Category Archives: Food

Good Mornings for a Wednesday (January 22, 2014)

I have four “unclaimed” hours between classes this afternoon, and I intend to spend them holed up, catching up on all of your blog posts from the past 10 days.  In the meantime, what better way to slide myself back into blog-land than with a Good Mornings post?

Lake Effect Shirt

USA, I’m with you in spirit!

We’re having a cold front in Singapore, too.
It’s hardly broken 85°F this week…

Lasagna in a Loaf Pan

Which of course makes for….perfect lasagna weather!

My new trick: Use a loaf pan to make lasagna for two.
I resurrected my Mom’s spinach-mushroom lasagna recipe.
A year apart from that deliciousness was far too long…

Basik!It’s…basik!  basik855, that is…

Socially responsible bags made from traditional Cambodian ikat fabric.
I helped fund a Kickstarter campaign for some new prints,
And my backer reward arrived in the mail last week!
[This is the first ‘clutch’ that I’ve ever owned, folks.]

Odd Bean OutI found a stowaway in my can of garbanzos!

Caption contest winner, Jenny T:
“It’s living its dream of being turned into hummus.
‘They said I could be anything, so I became a garbanzo bean…’ ”
[And she gets bonus points for a double-correct usage of it’s/its.]

Spinning with CompressionCoach Holly: Bringing compression to indoor cycling.

I’ve been subbing to cover a lot of RPM classes.
Add them to my running,
and the result is some very knotty calves.
This look is odd enough that folks can’t take their eyes off me during class.
^Every instructor’s dream.

Libby's Pumpkin PricingThat’s $6 USD for the big can of pureed pumpkin.

And that, my friends, is why I microwave & puree local pumpkins to make pie.
Yes, Thanksgiving was two months ago.
But we’re having friends over to celebrate again this weekend.
I love cooking Thanksgiving food, so why the heck not?

This post has two Drew University references in it.  Anyone?

Do you puree your own pumpkin?  Or eat pumpkin pie after December?

Continuing the “random” theme: What made you laugh today?

Five Things Friday (Unlinked)

I’m not linking up with anyone.  And it’s actually Saturday morning in Singapore.  Double fail?

No way!  It’s still Friday evening in the US!!  And I’m (finally) sharing a blog post, after a week of blog-silence!  So that’s a double WIN in my opinion.  So let me ease back in by summarizing the last 5 days with 5 pictures for 5 Things Friday.  [Am I supposed to be linking up with someone??]

Sunday: My parents arrived in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  We finally got to bed around 3 AM, and when everyone finally woke up (at a much more reasonable hour of the morning!), we went for a hike at McRitchie Reservoir, and enjoyed a few minutes of breeze on the Treetop Walk.

Treetop Walk!  And a rare sighting of the RWH parents on the blog.

Treetop Walk! And a rare sighting of the RWH parents on the blog.

Monday: We took a lengthy walking tour of the historical parts of downtown Singapore.  Most of Singapore’s “historical” architecture is less than 50 years old, but we did the best we could.  We started with the Dalí sculpture in the UOB Plaza and the Fat Pigeon statue by the river, then caught the other riverside statues, the Cavanaugh Bridge, and the Fairmont Hotel.  After a quick glimpse at the Merlion, we headed across the river to the Esplanade, where we visited my cousin’s art exhibit, My Beautiful Indies: A Rereading, which will be exhibited in the Jendela visual arts space until Jan. 5 (Shameless Plug: Singapore folks, you should go! It’s free!).

We walked back around to the Victoria Theater and Old Parliament House which were, unfortunately, all covered by scaffolding and under construction.  Dad was disappointed by the crappy photo ops, but I pointed out that things under construction are the quintessential Singapore!  We assuaged him by having him pose with the Sir Stamford Raffles Statue.  We continued on to St. Andrews Cathedral, past Raffles Hotel, and on to the National Museum.  Whew!!  However, all the photos of those escapades are on my parent’s camera.  So I’ll leave you with this one, which captures how I’ve been getting in my workouts: By getting up extra early.  No one misses me then.

Bus stop at dawn.

Bus stop at dawn – on my way to the gym!

