Sunbutter and a Chest Cold

I have never been so happy to see my own kitchen.  After a week of fried and junk foods, vacation-burnout hit hard and I’m ready to make my own meals.  Before a workout I try not to eat a full meal; most days I eat a snack of about 300 calories with plenty of fat, protein, and carbs.  Today’s preworkout snack was a treat featuring my new Sunbutter.  How is this new to my life?  I love sunflower seeds!  This spread has a savory flavor and slightly grainy texture: a refreshing change from my usual peanut butter.  Sunbutter on a Nature’s Own Whole Wheat Thin-Sliced Bagel hit the spot and I watched Ruby with MamaDi for half an hour before hopping on the treadmill.

Breakfast Part 1--Sunbutter is going to be a new obsession 😉

My workout could’ve been better.  I’m fighting a lingering cough from a nasty flu/chest cold I had way back in February and today it reared its ugly head.  I was feeling good for the first twenty minutes of my hill workout and then I was hacking and wheezing.  No amount of water seemed to help so I cut my run short around the 3 mile/30 minute mark.  Though I felt fine once I got off the treadmill (despite the continuing cough I wasn’t in much discomfort—mostly it was irritating and disruptive) I thought a healthy smoothie was in order.

Green Deliciousness--maybe it can scare away a cough?

Does anyone else experience a lack of appetite after running?  I have trouble thinking about solid foods for an hour or two after so I normally stick to a smoothie to refuel.  Lent’s hitting me hard in the smoothie department: I love a chocolate/banana/something flavor and the no-chocolate-milk-till-Easter is only getting harder.

This smoothie was no Green Monster (well, technically I think maybe it was…) but the nutritional stats weren’t too shabby.  I threw in a couple handfuls of spinach, three ice cubes, 1/4 cup of pineapple juice, 1 cup of milk, and 1 giant frozen banana.  Fruit does make a smoothie high in sugar, but there wasn’t any added sugar, so I’ll take it!

Recipe Analysis by

Afternoon update: I think I picked up a normal cold in addition to my lingering cough.  There’s a chance my wheezing and now-runny nose are due to allergies, but it’s fairly unlikely since I have never suffered from sensitivity to anything besides lactose.  I plan on cuddling up with a Robert B. Parker novel and a bowl of soup for the afternoon.  Maybe even an attempted nap is in order.  Hopefully this is a 24-hour bug, because I want to get back on track with my training after a week away.  Cross your fingers!

Time for some Link-Love:

 Tempting Food Can Trigger Urge to Splurge
An Egg a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
12 Ways to Eat More Colorful Fruits and Veggies


Hitting my Stride

Today was my first day running since the Monday before Disneyland.  On my workout log I ran twice in that time: both runs were likely less than two miles and I couldn’t track time or distance accurately.  But today was different.  Today my hotel had a functioning treadmill—it was going down 😉

Overdue for a speed workout, I slipped into my running skirt and sneakers at six.  After a sprint down a few flights of stairs I was in the fitness center and ready to run.  I started by walking a mile on 6% incline; as I walked I could feel the stiffness from a day in the car melting away.  After the first mile I lowered the incline and hit an easy running pace (that’s usually 6-6.5mph) for a half mile.  I was barely sweating afterwards.  My body is finally getting used to this abusive “exercise” thing.  When it was time for the second half mile of running (my speed routine includes half a mile of walking between two half miles of running) I cranked the treadmill to 7mph.  Two weeks ago I was panting at that speed, but now I was itching to speed up.  I took the last quarter mile at 7.5 miles per hour!

I was in shock as I walked a cool-down half mile.  That was really running and for the first time it didn’t feel hard.  Yes, I was still exerting myself.  Yes, I was still sweating.  Yes, I still felt that twinge in my side that at any moment could turn into a stitch.  But none of that made me want to stop.

This feels like a turning point in my relationship with running.  In the past I ran because I dreamed of being a runner someday.  Today I feel like I already am.

In less philosophical news, I’m furious with my camera.  It’s been cooperative for several years of abuse.  I think it’s finally going through teenage rebellion because it deleted all of the pictures I took today.  Luckily I have been loading pictures onto my laptop each night so I still have my Disneyland photos.

LilSis isn’t feeling well, so I’m making her tea before we go to bed.  Sweet dreams, all 🙂

Time for some Link-Love:

Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Vegetarians may be at a Lower Risk of Diabetes, Heart Risk
Exercise Preserves and Builds Heart Muscle

Disney Vacation Day 4: Afternoon Nap?

