Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a whirlwind of a weekend

Every week it seems I am just trying to get to the weekend... and then the weekend comes and flies by!! While this weekend didn't have any major events, it surely filled up quick!
Saturday morning started bright and early at 7:30 with a trip to the gym. I wanted to elliptical before my massage!

I had an appointment in RI for a massage with Jeff's massage therapist, Michaele. Not only is she an awesome massage therapist, but she's a former physical therapist, so she knows a lot about the body... AND she's all about natural healing and healthy eating, so we totally hit it off! AND she's lactose intolerant like me too, so that was a double bonus.

Her sanctuary was so peaceful... the smell, the music, the warmth, it was incredibly relaxing. That is it was incredibly relaxing until she got to work. She started on my "good side"... which wasn't too good in her book and she managed to find a few nasty knots on my right glute/ hip area. Then it was on to the left side.... dum dum dum. Michaele told me there are 3 levels where knots lie... and yes I have some down in level 3, meaning they're deep down in there. I guess the years of wear and tear and many miles have really twisted some fibers in there and created a nest of knots. I guess that's why I am so tight and sore? Well, only part of it... I mentioned that my left leg is longer, I have scoliosis, etc. and she asked if I wear the lift that I was given back in college, which I don't. (It's 3/8'')... but it makes my shoe fit weird, so I just figured let my body compensate. Well, maybe it's catching up with me.

Yesterday I called primary care and got a referral to see a podiatrist in a couple of weeks-- I'm thinking that orthotics with a little extra lift built into the right insert will help to level my hips off and hopefully in time will help to correct my alignment AND hopefully my hamstring on the left side won't also be so tight/ at risk of being pulled, which it feels like it slightly is right now.

Slight tangent there, let's rewind to Saturday again! Ok so after the massage it was errands and sight seeing of Jeff's hometown, in MA, not RI.

Then it was on to dinner after food shopping... on the menu: FALAFEL! Now neither of us had made it before, but I was just given the recipe and it sounded good!

1 can chickpeas
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 tbs parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
zest/ rind of a lemon and some juice for flavor
1 egg (we didn't use an egg and it was a little dry... a binder would have been better, next time!)

Basically we put all of chopped ingredients in a bowl, along with mashed chickpeas. Then we made mini ball out of them, probably about an inch and a half in diameter? I didn't want them too big or they'd take forever to cook and I was hungrrrrry!

We put them in the oven for about 10 minutes (along with the lasagna I was making Jeff to get him through the week!)... then rolled them in breadcrumbs and sauteed them on the stove--- didn't want to fry them, they were a lot healthier this way!

here's Jeff mixing it up!

after baking them, I put them on the stove... I kind of pressed them down a bit to give them more of a crust

Finally, we took wheat pita bread, cut it in half, and put the falafel inside atop a bed of spinach, super yum!! Next time pita chips and hummus are a must too.

And there was a lasagna cooking too...
Jeff requested a turkey lasagna... so I cooked up some ground turkey, then layered it between lasagna noodles, along with sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella!

The finished product:

After eating and cleaning up it was time for a fire and a movie... just what the doctor ordered! Although I'm hoping that the temps warm up and it won't be sitting in front of a fire weather for too much longer... unless it's a campfire of course!

Sunday morning felt quite lazy... but then it was back to reality and getting work and errands done, by the time I had checked everything off my list it was already 7 o'clock and time to eat dinner and get ready for a busy week!

My kiddos are taking MCAS this week. Today was session 1, tomorrow session 2. They're too funny, in fact they told me today that it was fun! I guess that's a good thing, let's just hope they answered the questions completely and correctly!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

not a success... but not a complete failure

So for the past 3 weeks I haven't been running, only cross training while the pull/ knots in my butt are trying to heal and work out. I really don't know exactly what I did about 3 weeks ago, but I do know that 3 weeks ago I was limping when I walked... I would hobble onto the elliptical and get off and my whole left leg would stiffen up. That's not the case anymore.

This Saturday I am finally getting my appointment in for a massage so I'm hoping she can work out the kinks in my butt. Seriously, this really has been a major pain in the butt...although I think my condition is improving and it's made me realize the benefits of cross training. I have also decided to train smarter not harder with the new plan once I am fully back and running. Yoga has already been a great addition and I am hoping the pool (gasp) is also a good one too.

