Running Conversions

I enjoy running alone when I just want to wake up and go for a quick run, no fussing, or if I need some alone time.  I like to think life decisions out on long runs.  I always come back with a clear head, endorphins, and an idea of what I want to do.  (Or, if it’s a situation where I can’t do anything, at least some peace of mind that I need to leave it up to the universe, and it’s out of my control.)

Flow.  I like being on that running flow, when all your thoughts just swirl around and you can focus on your breathing, and the air, and the sunshine (if you’re lucky), the breeze, or that delightful, slightly obnoxious hum of lawnmowers.

But yesterday, during my shopping trip, my friend Deanna and I made a pact: running today!


Awwyeah, ready to run!  We were shooting for three miles.  We took a little detour to the beach, parks, and a quaint residential area I never knew existed!  We ended up running 3.18 in ~38.  Woo!

After all, we ate a lot of cheesecake yesterday:

The Cheesecake Factory’s 30th Anniversary cake.  Yuuuuuuuuuum.  Sugar coma

Deanna got the oreo cheesecake.  I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any flavor there!

I also had the gigantic (lunch portion!) barbeque chicken salad from The Cheesecake Factory that lasted for three meals (seriously, I just ate some more of it for lunch).  Craaaziness, what a deal, they really give you a lot!

Well, it’s off to pack for my upcoming trip to Vancouver/Alaska/San Francisco! Woohoo!

Have you been to any of these places? Are you going on a vacation soon, or did you have one already?

Favorite type of cheesecake?


Shopping Spree!

With only a few weeks left until I leave for college, I decided to go on a shopping spree! Woo! Time to raid the mall. I drove on the highway for the first time (phew!). I bought some cute red flats and some new clothes. I can’t seem to get the shopping bug out of me, though…I’ve been eyeing the New Balance

I bought these flax roll-ups the other day…nervously. I had never actually eaten flax seeds before and I wondered how these would taste. I love wraps…but would they be compromised?!

Nope! Not at all. They were absolutely delicious. I had a wrap with garlic hummus, romaine, and a granny smith apple. It was a weird combo (I go with whatever’s in my fridge), but it worked! The sweet tartness of the apple balances out the strong bitterness lettuce sometimes has.

After a day of shopping, we headed to The Cheesecake Factory.

I had the Southeast Asian Chicken, yum. String beans + sesame seeds? AWESOME.

And chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake for dessert. Yum.

Today: 2 miles in 25:35 (I took it slowly because I was feeling tired.)
Saturday: 2 miles in 22:29 with a negative split!
Thursday: 2.01 miles in 22:26

It feels great to be running on a regular basis again. Most of my workouts these past few weeks have been walking hills on the treadmill with my hiking boots on (3-5 miles) so I can break them in. It feels so FREE to be running again!

How are you enjoying summer this month?
I spent a ton of time at the beach this summer. Lots of time hanging out with friends and family, reading a ton, and watching movies (Netflix…oooh, it is much too handy. Luckily, it keeps me from getting bored while walking on the treadmill.)

I have had scrambled eggs a TON lately for breakfast. I need a new method! What’s your favorite way to eat eggs, and with what?

How NOT to Run, and the Amazing Blogger Award!

Wisdom is doing something and going, “Oh, dangit, now I know!” Workout-wise, the past few days were…interesting.

My Saturday, aka: How NOT to Run

First, decide that you’re not going to run today! Nope, you are definitely not running. You are having a relaxing day at the beach. Get ready to slather on the sunscreen!

As a result of you having a nice relaxing day, have a HUGE breakfast.
Lots of fiber. Grilled peanut butter and apple sandwich. With two apples. Oh yeaaah. This is the kind of breakfast you’d like to sleep off on the beach.

Ten minutes before you leave, make a snap decision! You’re running! And it’s going to be a long run. Oh boy.

Make sure your Garmin’s not charged! Hasn’t been charged in a while? EVEN BETTER.

Throw everything you think you need into your backpack. Make sure you forget your headband so your hair flops crazily all through the run! It’s the latest fashion, you know.

While you’re at it, leave your Body Glide at home, too.

Arrive at the beach at approximately 11 am. Decide to start your run at the hottest part of the day. Luckily, you HAVE packed sunscreen.

