Run, Run, Run

It’s been a pretty typical week. Meeting Monday. Got nails done yesterday with my mom and went out to dinner. Another meeting tonight.

Because I ended up working a lot of hours on Sunday I get to deduct some hours from my days this week. So when I got off early on Monday I thought I would make dinner. I wanted to try Iowa Girl Eats’ Caprese Lasagna with Spicy Turkey Sausage.

Ohh the adventures of Katie in the kitchen. I really should have someone film me cooking because I’m sure it’s quite hiliarious to the seasoned cook. From my chopping skills (or lack there of) to my sauce making. Instead of letting my sauce stay on the heat and get all nice and thick I turned off the heat and it stayed thin. When Jon saw me finishing off my assembling of the lasagna layers he said, “You know you’re supposed to break off pieces of lasagna to make it go all the way across if the pieces are too short.” Oops. Enter random leftover noodles being crammed into the sides so the lasagna wouldn’t cook weird.

I made the recipe just as it was written and I think it actually came out pretty good. I could have put more basil, but other than that it was good. A pretty simple dish. Jon and I both agreed some sort of green and mushrooms would have been an exciting addition. But since this is a caprese inspired lasagna I know it was meant to be simple and light tasting.

So I’ve kind of been ignoring running lately. Since I don’t have a race coming up I thought I could just take it easy. Plus I’ve been hitting up Fit for Fashion and enjoying the change up in workouts.

But there’s already been talks of fall races and I’m already officially signed up for one. It seems so far off, but in running time it’s really just around the corner. I was asked if I wanted to do the Hooters 2 Hooters run, which is in September and I jumped on board. Then I was trying to decide if I wanted to do the 5k or 10k. I’ve done two 5k races so far and would like to do a 10k at some point. I know I definitely want to do the 10k for my friend’s Race for the Cure team in October. So I’m thinking I’ll give the 10k a shot for the Hooters race and then really race for time for Race for the Cure.

Here’s a rundown of all the races I’ll be doing this fall:

September – Hooters 2 Hooters 10k

October – Race for the Cure 10k

November – Women’s Running Magazine 5k

December – Color Run 5k

Ok, so now I have a goal of running my first 10k in September. Last night I found a 10k training plan that I liked and backed up the dates. To be ready by race date I have to start training June 25. Holy crap, that’s like a week and a half away! I was a bit overwhelmed at first, just because it’s been awhile since I’ve been consistently running. And the long runs are indimidating to me. The most I’ve run without stopping is 5 miles. Can I really run 8 miles (the longest run in my plan)?

Yesterday morning I went to a Lift & Run class at Fit for Fashion. It was a mix of weights and running drills. Great class, but I hate suicides with a passion. Then the last thing we had to do was sprint across the parking lot, then jog around the front of the building. Three times. It might not seem like much, but after an hour of moving and sweating this was the last thing any of us wanted to do. Our instructor saw our faces and said, “I know that each and every single one of you can do this…without stopping. Now you just need to tell yourself that you can do this.” And we did.

I always try to bring that encouragement with me on my runs. Running really is a very mental sport. I know my body can do it. I just need to believe that it can and trust it.

10k here I come!

What races do you have planned for the future?

Cookies, Happy Hour and a New Dress

Ghiradelli chocolate chip cookies are the bomb.

So far in my life they’re the best homemade cookies I’ve made. I use the recipe right on the back of the Ghiradelli chocolate chip bag. And I add walnuts. Quick, simple, easy.

They’re that perfect mixture of crunchy and chewy and nothing beats having one of these gooey ooeys straight from the oven.

Jon had been requesting cookies for a few weeks and I had been hankering for them as well, so I finally remembered to get some chocolate chips at the store. These never dissapoint! Although I have yet to try the New York Times best chocolate chip cookie recipe, which according to Pinterest, is out of this world.

I probably had the most unhealthy day that I have had in a long time yesterday.

I always eat a nice healthy breakfast. But then lunch came. I had brought a burrito from Taco Bus that Jon had gotten me when he called the night before saying he was picking up dinner and I was already half way done with stir fry leftovers.

Then after work we all gathered at the Postcard Inn beach bar for goodbye drinks with a coworker who is moving.

The whole hotel has a really cool retro surfer theme to it. And the bar was pretty cool too.

