Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Soreness is next to Godliness

My knee is mostly healed. I can work out! I feel like a complete person again! And...

I'm sore.

I'm really, really sore.

As in, my typical 5-mile runs are now a 2-mile waddle and I can barely walk up a flight of stairs the next day.

But the soreness is refreshing. It means I can move again; and more importantly, it means that I'm getting stronger. Honestly, I'm a weakling. (I think I could bench more as a 110-lb sophmore in high school than I can bench now.)

With my injury, I've had to develop new workouts and methods. It makes going back to the gym fun and exciting. Routines can get old and stale quickly. The treadmill is boring as hell. BoooOOOOoooring. My new fun treats: weightlifting and yoga.

Let me be clear: I Will Not Look Like A Body Builder From Weightlifting! It doesn't work that way. Need me to say it again? I Will Not Look Like A Body Builder From Weightlifting! To further my point, I'll let the guys do the talking:

From my favorite egomaniac, Dave:
Hey, Chicks, You're Doing it Wrong
These Chicks are Doing it Right

Also, this is the general lifting program I'm following.

Here's my typical routine:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
6:00 am, ride my bike to the gym--Weightlifing and Running/Elliptical
Each day is a different split: Chest/Triceps; Legs/Shoulders; Back/Biceps
I'm gonna be honest: lifting weights among the guys is hot. H-a-w-t. I could be wearing old, oversized soccer clothes or some great Under Armour capris that show off my booty and the stares are the same. It's unanimous from the male species: girls lifting weights is hot. And my close-up view of the men ain't too bad either.

Want to know what else is fun? Biking. Except the stares aren't the same. Bomb downhill to the gym on your bike at 5:30 am with no cars to be seen. Then, after a brutal leg workout, try to ride home--uphill--with a million vehicles making their 7:30 am commute. Meanwhile, all the drivers are staring at your slow, wobbly ass. I swear that people walking their miniature poodles are faster than I am on that bike. I passed by a road speed sign once--I was going 8 mph. That's right, 8. Booyah!

Moving on...

Tuesday, Thursday
6:00 am--Yoga video at home
Here's another misconception: Yoga is not for pansies. I can repeat that again, but I'll spare y'all. Done right, yoga kicks your ass. I suffer through the beginner's video. The burning, shaking, I-refuse-to-let-that-cougar-in-the-video-beat-me kind of suffering. That's right, lady-with-the-fringed-bangs. You're going down!

With all the cooking I've been doing lately, I need the gym. This way I can have my cake and eat it, too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm a Cooking Machine

Since I don't cook, and therefore I can't cook, I get very excited every time a new recipe is successful. I compulsively take pictures and tell everyone who doesn't care. Including you. Aren't you lucky?

Some of my conquests from this past week (note: everything is made from scratch):

Chicken Pot Pie

A Slice of Deliciouness

Lemon Crumble Squares
(I realized I'm more of a chocolate person, but these were still yummy)

Buttermilk Buscuits

Homemade Crutons
(Delicious! They put store-bought crutons to shame, both in taste and cost.)

This is what happens when you cook with flour and there's a little dog under your feet.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caught up?

Get this amazing and magical thing: I am almost all caught up with work! This hasn't happened in, well, years.

I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. This entire weekend I did not go in the office once nor did I feel any need to. Again, insane!

This is my little work notebook. I survive by this and take it everywhere with me---almost comically so.

So, my new goals:

1. Do not get behind again!
2. Do not get behind again!
3. Find out what in the h-e-double-l I'm going to do with myself with all this free time.

First of all, now that I'm healing I honestly believe that hurting my knee has allowed me to get caught up---with life, really. As much as I hated being sedentary, when I go to the gym now I actually feel stronger. My muscles have finally gotten the rest they've been begging for. I can concentrate better at work. Before, when I played two soccer games on Tuesday nights it meant that I was absolutely useless on Wednesdays at the office. I couldn't think. I was exhausted all the time.

So now is the hardest part: BALANCE. I honestly believe that this doesn't actually exist, but I'm going to try. Balance with work, an active life, and myself.

