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Archive for November, 2011

Wardrobe Fail

Note: This post is probably TMI and quite disgusting. Anyway, you have been warned.

Today I had a major wardrobe fail, one I’ve never had before. I forgot to pack my sports bra. As I didn’t want to skip my planned Lunch Break Run (yes, I’m stubborn), I decided to run in my ‘normal’ bra. That worked surprisingly well. My heart rate monitor strap kept sliding down, but I don’t think that was related. When I took off my running clothes, I noticed that my bra was completely soaked. Shoot! I tried to dry it with my blow dryer, but that didn’t really work. So after taking a shower, I had to put my stinky, soaked bra back on. Gross!

Lesson of the day: Always double-check your gym bag before heading out the door!

Anyway, the run itself was great. Today I ran with a different co-worker, let’s call him Woody, whose comfortable pace is also comfortable for me. Winning! We took a slightly different route, so I had to guesstimate the distance. This route contains a very steep hill, that I mostly walked up. But the downhill part felt much worse, actually. I’ll probably walk funny tomorrow. Ouch!

The Stats:

  • Distance: 4.6 miles (7,4 km)
  • Time: 55:00 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:57 min/mile
  • Feeling: Chatty

That was the longest run in quite a while! Woody and I were talking all the time, about fitness, health, weight loss, diet, family, and before I knew it, almost an hour had passed and we were done. That’s why I love running with others, it’s so much more fun than running alone.

Have you ever had a workout wardrobe fail? How did you handle it?

See you!

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Sunday At The Christmas Market

Today marks the official start of Christmas season. So of course we had to celebrate the day by taking a trip to one of our local Christmas markets. I generally prefer the smaller ones in our area as the larger ones, like in Munich, Regensburg, or Nuremberg, are way too crowded.

After scanning the booths and their goods – and buying myself a new knitted hat (it’s purple!) – it was time for food and drinks.

Mulled wine & roasted chestnuts

Mulled wine & roasted chestnuts

Both were very good, but as we had skipped lunch, I was still a bit hungry. There are usually very few vegetarian options at German Christmas markets, most vendors offer some variations of grilled sausages, hot dogs, steak sandwiched, etc. As I wasn’t in the mood for greasy fries I got myself a savory crepe, filled with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Savory crepe with tomatoes and mozzarella

Savory crepe with tomatoes and mozzarella

Gooey, cheesy, and deliciously filling. On our way home I felt my sweet tooth kicking in. Luckily, we happened to walk past my favorite bakery – the one that made our amazing wedding cake! And we got some lebkuchen. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a ‘white’ or a ‘black’ one, so I got both.

Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen

I ate one half of each and saved the rest for tomorrow. I actually liked the white one better. Who would have thought?

Christmas market #1 – check!

Any mulled wine fans out there? Red or white? Hot cider or mead?

See you!

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My Favorite Season

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who’s celebrating!

For me it’s just a normal Thursday, so I’m already one step ahead and thinking about Christmas. Even though I’m not a fan of cold weather, December seems to be my favorite month of all. Why? Because of all the yummy cookies, lebkuchen, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and all the other seasonal delicacies that are only truly fun in winter.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved baking Christmas cookies with my mum. In the past few years I’ve scaled down my excessive baking habit a little bit, but I still enjoy producing many different kinds of those delicious sugary goodies. Last year I shared a few of my favorite cookie recipes, but there are many more, mostly in the form of magazine clippings and hand-written notes, all neatly filed away in a folder. (Type A? Me? Psh!)

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

Fruity Chocolate Crossies

Fruity Chocolate Crossies

Spiced Linzer Cookies

Spiced Linzer Cookies

There’s another seasonal activity that I enjoy very much: visiting Christmas markets! We have lots of them around here, big or small, traditional or trendy. Most local markets start this weekend and I can hardly wait!

What do you love most about Christmas season?

See you!

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Last Saturday marked the start of this year’s Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, created by Amanda of Run To The Finish. This challenge runs until Jan 6, to cover the major winter holidays. After signing up you can earn points by being active and eating fruit and vegetables, and you can win some amazing prizes! Details about the points system and some prizes can be found here.
Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011

I’ve learned about the HBBC a few weeks ago and immediately signed up. I’m already looking forward to all my favorite seasonal treats, like Christmas cookies, lebkuchen, mulled wine, etc. But I do want to stay active and healthy and maintain my weight during the next few weeks. So I will enjoy my home-made cookies, but after working out and eating my vegetables. Sounds like a good plan, don’t you think? 😉

There are three different levels of fitness, and I’ve put myself into the ‘Builders’ category, as it describes me the best at the moment. Even though the sponsors and prizes look amazing, I absolutely don’t expect to win anything. And even if I do win, I don’t expect anyone to ship my prize across the Atlantic. That’s not why I’ve joined this challenge. I did it to have some additional motivation to stay active and healthy during the colder months which, to be honest, isn’t easy.

I kicked off my personal HBBC on Saturday by going to the gym, which is quite unusual, as I actually hate the long drive there. But I was determined to start the challenge the right way. So I did a 30 minute ride on a stationary bike, followed by about 20 minutes of strength moves and some stretching.