As for this week here's what I did:
Monday- Elliptical (1:20)... 10.3 miles
upper body lifting, stretching, foam rolling
Tuesday:Elliptical 77 minutes- 10 miles
Wednesday: back in the saddle for the first time in 3 weeks... 1 hour bike ride before school on the trainer
Thursday: Elliptical 55 minutes- 7 miles
Treadmill run 3 miles- 22:20 (7:27 pace average)

I don't consider today's workout a success. While I was running I wasn't loving it, like I should be. I wasn't in pain per se; however, I just had this constant tightness in my left butt cheek that wouldn't go away. I stopped once to do a quick stretch and see if it helped, but it basically felt the same. While it didn't get worse, it didn't seem to loosen up while running either. I'm not sure what this means. One thing I do think is true is that the treadmill is messing up my form... I don't have a perfect stride since my left leg is 3/8 in longer than my right and I think the treadmill is almost restricting me from my natural style. Maybe? Maybe I am just making things up. Either way, I don't plan on running again tomorrow and probably won't run again before the massage Saturday.

I don't consider today's workout a complete failure either though. I was able to walk off the treadmill not limping and proceed to foam roll and stretch for a while. As I sit here it's not bothering me, although when I walk I have a feeling in my hip like I need to crack or pop it.

Looking at things positively I am able to cross train now completely pain free and I'm able to walk around without hobbling. I'm wondering if a couple more weeks off of running is all I need? I hope?! Or should I be running through it? I wish I could just be told do x, y, and z and you'll be good to go, unfortunately the body is a funny thing and you have to respond to how it acts. So I guess that's what I'll do. Looking at the big picture I'd like to be enjoying running this spring and summer... so if it means ellipticalling (is that really a verb? is now.) until the warmer temps come, then I guess that's what I'll do....

One thing I know I am sure of and that is I couldn't be happier that tomorrow is finally FRIDAY!

Monday, March 21, 2011

hello spring! ... and snow?!

I was so excited for yesterday- the first day of Spring! Spring brings the promise of warm weather, colorful budding flowers, trees becoming green again, and some outdoor fun and exercise. Clearly mother nature isn't ready for spring to be here yet, as she gave us a rude awakening this morning... SNOW.

Now I knew snow was coming, but I thought it was going to be a dusting, nothing much. Well, I guess compared to what we've had it wasn't a lot; however, I watched it fall steadily from my classroom window from late morning through the afternoon and it never stopped! When I left school I had a good three inches of wet snow piled up... enough to have to use the brush/ scraper and wish that I had worn gloves on this fine first day of Spring.

Maybe the saying is true...March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb... although the weather last week seemed a little more lamb-like! We still have another full week + to go, then April will hopefully be snow free! I am such a more positive and upbeat person in the sunny warm weather- not that I am negative in the cold weather, but the warm weather really just makes me feel so alive and loving life! (Why am I living in MA and not a state further south?)

Before the snow hit today I enjoyed the sun this weekend, even if the only time I was really in it was out and about doing errands!

I was also thrilled with yoga on Sunday. This time I did an hour on the elliptical first and then went to yoga...so much better, I was so relaxed!! There is a new instructor who did a little less of the vinyasa flow and incorporated more hatha yoga. She started off by saying that she's done most of her training/ studying at Kripalu... so I figured she'd be great! She read a poem to start that really got my mind in the yoga mood. Not only was I able to mentally let go, but also she did some great stretching and poses to open my hips- I really felt like a new person yesterday afternoon. I NEED to keep doing this class once a week, it's really good for me mentally and physically. It's actually quite challenging for me to stay focused and on that mat for 75 minutes! (she told us from now on it would be 75 min instead of 60... I was nervous, like oh no I don't know if I can be that still and focused for so long, but I did!!)

The yoga must have stretched me out because I had NO PAIN at all today on the elliptical and wasn't stiff getting off the machine either. I did more stretching afterwards and a little upper body lifting. With Jeff's advice I am going to run this week... I am thinking probably Thursday, just a few easy miles so I can have a sense of where I'm at... and if I get really tight then it will be good info for the massage therapist on Saturday.