I got the Hunch Punch, which was made with moonshine, pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine. It was dangerously good and quite strong so I only had one. We ordered a bunch of appetizers to munch on as well. I had a few bites of almost everything. Two wings (not thrilled with them), a coconut shrimp (awesome!) and a few beef nachos (also really good).

After some chatting I left to go get my mom for some errands and dinner. One of our stops was Old Navy. I used to never like this store, but now everytime I go in there I walk out with something. I’m kind of a plain Jane. I like clothes with simple to no designs so I can wear them forever. And Old Navy is pretty good about supplying those kind of clothes. I got a new pair of running leggings, the cutest sleep shorts with seahorses on them, an extra pair of these shorts that I really like and this dress.

Isn’t it pretty? I love the color and simplicity of it. I can easily wear it out to dinner or to a cocktail hour. I’m always finding I need more nicer dresses for Junior League events and other professional type outside of work events. This fits the bill.

After some shopping we headed to Macaroni Grill for dinner. I hadn’t been here for AGES. I’m not a big fan of chains, but for anyone who knows the Tyrone area in St. Pete there’s not too many options for local eating. But, I’m going to say it, it wasn’t half bad. The atmosphere is pretty nice and the service was excellent. I loved seeing that they still do a lot of the same things like have a woman sing “happy birthday” in Italian to you on your birthday, have the servers write their name on the paper table cover and have “learn to speak Italian” recordings in the bathroom. The menu had changed some since I’d last been. It was two sided on a long piece of paper and really had the feel of an Italian bistro…much nicer to look at than a laminated menu. I noticed my old favorite (the Pasta Milano) but decided to give the Chicken Scallopine a try. The food was just ok…nothing special, but definitely edible. We also got the house Chianti, which they pour very generously.

Thank goodness I had three days of awesome workouts at Fit for Fashion this week. I’ve now been back for a month and I feel awesome. I will never stray again!

I also signed up for this December’s Color Run. So excited! They seem to be doing one everywhere so I’m sure there’s one where you’re located!

I have a looong day at work today. Going to see Rocky Horror tomorrow night. Then Mother’s Day Sunday. It’s going to be a fun, not-too-busy-thank-goodness type of weekend 🙂

What’s on your agenda for the weekend?

P.S. This came up in my Facebook newsfeed the other day. Love it!

Pre-run Yoga Poses for a Better Run

Finding My Fitness Groove

For awhile now I have been doing a lot of exercising on my own. The blog world is filled with awesome workouts from personal trainers and then there’s also the glory of sites such as Pinterest. Then I decided I wanted to run my first 5k, which led to running 3 times a week. Once I started training, my other workouts got pushed to the side. In the beginning I wanted my body to rest, but I was also just so busy it was all I could do to even fit my runs in. But I do know that cross training is important and I didn’t want to put myself at risk for injury.

I could have just added back in the workouts I had been doing before, but I realized something. I really missed group classes! I’ve also heard so much about BodyPump through other blogs that I was dying to try it. There’s a gym not far from my work that offers BodyPump and all of those other LesMills classes. It seemed like a pretty good gym and I thought that maybe I’d consider joining. It’d give me unlimited access to classes and to all of the machines and such that I don’t normally have access to. So I printed out the free pass that all gyms seem to have and went in to try the BodyCombat class.

I was a bit underwhelmed. The gym itself was just ok and the class was definitely not as intense as I thought it would be. I even zoned out at one point. All it made me do was miss the classes at Fit for Fashion.

F4F is a bit further away for me…definitely not on my way home. It’s also a bit more expensive than a gym depending on what package you get. But I bit the bullet and bought an 8-class package which would allow me to take 2 classes per week for a month, which is just the amount I need. I went to the Tabata Love class yesterday. And it was awesome. I love tabata already and doing it in a class atmosphere was fun.

I’m so happy to be back at F4F. I like the intimateness of the studio, the variations of classes, the challenges, the people…I just feel comfortable there. And back when I was going all the time it was the best my body had ever looked and felt. I hope to get to that point again. I’ve definitely noticed positive changes in my body with running, but am hoping that the F4F classes will tone me up.