Run your four miles! =D

All joking aside, this run was actually awesome!! There are some days I just get the itch to run like crazy. This was my first official 4 mile run ever! Yay! I kept it slow and steady, so I had 4.03 in 49:45.

Did I learn, though? NAH! The day after, I ran two miles in the rain (24:52), effectively destroying my phone.

Bad move on my part. Darn rain. Now I know–next time, my phone’s going in a plastic baggie. The run was peaceful and fun, though, so at least that was good. =D

In other news, the lovely Paola over at Sol de Luna tagged me for the Amazing Blogger Award! Thanks, Paola! Her blog is absolutely awesome, definitely check it out!

1) Favorite cartoon character?

(I love
Stitch. “O’hana means family,” is a sucker line for me every time. Lilo & Stitch remains one of my favorite movies.)

2) Favorite thing to photograph?

(I do enjoy photographing food, of course. Deep dish pizza in Chicago!)

(But I truly love photographing architecture while I travel. In front of the Louvre in Paris, France.)

3) Favorite thing to cook?
I do love breakfast. I rarely photograph it, because it’s similar. I love egg with salsa over brown rice, or a grilled pb sandwich with an apple. YUM.

4) Favorite way to exercise?
Running, swimming, and biking! I love all three! =D They each teach me a new appreciation for what my body can do.

(I get the kookiest looks on my face when I run, though. I can’t help it–I’m so happy.)

5) Favorite movies:
After Lilo & Stitch, I love Catch Me If You Can. The musical is just as awesome.

(Why hello, Leo. His Broadway counterpart, Aaron Tveit, portrays Frank Jr. fantastically.)

6) Favorite clothing:

(Often layered over something else. In Chicago.)

7)Favorite flower?
Sunflowers and carnations. They tied.

8) Favorite breakfast?
Scrambled egg with cheddar inside two waffles. *swoon*
Really, I could eat breakfast food all day long. I love almost all kinds of breakfast food, it’s hard to pick!

9)Favorite book?
I love many, but lately I’m loving Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz. Stop making me cry, Hannah!!

10) What is your least favorite food?
Peas. I like sugar snap peas, but regular peas…ick. I try to be an equal opportunity vegetable lover, but peas are a skip every time for me. Who knows why….

(I sure don’t.)

11) What would your dream job be?
I want to be an event planner for Walt Disney World. I admire their gold standard of customer service, and I love the area of hospitality.

(But first, I would love to intern here!)

12) What is your favorite salad topper?
That’s easy! Black beans!

(Though from that photo, you might think it’s grapes….)

13) Do you have a running mantra?
Yes! Mine is: “Keep moving forward.” No matter how slow I’m going, as long as I keep going, every step is a success. As long as I continue my exercise ventures and try new things, I’ll discover things about myself and the world around me I never would have if I had sprawled on my couch.

It’s a shortened version of this quote, because the short version is easier to chant:

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards very long, we keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

–Walt Disney

Have you had a bad workout recently? Did you learn anything from it?

Because I’m about to go on vacation…what was one of your favorite places to visit on vacation?

That’s the Way I Roll

Sitting here in my Nike tempo shorts is just too comfy. I’m supposed to be packing for orientation (YAY!), but right now I am simply basking in my day. It was one of the days you don’t expect to be amazing, but it was amazing anyway!

My day started with oats in a jar.

While I love oatmeal, I ran out of steel-cut and had to use blueberry instant in my emptied jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams.

I bought this jar on Thursday. Don’t judge.

Okay, you can judge, but it was DELICIOUS.

I also put in strawberries, blueberries, and strawberry yogurt. (In case you can’t tell, I dig strawberries!) I wasn’t wowed…maybe because it wasn’t overnight? Maybe because it was just too much sugar for me in the morning? It was awfully sugary, even for me, and I’m a sugar fiend!

After this experiment, I think I’ll stick to salty/savory flavors for breakfast, the most amazing meal of the day for me.

Speaking of amazing, I have two new features on my page! There is now a Races tab (where I can eagerly stare at the upcoming Walt Disney World Princess Half-Marathon in 2012), as well as a Blogroll! If you’d like to be added to the Blogroll, simply shoot me an email at adventureapril(at)gmail(dot)com. I love reading blogs and the best way to find gems sometimes is simply to ask nicely! That’s a good rule for life, I think, too. Asking nicely never hurt anybody.

