Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heading to Charleston!

We're heading out tomorrow for the Cooper River Bridge Run... "excited" doesn't even quite cover it! Hooray for a girls' weekend! Hooray for running my longest race yet! Hooray for doing it with 30,000 other people!



Monday, March 28, 2011

The cooking experiments continue...

So. When I was a little girl, I went to China with my dad on an exchange trip. We lived with a family in a remote village for a week to learn about the culture. It was pretty wicked-awesome. It's a lot of culture shock for a 12-year-old, but it sure gave me some great perspective on how lucky we are here.

Anywhoo, they had a cart in the village, and the guy rode around the town banging on a wooden block to alert the villagers that he was there peddling his wares. And what were his wares?

Bean curd.

Warm. Smelly. Spongy. Slimy. Disgusting. Bean curd.

You suburbanites know it as tofu.

One night at dinner, the father from our host family smiled a big, toothy smile, and lifted up a giant piece of this fresh, warm bean curd with his chopsticks. And deftly, almost before I could think, popped it in my mouth.

I could have died. Nastiest thing I have EVER tasted.

All that said, tofu has not exactly been on a top-ten list of foods to one day consume. My bean curd experience was just too traumatic. But, as you know, I've been on the WW and this weird, "cook different stuff!" kick. So, between that, and the super-double coupon at HT that made it pretty much free, I decided to give it a try tonight.

Combined with a head of cabbage (from the CSA) a couple of green onions (also on the CSA!) and some bean sprouts, it turned into a pretty yummy, and super-filling stir fry. And the texture wasn't bad. It mostly tasted like everything it was in there with. I might even cook this again sometime.

So, give me the award for willingness to try new things. Well, re-try. Mr. Li would be so proud.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seven miles, say what??

Yup. We ran 7.2 miles today. Because we are awesome. Last mile, when we were getting a little tired, we played 20 questions - genius way to pass the time. Before we knew it, we were back to the cars!

After the run, Alisha and I went to the farmer's market to pick up our share. It has been SO much fun cooking new things! Tonight, greens (of some sort - turnip? Mustard? Who knows.) fresh tomatoes, and barbeque chicken. Eating healthy is easy and fun! (No really. It actually is.)



Back to Steve Martin's new bluegrass album and slicing tomatoes... happy weekend, all!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Becoming a Cheerleader! or, Why I Have No Voice Today.

I was going to put a picture here of some crazy-possessed cheerleader. (By the by, "crazy cheerleader" pulls up all kinds of interesting things on google images - but I digress.) I was a CRAZY-POSESSED cheerleader on Sunday. (Minus that whole, splits, jumping, flips, stuff.)

When my cousin Brandy signed up for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon, obv. I knew I would volunteer. She's a runner and has always inspired me. I wanted to make sure to cheer her on! (She did an AWESOME job. I'm super-proud of her!) And Regan, being awesome, said she would come, too.
--> This is B. I don't know how to make captions.

Anywhoo, we got up early enough to bask in the glow of the super moon and realize that we didn't really have an assignment. So, we sort of made our own.

And you know what that assignment was? It was to cheer on EVERY SINGLE RUNNER that passed the 3-mile mark for the full and half marathons, and then head to mile 11 to cheer on the vast majority of the half-marathoners getting ready to finish up. (Ok, and 3 marathon runners who actually finished ahead of many of the half-ers. um. WOW.)

At some point I felt like it was my job, nay, obligation to encourage everyone. Y'all. I yelled for 3 hours straight. I had so much fun! Mostly, I loved being able to make people laugh when they were looking pretty derned miserable. Regan talked about a couple of her fav lines. I was totally on fire if I do say so myself.

I kid I kid.

Ok, I don't really kid, I was getting some good chuckles. But, then again, when you've been on your feet that long, anything is funny. Maybe they were losing it by that point.

All that said, I am feeling so inspired by these folks. There were literally people of every shape and size. They were slow, they were fast, they were skinny, they were sooo not. But you know what? Each of them saw themselves as being able to accomplish something the vast majority of people cannot do (coincidentally, one of my favorite motivating lines I was yelling on Sunday). There was something in them that made them believe that they could go out there, slap on some shoes, and run for 13.1 (or 26.2!) miles!

