A New Chapter…A New Challenge…

Less than a month ago I shared that I’m going to give this ‘running thing a try.’  I started on January 1st – with a 1 mile Run / Walk to gauge my timing.   I tested 2 different types – 3 minute run / 6 minute walk; 2 minute run / 4 minute walk.  Landed on the latter as I started my training and increased my distance.

My pre-training has included running the intervals – I’m now at 2 minute run / 1:45 minute walk – I’m a little over 14 minutes per mile.  I run 3 times per week and I cross-train (TRX and Yoga).  I hope to add in Spin once a week too (starting this coming week).

It hasn’t been easy for me to get out and do my program – there have been some days I’ve really had to give myself a pep talk (all of my runs are outside unless I’m traveling as I got rid of my treadmill a few years ago).  And after I’m always glad my pep talks have worked – such a wonderful sense of accomplishment.  I’ve had things get in my way (i.e. work) get in my way – but I’m not letting it happen.  One night, I sent a text to a co-worker – that I would be back (working on the project that was due) but I owed myself 2 miles and I did it!  I’ve actually been able to get 2 runs in over my lunch hour over the past couple of weeks too – it has allowed me to vent out some frustrations and help me re-focus.

Tomorrow morning is the official start of my 13.1 training.  I’m excited, I’m scared and I’m ready for this challenge!!

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Never Say Never

I can’t believe it has been almost 2 months since I’ve written.  To say it has been cray cray is an understatement.  Lots of changes going on at work (for me all good so far) – which is also the driver of this post.

You know how the saying goes, ‘Never Say Never.’  Ask any of my BP gals when they ask me if I’m interested in marathon or triathlon training and I tell they I will cheer them and and I think they are crazy.  I’ll ‘Never do that’.  If I’m really honest, I’ve been less and less saying no way.  And thinking I should give it a shot.  But then again I think – they are nuts!  (and they know I say that with LOVE).

It isn’t as if I didn’t run for sports in high school – I played field hockey for 6 years and was on the track and field team for 3 years – where I did a lot of running.  I just never liked it – I could run during games without an issue – go figure.

Now fast forward through my life to about 2 weeks ago and I start looking at my business travel schedule.  I look at the schedule and think – I need to get some structure around my workout schedule and I need to do it quickly.  I recall seeing one of my trainers posting a winter 1/2 Marathon Training starting at the end of January.  I think – hmmm – is this the push I need to try this.  So I find out if I can get a walk / run program and get started before the end of January training.  The answer was a YES with encouragement for me to do this.

So I’m going to give this running thing a go as I’ve worked too hard over the last two years to allow a couple months of business travel to derail me now.  I’m staying optimistic that with the right training and starting out with the walk / run that maybe just maybe I’ll find something else I enjoy doing.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m scared – because I sure am.  I’m also embracing to see what I learn about myself over the next few months as I go through this training as I know it will definitely challenge my both mentally and physically.  I will keep you posted on my journey.

I’m Resilient, I’m Strong and …

I’m Resilient, I’m Strong and Suck it up Buttercup were the 3 things going through my head today!  Why were these three mantras going through my head today?

In 2012, I signed up to walk The Beauty and the Beach Run all women’s charity run/walk/skip which benefits Aslan Youth Ministries.  I wasn’t able to participate because Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore.  I wasn’t able to attend last year as I had an Awards dinner to go to.  I procrastinated and finally signed up mid-month to do the event.  A friend and I were going to walk the event along with some other ladies.  I got a text in the early AM that my friend had to cancel (everything is fine).  I still had to pick-up up on swag bags and race bibs.  And the swag bag for this event is great – awesome shirt!

I had been watching the weather all week (and earlier this week I was a maybe as I was feeling a little under the weather).  The forecast was not great – mid 50s and rain.  Well rain at the beach in the fall / winter is never a good thing.  Well the forecast changed and the temp dropped about 10 degrees and they added wind to the rain.  I had an easy out today – I could totally bag the event – just pick-up our goodies and come home.  Then I stopped and thought – if this was a PSU game – I’d be going – no ifs, ands or buts! (my seats are covered so I do have some benefits there – but I’d be tailgating or something in the elements).  I thought about all the work the organizers and volunteers had put in and decided I could do this and I just needed to – Suck it up Buttercup (a little softer than just Suck it up)!