Today, on a whim, my mom and I decided to have a picnic at the local park. I love an excuse to lug a ton of food with me, so I packed the cooler with fruit salad for the two of us (blueberries, peaches, bananas, watermelon, and strawberries!) along with a regular salad for me with breaded chicken, cucumbers, cheddar, and honey-dijon dressing. Yes, that cooler was packed full and 95% of the food was for me.

(Baby carrots are hiding in my hip Mickey Mouse container.)

Hey, that’s just the way I roll. =D

The park was crowded, but it was a nice ride down to the marina. There was a 50s-70s car show going on, so we got to look at all the cool vintage cars! My favorite was a VW Beetle, like this one:

We rode by quickly, keeping about a 9:30 pace (slight incline), and about 7:30 on the way back. Halfway through, we stopped to eat at a picnic bench!

(Take a photo! Of me! Of the bike! Of me…looking like a palm tree?!)

(Yes, that is my red helmet in the corner. Safety is sexy. Yes, I whip out cheesy quotes like nobody’s business. But seriously, the Safety is Sexy campaign is a great movement, and you can find more info and swag here.)

After a quick stop at the bike shop to fix my flat, we headed home. It turns out that I rode 3.42 miles on a slow leak. I suspected that was why it was so hard to balance, but I didn’t want to derail the picnic. I biked for 33 minutes to top everything off (and it was a MUCH smoother ride!) Today’s total mileage was about 8.5 miles–my Garmin is charging, so all my data will be in this week’s total.

I love biking, and that was my first long ride outside in over a year.

It’s good to be back.

What’s your favorite picnicking food?

Have you been biking lately?

Something That Scares You

I promised a while ago that I would post about trying spin for the first time. Technically, it wasn’t my first time (I tried it once in June 2009). I’ve blocked that memory from my head.

This is what I knew when I first signed up for spin that fateful day:

-It was on a bike.
-It was set to music.
-It was a good workout!

Hey, it sounded good to me. At the time, I had just started my gym membership and only taken half-hour classes, so I assumed spinning was a half-hour, too.

HAHAHA. As you spinners know, it is quite intense. However, I didn’t read fitness blogs at the time, and I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me.

I had only been running for twenty minutes at a time back then, and I was just starting to get in shape. When the instructor said to increase the tension, I increased it every time. I struggled, waiting for the half-hour mark. When we showed no sign of cooling down, I assumed it was a 45 minute class. At 40 minutes I realized it was an hour class. I looked around me at all the hardcore spinners and felt crestfallen. They were still going strong.

They even had fancy water bottles. =(

I was exhausted. I was intimidated. And I wanted OUTTA THERE! I hopped off that bike at the conclusion of the class, felt happy that I survived (and defeated at the same time), and thought I would try again someday. When I was ready.

“When I was ready” turned out to be two years later. Today. I’d been eyeing the spin schedule, but I didn’t have the guts to take it on.

Thanks to prom, my sleep schedule was all messed up. I woke up at 5:00 am. I’m an early riser, but that’s pushing it for me! Despite trying to get back to sleep, my stomach was roaring, so I gave in, made breakfast, and decided to do something crazy. Spin.

I drove to the gym with classical music on, hoping to calm down. I mustered the cheeriest good morning to the receptionist and signed up at 6:10 am, then hopped on the treadmill for forty minutes. Guilty pleasure while walking on the treadmill: reading the Gossip Girl series. It’s so addicting! My 2 miles were filled with the cattiness and glitz of Manhattan socialites.

I was so scared of taking spin again that I almost walked out after my warm-up. After a quick stretch, I entered the workout room. Luckily, some nice spinners showed me how to move and adjust my bike.

I’m proud to say I didn’t struggle until about 40 minutes in. I stopped increasing the tension, then, and didn’t hesitate to back off. After injuring myself from pushing it, I’m slooowly learning the difference between challenging your limits and pushing myself past the critical point of pain. Discomfort is okay. Sharp pain is NOT okay. This is now permanently ingrained in my head.

I walked out of the class today encouraged by the friendly spinners. I’m going to back just to completely get over my fear of it, but today was encouraging. I really love working out in the morning.

