Healthy eating and/or running is not on the agenda for today. Today, I'm gonna talk about dogs and cats. ( I like them so much.) Since I was in high school, I've been volunteering on and off with PAWS at their Angels with Tails events. Angels with Tails has been around far longer than PAWS' brick-and-mortar shelters. PAWS and other Chicago-based rescue groups come together in different neighborhoods throughout the summer for large outdoor adoption events.
A lot of the volunteers are animal handlers during the events. In the past, I've been a dog handler, meaning I get a specific dog assigned to me for the day. I am responsible for cuddling it (much like you see below), answering questions about it (its assumed age and breed, etc), making sure other people don't pick it up, taking it on potty breaks, giving it water, and overall giving it lots of love. There are also cat handlers, and they do similar things but inside of the stores.
This year, I worked as an adoption counselor. I educated the adopters before they brought their dogs home (I only did dog adoptions yesterday) and handled their paperwork. As much as I missed being a dog handler for these events, I still got to walk up and down the street and pet dogs.
Sunday's event was in the Gold Coast, in the ritziest area of the city. Participating stores allowed us to set up tables outside on the sidewalk, gave us access to their bathrooms, and a few stores hosted cats for the day. While you would think that these stores, such as Tod's, wouldn't want animals inside of the stores, they were incredibly accommodating.
It was a warm day in the city, but with our site being so close to the lake (which is always colder) and the wind and lack of sun from being towered over by a high building, we were freezing sitting at our tables! I took a lot of walks to get into the sun (and further west away from the lake) to warm up and see some cute dogs.
I also hung out in Tod's to defrost. Aren't these kitties cute?
Overall, I think about 70 dogs and cats got adopted at Angels with Tails Gold Coast 2016. What an awesome event!
Have a great week, friends!
Hi friends! Does the title of my post look like I'm taking about updates for both citrus salmon and running OR like the citrus salmon and running updates are two completely separate topics? Writing is amusing at times. Depending on where you put your punctuation marks and word placements, meanings can change. As it is, I do NOT have any pressing updates on citrus salmon. I just want to share a positive culinary experience I had with salmon, Halos, a gigantic lemon (that actually wasn't so gigantic-it just had thick skin on it), and some other small things.
I came home from grocery shopping on Monday night knowing perfectly well that I needed to use up some Halos that we didn't consume last week. I made a simple citrus salmon with just two salmon fillets, lemon slices, Halo slices, basil and mint leaves, and scant portions of salt, pepper, and olive oil. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, sprinkled either salmon side with salt/pepper/oil, then I layered in the following order: lemon slices, fish, mandarins, leaves. I wrapped everything in foil and then slid it in the oven for about 25 minutes. I also could have wrapped the fillets individually, but it turned out fine!
The citrus infused well into the fish and gave it great flavor. I ate one piece for dinner and brought the other to work the next day. As always, I ate it cold. I like cold salmon, and I also fear that people will secretly hate me if I heat up fish in the microwave at work.
In general, cooking fish in foil packets takes only minutes of hands-on work. You can also throw veggies in there, like potatoes or asparagus!
Now, I'm going to transition away from fish and into the running talk. Overall, running has been going great. My "training" system of doing one short run during the week and one long run on the weekend is working well for me. I have enough days in between to recover. I'm not overdoing it, but I'm also slowly increasing my mileage so that I'll be comfortable when I do my half marathon this summer. Last weekend, I did eight miles. This weekend, I plan to do nine.
I also signed up for something that is completely insane. I blame my dog-loving, marathon-running mother for this.
My mom has ran the Chicago Marathon for the past six years now. I find her somewhere around the 25 mile-marker every year, and we hug, and I run beside her until I get kicked off the course. I have pictures from the past four years.
