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.


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

Days Ninety Five and beyond.. Ken comes back and I find Romeo’s twin

Day Ninety-Five (nonagesimo quinta dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

6 Janeiro 2014

Romeo and I went for a run in the morning. It is getting “chilly” here, and by that I mean in the 50s. It’s also incredibly humid here, so the air feels especially cold. Now, I know what you’re thinking Mass. Residents, and I am fully aware that I am turning into a baby about the weather. When I get back in the Spring, it will be 50 in Boston. I don’t care, it’s cold here! And there is no heat in houses or apartments (unless you happen to have a fireplace, which some people do) so I sleep in my sweatsuit and hiking socks. It’s so cold, Romeo even sleeps on the bed with us for the whole night (which he usually does for about 10 minutes, and then he gets too hot).

We went out for 3 miles. I dropped him off at 1.5 and finished with 15 sprint intervals. Then, John and I went to the gym, Pic Nic, and Fatima’s. John wants to get on a more regimented program at the gym, some of which I change up because I don’t want to look like the female version of the Hulk who happens to also skip leg day.

  • Single arm squat to OH press → pull ups (and some chin ups…)
  • Alt DB press → lateral squats (JB did lat pull downs)
  • Core: hanging leg raises, roll outs, decline sit ups. 10E @ 4 rounds. My core was still burning from Saturday.

We headed to Fatima’s to grocery shop and then I made a third (and if it turned out bad, it would have been my final) attempt at chicken soup. John only had practice for the Juniors, so we were going to eat after that. I bought a bunch of bananas because the Costa Ricans ones I bought the week before were still lime-green. I read an article about how you can speed-up the ripening process, but I’d say I was fairly unsuccessful.


I boiled the bone-in chicken breasts with salt and pepper, took them out once they were cooked-through, put an onion, two potatoes, and two carrots in the broth. I let those cook for about an hour before I put the now cut-up chicken back in. I taste-tested the broth and it was a little weak. I was worried about putting too much salt in, so I added more pepper. This was my only faux pas.

John left to coach the juniors and I went to ALKE. I thought about all the New Year’s Resolutioners and I got nervous that my routine wouldn’t work if I had too many women (it was only designed for 12, and I only have 13 black bands). But I needn’t have worried; I had 6 women. It was my 50th class.


My soup was delicious, albeit a little too peppery. After my other two failed attempts, I’m calling this a win.


Day Ninety-Six (nonagesimo sexta dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

7 Janeiro 2014 

John’s phone started tweet-tweeting at 7:00am, which is not a time we are usually awake. It was Ken. Ken was in South Africa for a wedding after spending the holidays with his family in Geneva.

Ken is a very smart kid, so I naturally assumed he was hammered if he thought texting us at that hour was appropriate. He kept saying he was arriving that day to Ponta Delgada and could John make sure someone would be there to get him? And then he stopped texting. I was now incredibly confused because I know it is a 12-hour flight from South Africa to Lisbon and then another two-hour flight to Ponta Delgada. John said he was going to land at 1pm, but I knew this wasn’t possible, especially since Ken also said he was chilling at his hotel and wasn’t sure when his flight was even leaving.

We got up and I decided to run after the gym. Again. This whole eating-before-I-run thing is messing with my schedule. My previous routine consisted of getting up, making green tea, getting dressed, chugging water, all while catching up on FB before taking Romeo out to run. I still want to have my cha verde first, but then after I eat I have to wait an hour before I run. This takes too much time, so I ate my PB&J and we went to the gym:

  • Single arm bent row → RDL (JB did flys)
  • Cable throw downs → back extensions
  • Core: leg lifts, suitcases, side bends. I did six rounds at 10 reps, John did three rounds at 25 reps. My belly was still sore from Saturday.

We headed to Pic Nic and on the way we saw Betinho. Betinho doesn’t really speak English, but he sort of understands it. Just like we don’t speak Portuguese, but we understand some of it. It is a funny conversation to watch: John speaks English to Betinho who responds in Portuguese. Apparently, Ken told both Marco and Betinho that he is arriving on the 8th. Which makes sense, even though he said he was coming back on the 7th. We decided it must have been an overnight flight and continue on to get our galaoes.

Before we moved here my Dell died a tragic death. Me being my-sort-of-anti-computer-self just let it sit dead. For months. I didn’t need it; I had (finally….finally!) finished my master’s and I had a sweet Apple computer at work. What did I need my nasty old Dell for? Oh yeah, all those pictures, songs, and documents… hmm.

For my 25th birthday I bought myself a MacBook. Along with that I got discounted data transfer, the only problem with that was I had waited so long that my hard drive was actually dying. Who knew? Not I, obviously.

My options were either pay thousands of dollars to send my hard drive to Oklahoma or New Orleans, or somewhere else in the vague “south” or cut my losses. And then I found the prince-charming of Geek Squad. He told me whoever had tried the transfer before had neglected to realize the important difference between my PC and my Mac. He said he would try again for me. Free unless he could transfer all my files. I left him with a detailed list of things most important to me.

Twenty-four to 48-hours later and he had moved a few photos. Not totally successful, but it was possible! He told me I could only move one file at a time, otherwise the transfer would crash. He showed me how to do it, and made some joke about if I had hours and hours of time to kill I could spend them doing this. WELL, then I quit my job(s), sold my car, and moved to an island the size of Houston. I finally have the time.

But I didn’t do it right away, which is silly because my hard drive was still dying a slow death (along with all things electronic and sentimental stored therein). I gave up on the tunes a while ago because they don’t transfer in whole songs, but short clips that don’t even sound like the original. Which is too bad because I bought a lot of music…. Is Napster still around? Ha ha ha…

I finally started transferring 6 or so years worth of photos and word documents (the second half of my bachelor’s and all of my master’s work). It is the main reason I am behind on my blog.

I made sauce for dinner which we ate at 5:30pm before I left for Toronto and John went to practice. I had a big fat salad when I got home and then went back to transferring files. Ken did not come back to Povoacao.


