Running is Like Dancing

Well, running is kind of like pirouettes (turns), I feel. I remember watching the amazing, beautiful dancers who could do 6 pirouettes and make it looks like nothing while I tried over and over to land a triple. I also remember how the guys could start and all of the sudden be able to do so many tricks and turns, but with that super fast growth, they lacked the control that others had learned over the years. I remember one saying “Today I discovered I can do a triple pirouette, but I can’t do a single.” I didn’t really get it. How is that possible?!?! I’ll trade you! I want to turn lots of pretty turns!!! I never did end up being much of a turner, but I did, over time, discover the balance of power necessary to complete one turn vs 2 or on a great day 3.

Today, as I was running, I kept feeling the desire to go faster, push harder, give more power. I only really wanted to be able to run the two middle miles at a 9:10 average pace, and I wanted that to feel comfortable. I ended up with 9:01 and 8:43 and it was not comfortable. I mean, 8:43 is really awesome for me, but that was not the goal. I was thinking about it during my cool down and realized that learning how much power my body needs to keep a certain pace is a learning experience. I am still so new at all of this and I don’t know what 9:10 feels like, or how much effort that requires, or how to keep the same amount of effort consistently.

I actually found the whole realization really exciting because I’m a huge nerd I learned something new about myself as a runner. I made a discovery that went beyond I can run XX miles! In case you didn’t notice, I am all about self discovery, learning about myself and figuring out how to make myself all around a better person, so any time I can make self discovery is exciting to me.

While we’re on the topics of discoveries (Kelly Q would be so proud if she read this post!), I made an even bigger one this morning. Sometimes, life is hard. Okay, I promise that’s not the discovery. But seriously, sometimes things happen in life that actually are the “big things”, and they are things we have no control over, and often seem unfair and never ending. So often in life, it is important to look at the big picture, but sometimes the big picture can be overwhelming. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is look at what you can do right now. Tackle one small individual goal that can make things even a little bit better. Then try to tackle an other.

There are some things going on in life at the moment that are out of my control. I know that in the end everything will be okay, but the moment you get bad news, it can seem completely helpless, as if there is nothing you can do, but I realized that, although there is nothing I can do that will fix the problem, there is  a lot I can do that can change this moment, and that is not only comforting, but makes me feel powerful and not quite so helpless.

Is there a point to this whole story? Well, this afternoon I talked this all through with one of my best friends, and she said some of the nicest things ever, and made me cry in the middle of Starbucks (thanks Lisa!),  but I figured that maybe if this small discovery meant something to me, and helped me feel a little better, it could help someone else too, and that is really the reason I do this whole blog thing in the first place. Because I hope it will help someone else.

And lastly, because this post needs a picture and because I need to help you people discovery something else that is AMAZING, please take my advice, head to the nearest Starbucks and order the Casi Cielo. It is the most delicious brewed coffee you will ever taste in your life and they don’t usually keep it around very long. Seriously. You will thank me later!

Check out that foam!! That is not a latte, and not even technically a misto (a misto is 1/3-1/2 milk). Tall casi cielo with 2 pumps sf caramel, 1 pump toffee nut and topped with steamed soy in a mug. Heaven.

PS: I have been considering adding a “How to Order at Starbucks” page to the blog. Thoughts?

What is one thing you discovered recently? Big, small, or silly–it all counts!

 

Charlie’s Birthday

The tradition of Starbucks birthdays continues!

Last night we went out to celebrate Charlie’s birthday at Abuelo’s.

Birthday boy!

It actually ended up being, for me, the perfect group. Kara, Charlie, Eddie, Steve and me. I tend to do better in smaller group settings. Large groups give me anxiety and I get shy and I feel like I don’t know who to talk to or what conversation to listen to. I often have to force myself to go to things where there are large groups and people I don’t know, but last night was easy, fun and really chill which was exactly what I needed! They also had skinny margaritas on the menu which made me super happy! I love margaritas, but I can never justify the calories of a full sugar one. Skinny margs are the way to go, and honestly, I think they taste better–I like to taste my tequila!

