Days 119, 120, and 121. Burgers, cafes, Mira Mar…

Day One Hundred Nineteen (dia um centena de dezanove)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

31 Janeiro 2014

I got up at 8:30am (after having been awake all night, coughing) so I’d have time to run and hit the gym before Lina picked me up around 12:30pm. I ate my chia seed pudding with some homemade granola on top (deliciousness) and took Romeo for 5 miles. Well, I took Romeo for about 1.75 and then finished 5. John, surprisingly, got up around 8:45am when I was noisily coughing up a lung. Knowing that he sleeps poorly, I apologized for having woken him up so early. “No way! I slept great! That tea is amazing.” Really? Because I was awake the entire night coughing my brains out and the few minutes I did sleep in between fits I had crazy, horrible dreams. Glad someone slept well.

I headed to Pic Nic for a cafe (saving my galao for the city) and then to the gym. I did my own circuit workout and was only a round in when John showed up. He took Ernesto through a 300 workout, along with Ken, but I did 5 rounds, 10 reps of:

  • front squat-to-OH press
  • barbell split squats
  • decline push ups
  • weighted box jumps
  • v-ups (15 reps)

I did front squats right to split squats, just transferring the barbell to my back. Because I had a narrow grip for the front squats, it was sort of awkward. At least twice I scraped the shit out of my neck. Ernesto told me to use I towel, but I reminded him I am tough like Ronnie Coleman—I didn’t need a towel!

That was the first time I did weighted box jumps (10kg plate). I wanted to make them harder, and since there is not any surface that is higher (the curb is probably only 16 inches) it definitely made them more difficult. I tried it first with two 5kg plates, but found that much more awkward. One plate felt comfortable.

I ran home to shower and change. Lina, Xana, and Xana’s friend came to pick me up and off we went. First, we dropped Xana’s stuff and dinner off at their apartment in Santa Clara. After Xana’s took her last exam she was going to have a bunch of friends over to celebrate their first semester down. Then, we dropped Xana and her friend off at university and hit the mall. Lina and I have become very good friends since I got here in October. One of the ways you can tell is we didn’t even have to discuss where we were going for lunch: we just knew we were going to get hamburgers at H3. I was going to get the super bread for my cheat meal, but we were talking and talking about eating healthy and working out and losing weight… and we both got our burgers with salad, no bread or rice. They were still super delicious. We didn’t even go for pastries—after lunch, we went to the super market downstairs and picked up a few things. I needed cocoa powder for brownies I’ve been wanting to make (the only kind of cocoa powder they sell in the vila has sugar as the first ingredient) and Lina wanted to see if they had mushrooms.

We stopped in the health food section which is much more impressive than the one at Antonio’s. I showed Lina the chia seeds and she bought some for Ernesto. I bought some more (because of course they were cheaper here) and I also got some tofu for when my mama is here NEXT WEEKEND! Yippee.

We didn’t get pastries, but we did stop at the cafe at the front of the supermarket for cafes and Lina opened a box of blueberry granola bars she had bought in the health food section and we each had one of those as our treat. #eatcleantrainmean

It was another beautiful day in the city, and with our few errands done we headed back to Povoacao.

When I got back I was super excited to make my brownies. I found a recipe on Pinterest from (whom I loathe most of the time*) that used black beans as the base. I already had a can of black beans, and now I had my cocoa so I went to work. The recipe also called for egg substitute (no.) and like 24 packets of truvia (no.). I used two eggs, two tablespoons of honey, and ½ a cup of shredded coconut. It also called for sugar-free chocolate syrup in addition to the cocoa powder, so I just added more cocoa powder. It called for sour cream so I put in half a banana instead. I topped a third of the tray with chopped walnuts, for me. #makeityours #icantfollowarecipe

 *I loathe because, like many other such websites/magazines, they tout workouts that will get you flat abs! six pack abs! tight buns! in 4-6 weeks by doing crunches and bodyweight squats. #onwhatplanet?


Because my shredded coconut was unsweetened, it didn’t actually do the trick of making my brownies sweet, as I had hoped. You could just feel the coconut texture. And even though I used a ton of cocoa powder, they weren’t that chocolatey. They were however pretty delicious and were gone by Sunday afternoon. Next time I am nixing the coconut and honey and putting in chocolate chips instead. They will definitely be a win. I also found a recipe for peanut butter cinnamon raisin protein cookies whose main ingredient is chickpeas on my new favorite blog She is vegan and sugar-free, salt-free, oil-free, gluten-free. I love her.