Disney Day 4 started with a scream—literally.  MamaDi has a penchant for insanely long, steamy showers, so just as I was blinking angrily at the alarm clock (I had planned on getting up at six thirty and it didn’t go off) the fire alarm shrieked.  I slipped on a sweatshirt and opened the door to our room because I initially thought someone had tripped the alarm in the whole building.  Then I remembered one of my apartments in Florida, where we had to leave the porch door open whenever someone was in a shower to keep our alarm from going off.  I told LilSis to try and get the window open as I held the door to our room open to the hall.  A few people poked their heads out of their rooms to glare at me.  MamaDi kept asking what was wrong, was it the whole building?  No, just our room, just the steam from the shower.

An inauspicious start to our final day of park fun, but I have to say I was sure we’d have a great last day anyway.  We lounged around the hotel and didn’t leave until ten o’clock.

LilSis and the Fiancé love Disneyland

When we got to the park, we headed straight for Tomorrowland to get Fastpasses for Space Mountain.  For those unfamiliar with the Disney parks, Fastpasses are available to everyone by putting your ticket in the machines at popular rides.  The Fastpasses allow you to take a shorter line later in the day (you can pick up a pass every two hours or so).  If you time them right, it really helps you skip long waits for crowded attractions.  Fastpasses in hand, we hopped in the stand-by line.  Half an hour later we were screaming in the dark on one of my favorite coasters.  It’s definitely a classic!

By 11:00 it was 80° and sunny—time for a little break in the shade 😉  I was craving fried food and fish and chips were near at hand.  Score!  I have to say, it’s pretty easy to eat pescatarian (if not particularly healthy) in the Disneyland area (a small section of Anaheim), but if you’re a vegetarian you’re stuck with soup or junk food.  I wish I had remembered to take pictures of my food this week.  Highlights included: teriyaki tofu rice bowl on the Wharf at California Adventure (scarfed down while waiting in line for the California Screamin’ Roller Coaster), buttermilk flapjacks and eggs at the local Original Pancake House, fresh-popped popcorn in a collectible bucket, shellfish sampler at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, and shrimp in a spicy broth at Bubba Gump’s.

We took the afternoon off since Disney vacations can be tiring.  MamaDi met with me after I ran a mile and a half and we walked this route.  Now MamaDi and LilSis are napping while I type.  Try as I might, I’ve never gotten the hang of midday sleep.  Tonight we’ll head back to the park for the fireworks show.  I can’t wait 🙂

7 Wallet- and Eco-Friendly Things Our Grandparents DidSix Surprising Superfoods
Healthy D-Fense: What’s so Great About Vitamin D?

Disney Vacation Days 2 & 3 in Pictures

I’ll eventually get a chance to write up a full recap, but those of you who’ve been to Disneyland or Disney World before know how long and happily-exhausting it can be.  So for now, here are some pictures.

One of my favorite rides as a kid was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, so we always endure the twenty-plus minutes wait to ride that antique car to hell.  (If you’ve been on the ride, you know what I’m talking about!)

LilSis loves the landscaping at the parks, so we’re always sure to snap a few pictures in front of the train depot out front.  Check out the Mickey flowers!

MamaDi’s favorite touristy restaurant is Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (themed after the Forrest Gump movie with Tom Hanks) so we had to head over there the first night.  There was a bit of a wait, but when you have a camera that’s not a big deal 😉

And what better way for a single girl to start the day than some Jack Sparrow over at the Pirate’s of the Caribbean?

Disney Vacation Day 1: Childhood Memories and a Roadtrip

The smell of buttery popcorn mingling with the cavity-inducing sweetness of caramel apples and cotton candy.  Running in terror from giant fuzzy animals walking around on their back legs.  Laughing at animatronics bears.  Sitting on my dad’s shoulders and gasping as colored lights exploded over a towering dream of a castle.

Those are the more vivid memories I have of my first trip to Disney World.  I was almost three years old.

My first trip to Disneyland came later, when I was eleven or twelve (no one in my family distinctly remembers which summer month our trip was in).  I was just old enough to not be whiny and exhausted at the end of a full day of waiting and heat.  I was just young enough to still immerse myself fully in the magic of the experience.  It’s probably one of the greatest weeks of my entire life.

