working out

So this morning, the craziest thing happened.

I woke up, yawned, stretched and thought to myself, “I really want to go to the gym! I want to work out!”

I paused, shook my head a little and listened again, to make sure I was hearing correctly. “I want to work out! Rowing Machine! Treadmill! You name it, I wanna get at it!”

How….strange.

Seriously, I really don’t like to go to the gym. Like, at all. It’s tolerable if you watch Netflix on your iPhone, but otherwise, snoozeville. I’d rather go on a long walk, a short run or essentially do anything else besides go to the gym. This is why I wanted to make sure I wasn’t still dreaming or having some kind of psychotic episode when my brain told me to get up and go to the gym. It didn’t sound like me at all!

But it was!

And I wanted to burn some mad calories…so I did!

When I got to the gym, I had my heart set on the rowing machine. Someone had already snagged one of them, and as they are positioned really close together, I didn’t feel like using the other one. So, I wandered around and found myself in front of a Stairmaster. I don’t think I’ve ever used a step machine….well, unless you count me playing on one of my mom’s friend’s machines when I was a little kid. I ended up doing about 15 minutes on it. My arms were dripping with sweat when I was done…I guess it’s obvious that I don’t walk up enough stairs….

After the Stairmaster, I checked out the rowing machines and they were both free, so I went over there. I did about 18 minutes, though I had to stop a couple of times for water –I was super thirsty today. I was a little concerned about 5 minutes in because I started to have some really uncomfortable pain in my left knee. This isn’t unusual, as I do get pain in my left knee when exercising, but I didn’t like how much it hurt. Luckily, after about 7 minutes it got better and sort of went away. Maybe it just needed to get further warmed up?

Last, I hit up the treadmill. I was going to just jog for 15 minutes or so, but I ended up doing 30 minutes of sprints. I’m sure there are more efficient ways of doing them, but I was essentially just trying to run .25 miles as fast as I could, with really long recovery walks in between. I almost ran at 8 mi/hr, but thought I might go flying off of the machine, so I only did about .12 mile at that speed. Mostly I pushed myself at paces between 6-7.5 mi/hr. Those speeds are super fast for me, as even on race days I only average a 10:30 min/mi. The sprints were pretty addicting. Kept wanting to push myself harder. I would be about ready to end my workout and head to the stretching mats when an awesome Glee soundtrack song would come on and I’d think, “Gee…this would be fun to run to! Okay…just one more sprint!”

After some stretching I showered and hit the road. I had about 90 minutes to kill, so I went back down to Powell and the Westfield Shopping Center for fro-yo and Christmas shopping. I got pretty carried away looking at sweaters in Banana Republic…they were having a lunch time sweater sale with great prices. When I got out of there, I realized I had 15 minutes to get to work….either on the bus or on foot it takes 30 minutes. Oops!

I had planned to post about my last day in Orange County today, but I was much more excited about my weird workout enthusiasm. I’ll finish up tomorrow (promise!). For today, let me spend some time talking to you about spaghetti squash.

Yes, spaghetti squash.

I got one in my CSA box about a month ago and last week I finally had a chance to cut into it. It was awesome!

spaghettisquashhalves

As you can see, it’s a pretty big fella. Once I got in there, I cleaned out all of the guts, then I sprayed a cookie sheet with PAM and placed the halves in the oven to roast for about an hour. Then they looked like this:

roastedhalves

I’m sure most of you know, but the reason spaghetti squash is called spaghetti squash is because when you scrape out the meat, it looks like strands of spaghetti. I had heard so many positive reviews, I was dying to dig in and try this guy out.

spaghettithreads  spaghettithreads2

Pretty neat, no?

One squash yields a lot of spaghetti strands.

bowlsofspaghettithreads

I got a gigantic bowlful from each half. I decided that I would use half for spaghetti squash pasta, and the other half would be turned into spaghetti squash pancakes.

Say what?

You heard me, pancakes.

I received Mollie Katzen’s recipe for spaghetti squash pancakes in my CSA box. I was intrigued. Due to what I had on hand, I ended up changing the recipe. Didn’t work out quite the way I would have liked. I skipped out on the onion and added an ample sprinkling of Garlic Gold Parmesan Nuggets to the mix. Next, I only had liquid egg whites, and while I should have measured them out, I eye-balled the amount. My batter seemed a little too soupy.

battersquash

How do you like my measuring cup? Super cute, no?

While I don’t think my version came out exactly right, they ended up being pretty tasty. I topped mine off with a healthy dollop of Fage Greek Yogurt and a drizzling of Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple Butter. Delicious!

squashpancakes

The next day, I took spaghetti squash to work for lunch and decided to try out the pasta method. I didn’t have anything to make sauce out of, so I just used a store brand roasted garlic tomato sauce and then topped with some parmesan cheese.

spaghettisquashpasta

No, presentation isn’t high on my list when sitting at my desk.

The important part was that it was so good. I can’t believe I have lived this long without spaghetti squash in my life. I want another one…like now!

What is your opinion of spaghetti squash? How do you like to serve it?

