Sunday, January 30, 2011

First Weekend Away

This weekend I got to take a much needed break from where I'm staying. Andrew drove up and we met at my sister's house, which about 40 minutes away from here. It was so great to get away and visit with my family. On Friday we watched a movie and relaxed. On Saturday I did my long run outside (thank goodness I didn't have to do it on the treadmill!), then Andrew and I went out to Panera for lunch and went to Target. Before coming back today we went out to lunch with Sarah, Brian, and Landon. I brought Andrew back to see my accommodations (he said it's obvious that their decorating style is "former soviet republic"), then he headed back to Roanoke. Now I'm all unpacked and ready to begin week #2. I hate to wish my life away, but I hope it goes by as quickly as last week did.

Here are some pictures from this weekend:

Sarah and me with Landon

Andrew playing with Landon...they were buds.

Andrew helping Landon learn to walk

Me and Landon

Landon playing with his tractor

I'm SO SO SO thankful for Sarah opening up her home to us for a relaxing weekend. I have the best sissy :)

Well that's all for now...I'll be off to dinner here in a little while.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank Goodness I Drive a Jeep

This afternoon I took the shuttle out to the parking lot with a few of my friends so that we could clean off our cars. Most of the parking lot wasn't plowed and if you were parked on a row that did get plowed, your car got plowed in. Just like I did:


I got all of the snow off and made a path so that I could get out tomorrow afternoon. My sister has been gracious enough to let me stay at her house and Andrew is coming up to visit, too!

Even more good news: I actually learned something new today!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day Two Brings Snow

2 days down, 16 to go.

Today's class was once again a review of things I already knew. You have no idea how hard it is to stay awake and pay attention for 8 hours while listening to something you already know. Thank goodness for coffee. It's also frustrating that not everybody has the same experience or pre-requisite training. So while I understand everything we're going over, some people don't. And so as not to comfuse anyone, whenever we ask questions about a more complex subject we're told that "we aren't going to go over that'll learn that when you get back home...". Really? I don't understand why I'm here then. But I must remind myself that it's only the second day, so hopefully I will learn something in the next 16 days of class. Okay - enough complaining., I lied. I have one more thing to complain about. Today I went to the fitness center because I couldn't run outside due to the snow. I had to run on the treadmill that was one foot away from a white wall because all of the others were taken. It was the most boring 40 minutes of my life. I thought about trying to pretend that I was outside in the snow (with the white and all), but it just wasn't working. The only thing saving me from insanity was my iPod shuffle (thanks to my wonderful hubby who gave it to me for Christmas).

Okay, enough negativity. Dinner tonight was good. Also, it snowed! Some people would say this is a bad thing, but I really love the snow. It's so pretty. One advantage of being here is that we don't have to go outside to get anywhere, which is great since it's cold and snowy. I just looked out my window and I think we have about 5 inches. It's dark though so I can't really tell.

I'll leave you with a picture I took earlier this afternoon of the nice view out of my room window. When it's clear you can see alot farther, but the snow is pretty too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Day Down

Yesterday was my travel day for my month long centralized training session in Northern VA. Today was our first day of classroom training and I have 17 more days of class to go (30 days including weekends).

The facility we're staying in is...interesting. It's an "all inclusive" place, so we eat, sleep, and train all in the same place. When I first arrived the person at the front desk told me to go to the right, take an elevator DOWN one floor, go down a really long tunnel labeled "Alaska" then take the fork left until you come to an elevator. Then I was to take the elevator UP and find my room. It didn't really make sense to me to go down to go up, but whatever. I still haven't figured this place out. After about 20 minutes of pushing an extremely heavy luggage cart that I couldn't steer through a half mile of tunnels, I finally found my room. Once I made it back to my car, I had to park it another half mile away. There is a shuttle, but I chose the path through the woods to get back to the facility, where I also saw 2 deer. Awesome.

My room is nice, but extremely small. Thankfully everything fits in here, so it doesn't really matter how big it is since I'm not in here for most of the day. I do have a decent view out of my little window, so that's a plus.

Another plus is that so far the food is really good. They have lots of options and it's really easy to eat healthy(ish). Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any water fountains so I have to stock up on water whenever I go to the dining area. There is a $3 bottle of water in my room, but I'm not about to drink that (darn you, Dave Ramsey!).

The classroom training today was alright for it just being the first day. Everything was mostly a review of things we already knew, but that was to be expected. I'm just hoping that I will actually learn something so that I won't be going away for nothing, but it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case. One good thing about the training is the breakout stations, which are stocked with an unlimited (and free!) supply of "Starbucks" coffee, Tazo tea, and snack foods. MMM.