This race is 5 miles and I’m not currently a runner (maybe someday) so I knew I would be spending a lot of time in the elements.  My goal was to finish in 90 minutes (or less).  So I put all my tailgating experience to work and layered up (note to self – time to invest in a nice rain jacket with a hood – even the nice poncho I had would’ve been better if a jacket). The only thing different was I was in sneakers vs. boots.  Oh and I had hand and foot warmers too!  I don’t mess around.  🙂

The start was exciting – I even jogged a little and then I walked.  There were volunteers encouraging us and handing out water (and they were cold – rockstars – we could at least move).  While I was walking I was listening to my iPod and when my IT band started getting tight – I started my mantras – I’m RESILIENT, I’m STRONG and ever once in awhile my Buttercup phrase would pop in my head because it makes me laugh!

The last 1/2 mile was brutal – wind and rain (I swear they were pellets) – again the mantras and seeing that finish line really helped.  I jogged in the last portion of it so I could cross the finish line in style.  I finished in 80 minutes – a 16 minute mile.

There were 608 ladies who turned out today – I’m glad I was one of them.  Together we can make a difference!  Looking forward to next year’s event!

 

Ocean churning it up in Long Branch.

Ocean churning it up in Long Branch.

Attitude is Gratitude

At the end of September I started The 8-Week Body Project – A Complete Lifestyle Program which focuses on Fitness, Nutrition, Accountability/Structure, Education and Mindset.

I’ve completed programs at Body Project Fitness in the past and have loved it.  This one is different for me as I was looking for a RESET button.  I had some early success with my weight loss earlier in the year and now I seem to be in a funk.  Now this program is not about weight loss – this is about taking care of the whole me (and my hope is the weight loss will be a by product).

I’ve learned a lot so far.  Although I know a lot about what I should be eating – I’ve actually kept a journal since September 23rd – not 100% but pretty darn good for me since when I usually do a log – I do it for about a week.  And the journaling isn’t just about food – it is about how we feel, how much sleep I’m getting, how much water I’m drinking, my activity (trying to move everyday), success of the day, what we want to do better for the next day and what we are grateful for each day.  I will tell you I struggle with the last 3 and there are many days that I leave them blank (I have two more weeks in the program and will be more mindful of these 3)

Now fast forward a month, I’m a mentor at work and as part of this program they offer leadership development opportunities for both the mentors and proteges.  The program that was offered was ‘The Shadow you Cast’.

It was so on point to the many things we are talking about as part of our 8 week program. What hit home to me the most was Attitude and Gratitude.  On the attitude side – think about how you feel when you wake-up – that feeling is how we start our day – I bet there are many days when our attitude isn’t the greatest when we get up (myself included) and Gratitude – we all have more than 1 pair of shoes and none of us went to bed hungry last night.  Think about those two statements – makes the ‘problems’ we have a whole lot smaller – right?

Some other key points:

  • Be present in the moment (sound familiar to any BP ladies reading this post?) (and put those phones down!! 🙂 )
  • Surround yourself with strong, capable people – it was like my coach, Lindsay was right there.
  • We also discussed introvert vs. extrovert – not the personality portion but how you re-charge.  I’m such an introvert from a re-charging standpoint.
  • Self-talk and affirmations.  A great example was having your affirmations on a mirror or on your steering wheel as a reminder.  As part of our 8 week program, we all have mantras – mine are I’m RESILIENT and I’m STRONG!

The timing was perfect – as soon as I started listening to the call – I immediately took the notes in my journal and not in my work notebook – because this is all about how I live my life.

I just love that my company is developing its existing and future leaders to think and live our lives this way!

As October is almost over and we move to the month of November – the month of Thanksgiving – I’ll leave you with this quote:

Develop attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. ~Brian Tracy

Out and about – September

It is so hard to believe that September 2014 is a memory.  It was a super busy month for me with both personal and a little work travel to make it interesting.  All of my personal travel involved a short jaunt from NJ to Happy Valley (4 hours each way) (4 weekends of PSU football – live!) and just to make it interesting a nice train ride through CT for work.

Thought I’d share Highlights from the month:

  1. Celebrated a birthday on the 8th – 68 birthday wishes on FB 🙂 and non-FB Friends
  2. Spending the day with my niece and nephew before they went back to school – always fun spending time with them.  Even tried Smashburger for the first time – it was a hit for all of us.  The milkshakes were YUMMY!
  3. A wonderful birthday weekend at a PSU game with my Mom, a good friend and her Mom.

    The 'S' Zone - best student section in the country!

    The ‘S’ Zone – best student section in the country!

  4. Dinner with my Parents at Char’s – Tracy Mansion.  The food, atmosphere and my Cucumber Martini(s) were amazing!  Dessert at home with my favorite cake – Italian Wedding Cake!

