Tuesday, September 7, 2010

a change of season.

it's been a long time. in an ideal alternate universe (one where i am also 5 inches taller and condos in nyc are affordable), i am one of those daily bloggers whose effortless writings make you go, "omg yes, that's so true!" yes. right. apparently, there are real people who have the luxury of living in my alternate universe, who get paid to write what they want to write (at coffee shops drinking lattes and wearing the cutest outfits, no less). and seeing as how i am not a professional blogger as of yet, i will keep my day job and continue to dream in between reading contracts.

2010 hasn't been what i would call a "great year" so far. but i think my definition of what "great" is...is changing. it used to be whatever is easy and fun - the path of least resistance - and if things were hard, they definitely were not great. but i'm starting to understand slowly that roadblocks and trials are a given, and that i can still be ok, and even great, with them showing up in my life. ugh, does that mean i'm growing up? i really hate being an adult.

i'll skip the winter and the spring of 2010 and just go straight to summer - this summer was rough because i don't do well with heat and the heat this summer was nearly unbearable (esp. in the subway stations where i would become visibly cranky as my work clothes would slowly stick to my skin with sweat as the glue). but what's really been the theme of the past 5 months is that the hubs herniated a disc in his back and was home for many months (and still is) on disability. he finally got surgery last week, so we're hoping and praying that we are finally nearing the end. this is a roadblock that neither of us could have imagined. when he first hurt his back in march, we never thought that we'd still be dealing with it in september. it's been so so hard - and i would be inclined initially to say it's been harder for him than for me (for obvious reasons), but on second thought, i don't know. i think it might have been just as hard for me because i had to watch him go through everything and feel utterly helpless. it's such a terrible feeling. but all of this has taught us how to be a better team. i feel like after having gone through this so early in our marriage, it just makes us stronger.

it's time for autumn. really - it came when i desperately needed it. autumn is also my favorite season. they say the sense of smell is the sense that is most closely connected to memory. for me, whenever i smell a cool breeze i immediately think of 49 winton road, the house i grew up in. i feel like i can really smell the fresh-cut grass and the piles of leaves on the front lawn. it makes me instantly nostalgic and lets me go on a quick 5-second getaway to the past - and when i come back to reality, i always feel better. i also love blazers and boots, giving out halloween candy, colorful leaves, and all things pumpkin, esp. veniero's pumpkin pie. God has his timing for everything.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

adventures in spain with mom

(i started this entry last week--i wrote a paragraph here and there when i had a break at work.)

hi. we're back. we managed to fly in right before the snow started last thursday. i went to work on friday and was maybe one of 15 people on our entire floor to come in (the floor is big). i also didn't have much to do so i basically closed my office door, blasted grooveshark, and read every single article on the nytimes as well as every blog post on apartmenttherapy and brownstoner. it wasn't so bad.

spain was great. i feel like it was such an educational experience. the great thing about traveling to other countries is you're constantly comparing things--food, sights, smells, sounds, architecture, people, design, fashion, culture, the list goes on--and during that comparative analysis you end up learning a lot not only about the new place but also about your own country, yourself, and life in general. and it was fun to do that aloud with my mom, who is very perceptive (and also very not PC). the interesting thing about traveling with my mom was that we ended up doing that comparison three-way. it was spain vs US and also spain vs korea...which, if you think about it, is really funny because she hasn't been there in 18 years. still, i guess it's only natural for our parents to think like that.

so here are some observations that we made and some interesting things we noticed while in spain.

overall, the food was good. everything is well-made. whether it was a hot dog, or a fancy meal, whatever they cooked, they cooked it well. the bread is amazing. why is american bread so awful in general? every piece of bread i had was so crusty and crisp on the outside, and so soft and delicious on the inside. even their fast food places had rows and rows of bakery-fresh baguettes. their seafood is very different--lots of clams (berberechos were my favorite) and lots of langostinos (those mini lobster looking things). the jamon was good but it wasn't as good as i had imagined it would be. maybe i'm too used to american versions of ham, i'm not sure. it was surprisingly not salty though, which was good because american ham is usually way too salty. the iberian pork we had was so soft (it had been cooked for 14 hours) and savory. what we did notice is that as far as we could tell, there isn't that much variety in spanish food. it's a lot of bread, jamon, cheese, baguette sandwiches, iberian pork, sausages, and seafood (either in paella or cooked by itself). so my mom then felt obliged to remind me that there is no food like korean food, where you could eat a different dish every day for 365 days and still have dishes left to try. yes, i know, i said. barcelona being a big city, there was some variety in food--japanese, chinese, italian, even a korean restaurant. but when we went to malaga, we saw ONE non-spanish restaurant, and it was a chinese restaurant that had closed down. after living somewhere like NY, where literally every type of food is at your disposal, i think it'd be hard to live somewhere like malaga and be limited to, well, basically one type of cuisine. although the weather may make up for that.

