Three Things Thursday

1. Star Trek Into Darkness. HOLY CRAPOLA is this movie fantastic. I went to a special “sneak peek” last night with my friends M and H. M was able to get us the tickets via awesome Trek fan club-ness. It is no secret that I’ve always been a huge fan of the Trek, since the days of my youth obsessing over Captain Picard.

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I loved the first reboot movie, and have been so excited for the second installment…in no small part due to its featuring none other than the amazing BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! as the identity-to-be-revealed villain. Cumberbatch can act the crap out of most anyone else on screen, whatever screen he’s on, and this was no exception.

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I can’t say too much about the film without spoiling, but I was NOT disappointed! In fact, I was BLOWN AWAY. I will most definitely be seeing it again (and again…and again…) In conclusion. GO SEE STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Run, do not walk, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get yer booty to a theater and see it. That is all.

(Full on review and thoughts to follow later this weekend…maybe….)

2. Night out. Tonight Hubz and I decided to go out for dinner instead of sitting on our butts on the couch and just shoveling food into our mouths as fast as possible. We drove just down the street to Bloomingdale to try out The Red Hen. It was quite good. We had smoked trout crostini and prosciutto crostini, fusillio cacio e pepe, wood grilled hen, and fried artichokes. Also on the recommendation of our server, I tried a glass of orange wine. What? Yeah…apparently it’s a thing. In the processing, the white wine grapes spend some time with the macerated grape skins, giving it the oranger color. I had a pinot grigio version and it was pretty good!

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3. Rita’s. Yes after weeks of threatening we FINALLY made it to Rita’s for some post-dinner treats. We weren’t in the mood for fancy restaurant desserts so we figured it was the perfect opportunity. We *might* have overdone it…slightly.

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Totally worth it.

Anyone else seen Star Trek yet? What did you think?!

 

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Three Things Thursday

1.  Team Fun. Tonight I finally made it to another Bike Rack Multisport happy hour. Good people and so nice to be able to ramble about training to people who don’t just sigh and roll their eyes. And I’ve finally resolved to start getting up early on Wednesdays and head down for bike workouts at Hains Point with the team. Very excited! I need some peer pressure to kick my butt into gear!

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2.  Weekend! Hubz and I have a very exciting weekend planned that involves…virtually no planning! Fun with friends and just playing it by ear and enjoying ourselves (…until it’s time to work in my 3 hour ride on Sunday afternoon….) This is pretty much unheard of for us. I couldn’t be more pumped!

yHWA4oxH8arm8gcwoOobOJvT_5003.  Fast Food Healthification.  Taco Bell announced a plan today to transition to offering healthier menu choices.  This means that 20% of the combo meal menu choices will ultimately fall within 1/3 of the federal government’s daily recommended allowances for calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium.  Of course their target date isn’t until….2020.  But still, I think it’s good to see fast food joints moving in a healthier direction.  Although I still don’t buy it that McDonald’s “oatmeal” is actually oatmeal…

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What’s your go to fast food?  Are there any “healthy” choices that you enjoy?  

Three Things….Friday.

Sorry folks, my butt couldn’t get moving enough yesterday to get the Three Things posted on time.  Sense a theme in my blogging (and every part of) life?  Yeah, it’s slacker-tude.

1.  SPRING IS FINALLY (KIND OF) HERE (ALMOST)!

So, tomorrow I am going on my first proper long ride of the season!!!  I have demanded that D join me for this glorious celebration of (late) Spring and (later) start of tri season.  We’ll be heading out for a solid three hours after which I am resolved to actually do my brick run as scheduled.  The weather is finally cooperating and I could not be more excited.  Ok, so tomorrow’s high is only 55, and it will only be in the high 40s when we head out in the morning.  But then on Sunday…I’ll be greeted with high 60s and perhaps even low 70s for my 1 hour ride + 1 hour run combo.  HUZZAH.

2.  Dinner parties.  Hubz and I bought and moved into our beautiful home last December. (Brookland rocks!)  We have an amazing dining room space and I immediately started dreaming of all the glamorous dinner parties we would be hosting.  Fast forward 4 months, and not a single one has transpired.  But this weekend we will be hosting our friends from Baltimore for dinner on Saturday night so I’m claiming this as the first!  Because we are terribly fancy we will be taking a stab at fine gourmet cuisine with…..fish tacos.  Ok.  So maybe let me ease into this fancy dinner party hostess thing a little.  I think I will try to recreate the amazing fish tacos from Rosario’s in San Antonio (honestly, I was a little obsessed during the year that I was living there) with this copycat recipe.

San Antonio, some days I miss you so....

San Antonio, some days I miss you so….

We’ll undoubtedly be pairing them with a giant bowl of Alton Brown’s guacamole. My sis got me AB’s Good Eats (The Early Years) cookbook for Christmas and we’ve been loving it….especially the guac which we’ve made several times now for various gatherings, and it’s always a hit.  Plus, who doesn’t love them some AB?