    My yummy cake!

    My yummy cake!

  5. An impromptu birthday lunch with one of my College roommates and later in the month another impromptu lunch with a College roommate on my way home from Happy Valley.
  6. PSU weekend with my College friends  – whoever can get together once a year – we’ve been doing it since 2000 – always a good time.  We all met our sophomore year at PSU.

    Tailgating every year since 2000 - friends since 1988 - priceless!

    Tailgating every year since 2000 – friends since 1988 – priceless!

  7. PSU local game – we won the game – I won’t go into my game time experience but the tailgating was lots of fun.
  8. Amtrak ride up the Northeast Corridor for stop in CT – some lovely views – my favorite is the view of NYC as we are leaving the city.

    NYC - leaving Penn Station going North

    NYC – leaving Penn Station going North

  9. PSU Homecoming – meet some great people tailgating, ate great food and indulge in some adult beverages including trying some Apple Pie Moonshine – just a couple of sips.  Found another Pinot Noir I enjoy – Middle Sister.  🙂

    The 'S' Zone - Original PSU Colors - Pink and Black - faded to what we now have as Blue and White

    The ‘S’ Zone – Original PSU Colors – Pink and Black – faded to what we now have as Blue and White

  10. Scholarships Restored and Bowl Ban Lifted (on my Bday to be exact)!  🙂
  11. Starting an 8 week program focusing on Mindset, Fitness, Education, Accountability/Structure and Nutrition (more to come on this in later posts).

Have a great day!!

 

Summer Fun

As I was holding onto the last ‘official days’ of summer, I started reading a book a friend loaned to me on Friday.  It is called Summer at Tiffany!  I finished it in one day.  It is about two young women from the University of Iowa – and the summer they worked at Tiffany’s.  Two important things to know about this – it was the summer of 1945 and they were the first women to work there.

The book is described about “a fearless summer of friendship, freedom and first love in New York City.”  It is also about taking chances and life decisions.  You’ll have to read the book to enjoy their adventures.

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I enjoyed this book so much, I bought it for my Aunt for her birthday.  My Uncle asked if it was a ‘chick’ book.  It kindof is, however, it is so interesting to see who crossed their paths, the history they experienced and to see things through two young college students in a time when women were still finding their voices in the US.  I sure hope that if I had lived in that era that I would’ve taken a chance like Marjorie and Marty.

Enjoy!

Good-bye Summer…

As I sit here on the last official Sunday of summer – it reminds me of THE STATION by Robert J. Hastings – my Dad gave me this poem when I went to college and it hung on my bulletin board for 4 years and I have I still have that original somewhere – I should get it back on the bulletin board.

I love the last part of the poem – “…climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less.  Life must be lived as we go along.  The STATION will come soon enough.”

As we say good-bye to summer – remember the ice cream you enjoyed, cherish the times you had with family and friends, the feeling of the sand between your toes, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach – embrace the memory as we move into fall – remember to ‘relish the moment’ (which is perfect timing as it is tailgating season for me!)

Now go out and relish the rest of summer – I know I am!  🙂

 

Keeping Up – Summer Edition

I can’t believe there are only a couple weeks of summer left. I’ve had a busy and fun summer so far.

Of course you know I took a 2 week vacation at the Jersey Shore – I love it and look forward to it every year. I’m already booked for 2015!

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

Here are some of the fun things I’ve done this summer:

  • Dusted off my not so great golf skills in South Carolina.  I forgot how much fun it can be.  Even was thinking of getting back in the ‘swing’ of it again.  Who knows – maybe next year!
  • A Girl’s Trip to South Carolina for some beach / pool time and of course some fried green tomatoes!

    Tried 3 types - my fav - with pimento cheese and some spicy jelly - YUM!!

    Tried 3 types – my fav – with pimento cheese and some spicy jelly – YUM!!

  • Annual Carnival trip with my niece!  Always so much fun.

    CHAOS - Loved it!!!

    CHAOS – Loved it!!!

  • It has really been the summer of baseball for me. I started off June with a Phillies vs. Mets game with some friends (Phillies lost).  I’ve had the opportunity this summer to see Camden Yards, Pittsburgh PNC Park and back the Citizens Bank Park this past Monday (in a Suite too 🙂 – sadly the Phillies lost again to the Mets!
    View of the Pittsburgh Sklyline at PNC Park

    View of the Pittsburgh Skyline at PNC Park

    Billy Joel Concert – it was AWESOME!!