Time to do a little correcting and get work done so I can hopefully fall asleep at a decent hour- my body didn't cooperate last night and won't fall asleep, so I'm hoping to wind down earlier tonight!

Friday, March 18, 2011

countdown queen

I love countdowns, so let's update on the current things I am counting down to...

2 days until spring :)

8 days until massage

3 weeks until unofficial test results

4 weeks until April vacation begins!

Those are the days I am counting down to in the near future... but there are some that are a little farther off:

97 days until Summer vacation

100 days until I enter my final year as a "twenty something"

104 days until my final grad school class for my cags degree

That takes me to the end of June and then it will be Summer!!
It's crazy how time flies, I can't believe that March is more than half way over already, crazy! I guess time flies when you're having fun... either that or you're so busy that sometimes you don't take time to stop and enjoy the small moments and then thinking back you realize they've already flown by.

I want to enjoy the good times, but I also don't mind that time is flying... bring on the warm weather days!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

lucky me

I don't exactly believe in luck... I think you have to work hard to make things happen, but "lucky me" was in my head today, probably because that's what was written on my feet! Well, actually that's what was written on my socks.

Being Irish I had to show some Irish pride today at school! I had on a very Kelly Green sweater, shamrock pin, and shamrock necklace. My kiddos dressed for the day too, we had a sea of green in 3C!

Like I said, I don't believe in luck... I believe in hard work in order to get things done. I realize though, that sometimes you don't have to work harder, you have to work smarter. This is my goal as I (knock on wood) get back into running and race training this spring. I am going to work out smarter, not harder. When I was marathon training I did a lot more running, but I don't want the marathon to be my focus anymore, I really like the half and would like to just improve my overall fitness, hence the new goal.

Here's the tentative plan-

yoga once a week (looking at my training logs I seemed to be less injured when I had yoga in my life).

bike- two times a week-- as the warmer weather comes I can't wait to take my baby off the trainer and hit the roads again for the first time since last fall's crash. (slightly scared though!)

run- three times a week-- one long run, one medium run (tempo?), one recovery or one track workout depending on a race to train for

elliptical or swim-- remaining days or use as cross training--- I have feared learning how to swim for real (let's just say I am more of a "Doggie Paddler"... I can get from one end of the pool to the other, but it isn't pretty. I need to learn some technique.)

some days I plan on mixing it up too...short run and ride or short run and elliptical.

Overall, I just want to be a lifelong healthy person and think that by mixing it up it will be better for my body in the long run (no pun intended, haha). I also think that I can not run as much, yet still be in just as good a shape and hit some good times in races too... plus I think that swimming and biking more frequently will work muscles that I don't hit while running. I also think this will help to reduce the amount of injuries I am prone too!

Time to enjoy the remainder of the day... and by "enjoy" I mean get some work done before relaxing a bit!

Happy St. Patrick's Day... here are my socks :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

feeling the yoga burn

All I can say is wow! I didn't realize how long it's been since I've done yoga, but I woke up feeling the burn this morning! My arms are sore from doing so many downward dogs! It feels good though to have worked muscles that I have been neglecting! :)

Today was a development day at school, during which I did math curriculum stuff all day. While it was somewhat dull, it actually was productive. Our district is doing away with a math "program" and we're creating a pacing guide where we essential have topics of the month and just have to hunt and gather materials to use to teach for that month. So that is what today consisted of... pretty ordinary, until I looked out my window and realized it was snowing! What? Snow? I thought we were supposed to be creeping up on 50 degrees soon... looks like teaching up near the mountain the temperatures weren't creeping above freezing today, but the weatherman is saying that it's going to be in the upper 50s at the end of the week, so I'm hoping that spring really is on the way.

The gym today was pretty ordinary... the elliptical flew by since I was chatting with some other teachers that are usually there around the same time. I also did a little lifting with my arms and then lots of foam rolling and stretching. I don't know if I am just wishing it or not but I think the knot(s) in my butt are getting smaller, yay! However, for some reason after the elliptical today the sides of my shins were a little sore...I'm wondering if doing some warrior poses or something yesterday may have stretched them awkwardly? Either that or it's because I did a different elliptical after yoga yesterday and my legs weren't used to moving that way? I have my ice pack on my knee now, but will be moving it to my shin momentarily.