Tuesday: Christmas Eve! We hosted KMN’s family for dinner, so spent the day in a place that my family loves to be: The kitchen!  We cooked up a dinner of Asian mushroom soup, Adobo pork loin, roasted root veggies, and cranberry sauce.  I, of course, insisted on the American Christmas tradition of a cookie plate:

Clockwise from top: Gingerbread men (and women), Peanut Butter Blossoms, Ginger Cookies (the flatter ones), Molasses Cookies (the rounder ones).

Clockwise from top: Gingerbread men (and women), Peanut Butter Blossoms, Ginger Cookies (the flatter ones), Molasses Cookies (the rounder ones).

Wednesday: KMN’s family enthusiastically welcomed our whole crew for Christmas Dinner.  But before that, we enjoyed a pretty low-key Christmas day – baking pumpkin pies (to bring for dinner), enjoying a few gifts, and playing games.

Reason #529 we knew that KMN belonged in our family: He shared his box of Christmas chocolates with us during game time.  [Games + Chocolate are a RWH Family Tradition.]

Reason #529 that KMN belongs in our family: He understands the Games + Chocolate tradition, and happily shared his box of Christmas chocolates with us during an intense Scrabble session.

Thursday: We took a day trip out to Pulau Ubin, a tiny island that’s a 10 minute boat ride off the mainland.  The main attraction for us was the Chek Jawa Nature Reserve, one of the few places in Singapore where the coastline is preserved in its natural state (sand bars, sea grass ‘fields’, and protected habitats formed by mangrove swamps).  The easiest way to get around the small island is by bike.  Everyone played:

If it's a bit blurry, that's because I was taking it behind me, while I was riding.

If it’s a bit blurry, that’s because I was taking it behind me, while I was riding.

So that summarizes our last 5 days.  And now, we’re off for a few more adventures (YAY!) before my parents leave on Monday (BOO!).

What is your favorite (old or new) tradition in which you participated this holiday season?
I love when my whole family works together in the kitchen!  Food is one of our love languages.

If you could hear more about ONE of these days, which would it be?
[Sneaky way to get a quick reader survey in there, eh? :)]

Should I be linking up with someone for Five Things Friday?

The Guilt Cycle and Weekly Workout Round-Up (Nov. 25 – Dec. 1)

It’s a vicious, self-imposed cycle.  I know you’re familiar with it.   There’s something in your life – some task, chore, or even fun activity – that’s best when done regularly.  As long as you stay on top of it, things roll along smoothly.  You don’t mind doing it – and perhaps even find it enjoyable – and attending to it regularly keeps it from becoming too overwhelming:

Managing your RSS reader.
Calling your good friend.
Writing in your journal.

But sometimes life happens, and you start to fall behind.  Then, you fall more behind.  And the task keeps piling up, getting bigger and bigger:

200+ blog posts in your RSS reader…
SOOO much to tell your friend that you’ll have to set aside 2 hours for the conversation…
Three weeks of journaling to “catch up” on…

So you start avoiding it – finding excuses, filling your time with other tasks or projects.  The thought of “catching up” feels so overwhelming.  And just like that, something you love doing has become something you dread.

So what do you do?

You break the Cycle of Guilt.
You let go.
You start fresh.

You “Mark All As Read”.  No one will begrudge you a few missed comments.
You call your friend.  Tell her you only have 20 minutes, but wanted to check in and say hi.
You write down today’s date and let the words flow.

Basically, you be kind to yourself.  You treat yourself the way you would treat a friend.  You STOP letting your regret and your list of “should-haves” drag you down, and you START looking toward the future.  You make a plan.  You forgive yourself.  And then, you move forward.

And no matter how tightly you were holding on to that thing you HAD TO do, I promise you’ll feel better, lighter, and freer once you let it go.

I let myself become a victim of the Cycle of Guilt far too often.  But today, I’m standing up to myself.  I’m making a choice – I’m choosing to excuse myself.  November’s Workout Round-Ups just won’t get written this year. I’m so far behind, the notes in my workout log aren’t even familiar any more.  And although I have the actual workout data recorded, I’ve lost a lot of the funny anecdotes, back-stories, and extra info I like to include to make these posts less boring.  I know that none of you are losing sleep over this, so although the “completeness” freak in me is rebelling, I’m choosing to move on too.

