I got up at 4:30am to be in Newton for 6:00am. John said the night before that if he was up, he would drive me. He did get up, so we stopped at Cafe Fresh and then he dropped me off.

I shadowed my new friend Ann Marie until 11:30, went for a run up and down Comm Ave, and then strolled Newton Centre until John came back to pick me up after he played soccer in Bedford. We didn’t think about the fact that it was Good Friday, so when John told me that route 9 was a parking lot, I told him to take the pike. We sat in traffic there, too. Probably everyone cutting out early to go on vacation.

We quickly had leftovers for lunch before I dropped John off at Haskell field to shadow with the Revs Academy. I went to fieldhouse for back day (bent barbell row, pull ups, back extensions, and leg lifts) before heading home to shower. We were driving my dad to South Station that night and then having dinner with Anna and Wendy.

After I got cleaned up, I went to grab John. Once he was all squeaky clean, the three of us piled into our Mazda and we drove into the city.

My dad was taking a 9:30pm train to DC to visit my brother. Once we dropped him off we drove to East Boston and picked Anna and Wendy up. We went to a pub called Kelly’s for dinner. I could barely keep my eyes open. We dropped them off and headed home. Since the pike is a mess on the weekends (remember when it took us two hours to get home from the airport?), we took Storrow drive home.



I observed at Cutting Edge from 7-11:30. My dad was in DC, so John was driving his truck. When I was done with Ann Marie, I drove to the Newton Yacht Club and ran my 8 miles on the Charles River. It was a gorgeous day.

My dad sent me this picture from DC:



I drove home and had turkey burgers for lunch with John who had just come home from his soccer game. I could not physically do anything the rest of the day. I painted my nails, we went to the supermarket, we grilled a gluten-free, half dairy-free pizza (amazing!) and I managed to make my peanut butter, almond butter, and a gluten-free zucchini bread before I passed out.




I slept in to make up for all the early mornings. I didn’t get up until 8:00am. I cleaned a little before John and I took off for the FH. John watched an EPL game.


We stopped at Starbucks where we saw Felicia, who was running the Boston Marathon the next day. She qualified in Chicago… *if only*….

I DIED in Keith’s class. Ninety yards of burpee broad jumps? I want to know what this guy had for breakfast. We brought Romeo with us and I’ve never seen him so happy in his life.

We went home after class where I showered while John made caramelized pearl onions with bacon (a Pinterest find). When we were ready, we headed up to John’s aunt and uncle’s house in New Hampshire.

We had Easter dinner with his aunt Kathy and uncle Robbie, and three of their four kids, and his uncle David and aunt Tina and their two daughters. Oh, and Kathy and Robbie’s fat pugs. They are love bugs.


John’s cousin Sophia is really the only one little enough to want to do an egg hunt, so I did it with her. I opened up all the eggs as I found them and if I didn’t like what was inside, I put it back on the ground. She had so much fun she asked her sister and cousin to hide them again. I found a few more candies I liked the second time around. Then I felt sick from eating them. #damnyoueasterbunny

By the time we got home I was spent. I had made maybe-plans with my two cousins but I couldn’t even imagine going out. By 8pm I was hunkered down in bed.



I got up early so I could run before watching the runners. I was out the door by 6:30am and even though it got to be 70F later in the day, I needed my fleece headband in the 34F that the morning brought. I logged 5 slow ones, went home, showered, and John and I headed out to get breakfast before heading towards the “Six Mile Moment”.

We stopped at J&M’s Diner which is a total mom-and-pop that almost always has a line out the door. The food is only OK and ridiculously expensive. $25 later, and we were en route to the Boston Marathon.

We parked a little bit away from the route and walked. The wheelchair/challenged athletes (amputees, visually impaired, etc) had already started.

IMG_2530 IMG_2528

There was a huge crowd and the course was barricaded off. There were military police and german shepherds galore. The mood was elated. After about half an hour, a couple cruisers, motorcycles, and vans covered in cameras and microphones cleared the course. Then race director MacGilvray in his convertible. THEN—finally—what I had come to see: The elite women. I knew Shalane Flanagan wasn’t going to win (I mean, really?! Rita Jeptoo is a F*&cking beast!!) but she was leading the pack in Framingham.


I think someone should pay me for that picture.

After we saw the front pack, and a few more follow-up groups, we took off for the car: we had more runners to see! We went home to grab Romeo and head for mile 20. My dad was raking the front yard, so John and I grabbed two more rakes and put in thirty minutes of community service before leaving for Newton. We parked in front of our old apartment, met Anna and her dog Tyson, and walked a mile-and-a-half to mile 20.


The crowd was even thicker in Newton, and I couldn’t get a spot where I could see for at least twenty minutes. We didn’t see anyone we knew, but we saw a few of the same challenged athletes that we had seen in Framingham. I tried to get amped up for Chicago—I hear the crowds are good there, too.


Romeo and Tyson made lots of friends and the sun came out in full force.

We had to leave at 2:00pm so John could get to the Revs’ clinic. We walked back to our cars, said our goodbyes, and headed back to Framingham. I dropped John off at the fields, went home to clean, visited my friends Rich & Sara and there now seven-month-old baby, Jack. He is even cuter than the pictures they’d sent me while I was gone. I went back to get John.



I got up early to make Keith’s 5:45am class. Amy and Marc came, and just after we started the warm-up, Meg came. I hadn’t seen her yet, so once she realized through her 5:47am haze it was me, she was very excited to see me. Keith kicked my ass. Again.

I stopped at Coffee Works on the way home for a coffee and headed home to get ready: I was going to put in a full day of work.

The after-school program I used to work for was holding an April Vacation program and they let me work. My dad still works there and he had the same shift as me, so we carpooled (i.e. my dad drove me to work).

The plan was to leave for the zoo at 9:00am. We arrived at 8:45am and after I said my hellos to some of my favorite people who I hadn’t seen yet—Carrie, Joanne, Janaine—we got our groups and got ready to board the buses. Only there was only one bus. We had 90 kids and at least a dozen staff members. It took the bus company an hour to round up two more buses (and drivers). I’m pretty sure they woke the driver of my bus up from nap time at the nursing home. But whatever, we made it.

We got to the zoo after 11:00am, so we went straight to have lunch. I had the best group ever. There are two reasons you get a group like mine (four completely self-sufficient 4th grade girls). One, you are completely incompetent of handling anything else. Two, the director is feeling particularly generous. I’m going with door number two.

We saw the newborn giraffe, visited the petting zoo, went into the deer forest, and saw the macaws. We got ice cream and headed back to the buses.

My dad and I were supposed to go home at 3:00pm but the buses didn’t get back until 4:00pm. I couldn’t tell you the last time I was so tired.

We headed home where I crashed for a little while. I recovered and headed out to dinner. Remember my friend Cathy who is having a little girl in August? I had dinner with her mom, her mother-in-law, and her oldest friend to plan her shower. After a quick pit-stop at Walgreens to buy a ton of 50% off Easter candy, I met them at John Harvard’s.

Her shower is going to be beautiful. I can’t wait to see her. I was incredibly glad when this day was over.

When I got home, John wasn’t there. Crap—he was at soccer. I had forgotten. I passed out until he came home, then talked his ear off and couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.



We had to get up extra early so John could drop me in Newton. I didn’t have to be there until 7:00am, but he was coaching at FH so he dropped me closer to 6:20am at Peet’s coffee. I walked over to Cutting Edge at 7:00am to meet Ann Marie.

I am basically done observing, so I designed programs for her clients for the next two days. She took me through another workout (even harder), I designed a program for her, then I left.

John was just leaving fieldhouse, so I waited at Starbucks. He missed the exit, sat in traffic, and took almost an hour to get to me. We went home for lunch.

I was going back to working at Bosse, which is another big sports club that I worked at for the two years before we moved. I help with AP, payroll, and HR (a tiny, tiny bit). As soon as I saw Deb it was like I had never left.

I only had about an hour-and-a-half of work, and then John came back to get me. I had been planning to run 6 miles with some RunHens but I was feeling very unmotivated. And cold. And tired. After John and I did a little grocery shopping I ran 4 with Romeo instead.

I showered, ate, and went to bed. Two days until I’m in DC with my running buddies and four days until we pound the pavement and I crush my half PR.





I got up and ran 5 miles with Romeo. It must have been the humidity in Portugal that kept him from being able to hack it—he ran 5 miles two days in a row with me, no problem.

I got home, showered, and tried to dress up. I had an observation in Arlington at an organization that I’d already had two phone interviews with. John was using my dad’s truck, so I got to take the new car. #beepbeep

I don’t need to go into detail to tell you that it wasn’t for me. I had a lovely chat with the day program manager and told her I didn’t want to waste her time, I really wasn’t interested in the position. Or any position. She encouraged me to apply for jobs higher up in the company. I liked her a lot, but couldn’t picture myself at this facility 44 hours a week for barely more than minimum wage. No matter how meaningful the work may be.

I couldn’t get off the campus fast enough, in addition to not wanting the job, I was going to pick my cousin up for lunch. She works maybe 15 minutes away in Brighton, we hit one of our old hangouts, and I dropped her back off at work. I had to go to the airport. Again.

This time I knew what I had to do, so I drove to Southie first and dropped by the Customs office with the paper work that the nice lady from the Swissport cargo office had given me.

The guy working at the Customs office clearly didn’t see a lot of action. He made as many old man jokes as he could in the 5 minutes I was there, relishing the fact that someone had stopped by.

After a few perfunctory questions, the wise guy stamped my forms and sent me on my way.

Going to the airport this time was a cinch, I knew exactly where to go and I had the right forms. It was the same nice lady from the day before. She didn’t charge me storage, but she did charge me the $50 import fee that everyone has to pay. I had to pay to “import” shit I bought in the US to begin with.

I got out of the city before traffic began and stopped home quickly to let Romeo out and change. I headed for the FH to work out. I saw all my high school girls, followed my Spartan workout of the day (1:00 of each squats, plank, jump rope, burpees, and hanging leg raises, @ 4 rounds) and did some extra core.

Steve, the new Director of Sports Performance asked me to teach the Youth class, but I declined. I wanted to go home.

I headed home, cleaned up, and headed for my friend Lee’s house. She lived abroad, too, so we got to compare notes on how weird it is to come home after a long time away. We sat and chatted until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Luckily, she only lives a mile away.

John was just getting home when I pulled into the driveway and we both crashed.



I got up early enough to run 12 miles, shower, and get to my aunt’s house in Dedham by 11:30. I tried to get up earlier, but I just couldn’t. And I only ran 11.5 miles. I just couldn’t.

I showered, hit Cafe Fresh (not the same as Pic Nic!) and was in Dedham by 11:15. Not bad. My auntie Cheryl ran for selectman, and I promised to help on election day (I had conveniently missed many weekends of sign-holding in the sub-zero weather). It was a gorgeous day and I sat on their back porch calling every active female voter in Dedham, asking them to please vote for my aunt Cheryl. I got 99% voicemails, and a few children hung-up on me. All-in-all, it took me about 5 hours to call every woman, including a lunch break to Whole Foods.

Meg, her boyfriend, and our friend Sara had been out holding signs all afternoon. Meg and Tim came home to get ready for the post-election party. We were the first ones to head over to the Paradise Cafe, to make sure every was all set for the party. We waited around for what seemed like hours, the caterer came, a few friends came, Cheryl and Richard showed up, and the tallies came in. Dedham has 7 precincts, and the votes came in one at a time. There were eight people running for two selectman seats and everyone thought she was definitely going to get one. Well, probably.

The first few precincts came in, and she wasn’t doing well. Then her precinct came in (this one’s in the bag, right? Right?) and she didn’t do well there either. After all was said and done, she came in fifth. Bummer. We took a selfie with one of Dedham’s former finest, Bobby Winston, to try to cheer ourselves up.

IMG_2485 IMG_2486

I said my goodbyes after that and headed home. John had just gotten home from the Revs game and we both promptly fell asleep.



Since I went to bed early, I got up pretty early. I made some gluten-free zucchini bread (with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour mix… which I don’t love and probably won’t buy again). John and I headed to FH, with a Starbucks pit stop on the way.


This was only my second FH class since we got back, and Keith kicked my ass. I got to see him and Elizabeth, Jeremi, & Tracey. It was great. John watched some EPL games on the TV in the lobby.