Every year, I think about how amazing it would be to do this race with my mom. Then, when the spring of the next year comes along and it's time to register, I'm unmotivated. This year, my mom tried to convince me to do it. I complained about my temperamental lower back, my sore knee, my flat feet, and my dislikes for waking up before the rising sun on summer weekends and being outside during a downpour. To this, she brought up a point that was so good that I couldn't argue with it: since I will be conditioned to run 13.1 miles by July, I will deeply regret NOT going for 26.2 miles in October. She was right. If I keep saying that I will think about running it the next year, I may never do it. An elephant could sit on my foot, I could start a family, or I may move somewhere far away where it's more fashionable to be very, very fat and running could interfere with that. I think you get the picture. This is the year.
For reasons that I can comprehend but am still only just beginning to grasp the consequences of what I've done, I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon. That's not the only exciting part. I'm also part of Team Paws. I'm running for homeless dogs and cats in Chicago. I signed up to run for PAWS a few weeks ago for the half marathon, and then I upgraded.
PAWS is a no-kill animal rescue group that is very near and dear to my heart. The number of animals euthanized at Chicago Animal Care and Control (Chicago's pound) has decreased significantly since 1997 when PAWS was founded in part as a result of their rescue and adoption and spay/neuter programs. I think this video beautifully sums up the work that they do and WHY they do it.
I've been an active volunteer with PAWS since last year. I started as a Level One Dog Handler (walking and cuddling puppies- they start you with the easy ones) at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center. I'm now an adoption counselor, meaning that I meet with adopters before they take their pet home, educate them about what to expect (especially if they're a first-time pet owner!), and go through the forms with them. The best part is watching the dog or cat leave with their new owner. As an animal lover and somebody who strongly believes in the "adopt-don't-shop" philosophy, I am so proud to run and raise money for PAWS. My mom, as you can see from the pictures, is also very involved with PAWS and Team PAWS.
Stay tuned for so many more posts about running. I'll also post a link to my fundraising page once it has a picture of me and some content.
This weekend went to the dogs. Literally.
I spent most of the weekend at my parents' house in the suburbs. They just redid their basement and got a new dog, so I was due for a visit to see the changes. Friday nights at my parents' house always include homemade pizza and wine (see above picture). Saturday involved sleeping in, a four-mile run, a trip to Costco, a nap, and a fun dinner out with our family friends. I always enjoy getting away from the craziness of the city for a few days. I love being surrounded by weeping willow trees and ponds and, of course, spending time with the dogs.
My parents adopted Alex (below) after his family couldn't take care of him anymore. He's a two year-old golden retriever with an excessively playful and affectionate personality. Sam (the dog all the way to the right in the picture above) and Alex are best friends and lick each other's faces. Their faces get slobbery and gross, but it's still really cute. Alex followed me around within minutes of meeting me and spent time on my bed and lounged near my shoes.
He's a pretty cool dog. Welcome to the family, Alex!
I will say that my parents usually adopt mixed breeds from shelters, but they also love goldens. Plus, this dog would have gone to a shelter if someone didn't take him.
Good food is also one of my favorite parts of going home. As I previously mentioned, my dad makes a homemade pizza every Friday night (except for the base, which is a Boboli whole wheat pizza crust). This weekend, he made a pesto sauce from scratch and added shiitake mushrooms. He layered it with onions, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Fresh arugula was the final touch after it came out of the oven.
We went to Mambo Italiano in Mundelein for dinner on Saturday. It's one of my parents' go-to restaurants. I ordered eggplant parmesan with whole wheat angel hair pasta on the side. As you can see, the portion was enormous! The leftovers that I took home made a good Sunday morning breakfast.
I also had the chance to admire the renovation on my parents' basement. They've been in the house for 11 years now, and they've slowing been making changes to the house. I think the basement ties with the screen room for my favorite redo. I don't have Before and After photos, but the After is a big improvement. This new basement includes a half wall that separates the exercise equipment, new cabinetry and larger closets, a shower for the bathroom, and a walk-in wine cellar.
For my mom and dad, who thoroughly enjoy exercise and wine, this is their perfect basement. Also, the dogs like the open area for playtime. Sam (and now Alex) usually follow us downstairs and hang out while we work out. On Saturday, Sam supervised me while I stretched.
Sam also waved me goodbye when I went on my run.
