Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exciting News!!

Let me just say - Southwest Airlines is THE BOMBBBB!!!  Turns out I had 14,000 points from flying that airline every single time I fly.  So, on Monday I redeemed all my points (plus purchased a few more) and bought tickets to COLORADO!!!!  I got the best deal ever, like, I can't even explain how good of a deal.  I'm going skiing in the beginning of March with two of my best college friends.  I CAN'T WAIT!!

The above picture is of me and my freshman roommate, Briton.  This picture was taken on our graduation night from college :(  We were the best of friends during freshman year - we literally saved each other.  We both were having a pretty hard time adjusting, and we grew so close because of it.  Briton grew up in Vail, CO, so most weekends that year we went home to her parents house to SKI!  Her dad really was the one who taught me to ski.  I basically knew nothing before they came along.  Briton still lives in Boulder (lucky!) and we'll be staying with her family in Vail for most or all of the trip this year - it's gonna be nostalgic!  

Emily, in the above picture, is also coming!  She lived in the same dorm as Briton and me freshman year.  Emily and I were really close that year, but didn't see much of each other after that.  Then, on one of the first nights of senior year, we saw each other out on the town and reconnected!!  I'm so happy we did.  We spent most of senior year together.   This picture is also obviously from graduation.  Emily now lives in VA where she goes to law school.  We talk often but I haven't seen her since college!!!! 

Side note and funny story, Drew also lived in the same dorm as the three of us but we didn't know each other, AND I met Drew the same night that I reconnected with Emily!  I'll have to write about that soon....

Here's just a random picture I found from a ski trip - I think this is Keystone.  I can't wait to be there!!!! Look at that sky... My skiing has definitely gone "downhill" (no pun intended) since I left college, but I'm sure I'll get back in the swing of things.  I can't wait to spend time with these wonderful ladies - they mean the world to me.

On a separate note, I'm extremely jealous of the life my parents are/will be living in London.  During her stay last week my mom sent me this picture of her running along the Thames with Tower Bridge in the background...casual.

Go mom!

1. What's the last trip you went on?

2. Do you like to ski? Snowboard? Neither?

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thinking about a career change

Latest workouts:
Monday: 3 miles on the treadmill (another mental nightmare)
Tuesday: Impromptu rest day - my mom came home early from London YAY!!!
Wednesday (today): 4 miles in the freezing cold after work.  It felt so good once I was out there :)

I went between work and an event we had, so it took a lot of dedication to get changed, freeze my butt off, come back, get back into my work clothes, and work again.  Not ideal - I was going to run this morning but it was snowing and that + darkness = danger! But, I didn't want to take another day off either.  It was fun - I ran like the wind in the beginning because it was SO COLD.  Wind chill factor of 12 degrees, and I had forgotten my ear warmers...yikes.  The miles got slower and slower because a) hills, b) I got a teeeeeny bit lost, so I wasn't running my normal pace, instead I was stopping to think about there to go... and c) part of the run, when I was lost, was on a way busy road.  So I kept having to stop and walk when cars were coming.  I'm trying not to dwell on my pace though...

I have some races coming up but nothing substantial - I think that may be affecting my low morale these days.  That and the cold.  So many of the bloggers I follow have been saying the same thing.  We're just over winter - this one, at least where I live, has been especially harsh.  We haven't been above freezing in over a week pretty much.  I had no qualms about giving myself the day off yesterday - I just needed that mental break.  I'm really working hard to overcome these mental barriers.

Bishop is certainly over this weather.

Anyway, my brother and I are thinking about a career change - bread bakers.  My brother is a foodie, he always has been.  He LOVES cooking.  Lately he's been really wanting to make bread - he had never done it.  For Christmas he bought me 2 huge bread-making cookbooks, then we loaded up on accessories: a pizza stone, buckets for storage, special baking sheets, oven thermometers, dough whisk, etc. etc.  There's still more we need.  This week we finally got down to business and made our first loaf.  We (and when I say "we" I mean "he," because I literally just watched) made the dough on Monday night, then let it rest till Tuesday night.