Good day! Now if only I could get my left eye to stop burning from too much chlorine….

(Dinner was leftovers from T.G.I. Friday’s: Jack Daniel’s chicken and sweet potato fries on top of romaine and tomatoes. My mom thinks I’m weird because I combine potatoes and lettuce. I THINK NOT.)

My legs were sore today, so I took it easy and stretched out with a swim.

I was craving a burger (although I doubt nothing will surpass my beloved Shack Shack), so I decided to head to Checkers. I got a Cheese Champ accidentally, but it was good. Next time, I’m going to forgo the mayo. (Sometimes, I just have to say AYYYYYYYO, PLEASE NO MAYO.)

(I took it on my phone, because in true classiness, I ate in my car.)

For dinner, I cooked grilled some delicious eggplant with mozzarella and tomatoes, on top of spaghetti. I also had a salad with tomato, mozzarella, and honey mustard dressing. YUM.

(SO DELISH. I could eat eggplant forever, pretty much.)

(I love putting the cheese from the main course in my salad. It’s like the previews that get you excited for the movie.)

(My snack on top of my workout schedule. The banana is covering all my “tough” workouts, I swear. Accompanied by much more than two of those amazing chocolate-covered cashews. I could munch on these lots more. Soooo good.)

40 min. walk (2 miles) + 60 min. spin + 45 min. swim
Monday: 30 min. swim

What’s something that scares you? Is it a workout that pushes your limits, or a new situation that gives you the jitters?

The Party That Never Stops

So, since high school has finished up…I went to prom last night!

PROMPROMPROM. (Okay, I had to get that out of my system. *phew*)

Now, I am not a girly, extravagant sort of person. Yet, for some reason, prom still gives me the jitters and I get ridiculously excited. It helps that my date was absolutely wonderful.

No workouts, just dancing! A very good Friday indeed.

(Please excuse my messy living room. Painting your nails > tidying up, right?)

Anyway, I didn’t get back till four am (due to traffic…yes, traffic)! For this early riser, it was super late. I didn’t fall asleep till around 5:30.

I may have indulged in some fantastic ice cream cake at prom and a chocolate croissant when I got home, but hey, it’s prom! Only happens once. (Okay, well, twice for me, but I’m just going to stand by that. Indulging = perfectly okay on fancy occasions. Heck, indulging is just okay overall in my mind!)

After waking up at noon and lounging around my house, I decided I should actually DO something today and headed to the gym.

Since I felt so good with running before and there’s a local 5k coming up, I decided to see if I could run one. I could! I averaged about a 12:00 pace (once tuuuuuurtle pace for me), because I didn’t want to push it. I ran the 5k in 37:22. Now I think it’ll be safe to run the official race on Saturday, no matter how slowly. I just hope registration isn’t filled and the t-shirts aren’t gone yet. I ran the same 5k about one year ago, so it’ll be neat to do it again.

I also did strength training. I could only manage about 10 lbs on the shoulder press, which is sort of pitiful. I’m going to work on that. I think I’ll look up similar exercises to do at home, too.

The only thing that got me through it was “Give Me Everything” playing on repeat in my head, from last night. Sometimes I love when music gets stuck in my head and distracts me. I replayed my favorite moments from last night while I worked out–it was a continued party! Hey, at least it made the workout more fun. Blech, shoulder presses.

Do you have a local race you’ve run more than once?

And, more importantly, what song is stuck in your head at the moment? “Give Me Everything” can’t last me forever!

Couldn’t Wait for Weights!

Ten past midnight–it’s officially Friday!

Lots of exciting events happened this week!

Monday was my first LONG RUN in about three months (thanks, dailymile!). Granted, “long” is twenty minutes for me now (and probably under two miles…my Garmin had died.) Still, it’s a HUGE improvement when I had to stop after six minute intervals (and I could only run two segments of six, so it’s a big deal!). I’m really pleased.

On Tuesday, I realized that the HIKING TRIP OF DOOM I signed up for departs on August 19th. That’s just about two months away, and I know my muscles have been quite comfy being wimpy lately. I headed to the gym for a vigorous ride on the wonderful Expresso bike. Nothing beats a ride outside, but my area isn’t the greatest for biking…so to the gym it was!