one of the things i loved seeing the most were the markets they have in spain. we went to them in both barcelona and malaga. they have such fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and seafood. what freaked my mom and me out were the rabbits (whole) and the goat (i think) heads. the heads were skinned but the eyeballs were left in! ugh! so gross. they're staring at you all googly-eyed every time you walk by. the fruit is SO cheap there. i saw 3 euros for 1 kilo of strawberries. at first i thought, 3 euros for a pound? ok. but then i realized it was a kilo, which is 2.2 (right?) times a pound. so it was a little over 4 bucks for 2.2 pounds of strawberries, which is insanely cheap.

i'd say beer is cheaper than water but their water is really cheap too. we had beer with almost every meal. it was usually about 2 euros which is less than $3 for a bottle. the spanish beers we had (estrella damm, a.k. damm, san miguel, etc.) were very good.

there aren't that many spaniards in NY. i feel like my idea of what spanish people look like is based on nadal and antonio banderas (who, btw, is from malaga!). i feel like you need to see a constant sea of faces of a certain people to get a sense of what they look like, what their distinguishing traits are, what their facial expressions are like. after being in spain, i'm able to get that sense. hard to explain "what a spaniard looks like" of course, but i have that sense now in my mind. in general, the people were very friendly. if i asked a question speaking spanish, they would gladly reply in spanish but obviously slow down their speaking so i would understand. i think no matter where you are though, cities are cities. NYers are notorious for being or at least seeming unfriendly (i am probably guilty of this), and it's sort of the same in barcelona. people are busy, they're on the run, and they're not necessary smiling while they're doing it. but i think that's just the sense i got from the people i observed on the streets. when i did have to speak with someone, they were always extremely polite and friendly.

true to the stereotype that europeans are more PDA than americans, there were lots of couples hugging and kissing in public, or, as my mom called it, "making a movie." also, the spanish population seems pretty elderly. people in barcelona were definitely more fast-paced. things in malaga were much slower and quieter.

the affordable gold standard of fashion in spain seems to be zara (is it a spanish brand?). it is EVERYWHERE. i think we walked by 3 or 4 of them in barcelona. it's cheaper than the american version so we shopped around a bit. the usual high-end stores were there (my mom nabbed a nice pair of sunglasses from burberry for a good price) but in general, i thought the fashion was behind NY. also, something funny i noticed is that you know how boys sag their pants? well, there are more girls sagging pants in spain than boys. it's weird. i mean, what girls do that here? except for skater girls in middle school? but lots of girls and adult women were doing it as a very proactive fashion statement. even mannequins had saggy pants in stores.

the buildings are just unbelievable. i think as americans, we appreciate european architecture so much because there are no thousand-year-old buildings in america. what's the oldest building we have, 300 years old, maybe? the malaga cathedral (i think the construction for it started in the 1500s) was maybe the most amazing building we saw. i posted some pictures on fb. my mom and i walked in, and when you take in with your eyes the size and magnitude and intricacies of the cathedral, you are literally speechless. and it's so humbling to think of the time, energy, money, dedication it took these people to create something like that when there was no electricity, no cranes, no machines.

every little corner and every square in barcelona and spain is exquisite and endearing. they probably don't even notice it but my mom and i loved just taking long walks around the cities looking at the architecture.

here i mainly want to take about the siesta. barcelona doesn't do it anymore, so we forgot about it until we arrived in malaga and it was a ghost town at 1pm (or at 13:00). this old man saw my mom and me sitting on a park bench and started talking to us. when he realized i spoke spanish he got really excited. we ended up "hanging out" with him and walking around malaga with him for over an hour. he said he was retired and just taking walks for his health. so i asked him, "do people really go home and sleep during siesta?" and he said "claro!" and he said it in this "duh, of course they do" manner. it's so wild for us to imagine that, but i like the idea. even if i can't go home. please set up a bed in my office so i can lock my door and sleep for an hour. no emails, no phone calls, no partners tracking me down to make one punctuation changes to documents. that would be nice. you know we all doze after lunch anyway, don't front.

anyway there is so much else that i want to write about spain but i should just post this entry and write more when i have time.

oh, and i didn't run my race. it was the sunday after i got back from spain and the ground was still covered in snow. i didn't want to risk it, esp. when i knew i wasn't in shape for it. i'm going to sign up for a 5K for the summer and train for that. i'm looking forward to it. when i find one i want to sign up for, i'll write about it and yall can enter the race with me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


hi. the past couple weeks, i kept thinking about how i wanted to write in my blog, but by the time i got home every day, i'd be so tired that all i'd want to do is eat and go to sleep. i haven't been working long hours but the hours i am at work have been very intense. and i'm still not totally used to the routine yet, though it's been getting better. right now is a rare downtime so i thought i might as well write something now before things start picking up again.
i have a bunch of things i wanted to get down "on paper" so i'll make a list.