This leads to the question: Do I dive back into all my soccer teams again? Do I get into new hobbies? I miss soccer. I miss the people even more. The problem, though, is that I don't have a mental stop light. I can't say "No." One team leads to three more invitations and I soon find myself in over my head. So this is what I am hoping to do: Continue with only a team or two, but also pursue other things. I don't like being bored, I hate watching tv all night even more, so we'll see how long this lasts.

In my newfound freedom, guess what I did this weekend? First of all I helped my friend Emily who just broke her foot. Poor girl!! I helped her by taking her out for food and eating all the junk food we could get our hands on. I mean really, what else are friends for?

I also cooked! As with all my cooking, it was an adventure. I made the Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast and Apple Pie from her new cookbook.

The roast turned out A-MAZ-ING. And it was surprisingly easy. Pictures!

Just out of the oven.

Pot roast with roasted veggies and brown rice. Yum!

The apple pie was a different story. First of all, it all seemed to come together just fine but I didn't think to put it on aluminum foil because, well, the directions didn't tell me too. I'm very literal with recipes. I don't veer off course unless I miss a step or just do it wrong (which is common). So, the filling inside the pie proceeded to drip out of the crust and collect on the pan. Okay, whatever, but when I pulled the pie out and cooled everything off, the drippings literally carmelized/candied on the pan! It was impossible to get off!

Trying to soak my carmel-coated pan.

Chefs and foodies, cover your eyes: I had to take a metal knife and scrape the filling off my non-stick pan. Yes, very painful but there was no way around it! A brillo pad was worthless. So, lesson learned: Aluminum foil is my friend.

Continuing the debacle, when I tried to get the pie off the pan it turned more into an apple crumble. Hmm... maybe because all the filling to hold it together had dripped out? I can't be too sure. Luckily it was all still very yummy (whew!). Perfect with vanilla ice cream.

Apple pie/crumble.

The good news: Everything I do is a learning process. The bad news: I know nothing.

Luckily, two men are ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and groaning as they are eating my pot roast right this very second. Three votes for the roast. Hurrah!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Exciting... Not Really

I haven’t posted anything lately because, honestly, I don’t have any new and exciting news. And you know what? I love it.

I feel like I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for years. Sometimes I love the packed schedule, the friends, and the excitement. Sometimes I hate it.

Though I guess this "mini-break" is forced. I sprained my knee (MCL) a couple weeks ago and so I have to lay low for a while. The doc said 6- to 8-weeks. I have to admit that it’s hard to take a break when my life is so active. I can’t play soccer, run, or ski, and even going to the gym is hard at this point. Stick me on a recumbent bike with little to no resistance and tell me that I can’t run or lift (or break a sweat, really) = very unhappy Claire. So, I haven’t been working out speak of because it’s just torture.

On a good note, my awesome and stylish friend, Emily, and I went shopping to update my wardrobe! Never having seriously shopped at Nordstrom’s before, I have to say that I’m now in love. With some digging around, we were able to find some classy and affordable outfits that are work-appropriate and that I feel comfortable wearing. As a habit of buying larger sizes from when I had put on my Freshman 15 in college, most of my clothes were far too big for me. It's nice to wear clothes that actually fit! (I'm a size 4---wha??)

But trust me, most everything new is still made of cotton. If I’m allowed to wear jeans at work then I’m going to take full advantage of that, damnit! This has also forced me to branch out and get items that have color. Yes, color. Can you believe it? But don’t fret, I still have enough black and grey in my wardrobe to last a while.

Below is the casual, classic style that I am trying to embody. Well-tailored jeans, a nice, structured top or jacket, and generally a put-together look that's still comfortable and classy. Easy, right?

As the saying goes, dress for the position you want, not the position you currently hold.

I am the first to admit that I’m genetically challenged in the style department but I'm working on it. Shopping takes a hell of a lot of time (ugh!) but with my friends’ help I think I can make it happen.

To further my education, I’m actually going to a Runway Show this week in Boulder. Can you believe it? I’d much rather be at a car show, but like I said I’m branching out. I’m getting edumacated. On the downside, I’ll be surrounded by fussy, high-maintenance women all evening and I hate women. Patience, Claire. Patience.