We went home and John got ready to head to his soccer game while I took to cleaning and organizing. I had been a little stressed during the week, and aside from the dogs and having to share cars (and space) with my (extremely generous) parents, most of my stress was coming from living out of suitcases and boxes. And not knowing where anything was.

I needed more hangers, so after I cleaned myself up and ate, I headed over to Target. I also wanted a food processor, but they were out of the one I wanted so I went to Best Buy. But Best Buy only had really super expensive ones, so I went to (gasp) Walmart. Well, at least I knew I was back in American. Damn.

I found the one I wanted there and quickly left the store. One more stop at Trader Joe’s for groceries and then home. Oops, I forgot to get zucchini and tomatoes for sauce. I stopped once more at Shaw’s.

When I finally got home I was starving. John had just gotten home from his game, and my dad was home, too. My mom was in New York City visiting friends, so I made sauce for the boys. I offered to help my dad clean out the upstairs (the “dead relative room” it has been dubbed), but he declined and asked for help raking the lawn instead. So, after dinner John and I puts sneaks and jeans on and headed outside. I couldn’t remember the last time I raked a lawn, and decided it must have been at least 10 years prior.

After we spent a couple hours (maybe it was only one) cleaning up the front yard, we headed inside as it got dark. I made protein bars, peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, and meal prepped chicken and quinoa for the week. I didn’t use my new food processor because it turns out my parents had one. It was incredibly loud and the “off” button doesn’t work so you just have to keep un-plugging it. I fell asleep tired, but feeling accomplished.



I am going to start working at a personal training studio in Newton Centre. They specialize in super slow, high intensity training, which is something I’ve never done before. I went in on Monday to observe the owner train her clients. I got up at 5:00 to have plenty of time to get coffee and be there for 6:30am.

I stopped at Cafe Fresh with my reusable iced coffee cup in tow, already containing some coconut creamer (Cafe Fresh only has milk or cream). It wasn’t my friend Fanny working, but another Egyptian man who’s English consists of “Cream and sugar?”. I handed him my cup and asked for hazelnut iced coffee, and since they only take cash, I turned to the ATM machine inside the cafe. When I turned back the man handed iced coffee. Black iced coffee. “Cream and sugar?” he asked, in his accented English. “No no no.” I said, “I had creamer in there. Did you wash it out?” He responded by asking again, “Cream and sugar?” This time I tried gesturing “Did you” and then while pretending to pour my cup “pour it out?” He responded this time by trying to take my cup, I think he thought I wanted more room in my cup. “NO NO NO!” I grabbed my cup, you’ve done enough.

I don’t know what I was trying to prove; getting him to admit that he’d poured my coconut creamer out (which was obviously the case) wouldn’t have put that non-dairy creamer back in my coffee. I really hoped that this coffee incident was not an indication of how my day was going to go. Luckily, it was not.

I really like the owner of this studio, and I really like her clients. After a few hours of observing and note-taking, I headed home to eat lunch and pick John up. I was going to have coffee with a former client, and John was going to FH.

We went to Sudbury Coffee Works where my friend was already waiting for me. It was so nice to see her and catch up, and after we sat for a while she dropped me off at fieldhouse. I left my stuff but then took off for a 5 mile run. It was over 70 degrees out and also pretty windy. When I got back I grabbed my stuff and took the car; I was going to pick my friend’s kid up at school and bring him to baseball practice. I stopped by her house first and grabbed her two younger ones and we headed to pick up her high school son. We grabbed him and his friend, dropped them off at practice, and the I dropped the younger ones off at home before returning to pick up John. This is a normal day.

John and I went home, ate leftovers and crashed.



I got up at 6:00 to run by 7:00am. I threw 10 miles down, but slow. I showered, we got coffees, and John dropped me at Kate’s. She wasn’t home from FH yet, so I set about to reading her four pages of (decorated!) notes titled “Liza Rocks!”, she had thoughtfully left me her wifi password. Kate was going to New York for a few days for a funeral, so I was friendsitting.

She and Zaela came home around 11am. Z and I played in yard, had lunch, and talked a friend through a breakdown. Zaela was so wiped out that she actually fell asleep in my lap while I chatted away on speaker phone. I put her down to finish her nap and I worked on my blog. I got to catch up with two of my friends from Povoacao, Leila and her sister Daniela, on Skype.

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Zaela woke up cranky so we snuggled and watched some TV.


Her brothers came home, we played for a little while, had dinner, and I let them watch the Lorax. Kate’s husband was coming home from a business trip and his flight kept getting delayed. I put the kids to bed and napped on the couch until Marc finally came home just before midnight. I drove Kate’s car home.



I had to run before going back to Kate’s house, and Amy said she could run at 5:00am. So, even though I had time to run later, I decided I would rather run with Amy. I got up at 4:30am and there was SNOW on the ground!

It had been 60 degrees when I got home after midnight, so even though Amy warned me it was going to be cold, and maybe flurries, I was still shocked. Luckily Amy wears a flashing vest and a headlamp, because I work all black. #iamaninja


When I got home (5:55am) John was already at FH.


We ran 5 through the slush and I headed home to shower, eat, and head to Kate’s. I picked Zaela up from the neighbor, we played for a little while, and then I took her to the library for Wee Reads. Kate said I could take her wherever I wanted to, and that included Target for more hangers, so I figured I would take her to do a fun kid activity before I made her do adult errands with me. It seemed only fair.

I saw my friend Andy Bower at the library (I always use his whole name when I refer to him—I don’t know why. I have another friend, Matt Ryan, that I do this to, too.) Wee Reads turns out to be a sing along that Zaela just loves. She is really good at animal sounds and that was the theme that day. The best one is her dog sound. She doesn’t “bark” or “ruff” but she pants.

I took her to Target afterwards with me to get more hangers and she was great. We went home to have lunch and nap. Liam came home from his friend’s house, we got in the car and ready to go so that when Sam got off the bus at 3:45pm he could get in the car, too, and we could make it to the FH by 4:00pm for flag football.

During the time between when Liam got home (3:30pm) and the time we got in the car (3:40pm), Liam lost his ninjago helmet (Ninja + lego = ninjago). The helmet belonged to a ninjago he had borrowed from the friend who dropped him off. We couldn’t find it, so I told him we would look more when we got home.

Zaela lost it when we got to the FH, screaming, running, and batting her eyelashes at Jay and John. Liam couldn’t even enjoy himself because he was stricken with guilt over the lost helmet. Sam made an interception at flag football, but we missed it.

We were going to sit at Sudbury Pizza for dinner, but it was too much. We picked up instead and took dinner home, where we ate in front of the TV. The ninjago helmet never surfaced, I tried to put Zaela down early to help Liam look for it, but the jig was up. She knew it was too early and screamed her little heart out until I picked her back up. Maybe ten minutes later we went for round two; with three books in the rocking chair first. She went down without a peep. Are you smarter than a twenty-month-old?

Marc came home at 6:00pm but left again at 6:45 for a T-ball meeting. The boys were still up when he got home again at 8:00pm. Sam had just finished his homework and Liam was drawing and coloring. John picked me up, drove me home, and I passed out.



I couldn’t shadow in Newton on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I was back again Thursday. Luckily, the schedule had changed and the day didn’t start until 7:00am. We also had a few breaks in clients, so the owner brought me through a workout. When we were done at 11:30am, I went for my run through Newton Centre and down Comm Ave, on the marathon route.

I stopped at Trader Joe’s on my way home to grab avocados and ground turkey to make burgers for lunch. I ran into a girl I went to high school with who happens to be living with her parents around the corner from my parents. We said we would be in touch. We said we’d make plans. We probably won’t.

I got home and made lunch for me and John and then drove John to Haskell field so he could observe his first Revs Academy practice. He is going to coach for them and was supposed to observe Tuesday and Wednesday, but because of the rain and the snow, both days the fields had been closed and practices cancelled. After I dropped him off I headed to TJ Maxx where I bought socks and a work shirt. I stopped at Shaw’s, too, and grabbed some veggies. I got halfway home before I realized I hadn’t grabbed bagels or boost for John. Damnit.

I cleaned and unpacked some more, folded and put laundry away, before I headed back out to Shaw’s and CVS. I picked John up at the fields and we headed to FH. John was coaching a mini-clinic for the varsity boys’ basketball team and I worked out. I had been staying away from legs, but since my runs were getting shorter I figured it was an OK time to throw some more legs into my routines.

When John was done we headed home. I was planning on grilling chicken and veggies but then the grill ran out of propane, so I made everything inside on skillets and saucepans and I set the smoke alarms off. Boa noite.


25 Weeks in Povoacao. Como se diz?

Day One Hundred Sixty Eight (dia cento sessenta e oito)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

21 Março 2014

I got up early enough to run 5 miles before we hit the gym. I got back around 10:30am, and John was still knocked out. I set out to do a little cleaning, mostly the things I hate to do so I just don’t, like wash the windows, and clean the dryer filter (no, not the lint trap). At least I found €1.10 in the dryer. When I finished cleaning the tub of the dryer-filter-debris, John still wasn’t up so I decided to shower. He finally got up around 11:30am, but at that point I was committed to deep-cleaning. I’d go to the gym later….maybe.

I was trying to decided whether or not I should put real clothes on (what? Cut-off sweatpants aren’t appropriate in public? Tell me something I don’t know) and head to Pic Nic when I remembered that we hadn’t given Ricardo any of John’s birthday cake. I scooped some into a glass jar I had saved (John calls it hoarding, but I call it preparedness) and, after changing, went down to Pic Nic where I found John and Ken. I gave Ricardo his jar of cake and got a cafe. It was warm enough to wear shorts.

John went to the Mira Mar office and back to the gym to grab his phone and I headed home to continue cleaning the windows (I hate cleaning windows. I don’t think I cleaned the windows once in Newton and we lived in that apartment for two-and-a-half-years. #judgeme). One of the main reasons I hate cleaning them is because they seem to be instantly dirty again, especially when you have a husky stalking the cats outside of said windows. Yeah, yeah, Romeo. Keep trying to shove your wet nose through the window; you’ve almost got ’em.

After I made banana bread for John (and Paleo brownies for myself which John later deemed “pretty good”), I did finally head to the gym around 5:30pm so I could squeeze a quick work out in before I went above Toronto to teach. I foam rolled thoroughly first because my calves are still swollen and I had 14 miles to log in the morning. I did the same workout John and Ken had done earlier, plus some extra core:

  • :30/:15 4 rounds:
  • SB knee tuck to push up
  • Curl-squat-press
  • Chin-ups
  • Box blasts

I thought I was going to kill the chin-ups because I have been doing so many pull-ups, and the last time I did chin ups I could do 8 in a row (maybe even 9). On Thursday we did strict pull-ups and I did sets of 3-and-a-half or 4. Kill chin-ups I did not; in thirty seconds I did maybe one set of 4 or 5, dropped, then 3 or 4 more. Damnit.

  • Core, :45/:15 3 rounds:
  • leg lifts
  • suitcases (round 1) navy seals (rounds 2 & 3)
  • side bends right
  • side bends left

I headed over to Toronto to teach.


John had practice so I had leftover bacalhau and veggies with lentils for dinner.

Day One Hundred Sixty Nine (dia cento sessenta e novo)

Saturday (Sabado)

22 Março 2014

I slept until 9:30am. I was planning on going for my longest-long-run around 10:30am, but then Carla had to come over with a guy to fix our sliding glass door, because it doesn’t slide. I thought that maybe it was because it’s full of dog hair, but Carla said it has needed new rollers for a while. John ran next door and got toothpaste for us and he tried to buy shampoo for me. I told him the Portuguese word was champu and they sell really really ridiculously big bottles of it in crazy scents for one euro everywhere. He came home and said, “Nothing said ‘champu’ on it. The lady told me they were all shampoo.” The bottle said “shampooing” on it. It was conditioner. I officially hadn’t washed my hair with shampoo since Wednesday, and now I’m thinking I won’t. I also have been trying to dry my hair less, since I totally fried it on our trip to Barcelona. I will not wash, nor dry my hair, for the remainder of our stay. The amount of which has still not been publicly released.

I finally took off with Romeo around 11:15am. The sun was beaming so I opted for shorts and a tank top. Sometimes up in the lombas it is chilly, but it is worth being chilly for a little while just to run in the sun. I dropped Romeo off after mile one. I stopped to stretch my bulging calves at mile three.

