Crossfit Ab Workout

I ran two races this weekend, but more on that later. First, I wanted to share the awesome ab workout I did on Friday.

Remember with the 60 repetition exercises, you are doing 30 reps on each side. It hurts me to sneeze and laugh right now, so this is a good one. Also, you probably only have to do this workout once to get those abs you’ve always wanted. #lies

Speaking of that workout, I always find myself at Crossfit the day before a race. I guess I like to punish myself more than necessary and it’s always a terrible idea. During the last quarter mile run, I hurt my lower back. My trainer did a few very painful stretches on me which helped, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run my races. I had a hard time getting up from the couch and was walking like a hunched over old lady through the next morning. Luckily it seemed to clear up enough in time for my race on Saturday. My point here is do not do as I do.

The 5-miler on Sunday went OK. My legs were tired, I didn’t feel great, and I walked about 2.5 minutes of it for a 47:43 finish time. That’s two minutes slower than last year but still better than I expected. That means Ananda is the giveaway winner with her guess of 47:39. Congrats Ananda!

More on those races in a day or two. :-) Have a good Monday everyone!

 

 

Guess My Finish Time and Win Something Mediocre

I’m running the U Can Finish 5-miler again this year. The race is Sunday.

The course is through the campus of the University of Central Florida, where I graduated from college. I loved running through campus and remembering where all my classes were last year so I’m looking forward to that again. So much so that I’m going to do the same giveaway I did last year.

Be the first to guess my correct finish time and win a $15.00 gift card to Target or Amazon.com (your choice).

The rules:

  • The first person that comes closest to guessing my finish time (without going over) wins. So if you guess the winning time but someone else also guessed that time before you, no dice.
  • Need help guessing? Feel free to look at my Races page to check out my past finish times. Or my race review from last year. < — I’m not that fast anymore.
  • Open to U.S. and Puerto Rico residents only (unless you have use for a U.S. dollar gift certificate elsewhere).
  • Comments will close sometime Saturday morning, so leave a comment with your guess before then.

I will email the winner on Monday.

Good luck! :-)

UPDATED: Comments are closed. 10/12/13, 9:30am

Relax Grill on Lake Eola (My new favorite place.)

I did a whole lot of nothing this weekend. By the time Sunday rolled around, hubs and I were dying to get out of the house so we went to lunch. We had one criteria for said lunch: it had to be outside since we couldn’t remember what daylight was like.

After staring at each other for 10 minutes with no ideas, hubs remembered this little cafe called the Relax Grill on Lake Eola that we’ve wanted to try for years but can never remember we want to go there when it’s time to think of a new restaurant (so we end up at Chilis).

It was a beautiful day.

We had to walk around the lake to get to the restaurant from the parking garage, so we inadvertently walked through the farmer’s market that goes on every weekend. I’ve never been but it was super cute. How have I missed out on this for so long? There were also tons of people out and about walking dogs, exercising, or laying on blankets chilling in the shade. When I saw all the people enjoying their day, I realized I can’t remember ever going on a picnic or spending a day in the park. That seems weird to me but maybe it’s because I’m so fidgety. In my mind I want to relax but when I try, I get bored and impatient. < — also why I hate yoga. I need someone to teach me to relax.

Anyway, here was our view from the restaurant. Nice and shady with good people watching.

The menu was American/Mediterranean, so they had a little bit of everything. I started with the Spicy Asian peel and eat shrimp and hubs ordered the loaded tater tots.

The shrimp were grilled, which I didn’t expect. They were good even though there was a bit too much sauce on them. I guess I’m more of a cocktail sauce dipping girl than a Spicy Asian girl (sounds naughty) but I just like shrimp in general so they all made their way into my belly. Hubs ate half his tots and planned to take the rest home until Hurricane Paula came through and took care of that too.

My main dish was the gyro salad platter.

I always feel bad when I eat lamb and have to apologize to my food before I eat it. They are so adorable but it is their fault for also being so delicious. The tzatziki sauce was a little bland but everything else was amazing so I didn’t mind.

Hubs ordered the chicken and shrimp plate.