I’m starting fresh in December – so I’ll start with last week, which was mostly November, but also included a tiny bit of December!  [Spoiler: There wasn’t much in the way of working out going on last week…]

Monday: Gift & Food Shopping Marathon with Dad

We have a few family members with “Thanksgiving Birthdays”, so we did some shopping for gifts, then hit up the supermarket for Thanksgiving groceries.  Thankfully, living in Singapore has dramatically raised my tolerance for crowded, busy stores.  Navigating the grocery store on the Monday-before-Thanksgiving felt like a breeze, compared to my weekly shopping routine in Singapore.  [I had no idea that the aisles in US supermarkets were so.freaking.huge!]

Tuesday: Run (5.5 mi)

This day was pretty ugly, and what started as a gentle snow turned into pelting sleet by the halfway mark.  I remembered why a cap with a brim is a good idea, even in the winter – It keeps all that stuff out of your eyes.  The run was *ahem* refreshing, and I felt like I got a bonus microderm abrasion.

Safely sheltered under the porch roof.  In the overexposed background, note the snow/ice on the ground.

Safely sheltered under the porch roof. In the overexposed background, note the snow/ice on the ground.

Wednesday: Cooking

My sister and brother-in-law arrived late on Tuesday night, so I spent Wednesday morning hanging with them and doing some work.  In the afternoon, some dear friends came over and we had a big cooking party.  It’s amazing how quickly the work gets done when 4-6 adults are working in the kitchen!!

Thursday: Eating, Hosting, Partying

Yep.  Besides passing the appetizer plates, pouring wine for guests, and lifting trays of food in and out of the oven, I didn’t do much physical activity.

Ta Da!  Thanksgiving Plate!  Not pictured: Applesauce & Cranberry Sauce, which get eaten AFTER all of the non-fruit food.

Ta Da! Thanksgiving Plate! Not pictured: Applesauce & Cranberry Sauce, which get eaten AFTER all of the non-fruit food.

Friday: Run (7.5 mi)

This is the one that I detailed in yesterday’s Join Me On This Run: Sussex County post.  It’s also when my IT band starting tweaking a little bit, reminding me that stretching is important, even in the USA!

Saturday: Goodbyes and Hellos

My sister and BIL left on Saturday morning, but in the afternoon, we went to pick KMN up from the airport.  He missed Thanksgiving, but coincidentally has business in NYC this week – so he stopped in New Jersey for the last of the leftovers.  Good thing, too – he entered just as everyone’s enthusiasm for turkey and gravy, stuffing, and green beans was waning.  What a champ! 🙂

Sunday: Travel & Cheese

Some food should be eaten, not photographed.  [The flash didn't help.]

Some food should be eaten, not photographed. [The flash didn’t help.]

KMN headed into NYC in the afternoon, and I decided to join him in the city for a day or two.  Although he’ll be busy during the week, he had some free time on Sunday night, and we snuck out for dinner at Amali.  The lighting was insufficient for good pictures, but the meal was amazing.  From the huge chunks of feta mixed with pistachios and grapes, served over chicory all the way to the ricotta donuts served with honey whipped ricotta, the meal was amazing.  And although I am happily married, I was contemplating a proposal to whoever made the divine ball of burrata cheese we enjoyed spread on crispy toast triangles.  I’m tempted to go back to enjoy a whole ball for myself, for lunch…

You don’t need an advanced math degree to calculate this one: 13 miles, just over 2 hours of working out this week (includes three days of stretching, which I don’t usually note in my day-to-day break down).  Obviously, this was a week for friends, family, and eating – not a week for working out.  But that happens once in awhile, and I’m not stressing over it.  This upcoming week will be back to normal (at least, non-gym normal).

In December, I’m looking forward to running, getting back to spin, and setting up my race calendar for the first half of next year.  I dragged my feet on this for awhile, but am now feeling excited about it – a sure sign that it’s time to pull up the race calendar and get out my credit card!!

What task/job/pastime quickly becomes overwhelming for you when you fall a bit behind?  How can/do you break the cycle?

Are there any Cycles of Guilt in your life right now that can/should be broken?  DO IT!  [Yes, like, RIGHT NOW.]  Then tell me about it, if you feel comfortable sharing.