Day Ninety-Six (nonagesimo sexta dia)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

8 Janeiro 2014

I asked John if he wanted to go to the gym, but he reminded me Wednesday is a rest day (which sometimes it is). I went out for a five mile run. Romeo came for half.

I think the reason Romeo can’t run as far hear as he could at home–I could always take him for 3.0 and I could stretch it to 5.0 if it wasn’t too hot, and one time he did 8.0 with me–is the humidity. It is so humid here! Even when it’s not raining (which it often is), the air is like a wet blanket. I think this is why Romeo can’t hang.

The other day when I took Romeo for a long walk I saw his twin. His twin! Remember that time Serenela told me she saw Romeo on the loose but he was really chillin’ with John at Ken’s? She swore up and down that she saw a dog that looked just like Romeo. But I had never seen such a dog.

Then on Christmas Lina told us that one morning after walking Romeo she went shopping at Casa Cheia. She was pretty sure she’d deadbolted the door behind her. However, upon leaving Casa Cheia she saw “Romeo” in the jardim. She said her heart dropped and she went for a closer look. She said this dog was a little too dark and his fur was matted on his but. It wasn’t Romeo.

Romeo and I were just rounding the corner by the gymnasium when I saw the beautiful creature (I didn’t have my phone so I couldn’t snap a pic!). He(?) looked just, JUST just like Romeo! He was a few shades darker, but the same exact color. He looked older, and his tail didn’t stand up anymore so it just fell flat on his back. Also, he wanted nothing to do with Romeo.

There are a lot of street dogs here who wander without owners. Some of them are nice, but a lot of them are nasty. I was worried about letting them play and having no help to break them up if it went poorly so I let Romeo sniff a little but, ultimately we left the doppelganger alone.

After I ran, John and I went down to Pic Nic. John asked me if I wanted to go to the gym then. We can’t, I replied, because on Wednesdays (just Wednesdays) the gym is closed from 2-5:30pm. It was 1:30pm. If we want to go on this day, we have to decide early. We had our galaoes and then went home, where I desperately tried to Skype with my darling friend Carrie but the connection was just too terrible. I started at the top of the stairs where reception is usually the best. Every time I lost her I moved down a step. Finally I was at the bottom and we still couldn’t finish a sentence without “Wait, what? You’re frozen.” Just when I was giving up, the doorbell rang. It was Ken!!

Ken brought us more Swiss chocolates (which are really just Lindt truffles, but he swears they are different) and we caught up on the three weeks we’ve all spent without each other. We took Romeo for a walk and Ken went to get a snack at Pic Nic. In all the excitement of Ken coming back, neither John nor I grabbed a key. We had locked ourselves out. Again.

Never in my life have I been such an incapable human being. Probably because in my past life I just straight-up didn’t have time for that shit. One time in Newton John and I locked ourselves out when we walked to have breakfast and I had to crawl into my bedroom window (luckily we lived on the “garden level”). But seriously, twice in one week? Not to mention all the laundry that falls off my line in between Carla’s salon and her storage room. What can I say? I am not a fan of laundry pins.

Wednesdays are Carla’s day off, so she wasn’t even next door to come to our rescue. And she doesn’t have a smartphone. And we don’t have a regular phone. We walked over to Lina’s mom’s house and Lina called Carla for us. Again, we thank our lucky stars that Carla just happened to be at Pic Nic having a coffee with a friend. A decaf coffee. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but Carla found out she was pregnant right before we moved into her apartment. She was only a few weeks pregnant at the time, but now it is public knowledge. Her belly is starting to pop and Saturday she will find out the gender. Francisco will have a little brother or sister in June.

John and Ken went off to coach the juniors and I went to Toronto Nights. Lina made us pizzas for dinner and Ken came home with John. We get them fully loaded with ham, bacon, pineapple, olives, onions, and peppers. And of course, one has half-cheese.


Day Ninety-Seven (nonagesimo setimo dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

9 Janeiro 2014 

After I ran 3.0 with Romeo, we met Ken at Pic-Nic instead of the gym, where he was having breakfast. Switching things up for the day, I had my galao before working-out and John didn’t have a fofa. We headed to the gym where Ernesto made fun of Ken for having skinny-legs from not working out. While I gained 3kg on vacation, Ken lost 3kg. The difference between men and women #45,749.

We did:

  • Single arm preacher curls → dips
  • Inverted rows (feet on SB) → lat pull downs (boys did military press)
  • Core: hanging rotational knee tucks, burpees, SB pikes

I opted out of military press because after doing this workout last week, I couldn’t lift my arms until yesterday.

John and I started a 30 day push-up challenge today. Day 1: 45 kitchen push-ups.

We headed home to clean up and have lunch and then I took off for some errands. We somehow forgot to buy milk (leite de vaca, cow milk) on Monday. We had it sitting next to our cart and that is where it remained. John’s been drinking my soy milk, but since I can’t count on Casa Cheia to have more I want to buy him a little until we go real-shopping again on Monday. We also don’t have enough towels for when my parents come (or for when Ken comes over after practice sometimes, like yesterday), so I stopped at Euromatos next door to us and bought two nice white towels for 6.50. On New Year’s Day I broke the only real bowl we had (sorry, Carla…) so I went to Euromatos and bought four new bowls for 3.50. I like this store

While I was out I saw the bread van again! And this time he had fofas! I bought seis papos secos e uma fofa. When I got home John and I split the fofa that I heard was better than Pic-Nic’s. It definitely had more cream, but John said it wasn’t better.

John headed up to Ken’s to play FIFA before practice. When I went to leave for ALKE I couldn’t find my key (yeah, here we go again). I assumed John had at least one (hell, he had them both) so I sent him a quick “please-drop-a-key-at-toronto-so-i-am-not-locked-out-all-night” text and headed over to teach.


The end of class came and gent and John had not appeared with a key (the wifi at the guys’ apartment doesn’t work) so Lina offered to drive me up to Mira Mar. Luckily, as I was walking up the street I saw Pedro driving them to practice. #notlockedout

I am attempting to eat a little healthier (read: eat less crap). So for dinner I made zucchini pasta (#Pinterestrulesmylife) and ate it with leftover sauce. Now, I must admit it doesn’t actually taste like pasta but it is so delicious you don’t care that it isn’t pasta.