He gave everything a thumbs up as well. The service was so good and there were so many things we wanted to try on the menu that we’ll have to go back soon. I didn’t drink but there were Happy Hour specials every day including $2 off all drinks when it’s raining. (?!) I’m going to need to make this place a habit because we loved it and the view is amazing. If you’re in Orlando, definitely check it out.

After lunch, we walked back around the lake and checked out all the ducks and swans that had no problem getting up in our biz.

Don’t mind me.

We walked back through the farmer’s market where a vanilla bean cupcake was whispering sweet nothings as I passed by. We like to support local business and expanding waistlines.

The frosting was amazing but the cupcake was a little dry. I still ate it all because that would just be rude to the cupcake not to.

Afterwards, we were so full we had to take a two hour nap and then only had enough energy to sit on the couch and watch Parks and Rec the rest of the night. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m all caught up (we’re almost done with season 5). I might have to find a hobby and do something useful with my life. < — just kidding, I would never do that.

The One Where I Complain

It’s been a stressful time lately. I haven’t been posting much because it would be all complaining and who wants to hear about that? You do? Oh, well ok!

Here’s a list of my current first world problems.

I quit my job.

About a year ago, I switched companies. (I no longer work with hubs. Sniff, sniff.) Basically, the contract at my old place moved to a new place and I followed the contract. I was doing exactly the same job with the same people at a different company. While there were things about the new company that I loved (like the pay and having my own office and the travel – yes, I loved the travel), there were things I didn’t love (no upward or lateral mobility, the office atmosphere, etc.) So, it was time for a change even though change is super scary for me unless it has to do with my hair.

And for those of you who don’t know what I do, I’m a technical writer. I always get a blank stare when I tell people that, even after I explain what it is, so let’s just say I make balloon animals professionally. That’s easier to explain. And more fun.

I took an unpaid week off between jobs because I like not working. A lot.

I did absolutely nothing during my week off. While it sounds good in theory, I can only watch so many episodes of Scandal until I feel like I useless piece of shit. So that didn’t go well for my mental state. The week that I wanted to enjoy wasn’t enjoyable. < — I told you these were first world problems.

I started a new job!

I’m super excited about this because not only am I working with a bunch of old friends (including this lady), but it’s an instructional design position that I’ve been trying to land for a year which gives me more creative freedom than technical writing does. So now I can make more creative balloon animals!

Even though I’m excited, new jobs are stressful. The commute is a bit further, the schedule a bit different, and there are a lot of new things to learn, so it will take some time for me to settle in and be comfortable.

I gained 5 lbs.

You know what gaining 5 lbs does? It makes running suck. I’m not even sure I like it anymore.

I can barely eek out two miles without having to walk and I’m lucky if I can run a 10:00 minute mile. To say that is humbling and that I’m worried about my upcoming races would be an understatement. I want to PR. I’m not running races to get worse. I should say that I’m happy to be healthy and to have the ability to run, but I won’t because I’m a terrible person.

I started taking Oxyelite Pro.

I want to lose that 5lbs I gained and not use the jaws of life to get into my pants. I could lose it by good old fashioned diet and exercise, but where’s the fun in that? I had a friend recommend this stuff. It’s a thermogenic and an appetite suppressant with lots of freaky warnings on the bottle, so it has to be good, right?

That lasted three days.

During the day, I was fine. I didn’t notice being warmer or the mass-quantities of caffeine I was consuming. I also didn’t notice my appetite being suppressed, but then again, I don’t see anything suppressing my appetite except a giant T-bone.

Nighttime is when everything went to hell. I felt insanely tired. My eyes had that stinging feeling like I had been swimming underwater. I had crazy headaches and was super sensitive to light, plus I had waves of nausea. I do not recommend that stuff. Now that I’m off it, I’m already feeling 100% better. Definite waste of money.

***

I hope you all have a great weekend. I’m looking forward to doing nothing because I have a busy month coming up including a few races, a concert, and a visit to see my DC love, Melissa. This is on top of the obscene amount of Parks and Recreation I’ve been watching.