    I see a Piano!  Such a great show!!

    I see a Piano! Such a great show!!

    Philly Skyline from the Billy Joel Concert

    Philly Skyline from the Billy Joel Concert

  • Some group karaoke while in Baltimore – ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’  🙂
  • Pool time and BBQs with friends
  • Visit with my parents while breaking up a business trip drive.  Spending some quality time and enjoying my Dad’s awesome cooking.
  • Cities I’ve visited this summer for work and pleasure:  Pawley’s Island, SC, Baltimore, MD, Ocean City, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Reston, VA, Camp Hill, PA, Pittsburgh, PA.  Next on the list:  Chicago, NYC and Overland Park, KS (major metropolis 🙂 )

    City Hall - Philadelphia, PA

    City Hall – Philadelphia, PA

  • Great rides on my bike while on vacation.  Just need to make some time to get back on my bike.
  • REO Speedwagon and Chicago in concert.  Last time I saw REO Speedwagon it was my senior year in college at Bald Eagle State Park and Chicago in 2003 at PNC Arts Center.  I just love all the brass and woodwinds.  Impressive!
    REO Speedwagon and Chicago on stage together!!

    REO Speedwagon and Chicago on stage together!!

    What have you done fun this summer?

Some more Favorite Summer Recipes

Thought I’d share some more of my favorite summer recipes.

Growing up we used to go to the Holy Spirit Hospital Street Fair. Always a fun time but always one of the highlights was the Chicken BBQ put on by either by the Shriners or the Fireman (I don’t recall). I still remember seeing the grills set-up and the smoke coming off of them onto the highway. The boxed chicken bbq was always awesome – sweet with some charcoal crispiness (you had to pre-purchase or you ran the risk of them selling out). Fast forward about 20 years and my Dad was at the Farmer’s Market getting some fresh chicken and he was offered this recipe for Fireman’s Chicken BBQ (super easy):

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 3 T Sugar
  • 1 1/2 T Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Vinegar

Put all ingredients in a spray bottle.  Spray / baste chicken (works well with thighs and legs) every time your turn it.  This is a staple with my Dad and Brother.  My brother even has the recipe taped to an inside cabinet down the Shore.  And I have a picture of that recipe card on my phone (which is how I was able to post it!)

Some of my favorite foods are salmon, beets and avocado.  I was visiting my parents over the summer and my Dad was trying some new recipes from the Food Network.

Here is the Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Rub recipe by Ellie Krieger

Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 T light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/8 t fresh ground pepper
  • 6 – 6 oz salmon fillet, skin and any pin bones removed (I think this would also be good with chicken breasts too)
  • 1 T olive oil

Directions:  Coat your grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.  While the grill is heating, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Brush each salmon fillet with 1/2 tsp of olive oil, then rub each fillet with about 1/2 tsp of the spice mixture.  Grill the salmon, flesh side down, until charred – 4 to 5 minutes.  Flip the salmon and cook another 5 to 6 minutes for medium doneness.  For well done fish, cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove to a platter and serve.

Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Rub by Ellie Krieger - photo from the Food Network

Salmon with Sweet and Spicy Rub by Ellie Krieger – photo from the Food Network

Here is the Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad by Giada de Laurentiis (I think this is what made me fall is love with Avocados!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 medium beets, cooked and quartered
  • 6 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (crumbled blue cheese would work too)

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the vinegar, shallots, and honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss the beets in a small bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the beets are slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Toss the arugula, walnuts, and cranberries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the salad atop 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the avocado and goat cheese, and serve.

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad by Giada de Laurentiis - photo by the Food Network

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad by Giada de Laurentiis – photo by the Food Network

Any favorite recipes you would like to share?

Enjoy!!

A Name, A Date and A Saint

I started reading the St. Chrysostom’s Churh Blog earlier this year because they had a great post on the Annual Blessing of Homes.  I read this post today on celebrating the date of your name.  My date is November 25th (for my given name – Catherine and all of my nicknames) – I’ll have to mark the calendar!

It got me thinking me thinking about who I was named after – my Mom, Grandmother – and I think she was named for an Aunt – but in the end we were all named after St. Catherine of Siena.  Catherine was way ahead of the times – she spoke her mind and demonstrated it (she cut her hair in protest).  The celebration of her day is April 29th – my Pop-Pop’s birthday – it will be easy to remember.  She was a smart woman and died at a very young age – just 33.  She left her mark though.  I think I would like her – love her spirit – I’d like to think I’ve got a little bit of her in me!

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ~Catherine of Siena

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