Days 93 & 94.. Plus more thoughts on the New Year

Day Ninety-Three (nonagesimo terceiro dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

4 Janeiro 2014

No running, just gymming. John has a game on Sunday so he just wanted to ride the bike and foam roll. I did some sun salutations to warm up and then did core:

hanging leg raises, decline sit ups, and suitcases @10 x4 rounds. I finished with a 2:00 plank.

We headed to Pic-Nic, of course, where we saw Adam for the first time. He had come back from New Bedford on an overnight flight that was delayed because of all the snowstorms there. We walked home where I cleaned everything. I swept and mopped all the floors and wiped down every fixture in the kitchen and bathroom. We really didn’t have anything else going on.

There was a game on (Arsenal? Liverpool? Maybe it was one of those Manchester teams) and rather than watch it on my MacBook, I convinced John to go back to Pic-Nic. Majiid, Adam, and Filipe were there, too. I mostly burrowed in my computer. I went home before the game was over to make meatballs for meatball subs. I am getting a little too comfortable with the piri piri sauce, so they were kind of spicy but still totally delicious and we ate them with the fresh bread-van papos secos.

I am currently reading Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller which is the second book about the Holocaust that I’ve read since we’ve been here (I also read The Book Thief, which was awesome). I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.


Day Ninety-Four (nonagesimo quarto dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

5 Janeiro 2014

I had dedicated myself to long-run-Sunday and John had a game in Arrifes against Aguia. The weather was kind of crummy when I got up and John took Romeo for a walk. By the time I had a PR Bar and my tea the sun was coming out. I usually don’t eat before I run, but I’ve been reading a lot of those “16 Beauty Resolutions You’re Making Today” and “Eight Weight Loss Mistakes Runner Make” because they clog up my Twitter feed so I might as well. One of the things I read about running and weight loss (not that I’m trying to lose weight, but I certainly don’t want to gain any!) was about running on an empty stomach. I do this all the time. Everyday. I know a lot of people warn against it, but a lot of people get light-headed or nauseous, etc. and I don’t, so I figured it was OK to workout without eating, but this article says no. Rather than burn up excess fat sitting in your body (which I believed I was doing), your body first burns the glycogen in your muscles. Once you’ve burned all that, then you go on to burning fat but your energy plummets and your performance suffers. Shit. So, they say, if you’re going out for more than 30 minutes, you have to fuel-up at least an hour before so as to not burn the glycogen your body needs to keep going. Ok, this I can handle. I will get back to the Beauty Resolutions later. Which I #canthandle.

Today I was planning to do 8 miles, so I probably would have fueled up either way. I took Romeo for a little more than two, finished three down in the vila before I headed for the dreaded lombas. I saw Pedro picking up some kids in lomba do Alcaide. Usually when I see him and I’m running I just wave and blow kisses but I don’t stop. Well, today I was in the middle of a long hill so I stopped and took advantage. He thanked me again for the Benfica scarf we bought him for Christmas. He was so excited to tell me that Benfica has won twice since we gave it to him. I wished the boys in the car “Boa sorte!” and started to run again. A moment later the red car behind Pedro and the Mira Mar van stopped and the driver started talking to me. In Portuguese. “Falas Ingles? Falas Ingles?” “You speak English? You know that man?” he said, pointing to Pedro’s van. “Pedro! Yes, I know Pedro!” I replied, still thankful for the break this man was giving me. “Pedro is my nephew! My name is John!” I stuck out my hand as I said “My name is Liza” but then I remembered my Portuguese manners and gave him the kiss-kiss. “Keep running!” he bellowed as he pulled away.

I underestimated my loop a little bit, but once I topped the lombas it didn’t really matter. I still ran the tree-tunnel road and came down lomba de Loucao. I ended up doing 10.0. Bam.

When I got back, John was already on his way to Arrifes with Mira Mar. I showered and ate some leftover chili and finally headed down to Pic-Nic where I had my one galao and looked at jobs, cars, and car loan rates. I took Romeo for an extra long walk around the whole vila before we snuggled up in bed and waited for John to come home. Earlier, when I pulled chicken out of the freezer to make soup, John said “We can have soup, or we can have our weekly Pic-Nic burgers…. we haven’t had them this week yet,” and I heard: “You don’t have to cook if you don’t want to,” so I didn’t. I read The Storyteller and waited. And waited. Finally, I looked on Facebook to see if anyone had posted the result of the game. Marco had, because everything that happens to or around Marco he puts on Facebook. I saw that Aguia had won 3-1. Marco had written a whole long post and tagged two guys; one I was pretty sure was Mira Mar’s new goalie, and the other one I didn’t know.

I copy-pasted it into google translate and saw that Mira Mar had been up 1-0 but then the goalie had gotten a red card. What luck. Of course he got a red card. This is the goalie’s first game with Mira Mar; he was playing for a team in a better division (one that actually pays players) but told John and I the other day that he wanted to have time for his studies, and is from Povoacao and loves Mira Mar… and aren’t we so lucky? Because the man we call Bolacha (which means cookie) is not a good goalie. We finally got a good one (and he speaks English, and John said “he’s cool” so that can only help Mira Mar become more cohesive, right?). Because he got a straight-red (without a yellow card first) he could face up to a three-game suspension! Awesome. That’s awesome. Apparently, Marco questioned the ref about this call and the ref (who was the other person Marco tagged in his Facebook post) told him he “had to show some cards”.

Because Bolacha is already playing for another team, Cricket (the second string goalie) stepped in to play for the rest of the game. They took John out and Mira Mar fell 3-1. Marco, and at least five other Mira Mar players were awarded yellow cards. One Aguia player got a yellow card. Marco got his for yelling at another teammate and then told the ref if he gave him one more yellow card, he was going to kill him.

