Days 122, 123, 124, 125.. Rental cars, tattoos, and leftover chestnuts

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

Monday (Segunda-feira)

3 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and moaned about how cold it was. Eventually, after having taken Romeo for his morning stroll, I put my big-girl pants on (figuratively speaking of course, I literally had pants on when I took Romeo out) and went for my run solo.

After my 10 miles the day before, I thought I might be feeling slow. I was not. It may have been me running away from the cold, but I finished my three in just over 25:00, which I was pleased with. John and I got out affairs in order and headed off to meet Ken at the gym.

John wanted to change up his program a little bit—and stay tuned for my new “Fitness” section if you have any interest in what these programs consist of—so I am going to stick with the boys this week instead of creating my own super sets. This day we did:

  • Single arm dumbbell squat-to-OH-press → chin ups
  • Alternating dumbbell bench press → Inverted rows (feet on SB ball)

After feeling like a machine last week doing three sets of 7 chin-ups and one set of 6, I went for 8. I did three sets of 8 and this was my last set:

We did two rounds of core, at 30 reps each: decline sit-up w/weight, SB roll outs, and hanging leg raises. The hardest part about 30 leg raises is holding on to the bar for that long. And while, yes, I do rock the biker chick gloves that Ernesto gave to me (that don’t even match, which makes me more of a boss), I can’t wear them on the bar–they make me slip off. John showed me these wrist-strap-hooks which helped. We went off to Pic Nic.

John was hungry and wanted to go home before going to Fatima’s, but I decided there wasn’t a lot on my list and that I could carry it by myself. Ken and I went off to shop and John headed home.

Majid had already gone shopping for the three of them, so after Ken grabbed a few things for himself, I was on my own. I did my farmer’s walk home.

I finished off the rest of my Couve soup—which will appear under Recipes soon—and started chili for dinner (shameless plug, but will also be under Recipes soon). John had double practices, so I was really only cooking for myself. Since we had finished off the less-than-delicious first batch of Black Bean Brownies, I was excited to try a second attempt. This time I didn’t bother with any sweetener (definitely makes for an acquired taste!) and added the chocolate chips. The end result: delicious unless you get a bite with no chocolate chips.

It was 4:00pm by the time I finally hit the showers. I got ready for my class (these workouts will eventually—hopefully soon—hit my Fitness section) and headed out the door with wet hair. Mistake: It was cold out.


For whatever reason, I was missing a few solid regulars. More than a few, like 5 of them! And the girl who taught these classes last year was in town visiting (she lives on a different Azorean island now, Terceira) and came to my class. These classes last year were much different than the cardio-strength circuit style I do. They were aerobics. I was feeling a little lame since there were so few people, but then she was challenged by all the strength and said she really liked it. So that felt good.

I went home and ate my chili and my non-sweet brownies and Skyped with my cousin. My mom made a comment about how much Meg and I had Skyped recently, but we were roommates for more than 2-and-a-half years. We used to come home everyday to each other and knew everything that went on with each other. It’s almost like that when we get to Skype for an hour and just catch up on the minutiae of each others lives. It makes me feel less far away.

After we Skyped I took Romeo out, read, and then John came home. He had a good practice with the juniors and got to do a lot of performance training with the seniors. A good time was had by all.


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

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

4 Fevereiro 2014

I woke up to my alarm (which I obviously don’t set because I have anywhere to go, just because I don’t like to sleep all day) as well as the sound of rain. And wind. Oh yeah, that 5.0 mile Fartlek I’m supposed to go out and do? Definitely going down later. I was hoping to get it done before the gym because it is leg day.

Instead of getting out of bed to run, I stayed there until Romeo let me know that he had to go out. We went for our stroll, came back, John got up, and we hit the gym at 10:30am. Ken showed up like 20 minutes later—he runs on his own time in the morning. This was sort of on the early side for us, but John & Ken had appointments to get tattoos! I am super jealous and wanted to go with him, but I have another phone interview. I will go next time.

The new Mira Mar goalie is taking John and Ken to his friend’s tattoo shop in Ribeira Grande (which is halfway between Povoacao and Ponta Delgada).



We warmed-up, stretched out, foam rolled and then got to work.

  • Front squat to box jumps
  • Lateral step-ups to single leg RDLs

Our core routine for Tuesday is usually suitcases, leg lifts, and side bends, but we maxed-out for time last week. So, we decided to do a plank circuit: :45 each center, right, and left, :45 rest. Three rounds.

We went home so John could shower (I stayed dirty because I still had to do my Farlek, but the sun was shining by this point) and then we met back up at Pic Nic where they were going to get picked up. John also brought our empty propane tank downstairs so I could get a new one. After I had a cafe, I scooted home to get Romeo.

