Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Big or Small?

Today is the last day of November, and amazingly it is a beautiful day here in Boston!
The view Boston (and some Cambridge) from my office

We've been lucky with great weather this fall. It has been perfect for running! Though with the early sunset, I haven't done quite as much as I would have hoped. I did manage to squeeze in a speedy 3 last night before my Junior League meeting. Just one more run, and I'll meet the Pile on the Miles goal for this week! (Though I'll need to cram in many more with Disney around the corner!!)

Having a deadline definitely made me run faster! I ran a sub 9 minute mile pace for most of the run, and finished strong with a pace of an 8 minute mile. After a quick shower, I was ready to head to the Junior League Headquarters for a quick meeting.

Each year, Junior League Boston (JLB) members are required to attend at least two General Membership Meetings (GMMs). These are huge meetings at a hotel where dinner is provide, different councils give updates, and a speaker presents to the group. Being a shy person, I find these things so intimidating. I always panic about where to sit and if I'll see anyone I know. These meetings cause me an unnecessary amount of anxiety, as I almost always run into someone I know, and we enjoy catching up.

Last night I participated in a Regional Membership Meeting (RMM). RMMs are held several nights at the Junior League Boston headquarters. This means there are many options of dates and times, and the headquarters is a quick walk from my apartment. Plus, it's a much smaller crowd and no awkward dinner chit chat. Because of the smaller group size, the League uses this as a time for interaction. I think most people would agree that being part of an interactive meeting is much more interesting and rewarding than sitting in a crowd simply listening.

The RMM yesterday was particularly fun because we talked a bit about how Junior League makes us a better employees/volunteers/family members. It was really fun to hear about what everyone takes away from the League. I know that the League helped me be a better leader, and it definitely helped me get over some of my shyness. When I managed to League volunteers for Dress for Success Boston, I had to run a meeting of 20 women every other month. It was a growth opportunity, and I got to help people in return. Plus, I am now more closely involved with Dress for Success Boston and plan on helping them in the future! All around a winning situation!

I definitely am better in small groups than big ones. I picked a small sorority to a bigger one. I work at a small non-profit, not a huge corporation. I attended a small college rather than a big university...oh wait. Fail on that one. I suppose sometimes, it's definitely better to get out of your comfort zone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful for Body Pump

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It's awesome to spend time with family, be thankful, and of course eat lots of delicious food. Yum! But my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the running! There are so many great races around and on Thanksgiving. I think it's one of the few times where I'll race twice in one week!

With my little brother post race
This year, I was home in Georgia and got to run the Marietta Gobble Jog with my little brother. We signed up for the 10k, which is just the 5k loop twice. Normally I hate loop courses (when I see the finish line, I want to finish!), but my brother was kind enough to run with me the whole time.

We never seem to catch each other on the phone (or more like he's not home when I call my parents), so we had plenty to chat about. He's going into Officer Candidate School for the Marines in January, so it was interesting to hear about. So scary to think of my baby bro in the Marines, but so proud because I know he worked very hard to get in!

Anyway, Thanksgiving, being home and traveling totally threw off the healthy track. Funny how the holidays can do that. So I decided to pick up my game last night, and FINALLY tried a Body Pump class at my gym. I have been wanting to incorporate more strength training into my week, but I am so useless on my own.

I'd heard great things about Body Pump from friends and online. When people talk about Body Pump, they don't just like it, love it, or think it's a great workout. They use words like obsessed. Obsessed with a workout? This is something I knew I had to try. It's been on the "to-do" list for months, but there's always been some reason I couldn't go. The class would fill up, something would come up, or I would just be too intimidated to pull the trigger.

Why was I scared to go? Well, I'd never done a barbell work out before, so I didn't know what weight to use or even how to assemble them. I was nervous about setting up my station and not grabbing the right equipment. I'd read that you should go early to familiarize yourself and talk to the instructor, but my gym has a tight class schedule, and there is usually another class immediately before Body Pump. Not being able to get in early meant that this would be trial by fire.

I definitely awkwardly stared at people as they set-up (good thing too as I had no idea the weights were held on with these clip things). I told myself that the purpose of the class was just to try Body Pump and to familiarize myself with the class. I am actually really glad I went in with this purpose in mind. It kept me from grabbing too heavy of weights. I went with two 2.5lbs and two 5lbs weights. I think I can go up a little next time, but I am definitely feeling the workout today! Love that feeling!

I can see why people are obsessed with Body Pump! You work a different muscle group each track/song. The counts on each move get changed up, which definitely changes how you feel the burn. I loved the variety and pace of the class. Plus the music was so much fun!