I met John at Pic Nic where we ate Pic Nic burgers. We went home and watched Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, and Toni Collette. It was James Gandolfini’s last movie before he croaked and P!nk tweeted that she loved it. It was definitely enjoyable.

But back to the 16 Beauty Resolutions [I’m not] Making Today, which I found on The Huffington Post. Seriously, Huffington? I thought you were progressive, but this just goes to show how archaic thoughts and ideologies surrounding women and appearance are still circulating. “You will never leave the house with chipped nail polish.” Really? Never? Well, Huffington Post. Maybe I will.

When I read the first one, which is technically part of the headline, I was intrigued; “You will never ever go to sleep with your makeup on. No matter how sleepy and/or drunk you are.” Now, I am basically guilty of this daily. It is a combination of being lazy and creative. I am too lazy to wash it off and deal with makeup remover, and I don’t want to waste my pricey Mary Kay eye makeup remover on bedtime. I am also now able to wear eyeliner and mascara to the gym without actually putting makeup on. See?? I clean up the raccoon eye, but leave the makeup on for that casual no-I-don’t-wear-makeup-to-workout!-look. Pshhhh.

Now I will continue to not wash my face out of pure defiance. “You will exfoliate your body once a week.” Like, who is this article actually written for? I don’t even have a job or children and this list sounds exhausting. “You will start exfoliating your lips before wearing bright lipstick.” I’m more of a chapstick kinda-gal anyway, so I won’t be partaking in that particular resolution either.

You won’t wait until your toenails are in the worst shape possible to get a pedicure.” Ok, Huff. Two things here: right now I am my own pedicurist and I happen to do them often. When I was gainfully employed and residing in the US I frequented nail salons twice a month. At least. And two, I am a runner, so my toenails (which sometimes only amount to 8 or 9.. or 6) are constantly in the “worst shape possible”. So again, eff off.

You will actually attempt adventurous eye makeup.” Followed by a GIF of a girl wearing bright pink Las Vegas stage makeup. Again I say No Thank You.


Lastly, I give you this: “It’s officially the new year, and you’ve no doubt made plenty of promises to yourself already about what 2014 will hold. But did you forget to amp up your beauty regimen?”

Apparently, being female I am obliged, along with my resolution to be more patient, to also be more beautiful. I’m sorry, Huffington, but I am losing my patience. Now you’ve gone and messed up my real resolution. Damnit.

New Year’s Eve, etc. DAYS 89, 90, 91, 92

Day Eighty Nine (octogesimo nono dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

Even though the gym was closed, Ernesto said he’d be there around 11:00am and that we were welcome to go workout. I decided on a midday run instead of my usual morning run (yes, 11:00am counts as a morning run in my new life!). After I took Romeo out I did some YouTube yoga in the kitchen. I woke John up with my Lion’s breath.You don’t even have to watch the whole video for it to be funny. Ten seconds should be enough.

Cathy had ‘fessed up the night before that she sent us a package. We hadn’t gotten it yet, so she checked the tracking and told me it had gone through customs (much more easily than my GPS watch!). Lina sent me a message that it had arrived!

 IMG_1459I texted Cathy right then, even though it was only 3:11am in San Diego.

We got over to the gym right around 11:00am, but the lights were off and the door was shut. Ernesto’s car was there, and he had said if the gym was locked just to knock on his mother-in-law’s door. Well, the door to the gym was unlocked. Ernesto was not inside, but another man, shirtless, doing cable chest flys. Oh. Sorry to interrupt. He quickly put his shirt on. John started talking to him–he spoke English well–like he knew him. I have never seen this man before.

We got to working out in the dark anyways. VH1 I love the 90s was on. Hell yes.

  • Bent row to tricep cable throw downs (JB did back extensions)
  • Single leg RDL to plate swings (JB did single arm curl to press and single arm cable throw downs)

I took my sneaks off and finished with some slideboard work. The floor is really slippery (which sucks for most other things, like lateral squats and anything on the TRX), but awesome for slideboarding-without-a-slideboard. I’ve been wanting to try it, and I took the empty-gym as the prime opportunity to bare my socks.

I did 100 plank hip abductions, 100 mountain climbers, and 25 pikes. Lina came over with our package from the California Trails. We scooted home to open it (and grab Romeo) before heading to Pic Nic. Peanut Butter, gatorade, OPI nail polish, Mary Kay moisturizer, People magazine, and chocolate. She knows me so well 🙂


After our galaoes I headed out to run without Romeo. I did 5.5 and was still feeling good. It was definitely harder to run after doing heavy legs at the gym.

John and I had still had a lot of time to waste before Toronto Night’s opened its doors at 11:15pm.


John made plans to play with his buddies again so Romeo and I went to visit. John came home around 7:00pm and told me he hurt his toe. Again. We made Pic Nic burgers for dinner and went to Pic Nic for coffees before finally getting ready for Toronto.

 IMG_1455Still embracing the selfie.


John made several costume changes before finally ditching his Mumford & Sons vest (he hadn’t packed his black pants to wear with it). I had gone to the Chinese store earlier to buy a skirt, but I bailed, too, in favor of running tights. Yes, those are running tights.


We were the second group of people to arrive at Toronto Nights, behind a women and her two 10ish year old daughters. A lot of people spend the actually passing of the New Year at home with their families and then go out to party. Toronto shut the doors from 11:55 until 12:05 so we could pass the year in peace.

Right at midnight, we did the countdown, snuck a kiss, and then began to eat twelve raisins. You are supposed to make one wish for each raisin and they represent the twelve months (doze meses). After you finish eating them, you go around to everyone you know, double kiss (or man-to-man, shake hands), and wish each person a good year, “Bom ano!”


I only wore my heels until 1:15am. I packed my Chinese-store-boots, they fit inside my big purse. Score.

Lina was serving food at 5:30am, so naturally I asked Luisa all about it.


