Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scenes from the Holiday

Rather than do some extremely long and boring recap of the past few days, I thought I'd let the pics do (most of) the talking.

There was lots of driving and lots of coffee.

We went down to St. Louis and had lots of holiday fun with my 6 year old nephew, C, (who, btw-- is SO TALL for a 6 year old!) and sisters! I even got to see my Dad, stepmom, Aunt, Uncles and cousins. Successful and relaxing and SO FUN visit! 
(Top left, clockwise: Me, the Hubs and  C hanging out ; the Hubs and C playing Wii ; C writing his letter to Santa (Can't believe he can write now!! He's SOOO big!!) C visitng Santa)

A couple workouts.
(Top left, clockwise: Elliptical on Friday ; 4 mile run Sunday ; 4 mile run Monday)
Getting ready for Santa's visit.
(Top left, clockwise: Sprinkling "reindeer food" outside ; Leaving cookies and milk for Santa ; baking lots and lots of cookies)

C got SPOILED by Santa for sure. Batman everything, clothes, Bay Blades (whatever the F those are), books, coloring stuff, puzzles and more. I've only opened the gifts from C and his mom (my sister) so far (we're doing x-mas with my in-laws this weekend), but I'm already spoiled just from that! I got running socks, a bomb-ass purple zip up New Balance running jacket (see long run pic below), and some lotion. My sis and C definitely spoiled me! :)

Lots of yummy treats!
This is just one example... that is a peanut butter cup that was SOOOO big. I used my iPod as a point of reference just so you could see just how big we're talking. This was HALF a cup. There were also LOTS of cookies and candy consumed. Sorry I'm not sorry.
A long run in "feels like" 17*, 22 mph winds, and snow showers. AKA: FREAKING COLD and MISERABLE.
 Despite the miserable conditions, I still managed a pretty great run: 9:07/mile pace!). As you can see, I wasted NO time breaking in my Christmas gift jacket. I loooove it. LOVE. I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of it in the future. I also wore the socks I got (Adidas brand). I'm pretty picky about my running socks and these lived up to my expectations. LOVE them! Thanks, sister and C!! :)

Cooking soup!
 To me, there's nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup when there's tons of snow on the ground, so I made this recipe for Sausage and Lentil soup. I used white lentils instead of green, turkey sausage, and upped the red pepper flakes. SO, SO, SOOOO good. Seriously. Make this soup.
And, lastly (and worst of all) stupid snow + my driving skills (or lack there of) = disaster.
 We had a lot of snow come in on Wednesday (starting when I was out on my long run!) and I just HAD to go to the store (STUPID, Meagan) and slid into a speed limit sign on my way home. Luckily, no one was hurt and I didn't hit another car or anything. Still freaking blows though. I HATE driving in the snow. HATE.

Ok, ok-- I didn't want to end of that bad of a note, so here's a motivational sign I saw while going to the gym today:
"Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement"
I thought that was fitting as I'm starting to sit down and really think about my goals for 2013.
So, that's been about it! Lots of family time, driving, sleeping in, good food, snow, movies, and just relaxing. Hope your holiday has been as amazing as mine! Best news of all?? It's not over yet! I'm off til the 2nd and plan to enjoy every, single second.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Weekly Workout Recap (12/17-12/23)

Weekly Workout Recap (12/17-12/23):
Monday, 12.17.12: 60 minute spinning class & 2.5 miles

Tuesday, 12.18.12: 3.5 miles & 60 minute spinning class & 1.5 miles & 15 min. elliptical & 1 mile
Wednesday, 12.19.12: 4.15 miles & .85 mile walk & Jillian 30-Day Shred (L2)
Thursday, 12.20.12: 60 minute signature strength class
Friday, 12.21.12: 60 minutes on elliptical
Saturday, 12.22.12: Rest Day! (Out of Town)
Sunday, 12.23.12: 4 miles

Totals for Week (12/17-12/23):