Speaking of running, I'm signed up for the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon this summer. Despite having a blog that has the word "jogger" in the title, my running has been pretty weak for the past few years. I had multiple setbacks with my injured sartorius muscle (when I lived in Australia) and since then have had achy feet and a very bad lower back. I'll get more into the lower back story one day, but I've a few instances over the past couple of years where I pulled my lower back so badly that I couldn't walk. I've been through chirotherapy, massages, and personal training sessions that focus on my form, increasing my hip mobility, and strengthening my back.
For the first time in months, the sharp pain in my back is diminishing. I give most of the credit to the personal training sessions for teaching me about stretching, using a foam roller and a lacrosse ball on multiple muscle groups, and honing in on my form when lifting objects, doing squats and lunges, and more. I'm still avoiding the high-intensity group exercise classes, but I'm able to hit the treadmill or pavement and run a couple of miles pain-free. If I keep up with my therapy, I'm feeling confident that I'll be able to run 13.1 miles in July.
This weekend, I did four. Hell yes. Running in the suburbs was relaxing. I wasn't dodging walkers or dogs, waiting for lights to change, or enduring temporary deafness by the wailing of a passing siren. It was a much welcomed change of scenery.
As for my training schedule, I'm planning to run at least two times per week (one shorter run, one longer run) and slowly increase my mileage. I logged my longest run yet at eight miles last fall by doing just that. There will be many more exciting runs to come.
Have a great week!
Happy holidays, folks! This frigid weather in Chicago is making me want to fly away somewhere warm, but I can't say that I was sad about all of the gorgeous snow yesterday. I'll show you some pictures in my Xmas Day post.
I spent a few days at my parents' house in the 'burbs. It was so relaxing and quiet, and I didn't want to leave. My parents just insulated and added windows to their screen room so that it can be used 365 days a year. We used to only be able to sit in it during the warm summer weather.
It's amazing to be able to curl up on one of the couches in there and look at the beautiful snow.
As always, it was great to be home with the pups.
It was great to be able to catch up on sleep (no city noises!), go Christmas shopping with my mom, help with cooking and baking, and to spend time with my parents. We had a Christmas party at a family friends' home on Saturday, so my brother and Al came in from the city and stayed overnight. I went back to the city with them on Sunday.
On Tuesday, we opened our Christmas package from Al's parents since it was Christmas Day in Australia. I was pretty excited about my colorful bracelets, but the best part was definitely the box of Cadbury Favourites!
I talked about Cadbury chocolates here and here on my blog (and probably in other posts) when I lived in Australia. There are so many unique chocolate bars there (like Picnic Bars and Cherry Ripes), and the Cadbury Favourites box gives you a colorful assortment of mini-sized bars. We ripped the box open and started going to town on the chocolates.
We also like this bad-ass Australia clock. I set it up underneath our TV, but I had to remove the battery already since it ticks so loudly! It's a great display piece, though. I love it
I'm sad to say that we polished off the chocolates in about 24 hours. In true blogging style, though, I took pictures of my favorite "favourites" so that I could show them to you. Cadbury Crunchie bars (below) are chocolate-covered honeycomb bars. I didn't like them at first, but I changed my preference for them over time. They're very popular in Oz.
Cherry Ripes are my personal fave. They're a mixture of cherry, coconut, and dark chocolate.
Turkish Delight is always a pleasure to eat. It's a sugar-covered soft jelly candy that's coated in chocolate.
Caramello is just chocolate-covered caramel. It's great, but I do prefer it in the block form.
Picnic bars are my other fave (maybe a tiny bit less than Cherry Ripes). I dedicated a post to them when I lived in Oz (here it is again). I brought a bag of them home one time, and my family and friends loved them.
We also got two Cadbury Marshmallow Santas and ate them both.
I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas!