I did a little more than 4.5 miles before I headed for lomba do Alcaide. I struggled up the beginning, until I came to lomba dos Pos where I stopped to stretch again, mile five-and-a-half. I stopped one last time at the very end of lomba do Alcaide to get water from the faucet that makes me feel like Alex Owens from Flashdance. Well, it used to make me feel that way, but now there is a hose on the end, so I feel more like a beached whale. Whatever. Mile 7.75.

I ran to where lomba do Loucao starts at Diane’s princess house and another half-a-mile still, before turning around and heading back to lomba do Alcaide and back down the way I came. I passed the faucet where I stopped earlier (beached whale) at mile 11. I found John heading to Pic Nic at mile 13.9 and asked him to run my last minute with me, but he had to meet the juniors. So, I ran around him in circles until my watched said mile 14. done.

Sometimes when I plug my watch into, what my watch called 14 miles, Nike+ calls 13.99. I usually try to run an extra .01 to alleviate this problem, because it stresses me out. This happened. This annoys me.

IMG_2355This is a really old picture, of me with my twins after my first half marathon in San Francisco. I wish I could always go out in public dressed this way.

I showered and ate and went to Pic Nic by myself and put up my Week 24 blog post. I went home to have a salad and I made John and Ken dinner for when they got back from the juniors game. I made another banana bread since they finished the one I had made the day before.

Lina had planned a Desperate Housewives dinner in Furnas for 8:00pm. Her car was full, so I was going with Leila and Lola. I had asked John to drive us there and pick us up in Leila’s car so we could all drink, which he said he would do, but then Leila said she is on meds because she is sick so she wouldn’t drink. Then Lola didn’t drink either, so it really wasn’t a big deal.

Leila picked me up around 7:15pm, just after John had come home and reported another loss (6-1, which actually wasn’t as bad as Arsenal’s 6-0 loss earlier in the day), and we stopped at Pic Nic to get cafes. Lola’s husband dropped her off, we got into Leila’s car and drove to Furnas where we promptly arrived at 7:58pm and were the only ones there for at least half-an-hour.

Alexandra and Liliana arrived next, and finally Carla, Lina, Paula, Luisa, and Catarina. Lorena arrived last, and by herself, coming from Ribeira Grande. We got settled in at the long table they had set for us. When we had the last Desperate Housewives dinner at Toronto Night’s, Lina set a round table, which is so much better. At a long table, you can only talk to the people right next to and across from you. I deliberately sat not at the end, because that is the worst seat. Lola and Leila took the ends, and me and Luisa, respectively, sat next to them. I had Liliana on my other side, who was sick last Saturday when we had dinner together and was still sick. Actually, she might have been a different type of sick now; she left the table twice to throw up. But she and Alexandra stayed until all three courses had been served and cleared.

Everything we had was delicious; Lina had gotten us a fixed price that included soup, dinner, wine and dessert. We started with a fish soup, got to choose chicken or fish, and then had a queijada de inhame (tiny little yam cake) with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I ate all of my food, a lot of Leila’s and Lola’s food, some of Liliana’s food and all of her dessert. I was stuffed.

After we finished the wine we moved on to 3 Bicas for more drinks. Leila hates parking, but we found someone who is worse at it than she is.

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In case anyone was wondering what a typical Portuguese person drives, it is not this.

I was pretty tired at that point and also incredibly full, so one shot of tequila and a bottle of water was more than enough for me.

My pregnant Carla:

Carla CatarinaCatarina, Lina, and me

The service is terrible here, just as it was when John and I went before with Leila and Ze. Once we finally got someone to take our money, we piled into our separate cars and went home. John was passed out, and while I had been almost on-my-face at 3 Bicas, once home and in my own bed, I was wide awake. John and Ken had finished the second banana bread in two days.

I read Ordinary People with my legs up against the wall. #runnerproblems

Day One Hundred Seventy (dia cento setenta)

Sunday (Domingo)

23 Março 2014

I was hoping to sleep like a baby after all that food and wine, but not so much. After falling asleep sometime after 2:00am, I stayed in bed until 9:30ish, but I hadn’t slept well. After I took Romeo for a stroll, John and I went to Pic Nic for cafes.

We went home and I made John pancakes because we didn’t have any cereal. Sleepy Sundays are still a hot commodity, and we’re not going to have many more before we head home and back to reality.

Eventually John went back to Pic Nic for some soccer game that was on. He came back around 2:00pm and said Pedro would drive us to the seniors game. John wasn’t playing (he’s done playing, he only practices). I told John I would’ve hoofed it up to the complex with him if we had to, but I was glad for Pedro. It had started to rain.

Pedro picked us up around 2:30pm and we secured seats inside the box with Serenela, Glebiana, Mufasa, and Mira. Sometime in the middle of the game, it stopped raining.

They played against Nordeste, who they tied twice in the regular season. Mira Mar won: 3-0. Berto with two goals, and Majid with the other. Adam got to play, and Vitor played with a broken toe.

When we got home I immediately got a message from Alexandra inviting me to her house for cinnamon buns. I was supposed to Skype with my dad in a little bit, so I called him on his cell phone using my Skype credits and caught him at Lowe’s. He was surprised it was me, “Liza?!”, and we caught up for a few minutes before Leila picked me up.

Alexandra makes cinnamon buns on the regular on Sundays, and I always complain that she doesn’t invite me. Of course, I had eaten like a pig the night before and knew that if I went to her house I would continue to eat everything in sight. Which is exactly what I did.

Leila picked me up and said she didn’t know where Alexandra lived. “I do!” I rejoiced. She has told me, as has Lola, that she lives in the pink house on lomba de Cavaleiro. I have run by her house and know exactly which one it is. I thought.

It had started to rain again when we were parking. They were a lot of cars in the driveway for the house next to the pink house, so Leila wasn’t sure the pink house belonged to Alexandra. I’m sure! I said, she’d told me a hundred times it was the pink house. The other house was definitely brown, not pink. I knocked on the pink door, but no one answered. We went to the brown house and an older woman answered. Leila asked her if she knew where Helio and Alexandra lived, and she told us they lived downstairs (I suddenly remembered that Alexandra told me she lived with Helio’s Tia). Tia de Helio ushered us inside (after telling us to wipe our feet, because she had cleaned) and showed us the door to the basement, where we found our friends.

Telma, Lola, and their significant others were already there. Alexandra also made an apple cake, chicken wings, and lemonade. I probably ate half the apple cake and at least 10 cinnamon buns. We discussed first impressions, baby names, Portuguese slang (Alexandra loves to teach me nasty Portuguese words and tell me they are other things. Like that time she told me her middle name was pinchelo, which means “pubic hair”).

Leila took me home where I promptly got into bed. John asked if I was going to sleep already, to which I relied, No, but everything I still wanted to do that day could be accomplished in bed.


Day One Hundred Seventy (dia cento sessenta)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

24 Março 2014

I got up, walked Romeo, and then went to Antonio’s to buy cereal for John, where I saw one of the ladies who stopped coming to my class a while ago. Her English isn’t great, but I used some of my Portuguese to tell her we were going home kind of soon. She got a real serious look on her face and gave me three hugs before she left. John is already trying to bet how much crying I’m going to do when we leave. It’s going to be a lot.

When I got back, I headed out for five miles, bringing Romeo for the first one. Ever since I came in second in Ribeira Grande, the lady who cleans my street (who has a Facebook account but not all her teeth) says Bom Dia and Ola! Every time I pass her, which on a vila run is at least 5 times.

When I got back John was getting up. We headed to the gym for Chest Day. Ken was supposed to meet us there, but he no-showed.

We went to Pic Nic after, and sat outside (because it was BEAUTIFUL). Carla came over and sat with us. She found someone for our apartment for when we move out, which is good for her. He is a doctor from continent and he’s living in one of her mom’s apartments until we head home.

After we went home for lunch, we both went grocery shopping. We went to Casa Cheia where we found the bread van outside (score) and then to the fruit market where I found avocado (double score). We sat down outside at Pic Nic for drinks, and shortly thereafter, Ken came by. He had fallen back asleep after texting with John that morning, and had done Chest Day solo that afternoon. John and Ken’s junior practice was cancelled (no game this weekend) so I went home to make chili for all of us. I was reading up on Macro diets the other day and tried calculating my own (which I never perfected, and kept getting different macros, but whatever). I downloaded an app to see how my own diet matched up. P36 means I didn’t eat enough protein and those nasty minus signs means I ate too much fat and carbs. I’d call Day One an Epic Fail.


I headed off to class and John and Ken headed off to play Fifa.


Ken and John got home a few minutes after I did. After we ate, John and Ken went to play futsol. They just had one mission to complete first: return the stolen mattress to Fatima’s. We took it when my parents stayed here almost two months ago. It’s time to bring it back. John tied Romeo around his waste and they walked it back up the street. Is there such thing as a un-con mission?

Day One Hundred Seventy One (dia cento setenta e uma)

Tuesday (Terça-feira)

25 Março 2014

Nike+ is the training plan I am following for my upcoming (Nike) half, two other halves, and a 200-mile relay (who’s idea was that?). I have their app, but I also have a We Run DC app that is linked to my Nike+ account. Everyday, these training plans show the same runs. Everyday except for this day.

This day Nike+ said 3.75, but We Run DC said 8. They were both interval runs (1m. warm-up, then .75 fast, .25 recover, repeat, cool-down 1m.). I was feeling a whole lot better than the week before, so I set off to do “at least 6”, figuring I would split the difference. I ended up doing all 8. I felt awesome.

My plan was to bail on the gym if John had left without me (or maybe go later…maybe). But he was still in bed when I got back! He got up and we got ready. We met Ken at the gym. John said he was not doing leg day, I only wanted to do light, and Ken wanted to do heavy legs so we each did our own workout. John did some upper body stuff, Ken did back squats, and RDLs, and I did front squats, step ups, single leg RDLs, and butterfly squats.

After we went to Pic Nic we headed home to meet the guys who were fixing our kitchen doors. Because of Romeo, Carla wanted us to be home when they came by. Rather than work on the doors there, they took our doors, fixed them, and brought them back a few hours later. Unfortunately for us, it was not as warm as the day before and it was flipping cold to not have any doors. But they weren’t gone long, brought them back, put them in, all while another guy fixed our shutters that broke a few months ago. In an effort to get closer to my macros for the day, I had eggs with ham for lunch, and chicken and lentils for dinner. Getting enough protein takes some real effort. Macros Day Two: Epic Win (close enough)?


I applied for Mass Health before the 3/31/2014 deadline hit, and got ready for class. John had practice so I came home, ate dinner, walked Romeo and got in bed.


Day One Hundred Seventy Two (dia cento setenta e dois)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

26 Março 2014

After deciding to run 8 and feeling good, and then doing light legs (light? then why am I SO SORE) running 7 was miserable. I barely made it home. John and I stopped at Pic Nic for a cafe before meeting Ken at the gym, where we did (#thankyejesus!) Arms:

  • weighted dips
  • DB curls
  • tricep cable pulls
  • planks (boys did upright rows)

When John, Ken and I got to Pic Nic it was packed. We secured one 2-person table so I left John and Ken there, and headed to Antonio’s. We needed dog food and dish soap so I caved and bought shampoo (champu). I headed home to wash my hair for the first time in 7 days.

Leila has been asking me and asking me what I want to do before we leave (I don’t want readers to get too excited; we’re not leaving that soon). I don’t really know what I want to do that we haven’t done already. She didn’t have to go to the hospital Wednesday, so she picked me up and we went to Poca de Beija, the small hot pools. Leila tried to tell me at Carnaval (where there was lots of alcohol) that we could never be really good friends because her English isn’t good, we can’t communicate, blah blah blah. Her English is great and we are becoming very close friends. After Poca de Beija we went to Gloria’s where we got bolos and cakes. I got some caramel cake for John and Ken.

When I got home, John and I each had a bolos. I got ready for class and John and Ken went to play futsol with a few of the juniors, since they aren’t practicing this week. Leila and her brother Philip were taking us out to dinner after class. This was the second day in a row I had 12 ladies!


After class I scooted home to shower, John and Ken were at Pic Nic, and I found a giant turd Romeo had left for me upstairs. John came home and they took him for a walk while I finished getting ready. Leila and Philip beeped around 8:15pm.