Since I enjoy counting down, the current countdown to spring is on... 6 more days! Until then, I still have some pretty flowers in bloom on my kitchen table to bring some color and springiness into my life!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

nice little saturday

Got a nice little Saturday planned... you know, maybe go to the Home Depot.." Very rarely do I quote movies since I am awful with movies!! I don't sit still for very long, hence why I don't watch a lot of movies... and when I do sit down for a movie it's usually because I am tired, so there are so many movies that I seen the beginning of, yet haven't finished! Old School (quoted) is a movie that I actually have seen start to finish and yesterday I was thinking of this quote.

Anyways, why was this quote in my head you might ask? If you thought because I had a trip to the Home Depot planned, then you were correct! After the gym and some errands it was south I went to RI. Jeff's kitchen reno has begun and I'm playing my part in advising in the decorating... I stay out of the construction piece, I know my role.

We hit up Lowe's first to check out countertops, lighting, and tiling. He wants a back splash, so we were trying to mix and match tiles with counters to see what looks good and try to find something at a good cost too. We then went to Home Depot to compare and contrast what they offered in stock and what deals they had... at the end of the day (well, afternoon), I'd say that Lowe's was definitely a winner. Not only did they have better prices, but also they had more in stock to choose from! Here's the potential winners... Jeff needs to go back this week to make the final purchase.

The glass tiles will look great as a back splash!

This is a winning combo in my book!

Adding white ceramic tiles in addition to the glass tiles will make for a good back splash... not sure if I like the white tiles vertical though, horizontal perhaps.

"Hmmm... what to choose, what to choose..."

I think this pendant light will look good above the breakfast bar... and it matches nicely with the glass tiles!

After a full day of shopping/ browsing we (at least I was) were quite tired... a dinner in was in order, that is after we got the stove working again! Living in a construction zone can have its challenges!

And after dinner there was another eventful part of the weekend... dc trip is booked!! I won't start the countdown now, but when it gets closer I will surely do so!

As for the weekend workout recap:
Saturday- Morning elliptical (75 minutes)--- followed by lots of stretching and foam rolling. Surprisingly the hip/ butt is starting to feel better! I think I am going to cross train this week though while my body still battles my sinuses or whatever I have been exposed to thanks to my kiddos' germs.

Sunday- Fulfilled my weekly yoga session!!! This is a major step for me, I find vinyasa to be kind of boring in a way, it's hard for me to focus and just do stretching and poses for an hour, I really like to be moving instead. But I did it and will continue to do it because I could tell how tight it was! We did a bunch of hip openers and I was like... wow, I really need to work on this!! I followed the class up with an hour on the elliptical--- and feel great, although sore!! I forgot how much I use my arms in yoga, we did a lot of sun salutations and planks... my arms are feeling the burn, in a good way!! I also did my hip and butt exercises on the mat while waiting for the class to start. Good news is that I haven't felt the urge to sit on the heating pad all day!!

And sadly, another weekend comes to an end- the week is a vicious cycle! Monday tomorrow, but it's a professional development day, so at least I can wear jeans to school! :)

AND happy Daylight Savings time... love the fact the sun set an hour later today!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

you know you're sick when...

I hate admitting that I am sick, but I know I have to listen to my body and admit it... I am sick.

I had to take a sick day today ( having class until 9:00 last night didn't exactly improve my condition). But taking the day off today has totally made me realize that I made the right choice. My body was speaking and I listened.

I know I'm sick when...

I get up in the middle of the night and chug a bottle of water because I'm dehydrated.
I don't get up out of bed until 10:00 am.
After getting up I don't make my bed, knowing I'll be visiting it again soon.
I give in a take medicine... nothing major, just sudafed.
I get up for an hour and a half and then return to my bed.
I don't care that it's not nearly 3:00 and I still haven't showered, changed or done much of anything.
I've eaten honey straight from the jar to soothe my throat... I would have put it in my tea, but I was too impatient.
I've used more tissues today than I have in the past year.
My sinuses feel like they are going to explode.
I have no desire to workout or run.
I have no desire even to do the pt exercises for my hip.
I had a phone call a little while ago but don't remember what I said.
I have no intention of straying from my bed or couch today... fortunately I have a laptop and a tv for a little distraction when my eyes are actually open.