Shaping the loaves

Yes that's Jeopardy in the background - love that show!!

The loaf...


Instagram version: annadamm

It tasted even better than it looks!!  This first loaf definitely had a lot of trial and error though, we're gonna keep getting better.  And we have sooo many ideas of different kinds of loaves to try!  

So my mom came home a few days early from London - I'm so happy she's here!!  She is going back for good in only 4 weeks :((((  She brought me back a new coat from London that I'm in love with:

I've been looking for a quilted jacket - she knows me so well!

1. Last gift you received?

2. Are you a good cook?  Favorite thing to make?

3. Any races coming up?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Working on mental toughness.

Latest Workouts:
Wednesday: 5 mile treadmill run - faster running during commercials.  Foam rolling
Thursday: Quick and dirty: 60 sit-ups, 50 ball slams, 40 lunges, 30 burpees, 20 tricep dips, 100 jumping jacks, then 20 tricep dips, etc. back to 60 sit-ups.
Friday: REST
Saturday: 6.6ish miles out and back, literally only ran 5.25 of them.  Not my best day.
Sunday: Spin class with my favorite spin teacher!  And some foam rolling.  I'm back in the game.

Speaking of those workouts, I would like to point out that Thursday and Saturday were not my best efforts.  The BIGGEST thing I need to work on right now is mental toughness.  I hated Thursday, because I was in a dumpy gym (I didn't go to LA Fitness that day), it was late, I wanted to go home, I was alone with no one to push me, I had plans to spin for a warmup but the spin bike was TERRRRIBLE, and I didn't bring shoes to run in.   I eventually got through it but the endorphins never kicked in - I didn't even feel like I worked out.  I left the gym in a crabby mood.  I HATE THAT.  Why does that happen sometimes?

Saturday's run - I alluded to this before - was just so damn cold.  It was cloudy, and not inspiring whatsoever.  The ground was too snowy to really run on, so the whole time I was trying not to slip.  I walked up almost all the hills.  I just wasn't feeling it - I have a lot of those days unfortunately.  I really need to get better at this.  I'll keep you "posted." :)

On a happier note, after the snow stopped, my weekend turned into a lovely and relaxing one.   I took my dogs for a short and snowy walk.  I love watching them sprint around and play - they are in heaven!!

I was also able to dig out of my driveway and make it over to my friend Sierra's house.  We have been best friends since as long as we can remember, and it doesn't hurt that she lives less than a mile from me :)  We made dinner, drank wine, and watched movies with her brother, Jake.

Their mom makes the best cookies in the world, and we found four bags in the freezer.  SCORE!!! 

Instagram: annadamm

We watched "This is the End."  It was hysterical.  I love funny movies like that - the Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen-esque type movies.  This was that on steroids, because they all played themselves.  Genius.  After the movie we watched about an hour of Louis C.K. stand-up.  Oh my gosh - I haven't laughed that hard in a looooooong time.  I absolutely love belly-laughing.  It was perfect.

This Sunday has been pretty great - I love going back to the work week after a productive and relaxing Sunday.  I went to a morning spin class.  My favorite teacher teaches Sunday morning and Monday night, so I try to hit at least one of those per week.  She is a great spin teacher because she pushes you, but doesn't yell like a drill sergeant.  It's hard to explain but wow - I love it.  I took my doggies for another walk, hit up Starbucks, did some cleaning, made myself dinner, and now I'm watching the Grammy's red carpet with a glass of wine.  Doesn't get much better than this!

Spinach, chicken, peas, corn, pearl onions, hummus, rice, and cranberries.  Oh hey, Ryan Seacrest.

Have a lovely Sunday!  I'm looking forward to a good week of positive workouts this week. 

