Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quick, Easy Summer Salad Recipe!

Oh my gosh, I am in love with this salad! Pardon the mid-devouring picture, but once I took the first delicious bite, I knew I wanted to share this. This is my lunch today, and it really just came out of needing to use some fresh veggies I have in the fridge. I'm in the middle of my workday, so I can assure you this is really quick and easy to prepare; you could even prep it beforehand and bring all of the ingredients into the office. Oh yes, and it's super healthy too!


  • 1 small cucumber
  • 2 small tomato (I used a vine-ripened from the store, but whatever your preference)
  • a few leaves of lettuce (I used green leaf, but again, whatever you prefer)
  • kosher salt (optional, I've had a major tomato with salt craving lately)
  • basil (I used the dried basil leaf from my spice rack, but fresh, chopped basil would be even better)
  • balsamic vinegar (probably no more than a tbsp.)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (no more than a tbsp.)
  1. Rip up the lettuce and place in the bottom of a bowl or plate.
  2. Slice cucumber and spread over lettuce.
  3. Slice tomato and place on top of cucumber.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, if desired, and basil.
  5. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and EVOO.
  6. ENJOY!
I think this would be delicious with some fresh-brewed iced tea (didn't have time to make that yet today) and maybe some fresh, crusty bread... ooooh... with pesto! 

Ok, I'll stop and go back to eating now. Tell me: What's your favorite fast, easy, healthy lunch?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wee Bits on Wednesday

I try not to participate in a ton of these types of posts because I started this blog to write, not to answer a bunch of questions about myself. However, I have had feedback that some readers like these posts and the "get-to-know-you/me" aspect, so I'll keep doing them every now and then.

If you'd like to participate, visit Leigh's blog for the button, the questions and to link up.

{one} what’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
Wow... I haven't had a whole lot of random dates... although I'm sure an awful one will come to me after I publish this. I guess the worse date I've ever been on was the date that ended with my boyfriend breaking up with me. Yeah, that was pretty bad.

{two} if you could be any other person for one day, who would it be?
I'm going to just say Oprah because I am just so in awe of her, and I would love to know what it feels like to be her.

{three} what is your favorite kind of cheese?
Anything fondue or melty. I love hot melty cheese.

{four} do you remember your 1st grade teacher?
Barely. Her name was Mrs. Gay. Yes, she addressed that day one of school (this was 1987, after all).

{five} who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
No one anymore. I kinda just retract into myself to deal with it internally. I've become a pretty good coach for myself.

{six} were you ever in a school talent show?
Oh yes. In neon pink leggings. No one should ever wear neon pink leggings.

{seven} who is your favorite fictional character?
Hmmm... not sure... that is a really good question!

{eight} can you open your eyes underwater?
No, because I'm usually wearing contacts, and I think that would make them fall out. Or cause a yucky eye infection.

{nine} do you look at the keyboard when you type?
Not usually. I'm a pretty good typer, thank you Mavis Beacon. :)

{ten} when was the last time you took a nap?
I came pretty close on Sunday after my race! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

YESSSSS... fist pump... high five!

That is what I said and did after sprinting across the finish line of Harpoon Brewery 10th Annual 5-Miler Race yesterday. Yes, I sprinted -- finishing strong. I set a personal record with a pace of 10:42/mile. I was shocked, and I have not felt so happy or so damn proud of myself in a while. If you're looking for a natural high, run a race.

Warning: This is a long post detailing my training and challenges up to the race. Feel free to skip to the bottom if you're not a runner or potential runner who's interested in that kind of stuff. :)

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I started running last summer using the Couch to 5K plan. I was on and off with it, becoming discouraged when I found the running parts hard and the summer heat made it difficult to breathe. I gave up about three weeks in, starting and stopping several times. I ran on and off last fall, and I completely gave up running for the winter since I didn't have anywhere to run inside, and outside the snow and ice made running precarious. In late March, I joined a gym and started running again on the treadmill; not a week later, I signed up for the 5-miler... committed to train properly and finish the race, running the whole thing.