And I'm one of them. I think I can run 13.1 miles. It might take me all day, but I can do it. And so can Regan, Alisha, and Shruthi. And it doesn't matter what goal you might have, whether it's a race, or a weight-loss goal, or a professional goal. Being able to carry around that knowledge - that "by god, I can do this!" mentality - you'll give yourself so much more power.
So here's to everyone that's accomplished a goal recently...
You are so full of AWESOME!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Conversations I have daily.

"What I tell people when they want to start running or join the WW."

I talk a lot about my fitness and weightloss journey. I talk. I don't so much worry about oversharing. But you guys know this - you read the blog. I'm a living, breathing running/ww commercial. It's probably obnoxious, but as a result, people as a lot of questions. Suddenly, I'm an expert.

I get quite a few people that say things like, "Wow, weight watchers, huh? Aren't you starving?" or "Running is miserable." So, I thought I'd throw a few of the Frequently Asked Questions (and complaints) out here in bloggyland.

Q: (we'll start with one above) Don't you starve on Weight Watchers?
A: Obviously, no. In fact, some days, I have a tough time getting to all of my points. The new system is great - it lets you eat all of the fruit you want. I rock on some bananas and red grapes. And yes, I still eat ice cream. Even Goodberry's. (which technically is frozen custard.)

Q: How can a girl like me, with large, well, girls, run?

A: There are entire companies dedicated to this particular dillemma. I rock the Moving Comfort. It's fully adjustable and keeps the girls contained. I recommend Title Nine and their barbell system.
<--- This one has 5 barbells. Awesome.

Q: Doesn't running make you miserable? Runners look miserable. (This is from my dad)
A: Ok, we don't all look miserable. But frankly, we might sometimes because that is where a lot of us leave our stress. I leave it all out there on the pavement, so yes, sometimes I do look intense. Running gives me something else to focus on. Other things (particularly work) stop mattering so much. Running has made me much less uptight.

C: (for "complaint" rather than "question") I don't have time to run.
A: How do you figure? Even beginners can strap on a pair of shoes, head out the door, run about 2 miles in 30 or so minutes, and come back to the house. You can be showered and on to the next activity in under and hour. Hella easier than going to the gym. It's one Friends rerun. It's half of Law and Order SVU. Let's face it, it's a repeat anyways. GET OUTSIDE!

C: But it's COLD/HOT.
A: It's not that bad. Wimp. Buy the right clothes.

Q: What tips do you have if I wanted to start running?
  1. Find a buddy. Or 2 is better. Being responsible for your own fitness is one thing, being responsible for someone else is another entirely.
  2. Tell EVERYONE. Write a blog. Tell your co-workers, family, and friends. Sometimes even strangers. The more people who know what you're up to, the more people will ask and encourage you. Almost all of the feedback will be positive. Seriously.
  3. Buy the right bra and shoes. It's worth it.
  4. Take it easy. Even if you only run one minute at a time, you'e still doing it. You're still running.
  5. 5. Read blogs, books, etc. Get engaged in the running community. It's an amazing world. They are not elite snobs. Most runners are just like you and me - normal folks trying to set some awesome goals and get a little healthier. I recommend "The Courage to Start" by John "The Penguin" Bingham.
  6. Q: What about tips for WW?
  1. Find a buddy. 2 is better. Get your family on board.
  2. Tell Everyone. It is not a shame to be on a diet. But, it might keep your co-worker from encouraging you to eat that cookie, or your mom might have a salad handy instead of french fries next time you go over there. It's not like you can't indulge, but if your friends know, you can avoid a lot of the peer pressure that's o so fun.
  3. Be proud of every accomplishment. Earned 2 new activity points? You da MAN! Tried a new veggie? BOO YA.
  4. Think of food as fuel and enjoy it. It was only when I stopped thinking of food as security, but starting thinking of it as a way to get through my next run that I conqured my overeating tendencies. French fries don't go very far when you've got 8 miles to run. Every now and then, sure. But not every day. And now, I eat ice cream because I want to - not because it will make me feel better. Try new things! I have discovered butternut squash - DELISH.
  5. Read blogs. Get involved in the community. There are tons of us on the WW or Jenni Craig or whatever. It's not easy. But you'll be doing some amazing things for your body and your life.
Hmm. Lifestyle changes sorta have the same basic message don't they? Find support (literally and figuratively). Celebrate your successes. Have the courage to start. (Ok, that's cheesy, but let's face it, it's true.)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just what I like to hear.