1. How to you motivate yourself when running? 

2. Anyone watching the Grammy's?  Favorite musician/artist/group?

I'm over winter, and running safety

By nature I think I'm more of cold weather girl - I would choose the mountains over the beach ANY day (maybe it's because I don't tan??)  Anyway, I'm almost never the person saying I CAN'T WAIT FOR SUMMMMMERRRRRR.  But yesterday, I became that person.  I'm really over this ridiculous cold.  Yesterday it snowed again.  When it snowed on Tuesday I was content to cuddle up in my house and weather the storm.  Yesterday I just wanted to get OUT.  I wanted to see my friends, I was sick of being holed up my house.  Not fun.  I did make it out, more on that later.

Before the storm I went on a run in a secluded park near my house.  The park has a path that follows a creek that goes for miles - probably about 10 from start to finish, one way.  The park is pretty popular, so I always see some people on the trail, but like I said it's a little secluded, and it goes through some pretty bad neighborhoods (although you wouldn't be able to tell, because you're in the woods).  So, whenever I run there I have my guard up.  Yesterday I decided I'd post about what I do for running safety in secluded areas.

1. Run at the right time of day.  I only run in the park on weekends, in the mid-morning - the most popular time (I'd say) for people to be out and about.  I love early morning runs when the sun is coming up, and I also like the occasional evening run, but I wouldn't run in this park at those times.

2. Carry your protection.  I always carry my phone and mace with me in this park.  I know the mace may seem like overkill, but my dad was adamant about it - and I'm not taking my chances.  It's actually pretty cute - it's pink :)  I carry it right in my hand.  I don't care if people see me holding it - if anything, I want them to see it.  I've never had to use it before, and it's important to remember that mace can be used against you, too.  I'm not an expert on the stuff - but I know that much.  It's not to be messed around with.  

I almost never carry my phone on runs.  I don't use it for music, and it's too bulky to bring with me.  I also don't like to have people be able to reach me - runs are MY TIME!  But when I'm somewhere secluded (or on an extra long run) I make sure to bring my phone.  I usually wrap it up in a plastic bag and put it on airplane mode.

3. Bring identification.  I have a Road ID on my shoe, giving my name, birthdate, and emergency contact information.  I love it because it's always on my shoes,  so I don't have to worry about losing it or forgetting to bring it.   You can also carry your license with you, or some people write their information on a piece of paper and stick it in a pocket.  

Those are main things I do to be safe in a secluded area - I also pay attention to the volume of my music, making sure I am still aware of my surroundings.  There are plenty of other precautions you can take when running alone - see Shut Up + Run's list here.  

The above tips don't include safety tips for being SEEN, i.e. running at night, along busy roads, etc.  See an article on night running safety here

1. What are your go-to safety tips for running?

2. Best part of your Saturday?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Day Weekend

Hello world!!  Can you say cabin fever?

Yesterday Philadelphia got 13 inches of snow, making a total of 30-something inches since December, which is about three times as much as average by this time of year!  We're in our second "Polar Vortex" of the year, meaning temps below -239 degrees, or something.  Note: I've been watching the news A LOT during the past 48 hours, so I really know my snow stats... Speaking of stats, I had two snow days in a row, and have talked to exactly two humans face-to-face in last  36 hours.  I have spent about three hours shoveling, ran nine miles, and cooked two meals (which is a lot for me).

So, since the snow ended in the middle of the night, which meant alllll the shovelllllinggggggg had to be done today.  My arms will really really really be sore tomorrow.

These pictures don't include my looooooooong driveway...