16.65 Miles Run 
2 Spinning Classes

1 Signature Strength Classes
1 Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred
75 Minutes Elliptical

Well, if last week was an intentional step back week, I'd say this week was kinda an unintentional one. I just could not get motivated and had so much other crap to do. Maybe it's all the holiday craziness? Either way, not my greatest week, but not toooo bad.  Still managed to get a few decent runs (including a speed session!!) in and a couple classes. This next week's not gonna be any better, either. Again, I'm blamming it on the holidays. And, I'm OK with that. I'd much rather spend time with loved ones over the holidays then be trapped at a gym on the treadmill. Yeaaah, definitely OK with it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Survey

Saw this fun Holiday Survey floating around the blog world, so I thought I'd join in the fun! :)

25 Questions: Holiday Style
Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Hot Chocolate all the way. Eggnog pretty much grosses me out.

Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Oh geez! This is hard. I have a TERRRRRRIBLE memory. No one specific memory pops in my head. I do, however, remember that we had pretty big Christmases when I was a little kid. Santa went all out!

What is on your Christmas wish list?
Oh! So much fun stuff!! I asked for a Road ID wrist bracelet, the Hunger Games DVD, and lots of other running goodies.

Muli-colored lights on tree/house or white?
WHITE. Hands down. We don't put lights up outside, but will once we own our own home. For now, our only lights are inside and those are white all the way. It feels classier to me. Buuuuut, I will say multi-colored lights are way more fun. Maybe when we have kiddos and they get all geeked out over Christmas we'll mix it up.

Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope. We don't need an excuse to kiss! Come on now!

When do you hang your decorations up?
Usually the day after Thanksgiving, but part of that depends where we are for Thanksgiving. Maybe the day or two before or after if we're headed outta town. They're always up by the end of the weekend after Thanksgiving, though. For sure.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Stuffing. It's my favorite at Thanksgiving and at Christmas. Love it. I feel like it's one of those foods you ONLY eat at holidays too. Well, at least I only ever eat it at holiday dinners.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Duuuuh. Wrap them! Who just puts them under the tree?!?!

Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?
Not really. I mean, if we're celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve because of travel plans and such, then sure. But, if we're home for Christmas, then no. And, we definitely don't have a open one gift or pajamas or something like that kinda tradition.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
The Hubs and I have started a tradition of getting ornaments at every place we visit together. So far we have one from Hershey PA, Jamaica, and Mexico! We put the tree up first, then the lights, then all the ornaments (the Illini one ALWAYS goes right in front!!) and then the Hubs puts the star on last!

Snow? Love it or dread it?
Well, I hate driving in it pretty much all the time. But, I LOVE the look, feel, and idea of snow til about New Years. Then, I'm O-V-E-R it. And, even before I'm over it, let's not go crazy. I'll take just a light sprinkling of snow. An inch or so. I mean-- be reasonable.
My view at work today. It snowed on and off all night and is supposed to continue on and off all day.

Real tree or fake tree?
Fake-idy, fake, fake. I've never had a real tree-- ever. I have no desire to have one either. I love the fake ones. The same look, no hassle. Plus, only have to buy it once! I'm all about the fake tree. Well, let me clarify-- I'm all about the fake tree for me. But, I looove when other people have real ones! I get to enjoy all the festiveness of the realness (woah, English major there!) without having to personally deal with the hassle. Win, win. 

Do you remember your favorite gift?
I don't think it was my FAVORITE, but when I was little I vividly remember getting Molly, the American Doll and I LOVED her.
 Note- not my doll, but that's what she looked like the day I got her. And, pretty much only that day. I basically destroyed her within minutes of getting her. Poor thing never stood a chance.

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?
Spending time with the people I love. And, if I don't get to see one of the people I love making sure I get to talk to them and that they know how much I love them.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I mean, I just love all dessert so I'm impartial. Pie, cookies, brownies--- whatever. Just give me some!!