And I trained... three days a week, pushing myself just enough to prevent injury and burnout. Then April came, and with it, awful allergies and a work trip to Orlando -- which caused me to miss almost three weeks of training. I forgave myself (really, what else can you do?), and I got back on the treadmill as soon as I could. And I lost everything I had gained. It was like starting all over again, and I beat myself up for being weak and not training while I didn't feel well.

Then the fear sank in: "Oh my God, I don't know if I can do this? I'm out of shape. I can barely run a mile; I'm never gonna achieve my goal."

Well, I ran my first full mile about three weeks before race day, and it wasn't easy, but it wasn't terrible either. I changed my goal: finish the race and feel good about my run. If I had to take walk breaks, so be it. It is what it is.

I spent those last three weeks running three days a week: 2-2.5 mile runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a 3-4 mile run on Saturday or Sunday. I started running outside when I could to get used to running on pavement. I mapped out runs around my neighborhood, and I kept track of my pace (which scared me even more because I was averaging about a 13-min. mile).

Last Saturday (one week and a day before race day), I did five miles for the first time. On a treadmill. In 70 minutes. I wasn't thrilled, but I knew I could at least finish the race, and I felt good after my run.

Week before race: I hydrated like crazy, drinking six ounces an hour. I ran my 2-2.5 miles on Tuesday (outside) and Thursday (treadmill)... still not beating the 13-min. mile. I went to bed early the night before the race.

I woke up before my alarm Sunday morning, grabbed my pre-laid out race clothes -- checking the weather to make the game-time decision on shorts or pants (pants... it was in the 50's) -- and jumping in the shower to wake myself up. I made myself my normal breakfast of Greek yogurt, granola and blueberries, with a cup of coffee and some water. I filled water bottles to keep in the car and packed a bag of everything I thought I could need (thank you Amber for the Spibelt recommendation; it worked out so well, and everyone was intrigued by it!).

By the time I parked my car in Boston, I was literally shaking. I thought I was going to throw up, my stomach was in knots. Thankfully I knew people running, and after meeting up with everyone, I had calmed down. We walked up to the starting line, and I almost panicked again when I saw the banner, but I held it together and waited around the 12-min. mile pace. I was grateful my running buddies hadn't trained a lot and hung out with me at the start. I knew I wouldn't keep up with them, but it was nice not to wait at the start line alone.

I heard the pistol go off, and I shook out my legs a final time as I walked up to the actual start line. I reached the banner, and I was off! I kept telling myself to keep a steady, slower pace to start to conserve energy; I wanted to see how far I could run/jog without stopping for a walk break. I made it to the one-mile marker, and I allowed myself to slow down for 30 seconds. Mile two was up and down, scattered with walk breaks, especially through the first water station. I jogged most of mile three, and at that point, I could see one of my friends up ahead of me, but not that far ahead, which made me feel great. I was keeping pace! Whenever I felt discouraged, I would look back and see a crowd of people behind me -- reassuring myself that I was doing ok, I wasn't the slowest one.

On mile five, I actually recognized another one of my friends within reach, so I sprinted up to her, and we ran together until the last corner before the finish line. I was extremely thankful to have found her because she kept me running; I didn't want to stop and lose her. Finally I had to walk a few paces, and she wanted to speed up and finish fast. As I rounded the corner to the finish line, I broke into a sprint and pounded pavement as fast as I could until I crossed that line. It's so difficult to describe the feeling of crossing the line and knowing I had completed my first race -- no matter what my time. Those of you who are runners can relate, I'm sure.

I was confident I had kept within my 13-min. pace, but when I walked past the finish line and saw my friend, he told me I did an awesome job and had finished within 55 minutes! An 11-min. mile! WOW! I was sooooo excited. I felt like I had been initiated as a runner; I was legit.