We were going to Lagoa for dinner, to a place Philip had been before. It turned out to be inside a youth hostel, and was totally dead. This is, on Sao Miguel at least, not a deciding factor for whether a restaurant is decent or not. In the states if we walked into an empty restaurant, we would probably turn around and leave. We ordered bottles of wine and meals, which I took photos of.

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We thoroughly enjoyed all of our food and our wine. I had pork that had stuffing on the outside, Philip had pasta, Ken had a traditional Azorean steak with egg and french fries. John had a steak that had bacon and bread underneath it. Leila got chicken wrapped in bacon, and on the side it had ananas (pineapple) with cocktail sauce. I know what you’re thinking, but it was actually really tasty.

Ken even asked for bread to slop up the remaining sauces so he didn’t miss a drop. We piled back into Philip’s truck to head somewhere else for dessert. There is a bar on the beach about 10 minutes from the hostel-restaurant that serves crepes. It had started to rain and we had kind of a hard time finding the entrance, but we made it.


Ok, so this doesn’t actually look as good as it tasted. Trust me, it tasted delicious.

We stayed almost until they closed and then headed back to Povoacao. 

Day One Hundred Seventy Three (um cento setenta e tres)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

27 Março 2014

After having gone out to dinner the night before and getting home decidedly late (for an old lady like me), I slept in. I woke up just before 10:00am and peaked at my phone. Leila had messaged me saying her mom, my sweet Lucy, wanted to have lunch with me. My immediate thoughts were; “No, because I physically can’t get out of bed” and then “When I do get out of bed, I have to run 5 miles…” I messaged her back, “Maybe another day is better, I’m still in bed”. I got up, brushed my teeth and put my contacts in (this process makes me human). I messaged her again; I’d love to go for lunch. This is a picture from a different day, but I Love Lucy.


I set out for 5 miles without Romeo (much faster this way), hopped into the shower. Hell, I even styled my hair. Leila picked me up at noon.

We drove to her house on lomba do Alcaide where Philip and my dear Liliana already were. Lucy had made bacalhau, sweet potatoes, and a black-eyed pea salad. and two desserts. She made a custard pie and then a tarte de feijao which means bean pie but isn’t anything like the desserts I’ve made with beans (epic-fail brownies and chickpea cookies). It was sweet, and creamy, and tasted like cinnamon. Lucy’s aunt Mary Jo came by. She is Nedia’s mother and speaks English because she lived in Bermuda for 15 years. Her English was pretty damn good, but amused Lucy and Leila. It’s a lot better than my Portuguese.

Philip and Liliana headed back to work at the bank and Lucy pulled out pictures of Daniela, Leila, and Philip. They were mostly recent pictures, college graduations and such, but there were a few gems of them as little kids. Adorable.

I told Lucy I would give her a picture of me and John. She, like my mother, doesn’t like that digital cameras signified the end of the printed photo. We decided to go to Gloria Moniz (yes, again) for bolos and other treats. We stopped on the way at Nedia’s house where she showed me her DIY crafting skills (like the lamp shade she made out of cassette tapes–genius!) and her greenhouse. We had talked about the greenhouse when we walked the lagoa, because I have been telling everyone that when I get home I am going to grow my own vegetables (I can’t even keep house plants alive, so it’s going to be interesting). She cut me two big heads of lettuce and we were on our way. In the car, I added the lettuce to my bag of food that Lucy had given to me, which included all the leftovers from lunch. #foodfordays

We drove to Furnas and got bolos to take home, and I got coconut cake. Leila tricked me and got a ginormous piece of chocolate cake, and then only ate a few bites, which of course meant I finished it for her. My belly hurt for the rest of the day.

They dropped me off at home and I got ready to teach class. I was going to head to the gym to do Back Day before my class, but I just couldn’t. I decided to go afterwards.


When I arrived at Toronto, Leila had one more thing for me: the tarte de feijao. I couldn’t bring that into the gym with me! I left it at Toronto, did Back Day (with foam rolling, I was in and out in 25 minutes), grabbed my tarte and headed home. I was still full from lunch and snacks, so I had some leftover salad with avocado while I Skyped with Anna.

Week 23 in Portugal! Tattoos (or not), bleach, and lulas.

Day One Hundred Fifty Four (dia cento cinquenta quatro)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

7 Março 2014

I only had a 2-mile run planned and John slept in (he was still sick), so I took my sweet time getting ready. John got up after 11:00am and I finally went for a solo-run. When I got back John was up so we walked down to Pic Nic, where he got a galao and a fofa, so I guessed his appetite was back. I left John there pondering soup.

I went on to the gym where I struggled through Circuit Day alone. I don’t know if it was because I was by myself, or just because I’m feeling tired and lazy, but either way it was super hard (5×15 weighted box jumps, cable rotations, SB knee tuck to push up, hanging leg raises, navy seals).

I went home to shower and have lunch and I asked John if he got soup at Pic Nic. “No,” he said, “your soup is better.” best.answer.ever. I said I would make soup, but it probably wouldn’t be ready for a while; we could have it for dinner. Because I am trying to eat better, one of the things I switched out was canned beans in favor of dried beans. Main problem: you can’t just grab a can, rinse them, and eat them. They take a lot more prep time. I grabbed a bag of white beans and set about to soaking them (they didn’t really need to soak overnight, did they??)

I made banana bread Big Al style for John and attempted to make muffins for myself. I bought these cute little silicone muffin molds a few weeks ago that I’d been wanting to use. I only have 6 of them and I ended up with a lot of muffin batter, so I bagged it and made bread. Somehow this was incredibly disappointing; I had really been looking forward to a muffin.

I used one ripe banana, and then shredded some leftover zucchini centers from zoodles I had for dinner the night before (note to self: even if you think the zucchini is “dry”, it is not. And you should squeeze the water out before baking it). I also shredded up a carrot, used one real egg, one chia egg, and one flax egg.. I added almond flour. I had a flashback to being in my best friend’s kitchen when we were high school-aged. Her mom used to make these crazy muffins with whatever vegetables and/or fruit (but mostly vegetables) she had laying around. Carrot/raisin, zucchini/bran… I think she made some with kale. She never used sugar—I have to admit I used a little honey in mine. The memory only made me wish more mine were muffins instead of a loaf.


I have decided to call them Kitchen Sink Muffins. Romeo ended up enjoying the banana bread more than John could, but I’ll get to that later.

John and I took a walk with Romeo so I could get eggs, bananas, and apples. We spotted the bread van and got a bag for John and another for Ken. We stopped to have cafe at Pic Nic and found Ken, along with a few other Mira Mar players.

I decided my beans had soaked long enough, so when we got home I started to de-gas them (something else I was new to). Luckily my girl from My Whole Food Life has a simple explanation for how to prepare dried beans. They seemed a little hard still, but I began making the base for my chili anyways. I wanted to make white chicken chili, but all the recipes I found included dairy in some form (sour cream, cheese, heavy cream… etc), so I just used my own chili recipe, and subbed white beans for kidney, and chicken for beef. #thatwaseasy


I let the beans soak while I went to ALKE to teach, hoping that this one extra hour would finish softening them. No such luck. I popped a tray of veggies in the oven, John went to play FIFA, and I walked to Toronto. A bunch of us had been planning on going to Ribeira Grande the next day for International Women’s Day. The Camara was hosting a race, an outdoor aerobics class, and fun & games for kids. There was a big storm (supposedly!) rolling in, so we decided not to go. While I was looking forward to going with everyone, the storm didn’t change my running plans; I was still going to log 12 on Saturday. Rain or no rain.

I had the biggest class I’d had in a while; 9 ladies. Now that all of Povoacao knows when we leave, I think ladies are starting to bail. I have had a few newbies start, but I have had more women leave. We did:


When I got home I added one cup of not-quite-crunchy-but-de-gassed beans to my chili and John and I ate. Since he didn’t have practice, this was the first night since I-don’t-know-when that we got to sit down and eat together and even watch (…well, start) a movie. We watched 12 Years a Slave and I maybe made it an hour before I passed out. When I woke up the next day, John told me how it ended.

Day One Hundred Fifty Five (dia cento cinquenta cinco)

Saturday (Sabado)

8 Março 2014

So, it did rain. A lot. And while someone had told me it was going to be the worst overnight, it was still pretty bad at 10:00am. And still pretty bad at 11:00am. John took Romeo for a walk and confirmed my worst fear: that in addition to it being rainy and windy it was also cold. Damnit. I checked Ribeira Grande’s Facebook page: they were postponing their Women’s Day festivities. Score!! Maybe we could all still go.

He headed off to the gym to make up for skipping the day before. The juniors had a game at 4:00pm at home and the seniors had a game at 9:00pm in the city. I was not the only one planning on skipping that little adventure—John wasn’t planning on playing. Or even going.

After he left I geared up and headed out for 12 miles. I did my usual lap-the-vila until I was dizzy and then headed for the lombas. It wasn’t raining very hard—it was really cold—but the wind was killer. I only made it about ¾ of the way up lomba do Alcaide before I had to turn around. I ended up doing three more miles in the vila to finish. My clothes weighed about 10 pounds and my sleeves were covered in boogers. I hung my clothes up outside and took a hot shower. It made my hands burn.

John got home not long after I did and we discussed the culture of soccer. Mainly the Portuguese culture. John was worried he was not going to be able to field a team (two kids are sitting out their last game from their red cards). I was planning on going to the game, but Pedro couldn’t drive me. I will run 12 miles in the rain, but walk ¾ of a mile to sit in the rain and watch a soccer game? I don’t think so. We walked to Pic Nic for cafes and I told John there was no way I was going. The sun was trying to peak through the clouds, but that wind could blow you over. Oh, and it was still raining. #sorrynotsorry

I walked into Pic Nic (which was full—FULL—of German tourists… they are always German) but John walked to the Jardim to see if he could find a ride. I ordered a cafe grande (double espresso) and Ricardo gave me a giant galao. “Is this for me?” I asked. I told him not to worry, John would come and drink it. Only he didn’t—because he found a ride. Uh oh, I couldn’t let that beautiful thing go to waste! And I did do my long-run… I would have to splurge 🙂

After I drank both coffees I walked home and found a ton of crumbs on the floor. That’s weird, I thought, did John drop his plate or something? Then I walked around my kitchen counter and found what was left of Big Al’s banana bread.




Romeo was already hiding under the bed, aware of his bad behavior. I swept that mess up and then my weekend cleaning commenced and I began cleaning everything. I was just procrastinating mopping when I got a message from Lola: “I’m bored. Let’s go to Pic Nic”. The rain was clearing up so I told her I just had to walk Romeo and I would meet her down there.

I walked Romeo around the block and then walked to Pic Nic which was FULL of a different group of tourists. I waited a few minutes and then Lola poked her head in and waved me out the door. She had tried to call Leila but she didn’t answer her phone. Therefor we were going to her house to scoop her up. Leila has been crazy busy working, but is desperate for some fun weekend activities. She was just as bummed as I was about not going to Riberia Grande. Even though she drives to Ponta Delgada and back every week day, she wanted to go to the movies this weekend. #youcouldntpayme to do that drive 6 days in one week! Did I mention she is going everyday for an unpaid internship??

So we went to Leila’s house and found Lucy (sweet sweet Lucy, who I am going to miss desperately). Lucy told us that Leila was bored, too, so she went to Carla’s to get her nails done. My Carla? Leila had been at my apartment! So back to the vila we went.

Carla was just finishing Leila’s nails when we got there so we chatted for a few minutes and then headed to Pic Nic (again!). We were talking about going to Furnas for bolos levedos when I saw that Lola’s cousin Telma had made a yummy-looking coconut pie for Women’s Day on Facebook. Telma understands English, but doesn’t speak it very well (or just isn’t confident… I’m thinking it’s the latter) and sent me the sweetest message a few weeks ago about wishing she spoke English so we could be friends. I commented on her photo and she wrote back “Tell Lola to take a coffee in Ribeira Quente!” So we did.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 11.03.02 AM

We all piled into Lola’s Fiat, drove first to Furnas to pick up bolos…and caramel cake, and walnut cake… and then headed to Telma’s boyfriend’s apartment which is right behind the tent where we eat bifanas. Telma’s coconut torte was just as good as it looked. We snacked, had tea, and then headed back to Povoacao.