One of my favorite parts of being on a break from school is having the time to do things that I love doing. I'm finally getting to a point in my life where I realize that there's no value in sleeping until 10 am on my free days. By the time I'm done checking my e-mail, reading through my Facebook news feed, going through my USA Today news app, reading some blogs, and playing a few rounds of Candy Crush while still in bed, I'm famished and wanting to eat a late breakfast. This delays my workout, so I sit around and watch TV until I don't feel full anymore. Unfortunately, I'm hooked on a TV show on Netflix by this time and don't feel like doing anything except for watching more episodes. So I sit around and watch until I feel hungry again. And the cycle continues. By 4 pm, I'm in state of self-loathing for wasting an entire day, but I still can't get up from the couch and stop watching TV. Then Al comes home and wants dinner, and we watch more TV. Days like this of being a couch potato are fine once in a while if I'm sick or burned out, but doing them too often are just plain depressing.
I was worried that I would do this on my break, but I've been waking up before the sun every morning and getting my workout out of the way so that I could start getting things done. Yesterday, I needed to bake cookies for a cookie exchange that one of my school friends was hosting. I also decided to make a warm spinach and artichoke dip to serve with chips.
I saw a recipe on one of my favorite blogs (Peanut Butter Fingers) for chocolate crinkle cake mix cookies that I was dying to try. All you need is devil's food cake mix, canola oil, eggs, and powdered sugar.
It was very easy to make.
Unfortunately, I left the cookies in the oven for too long. They still looked raw to me after 12 minutes (the instructed baking time), and I let them bake for a few more minutes. I should have known better. I just finished a food science class that had labs and written exams on baking, so I should have realized that the cookies would harden as they cooled. They should have been moist and cake-like, but my finished product was dense and slightly bitter tasting.
I tried heating one in the microwave for 10 seconds, and it tasted a lot better since it was sightly melted. At least I'll know for the next time to follow oven directions.
I didn't have time to buy more ingredients and bake new cookies, so I just hoped that mine were passable and put them in clear gift baggies with dark chocolate M&Ms and tied them closed with white ribbons.
I also put together a quick spinach and artichoke dip using this recipe. I made the following changes: low-fat mayo, low-fat cream cheese (1/3 less fat), and non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I served it at the party with tortilla chips, and it was a huge hit. It definitely made up for my hard cake cookies.
I think that cookie exchanges are such a wonderful idea. Erica, the host, provided us with baggies so that we could go around the table and take whichever ones we wanted. It was fun to sample everybody's cookies and take them home with us.
You come with one batch of cookies, and you leave with a variety of them!
The grapes and raspberries were the nutrition-friendly stars of the table. They didn't last very long.
Everything was incredibly good.
We also got to play with some adorable kids. I was never a "kid person", but I love being around them more and more as my friends are having babies.
Soon after I got home with my bags full of cookies, my brother asked me if I could take Libby outside for a walk since he was tied up at work for a few more hours. We currently live a block and a half away from each other, so it's usually not a problem for me to take her outside. His girlfriend helps with Lib mostly, but I'll step in if she's busy. I don't usually mind going over there to see one of the most adorable dogs in the world.
Anyway, Libby didn't greet me at the door when I walked inside his apartment. She'll usually be waiting at the door for me, or she'll come running over to me within a couple of seconds. I called her, and she didn't come. I walked to the back of his place and found her spread out on my brother's bed with her ears back, eyes closed, tail wagging, and the corners of her mouth curled up like she was trying to smile. Maybe she was acting guilty for being on his bed? Anyway, it was so ridiculously adorable. She actually does a doggie smile sometimes where she goes as far as scrunching up her snout and showing her teeth. Aren't dog smiles the cutest?
I took her outside where she pranced around in the snow and then started eating it after she did her business. It was freezing outside, but I still took her to the dog park for about 10 minutes. There were a few dogs there, although she ate snow more than she played with other dogs.
I'm in the suburbs at my parents' house until Sunday. I'm spending quality time with the pups there. Expect some more dog photos soon!
My furry friends haven't said hello in a while. They love getting attention, both in person and on the bloggity blog.
Below: Princess Libby on my (unmade) bed
Below: Libby on my parents' bed (where she is not allowed). See how her ears are back and how she is vigorously wagging her tail? She knows that she is BUSTED!