What is your favorite tradition?
The Hubs and I watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on DVD while opening at least 1 present we got each other (the others we open with family) and eat a big homemade breakfast, just us. Love.

Candy canes, yuck or yum?
Meeeeh. I mean, I like peppermint flavored everything. But actual candy canes? I'm just kinda meh on them. I'll have like 1 a season and then I'm over it.

What tops your tree?
A gold star.

Do you prefer giving or receiving?
Does anyone ever say receiving?? I mean-- don't get me wrong, I LOVE getting presents (who doesn't?!?!) but I LOOOOOOVE giving presents too. I love finding that perfect gift that speaks to me the moment I see it and that I know that person will adore. I kinda wish I could steal Santa's job a little.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
O Come All Ye Faithful. Listen to the American Idol version. I mean- I know what that sounds like. AMERICAN IDOL. Really, Meagan?!?! But, really. LOVE it. Check it out.

Favorite Christmas movie?
A Charlie Brown Christmas or Elf or Love Actually. Three way tie.
What do you leave for Santa?
Cookies and milk! My nephew made "reindeer food" (aka sprinkles and sunflower seeds) at school one year and we sprinkled that outside for them too!

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?
When I was little, sure. But, now it's kinda all over the place just depending on where we happen to be that year. Kinda sad, but I like that we can mix it up and be flexible so we can share the holidays and see all the people we love.

Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?
Both! Well, actually-- I'm not a big MALL person, but I do love going shopping in person (Kohls, Old Navy, Dick's, Target, etc.). I do love the outlet mall, though! I'm also a big online shopping fan-- if there's free shipping! :)

Christmas letter or Christmas card?
Cards. Letters are too much.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Elf4Health: Week 4 Update!

Alright, so I'm just putting this out there right from the start-- Week 4 kinda sucked for me. Not because the challenges sucked or anything... I just kinda sucked it up. I didn't focus on it and didn't check the next days challenges the night before and just got busy and blah, blah, blah <insert random extra excuses here>. After rocking out Week 3 so much I had higher expectations of myself for Week 4 and just kinda bombed. Oh well... it is what it is, I suppose. There's always Week 5, right?
So, without anymore moaning and complaining, here's the run down for Week4 Elf4Health Challenge.
W4D1 (Monday, 12/17): Do a circuit workout today.
Ok, so maybe I didn't do this on MONDAY, but I did do it the next day so I'm calling that a win. Challenge completed in the form of good ol' Jillian Michaels. To me, Jillian's 30-Day Shred is the circuit world's Queen Bee. It's quick. It needs minimal equipment. You can do it from home. It combines strength, cardio and core. Done, done, and done. Love her.  

W4D2 (Tuesday, 12/18): Treat yourself to something you've been craving!
I don't know if I would really say this WW ice cream bar (at a whopping 80ish calories), but I was craving it and I did eat it, so I'd say I treated myself. Challenge completed. Boom.

W4D3 (Wednesday, 12/19): Bake cookies!
No go. I wasn't gonna bake cookies just to bake cookies and didn't need them for anything and so, challenge failed. Wah, wah.

W4D4 (Thursday, 12/20): Make a casserole for dinner.
Fail again. Womp. The Hubs worked late and I had to go fill out the paperwork for Sadie and we have SO MUCH leftovers right now that we need to eat up since we're heading outta town for the holidays. No casserole made. The hubs ate at work and I had left over brown rice with some scrambled egg whites. SO EXCITING.
Same "I FAILED" pic from last week, but ya know... same thought. FAIL.
W4D5 (Friday, 12/21): Pay it forward!
Big, fat failure again. Didn't get coffee on the way to work. Didn't buy anything all day. I mean, I guess I could have gone somewhere and gotten something just for someone else, but that didn't happen. Call me a Grinch, I suppose.

