Friday, July 29, 2011

Yoga and Garden food- plus feta

I have something very embarrassing to confess. I've lived in Charlotte for four years with at least 6 great Farmer's Markets nearby and have never been to one. Never. So I was driving into uptown this morning and noticed the crazy backup on Kings Rd. It was the Farmer's Market! I ran my errands and then fought four other drivers for a parking spot. I was so overwhelmed- flowers, plants, vegetables, fruits, shrimp, and more. I gathered tons of food into my bag, grabbed some bananas then headed to pay. Then I thought I noticed something so I asked, "Is this cash only?" The response was cash or check. Well I don't even know where my checkbook is so that was out of the question. The lady was nice enough to hold my food for me while I ran to the ATM next door. I had no idea how much it would cost and I took out more than enough- it was only 14 dollars! I was so shocked and part of me wanted to go to Harris Teeter, put the exact same items in my card, and check how much more it would cost there. My guess would be about twice as much. I dropped off the groceries at home and then went to yoga. I've been at the beach since Sunday and though I ran there a few times my body was really missing yoga. I even tried to do it in the sand. This did not work as I was in the wet sand so my hands and feet sunk into the water. Not a good idea. Anyways, after yoga I came home, chopped up everything I bought, threw it into a bowl with a squirt of lemon juice, and went at it with a fork.  It was so delicious and fresh and refreshing! Check out the picture below- sweet potato (cooked in microwave and then cubed), cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, red onion, apples, and a bit of feta. Some people think it's weird to combine random ingredients but I think it is delicious. Fresh, raw food always makes me feel so healthy too!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ready for Fall

I have really enjoyed my summer. It's the first time in three years I haven't spent the summer looking for a job. But, after my trip to the beach Sunday, I may just be ready for fall. Three reasons- a routine, cooler weather, and football.

The first few weeks of summer I found myself still waking up around 7AM. Just after the 4th of July I became an expert sleeper. I even found myself lying in bed at noon! So lazy I know, but I think I needed it. It's unfortunate too because the last couple weeks of the school year I was doing really well getting up and running before work. As I've been saying, there's really no use in getting up early because it's the same temperature at 5AM as it is at 8AM, and even with the darkness there is no relief in humidity. I have been taking a class for grad school this summer and really enjoying it, and babysitting every now and then, and I'm not saying I'm bored, but I'm ready for a bit more of a routine. I don't know if I'm ready for a new school year, or new set of kids yet, but I think in a month I will definitely be excited. It's going to be my second year of teaching and I feel so much more confident with a year of experience. I almost, ALMOST, get excited talking about it now. But I will also very gladly enjoy the rest of my summer.

I can't stress this enough- I need cooler weather. The only place that feels good is my apartment and, believe it or not, the yoga studio. I went to Starbucks two days ago and the ice in my iced coffee melted before I could enjoy it. And, I was inside! Unfortunately for the baristas the A/C was not working well. I had run 7 and a half miles that morning and was still trying to cool off. The lack of A/C in Starbucks did not help. Yoga yesterday was magnificent. 85 degrees inside felt SO much better than being outside. I sweat like crazy and am super sore, but it's the best. I tried to workout on the elliptical at the gym today. The problem is there are huge windows behind the row of ellipticals. I was sweating profusely 8 minutes into it, I guess from the sun and heat coming into the building.  Needless to say I only lasted about 15 minutes which is pathetic. I moved to the bike and then did weights along with my planks. If you are on Twitter you need to join #PlankADay. It's a really fun challenge and you post when you do planks and for how long. The group has grown to over 100 people and the "plank police" as they like to call themselves will call you out if you miss a day.  Anyways, I really cannot wait for fall weather. It is truly the runner's season. I am running the half in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Day. I decided to really dedicate myself to training and I'm excited about how soon it starts. 12 weeks out means training starts September 5th. I'm using one of Bart Yasso's training plans I read in his book My Life on the Run. I haven't trained for a run since my marathon in March and I can tell. Running is becoming more difficult but I know it will get better the more I make myself do it. I cannot make myself do it in 100 degree weather...

Lastly, I cannot wait for football. College football. I know my blog is supposed to be about teaching and running, but if you know me at all, you know I can't leave out my favorite sport. I'll wait to express my favorite team, my alma mater, until closer to the season opener. I just found out I have a ticket to the game and I can't wait to see my team play! I just really, really hope we're good this year. My mood is severely affected August-December by the performance of my team. Since fall is such a significant training time I also have to plan my runs around the schedule. The past couple of years I have really enjoyed what I call my Gameday Runs. I get up Saturday morning, text my best friends "It's GAMEDAY!!!," and get some miles in while listening to my school's fight song on my iPod. I get VERY pumped up!