Last night I managed to get to the fitness center, which is larger than it usually is in most hotels, but it still has a lot to be desired. It's also about a half mile away through a confusing maze of tunnels underground, so I didn't have to warm up much once I got there. There are only 4 treadmills, 2 of which are a foot away from a white wall. So as if running on a treadmill wasn't boring enough, you can also stare straight at a blank white wall for an hour. Awesome. Today we actually got out of class 15 minutes early so I was able to rush back to my room, change, and go running outside on the 1.3 mile loop around the facility a few times before it got dark. Unfortunately I think the weather might prevent me from doing that on quite a few days (like tomorrow - I think it's supposed to snow).

One thing I am thankful about is that I am relatively close to home, and also close to my sister. There are some people here from as far away as Anchorage. Yikes! At least I can see Andrew and my sister on the weekends!

Well, I think that's all for now. But don't worry, I will have plenty of time to keep you updated, though I may run out of things to write about...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Only Downside of Training for a Spring Race:

It's cold outside. That means some of my long runs must be done inside, and that means becoming bff's with the treadmill (aka "dreadmill"). This morning I had to run at least 7 miles on the treadmill. It was boring (I might have fallen asleep), but endurable. If anything, running on a treadmill might help increase my mental stamina. But one thing is for sure...I can't wait for warmer weather. Sorry, but I am just not a cold weather fan.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

VT Hockey Game and Pancakes

Last weekend Andrew and I got together with another couple and went to a Virginia Tech Hockey game. We actually had no idea VT had a hockey team, but apparently they do! Their home games are at the Roanoke Civic Center, and tickets are only $5 (free with a VT ID or for those under 12). It had been a really long time since I had been to a hockey game, but I was quickly reminded of how much fun they are to watch! Not only the fast pace of the game, but it was great fun watching the players literally beat each other up push and shove each other around on the ice. I mean, what's hockey without some good violence? Virginia Tech faced off against Penn State and they tied 2-2 (yes, apparently you can tie in hockey even after one overtime...lame!). It was a fun time and we decided that we'd have to come back for some more games in the future. Their season is almost over though, so it will have to wait until next fall/winter.

I also wanted to share another recipe. This time it's for oatmeal cottage cheese pancakes. I know the sound of that is probably enough to make some of you throw up in your mouth, but just trust me on this one; they are amazing. I've also calculated that if you follow the recipe below, which makes 2 servings, each serving contains a whopping 27 grams of protein. They also have 13 grams of fat, only 5 grams of sugar (until you put some syrup on them anyways...), 32 carbs, and approximately 350 calories. So unlike regular pancakes that leave you feeling like you want to die and hungry again in an hour, these keep you full for half the day and don't cause you to have a sugar crash after you eat them. So anyways, here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 packets of Splenda*
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or other combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves)
*for those of you who are anti-artificial-sweetener, 3 packets of Splenda is the equivalent of 1/8 cup of sugar...but you really can't taste the Splenda in this recipe, just FYI! And using real sugar also defeats the purpose of this being a pancake recipe that won't cause a sugar crash in an hour.

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and mix until smooth (just at least until you can't really tell that it has oatmeal in it). Also, don't try to use a hand mixer instead. It won't work. Trust me.

Pour a little bit onto a hot pan and cook them up just like regular pancakes!

They are really good with bananas on top and a little bit of maple syrup!

These pancakes aren't as fluffy as regular pancakes. Their consistency is denser, more like buckwheat pancakes (if you've ever had the pleasure of eating those). MMM MMM MMM...just posting this is making me crave them!

In other news, I am about to go away for training for my new job for a WHOLE MONTH. So I apologize in advance if I do posts about random things because I am bored out of my mind. I'm hoping it won't be too bad and that the time will go by fast.

Also, I decided to train for my second half marathon: the Blue Ridge Half Marathon on April 16. The course goes up Mill Mountain, so it will certainly be more of a challenge than the Star City Half. Thankfully I have a friend who I am training with. We've only done one long run together so far, but running with someone else makes it a million times better, especially when it's 32 degrees out!

I think that's all for now. I'm sure you'll be hearing from me while I'm trying to pass the time during training!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Recipe

For my first post of 2011, I thought I'd start things off with a new, semi-healthy recipe. After all, wasn't "eating healthier" everybody's New Year's resolution?

Here's what we had for dinner tonight...

Veggie & Egg Bake

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 16 oz container low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
To make:
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.
  • Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until center is set.
This tastes like a casserole version of an omelet, or like a quiche without the crust. It makes 6 servings. It's packed with veggies, low fat cheese, and the incredible, edible egg. It's also meatless, so it makes for a lighter yet satisfying meal.

I was craving some sweet potatoes, so I made some oven baked sweet potato wedges. To make, cut sweet potatoes into small wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and turn the wedges to coat the sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 until they are browned to your desire (about 30-40 minutes, but keep an eye on them). They are delicious and remind me of sweet potato chips. MMM.