W4D6 (Saturday/Sunday 12/22, 12/23): Going to a holiday party? Have a healthy snack before, choose water, and split dessert.
I mean, I don't have any holiday parties this weekend! So, fail--but, not by choice! Buuuut, in full disclosure, I have had several holiday parties this season and didn't eat a health snack, choose water or split a dessert for any of them. #whoops

Friday, December 21, 2012

15 Thing Friday

 1. I saw these at Walgreen's the other day and I swear on everyone I know-- it took all my self control not to buy them. Those may LOOK like any ol' Reese's cups... but, those beautiful, tempting beasts are HALF POUND CUPS EACH. I did resist... though I have no idea how. It's been several days and I'm still thinking about them. Nooom nom nom.

2. This. How is this possible? How is this on TV? What is wrong with this girl? Seriously. And, she gets PAID for this shit. I'm embaressed for her simply because we're both female. Ew. Ewwwwww. 

3. Me and this girl went on a run together this week when she was in town for a day. LOVE getting to run with her. Also love getting skinny iced vanilla lates with her post-run. Friends + runs + iced latte's = HAPPY MEAGAN.

4. I love Kelly Clarkson and am beyond happy for her to be newly engaged... buuuuut-- what was she thinking with this??

5. I am OBSESSED with cuties lately. They're the perfect snack. SO good and they're just so stinking adorable. While their sticker may SAY they're made for kids... I think they're really made for me. :)

6. Have you tried these Luna bars yet? No? Well, stop reading and run to your nearest store and get one. They're SO good. Yum, yum, yum. And, just so you know I'm not the only one who thinks they're good-- I gave one to this girl when she was traveling to Washington and she loved it too. Boom.

7. We have been having (well, we WERE having, I should say) some of my absolute favorite running weather. Sunny, cool. It's been a bit windy, but overall-- perfection. All I wanna do is be outside and run, run, ruuuun.

8. Go to this website: The Worst Things For Sale. You'll thank me. It's funny. I literally laughed out loud. Seriously-- WHHHHY do people buy these???
Go ahead, put antlers and a red nose on your car. It&#8217;ll be funny and fine the first day. The second day it&#8217;ll be like &#8220;Okay, haha, now stop.&#8221; The third, and forthcoming days, it&#8217;ll be depressing, as the December snow, wind, and rain fade the color from the cheap plush prostheses. They&#8217;ll get wet, they&#8217;ll sag, one antler will fall off as you&#8217;re on the highway, but you&#8217;ll press on, your car the automobile equivalent of a drunk mall Santa, somberly muttering &#8220;ho ho ho what do u want for xmas. tell santa. don&#8217;t cry. don&#8217;t.&#8221;

9. As much as I love fro yo... who the heck is buying this? A catered fro up party? And-- there have been OVER 1,000 BOUGHT. Who is buying this?!?!? And, more importantly-- can I come to your party???

10. I want these outfits from the Gap. Love the colors and the pants. I want. I want. I want.

11. Netflix Instant now has Season 6 of Army Wives. AKA- My winter break plans. Give me a treadmill and my iPad and I am golden.

12. Um, please check out this article if you'd like to laugh a bit. Poor awkward pets.

13. I was going to run today. Until this happened. Disreguard my earlier crazy self who said we were having great running weather. What happened?? Come baaaaack!!! Can you see that wind?? That's 35mph. Oh, and while 35* might not be THAT cold, it's supposed to feel like 20*. With 2-4 inches of snow. Uh huh. Not happening. I love running in chilly weather, but this is outta control.   
13. Is it just me or is this article extremely random to be in Runner's World? I mean-- I get that she's a runner, but what does this have to do with anything running related? And, more importantly-- $600 an hour??? Damn, girl!
14. My boss got me quite possibly the best Christmas gift I've ever gotten from a supervisor. SOCKS. RUNNING socks. Seriously. He knows me far too well. I couldn't ask for a more supportive boss.
15. I just realized I am not registered for a ONE, SINGLE race right now. Not a one. Something tells me this is gonna change before the holidays are over. Or-- let me rephrase... something tells me this BETTER change before the holidays are over. :)
Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Meet Sadie: OUR NEW DOG!