1. work
work has been good. i am very blessed to have this job, and i thank God every morning that, esp. in this economy when so many people are unemployed, i have a job to get up for (even though waking up before 9am is still a struggle). all the associates i work for are like, wait a few months, and then you'll be like 'damn this job'. i mean, realistically, i know there will be days (and weeks...and months) where i will want to shoot myself--when things are so busy i'll barely have time to go to the bathroom or when i'm so stressed that i'll want to hide under my desk. but i don't want to lose my sense of gratitude. i don't ever want to feel entitled. so i'm constantly asking God to give me a heart of thankfulness no matter what the circumstances.

2. running
what? i haven't run since i started work, i must admit. although, i did play hockey last night so that has to be worth at least 3-4 runs because i was SO TIRED by the end. it's so sad how we age and get out of shape. in high school i remember being able to skate the length of the ice 5-6 times in a row and not be tired. last night, i was winded after one hard sprint down the ice. i was also an embarrassment to myself with my cement hands--passes bouncing off my stick, not being able to stickhandle for more than 4 seconds, it was just bad. but i guess that's what happens. you lose your touch if you play hockey 4 times in 7 years. i really want to play regularly. i'm thinking about joining a league at chelsea piers...oh, right, we're talking about running. well. i'm hoping that i can at least get 2-3 runs in while i'm in barcelona since the weather's nicer and i'm not working. 2 days after i get back is the race. i'm hoping at this point that the adrenaline of the run will allow me to run the whole thing without stopping, but i'm not so sure. i just want to finish--whether i run, walk, or crawl it, i just want to finish.

3. spain
i am SO EXCITED for spain. i just made reservations at one of the most talked-about restaurants in barcelona. it's a 7 course "sensacions" tasting menu. it also comes with wine pairings for each course. my mom is going to get so drunk i'm going to be carrying her back to the hotel. i also just booked my tickets for an fc barca game! how fortuitous that they are playing a game the weekend we are in barcelona. i have no idea who the other team is (real racing?) but probably not a great team, considering the tickets weren't that expensive. soccer games in europe have this thing about them--something you can't experience in the US. the chanting, the singing, the energy...i mean, you can practically feel it through the TV. i can't wait to be in the midst of it. it's going to be amazing to see henry and messi play in person (i am, with that one sentence, making the hubs and debby jealous at the same time). the hubs' one request for a souvenir is an henry doll/bobblehead. hopefully i can find it. the only thing i'm worried about for spain is that it's supposed to rain 4 out of the 6 days we're there. i hope this doesn't mess with our flights (we're flying from barcelona down to malaga) or our plans. i don't mind a little rain but it'll be sad if it's constantly raining and we can't enjoy the walking tours i have planned.

4. sammie
my baby is now down in nj for good. my mom and aunts came up sat to pick her up. i'm so sad she's gone, but i know she'll be better off down there with all the attention she gets. we're going to visit her when i get back from spain.

that's it for now. it's nice that people actually read this (see deb? how much better off are you with chocolate molten cake in your life). i wish i could write more frequently in this but i'm afraid it's going to be a "oh i have 10 minutes let's write something random" kind of thing, which is not very interesting. i need a new theme since the running's gone to the wayside. until i think of one, i'll try to keep somewhat up-to-date with it and maybe post some more recipes? the next time i write this i will probably be back from spain and have a ton of awesome things to write about. adios!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

me so tired.

guys. i'm in trouble, seriously. there's no way i can train for this race while working! i came home yesterday close to 8ish, with every intention to go to the gym after dinner. but by 9pm i was totally down for the count. why--it's a few things. 1. i am not used to working full-time. the last time i worked full-time was july 2006. 2. this cold is still not fully gone! do colds last almost 2 weeks? i've never had a cold go this long. this is outrageous. it's really making me feel fatigued. 3. i haven't been able to sleep well lately--probably because of a combination of 1 & 2.

i guess i'm walking this race. i know it's a good thing that i started work earlier than expected, esp. because only a small percentage of my class has been asked to come work so far. i guess i was just really looking forward to being consistent with this training and running a race successfully. i'm still going to keep trying but i know it'll be almost impossible to really stick to the training plan and i'll just have to do the best i can.

on the bright side, because i worked so hard for THREE FULL DAYS, i bought myself a nice bag. if this keeps up it's gonna be a very expensive habit. but i deserve it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

training DAY 7

ok well, i didn't really train because i didn't run. but i went snowboarding. that counts for something right? sat is usually a running day, and sun is usually an EZ day, but i just went snowboarding. my last feeble hurrah before i start tomorrow. i will try my best to keep up my running even as i start working.

wish me luck. imma need it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

training DAY 6 (very much delayed)

DAY 6: 1.5 miles
total run time: 15:40 minutes (10.5-9 minute mile pace)

i was able to finish the 1.5 miles without stopping. i wasn't as tired as i feared i would be--i was just really stiff. afterwards i did go into a coughing fit though. my lungs weren't too happy about the workout i gave them because breathing was a bit rough.