Below: Mickey sitting on the windowsill in the library
Below: Mickey is always adorable, but he looks so precious when he lies down with his front legs crossed.
Below: the Princess donning a gothic bandanna after getting groomed
Below (this is the last time that I will say "below"): Libby giving her daddy a very warm greeting after I brought her back to my brother's apartment. Sometimes, I forget that I am only her second favorite person in the world.
We can't forget about Cody, the incredibly kind and docile dog with a very soft and velvety head.
And now, I will introduce the newest member of our family: SAM!
Isn't he a beauty?
We picked him up two weeks ago from Orphans of the Storm. He is a kick-ass four-year-old mixture of (we think) German shepherd, lab, and hound. He's perfectly housebroken, brilliant, and is obsessed with his new human owners and doggy brothers.
Guys, I can't stress enough how important it is to rescue your dogs and cats. There are so many of them in shelters who need homes and will either be euthanized or spend the rest of their life in a small cold cell if they are not adopted. By getting an animal from a shelter, you are saving a life. I know that there are plenty of wonderful breeders out there (I can't say the same thing about puppy mills- I have NOTHING good to say about them), but everybody wants to adopt puppies or kittens. Puppies almost always find homes. It's also so much cheaper to get an animal from a shelter or a rescue group vs. a breeder. We paid about $150 for Sam, and that included a visit to the vet, a microchip, neutering, and medication. Plus, since he's older and has already been in a home, he is housebroken and won't destroy our house. Please consider rescuing the next time that you get a pet. You will not regret it, and you will always feel good knowing that you are giving your pet a better life.
That's all I have to say about that. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thursday!
I blame the remnants of jet lag (apparently it takes one day for every time zone you cross over to recover, in which case it will supposedly take me about 17 days for my body to return back to normal), the cold gray January skies, and my post-holiday depression (at this point, I really can't list any positives of a long-distance relationship) on the fact that I've been like this since I returned back to the states (refer to photo below):
Just like a dog.
All I want to do is sleep. I've done two P90X workouts since I got home, and I didn't even have the energy to get through half of the second one. Everything I do is exhausting. I'd worry about myself, except I know that I am this way for the reasons that I listed above.
With that said, I realize it's now time to socialize again, exercise again, and get out of bed when my clock says AM instead of PM. Many people experience post-vacation blues and live in cold winter regions, so I really need to quit this pity party that I'm having with myself. I need to live again.
My classes resumed last Tuesday. I never have class before noon (which enables my ability to pretty much sleep as late as I want), but I'm not sleeping in tomorrow. I am getting out of bed several hours before class and am exercising. I will do the same thing the day after that and the day after that. No excuses. I will never feel better if I don't get back into my routine.
At least I have this creature to make me feel better:
Jon dropped off Libby last Tuesday, and he's picking her up again tomorrow. She's been with us for a full week, and we've had so much fun. As always, she lives on my bed. She's an automatic mood-booster.
Although I sleep a lot, I still make sure that I get good food. The first time that I went to dinner with my parents after I got home, I told them that I really wanted to get sushi. We went to Sushi Kushi San3 in Vernon Hills. The original branch is in Lake Forest, but this one is much closer to us.
The three of us split a massive plate of six different rolls. I can't begin to tell you what each roll was, but I know that I liked them all. All the way to the right (above), you can see that they gave us a side of tempura flakes as an added garnish. YUM.
I also deviated from my normal cereal routine this weekend and made an egg scrambler for brunch (I can't call it breakfast, since I didn't wake up early enough for that). I whisked two egg whites and one egg yolk with a few drops Worcestershire sauce. I sauteed two large mushrooms (finely chopped) and then combined it with the egg, shredded arugula, and mozzarella cheese. It was the perfect combination for me. I thought about making an omelette, but scramblers are always more satisfying to me for some reason.
I also peeled a grapefruit like an orange and placed it on my plate. It was all too much for one meal, but I managed to get it all down after a while with the help of the dogs Cody and Libby. I could never imagine that dogs would like grapefruits, but I guess you learn new and interesting things all the time.