Sunday was a rest day for me, but I did get some housework done. Today I couldn’t make it to the gym, but I squeezed in a one mile walk during my lunch break, and I plan to hit the gym again tomorrow. Looks like a decent start for me.

You can also earn one additional point per day by eating at least 7 servings of fruit and vegetables. That’s a lot! Even though I usually eat some fruit and veggies daily, I rarely hit 7 servings, so I need to pay more attention to that. I think I reached that number today, having one banana, two small clementines, one apple, some chunky vegetable soup for lunch, and kimchi jigae (spicy Korean stew with tofu and various veggies) for dinner.

Kimchi Jigae

Vegetarian Jigae - I swear there are veggies under the tofu

If you’re interested in staying healthy and winning some awesome prizes, you can still sign up for the HBBC!

How do you plan to stay healthy during holiday season?

See you!

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Hurts So Good

I’m getting a nagging suspicion, that my co-workers are trying to kill me. Seriously. First they talk me into running with them at least once a week, and then on Tuesday they dragged me along to play Racketball (or something like that). As I had never tried anything like that before, I was a little apprehensive, but also curious. Turns out my hand-eye coordination isn’t that bad at all.

After chasing that tiny rubber ball and swinging my borrowed racket for about 40 minutes, I was sweating buckets! And I already felt my leg muscles tightening up. I had no idea that this was only the beginning of the worst muscle soreness in a very long time. I can still hardly walk today. Ouch!

But still, I went on a run today. See, I told you that my co-workers are plotting my miserable end. They are some stubborn folk.

It was quite chilly today (call me a wuss, but 40°F is cold in my book) but also sunny, so all in all it was a beautiful fall day, perfect for running along my favorite river.

The Stats:

  • Distance: 4.2 miles (6,8 km)
  • Time: 48:10 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:28 min/mile
  • Feeling: Sunny

More than four miles?! Dang, I didn’t know I still had that in me! The time literally flew by, and I had so much fun.

If you are a runner, what temperature do you consider too cold for running outside?

Have a great weekend!

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Sweating Without Moving

As my daily doldrums continue, there haven’t been any blog-worthy events last week. Just the usual workouts and the usual meals, mostly prepared by the Husband. But yesterday I felt like it was time to indulge a little. So I convinced the Husband to take a trip to the Sauna. It was our first visit after a long hiatus, as I don’t like to go during the warmer months.

A typical sauna

Doing some research, I’ve found out that saunas are very different, depending on the country and culture you live in. In Germany, most public swimming pools and gyms have attached sauna areas. They are usually mixed-gender areas and patrons are not allowed to wear any clothes, but you can cover yourself with a towel or a bathrobe. (I have recently bought a so-called ‘sauna kilt’, which is a large towel with a velcro strip. Very handy!)

Sauna kilt

There are great articles on saunas in Germany, and on the health benefits of regular sauna visits.

Sauna etiquette varies a lot, depending on the facility you are visiting, so you should always read and follow the prescribed instructions. Anyway, this is my own personal approach to get my sweat on in the sauna:

  • Before I go, I make sure to drink a lot of water (but not a gallon in one go!) and have a light snack. Just like you would before an intense workout, you want to be properly hydrated, but avoid a full belly.
  • After entering the sauna area, I take a warm shower, towel down thoroughly, and put on my sauna kilt (see above) and my flip-flop sandals.
  • Before I enter the actual sauna room, I take of my kilt or towel and my shoes. I usually choose a lower bench, where the heat is more moderate, and lie down on my towel. I close my eyes and enjoy the silence while my body heats up slowly.
  • About 5-10 minutes later, I sit up slowly, waiting for a few more minutes until my body has adjusted, then I leave the sauna.
  • Next up is a short outdoor cool down, to get some fresh air into your lungs.
  • Now it’s time for a cold shower! This might sound painful, but your body gets really hot in the sauna, so a slightly cold shower actually feels great.
  • After cooling down I like to take some rest and drink a glass of water or juice.

If I’m in the mood and have enough time, I might repeat all those steps.

Sauna 'Aufguss'

In many German saunas, staff members perform a so-called ‘Aufguss’, usually once an hour. This means that they slowly pour a mix of water and fragrant oils onto hot stones to increase humidity. The staff member also swings a towel around to circulate the hot air through the sauna. This is intense! Even though the temperature stays the same, the air feels much hotter because of the humidity. An ‘Aufguss’ is definitely not for beginners! As usual, listen to your body, and leave the sauna as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable.

Do you like to go to the sauna, too?

See you!

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Emotional Running

I’ve been in some kind of an emotional funk lately. That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t blogged that often in the past few weeks. I don’t want to go into details, though, because this blog is my ‘happy place’, and I want to stay positive as much as possible here.

Today my mood was quite bad, once again, I didn’t really feel like working out, but my co-workers are some stubborn folk and kept nagging until I finally gave in. And boy, I’m so glad I did!

The Stats:

  • Distance: 3.75 miles (6,0 km)
  • Time: 42:50 minutes
  • Average pace: 11:25 min/mile
  • Feeling: Contemplative

Today was also the first sunny day after a whole week of dense fog. We ran on the river trail again, and it was beautiful!

Of course, that run didn’t solve my current problems, but at least I feel better about my life now. Isn’t it amazing, what a sweaty workout does to your mood?

Have a great weekend!

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