Aesop's Fables

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it feels to get back into the swing of things.  Wonderful, and at the same time, incredibly frustrating.  For me, the difficult thing about a return to "normal" is that it takes a while to figure out just exactly where you're at.  In other words, I have to disregard what I was lifting prior to my break, how far I was running (as well as how fast and how often) and how quickly I was ramping up (both the weights and the distance/speed/frequency).  It's almost as though I spend a week or so testing the waters - keep going until I can't go any more, see how I recover, and build a training program based on what is inarguably purely subjective data points.

So while on one hand I feel productive again, on the other I'm not really accomplishing much in terms of building strength or endurance.  But it's important to remember that there is no alternative (other than never taking a break in the first place, of course).  Were I to disregard the basic fact that I had lost fitness over the past few weeks and jump right back in where I'd left off, the only thing I'd take away from my training would be an injury. 

In my book, slow and smart trumps speed and stupidity every time.  Just read Aesop's The Tortoise and The Hare :)

Home For the Holidays

I am home.  It only took a 26.5 hour travel day, but I am home :)

We were due to fly out of Venice on Sunday, but our flight was canceled - a combination of the European snow storms from Saturday and the storms in the North East US on Sunday.  Rather than rebook us right there at the airport (as they do in the US), we were given a hotel and meal voucher with phone numbers to call, and sent on our way.


After our (surprisingly) tasty airport lunch, we set off for the hotel.  I then spent from about 2 pm until 7:30 pm attempting to get a hold of a ticketing agent at Delta.  After several near misses (we thought we'd get out the next morning from Milan), we were told that we'd been booked on a flight on the 24th.


We settled in for the evening, watching some TV on the laptop (did I mention that the hotel's TV was out?) and tried to come up with a game plan.  Rumor had it that Delta would only provide for one evening at the hotel, so we set the alarm for 7 am - get up early, eat breakfast, then head to the airport to try to get information regarding our hotel situation.

In a full hotel shuttle, our baggage in hand, we set off to the airport. 

And walked into yet another madhouse (this time, it was Air France who canceled all of their flights to northern Europe).

As luck would have it, the Delta line was pretty short.  We watched as our compatriots who'd arrived earlier in the morning were turned away from the counter with nothing more than "pay for a reduced rate at the hotel and submit it to Delta for reimbursement".  Urgh.

So, imagine my surprise when I approached the counter, said "Hi, we're stranded here until Thursday" and the gentleman says something that sounds like "trying to get you out of here today".

Long story even longer, British Airways apparently added another flight from London Heathrow to JFK and WE GOT ON IT!   We flew out of Venice at 12:45 pm, arrived in London at 2:45 and were scheduled to depart for New York at 7 pm.  We boarded our flight at 8:30 pm and sat on the runway until MIDNIGHT (I have to say that BA was great, they broke out the bar cart, and turned on the video system).Landed in NYC at 2:15 am, walked into our front door at 4.   Hit the sack at 5 am, up and at'em by 10 am.

It's good to be home.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get reacquainted with my running sneakers. 

The Never-Ending Honeymoon

Well, looks like the hubbie and I are stranded in Italy until the 24th.  Sounds great, huh?  Nice extended honeymoon.  Well, don't be fooled.  We spend the day on the phone or in line, waiting to talk to someone and hoping for an earlier flight home (or at least compensation for another evening's hotel room).

Keep your fingers crossed for us.  We are both Italian Food-ed out...I can't wait to come home, eat lightly and sweat the frustration out in the gym.

Happy Holidays!

Booty In Strength

OK.  I promise you, I am not a prude.  Nor am I a bra-burning feminist.  But I have to confess that when I checked out the above feature from the CrossFit Journal, entitled "Beauty In Strength" -  I was just...disappointed.

From the very first line of the accompanying article that likens the women of CrossFit to the "sleek, sexy blends of form and function" of the world's "finest vehicles", to the 12 page spread of the photos taken at the 2009 CrossFit games,  the journal feature does nothing more than objectify the very women it claims to honor.

Don't misunderstand me - there is nothing wrong with pictures of pretty people.   Nothing wrong with publishing them, and certainly nothing wrong with looking at them.   Calendars of firemen are a sure-shot fundraiser.   The Victoria's Secret catalogue is treasured junk mail.  It is human nature to appreciate beauty and it's good business sense to profit from it.

