Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Foolproof Workout Motivation

Happy Tuesday!

I am so ready for this disgusting humidity to be gone already! It feels like I live in a tropical rainforest instead of shoreline New England! My inability to tolerate wetness in the air means I haven't gone for a run in three days, and it's really cramping my workout style (no pun intended). The weather reports say that it's supposed to cool down and dry out in the next couple of days, so hopefully I can get a couple of runs in before the week is out.

In the meantime, I have been utilizing the other forms of exercise I have at my disposal. No More Trouble Zones, the Jillian Michaels workout I lost my virginity to yesterday, IS NO JOKE PEOPLE. My body is screaming form places I haven't heard from in a long time, in addition to the regular suspect. It's so great to discover a workout that targets new areas! Can't wait to do it all the time!

The humidity has really been affecting my sleep lately - I don't think I've had a full night of sleep in about a week. I was so tired at work today that I was seriously contemplating just taking a big fat nap when I got home. An hour later, and I'm on my bike tackling hills and heat with a big smile on my face. You might be asking yourself how this happened.

I think I have discovered the most effective motivational tool for working out that I have ever tried. When I get home, I immediately want to change out of my work clothes - I'm usually covered in coffee stains and smell like milk and espresso. For the past couple of weeks, however, instead of changing into pj's, getting into a shower, or putting on shorts and a tee shirt, I've been jumping right into workout gear. That way, if I don't workout I have to take off UNUSED athletic wear, and I feel like a total dweeb. Even if I watch a little TV, or facebook stalk, or update the blog, once I'm done I go for a run, or a bike ride, or pop in a DVD. GENIUS! I'm surprised I haven't thought of this earlier, and since I've been doing it I have not skipped ONE workout. Success!

I ended up riding about 7 miles in a little under 40 minutes. Not my most intense workout, but definitely better than nothing, and I'm pretty proud of myself for pushing through my exhaustion to do something good for my body. It's true - I will never regret a workout, I'll only regret missing one.

Now I'm off to shower and figure out what the heck to eat for dinner - the heat really limits my options! Maybe a nice cool salad...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shopping Warrior

Hello there!

Well, the humidity continues. I can handle heat, but not THIS kind - sticky, thick, sweaty air makes me crazy. I couldn't justify not getting some kind of exercise, however, so in lieu of a run I cranked the fan all the way up and got my but thoroughly kicked by Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones DVD. At the end of 40 minutes I was pretty much soaked, what an awesome workout! I'll definitely be incorporating it into my routine more.

After a cold, refreshing shower, I had some almond butter on Ezekiel bread and half of the most delicious Larabar I have ever had - peanut butter and jelly. It was heavenly. Then I went on a hunt for air conditioning - my first stop was work to get an iced coffee with my brother. Even on my days off, I still end up there - unhealthy? Perhaps. We enjoyed our coffee inside and watched everyone outside look hot and miserable, and then when I felt we had spent enough time around coffee I went to the outlet mall a town over for some window shopping. I was originally just supposed to be browsing, since I just ordered the Garmin Forerunner and blew a sizeable chunk of my paycheck, but things didn't really go according to plan when I saw the amazing sale at J. Crew!

In high school, I was pretty much a walking J. Crew ad. However, my transition into a poor college student made keeping up my preppy lifestyle impossible, and Target, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, etc. have come to make up the majority of my wardrobe. I think I may have to reintroduce J. Crew into my life, the outlet stores, that is. I walked out of the store today with five of the cutest tee shirts I have ever seen, and I spent less than fifty bucks. SCORE!

This shirt was originally 60 bucks, and I got it for 7! How could I resist!

This shirt was 4 dollars. It almost felt like stealing!

After my retail WIN, I went to Stop and Shop to pick up some VitaTops, and ended up buying not one, but THREE fitness mags. I may have a bit of a problem.

For dinner I prepared open faced Amy's burgers for the fam! Well, my brother had chicken nuggets with hot sauce, but everyone else loved them. Washed it down with my favorite beer, Magic Hat Wacko. Magic Hat is this awesome brewery in Burlington, Vermont. I lived there last summer for an internship I had, and developed a pretty serious obsession with their beer. If anyone is ever in the Burlington area, I would definitely recommend heading to the factory for a tour. It's super funky and at the end of the tour there are free samples - as much as you can drink! So fun. Wacko was their summer beer last year, and it's back! It's a reddish pink color because there's beet juice in it - how awesome is that!