My weights workout took me about an hour. Everything is 12 reps, three sets:

Torso Rotation (30 lbs)
Seated Leg Curl (40 lbs)
Leg Extension (35 lbs)
Glute (or as I skillfully call it, the skip/push machine!) (45 lbs)
Seated Leg Press (40 lbs)
Fly (30 lbs)
Abdominal (30 lbs)
Row/rear Deltoid (30 lbs)
Shoulder Press (15 lbs)
Chest Press (15 lbs)
Triceps Press (30 lbs)

I was keeping track, and I starred the ones I had the hardest times with.

**Leg extension – (this machine was broken today, so I didn’t try it…)
**Row/Rear Deltoid – I can’t imagine what it must be like to row crew! Whoa. I kinda like this one, in a struggling, tough way.
*****Shoulder Press – HOLY COW. I only lifted fifteen lbs the first time, and I was struggling to maintain perfect form by the third set. Today was MUCH better, but it’s clear that these muscles (and my arms in general) are a weak point.
**Chest Press – (Okay. Tough, but manageable.)
Triceps Press – The first day, the machine was busy, and that was enough excuse for me. My muscles were so tired. Today, I tackled that machine NO PROBLEM.

Today was fine, but on Tuesday, I was like…I have to do more of this?!


Muscles learn so quickly, though! I’m really amazed. I’m working my way up to 40 lbs (the size of the backpack I’ll be carrying) by the end of July.

Wednesday I had a picnic in Central Park with friends. It was fantastic, and afterward we walked down to Times Square and through several stores. I might have picked up several items in Forever 21 (all for the good purpose of working out my arms, of course!). Hehe.

I came equipped with a whole wheat bagel thin topped with pb and banana,

and a bento box chock full of baby carrots, blueberries, and watermelon.

(Eating something in a pink container makes it cool, right?)

Today, I felt like quite the bad-a** with the weights. I dread lifting, but I know it’s so good for me. There’s nothing like pushing yourself! (Plus, I get to have an ice-cold glass of milk afterward, in the name of protein and fuel.)

I had a gigantic salad for dinner with romaine, corn, black beans, cantaloupe, cucumbers, pineapple salsa, and grilled asparagus.

(Note to self: next time–more cantaloupe, fewer cucumbers! They were a little bitter.)

While I had the grill out, I grilled a banana with crushed walnuts and cinnamon, and topped it off with honey. Delish!

Here’s to a great weekend!

Monday: 15 min. swim + 20 min. run.
Tuesday: 50 min. bike (9.1 miles) + 60 min. weights
Thursday: 30 min. bike + 60 min. weights, 60 min. recumbent bike
Friday: Rest!

Week’s Total: 4 hours, 55 min.

What’s the toughest strength workout for you? What are your favorite machines (and the most dreaded)?

There Are Some Weeks…

where everything just rocks.

This week was one of those weeks!

Last Saturday, I finally GRADUATED! Done with high school at last!

Was it bittersweet? Sure, but I’m definitely glad it’s SUMMER! Time for my favorite things in the world: the state of practically living in the pool, devouring watermelon, ice cream, sleeping till whenever.

I am so excited! I’ve been so excited lately it’s practically my permanent state of being.

I was excited to make a GIGANTIC SALAD with all the summery food in my fridge:
Romaine, black beans, steamed broccoli, corn, seedless red grapes, cheddar, and watermelon.

Luckily, this excitement translates to my workouts.

Monday: 60 min. swim
Tuesday: Rest!
Wednesday: 60 min. swim
Thursday: 30 min. swim, 40 min. bike (~8.8 miles), 60 min. Zumba
Friday: 40 min. swim, 30 min. walk, 15 min. stairs
Saturday: Rest!
Sunday: 60 min. swim

Workout Thoughts:
Thursday was excellent! I really liked spreading my workouts through the day. I usually only take one rest day, but this week, two felt right, and I’m glad I did.

Can you tell I’m addicted to swimming? Since running long distances isn’t manageable right now, swimming has become the equivalent of my “long run.” It’s not quite the same, but…my shoulders have never been quite so toned. =D I love the rush afterward, of course, and I feel swimming makes me more flexible.

Are you addicted to a certain kind of exercise? (Running AND swimming for me!)