I made chicken drumsticks for dinner which John ate with the leftover fried rice and I saved mine for after class. We did:


Leila (whose leg is slightly better and didn’t skip class for any of the reasons I feared—she was just in the city) brought me a container of the brownie-cookies she made for Lola’s a few weeks ago. After I made her go back into the gym to foam roll again, she gave them to me and we wished each other a good weekend. Bom fim de semana!

I had the drumsticks, a salad with some of the beans leftover from my brownie-experiment, and a gigantic pan of roasted veggies. I had at least two more brownies. Yum.

I decided to give the tea another go ahead.


Day One Hundred Twenty (dia um centena de vinte)

Saturday (Sabado)

1 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and ate my latest chia seed pudding recipe (2 tablespoons of shredded coconut and no honey) and that is when I discovered for certain that the coconut was unsweetened. It was not delicious. I threw some granola on top and finished it quickly. Once I had walked Romeo, I scooted off to the gym. I was hoping for the same scene I had enjoyed the Saturday before—an empty gym. I was not so lucky; the place was packed.

I realize I am missing more than just my friends, family, and certain foods/places from home. I miss driving around in a car that I own, blasting country, and singing along unabashedly. Sometimes (ok, most days) Ernesto sings along with the radio at the gym, and that helps a little.

After I did my yogi-warm-up in the weight room, I did a whole bunch of supersets:

  • cable inner thigh/hamstring pulls
  • inverted row to reverse fly
  • dip bar mountain climbers and leg extensions
  • SB lotus & single leg curls
  • decline sit up to side plank thread-the-needle
  • 15:00 on the bike, with moderate resistance

I met John & Ken at Pic Nic afterwards for a cafe (trying to have a few days a week without dairy!). The juniors had a game at 4:00pm, so eventually I moseyed over to the fruit market for some fruits and veggies, then home to have lunch, make soup, make meatballs, clean, and finally get ready for the game. Pedro was at another game with the van, so everyone (players, coaches, and me) was on their own in terms of getting to the complex. Marco drove Ken and John up early, but I walked. As always, I was hoping some kind individual would descend upon my route and scoop me up, thus saving me from hiking the lomba, but alas—I walked.

It is actually not that fat (maybe .75 miles) but the large portion of that that seems straight-up makes it seem so much further.

The Mira Mar juniors were in a new group of teams (I guess that is how it works here) so they were playing Santiago for the first time this season. They played really well, but couldn’t score. I had sat down by myself, sort of near our crazy fan lady and her posse. One of the juniors’ girlfriends motioned for me to go sit with them, but no one in that crew speaks English. Luckily for me, Ernesto and Kevin showed up for the second half.

At one point during the game, another vocally active mother began screaming. Our crazy fan lady put her in her place and then turned to me and calmly explained, in Portuguese, what that lady’s problem was. I shook my head and reminded her that I don’t speak Portuguese. Which she acknowledged, and then continued to tell me what was going on, in Portuguese. John told me later that the other mom was pissed because John was all set to start her two sons, and then some starting players showed up (who were late, because they also had to walk). This lady was mad that her sons didn’t get to start (they never do). A couple kids went out injured, so they actually both played the last few minutes of the second half. She was not very happy.

The boys lost 1-0 and I nearly froze to death because I never dress appropriately. It was warm when I left our apartment, I had to walk up that big hill, and I brought my cute Barca gloves, but the jean-jacket-over-T-shirt just wasn’t cutting it. Ernesto drove me home where I immediately put on a second pair of pants and socks, a sweatshirt and a jacket, and took Romeo out.

The boys came home and Ken hung out for a little while before he headed home, too. John and I sat down to eat dinner and then settled in to watch a movie. We watched Dallas Buyer’s Club with Matthew McConaughey. It was really interesting. Ken said to have tissues near by when we watched it (especially since I am a notoriously prolific movie crier) but I guess I wasn’t feeling emotionally invested in this particular story.


Day One Hundred Twenty One (dia um centena de vinte e um)

Sunday (Domingo)

2 Fevereiro 2014

Long run Sunday. My last self-directed run for the next 12 weeks as I hand over my training program to the brainiacs at Nike Plus. I decided to do 10.0 miles.

I got up and had two of my PB balls (with coconut, which I now never want to eat again.. since the chia seed pudding incident as well as the black bean brownie incident) and a banana. I took Romeo for a super long walk and chugged a liter of water. Romeo and I took off.

I dropped him back at the apartment just before 2.0 miles. Then I saw Lina who told me I was crazy—did I mention it was cold and raining? Because it was. This was the first (and hopefully only) long run I’ve done in sub-par weather. The worst part about it is trying to dress appropriately, which you already know is not a skill I possess. I had on my Nike tech tights, an element half-zip and my Red Sox hat. Of course, around mile four the sun came out and I was friggan hot. But at the top of the lombas it cools off significantly, so I just rolled up my sleeves and pant legs and continued on.