I knew from the signs around the vila that there was going to be green soup. Her English is much better than she thinks it is, but there was one word she couldn’t figure out. Most of the ingredients I knew in Portuguese anyway: batatas, cebolas, churizo, couve. Couve? What is that? She took me into the kitchen and showed me two GIANT vats of the soup. Couve is a green leafy vegetable, and as John pointed out, it’s in most of the soups at Pic Nic. We enlisted Emanuel’s help. He kept saying it was like an open cabbage, you know, like cabbage, but the leaves are open? This was not helpful. He pulled his iPhone out and tried a translater, but none of its responses made any sense. Finally, we caught Lina. “Co-lard?” Collard greens!! It was collard greens.

We danced and drank and drank and drank. We had made a game plan on the walk over to stick to hard alcohol; I was going to drink vodka tonics and if I took any shots, they were going to be tequila or vodka. John wasn’t sure what he was going to drink but he decided on rum & Coke. I only had two drinks but I couldn’t tell you how many shots I had—it was a lot. When we first walked in I took a tequila shot with Xana and her friends. Later on, I’m pretty sure I took a caramel vodka shot with Emanuel, and I took many, many shots in between. John and I also drank lots of water, and John even made a red gatorade (thanks, Cathy!!) for when we got home. Wait—which color makes a hangover worse, blue? Jessie?

Marco takes more selfies than anyone I know, yes, even me. We took one in honor of spending New Years together. Someone offered to take it for us, but we waved him off. No, thanks. We want it to be a selfie.


Around 3:00am, the music shut off, lights went out, and the emergency lights came on. The power was out! Emanuel ran outside to hook up the generator, the one he had nightmares that they made need tonight. It seemed like it took a long time, but he probably got the music on again in 15 minutes. We continued to dance, but we were fading. John and I talked about leaving early. “But what about the food?” I asked. “What do we have at home?” “I can make pancakes,” I offered. “No, I want real food.” “Then we have to stay.” It was 3:45am. We decided to try to stick it out until 5:30am. Soon after that Lina found me. “I’m going to serve the food in twenty minutes, people are starting to leave.” Hallelujah!!! We stayed, but Marco left after he wrote us this note.


Around 4:00am the power came back on. At 4:30am, Lina and Luisa served the collard green soup, rolls, corn bread, ham, turkey, prosciutto, and cheese. We stuffed our faces. After we had discarded our bowls I asked John if anyone was looking. “No,” he said, “why?” I grabbed a piece of corn bread and dipped it in the pot of soup. “LIZA!” I couldn’t help myself; it was 5:00am and the soup was too good. There was a line to pay tabs, so we talked to Figuras who introduced us to his girlfriend. I asked if she had grown up in Povoacao, and she said she had. It dawned on John that while we had seen Figuras many times that night, we hadn’t seen his girlfriend, John asked “Wait–have you been here the whole time?” While her English was good, she didn’t understand the context; “Yes, I’ve always been in Povoacao.” I was really digging Figuras’ bow tie.


We paid up (big 28 euro bill!) and walked home where we guzzled gatorade and I remembered to take my contacts out.

Day Ninety (nonagesimo dia)

Wednesday (Quarto-feira)

We stayed in bed. All day.

I made PB&J pancakes.


Lina brought over hangover soup.

We ate in bed.

I changed the sheets, we got back in bed.


Day Ninety One (nonagesimo primeiro dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

The gym was closed, so I was just planning to run. John and I took Romeo for a walk and we saw Ernesto driving. He pulled over and told us he’d be at the gym at noon if we wanted to come by. So we went.

  • Single arm preacher curls to dips, 10E x4
  • Single arm lateral raise to military press, 10E x4
  • Hanging rotational knee tucks, burpees, SB pikes, 10E x4

Then I went for my run. I had Romeo with me and he was being a super-running-buddy (not always the case!!) so I was going to keep him. Then around 2.3 we passed our street and he pulled me towards it. OK, buddy, you can bail. I finished 4.

Sometime while John was at practice, I went through my entire blog and wrote down which days I ran how far when I didn’t have a GPS watch so I could put it into an excel spreadsheet. I have a few of these things going for ½ marathon training schedules, so I just input the miles. Without a watch I ran approximately 140 miles. While going through my blog I realized (a) how full of typos it is and (b) how horribly tediously it is written.

I finally had a big group of ladies in class! Nine women came and tore it up with me.


Happy 2014. I made Honey Soy chicken with DIY stir-fry rice and vegetables. #pinterest


Day Ninety-Two (nonagesimo segundo dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

Semana Treze

5 mile run. Gym. Pic Nic.

  • Goblet squat to box blast @ 10E/15E x4
  • Split squat to decline push up @ 10E/15E x4
  • 5:00 core; planks, bicycle crunches, leg lifts.

Neither of us grabbed the key when we left for the gym. Romeo was super tired from our run, so I didn’t think he would try to get out (because in locking ourselves out, we also lost the ability to deadbolt the door so Romeo couldn’t get out). Luckily, after the gym Carla was at Pic Nic and I used her key to get ours.

At first I didn’t believe that John didn’t grab the key. Those of you who know John know that he is the eternal jokester. DAILY when we leave he acts like he forget the key, patting down his pockets dramatically. This time, we really didn’t have the key.

I made homemade chili and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from scratch while we read Facebook posts about snowstorms at home (Massachusetts).


John tried to fix his hair-clippers for a while (the cheap pair I got him in Ponta Delgada). I ran to the hardware store to grab him a screwdriver when low-and-behold I saw the bread van! The bread van that brings fresh papos secos and I had heard fofas, too, down into the vila and up to the lombas. At first I passed it and went straight to the hardware store. I have seen it before, but only running when I don’t have any money (or the capacity to hold a bag of buns). There was a line of people, so I hoped it would still be there when I got out. Even though John’s coach works the register at the hardware store, I just said hello quickly and went straight for the key-counter. That guy speaks English. He pointed me to the screwdrivers and I quickly counted out change for Jose. I ran back outside and the van was still there. I got six rolls (they didn’t have any fofas) for one euro and excitedly walked home.

John ended up throwing his clippers away, but I was happy enough that my screwdriver-mission also coincided with the bread-van.