I had never been to Abuelo’s, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The food was soooo delicious! The portions looked huge so Kara and I decided to split a seafood dish

While Charlie ordered for the entire country of Ethiopia

Everything was delicious, but the bites I stole of Charlie’s spinach and cheese enchilada were definitely my favorite! With so much food, we all kind of ended up sharing everything which is my favorite way to do it! I can never decide on just one thing, I like to try lots of things!

And of course I brought Charlie’s green tea cupcakes for dessert.

They were a huge hit!

Don't worry Eddie, you can thank me later for posting this awesome picture of you.

I had a fabulous time spending time with some of my favorites!

Dear Steve: I do not really love this angle. But at least you did not give me a double chin. Thank you for that.

Jello Arms

Hello friends! I woke up this morning with some angry achilles tendons. Normally, I don’t run consecutive days in a row, and this week, I ran 3 in a row, and didn’t ice as much as I should have. I woke up wanting to run so that I could avoid strength training (which used to be my fav, but now I would rather do just about anything else…except row!), but as I hobbled out of bed, I knew that I needed to do something else. Okay tendons, I get it. I will not run 3 days in a row anymore, now can you chill the heck out please and not f up my program? That’d be great, thanks.

I know some people can run way more often than me and be fine. I also know that I will take myself out of commission if I don’t do what is best for my body, so I am listening. So after an hour of sitting around lazily, I finally made it over to the gym for an upper body strength training session which I will now attempt to actually put into words. Don’t judge my lack of terminology, or my wimpy arms. I’m hoping posting the weight amounts will motivate me to work a little harder and get strong again! ;)

Superset 1 (3 sets): Pushups (body weight) and incline chest press (30 lbs)

Superset 2 (3 sets): Skull crushers (20 lb bar) and bicep concentration curl (15 lb dumbell)

Circuit (3 sets): 3 point shoulder press (5 lbs dumbells), bicep curls (10 lb dumbells), and overhead tricep press (20 lb dumbell)

Lat pull (3 sets) @ 65 lbs

Reverse V up on exercise ball (3 sets)

 

By the time I left, my arms felt like jello. I am recommitting myself to AT LEAST 1 day of serious strength training per week. My body needs it. After my work out, I walked over to the Bux for my coffee

And then I got so excited when I saw this!!!

I LOVE the Starbucks holiday cookies and this one comes on a stick! Isn't he cute??

Well, I quickly changed my tune, because you know what is not cute? A 400 calorie cookie.

Sorry snowman, you are just not worth it.

As I sipped my coffee, I got to chat with Kara about our final weeks of training for PF Chang’s. Can you believe we are already mapping out the end of training??? I seriously can’t. But, I feel ready for it. I kind of wish I was doing the Vegas 1/2 on the strip this weekend. I think I could do it now if I had to, but deep down I am grateful for the extra time and ability to up my mileage a bit before the actual race. I know I will feel more comfortable knowing I’ve run 12 miles, than if I did it after 10. I need to go in with no doubts. And of course my original goal was just to finish, and now I have a time goal in my brain. Arg. It’s not a fast one by any means, but it’s there and I do NOT plan on sharing because I don’t want it to be my focus. I really do just want to finish my first big race.

Kara and I also had a chance to map out our work outs for the rest of the week and I am happy to say that my week is looking pretty legit.

Sunday: short run

Monday: speed run

Tuesday: strength training

Wednesday: run…we shall see how long and how fast it ends up–it’s Kara’s first run back from injury! Hooray!!

Thursday: spin

Fri: off

Sat: long run

I like having a plan. I like even more planning with someone else because it holds me accountable. Okay, I’m off to work. Have a great day friends!

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

At least, at Starbucks it is. You can imagine my excitement when I walked in to get my coffee yesterday afternoon and all of this was happening!

"Look at me. I'm making Christmas happen. I am essentially responsible for bringing you Christmas. You're welcome."

Christmas tumblers!!

And decorations!

It all just makes me soooo happy! I know, I know, I’m a total sucker for this time of year. Before I left for Starbucks, I put Winnie and Clem outside and for a total change, they decided to be super cute.

All that cuteness must be tiring.