When I woke up, I found something that made me very sad:

;_;

Most healthy living bloggers out there look at such an occurrence as an opportunity to taste greatness. By greatness, I am of course referring to Oats in a Jar (OIAJ). The problem is, I generally don’t like eating OIAJ. The jars are usually too large and my spoon doesn’t fit into them very well and I almost always get frustrated and wind up dumping the mess into a bowl to eat it the way I like.

I decided, today, however, to try OIAJ again. I figured it might be better, since the Barney Butter jar I had was so small. So I whipped up the last of my steel cut oats with banana and ChiaFresh (ground chia seeds) and inserted a serving into my jar.

I had my oats with a few more slices of banana, 3 halved strawberries, a couple of Ghirardelli chocolate chips and half of a crumbled graham cracker.

Which reminds me. Time for a public service announcement:

Do NOT buy these unless you want to gain lots and lots of weight. Every single time I buy these things, I promise I will pace myself, but instead, I end up gobbling them up one after another. To make it twice as good bad, I usually have the nerve to top them with some form of nut butter. They are so good…and so very, very bad….

After breakfast, I needed to get in a workout. I knew I should run…but I had just eaten a lot of oatmeal and wasn’t sure it would sit well. I decided that instead of running in my neighborhood, I would get dressed and head down to the gym and see what I felt like doing once I arrived.

I’ve been going to the Y for 3 years now, off and on. When I say off and on, I don’t mean that at any point during this 3 years I suspended my membership. What I mean is that I go through periods of really enjoying the gym and then really long periods of loathing the gym. I find working out with the weights and cardio equipment to be quite a snooze 90% of the time. Even with this particular location’s spectacular views of the bay, I still find myself wishing I was already showered and on my way. I’ve been on a major “I hate the gym” kick this year, which is probably why I piled on the 15 pounds I did. I’ve barely been going at all, which makes me think that it’s a little crazy that I’m shelling out $65/mo for a membership I barely use.

But I refuse to cancel.

The gym and I might not be getting along very well lately, but I know we will be friends again.

But not today.

After getting to the gym and wobbling back and forth, I decided to just shove my stuff into a locker, grab a runner’s stamp (hand stamp so you don’t have to carry your membership card with you) and went out to the Embarcadero. I set up RunKeeper and started out on a 5K down to AT&T Park and back. 5 minutes into my run I met with a rude surprise….the coach prompts from RunKeeper were playing in my ear….and telling me that I was going 10:22 minutes behind my goal pace!! I thought I had turned the stupid coach feature off, but apparently, I somehow had it set to run like a 0 minute mile! I didn’t want to mess up my overall time, so I just listened to this lady tell me I was a loser for 3 miles….

As I saw the ballpark I got really excited. I know everyone around me is getting sick of my Giants talk (Well, not really. I live in San Francisco. All of my internet friends are totally sick of it though!), but I cannot help it. I am so excited about my team making the World Series that seeing the stadium up ahead just made me run even faster. I resisted all urges to go into the Dugout (the Giants’ store) and turned to head back towards the Ferry Building.

One thing I noticed on this run is that I was still really struggling. I mean, on one hand, I was going pretty fast (for me) since the Embarcadero is flat and my normal park runs are on trails with some elevation changes. So pace wise, life was good, but my ability to really excel on this route the way I should just wasn’t there. I had to take a couple of walking breaks and I finished the 5K 5 minutes slower than I ran it at Race for the Cure a month ago.

While you would think that struggling with the distance of 5K would mean that I would be totally wiped afterwards, you would be wrong. Instead of feeling exhausted once I passed the 3.1 mile mark, I felt exhilarated. Like, if I hadn’t needed to go back to the Y for a shower so I could get to work on time, I probably would’ve set out on another mile.

My problems with 5Ks are seriously all mental. This proves it. There is something about 5K that makes my brain jump up and down screaming (yes, my brain has legs and a mouth) “OMG! THREE MILES! I’M GOING TO DIE!!!” But after I achieve the distance, my brain thinks, “Oh yeah. I’m a total badass runner. I rock.” and can keep going. It’s like a switch gets flicked and life is good. Why must this 3 mile distance torture me so?

Maybe I need to run with audio books or something? Maybe if I wasn’t focused on the distance so much, I could just let my body do the work and let my brain chillax?

Argh! Running!

Once I was all showered it was time to head to work, but of course, I allowed myself a Starbucks stop.

bucks

How I love you, my Chocolate Vivanno w/add shot. I also picked up a yogurt parfait that I ended up having later:

IMG_2524

Right across the street was another Giants Dugout store. While I kind of want a jacket, I can’t bring myself to spend the $120 to get the one I want. Even so, I had promised my co-worker that if I passed a store, I would check in and pick him up a new hat. Since I was so close and I was on my way to work, I thought I’d check.

dugout dugout2

Yeah. Um. No. Sorry Louis, but you’re going to have to wait in these lines yourself!

What do you listen to when you run? Music? Audio books? What keeps you entertained?