John asked if we could eat dinner before his practice instead of after because he has so much trouble sleeping at night. I am fine with that because I know eating late at night is not good for you, and we have been spoiled for the last few weeks being able to eat early (or whenever the flip we want). We had chili and papos secos at 5:30pm.

The other reason he can’t sleep at night is that he is starting to worry about our return. Our return to Massachusetts (cue the broad, vague terms) where we have no apartment, no jobs, and no cars, or even bikes. Our plan is to move right back into my parents house, but of course we need at least one car if we plan on securing employment. We were able to share a car for the last three weeks we lived in the states (which were also spent at my parents house), but it was made possible by working together at the FH and the generosity of my parents occasionally giving us rides. I am not sure we could do it long-term.

 0103141222Here is my cute mom and her German Shepherd rescue, Nyla.

We are going to start budgeting, researching, and applying ourselves. Lists calm me down. I am hoping I can pass this OCD trait on to John in the New Year.

I had 7 ladies in class Friday night. I am expecting Monday to bring the New-Years’ fitness-&-weight-loss-resolutioners. I did most of the workout with them, and I practiced my Portuguese.


I have an app called PocketLingo. It sends me a daily phrase or word in Portuguese, followed below by the English translation. I really love it when I already know the word (like bolo: cake), even though it’s not helpful; it boosts my confidence. I really dislike when they’re not helpful for other reasons:


I came home from class and worked on my blog (New Year, New Blog Format) and walked Romeo until John came home. He got home a little early, and he hadn’t showered (which he usually does at Mira Mar’s complex). I learned that this is because he went ape on another player and walked out of practice. Remember my posts about how John & Ken are teaching the juniors to be positive and supportive teammates (which is working)? Well, the seniors need the same lesson. Unfortunately, the kid John tried to explain this to speaks zero English, which only escalated John’s fury. John started to walk down the lomba but one of his teammates picked him up and drove him home. This is normally something we would hash-out over dinner, but instead I listened while slurping cereal in bed. #newyear

#85, #86, #87, #88… Back into the swing of things

Day Eighty Four (octogesimo quarto dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira) … December 26th

The gym was closed but I didn’t care because my legs were still dying from not running (and trying to the day before). After I took Romeo for a walk I knew I was not going to even bother trying again. I took John’s iPad to our third floor loft-style living room that we never, ever, ever use to do some YouTube yoga. After 45 minutes of stretching out I felt a lot better than I had in days. I hadn’t realized that taking 8 days off (with one small hallway workout in the middle) would mess up my routine so royally. John and I went off to get dog food and detergent (we had neither). I noticed on my walk earlier that Pic Nic was closed, too. John and I brought Romeo with us and walked first to Antonio’s to get dog food, but they were closed. We continued walking to Casa Cheia. Closed. We walked back up toward ALKE and checked Barraca. Closed. Last stop: Fatima’s. We walked to the top of the hill under the guys’ apartment. John said, “Ooh! Lize—we’re in luck. They’re open!”. Liar. They were closed, too. We went home as empty-handed as we left. I had bought some food before we left, but only of the frozen meat variety. We had three papos secos, but no vegetables, fruits, or anything to eat it with. John made rice for Romeo and we put a scoop of the soup Lina’s mother brought over to give it some flavor.

After my yoga sesh and lunch, I felt up to running. I took Romeo with me and we (barely!) completed three miles. The mistake I made the day before was in trying to go uphill, so I stayed away from that as best that I could. It wasn’t pretty, and I never eat before I run so more than my legs, it was my belly that was uncomfortable. I could feel my corn flakes and soy milk sloshing around.

I went home and got ready for my first class back at ALKE. They worked out once in the week that I was gone, so even though the 26th is still pretty much a holiday here, we had decided to hold class. People go from house to house “visiting” (read: drinking) around the holidays. They go to friends’ houses, ring the doorbell, and ask some variety of “o xixi do menino Jesus?” which roughly translates to “Does baby Jesus pee?” They then go inside for a drink. I can’t make this shit up.

I had five ladies and I worked out with them too. We did:


When I got home, John was not there. He had gone down to Cesar’s bar (no absinthe!!) to watch the Liverpool game with Majid before I left. His flats were gone, so I assumed he went to play futsol, which he did. I made myself a couple of eggs and had cereal for dessert. Jackie, Nikki, and Gunter FaceTimed me before John got home. I am missing my friends and family!


Day Eighty Five (octogesimo quinta dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

Semana Doze

Going to Barcelona has gotten us in the habit of waking up at a more reasonable time. We got up around 8:00am and I put my game face on to go for a run. I wanted to do 4 or 5 miles Friday, rest Saturday, and hopefully do 6 or 7 Sunday.

When John came home last night he tried to unlock the door while my key was hanging in the other side. We learned the hard way at least two months ago that this doesn’t work. I went down and let him in, but then this morning the key wouldn’t come out at all unless the door was locked—which made leaving the apartment somewhat difficult. Luckily for me John was going to be home while I ran.

Romeo came with me for the first two. I tried a hill (the beginning of lomba de cavaleiro) and my calves cramped up again. When I dropped Romeo off, John spent a few minutes with both keys in the door (one in the outside, one on the inside) turning them back and forth, hoping to reset whatever we had thrown off kilter. After about four minutes, he had fixed the door. I don’t know how he does it—the man literally has more patience in his pinky finger that I have in my entire body. I went off to finish two more miles, very thankful for the break. I felt great the second half (segunda metade).

We went over to the gym (FINALLY) and did three supersets, four rounds each:

  • DB bench to (L)SB knee tuck & pike (J) Decline push-up
  • Pull-ups to (L) Deadlifts (J) Lat pull-downs
  • 20 full sit ups (w/10kg), 20 leg lifts, 15/15, 10/10, 5/5

I was beginning to feel human again. Traveling is exhausting.

Off to Pic-Nic for a galao (the best coffee is in Portugal, don’t let anyone tell you different). And finally, finally, to Fatima’s (which was open). We went to Antonio’s first to grab dog food and then stocked up at Fatima’s on real produce so we could eat real food. Fatima usually sells Lina & Ernesto’s bananas, but Ernesto told us the weather hasn’t been good for bananas. Fatima didn’t have any so I got a whole bunch of some that had been imported from Costa Rica.