My first Fartlek. After a one mile warm-up, with Romeo, which turned into at least 1.25 because I paused my watch when he stopped to do his business by Casa Cheia and I must not have hit the button again. I happened to check my pace around the Zoo (about three blocks later) and it was still paused. Damnit.  I saw some of John’s junior players and I almost asked them to run up and down the street holding my watch to make up the difference. #runnerproblems

After I dropped Romeo off I set my Tabata for 3:00 of work and 2:00 of rest, for 6 rounds. The coaches at Nike said I was supposed to run faster for 3:00 and then slow down for 2:00 during the three miles after my warm up. I had never done a fartlek before, and I have to say I loved it. The 30:00 I had set my Tabata for took me until about 4.2 miles and then I took the remainder as a cool down.

When I got home I noticed that the propane tank was new. I won’t lie—my first thought was that John brought down a full one without noticing. But, no way, because it’s like wayyyyy heavier than an empty one. Then I thought maybe Carla had seen it and called the gas guy for us (that is totally something she would do). So I ran upstairs (after I lugged that friggan thing inside; I was going to try to bring it upstairs, but decided to leave it for John), grabbed 20 euros, and went down to Carla’s salon. Carla had no idea what I was talking about and said she hadn’t called him. Then she asked if I left an empty one outside, and I said yes. “Oh,” she said, “then the guy took it and gave you a new one.” Without any money? “He’ll come back for the money—he probably thought it was mine.” ONLY ON AN ISLAND DOES THIS HAPPEN. And that is what I told her, “Oh, that would NEVER happen in the States!” I still gave her the money for when he came back.

I had another favor to ask her. My battle against Romeo’s fur has continued. I sweep (and/or John sweeps) daily, and the fur doesn’t stop. It just keeps coming and coming. Also, his nails are out of control. He doesn’t jump on me, but when he plays with John and Ken he jumps on them. Also if anyone in the outside world acts excited to see him, he jumps. And scratches.

Since we are renting a car for when my parents are here this coming weekend, I figured we could get it a day earlier and drive Romeo to the groomer in Ponta Delgada that Carla used for her dog. I asked if she wouldn’t mind calling and making an appointment for Romeo. She didn’t mind. She even made sure the guy spoke English and told him we, and our dog, were American. Romeo is going to get groomed. #thankyoujesus

Once all that was done I finally went back upstairs to shower and eat. Then I went out to rent the car and get some body lotion at Casa Cheia. When I was leaving our apartment I saw Lina was in Carla’s salon. They were on their way to Pic Nic for a galao, did I want to join them? Twist my arm.

We went down to Pic Nic and leisurely enjoyed our coffees. Eventually I did go off to rent a car at 7 Lombas which is inside the pet store. The pet store where the woman speaks English and loves Romeo. This is not the same woman I rented a car from the first time. I told her I wanted it for 5 days, and I wanted the cheapest one. She told me it would be 106 euros and I could pay when I dropped it off and the end of the five days. #islandlife Only on an island the size of the Houston would this happen. Sometimes I don’t even believe it. But, it’s true. Actually, I think Sao Miguel might be small than Houston.

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 9.25.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 9.25.15 AM

After I stopped quickly at Casa Cheia, where I never can just grab what I went in for (it’s like Target for me in this way), where I bought body lotion, guava paste, coconut milk, instant coffee, and fabric softener sheets—did I mention our static cling is out of control? Because it is. Sometimes I can’t find a sock when I go to fold the laundry and it’s always stuck to a Dri-Fit shirt or running tights. John’s shirt stick to him like white-on-rice. I found a sock inside my running tights the other days but not until I tried to sit down. I thought maybe there was something on my chair. Nope. Tried to sit again, felt another lump under my thigh. Oh, it’s a (clean) sock. Obviously.

When I got home I got settled in for my phone interview which I will tell you went very well. The more I spoke to the interviewer the more I wanted the job, and we agreed on a lot of practices and philosophies for the job which I’m applying. I am very hopeful. And while it is (or could be, cross your fingers!) full-time, the hours are awesome and I’d still be able to coach, personal train, and still have time to run for myself.

I took Romeo out for a stroll, left John a note, and headed for ALKE. I had a few more women than the night before, but I think I have lost a few regulars. This is sad, but I still have an awesome group of ladies who do come. A few new ladies have become regulars; a few who struggle because they haven’t worked out in a while (but refuse to give up!), but I have one who came out of nowhere and is kicking serious ass. Both types are fun to work with.


I came home to Romeo and a note from John. He was very happy with his tattoo and would be home after practice. I set out to make chicken lettuce wraps. They were bomb.


I also did a lot of thinking about my friend Krista’s comment on my Facebook about starting a recipe book. I decided the best way to go about this new venture would be to add a section to my already robust blog about it. Now I can separate out my posts into different sections.