My point to this post is that I feel like it took me awhile to find my “fitness groove”. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. I feel like you really need to get in tune with your body to understand how it reacts to different exercises and what you need to do to get to where you want to be fitness wise. I knew all along that my body needed cardio, but I wasn’t able to get myself to do it until I started training for a 5k. Now that running 3 miles ain’t no thang for me I can comfortably incorporate it into my routine while doing cross training classes at F4F. And I tried to workout on my own to save money and time, but I realize now that I need classes. I enjoy the atmosphere and I also push myself harder. Some people can push themselves, but having someone encouraging me along really helps motivate me.

I’ve also made claims before that I’m ready to be in the best shape of my life and I’m going to exercise regularly, eat healthy, blah blah blah. And each time I’ve fallen by the way side a bit. But I’ve learned now that I just hadn’t found my groove yet. Now that I know what works for me I’m sure I’ll be able to stay accountable.

Another thing I should stress (because I always think it should be stressed for us women) is that I am NOT looking to loose weight. I am happy with my body. It carries me around every day and has been good to me. I strive for a healthy lifestyle because I want my body to FEEL as good as it can feel…very different than LOOK. I had to remind myself of this when I visited the gym the other day. There was a scale. And I stepped on it. And I was shocked to see that my weight had increased 5lbs. How could that be? I had been running so much I was sure I had lost weight. My clothes were fitting great and I felt like I looked good. I mentioned this to Jon that night and he helped remind me that muscle weighs more than fat and that the number on the scale doesn’t mean anything. And he’s right. So many of us worry about a silly number on the scale rather than body fat percentage, which is really a better indicator of where your body should be. And at the same time I’m glad I got to see the scale number because I do track calories in/calories out so I needed to update my FitnessPal 🙂

Do you feel like you’ve found your fitness groove?

Highlights of the Week

Hello friends! Long time no write…it’s been a busy, fun-filled week.

Highlights

Happy Hour at The Trunk

Monday night was another one of my friend’s fabulous meetups. We rounded up wine, cheese, crackers and fruit and headed to The Trunk shop on the 600 Block of Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete. The Trunk Stylists are Marianne and Aneesa, who are two of the  sweetest girls you could meet. They do at home shopping parties, where they bring their clothes and jewelry to you and your friends. I did this last year at my place and it was so much fun! They were just starting out then, but now they have their own store and it looks fabulous! They were nice enough to open the store to us after hours to drink wine, eat cheese and SHOP.

The Spread

The Store

 

 

 

Even the hangers in the dressing room are adorable!

I ended up with this super cute romper.

An example of how awesome these girls are…I would have never tried this on, but Aneesa encouraged me so I took it to the dressing room. And it actually fit nicely and looked good! Plus it’s a unique pattern. I’m not crazy about the tie belt so I’m on the hunt for a bigger woven belt to go with it. The best part? This is the first romper that actually looks good on me! I love rompers, but am always dissapointed on how they fit on my body. Either the shorts are too short or the waist part feels weird…this one is just right 🙂

After The Trunk we headed to Acropolis for dinner. I’ve given Acropolis a few tries and am still dissapointed that there’s not a decent Greek restaurant between here and Tarpon Springs. They do make a good salad though and that’s what I usually get. The grilled chicken is great and I love the dolmades on top 🙂

BellaBrava

Tuesday I finally got my butt over to Fit for Fashion…it had been forever. After an invigorating strength training class I met up with my friend for dinner. It was Tapas Tuesday at Cafe Alma and Ceviche. We tried Cafe Alma first, but they had no free seats at the bar (which is where the 2 for 1 drinks are). Then Ceviche, but the wait was 30 minutes (!!!). We finally decided on BellaBrava.

I hadn’t been to the new space yet. My first thought walking in was that it was loud and everything echoed. Luckily we got a good table in the main room and it wasn’t so bad.

A glass of wine was much needed.

They have 6 and 9 ounce options, which I’ve never seen before. Depending on the restaurant you go to you can get the same pour amount for a lesser price. But I do like how they seperate their wine list by tastes and flavors. I had the Terre Di Tufi, which was actually a bit too light for me, but it was crisp and refreshing.

My bud’s hummus plate. I got to have her olives 🙂

I ordered the Polpettine pizza. It was really good, but I was also really hungry.

REALLY hungry.