We went home and I immediately set about having a big bowl of cornflakes with two Costa Rican bananas and soy milk. It was amazing. Humanity. I also was finally able to do laundry—Romeo had slept in our bed all week and made a bed with our blanket on the floor. I only had enough detergent to do a tiny bit of our vacation-laundry so I had some catching up to do. I also went about mopping the whole apartment.

In honor of having real food, I took some frozen bone-in chicken breast out to defrost. I wanted to make a garlic-infused olive oil chicken and pasta. Thanks to Pinterest, it was easy.

I made hummus and prepped the chicken before I left for class. I peeled all those little chickpeas again, but this time I set up my kindle so I could read (The Shoemaker’s wife) while I did it. After I finally finished that, I got to work making the sauce for the chicken: two minced garlic cloves, a couple swirls of olive oil, sauteed until the garlic was “golden”. I put the garlic-infused olive oil in a bowl and added two spoonfuls of brown sugar. I drizzled it on the chicken and headed off to ALKE.

This night I had six women, and I worked out with them again. We did:


I went home and threw the chicken in the oven. I made some more garlic-infused olive oil (sans brown sugar) for the pasta. It ended up being kind of plain—next time I would make more sauce and probably add butter, too. I was afraid of making the pasta too oily, so I didn’t use very much. The chicken was moist, but probably could have used a little more marinade, too. John is kind and told me it was good while he washed the dishes. We tried to Skype with this little cherub, but we missed his mama:


Day Eighty Six (octogesimo sexta dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

Having struggled through my last three runs I decided to give it a rest and just hit the gym with John. I would try for at least 6 miles on Sunday. We woke up early(ish) again and after John walked Romeo and we had some tea and coffee, we headed to the gym right at 10:30am when they open. We brought the TRX and took turns doing four rounds of three supersets:

  • TRX trail leg hops to TRX rows
  • TRX Flys and Ys to TRX roll outs
  • TRX knee tucks toTRX leg curls

Ernesto had the best of the 90s music channel on. Nothing makes a work-out more fun than belting out “Don’t Stop Believing” and “It Must Have Been Love”.

We strolled down to Pic-Nic for galaoes and I felt even more human today. We went home and I started to get dinner ready. The weather has turned quite cold (muito frio) here in Povoacao, so I decided to make chili. Now, my mom is far from the best cook in the world (sorry, mama) but her chili is pretty bomb. I made a Portuguese variety based on my supplies: piri piri sauce instead of chili powder, no celery and no crock pot. I also used two fresh tomatoes instead of canned diced. I had a 15oz. can of kidney beans, but when I went to open them, the pop-top came off without the top. Damnit. I couldn’t use the can opener, because the pop-top-top was too thick. John came in and saved the day (again). He somehow used a knife and fork and pried the lid open. Genius. I sauteed an onion, browned the hamburg, chopped the tomatoes, and rinsed the beans. I added some tomato paste, salt, pepper, and piri piri sauce. I let it cook for about 6 hours.

John and I headed back to Pic-Nic for some game. He had a Pic-Nic burger, but I am still attempting to detox from vacation so I had uma sopa e salada. John made plans to play futsol with a bunch of guys so I finally had some time to catch up on my blog. I wrote a lot while we were away, but never had anything finished enough to actually post. Of course, by the time I post this, all my Barcelona stuff will be up. Oh, time, you are fickle.

John brought Majid home for dinner and we slurped down my chili. After my chicken semi-fail, I came back strong tonight.

Day Eighty Seven (octogesimo setimo dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

I was in bed by 8:00pm Saturday and even though I was awake for a while, I didn’t get out of bed until 10:00am. I took my sweet time getting ready, too—the weather was looking a little sketchy, rainy and windy, so I was waiting it out. And after walking Romeo and having my cha verde (now I buy the tea that is made on the island, here in Gorreana), we headed off to run. Sometimes Romeo is a good running buddy, sometimes he is not. Depending on how much he wants to pee, chase cats, kill birds, etc. This time he was a phenomenal running buddy, so I kept him with me for three miles. I ended up finishing 10k in just under an hour. It’s official: I am human. I came home and rewarded myself with nutella and banana pancakes. Bam.


There were some games on, so we headed to Pic-Nic. I never really watch them, I just bliggity-blog away while John and whoever else is in there watches and exclaims. I can only tell you that Arsenal lost and Liverpool lost (editor’s note: upon reading this, John informed me that Arsenal, in fact, won). It started pouring while we were there, so we timed our exit according to the whims of Azorean weather. Once it lightened up a little we ran home. I made a Portuguese shake-n-bake chicken for dinner, which took a while because I had to translate (iTranslate, not Google translate) all the directions to make sure I did it right.

We tried to watch The Spectacular Now (the first 25 minutes were GREAT) but then it stopped loading. I think I recommend it. Instead, we ended up Skyping with my parents, and then Keith, Nicole, and baby Alex.

#67, #68, #69, #70

Day Sixty Seven (sexagesimo setimo dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

Semana Dez

My new watch and I went for 5 miles with Romeo. It was pouring. We didn’t hear back from Ken—and his shoulder has been bothering him—so John and I headed over to ALKE ourselves where we completed three supersets:

  • Squat jump to DB bench
  • Pull-up to pike
  • Plate pull-over to back extension

and I finished with 50 burpees SPLATS

#30burpees30days Day 21: 50 burpee SPLATS.


We hit Pic-Nic and did our usual Monday shopping before we went home. Our other “to-do” list item was to get Christmas lights for the wine cabinet. Which we got at Carla’s father’s hardware store.


John headed off to practice and after class above Toronto Nights I made chicken wings (which had been marinating in BBQ & piri piri sauce since the night before) and sweet potatoes. John said he didn’t really care for sweet potatoes but I know he likes caramelized onion so I tossed some of that on top of some peeled and sliced sweet potatoes and roasted them for about an hour. He devoured them.