so i have some news. this whole blog was based on the premise that i need to be productive with all my time off, esp. because i felt that i hadn't been as productive as i could've been with my first 5 months off. so. my start date at work is april 5, and i have 2+ months to be a productive little bee until then. or...so i thought. i get a phone call from my law firm today asking if i could start...monday. this monday. like, in 4 days. no, 3 days. i'm not sure how this all happened because in my mind people are still twiddling their thumbs at their law firm desks all across america, but no, apparently that is not the case. at least at my firm. they say they're super busy and can't handle the workload with the people currently working so that's where i come in. i was in shock for a few hours. wait, i'm still in shock. i mean, this turns my life upside down. life is changing too quickly. but i'm ok. i just need to make the most of my next three days, buy some work clothes, and off i go. this is what i wanted, right? riiight.

so the real question is...can i still do my training? i hope i can. we'll see how work goes. no matter what i'm still running the race. i paid the $ so i'm going. whether i finish, well, we'll just have to find out on feb 28. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


hi everyone. i'm much better. it was a miserable miserable few days. i really don't remember the last time i had a cold this bad. extremely painful sinus pressure, major congestion, and that fuzziness all over in the head. anyway. i thought i could start up training today but i don't think it's time yet. i still have a cough and that tickle in my lungs that makes me feel like i won't be able to breathe well enough to do the run. maybe by tomorrow i'll be able to at least run/walk 1.5 miles.

i hate hate hate being sick. it's such a waste of time. it ruined my weekend, put me back almost a week in training, made me cancel dinner dates, etc. yesterday, i was feeling cabin fever from being cooped up at home and felt the need to be productive so i cleaned and reorganized the bedroom, walk-in closet and my makeup tray. maybe i should be sick more often. o_O

Sunday, January 17, 2010

another roadbump

i am. so. sick. i haven't had a cold like this in a few years. didn't train yesterday. won't train today. going back to bed. adios.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

training DAY 5

THIS is the power of a plan/goal: without one, there is no freakin' way i would've ran today. i had a ton of errands to run, and people were coming over for lunch and for dinner so i had to shop/prepare/cook for that. i basically only had a 1 hour window where i could go running--after i cleaned up the house a bit and before i'd start cooking for dinner. without the race looming over me, i would've settled for an hour of watching foodnetwork while snuggling up with sammie pants. but now that i've been running for almost 2 weeks, i feel it slowly becoming a part of my routine and i want to keep committed to it. this experience also makes me realize that when you want to do something, you will find time to it. i used the excuse "i didn't have time" so often for exercising, and i really meant it. today would've been one of those days where i would've used that excuse, and you know, it was a busy day. but i mean, i never have trouble finding time to eat dessert or watch foodnetwork or check hockey scores. it should be the same for running/exercising.

yesterday was rest or CT but i rested. i was exhausted after the few days in jersey helping out family with this and that.

DAY 5: 1.5 miles
total run time: 15:45 minutes (10.3 minute mile pace)
the training plan takes it a little easier on wednesdays, so today was just 1.5 miles. i ran at a slightly faster pace to try to push myself, and i think this is my first time breaking 16 minutes. but you know, sometimes i worry because i'm almost 1/4 of the way done with training (2 of 8 weeks) but running hasn't gotten all that much easier. i mean, today's 1.5 miles definitely was easier than last week's runs, so i guess that's progress. but i still get pretty tired by 1.25/1.3 miles...but that's like 1/3 of the length of the race! zort! 

the other thing is that this training plan is for a 5K, which is only 3.2 miles. somewhere along the way i'm going to have to up the mileage a little more to account for the fact that i'm running a 4 mile race, but i'm scared of jumping up .5 miles in one week. i guess i can try it and if it's too much scale back?

i've actually been pretty good about not eating too much dessert lately, and this is a surprise. i thought that since i'm working out consistently, i'd rationalize and let myself eat more dessert. but. it turns out that since i'm working out consistently, i don't want to sabotage my chances of getting in shape so i'm being more careful about what i eat. although...i did make molten chocolate cake for dinner tonight which was yummy. the recipe is here.

i'm seeing more and more the benefits of consistent physical exercise, and it's only been 2 weeks. makes me sort of regret all the time i've wasted not working out, but i know i can't dwell on that. i think what's hardest for me is that i still think about my high school days when i played hockey 4 times a week. getting in shape was not this difficult objective--it was a natural by-product of playing a sport that i absolutely loved playing. fast forward 10 years--hockey is prohibitively expensive and inconvenient in nyc. and even if i could play it, playing it once a week isn't enough exercise. so now, i have to deliberately do things just to get in shape--boring things, like being stuck in a smelly gym for an hour jumping from one machine to the next. this is extremely annoying, and this is why i've never worked out consistently in the past 10 years. my lofty dream at the end of all this is that i find some sort of joy in running. people talk about running being their haven, their getaway. i'd love for that to be true of me one day. but for now, let's just stick with finishing this race without passing out.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

training DAY 4

i drove down to nj yesterday to help my mom with various things. so since i'm down here, i decided to drop by dick's sporting goods to see if they had any good deals on cold weather running gear. god must've known that i won't be running after feb 28 and thus buying expensive running gear is foolish, because they were having a 50% off sale for all of nike's cold weather running gear. i scored running tights and a running shirt for $25 each, and i was able to also buy a pair of running shorts for $7! awesome. too bad they don't come with longer legs and bigger lungs. 