I Skyped with my old roommate Cathy from California and since she announced it on Facebook today I guess it’s OK to say that she and her hubby are expecting a little one in August. I am so excited. In fact, even though I already knew, I cried when I saw the announcement pictures on Facebook.

I took Romeo out again and then went back to working on my new blog. I always think I’m computer-savvy until I try to do anything remotely different that what I’ve already been doing. This took me far longer than it should have.


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

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

5 Fevereiro 2014

When I woke up the wind was out of control! It was easily just as bad as during Sunday afternoon’s Mira Mar game. Forty MPH for sure. (OK, so said 29 MPH).

I waited it out for a little while, and then took off for my “easy, comfortable pace” 5.0 mile run. Not thirty-seconds out the door and it started pouring. Awesome, who doesn’t love sideways rain? Right?

Romeo didn’t even want to go out so I let him be. I figured he would wake John up when he really needed to go out.

I contemplated turning around, but I was already soaked so I chose to stay committed. And the thing about wind is, yeah, half the time it is in your face, but the other half it’s pushing you forwards from behind, and that’s not so bad.

The rain eventually let up and I finished my run—but not before the wind literally almost swept me off my feet by the water. If you’ve never experienced this feeling before, it is truly incredible. It reminded me of a backpacking trip I took in high school to Mt. Madison in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We were hiking a ridgeline and had to to turn around because some of us lightweights were having trouble staying on the ground the wind was so intense. Keep in mind we had at least 30lbs. on our backs to boot!

Five miles in the bag. As soon as I got home I immediately put on clean workout clothes (which is one of the mind tricks I use to keep myself going when I’m running; “It’s going to feel so good to go home and put on dry clothes! Keep running!”). John was up and still Romeo was lounging. I bought corn flour on Monday at Fatima’s and I’d been dreaming of making gluten-free banana bread ever since, so I set off to bake in my dry clothes.

photo 1 

John took Romeo out and we were planning on heading to the gym around 12:30pm. When John got back from his walk he remembered that Serenela has asked him to be the referee at some basketball tournament in the gymnasium at 1:30pm. He took off to the gym and I stayed behind with my bread; I would hit up ALKE later. They no longer close midday on Wednesdays because they have that intern.

Since there was a massive snow storm (and yet another snow day!) going on in Massachusetts, I got to Skype for a long time with my BFFL, Anna. She works from home a lot, but she was taking the morning “off” since everyone else was enjoying a snow day. She called me up and it was almost, almost, like sitting right in the kitchen with her. Technology is a beautiful thing.

I finished my Honey Banana Cornbread (shameless plug for my new blog format) which was bomb. I think I could have cooked it a little longer, as it came out looking nice and fluffy but then settled into a more dense loaf. Banana bread has this tendency anyway, but I think cooking it longer might have helped a bit. Either way, totally nutritious and delicious. Win-win.

I also made more PB balls. This time I used slivered almonds and chia seeds, and skipped the chocolate chips.


By the time I finished my bread and making an epic salad bowl for lunch, catching up with Anna, and sweeping up Romeo’s fur (again), it was already 2:30! I had told John I would try to get down to the gymnasium to see a game, but I hadn’t even hit the gym yet. I quickly gathered my things and walked to ALKE (in the rain. because it was raining. again.).

Since they’re usually closed during this time, the place was empty. Just me, the intern—Alexandre—and two guys in the locker room on their way out. How did I know there was two guys in there? The locker rooms and the gym are small, and the walls don’t exactly leave anything to the imagination. I foam rolled a lot, did my yogi-warm-up, and then did a 10-down which inspired my workout for class that night:

  • 10 push-ups to 10 alternating V-ups each leg
  • 9 push-ups to 9 alternating V-ups… and so on. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish.

Then I did a shoulder-arm circuit for two rounds. First round I did 10 reps of every exercise I could think of, second round I did 5 reps. Done-zo.

I walked home in the sun, showered, and shortly after that John got home. I started sauce for dinner, John took Romeo out, Ken came over, and we stopped by Pic Nic. John and Ken were hoping that the Real Madrid game was on, but Benfica was playing. The world stops here when Benfica is playing. This coming weekend Mira Mar’s game schedule changed because Benfica is playing. No one else plays when Benfica is playing.

I continued on to Toronto Night’s where I took the ladies through 5 different 10-down supersets. One of my diehards finished early so I gave her 50 navy seals as a bonus. Her mom is also a diehard, and during a round of burpees she looked at me with a smile on her sweaty face and said “I hate this”. But did she stop? No. Did she stop smiling? Not even a little. I love these women.