Numbers at ALKE are improving again. I had nine women tonight. I used a Shaun T. routine from Insanity. We decided to have a Christmas dinner after class next Monday before I leave for Barcelona.

We got to Skype with Keith, Nicole, and Baby Alex (who has a new talent). He can now put his toes inside his mouth.



Day Sixty Eight (sexagesimo oitavo dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)


Four miles and though it wasn’t raining, it was chilly for the first time. I actually wore a long sleeve t-shirt–I also had to wear my Frees because my Zoom Elites were still wet from the day before. We met Ken at the gym, and because of his shoulder and John’s desire to concentrate on his upper body, we all did variations of the following circuit for four rounds:

  • Lateral step-ups
  • Tricep cable pull downs
  • Preacher curls
  • (J) inverted rows / (L) goblet squats
  • SB knee tuck to push-up

and I finished with 30 burpee push-ups

#30burpees30days Day 22: 30 burpee push-ups.

We saw Marco while we were at the gym and he agreed to drive the three of us to the airport on Tuesday. Ken is on the same flight to Lisbon as we are.

I had eleven women in class tonight. They don’t want to stop working out while I am gone, so I am going to leave some workouts for them to do.


No practice meant John and Ken got to watch Championship League games. I made Pic-Nic burgers, salad, and fries for the three of us. I have been waiting and waiting for the Povoacao (what the locals actually call it… “the Povoacao”… “the Furnas”…) to turn on the Christmas lights. I walked Romeo after dinner and THEY WERE ON.

 IMG_0860 IMG_0861 IMG_0862 IMG_0863 IMG_0864 IMG_0866 IMG_0869 IMG_0871 IMG_0874

It poured all night, but worse than that the wind was back with a vengeance. The shutters and our bedroom door rattled so badly that John didn’t sleep at all.


Day Sixty Nine (sexagesimo novo dia)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

While John was sleeping I went for 7.5 miles. It wasn’t raining, but it was cold. When I got back John was still sleeping so I grabbed a couple Peanut Butter Energy Balls and headed for the gym to do some legs:

  • forward lunges
  • single leg RDLs
  • decline sit ups
  • front squat to OH press

When John got up he had missed the gym (they’re closed from 2:00-5:30pm on Wednesdays) so we walked to Pic-Nic. I am now fully ensconced in my Pinterest addiction, so I spent much longer than is necessary looking up a from-scratch pancake recipe—I was planning on making brinner. After John went to practice, I left for ALKE. I had eleven women again and we did a mini-obstacle course in between sets and I longed for the FH.


When I got home I dove right back into Pinterest and found a hummus from-scratch recipe. Oh, looky here, I had a can of chickpeas. The recipe said that for super smooth hummus you had to skin each chickpea. That sounds ridiculous, I thought to myself. But forty-five short minutes later I had skinned what had to be 300 chickpeas (15oz.). I didn’t have any tahini, so I just put the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, two garlic cloves, and salt in the food processor I-didn’t-know-we-had. It was delicious.


The from-scratch buttermilk pancakes were also delicious—I had to make the buttermilk and I used granulated sugar instead of powdered, but they still came out really good. I made scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. While the pancakes were cooking I did my 30 burpee SPLATS. #30burpees30days Day 23: 30 burpee SPLATS.


Day Seventy (septuagesimo dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

I went running in the rain. Again. I decided not to take Romeo because he is wet-for-days after torrential downpour runs. Also, he slows me down. I went for 2.5 miles and 15 sprint intervals. #thankgodihavethisGPSwatch

After I dried off sufficiently, we headed for the gym. When we got there, Ernesto told us he was Santa Claus. We were confused until he pointed out the packages on his mini-fridge. THREE packages: two from John’s mom & her husband, and one from my parents. It was like friggan’ Christmas morning in ALKE. We ripped into them before we started our workout. We left a few Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups for him and Lina. We did four rounds:

  • incline DB bench
  • decline sit-ups
  • single arm rows
  • SB leg curls
  • shoulder push-press

I physically couldn’t do my burpees I was so fatigued. We walked home with our gifts. We got peanut butter (x3), inhaler (thanks, dad), chapstick, a tea-bag-style coffee brewer, dunkins’ coffee, gatorade (x1,000,000,000), powerbars (x1,000), pupperonis, the biggest bag of chocolate chips I have ever seen, and about 50 Reeses’ peanut butter cups.


My dad sent his in a real Christmas present box. I am Pinterest-crafty now so I added the box top to our Christmas cabinet since it looks like a chalkboard sign.


John headed down to the gymnasium. They canceled classes at the high school in honor of having a futsol tournament. Ken came by, but John was still gone. He told me he had a death in the family so I gave him a Reeses’ cup. Ken went down to meet John.

When there was a break in the games, John and Ken came back and we all went to Pic-Nic. We invited Ken over for dinner and as long as he brought some ground beef over to add to my sauce. They have a deal over at their shared apartment that Ken will cook (because he is the only one capable) if Adam and Majid clean (including washing the dishes). They never clean, so I told him not to cook. Occasionally they wash the dishes Ken needs to cook their food. He can eat with us whenever he wants.

I had six women in class tonight. It was not an easy one and I had a new woman. Who doesn’t understand English. She kept saying “primeiro….primeiro” which I understand is “first”. She found her few English words between gasping for oxygen “This is my first time!” I know, it’s OK. If it was easy, I told her, I would still have 23 women in class.


I made them do a one minute plank at the end and challenged myself to do my 30 burpees (no SPLAT) in that time. Lola and the brand-spanking-new girl joined me. #30burpees30days Day 24: 30 burpees in 1:00.

I had been doing some research on heavy lifting and bulking up (myth: women will get big and bulky if they lift heavy). I have searched on Google Images “female Olympic weightlifters” and John thought it was hilarious. He thought it was so hilarious that when I came home from ALKE, I found THIS was my background image.


Editor’s note: Female olympic weightlifters are not bulky. Except for Holly Mangold (pictured above).