this morning i woke up, had breakfast, took care of some things for my mom, and then realized that my day was packed. i had to help my aunts with various "i got this in the mail, what does this mean? is it free?" issues, go to my cousin's parent-teacher conference, and take her to the doctor. by the time i got home, it'd be dark. so i realized that if i wanted to stick to the plan, i'd have to run...now. the idea of running like the wind outside is one thing. doing it is, well, quite another. doing it is just so not as glorious as it looks. i wonder at those people who you see running on highways. i mean, they are either fooling us and live in the shack on the highway, or they're really running like 10-15 miles. anyway, again, i had no excuse. so i slowly got my nice new running gear on (new shiny things really do help with the motivation factor though) and went outside. 

DAY 4: 1.75 miles
total run time: 21 minutes (12 minute mile pace)
since there is no gym here that i can use, sh told me about a website that measures outdoor distances for you. it's so amazing. go to www.mapmyrun.com and check it out. there's a walking path around my parents' development and it turns out that it's exactly .5 miles. so i had to run that 3 and a half times to reach my 1.75 mile mark. halfway through the first loop i wondered how i'd finish. but as hard as it was, i think i did find some sort of a rhythm. if you look at my pace though, you realize that that rhythm was much slower than my treadmill rhythm. i think it's just a lot more work to have to actually move yourself instead of run in place on a treadmill. it makes me wonder if i'll be able to run the 4 mile race at the 11 minute mile pace i'm aiming for. it sounds so slow. but...i'm slower.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

training DAY 3 for real

it's really hard to go to the gym in the evening. you're all settled in and cozy at home--pj's on, check--heater on, check--tv on, check. so i was writing the next blog entry over and over in my head ("my tooth still hurts"--which would be lying, or "the treadmill's broken"--which would also be lying) and i couldn't find a good excuse. so i went, and let me tell you. it was hard. i don't know if it was because i took a day off or because i wasn't feeling well the past couple days (or probably a combination of both) but i was sweating like a pig and breathing like an asthmatic and in pain. i think this is why running is so inspiring. it is the most basic sport there is. it's just you. nothing else. just your legs and your lungs moving you. and it's all about being strong and persevering despite your desires to do otherwise--to be weak, to quit. there's a reason why it's the analogy used in the bible for pressing on in our lives. too bad i suck at running. too bad there are no skating references in the bible.

DAY 3: 1.5 miles
total run time: 16 minutes (10-10.5 minute mile pace; incline = 1)
since it was my third day running 1.5 miles, i thought maybe i could make things a little more challenging by introducing an incline. and like i said--i was totally beat. i could feel that my body wasn't at 100%. i felt achy and sluggish. my lungs burned for the first time (they didn't for days 1 or 2). i was reaaaally tempted to stop running around 1.3 miles because i started feeling queasy but i knew i'd be really disappointed at myself if i didn't keep going. but every second starting from then on felt like an eternity. i'm glad i didn't throw up--i really felt like i might at one point. i skipped strength training due to the queasiness.

tomorrow, i'm going down to nj to help my mom pack. my parents are moving. i'll be there till wed, and i'm a little scared because when i'm down there, there's no gym i can use so i'm going to be forced to train outside. we'll see how it goes.

eating well goes hand-in-hand with training, and i've been trying to be more conscious and deliberate about the foods we eat. i think that more than what we eat (because i generally cook pretty healthy meals), it's how much we eat. it's often about portion control. i told sh that i'd start putting smaller plates of food in front of him and that he has to resist the urge for seconds. so far, it's been working pretty well. now stopping ourselves from snacking is another story...

today, i "made" shabu shabu for dinner. it's such an awesome meal. you don't have to cook anything, you eat tons of vegetables, it's cheap, and there's very little clean-up afterwards. if you want to try it sometime, here's how to do it:

necessary equipment:
large pot (dutch oven works well, i used my le creuset)
butane gas tabletop grill (koreans are all about this. if you don't have one, they sell them at all korean supermarkets)

dashimah (or kombu in japanese)--these are the big sheets of seaweed used to make broth
dried shiitake mushrooms
bokchoy or shanghai tips (cut off the ends so that the leaves are separate)
firm tofu (cut into 1 inch cubes)
harusame (or mai fun)--thin clear glass noodles
napa cabbage (cut into 1 inch slices)
inoki mushrooms
scallions (cut into 1 inch pieces)
super thinly sliced sirloin/ribeye (probably will only find this at korean/japanese markets)
shabu shabu sauce

