Snow!

Friday

4/11/2014

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.

Saturday

4/12/2014

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.

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

Sunday

4/13/2014

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.

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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.

Monday

4/14/2014

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.

Tuesday

4/15/2013

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.

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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.

Wednesday

4/16/2014

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

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

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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.

Thursday

4/17/2014

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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My life is complete.

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:

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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.

Usage:

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.