I found John cooking meat sauce and pasta. The juniors had 13 players and lost 4-1 using their second-string goalie. I cubed up an eggplant, steamed it, made some tomato sauce, and added some white beans (because, not thinking clearly, I soaked the entire bag of beans so I now had 5 cups to use in the week). It had stopped raining, so after dinner we walked to Pic Nic for tea and cappuccinos. Because Romeo ate all the banana bread, I made some sugar cookies (REAL sugar cookies) for John.

Day One Hundred Fifty Six (dia cento cinquenta seis)

Sunday (Domingo)

9 Março 2014

Lola, Leila, and I had made a plan to walk the lagoa in Furnas on Sunday morning. We were going to meet at Pic Nic at 9:30am (ridiculously early if you asked me, but you didn’t). I set my alarm for 8:00am so I would have time to get ready and take Romeo for a nice long stroll. When I woke up it was raining and windy, so I was not disappointed at all when Lola messaged me saying Leila was sick. Leila and John have both been sick on-and-off since before Carnaval.

I took Romeo for a long stroll, made soup (I have named this day Soup-er Sunday because I think I’m clever), and John and I went to Pic Nic. There was a game on (couldn’t tell you who!) but I sat and read. At some point in the middle of the day, it stopped raining. John went to Ken’s to play FIFA and I took Romeo for a walk to fill up our water containers. We invited Ken over for brinner. I made regular and sweet potato home fries, buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs, and a veggie egg-white omelet for me. #restday

Day One Hundred Fifty Seven (dia cento cinquenta sete)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

10 Março 2014

Nike+ had given me another rest day (really? TWO?), but I was feeling good and the sun was out so I went for 3 miles before we met Ken at the gym. Chest Day.

It was almost 1:30pm by the time we left Pic Nic and one of the juniors’ was coming over to get his haircut at JB’s barbershop. I went shopping at Fatima’s alone and ran home because I was starving. I had soaked some lentils and I was dying to try and make a veggie burger. I threw some in the food processor with some cubed and boiled sweet potato I had prepped the night before, with an egg and some oats.

They were sort of pancake-like in texture, but inside lettuce wraps with tomato and piri piri, they were pretty delicious. Ken got his hair cut, too, and after I fed my near-starved self, I set off to my latest project: de-molding.

I think part of the reason John and I were sick recently was the mold taking over our third floor. We hardly ever go up there, but we slept there the three nights my parents were here and we both got sick right after. Since then, the mold has crept down the walls and ceiling of the bedroom and bathroom. I grabbed some latex gloves, a bucket with warm water and bleach, and took a rag to the third floor (which is what Lina told me to do). While it was sort of time consuming, it was actually really easy to get the mold off. I did everywhere I could reach on the third floor and also in our bedroom (which I decided was the most important). It took me over two hours, and at one point I ran out of bleach and John took a break from cutting Ken’s hair to run next door for me to get more. I hoped this would help John not be sick.

I headed off to class and John went to coach the juniors.


I got home and cooked chicken, rice, and veggies for dinner. I also baked a carrot cornbread (using my kitchen sink muffin recipe, but subbing corn for zucchini and corn flour for almond flour..and omitting the honey) and made some “clean fudge” with prunes and cocoa powder. John doesn’t even know what to say.


Day One Hundred Fifty Eight (dia cento cinquenta oito)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

11 Março 2014

I had sort of been missing my Fartleks because they keep my training runs interesting. I hadn’t had one for a few weeks, so I was pretty excited that Nike+ was giving me an 8-mile Fartlek on Tuesday. I took Romeo for my mile warm-up, did a 6 mile Fartlek (4:1) and then a cool down. I felt awesome. And the sun was shining again. Although I felt great, I was not looking forward to Leg Day. I had another 7 to run the next day.

Thankfully, John didn’t want to do a heavy leg day either, so we changed it up a little and did two mini circuits:

  • goblet squats, box jumps, and hanging leg raises
  • SL RDLs, lateral step-ups, and SB roll outs

After we hit Pic Nic for post work-out cafes, we stopped at Antonio’s for dog food and bought some salsa, which I threw on top of my lentil veggie burgers. Delicious.


After I ate, I began Bleaching Everything: Day Two. I hit the few small spots on the kitchen ceiling that were moldy and then took my tools to the bathroom. The bathroom is small, so it didn’t take me very long, but we only have one tiny little light bulb that works. I also attempted to use the shower rod as a handle to reach a far corner. Giant. Fail.

John tried to help me put the rod back up, but we actually managed to break it. So once I finished bleaching I went next door to Euromotas and bought a new one. John had started to feel more sick, and laid around until practice started. I headed off to class.


After class I headed home and made myself brinner. All I ever want is pancakes.

Day One Hundred Fifty Nine (dia cento cinquenta novo)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

12 Março 2014

Leila didn’t have to go to Ponta Delgada for work (because she is still sick!) so we made a plan to walk the lagoa in Furnas with Lucy and Lucy’s cousin Nedia, who I met on Girlfriend’s day. We were meeting at 10:30am, so I got up early to do my 7 miles. I love Fartleks because they make me faster even when I’m not doing them (read: this is the point). I had an awesome run.

I ran home to shower and meet the girls. We met at Pic Nic where we had a quick coffee and then we headed off to Furnas. Lucy was the only one who had ever walked the lagoa before, but I didn’t think it could be that hard. How could we get lost walking in a circle, around a giant lake? I’m pretty bad with direction, but even I wouldn’t get lost. I didn’t think.

I used my Nike+ GPS watch because I wanted to know how far it was around, and I couldn’t figure it out online. We took our time looking at all the pretty things there were to see, like the carved animals that were made from trees.

IMG_2179 IMG_2180 IMG_2181 IMG_2182Leila isn’t pretending to run out of this picture. It happens to be one of the many things she fears, such as driving, dogs, and having her picture taken.IMG_2186 IMG_2195 IMG_2194

A carpenter/artist goes each year and makes something. Nedia’s husband works for the Camara of Furnas and makes benches and bird houses for the park around the lagoa. We found one.


We also found this sweet-spot for tourists. And their cameras.


Which meant I could get a picture of everyone.


We looped back around to the main road (the one that takes you to Ponta Delgada via the south) and Nedia started to tell me about this hotel across the street whose rooms sit above the water—I had no idea what the heck she was talking about. She tried to point it out to me, but it was down a long windy driveway with a sign marked “HIKING IS NOT ALLOWED”.


Just then Lucy spotted a young man (who turned out to be her cousin, or her nephew, or both on each side of the family… it’s a small island) and she called out to him in Portuguese, “Do you work here?” He did, and he invited us to walk down the driveway with him.

IMG_2207 IMG_2206

At the end of the driveway there were about 8 cabins, all elevated on stilts, above some man-made bodies of water. There was a white horse basking in the sunshine. It was like a little hidden paradise.

IMG_2202 IMG_2203 IMG_2204

We finished walking the lagoa (approx 6.5km / 4.5 miles) and then headed off to grab lunch.


We went to a beautiful little place right next to the Poca de Beija pools. We walked into a dark and empty dining room and loudly sat down, trying to grab someone’s attention. I went to the ladies’ room and when I came back no one had come out yet. We could hear them in the kitchen, so we continued to chat loudly and make noise. One woman poked her head out of the kitchen; “Ola!” I said to the door as she slid back into the kitchen. Another women poked her head out and went right back in. Finally, a little old man came out and told us it would be a few minutes. Oh.

He took his time coming over to us and the other couple (Canadian!) that had joined us in the dining hall. He spoke English and Portuguese and was from the same lomba as Lucy, Leila, and Nedia (do Alcaide). He began taking our orders (finally!) and then realized he didn’t have a notepad. We waited again. Lucy leaned to me and said he used to be a smart guy, but then he had a stroke. A little while later he admitted to having some trouble getting around, and said he had not one, but four strokes. All things considered, the guy looked pretty friggan good to me.

I had the BEST omelet I’d had yet with chorizo and vegetables. Leila still wasn’t feeling too hot, so she didn’t finish her bifana steak or salad. Since we are friends now, I put her plate on top of mine and finished eating her lunch. By the time we got home I thought I was not going to make it to class—I had not done had so much physical activity or had so much excitement since we’d arrived. Neither John nor Romeo were home, so I had some #snacksonsnacksonsnacks and face-planted on the bed for an hour or so. I had been planning on going to the fruit market, but I just couldn’t.

John and Romeo came home, John got ready for practice and I got ready for class. I managed to gather enough energy to actually instruct my ladies, but barely. Being around them and all their energy perked me up, which was good because Lola, Leila, and I had plans to go to dinner.


There is a little restaurant by the gymnasium. I had no idea they were even open during the off-season (i.e. not summer) because it is on the second floor. It turns out to be a really nice restaurant that is, supposedly, full at lunch time. At dinner on a Wednesday night there was only one other party.


John and Ken were in the gym playing futsol. We ordered lulas for dinner which Lola tried to tell me about the other day; “They have really good guacamole there. Wait, no, not guacamole… what is it..” We threw around lots of words until I finally decoded what she and Leila were talking about: Calamari. Not fried, but deliciously grilled.


We all ordered the same plate. We also ordered a sausage for a starter, stuffed with bread and meat, which was yummy. They had a nice little salad bar, too.

It was so nice to have a dinner out with girlfriend’s I’d made. We are leaving soon which is sad, but these girls will continue to be part of my life, I am pretty sure. We talked and talked and talked and got dessert. I had ice cream, which was a mega-cheat, and delicious, but not as good as Lina’s homemade cinnamon cookie ice cream. I went home where I found Ken just leaving. John and I climbed straight into bed. Boa noite.

Day One Hundred Sixty (dia cento sessenta)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

13 Março 2014

John was still sick and sleeping. And it was raining. I slept until I couldn’t hear the rain anymore, then got up and ready for my run. Five “easy, comfortable” miles. As I was getting dressed I realized that my ears had misled me; it was, in fact, still raining. I took Romeo for a walk-turned-run and although it was drizzling, it was pretty warm. Warm enough to drop my long-sleeve when I dropped Romeo and finish my run in a tank. The rain picked up some as I went, and by the time I got back it was raining pretty heavily.

John was sort of awake when I got back and I asked him if he wanted to go to Pic Nic, but he didn’t. I went by myself and then went to the farmacia to get him some nasal spray—the poor guy couldn’t breathe out of his nose. Since I was already out, and I was already soaking wet, I stopped at Antonio’s to get the few things I was going to go to Casa Cheia and the fruit market for, but Antonio’s is closer. I grabbed some veggies and some eggs and headed home to give John the spray.

When I finally got to the gym it was pretty much empty, which is always lovely. It was Back Day but I can’t do pull-ups alone (well, not very many) and I was pretty sure (CROSSING MY FINGERS) that we were going to skip the gym on Friday to go to Ribeira Grande and get my tattoo. I have had a hard time scheduling an appointment, mostly because we are relying on Vitor to drive us and the tattoo artist doesn’t like responding to my messages. Or Vitor’s. Anyway, I did two mini circuits instead of Back Day:

  • weighted dips, single arm bent row, and mountain climbers
  • front squat to OH press, split squats, and decline sit ups

I went home, showered, made the most delicious lentil-white-bean veggie burgers (with homemade salsa, since we ate all of the kind we bought), and met Leila at Pic Nic. We were going to visit Lola at work.


Lola was working at a store in Furnas selling the baked goods she usually makes in Povoacao. It was still raining.

IMG_2218 IMG_2219

The store (basically a tourist shop) is located in the caldeiras park in Furnas. The caldeiras are the stinky geysers that make Furnas famous and allow the natural hot springs to be hot. They smell like burning ass-hole, but they are pretty and in the rain seem much more exotic. In the parking lot I saw the street art that John saw on his first trip back in June 2013 and that we saw a copycat of in Barcelona.


We sat with Lola for a while, just chit chatting, and then Lola mentioned she hadn’t eaten anything all day and she was starving. I said we would go get her bolos levedos and I would bring the rest back to John. Leila and I took off again, got bolos, and returned. One of the first things I’m going to do when I get home is attempt to make gluten-free bolos. Because it is crack.