Well I'm off to watch True Blood and hit the sack - work at 6 in the morning tomorrow! Ugh!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Take That, Humidity!

I think I'm starting to crawl out of my rut! And thank goodness, because being all mopey and bummed doesn't suit me well - I think it clashes with the normal happy go lucky thing I have going on. See, look how pumped I was to go on a nice bike ride today!

The original plan was to run after work, but a crazy exhausting morning shift coupled with the INSANE HUMIDITY we've been having kinda ruled that out. Bike rides are starting to come in handy as awesome cardio when the weather isn't cooperating!

I took my iPhone along for the ride to show how beautiful my route was, but please excuse the quality of the photos because I was sweaty and iPhones aren't known for their crystal clear images.

Pretty wildflowers! Alongside a beautiful sign for propane gas :(

Funky, creepy, pretty graveyard I passed. I remember in high school kids used to drink in graveyards - yikes! I can't imagine going in there during the day, much less at night!

My favorite cows! There is a farm about a mile and a half down the road from my house with the most awesome cows. One even has those super long curved horns - I tried to call him closer so I could get a better picture, but he wasn't listening.

I know I may be biased, but I'm pretty sure I have the most awesome driveway ever! It's super long (.2 miles according to my car), hilly, and beautiful. There are deer, foxes, chipmunks, squirrels - so amazing! Sometimes when I'm bored at home I'll take a quick walk up the driveway - I love where I live!

Had a great bike ride today - rode about 11 miles in a little under an hour. I'm glad I decided to exercise outside even with the humidity, it made me feel hardcore and strong. I used to see exercise as purely a means to an end, and I think I really cheated myself out of enjoying physical activity. Now when I miss a workout, I'm bummed because exercising is fun instead of punishing myself and feeling guilty. I feel like I've really turned a corner these past few months, and I think things are only going to get better! Although that might just be the endorphins talking.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Routine Rut

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

I have to admit I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I don't have a set schedule at work, which means I have random days off and I open some mornings and close some nights. It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but the lack of routine in my life has made every day blend into the next and it's starting to drive me crazy. I never know what day it is, or have any concept of time or when I'm off next - it's throwing me off and bumming me out. On any given day I either work in the morning and workout in the afternoon (in the blaring sun), or squeeze a workout in the morning and work in the afternoon (until 7:30, which sucks). I feel like I have no time to breathe and decompress, and it's starting to really get to me.

I crave a regular schedule like crazy, and it doesn't seem like it's going to happen for a while at least. Oh well, I guess I just have to power through and try to keep a positive attitude. Sometimes it's hard to put a smile on when I'm running on empty and have no time for myself. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

My run bummed me out today as well. I was planning on a nice four mile run, but it was hot, my legs hurt, and I just felt exhausted, so it turned out to be a slow, painful three miles. I know it's better than nothing, but it's always disappointing when a workout doesn't go as planned.

On the bright side, I had a heavenly green monster after my run!

1 banana
1/4 scoop protein powder
2.5 cups spinach
1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup light soy milk

It was bright green, refreshing, and stuck to my sides for hours. Everything a green monster should be and more!

I think I'm going to just chock this day up to a loss, and start fresh tomorrow. I'm only working til one, and I have a nice bike ride on the schedule, along with the start to my attempt at the Whittle My Middle challenge! Also, I'm working on making this blog a little more photo heavy. I'm just waiting until my picture skills become a little more acceptable. Goodnight!

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today was absolutely GORGEOUS! We have been having some weird, humid, thunderstorm-y weather lately in CT, and today was finally sunny, dry, and beautiful! An added perk was that I had today off! What awesome timing.

My brother got his wisdom teeth out yesterday, so we planned on having some quality brother/sister time since his mouth was feeling ok. So what did we do, you ask? Maybe you're thinking we went to the beach, had a nice walk, ate lunch somewhere outside - anything to take advantage of the weather. But no - he had his heart set on seeing Toy Story 3. It felt a little ridiculous to be going to a movie on such an awesome day, but I have to say it was worth it! The movie was so great! I was in tears by the end - everyone needs to see it, regardless of age. I may have to see it again soon - so perfect.

Me and the brother. Isn't he a cutie? This is from his senior prom a couple of years ago. He's growing up so fast!