Guess what else we did over the weekend? We took the dogs to the dog park to play in the snow.
What a pretty golden retriever!
We went into the woods, which we don't always do. I'm sure it's nice in warmer weather, but I think snow always makes things look prettier.
So, I guess I got SOME exercise over the weekend. I'm just excited to pull myself back together and become a healthier and happier person again. I miss that. Bring on tomorrow!
More New Years Eve Pictures
Our friend Claire posted more pictures from New Years Eve, so I made sure to post them for you. That was such a fun night.
Jewish or not, we have a tree every year. We cover it in blue and white, and it becomes a Channukah bush. Last night, we decorated it.
I've been away for a few years, so I'm not up to date with all of our ornaments. Here are my current favorites:
The Cardinal on a Branch
The Flying Angel Mutt with a Bone
The Humane Society Loves Christmas Trees/Channukah Bushes
AND our Personalized Puppy Ornaments! I didn't even know that we had these. It was a little sad, because we have two additional ones for two dogs that we don't have anymore. These ones make me smile, though!
When the tree was done, I had a slice of home made pizza and a glass (or two) of wine.
I love Friday nights at home!
Hello friends! I am so tired and want to collapse in my bed right now, but I can't do that until I post something. I just can't.
Today was my last day of classes for the week, because it's Thanksgiving Break! This is my first American Thanksgiving in three years. Wow. While I enjoy the holiday, the days around it are very hectic for me. My friends come in from all over the country, and there are always too many things to do. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just not one of those relaxing holidays where the only thing that I have to worry about is petting my dogs, feeding myself, and trying to wake up before 2 pm.
Anyway, you may notice that when I go up to a week without posting anything on my blog, my first post after my "hiatus" is a plethora of randomness and one thing has nothing to do with the other. You will notice that again today. I am also very tired, so this will be even more ridiculous than usual.
First, I love Annie's Mac and Cheese. I crave noodles and cheese separately on a daily basis, so putting the two types of food together is just like peas n carrots for me. Not only are Annie's products tasty, but they are organic and are whole grain (at least the boxes I buy are whole grain). Extra fiber? Hell yeah!
I like to make the whole box (and save half for another meal or sometimes eat the whole box at once and then sit there and wonder why I just did that and say that I'll never eat a whole box again in one sitting just like people say that they will never drink again when they wake up with a hangover because I was just so damn full YAY I love run-on sentences without punctuation!) and then spoon a meal-sized portion onto a bed of baby spinach. I also normally add a handful of shredded cheese to it while it's still hot in the pot and sprinkle some garlic powder on top.
I liked the Creamy Deluxe (it's cheesier than the average Annie's mac and cheese), but there are plenty of other varieties that I enjoy. They all pretty much taste the same, but the shapes are different.
Here's another thing I want to tell you: I understand why people like freezing their bananas. I can only eat a whole banana when it just turns ripe (I gag when they get too soft), so it's much more economical for me to peel and freeze them when they get to the gagging/brown point than throw them out.. I've been using my frozen bananas for smoothies, and you should do the same thing! Just make sure that you peel them before you freeze them. Can you imagine trying to peel a frozen banana?
Over the weekend, I made a smoothie with chocolate protein powder, my soy eggnog, a frozen banana, tart cherry juice, and frozen berries. It was too sweet for me, but I learned that eggnog is a great add-in for smoothies. I just don't recommend adding too much fruit, because it makes it sickeningly sweet!
At least it looked purdy.
Before I go faceplant on my pillow (or on Libby, who is sleeping on my pillow), I'm sharing dog photos. It's a passion of mine.
A doggie friend visited our house on Friday.
He made friends with one of our dogs.
And then he made friends with our other dog.
Mickey loves it when other dogs come over to play. We think Cody likes it too, although it's hard to tell with him. He'll wag his tail at anything. Sometimes, we question if he can even tell other dogs apart. We're not always sure that he knows who we are....
Speaking of doggie visitors, Libby is here until Thanksgiving! My bed is still her favorite place in the world.