I went to the gym for a bit over my lunch break (I work at home on Wednesdays, so I have some flexibility) and did a pretty basic elliptical, weights, stair thingy workout.

My old trainer, Nancy, was there working out herself. She came up to me and said, "Wow! Sarah! I almost didn't recongize you because your face is so slim! And around this area! (gesturing to the mid section). You've been working hard!"

Can I get a BOO YA?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time to start ramping it up...

Happy "Hooray! The sun isn't going to set until 7, so I can get a long run in!" Day!

While so may are grumbling about losing an hour of sleep, I couldn't be more thrilled that daylight savings time is here. By the time I get home from the office, I'll still have 2 hours of daylight left!

The timing is fabulous since our half-marathon seems fast approaching. Ok, so it's still 2 months away, but that feels soon. Even sooner is the Cooper River Bridge Run! It's on only 3 weeks!

We started our first official training runs yesterday. The Bridge Run falls perfectly in line with our training plan. We'll run 6.5 next week, 7 the week after, then hit the 10k in Charleston.

I feel like I've been involved in the Cooper River Bridge run before, but maybe that's just because I've had the shirts for so many years! My mom is from Mt. Pleasant - where the race starts. Even when I was a little kid, my aunts used to participate in that race every year. The race has just gotten bigger and bigger, and I'm excited to be a part of it. It's fun to feel like I have some non-tourist claim to Charleston, since it's such a gorgeous part of the world. It's one of the few places on our list of places we'd move.

Anywhoo, it'll be my longest race to date. We've done 6.2 miles several times before, so I'm not too worried about it. The bridge incline doesn't bother me too much either - mostly because I know once you make it up that, it's literally, all downhill from there.

I'm slowly figuring out things to try with our CSA stash -Regan suggested a great recipe to use some of our winter veggies - Roasted Root Vegetables of the WW site. It's 5 Points+ and it used 3 different items from our stash! The parsnips were a little bitter for me, but everything else was delish!

1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb small red potatoes, scrubbed & quartered
1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into 3/4-inch chunks
4 carrots, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 fresh beets, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 onions, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 cup chicken broth (hint: Use reduced sodium to save on sodium count in this recipe)
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the oil in a large shallow roasting pan or jelly-roll pan. Heat the pan in the oven until the oil is hot, about 2 minutes. Add the red potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets and onions.
Combine the broth, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetables, mix well. Bake, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Happy Sunday!


Friday, March 11, 2011


No, I haven't been watching too much Rachael Ray. But I did get our first share from the CSA I learned about at the race last weekend. We're doing week to week right now, since our schedule gets wonky, but I'm pretty impressed for a $25 investment! I love that everything is in season (the strawberries were grown in a "solar tunnel" - whatever that is) and I love that it comes from 45 minutes away. Aaand, we're supporting a local, 3 generation family farm.

Boo ya. I'm like, citizen of the year. Saving the planet, and the farm industry all with one box of yumminess.

We got:
Butternut Squash
Sweet potatoes
Beets (NO clue what to do with them)
Turnip greens
some turnipy thing (again, no clue)
Giant thing of cabbage (ideas?)
Pecans (BONUS!)
Spring onions

I am SO excited to try some new foods and new recipies. (again - please, please help me figure out what to do with this stuff.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Bern!

So, I don't have to travel for work all that often, but this week I had to go to New Bern for the Prevent Child Abuse NC Learning & Leadership Summit. The conference center was right on the water, and I got to stay in a waterfront room in the Hilton. SCORE!

Bonus: Since I usually work to support nonprofits, and not in direct service with the public, it was fantastic to hear about the amazing work PCA and their peers are doing to help kids and families in NC. What an inspiration group of people. They work so hard. And they do such hard work. I am thankful that my organization can help all of them save a little time and money! (Sorry, I've been doing the NC Center spiel for 3 days - it's on repeat in my head!)

Anyways, since I was at the conference for 2 full days, I wasn't sure where I'd get a run in. Thankfully, they had a break towards the end of the day when I hadn't signed up for any sessions, so I got to go on an exploration run. Read: I had no planned route. I just tied on my shoes and went.