So now you’re all caught up on my super hard life.

Three (Books) for Thursday

I haven’t been reading many books now that I’m running again. I would say 99% of my reading is done while walking on the treadmill. So less walking equals less reading. I can’t sit on the couch and read. I get antsy like I should be doing something else, which doesn’t make sense because I can sit on the couch and watch hours of TV. Anyway, this is what I’ve managed to finish over the past couple months.

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

You can find the summary HERE.

Ugh. I hated this book. 80% of it was written in email and letter correspondence, which I guess could be fun and different, but I just found it annoying. A lot of the time, I felt like the correspondence didn’t even pertain to the story. I considered not finishing over and over from page 20 on. It’s one of those books that get just interesting enough for a few pages to keep you going but then goes downhill again. So I finished because I like to torture myself and then didn’t like the ending, of course.

2. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

You can find the summary HERE.

I loved this book. Remember how I said The Fault in our Stars was the best book I’ve read in years? This one is a very close second. Michelle, the book whisperer, recommended this to me, of course. Can she do no wrong? There’s a lot of humor in this one even though it deals with some dark subject matter. I love how Nastya is so self-aware but still has so many problems that she can’t handle. It’s just very real and it has a great ending. I definitely recommend this one.

3. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

You can find the summary HERE.

This is another one recommended by Michelle. I started this one yesterday and I’m already 1/3 of the way through. So far I’m liking it a lot. The main character is so miserable but he’s written in a really funny, sarcastic, self-depreciating way. I feel like if I had enough talent to come up with a story and write a book, this is how I would write it. Something about the humor reminds me of me.

So hopefully I’ll be finished with this one by the end of the weekend. And season 2 of Scandal. And season 4 of Parks and Rec. Big, exciting plans going on over here this weekend.

Not So Magical Dining

Every September, Orlando has this thing called Magical Dining Month. It’s when 20 or so upscale restaurants offer three-course meals for a discounted price of $30-33 per person. It’s a way for restaurants to grab new business in a slow month while letting people like me, who spend $3.00 in the Wendy’s drive-thru for dinner, try something new without having to take out a second mortgage.

Friday night, hubs and I met a bunch of friends out at Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park for magical dining birthday celebration. The restaurant is super cute. It’s indoors but it looks like an outdoor courtyard. Amazing atmosphere.

(source)

You can order off the regular menu, but if you want to do the magical dining deal, you choose from a limited menu. The choices are different every year (sometimes the same restaurants participate). Here were the choices for this year’s appetizer at PPG.

It was a toss up between the rock shrimp and the summer baby greens for me. The salad won out because it wasn’t described as being served “in butter.” I like to save my arteries for desserts, thank you.

The salad was good. I should have ordered the dressing on the side because there was too much of it, but I still ate the whole thing. The pastry wrapped brie was amazing. But I think you could have pastry wrapped dirty socks and I would like it.

Hubs picked the gazpacho for his appetizer. I didn’t get a picture, but it looked like a bowl of tomato soup. It was cold, which I didn’t expect. Or like. It tasted like spicy Bloody Mary mix so I guess if they added some vodka, it would have been alright. I didn’t care for it, but hubs seemed to like it and it was his meal, so I guess that’s what matters.

Here were the choices for entrées.

I picked the chicken. I know, not the fanciest choice, but it was a process of elimination. I don’t like pork 95% of the time and I don’t like mussels so chicken it was. Unfortunately…

My first thought when I saw that plate was how disgusting it looked and an up-scale restaurant should be embarrassed to serve it. I mean, it looks like baby vomit and the plate wasn’t even wiped clean. Maybe I’m just watching too much MasterChef, but that’s the kind of crap I expect from Fazolis (are those still around?). The dish didn’t taste any better than it looked. The manager did offer to bring me something else but I had already eaten half the chicken and was getting full so I declined.

Hubs had the pork rib eye, which actually looked great, but he didn’t care for it. I’ve never seen him leave meat uneaten on a plate. It made me sad for him and for that poor piggy that gave his little porky life to become a terrible dinner.

Finally, the dessert choices.