Luckily, I was able to get some quality outdoor time in before the movie, so I didn't feel to bad about being inside. After my amazing brother brought me an iced coffee this morning (he knows how to get to my heart), I was energized for my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD. I'm always amazed at how good those workouts are for being only 20 minutes. Once I was done and saw how nice it was outside, I decided to go for a run too! I ended up doing an easy three miles and felt fantastic afterwards.

I have realized in the past couple of years just how much the weather affects my mood. Going to school in Ontario was a struggle at times - cold, dark, windy, rainy winters did not always make for a happy go lucky girl. I guess it just makes the summer that much more worth the wait!

Anyway, I'm off to do some reading - one of my favorite things about summer is my newfound ability to read for pleasure! I'm currently reading T.C. Boyle's Water Music - it's great so far!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm in love!

With biking, that is. My shins and calves have been yelling at me for the past week or so from all the race training I've been doing, so I decided to give them a break from high impact road running by taking my mountain bike out for a spin. And oh boy, was it wonderful.

While I have always enjoyed a nice leisurely bike ride, and have frequently used the bike machines at the gym when the treadmill wasn't cutting it, before today I had never gone for a bike ride purely for exercise. I ended up riding about ten miles in 55-ish minutes, and loved every minute of it. There's something about going fast with the wind in your face that brings out my inner 8 year old. I had a huge grin on my face the whole time, and when I got back home I felt utterly exhilarated.

The other great thing about biking is you have too much fun to realizing that you're working your butt off. When I approach hills on my runs, inside I'm thinking 'why do I do this to myself?' Today I attacked hills. It was great. When I got inside to get myself a glass of water, I realized that I was dripping in sweat. Nothing better than working up a huge sweat and loving every minute of it. Needless to say, I will be incorporating bike rides into my exercise routine in a big way.

The only downside - my butt is KILLING ME. Hopefully my bum recovers soon!

Foodwise, my day was equally fantastic! After my ride, I downed a glorious green monster. My brother was disgusted, but I just pity him for being unaware of their amazingness. Work flew by with some help from Chobani greek yogurt (I like to cut the flavors in half with plain, otherwise it's too sweet for me), hummus and pita, and a banana. To be honest, all I was thinking about at work was dinner, because today was the day I finally tried a veggie burger.

I've been doing my research on these babies, because I didn't want to turn myself off to the idea of veggie burgers by picking a yucky one. I finally settled on Amy's Texas veggie burgers, and they are DELICIOUS. I toasted a slice of Ezekiel bread, smeared on a teeny bit of hummus, then added tomato, lettuce, avocado, and my yummy burger.

I don't know that I will ever go fully vegetarian, but I am going to try to see how much I can alter my meat intake by substituting foods like Amy's burgers. I really admire people who are able to cut meat out of their lives for good, for health, environmental, or cruelty free reasons. I'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tired Tuesday

I love days when I wake up energized, rested, and ready to take on anything. Unfortunately, today was not one of those days.

I work at a specialty coffee shop (the owners travel to countries like Costa Rica and handpick coffees that we roast in-house) in my town, which makes for early mornings. To be at work by six, on a typical day I am up by five, ready for a big breakfast and quick chat with whoever is around (I come from a long line of early risers). Today, however, I would have paid serious money to burrow under my covers and hide from the day. I love my job, but people aren't always nice to the person standing in between them and their coffee, and putting on a smile when all you want to do is pass out isn't easy.

All I can say is, thank goodness for my mother and a gift from heaven (or Angela from Oh She Glows) called a GREEN MONSTER! One of my current food obsessions has to be these spinach packed energy boosters, and I have passed on my love to my wonderful mother, who woke me with my favorite drink! It included:
2 big handfuls of spinach
1 frozen banana
2 strawberries
3/4 - 1 cup soy milk
1/2 scoop protein powder
1 tsp chia seeds

After this baby, I was awake and ready for anything! A large iced coffee with soy milk may have also played a role though.

After work my energy was lagging again, but instead of getting sucked into my bed I immediately changed into my workout clothes and went for a quick three mile run. It was my first run since my race on Sunday (more on that later) and it was ROUGH. My legs felt like bricks, and my shins are still pretty sore from the road race.