1. fill the pot 3/4 of the way with water, and put it on the grill with the heat turned high. put a piece of dashimah in (about the size of half a sheet of paper) and about 3 shiitake mushrooms. let this boil for about 10 minutes. if the water is evaporating too quickly, you can add some more. this will create the broth.
2. once the broth is a light yellow color, you can turn the heat down to medium high. start dunking whatever tickles your fancy into the pot. once it's cooked, take it out, dip into the shabu shabu sauce, and eat! it's so healthy, so delicious (cue albert's mom's voicemail).
3. you can save the leftover broth for later. i used it to make another soup.

let me know if you try it. or if you're too lazy, come over. we can have it together.
after all my hard work "cooking" shabu shabu, i treated myself to a large piece of homemade pumpkin pie. i said snacking was still a work in progress.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

training DAY 3...postponed. i hate teeth.

it's true. today should've been day 3 but it's not. i got a root canal yesterday and pretty much ever since, i've been in pain. i've gotten root canals before (as the unlucky recipient of the genes responsible for my dad's bad teeth), but they've never hurt. yesterday, during the procedure, the dentist was drilling and i was happily listening to 'beat it' coming through the radio when BAM. i felt the drilling. i yelped, and the dentist said, "oh you felt that, sorry." so he pumped me with more anesthesia, but throughout the rest of the procedure i could still feel a slight amount of the drilling. so i was immensely relieved when the root canal was done. i thought it was all over.

so then...imagine how unpleasant a surprise it was when i started feeling major throbbing and pain once the anesthesia wore off a few hours later. then the headache came. i popped aleve like candy but it didn't really make the pain go away. i was so happy this morning when i woke up and there was no pain, but it came back around 3pm. i took a nap for a few hours and just woke up, but it still hurts and my head's still pounding so i'm going to take today off. it's a little disappointing to be veering "off track" (pun intended) already in week 1, but if i feel ok tomorrow i'll just make tomorrow day 3 and i'm guessing it won't be that big a deal.

i hate teeth. and for the record, i think any pain in the mouth is the worst kind there is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

training DAY 2

yesterday was a rest or CT day but i took the day off. i didn't mind the break at all but it also wasn't really by choice. i had a million things to do with my mom, who arrived at my apartment at 10am. we didn't get back to my apartment till 10pm, because we picked my aunt and monster up from the airport. i wasn't about to work out at that hour. i think the rest was good. i actually felt excited (inconceivable!) to go back and see how my body felt for day 2.

DAY 2: 1.5 miles
total run time: 16 minutes (10-10.5 minute mile pace)

i wanted to try running the 1.5 miles a little faster to see if i could do it. i was between 5.7 and 5.9 (mph) and did ok. again, i was getting pretty tired by 1.25 miles, but i consider this an improvement since i was going faster and still felt about the same amount of tired as day 1. any improvement to encourage me along. -__-

strength training:
1. 20 pushups
2. dumbbell figure 8s
3. tricep workout with dumbbells

i'm continuing to do research on barcelona and malaga. i have a pretty good sense of where the barcelona neighborhoods are now, and i'm starting to sketch out a rough itinerary for the 3 days we'll be there. 
question: i'm thinking of buying a travel waist pack to hide under my jacket while i'm there to thwart any would-be pickpocketers. any suggestions? 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

training begins. DAY 1

(i rolled around in bed longer than usual this morning. if i get up, that means the day has started, which means i have to start training: day 1. in my half-awake state i wondered what i had gotten myself into. i am not good at running. i am not built like a runner. i don't have a long or lean body, and i have feet that resemble those of an aquatic bird more than those of a human. but this is the power of...announcing your plans to "the world". it's much harder to disappoint "the world" than just yourself. also, i paid money to sign up for this race. that helps too.)

DAY 1: 1.5 miles
total run time: 16.5 minutes (11 minute mile pace)
it's so cold these days so i'm going to run on the treadmill for now. eventually i'll also up the incline on the treadmill to mimic the unevenness of the outdoors, but today is just day 1. so i just aimed for 1.5 miles on the treadmill with no incline. i was really scared that i wouldn't be able to do it, but i'm proud to report i was able to run the whole 1.5 miles without stopping. the shoes really make a difference. with my old shoes, i'd start feeling the pain in my ankles by .5 miles (so i never ran more than .5 miles at a time). i started getting really tired around 1.25 miles so the last quarter mile i really had to push myself.

strength training. i don't want to ignore strength training while i run. again, i started out lightly today. i did 3 workouts: 

1. tricep workout with dumbbells 
2. dumbbell squat + lift
3. dumbbell figure 8s

once i start feeling stronger in my legs, i'll incorporate more leg-intensive workouts like squats. holla for a successful day 1! do i deserve a carvel ice cream cake now?