My friends think I’m crazy to not like Crème Brulee, but puddings and custards are gross so I went with the pecan pie.

I live for the filling that goes in pecan pie. So, so  good. That pie was all pecans and no filling. I ended up eating the ice cream and some of the crust and left the rest. It wasn’t sweet enough for me, though I heard someone else at the table say they liked it because it wasn’t too sweet. Too sweet is not a thing. That is just crazy talk.

Hubs had the Crème Brulee and said it was delicious. I’m taking his word for that one.

We had a table of 10 and most of us didn’t care for the food. It also took us 2.5 hours to eat. The service was painfully slow. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it was still nice to celebrate our friend’s birthday and see a few friends we haven’t seen in awhile. So I guess a bad dinner is a still good dinner when you’re with friends and that makes it worth it, right?

Right.

By the Numbers

1. There’s a dollar store near my mom’s house that she totally loves. She talked this dollar store up like crazy when she first moved out to CA and I would think, “It’s just a dollar store. Who cares?” Well, turns out it’s not. It’s the mecca of dollar stores. It’s huge and they sell just about everything. They have your typical dollar store items but they also have a full grocery section of fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, all sorts of frozen foods, etc. They even have hub’s favorite coconut water for a dollar, which I pay five dollars for at the grocery store here. (Bitter, party of one.) Anyway, I was at the check out when I realized there is nothing this store doesn’t sell.

Edited to add: No, I didn’t buy one and no, I’m not pregnant. I’m still doing my part to eradicate the beer epidemic of this country.

2. My mom also lives near an 85-year-old man. This is the inside of his car.

This is just the front. The back was packed with junk so high it was blocking the windows. There’s no room in the front seat, his glove box is overflowing and open, and he has to move stuff to shift the car into drive. I know this is weird, but after seeing his car,  I desperately wanted to see the inside of his house.

3. Hubs and I watched Now You See Me this week.

We both liked it. There were some cheesy scenes here and there, but overall it was entertaining.

I really like Jesse Eisenberg. He just seems so smart, but I have no basis for thinking that. Maybe I get that impression because of The Social Network? I don’t know. I do know that I spent the entire movie thinking that Isla Fisher was Amy Adams.

4. I am still super obsessed with my pedometer.

I bought a Bodybugg way back and it lost its novelty after about two months. Once I got an idea of what I burned during my usual activities, I didn’t care about it anymore. Well, I wear my pedometer all the time. I try to get in the recommended 10k steps per day (which is approximately 6 miles) and most days I do. Other days I get as close as I can. The national average is 5,500 steps/day. If I have a total rest day, I don’t even make it to that much. Sad. So if you’re looking for something to encourage you to be more active, I really recommend getting one. Mine was around $20 and totally worth it.

5. I haven’t worn a watch in 10 years but I found this cheap one and loved it. Now I’m a watch-wearer again.

I really wish I didn’t look up the link for that because now it’s on sale. *sniff*

6. Jon Hamm is still alive and well and eating adorable mini-donuts with his adorable hammy hands.

He’s got a bit of a skin condition that we’re keeping a watch on. He may need a trip to the vet, which will surely cost 4x as much as he did.

7. Pants is still adorable as well.

She was playing the other morning and decided she wanted to snuggle up to me and be petted instead. <3 Also, let it be known the bunny that growls when I give her food is terrified of that hamster.

Alright, that’s all I have for today. Have a good weekend everyone. :-)

I’m Too Old for this S!#t

This weekend was exhausting. Exhausting in a good way, but also in that way that reminds you that you’re dangerously close to 40. So. very. close.

Hubs, the bestie, and I drove down to Tampa on Friday afternoon for a couple shows we were seeing at the Florida State Fairgrounds. We checked into the Red Roof Inn across the street from the amphitheater – our usual spot to stay when we see shows there. But this time it was different.

Those rooms are nasty. Why did it take me until now to notice all the hairs in the bathroom (that were not ours) and the stains on the comforters (also, not ours)? We’ve stayed there five times and this is suddenly news to me. It also took me until now to realize there were four other better hotels right next to it. So valuable lesson: don’t stay at the Red Roof Inn and pay better attention to surroundings. Check.