We sat around for a while in the rain and just before 5:00pm Leila and I drove back to Povoacao. We passed a group of cloaked men, maybe 30 or 35 of them, walking from Povoacao toward Furnas. I asked Leila and Lucy about them the other day, because John and Ken said a group of these men entered the complex during their practice and used the locker rooms to shower. Apparently, they are called Romeiros and they are religious groups who walk the entire island during lent. They sing hymns and people feed them and let them stay in their homes during their 7-day walk. The group leaving Povoacao leaves this Saturday. There are groups of Romeiros from every vila on Sao Miguel.

John had been sleeping when I left in the afternoon and he was barely awake when I got home. He said he felt really sick and I begged him not to go to practice if it was still raining (I may have said something along the lines of “I am putting my foot down!”). It stopped raining, I went off to teach at ALKE, and John went off to practice.


Since I ate a little bolos (cheat ! But it is just too yummy) I made the workout something I would want to do (burpees, lateral handwalks… fun stuff!) and did it with the ladies. The Women’s Day Run in Ribeira Grande that was postponed last week has been rescheduled for Saturday, so all the ladies discussed going. Alexandra told me there was going to be another storm. Great.

After class I headed back home where I ate sauce on eggplant, made chickpea cookies, and Skyped with my BFFL Anna. She said it had snowed again in Boston. I am hoping the weather changes its tune before we get back. John came home and told me we couldn’t go get my tattoo the next day, but we would definitely go on Monday (called it).

Twenty weeks in Portugal.

Day One Hundred Thirty Six (dia um centena de trinta e seis)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

17 Fevereiro 2014

I got up feeling slightly worse than I had the day before–I must have been getting a cold. Nevertheless, I ran 5 miles, met John at Pic Nic because he wanted a cafe before going to the gym, then walked to ALKE to meet Ken. It was Chest Day.

We did 30 push-ups to start and end (today I did 30 staggered to start and 30 plyo to end). We did 4 rounds of each:

  • DB bench
  • DB Incline
  • Chest Fly

For core we did 4 rounds of 15 reps: hanging leg raises, decline sit ups (w/weight), and SB roll outs. We went back to Pic Nic and I was so hungry that I said we had to go home before we could go shopping. I was getting hangry.

After we ate (I had some leftover salad stuff with chickpeas and red peppers) we walked up to Fatima’s with Romeo. When we got back, I also went to the fruit market and Antonio’s. I was going to get all this outrageous food to make francesinhas because Leila and her boyfriend (who is visiting from the Algarve) were coming over for dinner. Francesinhas are sandwiches that are famously from Porto, which have sausage, roast beef, and ham, stacked together like a club sandwich, over french fries, covered with a fried egg (of course!), cheese, and then a special sauce made of beer, butter, and tomato puree. I was going to make one for myself without bread, cheese, or french fries. Or sauce.


Instead, her mom made us bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese Cod dish, with sweet potatoes (because they know I am trying to be good), and the most yummy black-eyed pea salad. I took this video of Leila’s mom, Lucy, a few weeks ago. She is the biggest badass jump-roper I’ve ever met. Here she is jumping rope with Liliana.

I made a second attempt at homemade Larabars, this time the flavor being coconut cream. Except I didn’t have coconut oil so I used coconut milk. I love the blog I found this recipe on; My Whole Food Life.


I made a big dish of roasted veggies and “red” velvet cookies but without the red dye and without the white chocolate covering. Right when I went to start baking I realized I didn’t have any flour or brown sugar, so John ran back down to Antonio’s for me. He came back moments later with flour, but no brown sugar.

Once I finished making the cookie dough (which had to set in the fridge for an hour) John went to coach the juniors and I went off to teach. Leila started her internship in the city, so I was surprised to see her at class. Even though her boyfriend is only here for the week, she won’t skip any classes. She just drops him off at the gym and then comes upstairs to work out.

Lola’s cousin’s girlfriend (my new American friend) came to class, too. She told me she didn’t run on Friday because it was hailing. Yes, it was hailing. She is leaving for America the next day where it is supposed to snow. I am not ready to go back there yet.


When I got home, I finished making the cookies (which came out looking like tiny little chocolate cakes).


I set the table and then went to walk Romeo. When I was outside Leila & Jose showed up. Leila sort of started to tell me earlier that she was terrified of big dogs. We brought Lucy’s bacalhau (holy yumminess), black-eyed pea salad, sweet potatoes, wine, and juice upstairs and waited for John. It took her a little while, but Leila began to calm down about Romeo. John got home around 9:00pm and apologized profusely; Pedro just hadn’t come to pick them up until almost an hour later than usual. We thoroughly enjoyed Lucy’s food and then Leila suggested we go to Furnas.


We got bundled up and into her Fiat. There is another place in Furnas where there are hot springs just for your feet, so we went there first.


It was so hot that it hurt. And you can’t move your feet at all or it will start hurting all over again.


After we sat around the pools for a while (which are relaxing once the pain stops) we got back into her car and headed for 3 Bicas which is a cute little log cabin style cafe next to the hotel. We all got cha de limao which is really just hot lemon water, but it was tasty. John tried to play the horribly-out-of-tune-piano and we got home around midnight. I slept vertical because I had completely lost the ability to breathe out of my nose.

Day One Hundred Thirty Seven (dia um centena de trinta e sete)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

18 Fevereiro 2014

John was up most of the night (even though we had been so relaxed at the pools, when we came home we were both restless) and I was blowing my nose every 5 minutes. I went out to run 7 miles at 11:00am and he was still conked out. It was BEAUTIFUL out! Almost a beach day, and definitely a running in shorts-and-a-tank day… It didn’t stay that way; when I was done running the clouds were coming out and it wasn’t quite as warm. I was supposed to do three easy miles, three faster miles, and one cool down mile. I lapped the vila and then ran up lomba do Caveleiro until I hit 3 miles, then sprinted down and around the vila one more time before my “cool down”.

John had risen and filled my water up for me when I got back (feeling sweet!) and then we went to the gym. LEG DAY:

  • front squat to TRX trail leg squats
  • single leg RDLs to lateral lunges
  • Core: 15/20/25 TRX knee tucks and pikes

We went to Pic Nic where I indulged and had a galao (after 7 lomba miles and those legs, I needed it!). We then went home where I made a gigantic bacon, egg, and sauteed veggie lunch for me and John. I attempted a five-ingredient roasted cauliflower and sweet potato soup that, because I am still learning to cook, was more like “almost burnt” cauliflower. Ken came over for a haircut at JB’s barber shop.

Leila came to class again along with her mom, Lucy, who’s bacalhau I could not stop talking about.


When I got home John was at practice. I had the leftover fish with my sweet potato soup (pretty lame and tasteless, but I put some roasted zucchini on top, which was good). I Skyped with my cousin Meg and then with my parents (who I usually Skype with on Sundays, but I had totally bailed on them after traveling to Nordeste). Around 9:30pm, Romeo started jumping at the door and I told him to wait, and that I would take him out when I was done talking to my parents. When we finished Skyping, I looked downstairs to tell Romeo I would take him out in one minute. Only I didn’t see Romeo. I only saw my front door. Wide.Open.

He must’ve opened the door when he jumped up on it, only I didn’t hear it. I grabbed his leash and my key, and dropped my phone (because, who was I going to call?!) and went out to find him. I walked up towards Ken’s apartment first in hopes that he was chillin’ outside. But he wasn’t

I found him in the square outside Pic Nic. At first he ran right towards me and I thought it was going to be a cinch to grab him. Nope. He took off to my left right before he got to me and ran behind the bank. Luckily, the bank has a fenced-in parking lot behind it so he was trapped. He circled it once before admitting defeat and sauntered over to his collar. We walked home where he didn’t stop panting for at least an hour.

John came home asked, “Has Romeo been out?” HA.

Day One Hundred Thirty Eight (dia um centena de trinta e oito)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

19 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and bliggity-blogged for a while. I had decided to run and do yoga, but forgo the gym. John & Ken went to the gym and I went out to run 6.  When I was all done, I went home and grabbed Romeo and we met the boys at Pic Nic. While it had been pretty nice for my run, the rain began once we were sitting outside Pic Nic. Post-cafes we went home where I attempted to make tofu burgers #1 with the dehydrated tofu flakes I bought with Lina. I had put them in water to rehydrate when I picked up Romeo. I added to them egg, onion, garlic, and oregano. I made a corn tortilla to put it on, as well as a fried egg. I did not, however, squeeze the water out of the tofu before I added everything else, so they sort of fell apart. I made 5 “sort-of” patties, which I put on top of the tortilla, lettuce, tomato, egg, and then topped with a little ketchup and piri-piri. Not bad, and definitely worth a second attempt.


I wanted some more healthy snacks so once it stopped raining I walked down to Antonio’s, Casa Cheia, and then up to Fatima’s. I got conditioner, pistachios, some teeny-tiny silicone baking cups so I can make gluten-free treats for myself, a shredder so I can made desserts out of zucchini, and a couple of bags of salted peanuts. I figured with us being out of peanut butter, it being soooo expensive here, and this blog article I read, I would try my hand at making it. These bags were only one euro each.

On my way from Antonio’s to Casa Cheia I saw the bread van! I got 6 papos secos for John and continued on my way. When Neither Antonio’s nor Casa Cheia had cashews (or a grill lighter, ours was out of fluid) I started to walk to the other end of the vila to Fatima’s. I grabbed almonds, cashews, and a lighter and then realized I didn’t have enough dinheiro on me for all three. I needed the lighter. I needed the almonds to make protein bars. I just wanted to eat the cashews because I love them. Damnit. I put the cashews back on the shelf and walked home with my arms full of goodies.

I started in on my peanut butter experiment when I got home. Because the peanuts I bought were oiled and salted, I just had to pulse them in my food processor for about 10 minutes (probably would’ve been less if I had a high powered machine), stopping every 30 seconds to let the peanuts sit so they could secrete their oils. The finished product looked like natural peanut butter. With my two bags I was able to fill up two empty and cleaned-out honey jars.


I should probably start labelling these concoctions. I now have applesauce and peanut butter in honey jars, and black bean hummus in a Gatorade container. Where I previously had botched ketchup. And protein powder. And, of course, orange Gatorade. Gross.

After that was all cleaned up, I set off to make Chocolate Almond Protein Bars. These began with making your own almond butter. No problem, I thought, I just made peanut butter! I am the master nut-butter-maker. I can do anything. Not.

I am pretty sure the almonds I bought were dry roasted, so they didn’t have any of their own oils. After at least 10 minutes of pulsing, all I had was chunky almond flour. I added some canola oil (1 tbs), because some people commented that you could do that. When that started to work, it was clear that I needed more liquid. Only I didn’t want to add any more oil, so I added a little water. This worked perfectly, only now I had a sticky mound of almond flour which I was supposed to mix with oats, honey (agave for Vegans) and the chocolate protein powder John took from his giant bag at the gym for me. “John!” I yelled into the bedroom where he was, “Can I have that protein powder!?!” After rifling through his backpack for a few minutes it was clear he didn’t have the Gatorade container he had filled. He ran over to the gym where he had left it.

The recipe said to put all of the ingredients into your food processor, but my food processor is far too small. That meant hand-mixing, which was more than a little difficult. I also didn’t have any parchment paper, so I lined my 8×8 pyrex with saran wrap, smushed the oh-so-sticky batter inside, and hoped for the best. I shmeared some melted chocolate on top, sprinkled slivered almonds on half, and put them in the freezer to set.

I just wanted to make one more thing before heading off to teach: sweet potato chocolate cookies. I had one whole roasted sweet potato leftover from Monday night’s dinner, so I used that as the base. I omitted the chocolate chips and put in 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, because I wanted them to be more like the perfect little chocolate cake cookies I made on Monday. I also subbed my homemade applesauce for coconut oil, corn flour for the coconut flour, and honey for the coconut sugar. Though they weren’t as pretty as the cookies I made Monday, they were absolutely delicious and the best gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free cookies I have made to date. Also, because they were just for me, I didn’t take the same time to make them into nice shapes.

My “red” velvet cookies: IMG_1925

My sweet potato “cookies”:IMG_1926

John pointed out that they more closely resembled something that Romeo “made” than they did cookies. But he also ate a few and didn’t have any smart comments.

John went off to coach the juniors and I went off to teach. Leila came to class again and even though Lola is as sick as me (maybe even sicker), she came, too.