*Hoping for a future post of: "I know I'm healthy again when..."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

can't talk... but i can write!

Once again it's been a while since I've visited... actually no, I've visited, but I haven't written anything.

Unfortunately today- Thursday- I have time to write because I am home sick, I haven't been sick yet this school year, but had to give in finally. My head is KILLING me- think I have a sinus infection/ something sinusy coming on so last night I went and picked up some sudafed. I'm not one to like to take meds, but sometimes I just feel like I have to do it.

Sickness aside, I haven't written in over a month and a fair amount has happened.

In February there was Valentine's Day... which I got to spend with Jeff.

We went out to dinner one weekend with a group...

And then we had our own weekend the following weekend... out to dinner/ late lunch in Boston followed by Blue Man Group!

We took the T in from Riverside so we didn't have to worry about parking.

At the Charles Playhouse.... we were chosen to be a part of the show! I didn't get a photo though, no pictures allowed in the theater! Blue Man is a great show if you're looking for something to do on a weekend!

A couple of weeks ago we had a bowling date with some of Jeff's friends... don't you love my bowling shoes?

I never really understood why you have to wear these shoes and actually the thought of how many people's feet were in these shoes before me kind of grosses me out... let's just forget about that!
I actually got a strike and won one of the games! :)
Unfortunately the week before bowling I pulled a muscle in my butt, which led to issues with running. I was up to running over 30 miles a week, and cross training on the other days... my long run was up to 12 miles (at a sub 7:30 pace), I was totally thinking about doing the Providence Half Marathon in May, but since then I haven't run in a week and a half... I have ellipticalled or worked out daily (with the exception of yesterday and probably today, since my body is sick and I think I just need to rest it)... so I'm not sure where I stand with racing- where or when.
Jeff is a PT- so I've had an insider's pov as to what is going on--- basically my hip muscles are too weak; all of the running I do is limiting me from working the side to side part of my legs, so I need to work on that... which brings me to my next topic (this is not a focused post!)

Lent- It started yesterday and every year Catholics sacrifice something... but I really don't feel like giving up sweets is helping me to be a better Catholic. Sure, I've given up desserts, cookies, etc. before, but I've gotten to the point where I really don't eat these things on a regular basis, so it's not worth it to say I'm giving it up. That being said I want to really try to focus on fueling my body with healthy foods; however, after a long workout I've learned my body needs more. I have started to have a protein shake immediately after workouts that are an hour plus (which is most of my workouts) and I've also been hydrating while working out. I've discovered knots in my butt which I've learned is a sign of dehydration- so I am working on that too.
Another part of my training/ lent resolution is to try to get back into doing yoga. I think that this addition will make me more aware of my body and will work areas that running doesn't. Of course I am sick right now, so I don't plan on going to class right now; however, my gym has a Sunday class at 10:30 and an evening class on Thursday I think at 6:30... if not I have a yoga dvd I can pop in. I am not going to become a yogini for sure, but my goal is to do 1 yoga session per week. I think Lent is about trying to make yourself better and I think the addition of yoga will be better for me holistically.
The final part of my "refocus" of Lent leads me to the blog. I think that sometimes I don't write because I am avoiding facing some fears... ie: I get injured and don't want to share it, or I'm sick and taking the day off and don't want to put it in writing. However, the fact of the matter is, I need to be true to myself. I admit, I am sick today and I am not going to work out... does this make me lazy and out of shape ? No. Do I sometimes over analyze it though and get nervous? Yes. I am going to get over it, there is more to life. So with blogging I am going to try to blog at least 3 times a week. These may not be informative posts, since I use this blog more to recap my life; however, I would like to try to take more pics and share things on here. It's more of an outlet for myself. I am in a new course on teaching writing in my cags program and last night we discussed our own writing and I realized that I like to write my thoughts- so am I not? That's going to change.

This post was really unfocused, basically my ramblings over the past month+ and I've left a lot out. Hopefully as I increase the times I post I will be able to have more of a daily focus-- I'd like to try to include teaching stuff, running stuff, cooking stuff, and fun stuff too :)

Now it's time for tea and more tissues.