We hung out in the hotel room and had some drinks and a photo shoot before we walked over to the show. We now have 50 variations of this picture.

Once we got there, I randomly ran into my cutie patootie friend, Kim, from high school (she’s the one in the Air Force shirt). I had no idea she was going, so for me to run into someone I know at a sold out concert of 20,000 is pretty impressive. Though, I am taller than most of the world so I’m kinda easy to spot.

We also got the only photo evidence that hubs was with us the weekend. That one likes to evade my camera.

Anyway, the first show of the weekend was Maroon 5. I love them. Their music is catchy as hell and only someone with a cold, black soul would say otherwise. We were in the lawn section so we were far back. Real far back.

The acoustics aren’t great on the lawn since it’s in open air and if you need to go to the bathroom, you have to wade through a sea of people to get there. Not ideal but the concert was still a lot of fun.

Kelly Clarkson opened. She is crazy adorable. I super love her, even more than Maroon 5, so I could have gone for another hour of her music. I was sad when her set was over. She needs to headline her own tour.

Maroon 5 is a hit machine and that’s basically what they did. Hit after hit. I could have gone for several songs that they haven’t released but I guess when everything you release is popular, that’s what you do.

The next day, our friends Jimmy and Linda came into town from Orlando. Originally we were planning to go to the zoo, but we ended up on a mall shopping spree instead. Poor hubs and Jimmy had to walk around the mall together like bro-friends while Linda and I tore it up in Papaya.

We all tried a Japanese shaved ice while we were there. Linda insisted it was amazing and that it “tastes just like Chinese shaved ice.”

None of us had a clue what she was talking about. I know what a sno-cone is and that’s about it. But she was right, it was delicious. I got the Tsunami, which tasted like melon with kiwi and honey drizzled on top. Delicious.

After our shopping spree, we got ready for Depeche Mode on night #2. That means drinks in the hotel room, a quick stop for dinner and drinks at Wing House beforehand, and then a walk back over to the amphitheater.

I only took one picture of Jimmy and Linda the entire night which probably isn’t appropriate for the internetz, so instead enjoy another more appropriate picture of Lisa and I.

We had seats for Depeche Mode, but were still pretty far away.

This was my fifth time seeing them and the first time I didn’t care for their show. I didn’t love the set list and they usually have a much cooler stage set-up. I mean, they always sound good but they’ve just been so much better previously. I guess it’s just wasn’t worth the travel to Tampa and the hotel cost this time. Plus, they always seem to play the only song I hate from them (< — haha, that video is mesmerizing). It’s like they do it on purpose to torture me.

Later that night, we ended up at the Hard Rock Casino some how where we ate our faces off, gambled an entire dollar, and then took a cab back to our hotel. It was a great weekend with great friends but I am wiped out and I think my liver needs a vacation.

The Rest of Vacation

I’m back from San Diego. I love visiting my family, but man it’s hard leaving. I only get to see them once a year since they’re on the other coast. Leaving makes me sad for weeks because I know how long it’s going to be before I see them again. We didn’t all get a picture together this time, but here’s the one from last year.

(From the left: my nephews (who are now taller than me), mama bird, brother, moi, niece, and my SIL’s sister)

I took the red eye home on Friday and had the whole row to myself. I love when that happens. That’s when the armrests go up and Paula gets to stretch out her 5’9″ body. I’m not good at sleeping on planes but I love red eye flights so I don’t end up wasting a whole day traveling. I can usually get that spotty, drooling, head-whipping-forward-and-waking-me up sleep on the plane and then I take a little nap when I get home and I’m good to go for the rest of the day.

