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Maybe This is a Runner’s High

19 Oct

When I got home from work today, I was in the mood for a run. I spent the last hour of work reading Runner’s World newbie articles (shhh, don’t tell my boss) and was ready for some walk-jog-running action. Even though I was in the mood for a run, I wasn’t quite in the mind set where I was ready to open up my heart and prance around the room shouting “I love running!”

No. I was prepared. I was prepared because I knew this run was going to suck–because I’m new at it or because I’ve never been one for running. I just knew it was going to suck. I was even planning on writing a post about how much running sucks and calling it “I Fucking Hate Running.”

As usual, I made myself go out anyway.

I went to the park near my house for the first time. (Walk-jog-running in grass is better for me because of my cranky knee. As grass=good, hard asphalt=BAD BAD OW.) I was a little put off by the park at first because there were some men playing tennis when I first got there. As I began moving, my brain started blabbering at me: “Oh they’re laughing: they must be laughing at you!….Maybe your pants are falling down and you can’t tell. You should stop running and check…..Hey, they must think you have a really fat ass….”–but I shut that part of my brain down and kept slogging forward.

What I found as I teetered away from the dudes playing tennis (who may or may not have still been laughing at me), over little hills and through patches of mud, was that the park goes deeper than I had imagined. I discovered that if you cross the street cutting through the park and keep running, that there’s a pond surrounding by flowers with a small dock hidden back behind the houses. When coming over the first crest of a hill, the almost full moon hovers full and bright over the tree line. I was no longer thinking about the fact that my lungs hurt or that the people inside the houses might see me running along. It did not occur to me to be embarrassed. I was happy to use my body to propel myself forward and to be a small part of the world surrounding me.

 

I went home. I did a little yoga. While sitting in meditation afterwards, I came to the conclusion: Running is fucking awesome.

 

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All Hail the Pumking

19 Oct

If it could be fall forever, I would be perfectly happy. It’s not too hot like summer and not bitterly cold. The air is crisp and clear. The weather is perfect for scarves and light coats.  The boyfriend and I celebrated the arrival of fall here by going for a walk around a local reservoir. I took too many pictures and it was generally a great way to enjoy the outdoors, each other, and get in some exercise.

Fall is the time of year with some of my favorite seasonal foods and drinks. Fall beers are spicy and malty–just warm enough to counteract the cool weather but with some bite lurking at the edges. Also, I am an unabashed lover of all things pumpkin flavored. Naturally, this encompasses pumpkin flavored beer.

By far the best pumpkin beer I have found is the Southern Tier Pumking.

It’s not light in the alcohol content, after all it is an imperial ale, coming in at a strong 9%ABV. However, the taste is so light and crisp that the alcohol flavor is completely masked. I’ve tasted beers with less ABV that have more alcohol flavor than this beer. The body is surprisingly light and when poured the beer has an unmistakable orange color (like a pumpkin!).

Where other pumpkin beers are heavy, spicy and dark, this beer is a perfect balance between the pumpkin flavors and the pumpkin pie spices. I prefer my pumpkin beers to be on the spicier side usually since it’s so hard to get the pumpkin flavor right in beers. Pumpkin by itself can often end up with a beer that tastes too weak and too bitter. I want to be reminded of a good pumpkin pie when I drink a pumpkin beer. However, an over reliance on spices can make a pumpkin beer cloying after a few bottles. The Pumking is the one pumpkin beer I have found that I don’t get sick of as I drink more of it. I spent a very happy Saturday afternoon sipping this beer in my backyard.

 

When I woke up on Sunday, pumpkin beer alone were not doing enough to sate my desire for pumpkin flavored food stuffs: I wanted to bake. So I took to the internet to find the pumpkin baked goods that I could make with the limited provisions I had in my house. As soon as I ran across this recipe for Sugarlaw’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies, I knew I had my baking project.

I did not have the pudding mix the recipe called for, so I substituted 1/4 cup brown sugar. I also didn’t have any cloves and replaced them with 1/4 tsp ground ginger. The cookies were surprisingly good. I think I ate three as soon as they came out of the oven (oops…). If you like cakey cookies, these are perfect. They taste like fluffy pumpkin pies. Delicious!

Some goals (and a first post!)

11 Oct

Hello all, I’m Kat…

The idea of healthy living blogging is new to me. Sadly (or perhaps not), the catalyst for this blog–something which I view as throwing my hat into a ring already filled with many caring and capable voices–was the now infamous Marie Claire article. I read it; then I read the blogs that it was supposedly based on. And I didn’t see any of the negativity that the writer seemed so intent on conveying. Hey, I used to be a journalist; I know that type of article only comes out of a writer who is angling for something from the beginning.

But I digress.

The Marie Claire article got me reading….and reading….and spending way too much time at work reading these blogs. And this got me thinking about my own health. I’ve always been health conscious; I just didn’t always pay attention that awareness. As my blog title states, I love beer. Love. It. Fall beers especially. Give me a mug of malty goodness and I am a happy lady. But too many nights being glued to the couch, beer in hand, does not engender the healthiest life and body. I can do better.

I am not a natural cardiovascular type athlete. I’ve never been a runner (though I certainly envy those who can). My yoga practice has been pretty much consistent for nine years, but I want to make it more consistent. This is not the blog where I will be recounting my weekly 20 mile runs. I’m just not there yet. I might be one day. I might not be. But finding out is half the fun (as the cliches go…).

So here are some of my goals for now:

  • Drink less! Drinking alcohol will never go away completely for me, but practicing moderation is something I could certainly be better at.
  • Run a ten minute mile. I am super far away from this one (it feels like). Right now, I can do a half mile in 13:36. Yeah, not great. But that’s more than I could do a few weeks ago.
  • Do yoga at least three times per week.
  • Eat a serving of vegetables or fruit at every meal. I’m pretty good for lunch and dinner, but I need more than just a granola bar and a Red Bull for breakfast.
  • Cut down on caffeine. Morning caffeine is not going away, but the mid-afternoon cup(s) of tea could be cut out.

Random awesome fitness thing for the day: While doing my post run yoga, I was able to put my heels completely on the ground during Downward-Facing Dog. I’m such a dork to be excited about this, but I am!  Normally, I get my heels at a 45 degree angle to the floor. This time I was doing lots of leg stretches, which must have warmed up my legs enough because…Bam! I pushed up into Down Dog and both of my feet were all the way on the floor. Best feeling ever 🙂

Exercise Today:

  • 13:36 minutes walking/jogging/running .5 mi
  • 20:00 minutes of post-cardio yoga