Post-race party: Me, Liz, Mike, Tom, Erica, Amy, Stacy, Andy

Within 30 minutes, I was ready to sign up for my next race, knowing I had a list of summer races at home. The after party was so much fun; Harpoon gave all of the runners a plastic pint glass and two free beers, as well as some lunch.

As we were leaving, I found myself on the results board... I actually had a pace of 10:42! That was an awesome record, and I'm looking forward to building on the momentum from this race. I know I can run faster, and I'm going to push myself during my weekly runs to keep that pace.

I think my next race is going to the be annual Fourth of July race in my town -- four miles. Then I have a 5K in August and another in September I want to run. Next year, I'll up the ante to a 10K.

Do you run? Have you run your first race yet? What was it like? If you're a "seasoned" runner (I consider that being that you've run more than one race, LOL), what advice do you have for me? How can I increase my endurance to be able to run an entire race? How do you get faster?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Fifth of May, Ole!

Photo credit: Dana Gallagher for Real Simple
Happy Cinco de Mayo! How are you celebrating? If you're celebrating, that is, and if you're not, why aren't you???

I will be heading out to a local Mexican restaurant with Jed, my bestie and her hubs tonight. It is a belated birthday celebration for Jed with them, since they were unable to make his actual birthday celebration. My mouth is already watering thinking about delicious Mexican goodies, and of course, margaritas! Hence today's reflection of the day... I'll certainly be enhancing my curves tonight with all that merry-making! Haha!

In honor of the day, mix up a few of these classic margarias, courtesy of Real Simple.

  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 4-6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • kosher salt
  1. In a medium pitcher, combine the tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec/Cointreau and 1/2 cup water (or try ice in a blender for the frozen variety!)
  2. Rub the rims of four glasses with a lime slice and dip in the kosher salt. Serve the margaritas in the prepared glasses over ice and garnish with the lime slices.
Serves 4.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Premonition, A Fear Manifestation, or Just a Silly Dream?

Image credit: Zales
It's my wedding day. I cannot believe it is finally here. My hair is done, I'm finish up my makeup, and look at my dress hanging over the door. I stand in front of the mirror and the butterflies jostle around my stomach as I see the beautiful woman staring back at me. Oh. My. God.

Today I am marrying the man I have loved for so long. Forever. This is unreal. Panic sets in. "Nonononononono!"

We walk into Burger King -- of all places -- he in his suit, me in my dress. It's just hours before the ceremony.

"What do you want?" he asks me.

"I don't know. I don't think I want anything," I reply, wondering how I am going to tell him.

I'm not ready. We can't do this today. I'm not ready. I haven't got your ring yet!

We sit down and talk about the upcoming afternoon: final details, the people we're going to see, what we're having for dinner, idle chit-chat, forever love.

Oh no, he has no idea. I can't tell him! I have to tell him. I don't have his ring! I didn't have enough time!

Inside I'm an absolute disaster zone of panic, and I don't know what to do.

We head back to the house where everyone is waiting, and I still haven't told him yet. He leaves for the church, and I'm left with my best friend and mom -- the two women I trust most in this world. I have to tell them. They will help me figure this out.


And then I wake up. I'm hot and sweaty. I catch my breath and sit up. It was just a dream. Yet, it was so real. What does it mean?

Of course I passed it off as a silly dream and went back to sleep to have another silly dream, but as today progressed, I couldn't help but remember it and wonder where that all came from.

No, I'm not planning a wedding; I'm not even engaged, but am I afraid I won't be ready? Am I nervous about planning a wedding someday? Or is this something deeper? Am I afraid of forever? It is an awful long time, after all.

I'm not sure what it means, and I'm not the type to dwell on "bad" dreams. The good ones I'll dwell on for weeks, however, so if the dream fairies could send me some of those, that would be great!

Do you remember your dreams? Do you have dreams you can't make sense of, that you think may be trying to tell you something? Do you believe dreams have meaning in our lives?