I wanted to write a little more while I was out there but was too busy reigning as the Queen of Leisure, so here’s what went on during the rest of my vacation:

1. I went on a two hour bike ride (25 miles maybe?) with my SIL’s sister, Kate.

That’s her riding in front of me. I don’t think I’ve been on a real bike in five years. It was a lot of fun. It was super foggy the entire time, so it was nice that I wasn’t baking in the sun but not so nice that I could barely see the view of the beach on the right. I’m pretty sure if I lived in Carlsbad, she would be my biking buddy. Those hills do not mess around. It’s like an outdoor spin class out there. As I was struggling to get up the hills, I’d pass people running them like it took no effort. Those hard-bodied jerks with their wonderful stamina.

I love that California has bike lanes and paths everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another state that caters to outdoor activity as well. If Orlando was more activity friendly, maybe I’d attempt to go outside more than once a month. I mean, probably not. But I like having options.

2. I met a parrot.

I ran across that little fella on the bike ride. Kate asked the two guys behind him how old he was and they told us they had no idea. Some guy just ask them to watch his bird while he got coffee at Starbucks.(?!?!) I’m telling you, people were swarming around this bird, taking pictures with it, and asking the guys questions. If you’re having trouble meeting that special someone, get a bird. Trust me. It going to work. They will come to you.

3. A half hour into our bike ride, this happened.

It was 10 in the morning and I knew it wasn’t a good idea but someone was a terrible influence.

4. After our bike ride, we took a three-mile walk at Batiquitos Lagoon. The fog never let up, but the view and trail were still really pretty.

It was nice to get off that bike seat for awhile and stretch my legs. Plus, we had to mentally prepare ourselves for the Starbucks frappuccino we stopped for after the walk. So basically we burned 200 calories and then consumed 300. This is my favorite way to exercise.

5. Big brother and I went out to dinner at the Wild Note Cafe with a couple of his friends.

That dude can eat whatever he wants and stay thin. I don’t even understand it. I work out five or six days a week to sort of fit in my pants, and he works out one or two times a week (if he feels like it) and holds back if he starts to sweat because he doesn’t like sweating. He actually said that to me. He’s lucky he’s still in the family after that one.

6.  After dinner, we saw Everlast next door at Belly Up.

If there’s anyone that loves live music as much as I do, it’s my brother. He usually finds a show for us to go to while I’m in town and it’s always a good time, even when I don’t know the band.

I was checking out Everlast videos before the concert and found this one for you Aaron Paul fans. :-)

7. And finally, my last meal before I left town.

That’s the grass fed Kobe burger from Encinitas Ale House (Gruyere, Gorgonzola, Onion Straws, Tomato, and Baby Greens). I shared half of that burger and half of another one with my bro. Mom got the fish and chips with a bucket of tarter sauce. That woman loves her sauce like no other.

I had a five minute worry that getting on a plane after a giant burger was not going to go well, but good news, I made it home without incident. So besides the napping and shopping and adult beverage drinking, that is how I spent my week vacation with the birthday girl.

 

A Little Celebration

My mom’s birthday was a success! The brother and I took her out for dinner at Peohe’s on Coronado Island. We knew it would be good because Peohe’s is a Chart House restaurant. It was dark by the time we got there so I felt kinda dumb taking pictures. So, my mom, brother, the pu-pu platter appetizer, my candied walnut salad, and crab-stuffed tilapia got no photo love, but I managed to get the one important picture.

My love for molten lava cakes knows no bounds.

I went to the restroom right as dessert was brought to the table and my brother waited for me to come back so I could take a picture for the blog. What a guy. Amirite? Although, he scolded me for my poor bathroom timing and even called my cell because I was not back to the table fast enough for him. This family does not mess around when it comes to dessert.

We sat outside by the water and had an awesome view of downtown San Diego that included some birthday fireworks!

Ok, maybe they were Labor Day fireworks. But probably most likely birthday fireworks.

We had a nice time and even took a walk on the pier afterwards. I was ready to hibernate for the winter after that meal but then I remembered how hot and muggy it is here with no winter in sight, so I just rolled around on the floor and complained about how full I was.

The next day, mom and I got birthday pedicures. She was basically in heaven.

Before we left, I told her I was thirsty and her response was, “want a Mudslide?”  It was 10 in the morning. <— I know, amazing  I love that all it takes to keep my mom happy is pretty toes, a full belly, and tons of booze.