I also had not been able to get roasted sweet potatoes off my mind since I kept reading about them on Carrots N Cake, so I made some for myself and they were oh so delicious.

Misting of olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. 400 for approx 30 minutes. Yum

And then later in the day, this happened

An apple slicer apparently doesn't stand a chance against the honey crisp!

I seriously just looked at the apple so confused for a good minute before deciding I had to figure out how to salvage it because it was the last honey crisp in my house and they are so delicious!

In other news, I have accomplished pretty much nothing exercise wise since Saturday. I feel just barely better than yesterday, so I’m just trying to wait it out and not make myself sicker. I’m planning to hopefully do a short run tomorrow, but at the very least be back to spin on Thursday, I have a long run with Nicole on Friday (YAY!!!) and the Undy 5000 with Nicole, Mariel and *hopefully* Kara if her ankle is back to normal on Saturday!

And lastly, I can’t talk about exactly what it is yet, but our family did get some pretty fantastic and exciting news yesterday!! I can’t wait to be able to actually share it when it all becomes official! :) Have a good day everyone!

Ari’s Epic Day Off

Ok, listen, a day off might not sound super epic to you, but after almost 2 months straight of working every single day, I had been dreaming of this day and planning this day for weeks! When I got sick on Monday, I started to fear for the worst, and imagined myself spending my one day laying at home with a blanket on the couch. That may actually sound like a nice day to some of you (minus the sick part) but I am not a girl who likes to lay on the couch! Luckily, by the time I left rehearsal Thursday evening, I could see that things were looking up!

My day started the way every day off should, with pancakes!

Whole wheat oatmeal blueberry pancakes. With a side of yum.

 

Actually, it started even before that. My alarm went off at 6:15–yes I am crazy, I accept this and I headed out for my first run since MONDAY. Oy! My original plan for the week had my long run on Thursday so that Friday would be completely off from everything, but Kara got injured and I got sick and no long run happened. In fact 2 days of no exercise other than physical therapy and a few step touches happened, and I was not feeling like letting an other one go by. So I got up early to get it done and out of the way so I could get on with my day.

Not too shabby, right?

 

Hooray!! I ran! Check me out!! Oh, and no double chins please! Ohhhh and about those holes in my arm pits...I'm a starving artists.

"Okay, now take a shot of me in action!" So realistic. I used Stanislovsky technique to portray the character of "Ari running" College education=money well spent.

So theeennnn, the pancakes finally came. I asked Steve “Should we make breakfast here or go out?” He replied “So I know today is all about you, but it’s also about me in that I don’t want to clean anything.” That meant we were going out, because in this house the cook doesn’t do dishes! Well, more like in this house I don’t do dishes. Anyway, we went out to The Good Egg for some pancakes!

Steve got pancakes too!

Obviously, coffee was the next stop

Grande bold coffee, 1 pump sf mocha, 2 pumps sf vanilla, 1 pump sf peppermint, steamed soy. Just order it, who cares what looks of judgement you receive?

I really really need a new mani. Or at least to remove the remaining orange polish from my fingers…

After coffee we were on a holiday shopping mission! Gifts for other people, decorations for us! We spent the day at some of my very favorite stores. First up was Hobby Lobby. Other than the time I thought I was going to die in the Hobby Lobby which is a story for an other day (short version is overreaction to undercover cop leads to people screaming that someone has a gun at the front of the store and Kara and I being escorted through the back–yikes!), it is always one of my favorite places to be. If there is one near you and you haven’t been, go immediately. Like, right now.

Usually about half the store is on sale for 50% off. I think everything we bought was actually half off and look at that cart full of stuff! They have tons of knick knacky type things (PS: How does one spell knick knack? nick nack? I have no idea.)

Steve: "Act like you're gonna eat it!"

As well as crafty type things and lots of home decor. The entire time we were there I just kept saying to Steve over and over “This is the best day!!” I mean I could go to Hobby Lobby any morning before work on my own, but it’s just not the same as having a day with no schedules where you can do fun things with your favorite person on Earth!

Next on the list of favorite places (in case you didn’t anticipate this one)

Because it is so much better than Walmart, and K-Mart---let's not even go there about that one!