Monday, January 4, 2010

some thoughts.

1. why is running gear so expensive? socks for $20 each? i need to date a nike executive on the side.

2. i picked up a barcelona travel book today. buying plane tickets and booking hotels--it's all virtually done nowadays. no one gives you real tickets, no one sends you your reservation papers. emails don't really make you feel like you're going on vacation. but buying a nice, new, tangible, crisp travel book--that makes the trip seem real. the book i bought is frommer's "barcelona day by day." i went through every single barcelona travel book at barnes & noble. i think this one had the most to offer while still being small and portable. it also comes with the subway map and street maps. i always wonder at the tourists who carry around the 5 pound travel tomes with them. i guess it could be helpful for folks like me if i need a boost to see myself in the hotel mirror.

so while tickets may not be tangible anymore, they are essential, and they are booked. i'm going feb 18-25 with my mom. 3 days in barcelona, 3 days in malaga/costa del sol in andalusia. if you have been to barcelona or malaga and have any tips, please let me know, esp. if it's for restaurants. living in nyc has made me realize that i really don't want to be that tourist who only eats at olive garden, bubba gump, and ruby foo's, then declares that new york city, and hence america, has amazing food. in order to find good authentic spanish/catalan food, i've been searching for restaurant reviews in spanish, but it's not really easy to sift through them. i can't stress how important this is. we only have 9 meals in barcelona and we must make the best of them. there is no room for failure.

3. talking about running to excellent dumpling house in my last post made me crave it so i went today. i will go out of my way to eat things i want to eat (this is in direct contradiction to the "path of least resistance" principle i usually follow). thus, even though it's unpleasant, i will go to edh by myself to eat my chow fun chicken dumpling noodle soup. why unpleasant? because they seat you with strangers. ok now, i know. i don't expect you to give me a 4-seater to myself. this is chinatown, not per se. i get it. but they don't just do the staggered-2-strangers-to-a-table-for-4 deal (which i'm ok with). they seat strangers IN FRONT of you. i mean, where are you supposed to look? i end up just staring down intently at my bowl of soup as i eat it.

today, i thought i'd try to increase my odds of not having a stranger IN FRONT of me by going at 2:30pm. so i take a deep breath and walk in. they seat me at a table for 4 where one guy is finishing up his meal. no problem. the guy finishes and leaves. my soup comes and i'm happily eating away when another guy comes in 2 minutes later. they "stagger" seat him, as usual. still, no problem. i go back to eating my soup. then i look up and i can't believe it. this guy...he VOLUNTARILY sits IN FRONT of me. why is this happening? what happened to him as a child for him to think this is ok? how do people live without a basic understanding of social dos and don'ts? why why why!? when there are only 2 of us?? i just stared at him in complete disbelief and horror for a while. it gets better. i sprawled my things in front of me, assuming that there'd be a stagger situation going on. so, my teapot was right in front of him. does he ask for me to move it? no. does he apologize for breaking social norms? no. he takes the liberty of moving my teapot next to me. he touches MY teapot. at this point i'm in shock. i just sit there for a while wondering what i'm going to do. i really want to eat my delicious food but i can't go on like this. so i move my soup over to the next seat, stand up, make more noise shuffling over than necessary to express my disapproval, and scoot over. and now for the best part. he looks at me with this confused expression on his face, sort of a "what's the problem hm?" in response, i gave him a "i know something that you don't know but you should know" look and said, "i feel very cramped." but, really? you don't get it? i mean, is it just me? someone please tell me that my disbelief is warranted.

this experience makes me more uncertain than ever about my flying-solo future at edh, which is really sad. can you get similar dumpling noodle soup somewhere else in chinatown? until i find a replacement, i might just have to stick with a takeout-only plan for edh.

4. training starts tomorrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

training begins (soon). think positive. think rocky running up the steps.

i bought my running shoes today. after reading a million articles and reviews online about the right running shoes for flat feet, i felt dizzy and decided that this is one purchase i should make in person and not online (the bing commercials are so on the money about me--i read 3983402 reviews before i buy any product). lucky for me, there is a runners store close by, so today after church sh and i went to buy my running shoes. the guy helping me was an endearing sort of geeky. a little overeager in a socially awkward way, but very good at explaining the different types of running shoes out there. they had one of those setups where they take a video of you running on a treadmill, and afterwards they analyze the way you run frame-by-frame to see what kind of shoes are best for you. in the end, he helped me decide on the brooks gts shoes. on sale too! off the hook. that's a phrase we should bring back in this new decade. if we all do it, it'll become cool again, i promise. go say it to your boss tomorrow.

btw, if anyone wants to join me in this race (liza), the sign up info and online registration app is here: http://www.nyrr.org/races/2010/r0228x00.asp. i prefer...slow people. or if you're fast, come run the race, go home, shower, eat something, then come back and wait at the finish line for me.