The two other times I have tried BellaBrava (in their old space) were not pleasant experiences. The food was always eh and nothing exciting. Given that pizza though I’ll be back!

So tonight I request a salad from The Chef.

And this is what he presents me with…

Sauteed eggplant full of flavor, grilled chicken, greens and parmesan cheese.

He even makes bread fancy.

Love him 🙂

Conversation Starter: The weekend is approaching! What are your weekend plans? I’m going to a fun event tomorrow hosted by the Morean Arts Center, getting drinks with friends and going to a blogger conference and wedding on Saturday. Can’t wait!

My bud’s hummus plate…I got to eat her olives 🙂

Shake It

Zumba was fabulous 🙂 It’s been awhile…I almost forgot how to shake my butt!

What I love most about zumba is how an hour can just fly by…espicially when you’re amongst friends…it just feels like one big dance party.

Unfortunately there was barely any air movement in the super cute dance studio where the class was held. So needless to say it was a super sweat sesh.

Our weekend was spent in Cape Coral. We’ve been having many wonderful weekends there the past few times we’ve been down. So much so I will save our fun for a separate post 🙂

This…

…was not how I wanted to start my morning, day or week. I hate having blood drawn, but in a nutshell if we want cheaper health insurance at work we must participate in a health screening each year. The results are pretty interesting to look over, but gosh I hate this part 😦

I rushed back to my office afterwards to chow down on some overnight oats I brought from home.

Around lunch time I was still feeling a bit out of it and decided I needed something really substantial and possibly unhealthy.

I ended up with 3 Publix chicken tenders, a garden salad and a “new to me” Brianna’s poppy seed dressing. All went very well together.

Dear Publix, please include spinach salads in your salad selection because this is not salad…at least not to me.

Snack was my new favorite Luna bar…it was so good I gobbled it up before I could snap a photo of the actual bar 🙂

Got in a quick Open Gym sesh at Fit for Fashion that included running in the sweltering heat, burpees and kettleball swings. Then a stop at Rollin’ Oats to get some quick dinner and lunch items for the week.

Met up with a dear friend at her apartment so we could dine al fresco for dinner and share a bottle of wine. Leftovers for her, and I piled my plate with yumminess from Rollin’ Oats.

A spinach feta turkey burger with a side of quinoa salad with sweet peas and sesame green beans. Everything was really good…I espicially enjoyed the green beans. Turkey burger was flavorful and moist, which I was kind of surprised for take away food.

I love it when the sky looks like this…

Conversation Starter: Did your week start off on a high note or a low note?

Feed Me Seymour

Happy Saturday! Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend 🙂

Wednesday was a pretty typical day…had an awesome Open Gym session at Fit for Fashion. The guy and I were going to go hang out with some friends but decided on a night in instead with wine and chinese food. I did try something new though! Our fave go to chinese dish is chow mei fun with chicken, but I wanted some spice so I tried the Chicken Schzeuan Style. It was good! No too spicey and not too covered in sauce…it came with green peppers, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts.

Thursday I got my hairs trimmed at Number 9 salon. When I first graduated school and started living in St. Pete full time it took me forever to find a decent salon.  I had been going to a great place in Tampa, but it was just too much for me to keep crossing the bridge. I finally stumbled across Number 9’s website. It looked like a cool place with very talented stylists. I booked an appointment and have been going there for the past 3 years. I’ve pretty much been to every stylist there and have never had a bad haircut. Frank, the owner, is the best of course.

After my head had a weight of hair taken off of it I changed quickly at home and headed to the beach to meet up with the guy and some friends. We had a drink at Jimmy B’s, which as far as beach bars go, really isn’t a bad place.

Then we grabbed a bocce ball set and played until the sun went down.

I had never played before, but I was actually kinda good 🙂 Apparently you’re supposed to play up to 21 points!? We got bored at 7 and stopped there 😉

At this point it took everyone about an hour to figure out what they were doing the rest of the night. All I knew was that it was 8 o’clock and I was hungry. The guy and I decided to go get a bite on our own and then head home. We were jonesin’ for some Taco Bus so headed there. By the time we got our food (lengua torta for him and cochinita pibil tacos for me) it was 9 o’clock and ready to chew someone’s arm off. Hence my title since that seemed to be the trend for the week. And hence no photos since I immediately scarfed down our food when we got it.