I got home and John and Ken were watching the Real Madrid game on my computer and boiling water for pasta. We all ate dinner (I tried my sauce on raw zucchini pasta…. not as delicious as sauteing it. I need a spiralizer), and then we headed out on a re-con mission.

My parents arrive Saturday morning and stay for three nights. We only have one bed, but the guys have an extra bed in the room where Bobby had lived when he was here. John and I asked Ken if we could “borrow” it for the weekend. We walked up to his apartment, gathered up all the sheets, but left the mattress. John and Ken will move it Thursday night.

John and Ken tied up the sheets like a Hobo bag and I carried them home while they went off to play futsol. I began washing all the bedding that hadn’t been cleaned since before Bobby left in November.

I tried to recreate a “clean-eating” Pinterest dessert which consisted of blending together frozen bananas, PB, and vanilla (I substituted cinnamon). I ate it with a piece of my banana bread–I think I will try it again without peanut butter.



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

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

6 Fevereiro 2014

The weather was poor and only got worse the longer I was awake. I managed to walk Romeo without getting too wet but then decided against running as the rain picked up. I blogged some of my recipes and eventually John got up. As we were getting ready for the gym the doorbell rang. I ran down the stairs but there was no one at the door. I peaked my head around and found Carla’s door open. “Liza!” she said from inside her salon, keys hanging from her open door, “I have something for you!”

Since we were going to the city on Friday to get Romeo groomed I told her I would get her some dog food for her Honey. She gave me some euros and also an empty granola bar wrapper. “Can you look for these?” she asked me. Of course—that is what friends are for. She made the appointment for Romeo, the least I could do what get her some pregnancy-snacks (not the dog food.. hahaha).


I went back upstairs and we walked to the gym where we met Ken and did all upper-body. I did my warm-ups and stretched, but I could not warm-up—the humidity makes it feel colder than it really is. By this time, it had stopped raining. We all did the first superset together, but did different variations of the second one, and all did core together:

  • weighted dips to military press
  • bent row to plate pullovers (or cable flys or preacher curls)
  • Tabata, :30 on / :15 off, three rounds: mountain climbers, toe touches, internal rotation mountain climbers, penguins.

We walked to Pic Nic where I chugged a galao and put my game face on to run. As soon as we walked in our apartment door I got a message from Lina: “You guys home?” I told her we were, and that I was headed out to run but that John was home. She said she had leftover lunch from friend’s day.

In Portugal they celebrate Valentine’s Day, Girlfriend’s Day, and Guy Friends’ Day. Thursday was Guy Friends’ Day and Lina had served her dad and his friends, Ernesto, Emanuel, and many others a great big lunch at Toronto Nights. While I was out running (4 miles; three “easy” and the last one “faster”) Lina brought over chicken, fish, sausage stuffing, garlic bread, rice, roasted chestnuts (my flipping favorite thing), and the best coleslaw I’d When I got back John told me she brought over “a bunch of stuff you can’t eat”. I had about a dozen chestnuts and then made a big fat salad with the chicken and an apple over lettuce and whatever other veggies I had in the fridge. It was all so delicious. I was saving the coleslaw for a dinner treat.

After I ate and showered I went to pick up some veggies at the fruit market and grab our rental car before class. The woman at 7 Lombas rent-a-car spoke such good English that I asked her where she was from. Canada. She has been living in Povoacao almost 11 years. While she said that she liked living here, she seemed surprised when I said we loved it here. She gave me the key and I went to drive home.

The ride is actually longer than the walk because of the one-way streets. It also took me a solid 10-minutes to park on our packed street. The car (a tiny, tiny Hyundai) seemed like it would fit in any number of spots, but when I went to park it I thought I kept hitting curb. Or car. I got nervous and drove until I could pull into a spot. It was only later I realized the noises I heard which I confused with impact were actually the power steering reaching it’s limit. Good to know.

I went off to class and John went off to practice, then burgers at Pic Nic, beers at Cesar’s, and finally a mattress re-con mission at Ken’s (in honor and celebration of Friends’ Day).


I came home and made veggies for dinner to which I added some of Lina’s leftover chicken, which I enjoyed with a side of the best coleslaw ever. I told Lina it was my Friday night treat. It was not until the middle of the next day that we both realized it had been Thursday when I said that.

I also made more clean-eating “ice cream” with frozen bananas, a little soy milk, honey, and cinnamon. After I blended it in my food processor, I added a handful of slivered almonds and a handful of corn flakes as topping. It was delicious–and having been dairy-free (not counting galaoes) for over a year, it was really nice to have a bowl of ice cream. Or frozen-banana-soy-milk-mush. But, what’s in a name?

I cleaned in preparation for my parents’ impending visit, painted my nails and watched Grey’s Anatomy, did laundry, and read until shortly before John & Ken showed up around 1:00am with the mattress in tow. Very good.


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