Thursday, February 25, 2010

"I left my heart in Puerto Rico"

Greatings all!  I am back (and tan) from the wonderful island of Puerto Rico.  It was nice to go somewhere warm (mid to upper 80's all week) and get away from the snow covering the ground in Maryland.

The view from behind our hotel.

While we dealt with rain most of our first day, the following days were beautiful.  Clear blue skies, a bit of humidity and a beach right out back of the hotel.  While my husband golfed with a friend from college and his dad, my mom and I took the opportunity to lay around on the beach and by the pool.  We were able to visit Old San Juan twice and I highly recommend the trip.  The old buildings are absolutely beautiful and the views from the two forts can not be beat!

The Capital

A View from the Fort

Another view from the fort

A Sentry (watchtower) at the fort

A View from the fort back at Old San Juan.  I love all the colors in the buildings.

This Cemetary was right on the water and the contrast just kind of seemed pretty.
While we drank A LOT of rum, we also took a tour of the Bacardi Rum facility.  You don't get to see much of the actual production which was a touch of a let down, but you do get to see the history and, best part, get free drinks at the end!


Apparently, at the original Bacardi Distillery in Cuba, the founders wife saw fruit bats all around.  The founder thought it was lucky, and the logo was born!

A Wall of Rum--YUM

Tuesday we took the drive (and beware, the driving in PR is crazy) from where we stayed in Dorado to the El Yunque rainforest. What a beautiful place!!!  There are these huge bamboo trees and when the wind blows all you hear is the clunking of the trees knocking together.  There are observation towers at various points on the mountain and you can see for 10 miles-all the way to Luquillo. 

El Yunque Rainforest

A Stream at El Yunque

The Bamboo Trees

Coco Falls

I climbed across all the rocks to get this picture.
View from the observation deck to Luquillo.
After the trip to the rainforest, we went to snorkel. I had never been before and it was such an amazing experience. The seas were a bit rough, which made it hard to stay awy from the coral (the huge bruise on my leg proves it--but unfortunately I may have damage the coral :( ) I saw so many beautiful fish, such pretty colors, and had a real calm, relaxing experience. (I took some pictures, but need to get it uploaded)
As nice as vacation is, its nice to be home and get back into a routine.  I was able to run a couple of times on vacation, but tonight I was able to get back to it. After a nice easy 3 miles, I called it quits, but honestly, just going out and doing 3 miles after my breaks made me feel like I was really strong and capable.  There is less than 2 months until the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and I am feeling less nervous every day. I know I am strong and I know what my body can do and it CAN do this race!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Greetings from the Tundra

Greetings, from the Frozen Tundra Maryland.

Those pictures in my previous post are from the first blizzard that dumped 33 inches at my house. 4 days later, we got another 20 inches. That makes for a total of 55 total inches in 4 days!! This is the first time two blizzards have hit the Mid-Atlantic Region ever. Boo YAY for making history!!! I moved away from Iowa for this?

After digging out from both storms and the awful road conditions after the first storm, my husband did not want me driving my little car to work so we commuted together and shortened the workday so we were off the roads by the time the sun went down. This posed a problem though, because I was not able to go to the gym after work. I was not able to run for 11 days. Run outside you say?? Not a chance. I fell on ice one morning just walking across the parking lot to my husband’s jeep (I am fine, just was a bit more and bruised. I am sure it looked comical with my feet moving really fast under me and then landing on my back—and that is why my neighbor was laughing at me from his warm kitchen—but it was not appreciated at 7:30 in the morning (my mittens hid what my middle finger was saying to him). I can only imagine how I could have injured myself if I added speed to the equation. I am  a walking disaster clumsy enough without factoring in various weather extremes, so I know my limits.  Our sidewalks were barely passable and the roads are only plowed so two cars can squeeze by each other.  Just not a safe situation all around.

Finally, I have been able to get back into a routine. I got out of class early on Monday (it was snowing/sleeting, again) and headed to the gym for a quick run, since it was already 8:30. I ran a quick (for me) 2 miles and called it a night so I could get home and get a quick dinner in. It felt great to run again. I was in a funk all last week and found I was moodier and more emotional without having run. Tuesday I took another Pilates class (love it!!) and ran a quick 3 miles this time, at a faster pace than the day before, which made me feel really strong! I decided not to push it either day since I was just coming back. Tonight, I am planning for a nice 5 mile run at my typical race pace (12 min mile) and speed work on Thursday.

I have to profess my love for the Ziploc steamer bags. Honestly, this has made cooking dinner so much easier in the evenings, especially since we tend to eat later in the evenings (yes, not the best for you, but given with two students in night classes, its our best option).  I can slice up some veggies, stick them in the bag and pop them in the microwave. Best part—no dishes! I can usually do a couple of dinners in one night and store the extras in the refrigerator. It’s healthy and cooks its content well, so I am in love with this product.

On Friday we are leaving for Puerto Rico!!! Warm weather, here we come! I almost wonder if our luck will have Mother Nature following us down to PR and snowing there! Either way, I am looking forward to our vacation away, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking and relaxing.

 Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pictures of all the snow

Nothing major to report. I was just stuck inside the house all day with 33 inches of snow. I did some pilates and shoveled a lot!

We were treated to a beautiful sunset after the snow stopped. View from our boat ramp.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snowy weekend

Sometimes people just make your day. Wednesday, I went for my long run for the week (since I knew this weekend would be out--we are having ANOTHER blizzard here in the DC/Baltimore area with 20 to 30 inches, expected, possibly more in certain areas). I had a nice 4.5 miles in in 47 minutes (which is REALLY good for me) and once I started to cool down and walk, the girl on the treadmill turns to me and says, "I have no idea how you are able to do it, but it really impresses me!" We chatted a bit, and it turns out she was just starting to walk and add some running into it, and I assured her it would get easier, and eventually parted ways. The unexpected compliment had me floating on my way out the gym and I felt great. Beyond the runner's high great, but more of a "wow, someone is impressed by me?

Thursday was another great day. A coworker brought in some recycled clothes (3 girls and I exchange clothes since we all seem to be within various sizes opposite of each other) and our VP said "Are you bringing those in because she has lost so much weight?" So, people are recognizing but not saying something (which I understand--weight is a sensitive issue, sexual harrassment, etc). I took the bag of clothes, checked out the loot and started to think about what I started out when I started this weight loss journey and where I am now. I have lost--drum roll please--40 pounds. Seriously, that is huge. Its 160 quarter-pounder burgers, its 80 sticks of butter (ok, even when I think of the weight I lost, I think in terms of food). Sure, this journey has had some ups and downs, some yo-yoing of weight, but its still something to be proud of and realize that what I am doing is paying off. The last couple of days really affirmed that for me!

I am preparing to be stuck inside for the entire weekend. Its been snowing heavily for a while and shows now signs of letting up. I am going to have to turn on the exercise TV and do a few classes in the living room to get a good workout this weekend. If you are in the Mid Atlantic area, be safe this weekend!!! I just have to say, my vacation to Puerto Rico is only 14 days away and I think after this storm I will be more than ready!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Best Day EVER

Friday may have been the best day ever. In the words of Barney Stinson, it may have been “Ledgen--------wait for it-----dary!” Nothing major happened, but there were a series of great events throughout the day!

There is a new girl in the offices that runs and happened to run the Disney half marathon in CA back in September. We started talking about my upcoming race schedule (and I tried to recruit her) and plans for a half marathon in Orlando next year when she told me about the BEST RACE EVER. Disney apparently hosts a Princess Half Marathon. Visions of tutus, tiaras and pageant waves flashed into my head and I was so there. The race is in March—as in a month away-- and I will not be ready for this. But sign me up for March of 2011. I have managed to recruit several other people into this, you apparently get killer rates at the various resorts through Disney and I am already planning out my race outfit. I am a big kid at heart, and I love Disney, so I am planning on a few extra days down there. My husband is all for it, because he can golf his little heart away at the courses there and come out on race day for support and H2O service.

Admittedly, I have a bit of a shopping hobby (or problem if you ask my husband). I stopped at Marshalls on the way home from work (Hey, at least I am bargain shopper!) and was digging through the workout section when it felt like a light shined down on me and the angels in heaven sang. There in front of me was a CW-X Xtra Support Bra in white with lavender trim (which I can not find anywhere). I snatched the only one on the rack up and checked the size. The only one in the store, and it was my size and it was $19.99 (normally retails for $57.00). I felt like the stars aligned for me and it was some higher power than drove me to that Marshalls on that day. All kidding aside, the CW-X is probably the BEST bra I have run in (even if you need to be double jointed to get into it), but I tend to shy away from it because of the price. Finding it at that price was a huge surprise and made my day.

My running was derailed over the weekend. I run at the gym because 1-my neighborhood is only about .75 miles long, 2-the road outside my neighborhood is major and has way too much traffic on it to feel safe running on, 3- I don’t like running after dark (bad experience when I was running 7 years ago and had a guy following me at night in my nice, quiet, upper class neighborhood in Alexandria) and 4-I like to people watch and my gym has a CAST of characters. We were supposed to get a dusting of snow on Saturday, so I didn’t think anything about it. After 5 hours of steady of snow, and 5 inches on the ground, I knew I would not be able to make it to the gym. Sunday, after running errands, my husband and I got home after sundown and ice was starting to form and my husband did not want me out. Monday was shot because of class (though I did some weights and lunges at lunch) so yesterday I took a Pilates class and went for a run after that. I thought I was in shape but boy oh boy was I wrong. Parts of my body were burning in the class that I did not even know I had. I enjoyed the class and I think I will keep up with it, but who knew that such little movement could have some serious effects on the muscles. I followed the class up with a nice speed work out and three miles--I wanted to do 5, but it was snowing again--, so it ended up being a good day. With another wallop of snow forecasted for the DC/Baltimore area again this weekend, I am planning some long runs during the week in case I am stuck in the house again.

Hope everyone has a great day!