Yesterday I came home from work, did a quick 30 minute treadmill workout (I like to alternate 5 min. running and 5 min. speed walking super uphill) and was ready for dinner. The guy wasn’t too hungry yet and I’m patient so we waited until about 8 to head out…I was again at the point of chewing on someone’s arm. We went to Cafe Vienna for the second time. It was just as good! I got the Jaeger Schnitzel, which was covered in that amazing red wine mushroom sauce that I fell in love with last time. The guy tried the Sauerbraten, but had to send it back because he thought it didn’t taste right. The menu says “beef loin” so he was expecting a tenderloin, but instead it’s marinated middle round. It’s marinated for at least 5 days, but the guy knows his food and his meat and he says it’s not a great cut. No one was at fault…just turns out there’s some dishes that are not for everyone! We also shared a bratwurst plate as an app, which was SO good. We wanted to sit at the intimate looking bar this time, but the place was packed!

This morning I had to get up while it was still dark to do a volunteer shift for Junior League. So by the time I got home I was ready to head out for lunch. Of course the guy is not hungry. And of course once I laid on the couch for 5 minutes I was headed for an hour nap. We ended up at Thuy Cafe for bahn mi at 2 p.m.! Again…chewing arm…

After lunch we headed to one of our fave places…Marko’s Meat and Deli.

Look at all that meat!

And yummy European desserty treats!

Including Happy Hippos!

If you have never had a Happy Hippo you need to hunt them down now. We both fell in love with these on trips to Italy and Sicily (he went with fam and I went on a college trip). Crispy wafer goodness with todiefor creamy filling.

Well, we’re at home now and if you’ll excuse me I have a cocktail being made for me with Pinnacle Whipped vodka. I know…I thought it sounded kind of gross to, but have been itching to try it ever since I heard mixing it with orange juice makes it taste like a creamsicle 🙂 I’ll let you know how it is!

Conversation Starter: What’s your limit on how long you can wait to eat? I start getting ansy/cranky at 3 or 4 hours past my last meal/snack.

I’ve leave you with some yummy salads I had this week:

Fresh Market chicken breast with sundried tomatoes and that smoked mozzarella I was so excited to try. Turns out it sounds better than it tastes 😦 The sundried tomatoes helped balance it out but it was just too smokey.

Fresh market chicken breast with Publix crumbled bleu cheese and dried cranberries…def a keeper!

Both topped with this new dressing I tried…

I love Brianna’s!

What I’m Loving Right Now

Things that I love right now:

YogaBlu

I’ve made an oath to myself to include yoga into my fitness schedule once a week. I have a friend who’s quite the yogi so I usually go where she goes, which led me to YogaBlu. Beautiful space, great staff and probably the best class I’ve taken in the Tampa Bay area. I go to Destry’s YogaFlow class, but unfortunately she’s moving in a few weeks 😦 Time to test out another teacher!

My fitness routine consists of a lot of cardio and some weight lifting, which leaves my muscles sore and tight. Yoga is pretty much the only thing that really helps me stretch out…plus I just love that “yoga high” you get after a class.

Fit for Fashion

I’ve been exercising regularly since I was 18. But I never really knew what the hell I was doing. I knew how to run and that’s about it. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I started getting into yoga and zumba classes, and thus realizing I really loved a group class setting. After my friend taught a zumba class at F4F I went on their website and saw all of the other types of classes that were taught. Most of the classes were boot camps and I decided to give one a whirl. It. Kicked. My. Butt. And I loved every minute of it. The setting was also very comfortable. It’s mainly an all women fitness studio…there are a few co-ed classes offered and the occasional guy will show up (usually dragged by his girlfriend). Most of the classes are taught by owner, Rebekah Reidy, but she just recently hired a new trainer to take some of the load off. The best thing about the classes is that they are always different, which means you never get bored. And it’s not all boot camps…there’s an awesome circuit style weight lifting class called Pink Iron (one of my favs), yoga, pilates and running clinics. Whether you’re just starting to get into working or you’re training for a marathon, this is a great place to go. The price is also the cheapest in St. Pete at $10 a class, but if you’re over your budget one week you can hit up an Open Gym, which is free.