Weight-Loss-Alton-Brown-and-Watermelon3.  Cherry blossoms.  The powers that be have revised the projected peak bloom for this year to April 6-10.  Perfect timing for anyone running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler!  In recent years since Spring has been coming earlier and earlier, the 10 miler has been well after peak bloom.  But this year due to our wacky late winter weather, the timing is perfect. Good luck to anyone running and have a blast enjoying the beautiful blossoms!  Personally, I’ll be avoiding the tourist masses.

Cherry Blossom hijinx from years past...

Me and T in cherry blossom hijinx from years past…side ponys represent.

Good thing I can monitor the blooms’ progress on the NPS webcam and hustle down for a run around the tidal basin when things get pretty!

Happy weekend, all!

Anyone running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler this year?  Any other races on the docket for this weekend?

What will you be doing to celebrate Spring/good weather this weekend, if you have it?

Tea Time

At various times in my life, I’ve been hooked on coffee in a majorly unhealthy, chain-drinking kind of way.  But in recent years I’ve come to realize that after those first few tastes of amazingness, coffee just results (for me) in jittery hands and an upset stomach.  So I initially switched to tea as a way to get my fix without the bad stuff.

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I still enjoy a cup of irish coffee every now and then, but once tea became my regular, I slowly began discovering all that it had to offer.  Now I’ve become a little tea-obsessed.  There are SO many varieties and flavors of tea, it’s like a world unto itself!  Plus it’s so much more single-user-friendly.  My tea drawer at work is always stocked full (I typically drink at least one black tea and one green tea a day), and at home I rotate between a huge variety of loose leaf and bagged teas.  (As I’ve mentioned before, I also dig me some mate something fierce).

Yesterday, the Post revisited the subject of tea’s health benefits and its growing popularity in the U.S.  Check it out!

What’s your hot beverage of choice?  Tea?  Coffee?  Mate?  Raktajino?

Three Things Thursday

1.  Spring? Despite the fact that yesterday was officially the first day of Spring, it’s 35 degrees out and not looking to improve too much anytime soon. A brief dalliance with the upper 40s and 50s tomorrow and Saturday, and then back down in the 40s with threat of rain and snow on Sunday and Monday. UNBELIEVABLE. Of course, we will Scope it Out in rain or shine, but could I get a break? Just one day for a pleasant bike ride outside in the sunshine would be nice! Not to mention that I’m totally ready for cherry blossom season to hit in full force!

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2.  March Madness. I do not follow NCAA basketball at all. Or any basketball for that matter.  But the allure of March Madness is irresistible. It has become a yearly tradition for Kittay (numero uno) to fill out a bracket based on his feline-related mascot preferences.

Just what really goes on in that master-feline-mind?

Just what really goes on in that master-feline-mind?

Criteria #1: feline alliances (NO DOGS ALLOWED). Criteria #2: tastiest prey. Exceptions made only for #1 seeds. Two years ago he came in second place in a 13 person pool, so I think it’s just as good a strategy as any. So Kittay submitted a bracket again this year.  (Kitteh #2 is still a bit young to grasp the nuances of bracket strategy. Perhaps next year).  Time will tell just how clever the kitten brain is…

marchmadnesslolcat3.  Chocolate of the week! I often stop at the Whole Foods hot bar for dinner before my Monday night class, and also grab whatever fancy-pants chocolate bar happens to be on sale this week (I can’t possibly afford full priced chocolate when spending approximately 50 gold doubloons/ounce for the hot bar goodness). This week, I happened upon this deliciousness:

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The creepy finger shadows really capture the ambiance of the downstairs dining lounge in my class building…

It’s the perfect balance of dark bittersweet awesomeness with just enough actual sweet to make it AMAZING. The best part? It’s actually TWO chocolate bars in that package. Two for the price of one already very expensive bar! I’ll be hitting this up again.

Three Things Thursday

Random thoughts for a random day.  (Also known as a new strategy to keep the pithy blog commentary coming at ya.)

1.  The weather.  WHAT is with the weather lately, DC?!   Slow last week, and Monday my office opened two hours late for an alleged “wintry mix” (total nonsense, but it was legit frigid all weekend).  Yesterday was practically tropical.  And now freezing temps and snow are on their way back to town and threatening to destroy Hubz and I’s glorious weekend hiking getaway plans.  I feel like I’m back in the Great Plains with all this climatic schizophrenia.  With all this back and forth our poor Kittays can’t decide if they’re warm or cold, and have lunged over a cliff into utter fits of fashion confusion.