RWH Answers 10 Quick Thanksgiving Questions

It’s 4 AM.  Shall we discuss how many mornings I’ve seen 4 AM since I’ve been in New Jersey?  Three out of four.  And that one when I didn’t?  That one, which I thought heralded an end to this jet lag silliness?  Well, I stayed up until 2 AM that night.  Apparently, when I don’t have a rigid schedule to stick to, I’m not so motivated to get rid of the jet lag.

3-5 AM is also chilly. <3 hoodies.

3-5 AM is also chilly.

While jet lag was super useful when I returned to help care for a sick relative (I got the night shift), and again when I was back for sisterly wedding shenanigans (and there was too much to do to sleep), there’s not much use for it now.  But I’m also minimally motivated to correct the problem.  So instead, I go to sleep around 11, wake up around 2 or 3 AM, work for a few hours, then sleep from 5 AM until 8 or 9 AM.  Altogether, I’m getting a decent amount of sleep – and sleeping well, really – it’s just in two medium sized chunks, rather than one long block.  But that 3-5 AM window turns out to be pretty productive.

Take this morning, for example.  I’ve spent the last few days wondering what, if anything, I should do on the blog to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is, after all, my most favorite holiday.  But I couldn’t really think of anything appropriate and not annoying.  Then, in the wee hours of the morning, I scrolled through my feed reader and found a post from Shut Up and Run (SUAR): 10 Quick Thanksgiving Questions.

Thanksgiving-related? Check.
Quick? Check. (5 AM is fast approaching)
No requirement to import a button or do any fancy linking? CHECK.
[^One day, I shall learn to do this.]

So without further ado:

1. How old do you have to be to move up from the kids’ table? 

My sister and I grew up as the only kids in our family, really.  We always sat at the adults’ table.  When I was a kid, people were always telling me that I “was very well-spoken with adults”.  I attribute this to a kids’ table-less childhood.   [Incidentally, I didn’t do so well with my peers.]

Amusingly, when I was a teenager, my sister and I went to a “family” party at the house of one of my parent’s friends.  These folks had relatives with kids – lots of kids – and the whole concept of getting to play games, eat at our own table, and generally have a great time with people our own age – was revolutionary to us.  We still laugh about this.

2. Stuff the turkey or cook stuffing separately? (aka salmonella or not?)

Nooooooooooo.  In fact, we make Stuffing Balls.  No lie.  [And by “we”, I mean my sister’s best friend from high school, who my parents have practically adopted as their son.  He comes over every year to help with Thanksgiving prep.  And makes the Stuffing Balls.]

3. Who sits at the head of the table?

We’re not fussy.  The lithe people squeeze into the back, the patient people sit on the ends, and the people who need to get up a lot sit on the outside.  Or, we all sit wherever we happen to put down our drink.

4. Pumpkin, pecan, apple pie?

Yes!!!!!!!!!  ALL THE PIES*!!!!!!!!!

5. What the hell is mince meat?

Not something the RWH Family eats on Thanksgiving.
[*Exception to the ALL THE PIES rule = Mincemeat pie.]

6. Is it okay to play Christmas music on Thanksgiving?

To whip out some Singlish (which is rather ironic): NO, LAH.  Absolutely not.
Christmas music can come out AFTER Thanksgiving.  Like, Friday.  But no sooner.

7. In five words or less, worst Thanksgiving memory?

Strep throat, puked orange juice.

8. Speaking of leftovers. Who gets dibs on them? 

My family always hosts.  We keep most of the leftovers, but will happily fill a container or two for anyone who’d like to take some food home.

9. Worst Thanksgiving food?

I love all Thanksgiving food.  But honestly, the turkey is probably my least favorite part, when there is so much other deliciousness around.  Unless there’s fruit in the stuffing.  Then, the stuffing.  Ick.

10. Best Thanksgiving quick joke?

I have no idea.  I’m not especially good with jokes.

Your turn!  Answer any/all in the comments, or copy & paste onto your own blog.  Or, just skim through my answers while recovering from your turkey-and-pie induced food coma.

Singapore friends, feel free to ask whatever pressing Thanksgiving questions you may have.  [In all honesty, I considered doing a post on the historical and modern cultural aspects of Thanksgiving, but I was too busy eating pizza last night.]

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest for pizza places.  No lie!  Also: New Jersey Pizza, I LOVE YOU.