Whenever I’m nearing the very top of lomba do Alcaide I always feel like such an amateur, plugging along like a turtle stuck in peanut butter (which, if I was, I’d be trying to eat the PB as I went). Then I finally get to the top and start running down the tree-tunnel road (where I took a digger all those weeks ago) and I remember I am a runner, and I start chugging along at a normal pace again. The quick change is both daunting and motivating. I am vowing to only do heavy legs at the beginning of the week, as this week I did them Friday and Saturday, and I felt it trying to get up the hills.

 IMG_1748These suckers are toast. 

When I got back John was about to head out the door on his way to Pic Nic. I made a different kind of semi-healthy pancakes this week:

  • 3/4c oats
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼c soy milk
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tbs nutella
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

This time I saved the PB and the other half of the banana for garnish. They were delish.


I don’t think I mentioned this in my last blog preface, but I am also (trying) not adding any extra/refined sugar. Hence the black bean brownie incident. Nutella was my way around that in this instance.

John came back to get ready for his game and to grab his stuff. I asked him to ask Pedro to pick me up (’cause I’ll be damned if I’m walking up that lomba again. Especially after running them that day). I showered and headed to Pic Nic for a galao (two days off dairy, one day back on). I went home so I could be ready for Pedro who showed up almost as soon as I walked back in my door. It had started to rain again and it was still 40 minutes before the game, so Pedro suggested we get cafes. Back to Pic Nic we went.

Pedro learned English while working in Bermuda a few years ago. He is good to hang out with because he doesn’t just let you speak English. He gave me a brief Portuguese lesson (whilst making fun of my accent, or lack-thereof) while we had cafes and drove up to the complex, where the sun was shining. The wind was also blowing at top speeds.


Mira Mar was playing Ideal, who are in a different division, in a friendly, so there was less stress. I sat in the box with Serenela, Glebiana, and Andreia. Serenela pointed secretly to her lap. Where there was a puppy. A puppy! Glebiana and her husband (boyfriend? I’m still not sure who on the team is her S.O.) just got him. But if there is a dog in a 100 meter radius, it is surely with Serenela. She has one of her own (Wendy), is always feedings strays, and taking in lost puppies. This puppy is snuggled in a sweater in her lap the entire game. His name is Mufasa.


Mira Mar played incredibly well, especially given the conditions (the wind had picked up so badly, at one point during the second half the other team’s goalie punted the ball and it boomeranged right back out of bounds behind him for a Mira Mar corner kick), and the fact that Ideal is in a better division.


Ideal got lucky in the first half when the wind was blowing towards the Mira Mar goal. A Mira Mar defender (don’t ask me which one) went to shoot the ball to the other side of the field—he was outside the 18 yard box) and the ball hit an Ideal player and ricocheted into the net, right past Vitor (our new all-star goalie). It was the only goal scored.

Toward the end of the second half, John got subbed out (after landing straight on his head) as did Ken (who rolled his ankle). Since it was a friendly, they were not sticking to normal sub-rules. In fact, Ideal put an entirely new line-up in for the second half. Serenela’s boyfriend Filipe hurt his leg and John got subbed back in to finish the game.

Ernesto drove me home where I, again, put on two pairs of pants and socks. John and Ken came home to find me making a new kind of cookie: peanut butter cinnamon raisin protein cookies. From my new favorite raw vegan blogger, Lipstick and Berries. The main ingredient is chickpeas. She used pure maple syrup as a sweetener, but since I didn’t have any I totally omitted any kind of sugar. I may try to add honey next time I make them, and I will definitely make them again.

John and Ken were heading back out to get Pic Nic burgers. On the way out the door John grabbed a black bean brownie (which he said earlier tasted like dirt…and then later asked me to never make again), I ate the last one for dessert with a shmear of Nutella on top.


Say what you will, but I made them Friday and by Sunday afternoon they were gone. I fully plan on trying to make them again with no honey (couldn’t taste it anyway! Just a waste of perfectly good honey), no coconut (gross), and instead I’m going to add ½ cup of Tollhouse chocolate chips. This stops them from being dairy-free, but you could use dairy-free chocolate chips, too.

After I finished baking the cookies and had a bowl of soup I headed down to Pic Nic for an after-dinner tea. I walked back home and made the second part of my dinner; a crazy salad bowl with tuna, corn, and leftover beans.

Aside from having left out any sweetener (recipe called for pure maple syrup, which I don’t have…and I already know honey doesn’t suffice) I thought the cookies were good! Maybe a little bit dry. John came home and we Skyped with my parents who will be here Saturday morning! Woop woop


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