Now it is ten years later, four years since my most recent Disneyland visit, and I’ve discovered something.  The excitement and the magic will never die for me.  Somehow Disney manages to bring out the perpetual startled toddler, the mesmerized middle-schooler, the kid in me.  Last night I was almost too excited to sleep; I felt like it was Christmas Eve when I was a kid listening hard for the sound of hooves on the roof.

By the time you’re reading this I’ll have already finished a super-speedy morning run.  My family will be bundling into the car and heading to the park for the Fiancé’s first visit. 

So I still have hope for a lot of things in my future.  I’m not going to worry about becoming too jaded to enjoy new experiences.  I’m not going to worry about the day that comes when I don’t love the magical experience of sitting down in a movie theater to watch a story unfold.  I’m not going to worry that I’ll grow tired of surprises.  I’m not going to worry about birthdays being routine.  Because.

Because now I’m sure there’s still magic in my world.

I hope there is in yours, too.

On road tripping:

I love driving cross country.  Piling into an overstuffed vehicle with your family and being stuck there for seven or eight hours may be a recurring nightmare for some of you, but somehow we get along better on road trips than we do at any other time.

Wind farms just after we crossed the California state line

Papo and I packed up snacks this morning while MamaDi, LilSis, and the Fiancé finished packing.  Magically (I’m going to throw magic out there as much as I want on these Disney posts), I was mostly packed the night before so I had time to work out this morning.

MamaDi liked her book more than the wind farms

According to my training plan I could strength train or cross train (non-running cardio) today, so I kind of did both.  First I did twenty minutes of newbie-modified cardio yoga (which I maintain is strength training—that made my muscles shudder under the strain) and followed up with fifteen minutes on the elliptical machine in our basement.

Who knew southern California was so green?

I have to say, the elliptical is growing on me.  The country club in town was selling their “old” ones since they were purchasing new equipment.  My parents got a great deal on it and we’re all pretty excited because Papo’s knees aren’t what they’re used to.  He’s an elliptical junkie 😉  At any rate, the elliptical is slightly less loathsome than it used to be simply because of the convenience factor when it comes to cross training.  I don’t have a gym membership and rarely have access to other cardio machines.

Ready for Spring Break in the sunshine

After everyone was showered and packed, luggage-Jenga ensued.  Maybe we just pack more than so-called “sane” people *scoffs*  I don’t know how we always end up with so much crap in the car when we go on vacation.  This time we squished everything in MamaDi’s Yukon without needing a car-top carrier (a feat right up there with climbing K2 or running an ultra).  Right now we’re about 150 miles from Los Angeles.  The day’s views consisted largely of distant brownish mountains and scrubby desert; if they hadn’t I would’ve filmed/taken more pictures.

My computer’s about to die, but I wanted to type this up quickly while I knew what I wanted to say.  Hope everything is well in Blogland, where you reside outside your computers.

Anyone up for luggage-Jenga?

The First Trail Run of 2011

Today was a good day, despite the late start. Last night was not an easy night’s sleep, so when I finally fell I was out till 10:30am! I powered up with a delicious red pepper-egg on a whole wheat English muffin and hit the treadmill. Little did I know MamaDi was going to show up with an even better option 😉

BigSis’s Fiancé is a Montana boy and really enjoys hiking, so MamaDi asked if I wanted to do a little trail running. Who am I to say no to weather finally nice enough for that? We geared up, piled in the car, and drove out to Prescott to make use of the Peavine Trail. Prescott sits right around a mile above sea level, which is what I was accustomed to growing up (I lived in both Washington State and Idaho as a preteen/teen).

You wish you were running here 😉

The Peavine Trail is absolutely gorgeous, located in The Dells: a series of rock formations with lakes/streams and old train routes that have been converted into recreational trails. Perfect for a scenic trail run!

The Dells, MamaDi, and the Fiancé

I set off at about a 10-minute mile pace (can’t be positive, because I don’t have a Garmin—but I was wearing my watch) until I hit the second mile marker and turned around to meet up with Fiancé and MamaDi. I rejoined them at the one mile marker, and we walked to the second mile marker before heading back to the trailhead. Basically, I ran three miles and then walked another three with MamaDi and Fiancé.

We took time out, of course, to take some ridiculous pictures.

I swear this is the least awkward picture of me and BigSis's Fiancé; and yes, he is a giant.