They have some super cute holiday puppy outfits right now, including PET PAJAMAS!!!!

"Why do I have to be in the picture? It's about the pajamas!" "Because I said so!" "FINE!"

Can’t you just picture Clementine in those little PJs!

"I'm cute on my own. I don't need pajamas."

I know I’ve said it about a zillion times, but I just really want this flamingo!

"If I'm going to take this picture, you have to pet the flamingo"

"WAAIIITT!!! I want to pose like it too!"

They also have a ton of other shiny decorations I want to put up outside the house.

Presents!!! My favorite!!!

And doesn't this little guy just put you in the holiday spirit?!

And then I saw the one thing I could not live without. I did not get to buy my beloved flamingo, but I simply could not leave the store without purchasing this.

"Buy me Ari!!! I am a kitchenaid mixer ornament and I just happen to be the exact same color as your own kitchenaid mixer. You cannot leave this store without me. I belong on your tree!!"

Heather, can you believe it?!?!?!!

After spending way too much money at Target and Hobby Lobby, we headed up to the Biltmore to meet Lisa and Ashleigh for lunch at Paradise Bakery. Let me just say that ever since Paradise Bakery got bought out and changed their menu, it is not nearly as good. I still love the tomato soup, but the sandwiches are not my fav anymore. They got rid of the delicious veggie one with the roasted red peppers and havarti cheese. Boo. But the soup and the cookies are still delicious.

Look, the guy drew a cute little smiley face in Steve’s soup with the sour cream garnish!

"I am a happy soup"

I ate mine with half a grilled cheese sandwich, but the soup was definitely the best part! That and the two bites I took of my m&m cookie. Yes, I took 2 bites and threw it away. I REALLY wanted those 2 bites. I did not, however, want an entire 4oo calorie cookie.

After lunch, we shopped around a little more, I got some necessary things done at the Apple store (bought a warranty for my mac book and got my broken ipod replaced). Then I went into Lulelemon and drooled over work out clothes I can’t afford. Steve found this on the outside of the store, which is so me it’s not even funny

Thank you Lululemon for reading my mind. After we finished shopping at the Biltmore, we said goodbye to Lisa and Ashleigh and headed back to our side of town to meet my mom, Hank and Charlie for coffee.

Not only is coffee more delicious in a mug, but did you know you get a 10 cent discount?

I always worry about making fun of my Jewishness on the blog for fear of offending someone, but I do think it’s funny that

1) I’m Jewish and care about getting a 10 cent discount.

2) This post has been almost entirely about Christmas.

After coffee we picked up dinner and beer. Yes, every single meal I ate yesterday came from a restaurant, and I am okay with that. Beer from Whole Foods (so many of my favorite places in one day!) and dinner from Chipotle.

It looks almost homemade if you put it in a real bowl!

When I get take out from Chipotle, I always wait and use my own fat free sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and lower fat/calorie cheese at home. That way I still get them, but not the full fat versions that I don’t want! I got a bowl with a little brown rice, a little pinto beans, fajita veggies, steak (same nutritionally as their chicken. I looked it up), lettuce, pico and medium salsa. Topped at home with fat free sour cream and goat cheddar. Yummmmm.

Then we watched caught up on some of our fav tv shows and brought out the beer!

"I have 2 beers! One in each hand!" :)

We did the mix and match at whole foods. I ended up only trying a few sips of the ones we opened because I didn’t want to mess up my getting better with too much alcohol.

After we finished eating, I decided I needed a lounging on the couch after my epic day off outfit.

"Mom, you embarrass me with all your 80s clothes. I wasn't even born when those were popular."

 

"Mom, you're so weird."

I almost wore my onesie, but leg warmers won.

Honestly, I just had the most amazing day, and although I wish I could have like 5 more days off, I feel slightly rejuvenated and just really happy that I got to spend some quality time with Steve and that I have such an amazing husband who will go along with whatever I want to do to make me feel special and ensure that my day off is absolutely perfect!

Have a great weekend everyone–hope you all enjoy your time off this weekend as much as I enjoyed yesterday! :D