I am not debating the featured athletes' beauty, nor their strength.  Their accomplishments deserve praise.  But please explain to me how rear shots of women doing KB swings, countless shots of headless six-packs and the final picture of a woman's tush at the bottom of what I can only assume is a squat constitute a "tribute to the grace and beauty displayed by top female athletes in one of the world’s most rigorous proving grounds."?   In my opinion, the validity of such a tribute and the photos in the pictorial that are inspiring are simply cheapened by the overabundance of  gratuitous hard-body skin shots. 

Call a spade a spade and don't couch a skin-torial in the poetry of strength and beauty. 

Oh, and did I mention that the HD version is only available to subscribers?

And yes, I'm sure I'll be just as disappointed when the men's "tribute" is published next :)

Tuesday's Tip, December 8th

"He who would travel happily must travel light." - Antione Saint-Exupery
I think my gym bag is larger and heavier than the backpack I'm taking to Italy.  Not that I'm actually packed yet (like I'd really be that organized), but our "luggage" consists of two black backpacks.  For 9 days. 

And no, I'm not packing any of my running gear :)

Traveling Light

Yes, I know - late post today.  I apologize :)  But I have a good excuse, I promise!  I've been busy wrapping some things up here at work, and now that I've accomplished that item on the To-DO list, I'm knee deep into the process of planning out our honeymoon (Italy, 9 full days, leaving this Thursday). 

I think this is stressing me out more than the wedding planning did :)

I know it will be a wonderful vacation, regardless.  It won't matter if we don't see everything, or if we don't take the most efficient route from one sight to the next.  But I like to be prepared. 

In the spirit of preparation, I'll be bringing along a list of travel friendly workouts* to do (hahahaha) in between bottles of wine, delectible pizzas and numerous gelatos.  CrossFit Queens was kind enough to list Eva T's compilation in an easily read (and printed) list.

I'll let you know what workouts, if any, I do :)

*to see the list of workouts, visit the CrossFit Queens website, and look to the list of pages along the right side of the page. 

Bringing out the Big Guns

Gillian Mounsey has entered the blog-0-sphere!  Check out her new blog here!

Look to her for a glimpse into the psyche of a truly gifted athlete.   In addition to being just plain blessed with natural athleticism, she's also immensely educated in the field of exercise physiology.  Her blog is sure to be a wealth of information when it comes to intelligent program design, injury prevention, balance, agility and bodyweight skills (muscle up, anyone?).  You'll also notice some crossovers between her blog and mine, as we will be following the same programming from this point forward.

That being the case, if you've got any questions regarding the articles or the training programs that she posts on her blog, feel free to comment about it here.  Her blog is not currently set up for comments, so until that changes consider this a satellite sounding board.

So show Gillian some link love, and check out what she's got to say :)


Are there food combinations that gross you out?  Or, things that sound nasty but taste really good?

Growing up, we ate all sorts of things that apparently sound unpalatable to other people.  Things like cottage cheese and jelly, or a cream cheese and jelly sandwich.  Now,  I expect people to be disgusted by chopped liver, whitefish salad or lox (oh, yummy lox) - but it amazed me to find that cottage cheese and jelly was a foreign concept to people.  I mean, you can even buy it packaged that way!

Today's breakfast is another one of those concoctions that sounds bizarre, but actually tastes quite good.  I hesitate to call it a recipe, since it's really nothing more than a mixture of two ingredients that work well on their own:  Oatmeal and Eggs.

In the same bowl.

Incorporated within one another.

OK, stop gagging!  It's good, I promise!

I'm no food savant - this is a combination you'll find everywhere on the internet, from bodybuilding forums to dieter's recipe archives.  But just in case you don't want to do the legwork, I'll post it right here :)

Oatmeal and Egg Breakfast Custard
1/2 C dry oats (I use Old Fashioned Rolled Oats)
1 C water
1 egg OR 2+eggwhites OR 1/4 cup egg substitute
salt and sweetner to taste

Cooking Instructions:
Place oats and water in a high walled microwavable bowl, stir.  Cook for 4-5 minutes at 50% power (watch your oats, people. They get messy!).  emove from microwave and stir in egg until well blended.  Return mixture to microwave and cook for another minute, keeping an eye on the bowl to make sure it doesn't overflow.  Reheat if neccessary.  Salt and sweeten to taste.  This can be cooked stovetop as well, just add the eggs partway through the cooking process and continue to stir until done.

The trick is to incorporate the eggs while the oats are hot, and to continue to stir until the oats pretty much suck up all the egg liquid.  This way you don't wind up with scrambled eggs IN your oatmeal. 