What is a “handwalk”, you ask?

When I got home, I made myself a big fat salad bowl and ate the rest of my burnt cauliflower soup. I Skyped with my friend Carrie from home and Cathy from California. John got home from watching Arsenal lose in the Champions league and made a PB&J for dinner. Romeo jumped up on the door and this time I ran downstairs to take him out.

Day One Hundred Thirty Nine (dia um centena de trinta e novo)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

20 Fevereiro 2014

I got up feeling as though I could almost breathe out of my nose. I took a coconut cream Larabar out of the freezer and let it defrost while I had my green tea. The Larabr tasted like sunscreen, but not in a totally bad way. Because I was planning to do a second attempt at tofu burgers for lunch, I decided to make some homemade ketchup to go with them. I found a recipe on that other blog I totally love: Lipstick & Berries. Because I can never follow a recipe, but also because I didn’t have the right ingredients, it was a total fail. I put in too much vinegar and I used my immersion blender instead of my food processor. The smell alone was making me sick so I threw all of it in the trash. Blech. It was the stuff nightmares are made of.

I took Romeo for 1 of my 4 miles, came home, tried a Chocolate Almond Protein Bar (tasted like delicious candy) and then John and I took off for the gym. It was Back Day:

Ken came later so we started without him. John and I started with 4 sets of 10 pull-ups. I can do 3 by myself before John holds me feet up. I could officially be a Marine.

  • Single arm row @ 4 rounds
  • Lat pull down @ 4 rounds
  • Reverse Fly @ 4 rounds

Ken caught up with us and we all did 4 rounds on the TRX of 8 rows, 8 flys, and 8 Ys. We were not doing core, so I did one 1:00 plank and two 1:30 planks in between TRX rounds.

When we got to Pic Nic it was packed, so we sat outside. After we enjoyed our cafes and the boys enjoyed their Trancas Maca (which I learned means apple braid) John and I headed home where I attempted (again) to make tofu burgers.

This time I squeezed all the water out, but they still didn’t really stick together in patties. I put John’s 5 little semi patties on a papos secos (bread van!) and topped it with a fried egg and cheese. I put mine on a crappy corn tortilla that I made (sans recipe) with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, piri piri, and a fried egg. Still not really “burger” like, but actually totally yummy.


After we had lunch, we took Romeo for a long walk. I wanted to get more fuzzy socks so I could try to incorporate slideboard activities into my routines at ALKE. We went down to Casa Batista where I got 3 pairs for €3.80. We saw Vitor, who was going to take us to Riberia Grande on Friday so I could get my tattoo. We walked over to him to find out what time we should leave when he told me that the tattoo guy (Rafael) couldn’t do my tattoo on Friday. Again! Vitor said he would be happy to take us on Monday if Rafael could do that day. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

When we got home I made black bean hummus (I really, really, came close to following that recipe!) and my Chia Almond PB Balls with Nutella instead of PB and no raisins (the Nutella is plenty sweet). John reminded me the other day that we had bought Nutella but never actually use it.


The Nutella didn’t hold the ball shape as well as PB does, so they were more like bites, but so totally delicious and candy-like.


After I pulled the Nutella bites out of the oven I went off to class. I only had 5 ladies, and they were lucky that my fuzzy-sock-experiment worked. They got to go “slideboard” mountain climbers, in addition to lots of other fun things.


It is amazing how annoying your own voice sounds when played back to you. Sorry!

I went back to Fatima’s on my way home (again!) for almonds, almond slivers (I finished the ones I had making the Nutella bites), and saran wrap. Lola found me there and gave me a piece of maca bolos (apple cake) that she had made. She and I have been talking a lot about healthier ingredients (like subbing applesauce and bananas). I walked home where I made zucchini noodles to eat with the sauce I had made earlier. I walked Romeo, Skyped with my cousin, and Skyped with two of my athletes who I adore and miss terribly.


As usual, the highlight of my week involved none of the food or friends listed above, but beating Ken by 1 point in words with friends.


My life is complete.

Big Al & P.Diddy come to Povoacao: Days 126, 127, 128, 129, 130

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

Friday (Sexta-feira)

7 Fevereiro 2014

We woke up (early for us means before 8:00am) and it was raining. I had picked up the rental car the night before and Romeo had an appointment at 10:00am to get groomed (#thankyejesus). John and I got ready and picked Ken up.

We were planning on dropping Romeo off, going to the mall to shop at Continente, and having a nice lunch, before picking Romeo up and heading back to Povoacao (I had 8 miles to log !!) We drove through the rain and fog and got off the highway at the mall exit. I had been to the groomer’s once before with Carla to drop off her Honey, and I was pretty sure I knew where it was. I had showed it to John and Ken on google maps and they were sure they had walked by it a million times when they had been staying in Ponta Delgada. We took a right turn after the mall and quickly the boys pointed out the (wrong!) groomer. I told them that wasn’t it and then began giggling uncontrollably. “What?” they wanted to know, was so funny. “Well, we’re screwed”. We have no phone, no internet, and no idea where this place is. It was 10:05am.

Luckily, after a few laps around the surrounding blocks I saw it. We got Romeo out of the car and walked into the groomer’s. The groomer was a really sweet 20-something-year-old guy with shaggy hair. He was showing us into the room where he would groom Romeo when he asked, “Romeo is a dog, right?” John, used to this question, responded with “Yeah! He’s a dog–not a wolf, haha”. But then I remembered that in Portuguese they have two words for “dog”: “cao” and “cadela“. A cao is a male dog, and a cadela is a female dog (put it in google translate and it actually says “bitch”). “Yes, he’s a boy!” We all laughed and then we left. Romeo cried for a few minutes once he’d been chained to his table (sounds WAY less humane than it actually looks) but he was fine. The groomer said it would only take him 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes?! In the States it always took upwards of 4 hours.





We sped over to the mall where John and Ken got breakfast-bifanas, which are just like regular bifanas except you eat them at 10:30am. We scooted down to Continente where I bought some stuff for Carla (dog food and cereal bars) and some veggies and nuts for my new cavegirl diet. I also got some sesame nougat crackers, because I was starving and wasn’t going to eat a breakfast-bifana. Ken stocked up on Kinder Buenos and we headed back to the groomers. Romeo looked great, except he was still all wet. The guy was just finishing him up when we got there; he sprayed some deodorant on Romeo, clipped just his fifth nails on his front legs, and rung me up. Fifteen euros. Fifteen! I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t believe how much fur was still falling off of him.

I had put Romeo’s choke collar and leash back on but had handed him to John when I was paying. As soon as we got outside, Romeo shook his newly-clean fur and his collar crashed to the ground. Romeo turned around and gave us a look of realization before he took off into the street. John and Ken sprinted after him and I got in our rental car and peeled out after them.

Luckily for us, Romeo stopped to poop and John caught him. All three of the boys piled back in the car. We decided to stop by the cafe that John and Ken had gone to with their team before one of their last games. It was a Pao do Rei! Not the one that Lina, Carla, and I usually go to, but one of the other chains. We all got galaoes and the boys got some treats. We got back in the car, and sort of by accident (three people who think they know where they’re going) ended up driving home on the south side of the island.

It was so foggy that for a while I could hardly see 30 meters in front of me, but it had mostly stopped raining. When we got back to Povoacao, we dropped Ken off and it started to rain again. I had a power snack and put my game face on to go run.


I wanted to hit-up the bread van, too, so my dad could enjoy the fresh papos secos when he got here. I got all geared up and walked to the square, but the bread van wasn’t there. I put a euro in my tights with my key, just in case I saw him while I was running.

I declined to take Romeo with me (hell, he’d already gotten his run in!). After about a mile, I decided to drop my outer-most-layer off at home, because by this point it was so wet it wasn’t doing anything except weighing me down. When I got to our apartment I saw the bread van on the next block. I ran to it, bought 6 papos secos and ran back home with them. For at least two of my miles it didn’t rain, but the other 6 were pretty wet. When I got home I left all my clothes at the bottom of the stairs and took the hot shower I’d been promising myself. I was supposed to pick up some more papers from 7 Lombas rent-a-car and I wanted to fill up on gas so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning, but it was so cold and nasty that I did neither.

What I did instead was make unsweetened applesauce which was super easy and made our apartment smell like apple pie. I stored it in some honey jars I’d been saving and using for chia seed pudding. I am over the chia seed pudding at the moment and totally addicted to whole oats with a spoonful of PB and cinnamon.


When I went off to teach class it had basically stopped raining.


John was having more leftovers for dinner, so I just made some veggies with brown/cauliflower “rice” mixed in with the tofu I bought with Lina. It didn’t really taste like anything, so with the veggies and rice it was really just added protein. It comes dehydrated so I had to soak it for thirty minutes before I could cook it. I made my couve soup and cleaned for my parents. I got into bed early to read and rest before another early, even earlier, start tomorrow.


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

Saturday (Sabado)

8 Fevereiro 2014

John and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am. A time we have not seen since we arrived here (even on New Years I think we fell asleep at 5:00am). We got ready and headed to the aeroporto. The weather was slightly better than the day before, but it was still a little foggy. I had checked before we left and saw that my parents’ flight had left Boston on time, but when we got to the airport they had actually been waiting about 45 minutes.

We rejoiced at each others’ presence and then got back in the teeny-tiny rental Hyundai which John had tried to clean Romeo’s fur out of. We went home via the north side of the island but then I missed the exit for Furnas, and we nearly ran out of gas. John was the one who noticed my missed-turn and we were able to get back on track, but not before we made my dad super-nervous, “Did you say you were lost?” It’s pretty hard to get lost on an island, but if anyone could do it it would be me. Or my mom. However, when there is only one road to Furnas, it’s almost impossible. We turned around, made the correct exit, and traveled through Furnas without further confusion. We stopped for gas.

As soon as we got home and I put fresh sheets on our bed both my parents took a nap. And John went into our makeshift bed-on-the-floor-in-our-loft-living-room and passed out, too. Then Romeo fell asleep and I was alone. I took advantage of the time and blogged before everyone woke back up. I had changed up my running schedule (and gotten off track of my Nike Plus!!) so I wouldn’t have a run today, but it turned out that I had a few hours to spare.


Once everyone arose from their respective naps, John headed to Pic Nic for the Arsenal game (they were already down 2-0!) and the rest of us set off to walk the vila and then meet him at Pic-Nic. It was raining. Before we walked anywhere we went into Carla’s salon so my parents could meet her. I had remembered to tell my parents some Portuguese things (like to pack your own toilet paper for the soccer game), but I had forgotten to mention the kiss-kiss greetings they would surely receive. Fortunately, Carla broke them in gently.

We were going to take a little walking tour, but it was crummy out so we just walked to Pic Nic and my parents and I got cafes. I still have not mastered at-home coffee brewing so I bought some instant before they arrived. They are not really instant-coffee-people, but it was better than nothing. My dad did some surgery on my tablespoon-tea-bag-filter on Sunday and tried to make Dunkin’s, but it wasn’t quite a win. Yet.

After our coffees at Pic-Nic John joined us as we walked to Antonio’s to grab some snacks. My parents poked around the Portuguese-style supermarket and we bought rose wine, butter biscuits, cashews, dog food and a Kinder Bueno for my dad to try. We headed home again. We were getting pizza from Toronto Night’s at 5:30pm before John and Ken got picked up for their game at 6:30pm.

My parents and I walked over to Toronto Nights where the got to meet Lina. We had gotten two fully loaded and one without cheese for me and my mom that also had half without meat (Lina is good people, so she deals with our annoying-ness). We walked home and Ken came over. My mom probably hasn’t had pizza in a decade but she loved it and my dad couldn’t get enough. John and Ken went off to get picked up for their game. I walked Romeo (still raining!) and we all got geared up for the Mira Mar vs. Vale Formoso game. This is their neighborhood rivalry (Vale Formoso is from Furnas), Mira Mar got smoked last time they played, and of course there was drama with the referees making terrible calls and all the Vale Formoso players diving excessively. Especially the captain. Vale Formoso is currently in 1st place and Mira Mar is in 5th, out of 7. This game was kind of a big deal.

When we arrived at the field (after DRIVING there! what a novelty) we settled into the box seating. Serenela and Glebiana were there with Mufasa the puppy.


It soon became apparent that the refs were considering cancelling the game due to the weather; there were giant bubbles in some spots, while in others there were air bubbles. The turf was a mess.