While I have been "digging" the whole snow day thing (no pun intended), it hasn't been the most stress-free time.  One of my dogs, Bishop, vomited yesterday afternoon.  Usually if a dog vomits it means he got into something or ate too much grass, but I never like to see my dog uncomfortable!  I decided to walk around the house and see if I missed any other "episodes."  I found FOUR more pukes in the living room.  It was beyond disgusting, but that's beside the point.  My poor doggie!!  My mom and dad are overseas, so that just made the whole situation more stressful.  I've had these dogs for ten and six years, but it's always nerve-wracking when something goes awry.  I gave Bishop rice for dinner, but then he threw up AGAIN before bed.  Today, after I dug my car out, I dropped him off at the vet where he stayed all day.  I picked him up in the evening, with directions to keep him on a bland diet and antibiotics, and he should be fine.  I'm glad I could be home today to take him over there.  He's a good one!!

Winston's yawn for the win in the background.

Gahhh, anyway, I was glad the roads were okay today because I could make it here:

I would have run outside but...ehhh no thanks.  Too cold.  And sometimes I am really in the mood for the treadmill.  Is that weird??  Five miles while watching The Chew, and sprinting during commercials (with music) and some foam rolling.  It felt great to get out of the house for a while. 

I'm not sure if I'm going to be a blogger who posts pictures of my meals.  This is because I really don't cook much - I don't make myself inspiring things.  But as I begin to live alone again, I'll probably get back into it!  My brother has a big idea that he and I should become famous bread-bakers...more on that later.  My diet consists of a lot of salad/vegetables, eggs, and soup, as are portrayed perfectly in the dinners I prepared for myself the last two nights.

Eggs and brussels sprouts.

Lentil soup with added spinach.

I actually only have these pictures because I sent them to Drew.  We send food pictures often - not sure why!

Work tomorrow - I'm ready to be back to the grind, but not looking forward to more days of sub-zero temperatures and more snow!! 

1. How's the weather where you are?

2. Treadmill or Dreadmill?  Favorite treadmill workout?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My blog is on Bloglovin'!

Follow me on Bloglovin' if you wish.  Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

From the South to a Snowstorm

Hi all!  I apologize for going a week without posting.  Lots to catch up on!  I'll start with a recap of my workouts last week:
Tuesday: 2 miles on the treadmill, followed by a tabata-style workout
Wednesday: 3 miles before work
Thursday: 30 mins spin bike, followed by core work
Friday: 4 miles before work
Saturday: NOTHING - I was driving to South Carolina all day!
Sunday: 4 miles in South Carolina
Monday: see Saturday (this time from SC to PHL!)
Tuesday (today): 4 miles in the blizzard!

So this past weekend Drew and I went on a roadtrip to see his family in South Carolina!  It was a quick trip - we were only in SC for 36 hours, and spent about 20 hours in the car.  We've done it before over a long weekend, and again it was well worth it.  The weekend started after work on Friday when I drove from PHL to outside of DC.  That's where Drew lives, by the way!  He is at school getting his PhD in ASTROPHYSICS.  I know....ha :)  So we do the semi-long-distance thing, and it's been working well for us.  He's lived there since we both moved back from Boulder in Summer 2012.

Sunset driving down to DC

Drew and I always go to the same place for dinner called Franklins on Friday nights when I come down.  It has its own brewery and has the BEST IPA I've ever had.  I crave Franklins!!!! Yum yum yum.  Drew is so excited to be getting his picture taken.  Yay roadtrip!!

Saturday was a long day of driving.  I had a big plan to get pictures of all the state line signs, but I slept through VA, and I missed MD on the way back.  Shoot!  We were on the road by 6am and got to Drew's parents' house at 3pm.  We caught up for a while then got ready for dinner.  I don't have a picture, but we went to Drew's dad's golf club in in Taccoa, GA.  It was soooo niiiiice.  We had such a lovely meal, and it was perfect after a long day!! 

Fun fact: most people think this peach is in GA, but nope - it's actually SC, which produces more peaches than GA.  Drew is proud of that fact.

Saturday was our only full day in South Carolina.  In the morning Drew and I went on a little run.  This was the kind of run where the whole thing was just not that fun.  My legs were understandably stiff from sitting in the car the whole day prior, and the wind was blowing SO hard on the way back.  It was just blah, but at least we did it.  We could have easily skipped it, so I was happy overall.  Plus, it was nice to be running with Drew!  If I were alone I definitely would have quit.