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2.  Bike tech troubles.  I’m a total clown hands with all things bike related lately.  My cleat keeps coming loose on my right shoe and getting stuck in the pedal.  No matter how many times I tighten it up it keeps happening.  This is especially problematic when it gets to the point that it just rotates and breaks off into the pedal rather than actually unclipping.  Especially when it’s a pedal on a spin bike at the gym.  And then you have to spend 10 minutes pulling with all your damn might to get in unclipped while the cranky ladies in their fancy color-coordinated fitness gear, who arrive to their spin class 30 minutes ahead of time to make sure they can reserve *just* the right bike (even though they are all IDENTICAL), look on in disgust.

Meanwhile, I’m having non-stop ish with my trainer.  I just can’t get it adjusted properly so that there’s actual useful resistance without burning the tread right off my tire.  It’s a bad sign when it smells like burning two floors above my basement bike cave, right?  Now my tire appears to be melting slightly as well?  I need help.

Hoping to get in for a professional bike fit next weekend and get some help with both of these in the process…..or learn some tricks from this guy:

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3.  Nuts.  Specifically, deez nuts:

513FC0upBNL._SL500_AA300_Hubz brought these home for me as a surprise last weekend.  I have to pack snack size bags each day – I literally cannot bring the entire can with me to work for danger of inhaling it all at once.  They’ve probably got too much sugar on them to be considered a “healthy snack”, but why not throw some nutrition into your dessert?  (And why not consume 50% of your daily calories in nut form?  Healthy fats, RIGHT?!?!?!)

Base Phase Food Rules

This week also marks the start of the early training season slim down lean up DIET (cue dramatic music)!

Ok it’s not really a diet.  Having struggled with weight and body image issues for virtually my entire life (wah wahhhh), the traditional diet/calorie counting thing just doesn’t work for me.  Makes me go super crazy town in a bad way.  But, after the stress of moving and the temptations of the holidays, I want to get myself in a better nutritional place while I can and prepare myself as best as possible for a hard training season.

Enough whining.  Instead of the D word, let’s just say here’s 10 simple (enough) rules I’ll aim to live by for the next 9 weeks.

1. Lots and lots of fresh veggies and fruits! Good thing we joined that farm share.

2. Just say no to sugars and processed carbs. Acceptable carbs include goodies like sweet potatoes and other starchy veggies. Some whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oats), but with an eye to keeping those to a relative minimum as well.

3. Seriously, that also means candy. Stop eating so daggum much candy.

candy coma4. Lots of good, quality protein.  After much consternation, I will be adding back in some lean animal protein into my diet. I always eat seafood, but otherwise I have been pretty much meatless since returning from our trip to Zambia last April. I’m going to try adding in some (humanely raised, local) poultry for this 9 week phase and see how it works for me.

5. No dairy except plain unsweetened yogurt. Lactose and I are rarely friends, and I find I don’t miss it when I cut it out. Keeping yogurt in for its good cultures (and low lactose content). Emphasis on good greek yogurt for its high protein content.

6. Generally, avoid processed and canned items. No one needs that much sodium or un-pronounceable ingredients.

7. Ixnay on the coffee.  And minimize black tea. My mind and body are always clearer/happier when I’m drinking mate or green tea instead.

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8. Smoothie for breakfast! This helps with many of the above rules, and just helps to start the day right. I’ve stocked up on hemp and other plant-based proteins that I especially like. Fruit + kale or spinach + protein powder + almond milk + a bit of nut butter. Quick, easy, satisfying, and keeps me going all morning.  Yes, I am a fervent follower of the Green Monster Movement.

9. Go nuts for nuts (and seeds)! They are good for me, but also they are delicious.  What do you mean you don’t eat peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon? Weirdo.

10. Lay off the booze. There’s been plenty over the holidays, and I could use a break. Occasional glass of wine here or there will be enjoyed, but no need to go crazy.

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Blah blah disclaimer: I am in NO WAY a nutrition expert. So none of this is advice for anyone else except me. I just know what makes my body feel and work better, and what has worked for me in the past.

These 9 weeks of rules are geared toward getting me on track with healthy choices after the holiday season, and a much needed purging of some toxins. I happen to think that for the most part these are just good rules to live by. Eat fresh whole foods, buy them locally when you can, and don’t eat processed crap. I’m not a doctor, but it’s really not hard to figure out that eating real food is better for you than eating something made in a factory or a lab.  /ENDRANT

But these 9 weeks of rules are also geared toward building lean muscle and cutting body fat in preparation for the build and peak phases of training. It’s no secret that leaner athletes are faster, more efficient, and recover better and faster as well. Cutting out processed foods and dairy, and focusing on the low carb high protein thing has worked for me in this regard in the past. Frankly, I have no idea if it would work for anyone else. I’m not in that business.

One more note on the low carb thing. My cardio training volume is low enough and the intensity is low enough for the next 9 weeks that I can manage going relatively light on carbs and it will aid in my goals. I in no way intend to continue that eating method when the training hours start piling up more and more in the build and peak phase. Low carb is not a sustainable eating method for an endurance athlete. At least not for me. I’ll be a pasta maniac come June, I assure you.

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