If you do it correctly, the end result is reminiscent of custard.  Bonus - for about 220 calories you get a hearty breakfast with both carbohydrates and protein that can be adjusted for whatever food plan you're following.  For WWers, it's roughly a 2-4 point breakfast, depending on your egg choice.  Zoners will want to add additional protein and fat.  Primal and Paleolitic kids will just have to abstain :)

Setting the Table

What happens when just this once happens far too often

We all experienced Thanksgiving, with the turkey, starchy side dishes and decadent desserts.  If you were smart (or lucky), you escaped relatively unscathed - slightly stuffed, with your pumpkin tooth satiated.

I wish I could say that the above applies to me.  Alas, it does not.  My holiday started the week before, when we (my now DH and I) went to discuss our reception menu with the chef.  After speaking with her, we went to the Italian bakery to discuss the dessert menu.  Needless to say, we ate a preview of both :)  And since it's a party, the food choices we made were special, and nothing like what we'd normally eat.

Friday evening, I went for my bridal hair trial while my DH got a tattoo.  We were both out late, and in our local "go-to" town for restaurants and bars.   Since I was sporting a fabulous hairdo, we met friends for dinner and drinks.  Again, it was special.  I ordered Pad Thai, a dish I eat perhaps once every few years.

Saturday, I went for a tattoo.  I know I ate something silly, but it was so insignificant that I can't remember what it was (obviously not special).

Sunday we had dinner with a couple that was in town for the holidays, but would be unable to join us at our wedding celebration.  We went for sushi - this would be one of the closest to normal meals in this cycle of chow.  Normal in terms of quality, but abnormal quantity.

Monday was the quiet before the storm before my out of town family flew into New York and the actual festivities began.  Hold on, let me unbutton my pants...

Tuesday my littlest brother and his family flew in from Los Angeles, while my three grandparents flew in from Florida.  We all (along with my other brother and his family,  Aunts, Uncle, and their children) had dinner at my parents' house.  My mother cooks well.  I ate well.

Wednesday I went to my parents' house for dinner again.   Mom made filet.  It was good.

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  We all know how that goes.

Friday was my wedding.  Since it was a small, intimate family affair - I actually did eat.  Well.

Saturday we had dinner at my parents' house.  Have I mentioned that I rarely get to see my brother and his family?  And that he lives in Los Angeles, which is sadly lacking in quality Chinese food?

Sunday we went for brunch with my brothers and their families to a place in New Jersey that has the most enormous pancakes you've ever laid eyes on (Country Pancake House, Ridgewood NJ - I highly recommend).  When you finally get seated (the place is always packed), there is warm corn bread (both plain and chocolate chip) for you to enjoy as you peruse the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of pancake, waffle, and french toast options.  I took half my breakfast home.  I still ate a lot.  My brother flew home, but as a wedding gift he left me his wife and infant daughter so I could spend more time with them this week.  I had one of my wedding dishes for dinner (they kindly sent me home with the 2 other dinner choices on the menu, as well as the other dessert).

Monday, I not only enjoyed the other wedding dish for lunch, but that night I went to my parents' house for dinner to spend time with my grandparents before they flew home to Florida. 

Last night (Tuesday) I went for dinner and drinks with my sisters-in-law.  It was the very first time I have ever gotten to spend time with either of them solo, and since my brother was kind enough to leave his family here with us, I'm going to take advantage!  Flashback to high school - my brother dropped us off, my dad picked us up at 1 am (I am a responsible drunk).

And it's not even close to over yet.  Read on...

We have our second wedding reception coming up this Saturday.  Our menu theme is "no napkin, no fork".  The bulk of the foods are comforting, upscale bar foods.  Dessert consists of 10 lbs of mini cannoli, 5 pounds of rainbow cookies and 5 pounds of assorted Italian mini pastries.

A special occasion.

And then, next Thursday, we leave for 10 days in Italy.  ITALY.

If you've taken a look at my training log lately you'll notice that along with the increase in food consumption there is a marked decrease in activity.  Lots of body weight exercise to keep me nimble, but nothing truly challenging or intense.

So here I sit on Wednesday morning, with two weeks of gluttony behind me and a weekend of indulgence ahead (I'm not even going to contemplate the 10 days in Italy yet). 

Obviously, things got out of hand.  Just this once, became virtually every day.  And what's worse, by indulging in everything, nothing was truly special.  But it's not too late, nor has all hope been lost :) 

It's my husband's (wow, does that feel weird!) birthday today.

I think we may be having a delicious roasted chicken for dinner, with a side of sauteed fresh broccoli, seasoned with garlic and olive oil

It will be special.