Again, so excited to be harassed by my iPhone.

After - pretending it was fun!! (Just kidding, it was fun all in all.)

So later in the afternoon we did what I was most excited about - we went shootin'!!  Drew's dad's friend has some land for shooting, and Drew loves to go shoot with his dad and brother.  I had never done it before so they took me!  It was so much fun.  Well actually it was really nerve-wracking, but I assure you we were being VERY safe.  Drew's dad really knows what he's doing.  They took good care of me.  Drew's mom was taking lots of pictures! 

One of the many tutorials.

Drew going first.

I hit the bullseye!! (Eventually...)

I had a lot of fun shooting!  After that we went to dinner with Drew's grandparents and aunt.  Another lovely meal.  I had been craving ice cream all weekend so after dinner Drew and I made it happen :)

Oreo of course.

My kissy face looks like a duck face...let's just ignore it.

Yesterday we were up early again to drive home.  I had to drive allllllll the way home last night.  It was a long one.  

Sunset as we were getting back to DC.

Today we have a SNOW DAY!! I'm so thankful - I got home really late last night and would have had work this morning.  I don't like coming off a weekend ill-prepared for the week ahead, so having this extra day is a blessing.  I woke up early and went to Whole Foods to stock up, then I got a run in right as the snow was starting to pick up.  It was freezing but a lot of fun.  I didn't turn on my music - I love the silence of a snowstorm.  

Happy snow day!  Hopefully we get another one tomorrow :)

Edited to include:  Drew went on a snowy run too!  He sent me this.  Great minds think alike.

1. Do you like long car rides?  Favorite road trip games??

2. Did you have a snow day today?

3. Best thing you did this weekend?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More on my 2014 running goals

I think the entire month of January is an acceptable duration to keep honing goals for the coming year.  So although it's the 14th, I think it's still appropriate to be talking about New Years goals.

I have a few goals to accomplish this year, and none of them will take a whole year - it's more of a checklist.  Basically, setting goals for me is all about making sure I'm on track with what I said I "always wanted to do."  It's so easy to lofty, intangible goals that just float around for years and never get accomplished.  I DESPERATELY need to do this for my own life, not just running...but that's another discussion entirely.  

1. Run all 7 races on the Bryn Mawr Running Company race pass.
For Christmas my dad gave me a race pass that is free entry to 7 designated races this year, through a local running company.  They include: a 5k "Couples Run" in Feb., three "Summer Series" evening 5ks in the summer, a cross country style 5k in September, a 4 miler in October, and an 8 mile race in December (fun fact: the exact same route I ran on Sunday).  This won't be hard to do because they're all local and relatively short, however it does take planning and accountability.  I'm not paying for these, so it may be really easy to bag one if something better comes along, or if I'm not feeling motivated.  Also, I'm so used to going to races with my dad or my friends/boyfriend.  Clearly Drew will be with me at the couples run, and I'm sure I an recruit a friend for a couple others, but I bet I may go to a few alone.  That will be another mental hurdle.  So I'm making this goal now so I don't get lazy later in the year.  These races are emblazoned upon my calendar, and there they will stay.  

2. Volunteer at a race.
I thought about this one when I was running my half marathon in November.  I think volunteering at a race would be perfect, as it incorporates some of my favorite things: running (obviously), service, and being LOUD.  I think volunteering would be one hell of a morale-booster.  Seeing all the runners, of all abilities, all out there, would re-establish for me why I love running and racing.  I had pretty low spirits for most of the half marathon, and I decided then that I needed to give myself that new perspective.