The refs were warming-up pretty seriously and didn’t seem perturbed by the conditions. The Vale Formoso officials were trying fervently to get them to see how bad it was. One official kept attempting to bounce a ball at half field and it would just land lamely with a thud. I think the Vale Formoso players and officials didn’t want to jeopardize their cushy 1st place position with shitty conditions, but that is just my opinion. After an HOUR, yes an hour, the refs started the game. But the one-hour rain delay (forcing a 9:00pm start time) wasn’t the only troubling thing. John was sitting on the bench through most of the discussions, while the rest of the team was sitting-pretty in the locker rooms. He stayed on that bench when the starting line-up took the field (he has never, since we arrived in October, not started a game), and didn’t play one minute of the game.

IMG_1821 IMG_1823

I asked Marcelo who had also come to sit in the box and he said he had no idea why John wasn’t playing. When Filipe came off the field in the second half, he too joined us in the box. He also said he had no idea why they weren’t playing John. 

Mira Mar scored off a corner kick and held Vale Formoso at bay for all 90 minutes for a win. It was awesome that they had beat the 1st place team, at home, but it sucked that JB didn’t play. It also sucked that this weirdness happened while my parents were here. They have never seen John play.

When John and Ken came back after the game (to finish their pizza, of course) neither of them had any idea. Neither coach had said anything to John about why he hadn’t started, or even played, in the game. He took Romeo for his late-night stroll and stopped at Cesar’s to have some commiseration/celebration beers. Everyone was pumped they had beaten Vale Formoso. John forgot his key so he buzzed at some point and it took me a minute to figure out what the sound was before I got out of bed and fumbled to the buzzer.


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

Sunday (Domingo)

9 Fevereiro 2014

I woke up around 9:00am and everyone was still sleeping. I made my tea, had some oatmeal, and got ready to run. My mom got up and we had a little vila-lesson-involving-google-maps so she wouldn’t get lost. I found her around mile 4 staring at the “map” outside the zoo (it’s more like a picture of the east half of the island..helpful in no way whatsoever) and we went to the water closet together. I was here at least 3 months before I finally figured out what WC meant. And by “figured out” I mean I asked Ken. All the bathrooms in Portugal (and Spain, if I remember correctly) are marked “WC”. When John, Ken, and I flew to Lisbon together before Christmas I finally asked Ken, because I knew he would know. When I was telling this story to Lina later she admitted she never knew what it stood for, just that a WC was a bathroom. Bathrooms are funny because everyone calls them something different. Lina calls it going to the washroom. I mostly say bathroom, unless I’m trying to be less-crude and then I say restroom. Ken says toilet which makes for endless fun. “I was in the toilet,” he’ll say. “Really?” I’ll reply, “You were inside the toilet?”

After my mom and I used the impeccably clean WC, I took off to finish my 5 miles and she continued walking. When I got home I grabbed cash and quickly scooted up to Fatima’s before they closed at noon. We didn’t have any lettuce, were running out of instant coffee, and I wanted to grab some eggs. I saw my mom again and we discussed where the apartment was.

She never did get lost, but she probably would never have found our apartment if it wasn’t for Carla’s salon. She was on the street staring at our door and a few of our neighbor’s doors when she saw Kadu Instituto de Belza. She knocked loudly because she didn’t know which buzzer was ours.

John made his bomb-tastic hashbrowns for him and my dad and I made eggs. I just made ham and eggs for my dad, but I went all out for me and my mom: sauteed onions, peppers, zucchini, and to mine I added some cooked chicken I had in the fridge. We had our big fat brunch and then walked down to Pic Nic, where John was already watching a game. After we had coffees, my parents and I walked around the vila a little bit and then home where I started dinner.

I made meatballs for the boys and sauce with tofu and eggplant for me and my mom. Once I had nearly burned, but mostly finished our dinner, John and Ken came back and we left for Furnas. I drove us up through the lombas where I run so my parents could see it. We went up Lomba do Pos to Lomba do Alcaide and finally down Lomba do Loucao. Then we made our way to Furnas. We probably got to the pools (which we never would have found had there not been signs) around 5:00pm. We started in one of the larger pools and then made our way to the tiny, hot-tub-like pools where you can sit. I have never seen my dad so relaxed in my entire life. We got changed and then made our way to the place where you get the best bolos levedos ever.

We got a 5-pack of that (which we dug into right away), a few pieces of the incredible caramel cake, a pumpkin thing, and two fofas. We then drove back to Povoacao where John and Ken walked to Pic Nic to get beers. We ate dinner (the boys had their meatballs on the fresh bread van papos secos and my mom and I had our eggplant on zucchini “pasta”) and then indulged in the treats we had brought home. Once I start eating treats I can’t stop, so after I had half a fofa and a whole piece of caramel cake I went out to walk Romeo. When I got home we all started settling in for bed.


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

Monday (Segunda-feira)

10 Fevereiro 2014

We all got up a little earlier than we had the day before. My mom got ready to walk, and John, my dad, and I walked over to the gym to meet Ken. We did chest day:

  • 30 push ups
  • DB bench @ 4 rounds
  • DB inclide@ 4 rounds
  • Cable fly @ 4 rounds
  • 30 push ups

My dad did his own thing, which happened to include 100 push ups. He also got on the bike and the treadmill and hung out with us until we were done. We were going to meet my mom at Pic Nic, but as we were walking down the driveway we found her coming down the stairs of Toronto Nights, “Mom!” She said she remembered that the gym was behind Toronto Nights. Ha. We walked to Pic Nic together and my parents indulged and got galaoes. It had started to rain, and only got worse as the day went on. My plan had been to go to the fish market and make fresh fish for dinner. I made some sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free oatmeal raisin cookies and then finally braved the rain. John and I walked Romeo to the fish market first, which was closed, and then to Antonio’s where we bought frozen salmon and more rose wine for my mom.

John ended up having double practices, so he took off with Ken (and the car!) and I took off for class.


My dad cooked the salmon while I was gone and we had it with roasted veggies and salad. It had cleared up outside, so after dinner the three of us took Romeo for a long walk by the water and enjoyed the warm, dry air.  We all settled in for bed just as John got home–he still didn’t know what happened Saturday night.


Day One Hundred Thirty (dia um centena de trinta)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

11 Fevererio 2014

Again, I woke up extremely early (before 7:00am) and went downstairs to wake up my mom. It is super dark here at that hour (actually, I bet it’s not quite as dark as it is in Massachusetts). I told my mom it was 7:00am. “What time is it?” she asked. “Well, it’s 3:00am,” I answered. She has been really confused about the time difference since she got here. “What?!” I explained that it was 7am here, but 3am at home (where she will be returning to today). We both meandered in the kitchen drinking tea and coffee (and I had a few PB balls) and then I headed out to run 6 miles. I was supposed to do my second Fartlek, but I didn’t read the details of my training run and just went out. That was probably just as well since I ran like a slug. I had another 6 mile run the next day, and I decided to do that one as my Fartlek to make up for it.


When I got back I almost ate-shit slipping on our front step. It was wet out, but I think it was my new sneaks since I have gone out a hundred times in the rain and never slipped here. I got nervous that my mom would fall too so I used Romeo’s towel to wipe it dry. Of course, she came home a minute later and didn’t slip at all. I took Romeo out quickly while I was still all wet. Romeo had gotten into my mom’s ear plugs (which she wears because my dad snores like… well, like I do). Both my parents along with John had searched high and low but only found one ear plug (a bright orange plunger-shaped foam thing) but when Romeo relieved himself that morning, I found the other one. And just like everything else that dogs eats, he hadn’t chewed it at all. I grabbed it for my mom, knowing full-well that she wouldn’t want it. I brought it back to the apartment in a littered gum wrapper. She didn’t want it.

We all got ready and left for the city. The rain had lightened up, but the fog was intense. I drove to the city via the south so we could show my parents the big lake in Furnas (Lagoa do Furnas). I wasn’t sure how to get to the highway that way, so we just followed the signs for the Lagoa and it was easy. By the time we got to the city, the sun was peaking out of the clouds. We parked on the street pretty easily and walked the Portas de Cidade. We sat down for lunch at a restaurant called Angel’s Bay (Baia do Anjo) where our waitress spoke almost-perfect English (this is where the cruise ships dock). Her English was really good, but then when she was asking what my mom would like to order she said, “And you, lady,” which sounded kind of rude, but she was being very polite.


We enjoyed our lunches–I had a giant (GIANT) shrimp omelet, my mom had a sailor’s salad, and both John and my dad had beafsteak with rice, salad, french fries, and, of course, two sunny side-up eggs. We finished our meal off with cafes and walked back to the teeny-tiny rental car. Just 10 minutes later we were at the airport saying our goodbyes. These were not as hard as when we moved to Portugal–when John and I moved we had no idea when we would see them again, and I had no idea what I was in for. This time we know exactly how many days until we see each other again, and it really isn’t very many.

After we dropped them off we scooted over to the mall where we were meeting Vitor, Mira Mar’s new goalie. I was hoping to do a little shopping, but we didn’t have enough time. We followed him to Ribeira Grande where he has the friend who does tattoos.


Vitor was getting one tattoo finished and getting another small one. This is where John & Ken came last week and got theirs, but I couldn’t go with them.


I talked to the guy about what I wanted but ultimately we didn’t enough time. Which was fine, because now he will spend a good amount of time drawing it up and not rushing. We made a plan to come back on Thursday. We followed Vitor back to Povoacao.


I ran up to Fatima’s because we didn’t have any food. I decided not to take the rental car because, seriously, it is three blocks away. Of course it was the one time I had a bag rip on my walk home, and then I was cursing my stubborn self. I put the groceries away (after I picked them up off the street) and hurried off to class. 


When I got home I made a big salad and put salmon and chicken on it. John was at Pic Nic watching the Benfica game and he and Ken came home shortly after I got home because Pic Nic had been so packed. Once I finished eating the cleaning commenced. A bajillion loads of laundry, cleaning up the bed upstairs, and sweeping, sweeping, sweeping (Romeo’s fur is WORSE if at all possible!). It also became apparent while my parents were here that we have enough glasses/plates/bowls for two people to eat easily without a dishwasher, but four people (sometimes five) and no dishwasher meant a constant stream of dished being washed and/or dried for anyone to eat/drink something.

Once I was mostly done cleaning and down to just doing laundry, John went downstairs to give Vitor some money. He left the door cracked open which was all the invitation Romeo needed. As I was just getting settled in to finish my book This is Where I Leave You I heard John: “Romeo! ROMEO!” and then footsteps running down the street. John hopped in Vitor’s car and took off. I stood on the steps for a few minutes calling Romeo’s name until Ken messaged me saying that both John and Romeo were at his place. Goodnight.

Sprint Intervals

Sprint Intervals are great for a few reasons: they mix up your routine (change usually goes hand-in-hand with progression), they can be fun, and they challenge your pace. Whether you’re looking to get faster, gain endurance, or just change up your boring-old run routine, trying out a sprint interval is a great way to do all three.

While there are many ways to set up your sprint intervals, these are the times I consistantly use:

  • :35 of jogging (55-60% effort)
  • :15 SPRINT (90-95% effort)
  • :10 walk (10% effort)

One of the nice things about this set-up is it is sixty-seconds long. So, if you want to go out for a 3.0 mile or 30 minute run, your routine could look something like this:

  • 10 minute / 1 mile warm-up
  • 10 Sprint Intervals
  • 10 minute / 1 mile (or whatever you have left after your intervals) cool-down

Your warm-up and cool-down should consist of building up your pace and then decreasing it, and most importantly listening to your body (which feels differently about running everyday).

I use my Tabata timer for iPhone app to set up my intervals. It should look like this:


The prepare time is your jog, work is sprint, and rest is walk. In order to get the preparation time during all ten Tabatas, you must set the Cycles to “1” and the Tabatas to “10” or maybe “15” if you’re feeling frisky.


If you’re in training for a run and have a plan, stick to your plan. If you are the master of your own routine, I’d say putting sprint intervals into your routine every week or every-other week is sufficient. After a few weeks, you can up your “Tabatas”. Maybe setting out for a 4.0 mile run that includes 15 sprint intervals. Also try a “Fartlek” as another fun way to mix up your pace. Most importantly: Listen to your body.