The instructor was awesome! She made suggestions through out the class on what weight people should use and helped guide us newbies. However, I would have like some of this during set-up, because at times I didn't have the right weight to follow her suggestions. It also took me awhile to switch out weights between muscle groups. The class format allows for this, but still, it was awkward and broke up my momentum. Plus being the cardio lover that I am, I missed having some cardio in the mix. Also, it's super popular at my gym, so I foresee getting in being a problem in the future.

Overall I lover the class, and I definitely want to make this part of my weekly routine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Then the Sun Comes Out

Early Saturday evening, I got some disappointing news. The news really upset me, so I sobbed and Rob consoled me. While the hugs and sympathetic looks are nice, I felt the overwhelming urge to run. It was almost as if I was in autopilot as I threw on my sweats and sneakers and headed out the door. I did a fairly easy 3 miles as I had a race Sunday. I came home, showered, and cried some more. I still wanted to run. I found it somewhat comforting to know that as long as my legs work, I will have a way to cope with my problems. Running takes me to a zone where everything just fades away.

Sunday was a good day. The race was fun (though my performance was just ok). Then I headed to a friend's house for some yummy food and great company. It was a beautiful day, so she and I ended up walking along the water, doing a bit of shopping, and enjoying the Thanksgiving festivities in the town.

Monday, I dragged myself into work, still in a bit of a funk from the news. To my surprise, I got a special delivery! My fabulous future husband brightened my day with this arrangement. And a teddy bear? He's a keeper!

Then, our photographer send a sneak peek of our engagement photos! We had these taken at the end of September, but with the busy New England wedding season, I knew we wouldn't have to wait a while. I can't wait to see the rest, which should just be later this week!

The rest of the work day went on pretty normally. No more big surprise deliveries or w-updates. At the end of the day, I packed up my stuff, grabbed my flowers and hopped on the train home. The building manager stopped me as I entered the building, and she asked for my birthday. I figured she was asking because of the flowers I had in hand, and I gushed about how sweet Rob is, blah, blah, blah. I went on my way.

When I entered the apartment and passed our kitchen, I was a giant bag from Sweet, a Boston cupcake store. Much to my surprise, I received a dozen cupcakes as a belated birthday gift!
Confession: I had a Cupcake for dinner.
Yesterday was just an unbelievable day! Anyone of the surprises would have been noteworthy, but three in one day? Amazing! To top it off, it's a short week for Thanksgiving! It just goes to show that when you're down, the only way is up! It took some reminding, but I believe that something good is always around the corner! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life who cheer me up when I'm down. I'm thankful for running, which keeps me sane. And of course, I'm thankful for cupcakes, flowers, and teddy bears.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving

This last week has been so productive! Early in the week, Rob and I joined his parents to look at rehearsal dinner spots. My parents came into town on Thursday, and the rest of the weekend was spent picking wedding invitations, doing the tasting at the hotel, and shopping for shoes!

I can't begin to say how much fun the tasting was! It was nice to have something that could include my dad and Rob. The boys seem to (happily) be left out of many wedding planning elements, but food and booze are up their alley. Not to mention the hotel staff was so amazing and attentive! I think it's my favorite part of wedding planning so far.

Monday, my parents left, but I will be seeing them at Thanksgiving next week. Saying good-bye is much easier knowing we'll be together again soon.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I made some delicious low-fat pumpkin cupcakes with a spiced pumpkin cream cheese frosting. The best part was using some holiday cupcake decorations my mom gave me.

Pumpkin is an amazing baking ingredient. The cupcakes are nice and moist but there is no butter, no eggs, and no oil! Use reduced fat cream cheese and some more pumpkin, you get a healthier way to enjoy fall flavor! In fact, I'm off to go eat one now!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back on Track

Hello, yummy birthday cocktail! I'll have 5!
It's been too long since I last blogged. In my defense, October was a crazy month! There was the marathon in Chicago, then my bridal shower and 10 year reunion in Atlanta, and then back to Chicago for work, then to Pittsburgh for work. Then November hit and there was my birthday. I was so lucky to have a chance to celebrate with great friends (even a few out-of-towners!) So much fun but definitely kept me busy!

With all the traveling and busy schedules, things got put on the back burner. There wasn't much wedding planning being done. My apartment is in shambles. The to-do list at work kept getting longer. I was so busy that workouts were skipped and junk food was eaten.

See? I love running!

This week, I made a commitment to myself that I would get back on track. It's only been four days, but I already feel like I've taken back control. I am tackling many of the tasks that have been building up. I am back to going to bed early, which lets me wake-up early to workout (morning workouts are underrated). I'm eating better, and just generally fee back in control.

So here I am, back on track and back to blogging!!!