3. Join a running club.
There is one (of many I'm sure) local running club near me that I heard does weekly group runs on Wednesday nights.  There have been so many Wednesdays that I say, "Okay, THIS is the night I'm going.  I'm just gonna show up, and it may be awkward or nerve-wracking at first, but I'm going to be so happy I did it."  Then Wednesday night rolls around I back out.  Whether it's that group run or another, I HAVE to join a group run or a running club this year.  I walk a fine line between introvert and extrovert in exercise, and in life.  I like my alone time most of the time, but then there comes a moment where I want to SCREAM because I realize I need to be around people.   I miss team sports a lot for that reason.  I joined Crossfit for a little bit last year and it was really filling my need for some more social time.  Now I don't do that anymore so I need to make sure I come out of my hole sometimes and run with people!

4. Run a race in a new city (aka Destination Run).
This one is hard.  I have run all my races in or around Philadelphia and I want to branch out.  But, I know I'm not going to be planning a trip to California or Hawaii or something crazy to do a huge half marathon.  Believe me, I want to in theory, but it's not possible right now with my living situation and my money situation, and I'd need someone else to go with me of course, etc., etc.  So, I haven't quite figured this one out yet.  I could easily run a race in a different state by driving to New Jersey, but that's not what I mean.  I want to have to PACK, and travel.  I have an idea, and I hope it will work out, but I don't want to write it on here because I have done ZERO planning for it.  I'm also going to London this summer so maybe I'll run a race there...?  More to come on that.

5. PR in the half marathon.
As I mentioned above, I had pretty low spirits in the half marathon last year.  All in all I had a lot of fun, and I certainly wasn't in a bad mood at the end or anything like that, but I just knew I could do better.  I know I also like the distance, but it didn't feel like that on the actual day.  So this year I want to be sure to run at least another half, and do better mentally and physically than I did last time.  I will write more on this later, but I have a tendency to treat longer races (and even some 5ks depending on the day) like "Sunday jogs," rather than an actual RACE.  It's like when I start getting uncomfortable in my pace and effort I'm like, "Eh, screw it." And I slow down.  I don't even realize I'm doing it then at the end of the race I think, "Wow, I could have pushed myself so much harder."  So PRing in the half marathon is one way I'm going to tackle that mental block. 

When times get hard this year in completing my goals, I will turn to my sage, Ryan Gosling:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, New Blog

I must admit I'm pretty nervous about actually putting myself out there on the blogosphere like this!  Yikes.  Here goes nothing...

I'm going to go backwards through my weekend, and start with today.  Today was one of those really awesomely productive, yet relaxing days.  Those are my favorite days.  It started with an awesome long run around the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.  The river trail is one of my favorite places to run.  It's packed with runners, which is great motivation.  I took a terrible picture when I was leaving...

This is what it really looks like:

I did 8.5 miles at a pretty good pace.  I loved it, and it's the farthest I've run since my half marathon in November.  Then I had the rest of the day to relax which is the best feeling on a Sunday!!  I ended up doing some errands with my mommy - she leaves for London for two weeks on Saturday - then took a walk with my dogs with my friend Sierra.  It was chilly but gorgeous! 

Instagram: annadamm

Although I complain a lot about no longer living in Colorado, my hometown has some serious beauty if you know where to look.  My dogs are that black spot in the picture with Sierra.  The cool part about this hill, you can see the Philadelphia skyline in the distance.  I love that.  For the rest of the day I hung out with my mom, brother, nephew, and uncle at my house while we watched the NFL Playoffs.  BRONCOS WON!  I am a huge Eagles fan obviously, but they're out of the playoffs so now I'm all Broncos, all the time.  Now I'm watching the Golden Globes...clearly.

On Friday I had a great night with my girlfriends Sierra and Em, and our friend Brooke (not pictured, unfortunately).

I love them!!

Tomorrow is Monday...oy.  This week will be busy: I have to work late two days, and I'm going away on Friday!  My boyfriend and I are roadtripping down to his family's house in South Carolina for the weekend.  Can't wait!