Well, clearly-- Matt and I couldn't. We saw her and fell in love and now-- she's (alomst) ours!
Meet Sadie, our soon-to-be new dog! She’s a 1 ½ years old beagle/bulldog mix we got through a local rescue shelter. She's about 30-35 pounds, fully grown (they think/we hope!). She was rescued from a kill shelter in KY a few months ago. Spent about 2 months at a kennel that the shelter we’re working with uses to house dogs until they can get a foster house or until they've been adopted. She’s been at a foster for about 2 weeks and been doing great! They think she’s crate and potty trained (only had 1 accident in the 2 weeks!)! She’s spayed, up to date on shots, microchipped, and heartworm negative.
We “met” Sadie last week at an adoption event and she seemed so sweet! We watched her for about 20 minutes and she never barked or had any aggression or anything. Seemed very docile and gentle. She's definitely strong, though! The Hubs and I “walked” her around the store that had the event and she’s STRONG! When she wanted to check something out, she wanted to check it out and that was all there was to it! Definitely nothing we couldn’t handle or anything, but she is a strong girl! She’s kinda a couch-potato, indoor type dog. She'll need daily short walks, but that’s pretty much it on the exercise front. Likely not going to be my companion for long runs, but she'll make great company for long walks and maybe a short run... we'll see. Sadie is a short haired dog, so she won’t need haircuts or professional grooming, but we will need us to give her weekly baths and brush her every other day or so.

Her foster mom describes her as a “very sweet, loving, and friendly dog ”and says that she is a “great girl!” The foster house has 2 young kids and she does great with them too!
We're super excited!! We even bought a crate online and did other shopping to prepare for her arrival. Turns out, dogs need a lot of stuff! Crates and blankets and beds and food and a leash and a collar and bowls and shampoo and toys... man o' man! It was a tad overwhelming to start shopping for a dog when I have NO experience knowing what to get and what to pass on, but I think we're off to a good start.

We still have to fill out the official paperwork, but we're pretty much all set and scheduled to pick her up a couple days after Christmas!

Now, you know it couldn't be that easy, right? Now is the enter, Meagan FREAK OUT  moment. Of course. What if we’re bad dog-parents? What if we’re not ready? What if we just don’t have the time (HOW would we not have the time? We don't have kids, all we have is our jobs? What else do we do with all our time? I HAVE NO IDEA!)? Right now, one of us pretty much gets home right around 5:15pm every day of the working week and we’re always home Sunday nights. So, I’m not worried about those. I'm also not really worried about training the dog or that sort of thing. We're good with routine and have done tons of research and such (ex: I emailed the Hubs 6 articles yesterday about crate training, potty training, discipline, how to bring a new dog home, etc. We think she's already crate and potty trained, but it couldn't hurt to read about it, right?!?). We can handle daily walks and that sorta thing.

I’m worried about weekends. What about when we go out of town? We don't really know anyone in our city (at least not well enough to ask them to dog-sit) and we definitely don’t have neighbors we could ask to watch her (unless we want them feeding her beer straight from a keg tap-- hello, college kids). So we’d have to what… kennel her each time? PRICEY! Would we just not go out of town as much? After talking it out with the Hubs (and after several g-chat, email, and phone convo's with friends) we decided we're just going to have to make it work. Bring her with us. Kennel her for long trips. Not travel as much. It's do-able. It'll be a change, for sure. But, it's do-able.

I’m of course worried that maybe we’re not ready to be responsible for another living thing… but, are you ever READY? Or is this one of those things you just kinda jump into a little and you can’t really be READY before you jump? There's tons of less responsible couples that get and manage to care of dogs all the time. How could they handle it, if we couldn’t? But, what if we can’t??

From what I hear, these freak outs are totally NORMAL. It's normal to be panicked and worry that you're not ready. It's also normal and to be expected to never quite be fully ready or prepared. That you gotta kinda leap before you look, a bit (something that is totally and completely out of my comfort zone).