Rollin’ Oats

I’m really on a health food kick right now so after a sweat session at F4F on Monday I headed to Rollin’ Oats for the weekly grocery shopping. I hadn’t been in there in ages so it took me a bit to find everything I needed. Plus their aisles are so narrow that two carts can barely fit down one. But I was all googly eyed at all of the different products and definitely got a bit grab happy, which showed when all of the goodies were rung up. I want to keep shopping at local health stores, but going to try another one in the area to see how prices compare.

MyFitnessPal iPhone App

I’ve always hated counting calories. And a lot of times for a lot of reasons I think it’s silly. At the same time I practically do it every day. I’ve tried a food journal and online website, but I’ve always fallen off the wagon. But ever since I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone I’ve been going pretty strong. They make it so super easy to find different foods, and they have even added a barcode scanner feature. It’s important to note that I’m not a crazy calorie counter who is doing it to loose weight. I in no way am looking to loose weight (my fitness focus is strictly in the tonage area). I mainly like to track my cals so I know that I am eating enough. Or it’s nice to know that I have extra wiggle room at the end of the day for dessert or an extra drink 🙂 Anytime I go out to eat I pretty much stop counting for the day, because please…it’s pretty much worthless at that point. You can also keep track of how many calories you burned during a workout, and it automatically adds it to your allotted calories.

Cafe Vienna

The boy and I have driven past this place a few times and it’s always been on our list of “places to try”. So this week when they popped up on Groupon I snatched that puppy up right away. After a long few days and lack of motivation to cook we decided we wanted to go out to eat last night. I remembered the Groupon and the decision was made.

What we drank:

The boy drooled over the draft German beer selections and promptly ordered one 🙂

He also chose one of their premium house wines for me, which was a really delish Riesling. Light and fruity and not too sweet. It was also served in the most adorable glass I’ve ever seen:

What we ate:

Escargot

Not the best I’ve had, but you can never go wrong with tons of garlic butter 🙂

Spaetzle

Noodles were very tasty, but were under seasoned. We doused it with salt and pepper and it was much better.

Agramer (mine)

Pounded breaded pork loin stuffed with swiss cheese and prosciutto served with lyonnaise potatoes, cooked carrots and the most amazing red wine, mushroom sauce.

Wurst Plate (his)

Mine was good, but next time I want this (I’m truly a meat and potatoes gal at heart). Bratwurst, Debrizinger and Veal loaf sat happily on the plate alongside sauekraut and german potato salad.

Viennese Nut Cake

Lots of nuts and buttercream, but we both wished it had more cake.

Overall, everything was delicious. And the atmosphere was wonderful…the decor is adorable right down to the antique cuckoo clock. And authentic German music played through the speakers sealing the deal that I want to visit Germany/Austria one day. To top it off the staff was super sweet and it definitely felt like a great neighborhood place…while we were there the staff seemed to know everyone who was walking through the door, welcoming them with hugs and boisterous hellos. We could definitely get used to that.

Things that I definitely don’t love:

Gratzzi  

I remember Gratzzi being one of my first dining experiences when I moved to St. Pete.  I remember walking up the stairs of BayWalk and entering the restaurant and being impressed by the simple elegance of the decor. And I remember the food being really good. This was six years ago so I can’t really get any more specific than that. But as the years went on in their BayWalk space the food got worse and worse, and eventually I stopped going. So when they closed it was not a big surprise. But ever since they reopened in their new location I’ve been highly curious…everytime I walk by the dining room seems to be full and I’ve heard rave reviews both from critics and people walking out of the restaurant.

Finally, after a long yoga class my friend and I decided to give it a whirl. The decor resembles their old space, but with a bit more of a modern flair. I really liked how they had smaller booths for two rather than chairs. Our waiter was very nice and accommodating. The menu looked exciting and filled with classic Italian favorites. I ordered the Rigatonacci alla Vodka, one of my favorite Italian dishes that I rarely let myself order. My friend got the Chicken Piccata. Needless to say neither one of was impressed. I still can’t pinpoint what I didn’t exactly like about my dish…it was definitely too salty and lacked much other flavor. My friend picked at her chicken, which she said was too oily. We determined that we may come back, but only to sit at the bar for happy hour and maybe sample some apps. More frustrated than disappointed by Gratzzi since it’s so hard to find a good go-to Italian place in the Tampa Bay area.