She's lying across my pillows right now, so I have to move her over before I get into bed. She won't like that. What a poor puppy, having to deal with me taking over her bed space.
If you're in the US, have a wonderful start of the holiday!
My dog Mickey is a hoot. Our yard is surrounded by prairie, and Mickey runs into it when he's not wearing his electric collar since the plants are past the boundaries of our property. We always know when he went too far, because his long and thick fur always attracts burrs and seeds and other native flora. This time, he came back with a stick stuck in his tail.
He's so cute, that I can only laugh when he comes back covered in plants. How can you not snicker when your dog is trying to act innocent but has a branch attached to him?
Another amusement is that my dad bought me gnocchi (since he knows how to make me happy) and didn't even know that the food expires on my wedding day. Out of all of the days it could expire, who would have thunk that it would be then?
Naturally, I expected this to be magical gnocchi.
I made a batch last night and mixed in salmon from Sunday night's dinner. The salmon was good, but the overall meal was very unimpressive.
For lunch today, I combined the plain leftover gnocchi with broccoli, pasta sauce and parmesan cheese. It may be the only way that I ever make it, but it's ALWAYS good!
I also have to share that it's eggnog season. If your tummy doesn't agree with regular eggnog, you can buy soy eggnog. I'm sure this is nothing new, but I've been out of the country for a few years. Cut me some slack.
I woke up early this morning and did my Plyo X workout, which is my norm for Tuesdays since I started P90X. Plyo X is about 60 minutes (including warming up and cooling down) of nonstop movement. I was initially very scared of attempting this, because plyometrics can be very hard on your body. Too much jumping up and down could add stress on the knees and back. I experienced this when I did Zumba at my last gym. My knees were okay, but I always woke up the next morning with a sore back and leg (my right thigh that usually aches).
One of the things that I really like about Plyo X is that you can modify everything. If they do an exercise such as a jumping squat, you don't have to do the high-impact version. You can do the squat without a jump. Usually, somebody will show you how to do the modified move. Tony Horton, the P90X instructor, also explains how to lessen your chance of injury while doing a high-impact move (land like a cat!) and stresses good shoes and a shock-absorbing mat. Once I learned that there wasn't a 100% chance of injuring myself, my attitude towards Plyo X changed.
I started running two times per week at the same time that I started the program, but I soon realized that I was putting too much stress on my body. I wasn't a consistent runner, so my body wasn't used to that impact either. I may have been able to put up with it, but my right shin began to hurt when I walked. I stopped the running, and I used two yoga mats(one of top of the other) for extra coverage under my feet. Our basement floor is carpeted, but it's a very thin layer on top of a concrete floor. I'm sure that was one of the reasons that my shin ached.
Since I "padded up", I've had a great time with Plyo X. I am huffing and puffing more than I am in any of the other workouts, because it's all cardio. We do a ton of different squats and lunges, so it's also very good for the lower body. I only need my mats and a towel (and WATER) for this, so it doesn't require as much equipment as some of the other DVDs.
This morning, I was so exhausted towards the end of it that I literally wanted to curl up on the basement floor and go to sleep. I've never been that tired from this. I guzzled all of my water and then went upstairs for a recovery smoothie.
I drank it while I got ready for class. Do you like my thumb nail, by the way? It's a Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strip. They come in all sorts of crazy patterns. You just buy the strips, which are real nail polish, and put them on your nail like a sticker. You press them down on your nail and then use a nail filer that they give you to file off the excess part of the strip that hangs over your nail. Mine are starting to chip, so my flower child pattern is coming off soon.
Bye bye for now!
Editor's note: The workout is called "Plyometrics X". I'm not really sure why I've been abbreviating it!
ABOUT jennifer Martin, MS, RD, LDN
I am a Chicago-based Registered Dietitian working primarily in Acute Clinical Care. I started this blog in 2010, before I even knew that I wanted to be an RD! Now, as an active dietitian, this blog will become part of my life again. Read about my current healthy habits, but please peruse my old posts (from 2014 and before) to read about life as an RD student and my previous years in Australia!