We're going to be responsible for another living thing. That's huge. Our lives are going to change. We want a dog… we really, really do. They’re so cute and lovable and I think they make great companions and they're great for kids (which we hope to also have... someday).  I think the Hubs and I are loving and responsible and such, so I think we'd be good pet parents. Wouldn't we? I think we could handle this. I think we're READY for this.

So, we're leaping! Come the New Year, we'll officially be puppy parents! We think we're off to a good start on the essentials we'll need for a dog, but this week we're on the hunt for other must-have dog materials.... leash, collar, food bowls, toys, treats, etc.

Dog owners out there-- what do we NEED? Any tips? Suggestions?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Turns out, it didn't suck

Believe it or not, I DID make it to the gym yesterday.


And, even more shocking-- it didn't entirely suck.

I started with 3.5 miles on the treadmill, going for some speed-drills similar to the my last speed work session. (Stay tuned for time details...)

Then, I went to a 60-minute Spinning Class with the world's most annoying teacher. Seriously. She kills me. Her music is even worse. Legit-- half the class was had music with no words. Music is a make or break deal with me and group fitness instructors. This one broke her. Big time.

I was awaiting a friend of mine to arrive in town and she texted me half way through Spinning that she had just left and since she lives over an hour away I decided after Spinning to get another 1.5 miles in to make it an even 5 miles for the day.

By this time, I was on a full blown endorphin high so I decided to try to push it during this 1.5 miles. And, wowza-- did I. (Stay tuned...)

I decided t0 hop on an elliptical for a quick cool down. A few minutes in and my knee started to hurt. BAD. Part of me said to stop, but part of me said to keep going to see how it felt. 10 minutes in and it felt OK. I (maybe  a little stupidly?) wanted to see if running would make it hurt worse, so I hopped on the ol' mill for 1 more mile.

Turns out, it didn't hurt at all a few steps in so I decided to PUSH IT. Like, faster than I ever, ever have before.

So, how'd I do overall? Results?

Freaking B-A. At least-- BA for me.

3.5 in 8:18/mile pace.

1.5 miles in 7:57/mile pace. (WHAT?!?!? That # starts with a SEVEN!!!)

1 mile in 7:35/mile pace. (WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT?!?!?!?!?)

And, I got in a 60 minute spinning class and 10 minutes on the elliptical.

I PUSHED it. This was TOUGH, but I was focused and dead set on beating my time each time.

And, I felt AMAZING afterward. I was exhausted and tired and my body hurt and everything in between... but, above all-- I was on the BIGGEST RUNNERS HIGH. I felt amazing. I felt PROUD.

Just goes to show-- even if you don't feel like working out-- GO! It may suck. It really may. BUT. Buuuut, it just may be freaking awesome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Should I Workout Today?

I don't care what anyone other healthy living or running blogs say. Working out is not always sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. Some days, you just do NOT want to workout.
Today, I just do NOT want to workout. I slept in, skipping my morning workout. Today we had a potluck party thing at work and I ate... a LOT. Therefore, I feel just groooooss and the idea of hitting a treadmill almost makes me wanna vomit.
I JUST DON'T WANT TO WORKOUT. Not even a little bit.
But, I will.
Some days when you don't feel like working out I am a FIRM believer that means you shouldn't. Sometimes if you're just not feeling it I think it's your bodies way of telling you to sit your ass on the couch and chill.
Some days when you don't wanna workout you just gotta suck it up, stop being a whiny little bitch and get out there anyway. So, that's what I'm gonna go do. Treadmill for a few miles, then a spinning class. Even though I don't want to. Maybe I'll experience that ever-elusive feeling where you'll start feeling it after a few minutes of doing it... doubtful. I think today is just one of those whiny JUST DON'T WANNA DO IT kinda days. And, that's OK.
Shocking revelation ahead: sometimes, you gotta do things you don't wanna do. I know. I was amazed the first time I heard it to.

So, I'm off. Right now.