New Bern is GORGEOUS. It's one of NC's oldest towns, so the architecture is fabulous, and it has some serious small-town charm. Not to mention, it has a great waterfront on the Neuse River and even a little park.

However, it is very tricky to get in a lot of miles! I did a lot of zigzagging up and down the historic district. I figure I got about 4.25 miles in or so, but I'm not sure. It was fun to just wing it - not something I usually do when I run!

We had a reception at the conference (I ate fruit! 0 points!) and then I headed out for dinner. I had some ideas, since I had literally run past every single restaurant in town. I finally settled on Captain Ratty's. With a name like that, it seemed like a great place to get oysters and shrimp. I was SO right. Local oysters were on sale for $.50 each, and a half-pound of shrimp was only 7 bucks. LOVE. I did get hit on twice, which I found to be extremely irritating. I don't see why a woman can't just have dinner at a bar and be left the F alone. When I told them I was married, they played it off like, "oooh, that's not what I meant!" Sure you didn't you redneck piece of.... Sorry. I digress.

Anyway, running is such a fun way to get to know a town. I'll be doing this anytime I
have to travel!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The craziness has ended!

Yay! My working life is about to get a lot easier.

1. Super-stressful meeting month is over. Hooray!
2. My boss has hired a new, quite smart, assistant. I can finally stop doing 2 full-time jobs!
3. I get to hire my own assistant. We have an intern that is starting part-time, but I'll have full-time help by July 1.
4. My boss is heading on a 3-month sabbatical at the end of this month. I'll miss her, but it will be an opportunity to work on some great projects that I've been putting off.

Now, for the fun stuff...

We ran the Run Green 8k downtown yesterday! It was my longest race to date, and I did it in a kilt! Aren't we cute?

The course was tough... you know how much I loooove hills.... well, there were A LOT of them. Big ones. But we actually did really well. We only took an "extra 30" once or twice, and didn't stop early on our running intervals, even if we were going up the hills the whole time.

I've got to stop worrying about our time so much though - it becomes all-consuming. "We're right on target," or, "we're going to finish in under 14 intervals," was the tune we were singing, but we are losing sight of the important part - we finished!

That is the only goal for the half-marthon - to finish. Who gives a hoot if we have an under 13 average?

Anyways, the race Saturday was great, and then it was followed by free beer! And then spending money at my most favorite local Raleigh store - Stitch! I used my groupon from ages ago and bought this for myself as a "Hooray, I got a promotion!" present. LOVE IT. It is pretty huge - but perfect for a "travel bag" for magazines, my kindle, camera, etc. I'm super-excited.

After our shopping excursion, we headed to the Busy Bee Cafe to celebrate Alisha's birthday. Happy Birthday, Alisha! Anywho, we had a good crowd and yummy food. We even got one of each of the desserts and shared them. Worth every point. Which, by the way, thanks to 12 activity points, I actually didn't go over! Even with 2 beers!

It was a pretty rocking day. Now I'm packing for my trip to the coast (would be like a mini-vacay except that U-S husband can't come with me) and listening to the pouring rain outside. The kitten is fascinated - she just can't quite figure what is going on out there! Feeling like a great rest day - though, I might bust out the wii fit if for no other reason than to watch my little mii character shrink down about 13 lbs... :-)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Almost finished!

The "Three weeks from Hell" are very close to being finished. So close!

In the mean time, I'm managing to continue running and losing weight! I'm down about 13 pounds. Boo yah. At 15 down, we're going shopping at the outlets. I'm finding the WW plan to be totally manageable. I don't feel even the tiniest bit deprived. How awesome is that? I'm discovering new foods and recipies. I feel amazing. And proud of myself.

On the running front, we've added a third to our half-marathon team... Alisha is in! We're starting to ramp up our training. Last weekend, we ran a 5k in Chapel Hill ("hill" being the operative word!) but we killed it. A solid 37:50 - a race PR. Good times!

This weekend, we're running an 8k downtown. Hopefully, I'll be rocking my new sport kilt! It's supposed to arrive tomorrow. PUMPED. Regan wore hers last weekend and it was super-cute.

I hope everyone had a blast at the Princess half! I can't wait to go next year!