I have been having some issues with my shins for quite some time now, and I'm contemplating joining a gym near my house to be able to run on a treadmill and elliptical instead of punishing my legs on concrete day in and day out. I'm torn, because I live to run outside, but I don't want to push my body to the point of injury. For now, I think I may take a mini break from running and focus on cross training and biking for a while. We'll see what happens, I don't know that I can stay away from running for too long. Nothing feels as good to me as a nice long run!

Now I'm off to take a nice hot shower and get ready to meet some friends for dinner. Ta ta for now!

My Fitness Journey...So Far (Part 1)

So since I'm planning on writing a lot about my efforts to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, I thought it might make sense to talk a bit about what I've been doing up to this point. Be warned, it's a bit long.

Growing up, I was always a healthy and active girl. I played soccer from the time I was 5 until my junior year of high school, and was also an elite competitive horseback rider. Fitness was a big part of my life, although it was more a byproduct of competitive sports than an active choice to stay healthy.

My last horse, Gabby. (I can't find any pictures of myself riding at the moment, but I'm sure I'll dig some up at some point. Isn't she beautiful though?)

Midway through high school, I fell out of love with both sports. I quit soccer my junior year, and the stress and time commitment of horseback riding led to the end of that as well. I wanted to spend time with my friends and be a normal teenager instead of spending all of my free time at the barn, horseshows, soccer practice, or tournaments. Unfortunately, although I changed my exercise habits, my eating remained completely the same, and I began gaining weight. I lost a bit towards the end of my senior year of high school, but wasn't happy with my body.

Senior Prom. I'm second from the left. Is it really any surprise I had body issues when you take a look at my gorgeous friends? Dayum!

And then, a bomb dropped. Three weeks before I left for college in a foreign country, my parents separated. It was a shock to just about everyone, and started off the most difficult year of my life. The stress of the separation and subsequent divorce, coupled with drama in my extended family and the stresses of the college transition I already faced made for a really hard time.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who channels stress into working out or keeping busy. No, I slept, ate, sat, and steadily gained weight for my entire first year, and ended up about 30 pounds heavier come May. I was uncomfortable, unhappy, and unsure of how to move forward. The depression and confusion I felt about the end of my parent's marriage dragged on for another year, and brief periods of commitment to diet and exercise never lasted long enough to make a difference.

I tried really hard to hide myself in photos, but you can see the extra weight I'm carrying around my face. So uncomfortable.

My weight reflected my life in general. I felt out of control, useless, and miserable, and punished myself by eating horribly and indulging in self pity.

Luckily, I had some great friends and family to help me get through this time. I really don't know what I would have done if it wasn't for my support system - even at my lowest, I knew that there were wonderful people all around who loved and believed in me. All that I really needed to do was believe in myself.

More on that later.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Hello there! My name is Drake, and I'm a 22 year old New England girl living in shoreline Connecticut. This past January, I finally followed through on my goal of getting fit and healthy, and I've decided to take the next step and document my journey. Blogs have been a big part of my education and motivation to change my life, and I hope to gain further inspiration and advice by starting my own!

Here's a little more about me. I JUST received my Bachelor's Degree (Honors) from Queen's University in amazing Kingston, Ontario. Why Canada, you ask? Well, my dad was born and raised in Toronto, making me a dual citizen of the US and Canada. Although I lived my entire life in the Northeast US, when the time came for me to choose a college, the allure of going to school in a foreign country instead of Connecticut or Boston like the rest of my high school was too good to pass up. Four years later, and I don't think I could have picked a more perfect place to learn and grow. I already miss school and all my friends terribly, and hope that blogging, exercising, working, and discovering new and exciting foods and fitness tips will distract me from my post college depression.

As for the future, my life is up in the air. I studied political science at school, and am a complete and utter political junkie. Like, to a crazy degree. My career goal is to work in the public sector, for PACs, NGOs, nonprofits, government, etc. Originally, I was hoping to jump into work right out of school, but the recession has hit nonprofits and public organizations where it hurts. Therefore, I have become the stereotypical college student moving back home indefinitely, which I am not terribly proud of. However, I am studying for the GRE, and hope to be at grad school ASAP - I want to get my master's in public administration and then go save the world! Well, I'm not that idealistic, but you get the jist.

So that's the abridged version of me. I'll be (hopefully) writing regularly about life as a college grad stuck at home, trying to achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle during a pretty major transition period in my life. I hope to connect with others who share similar goals in the blogging world, and to share and support each other! Here goes nothin!