+ degree temperatures (fine, I’ll even settle for 55+). I need to run outside, I need to pack up my winter clothes and put them in the basement because I’m sick of sweaters, I need to take the plastic off my windows and be able to OPEN them! Come on Mother Nature, we’ve put up with enough of your crap! I plan on starting spring cleaning this weekend so maybe that will motivate spring to actually come.

Tell me something random about your day!

Working out the kinks

Hello and welcome to my new home! I still have (more than) a few kinks to work out, but the only way to learn to swim is to dive in head first, right? No, that doesn’t sound right. Eh, oh well.

Training Lately:
Has been going well(ish)! I’ve been great with consistency, just not-so-great with distance. The combination of my crazy work schedule and this completely unpredictable and insane weather has made fitting in LONG runs essentially impossible for me. I’m hoping that this is my weekend for a 14-miler but we’ll see what mother nature (and my work schedule) has to say about that.

New Addition:
I wish I could say a kitten (soon!) but for now the most exciting new addition to my life has been a blender. In my adult life I have never owned one! It’s never been too huge a problem (because I like my margaritas on the rocks) but with how rushed I’ve felt recently I thought that having a grab and go breakfast option would be great. I’m loving my smoothie breakfasts but could definitely use some more “recipes”, suggestions??

blender

Going cold turkey:
I just want to share with the world that I haven’t had coffee in FIVE days. That is definitely a record for me. In an attempt to really nail down a strict schedule (the only way to survive a 75 hour work week) I realize that I need to be sleeping better. I have been allowing myself one cup of tea (green, mostly. But chai today and it was delicious). The switch to tea has significantly cut down my caffeine intake, not only because tea is less caffeinated but because I could never drink just ONE cup of coffee, and I feel like it’s making a big difference in my sleep quality. Tea drinkers of the internet, share your favorites with me!

I plan on resuming a regular blogging schedule next week. As I said, I still have quite a bit of exploring to do and I am open to any feedback, constructive criticism, tips & tricks, etc. so please share that with me!

Advice please!

I have fallen into a deep dark pit of research. As I mentioned months and months ago, I have big dreams for this little (recently neglected…) blog of mine and I’d love to make them realities! So, for all of you who have bigger and better blogs, what are you using? Where should I start? How do I make this happen?

Please help a cardio kitty out!