27 days until I'm back at work, 43 days until kickoff, hopefully not eternity until cool weather...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back to School already?!

I have to admit I've spent much of my summer catching up on TV. While I have enjoyed the Bachelorette, Pretty Little Liars, and other new shows, nothing beats Soapnet. There's nothing better than watching old episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and the OC. Especially the first season of 90210 as it is so cheesy and dramatic. It's funny to think I was six years old when it first aired. I usually DVR these shows so I don't have to watch commercials, but not always. I've noticed lately the abundance of Back to School commercials for everything from Target to Frosted Mini Wheats.  I hope one of my students has a little mini wheat on his shoulder :-) I think I'm ready for a new year and new group of kids, but not quite yet! It's only the middle of July so I've got a few more relaxing weeks ahead of me.

When I came in after my run today I was ready to relax and cash up with my friends Brandon, Steve, and Dylan. However, I was starving! So I want to share my new summer treat/breakfast I have created. I use about three or four tablespoons of non-fat plain Greek yogurt (gotta love the protein!) and mix in one tablespoon of peanut butter. It is a delicious and healthy treat loaded with protein and who doesn't love peanut butter?! I highly recommend it.

One other recipe I wanted to share I stumbled upon about a year ago. This is the best and healthiest banana bread ever. I currently have two very brown bananas and plan to make it this afternoon.

Check out the other recipes too on this website.

What I love about this banana bread is that you can make it with anything you have in the kitchen. You any substitute and nut and fruit. It is a great breakfast bread or afternoon/evening snack. Check out the picture below!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Humid Peachtree to Hot Yoga

It's been quite a summer. Once wedding season ended I finally made it to the beach for the first time in over a year. I am fortunate enough to babysit for the best family! There's nothing like being with a child at the beach. There is never a dull moment, only jumping and crashing in the waves, building sandcastles, and poking dead jellyfish with sticks. It was an amazing week. That was followed by the 4th of July. To most people, the 4th is a time to celebrate on a lake or at the beach, but I always find myself heading back to Atlanta. People think it's crazy to go to a hot and humid big city for the holiday but behind Christmas and Thanksgiving it's our next biggest family tradition. We wake up at 6 AM and venture into the humid streets of Buckhead and Downtown Atlanta to run the World's Largest 10K- The Peachtree Road Race. This year was one of my hottest by far and my time showed it. I knew as soon as I began that it was not a morning to PR. The sun beamed on my face as I struggled up and down the hills of Peachtree Street. It was still a great run and remains, in my opinion, the best race ever organized. First, there are thousands of people lining the street, screaming words of encouragement, handing out everything from ice to beer to donuts, dressed from head to toe in red, white, and blue. Second, how many races can you run with 59,999 other people? (Only about 55,000 "crossed the finish line" perhaps because so many people struggle with putting the time chip on their shoes, which I will never understand.) Lastly, how many race organizers deal with organizing such a big race?! It is a miracle to me and now with the wave start, which began last year, the race goes on like a breeze. (Thank you Atlanta Track club!) I really find it fascinating and can only thank the 3,000 volunteers, many of whom arrived on Peachtree Street at 4AM that wonderful Monday. If you have never participated in this race before- it is a MUST. My family began running it in 1978 (my grandmother) and my father started a year later. This was his 32nd CONSECUTIVE race. It was mom's 31st as she had to miss one when she was pregnant with me :-) While my dad has every race number and corresponding t-shirt (see photo above of this year's) I am not as organized. I figure this was the 9th or 10th PRR for me.

Our 4th of July continued as usual. Bike parade and pool games at our neighborhood pool, though this year they were shortened by thunderstorms. We braved the green and red on the radar and went back to Lenox Mall (where the race starts) to see the fireworks. We ended up huddled in a parking garage amidst  rain, thunder, and lightning anticipating the fireworks show. As we gave up and started our walk in the pouring rain to the car (8 people with only two ponchos and one umbrella) out of nowhere the fireworks began! They were magnificent as ever and it was a year we will not forget.

Since the Peachtree I have been struggling with my run. My body has adjusted to not really having to get out of bed in the morning and any other time of day the temperature is brutal. A friend of mine at work encouraged me to visit her yoga studio with her and I have fallen in love with it. I used to be a religious yogi a couple years ago, and though my first few practices have been tough I can already feel my body getting back into the flow. Don't get me wrong, it's between 85 and 95 degrees in the yoga studio, but it is currently making my body more satisfied than running. I am already looking forward to the fall, yes of course for football, but also because fall is a runner's favorite season. The temperature is perfect and the sound of crunching leaves beneath my feet makes me beam. I am glad I have yoga for now to get me through the next couple of months in this heat.