MamaDi is infamous for giving bad posing instructions. Okay, link your arms like you’re about to skip and then jump! Every year, the taking of the annual Christmas picture turns into an hours-long nightmare where someone always cries or stomps off. There’s nothing like family, is there?  BTW, does anyone else think it looks like I lost a finger in this picture?  Other than that, excuse the general sweaty, makeupless, scrub-look I’m rocking here.  Nobody’s perfect on the first trail run of the year.

On the menu for tonight: Red Robin for dinner (LilSis’s turn to pick) followed by a Redbox movie (LilSis picked Despicable Me) and posting tonight’s blog.

Tomorrow, we head to Anaheim. I haven’t been this excited for Disneyland since the first time I went!

I’ll try not to get too excited; I’d like to sleep tonight 😉

Time for some Link-Love:

Talking to a Loved One about Disordered Eating
Are Walnuts the Healthiest Nuts?
A Crazy Treadmill Workout, New Deoderant, and Easy Oats in a Jar on PBFingers

Shopping, A Survey, Baseball, and a Big Fat Surprise

Well, Blogland, it’s been a pretty hectic day.  There was shopping (day 2 in a row of my least favorite activity), spending time with LilSis (her flight into Phoenix was two hours late last night), meeting up with LilSis’s school friends, and a spring training baseball game (just me, Papo, and the Fiancé like baseball so more shopping was had by LilSis and MamaDi).  I was dying without a camera to show you all everything, but I have an exciting secret to ease the guilt of no pictures today:

On Tuesday you guys are coming with me to Disneyland! 🙂

Okay, you’re not really coming (that would be a bit awkward—we’ve just met, after all).  But my camera will be surgically attached to my hand and you’ll get to see the whole adventure.  This will be my first trip to Disneyland since 2007 and I’m really excited to experience the place as “an adult.”  That statement really does require quotation marks.

So no photos, but I saw a fun a-z blog survey going around and took the time to fill it out after the game.  For your reading pleasure:

A. Age: 21, I’ll be 22 in July 2011

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you dislike: Scrubbing the tub/shower!  It’s probably the most physically uncomfortable of the chores I do on a regular basis.

D. Dogs:  None, but I like to walk BigSis’s black lab when I visit her in Montana.

E. Essential start to your day: Something with peanut butter—usually a whole wheat english muffin.  Yummy!

F. Favorite color: Green closely followed by blue.  But my favorite color to wear is gray.

G. Gold or silver: Silver.  I look weirdly jaundiced if I wear gold.

H. Height: 5’4”.  I’m actually in between 5’4” and 5’5”, but I usually just say 5’4”.  Because saying this takes too long.

I. Instruments you play(ed): I still play the piano (took lessons for about twelve years) and previously played the cello (sold it in high school and never looked back).

J. Job title: Student/Blogger/YouTuber

K. Kids: No thanks! 😉

L. Live: Near Phoenix

M. Mom’s name: MamaDi, Dianna Lynn, Di, Disey (like daisy)

N. Nicknames: Lee, Kellshell (my middle name is Michelle), Kell, Mickey, Klowb (BigSis couldn’t say my name when I was born so Klowb came into being), KlowbShowb

O. Overnight hospital stays: 12 (I used to be a sickly creature!)

P. Pet peeves: Nail-biting, walking slowly in front of people on impassably small paths while smoking (specific to my old school), adults who bring their undisciplined children to upscale/quiet venues and let them act poorly

Q. Quote from a movie:  Adventure is out there! -Up

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: BigSis (Teddi) and LilSis (Shawn)

T. Time you wake up: Depending on the day between 5-10:30 am.

U. Underwear: uh…yes?

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Can I count fungus as a veggie?  I hate mushrooms.

W. What makes you run late: Playing too long with my ridiculous makeup collection.  I used to do some freelance artistry and now I just have a tone of makeup!

X. X-rays you’ve had: lungs a few times

Y. Yummy food you make: pancakes, stir-fry, grilled corn, cookies, roasted veggies…

Z. Zoo animal favorites: pandas!  Seriously, you have no soul if you don’t love pandas 😉

Alright, kids, I’ll see you back home tomorrow 😉

Time for some link-love:

The Possible Dangers of “Healthy Fat” Acceptance
Five Easy Veggie Frittatas
Beckman Institute Study on How Sports May Positively Focus the Brain