training plan

1.5 mi run
CT or Rest
1.5 mi run
1.5 mi run
20-30 min EZ
1.75 mi run
CT or Rest
1.5 mi run
1.75 mi run
20-30 min EZ
2 mi run
CT or Rest
1.5 mi run
2 mi run
20-30 min EZ
2.25 mi run
CT or Rest
1.5 mi run
2.25 mi run
25-35 min EZ
2.5 mi run
CT or Rest
2 mi run
2.5 mi run
25-35 min EZ
2.75 mi run
2 mi run
2.75 mi run
35-40 min EZ
3 mi run
2 mi run
3 mi run
40 min EZ
3 mi run
CT or Rest
2 mi run

(CT means cross-training, like elliptical/biking and EZ means...take it easy...)

this is a chart i found online. it says it's an 8 week plan for beginner runners wanting to run a 5K. ok. so. what do you call someone who's lower than a beginner? because i don't think i can run 1.5 miles straight right now without stopping. so...yeah. we'll see what happens. if i don't write in this blog again...

training: day 0
i didn't really train today. it was just a day to try out my new shoes (what? the chart says training starts monday. also, i'm sore as hell from yesterday's workout. note to self, don't bike while listening to rhcp). the shoes felt pretty good, but the higher arch support will take some getting used to. you know what my problem is? i am lazy. or even when i'm trying not to be lazy, i still follow that "path of least resistance" principle. or even when i'm forcing myself to not to take that path, i do everything i can to make it easier on myself. for example, rewards. (i'm a big rewards person. to get studying done in law school, i'd tell myself that i'd get an ice cream break after every 30 min. of studying...and kids, this is why i can't run 1.5 miles straight without stopping. no, of course not! it's my flat feet.)  not 5 min. after i signed up for the race, i thought about all the restaurants i could run to while i train: excellent dumpling house is 2.7 miles from home, nha trang is 2.7 miles from home, veniero's is 3.6 miles from home. don't worry. i'll burn it all off! it'll be glorious! i'll leave you with the inspiring lyrics from eye of the tiger: "risin' up, straight to the top / have the guts, got the glory / went the distance, now i'm not gonna stop / just a (wo)man and his will to survive." don't say it's cliche. you know you're singing it in your head right now.

let's start at the very beginning. a very good place to start.

actually, i'm not starting at the beginning. the beginning would actually be...well, no one knows for sure, but some say the seeds for this monumental economic collapse were sown as early as the 70s and 80s, so, potentially before i was born (and thus, none of this is my fault). either way, it's here. it has happened. people want jobs, and they just aren't there. i supposedly have a job, they just don't want me quite yet. hence my deferred status and all this time on my hands. so maybe it's not the real beginning of this story. but maybe it's a pretty good beginning. it's now a new year and also a new decade. (2010, and we still haven't figured out how to teleport?) and i have to say, i am extremely thankful that i have a job lined up at all. and i've learned to be thankful for this time off too.

so i've been in housewife status for 5 months already and have 3 more to go. and while it's been a relaxing time, i also felt some stress. it's my esfj-ness. please, don't judge. i constantly feel the need to be productive. while i love being a housewife (cooking, cleaning, and organizing satisfy my anal/ocd nature) and while i love training sammie and seeing her learn new commands and slowly (sloooooowly) becoming more obedient, they weren't enough. i think we like to say things like, "oh i'd LOVE to have months and months off" but the truth is very few of us have had much time off as adults. we go to college, we get jobs, maybe we go to grad school, etc. etc. so for me, when i did find myself with all this time, i was caught "flat-footed" (please refer to title) by its reality. i really didn't know what to do with it--too little structure and too much freedom. 

the solution? 3 projects. (doesn't project sound so much more pleasant than resolution? like, a gardening project, or a painting project. martha stewart, la la la) more importantly, projects have set deadlines. i always made new yr resolutions like "RUN 4X A WEEK FOREVER" and they don't really work, now do they? this year, it's a different approach. 3 projects to complete before i'm supposed to start work in april. after that, well, i hear i won't have a life to work on "projects" anyway. 

the 3 projects are: 
1. go to barcelona and the south of spain for a week in february, and plan the best possible trip on a very affordable budget. brush up on my spanish so i can get around without sounding like a complete idiot. 
2. run a 4 mile race at the end of february: 1. without collapsing, and 2. in under 45 minutes. this blog is called flat-footed also because i am extremely flat-footed. i HATE running because it's always been painful. but hopefully i can find the right pair of running shoes soon and successfully run the race. i have exactly 8 weeks until the race, so i'll follow an 8 week training program and keep track of my training here. 
3. train sammie to bestest puppy in the whole wide world. who am i kidding. she already is the bestest puppy in the world. but even the best need some help sometimes. :) specifically, i want to train her to stop barking and also to lessen her separation anxiety.

godspeed...me. (and sh--since i will no doubt be whining to him about my training)