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest for pizza places. No lie!
Also: New Jersey Pizza, I LOVE YOU.

Wishing all my Thanksgiving-celebrating friends: Safe travels, Family harmony, Delicious food, and
Much thankfulness today (and every day, really, if we’re gonna be cheesy about it).

And be sure to stop back later today, because I’ll be featuring a special, post-big-meal Thanksgiving Day STRETCH!!!

A Post That Needs A Fish Pun (but I can’t think of one)

After all the preparation, then the race, then reliving the whole thing to write the race report (Part 1 and Part 2), I’m ready to talk about something besides “The 50K“.  [Cue all my readers breathing a sigh of relief.]

Since The New Blog Plan has designated Wednesdays as “Singapore Stories” day (or some other recurring feature), let’s try a short story for today yesterday (I actually wrote most of this on Wednesday, I swear).  And I promise, this post will be less than 600 words.

I should preface this story by noting that the standard for customer service in Singapore sometimes feels….somewhat low to someone who was born and raised in the United States.  This is not to say that I haven’t had any good customer service experiences here, because I certainly have.  [Although admittedly, unlike in the US, the fastest and most polite service often comes from government agencies, as opposed to private businesses.  But I digress.]  Regardless, a number of my “Singapore Stories” will be rooted in customer service experiences, as they are often the ones that leave me scratching my head.  So without further ado, let’s go to the supermarket.

Scene: The fish counter at the local supermarket.  This is similar to the fish counter at a US supermarket, except that instead of fillets, whole fish are sitting on ice: head, scales, guts, etc.  You choose the fish you want, then ask one of the staff behind the counter to gut it and remove the scales.  [Incidentally, you do still get the whole fish: head, fins, etc.]

I select a small pomfret (it only needs to feed KMN and I) and hand it to the auntie behind the counter.  A small bit of some organ is protruding through the kill-cut (I think), but I don’t think twice about that, since I’m going to ask for it to be gutted anyway.

[Don’t mind the approximate Singlish.]

Me: *hands fish over counter* Can clean for me, please?
Fish Auntie: Don’t want this one.  *points to protruding innards*
Me: Ahh…it’s OK.  Will clean anyway, yah?
Fish Auntie: *shaking head* No, no – don’t want. *takes fish from me, buries back in display ice*
Me (assuming she knows something about fresh fish selection that I don’t): Ooook.
Fish Auntie: *digging around for another pomfret*
Me: Small one, please.  Small.  Just for two people.
Fish Auntie: *holds up somewhat larger pomfret*
Me: Errrr…smaller one can?  That one a bit big.
Fish Auntie: *puts fish on scale* 400 (grams).
Me: *shakes head* Mmmm…a bit big.  Smaller one can?
Fish Auntie: *nods, prints pricing label, takes fish back to cleaning counter*
Me: Sigh….

I have no idea.

Language barrier?  Possibly, but her English seemed pretty good to me.
Upselling?  Perhaps, but it’s not like she’s working on commission.
Overall misunderstanding?  Maybe.
An Auntie just being an Auntie?  Most likely…
[KMN’s Peranakan family has taught me to respect the matriarchy!]

There was a time (not too long ago) when this would have left me huffing and puffing and peevish.  Instead, I just laughed.  A few more grams of fish wasn’t going to break the bank.  So I came home that day with some extra fish, and a story.  And when I recounted the story to KMN, he didn’t seem the least bit surprised.

The only major disadvantage of the extra fish?  Microwaving fishy leftovers the next day really did stink up the apartment…

*Fish Commission = Fishmission?  Fission?

Would you laugh it off or try to insist on the smaller fish?

Ever cooked a whole fish?
[We usually poach ours, but I’m open to other suggestions!]

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Aug. 19-25): Pre-Marathon Week

There are some blog-related changes coming up here (namely, more frequent, more varied, and less Holly-centric posts), but first, let’s do some Weekly Workout Rounding-Up.  These are mostly for me, anyway – and apparently you guys like them, too, because they tend to get lots of Comments.  Anyway, how did my workouts look pre-Marathon week?  Let’s hop back to the end of August:

Monday (Aug. 19): Run (1.5 mi)

I met a client for a side-by-side treadmill run.  But she had arrived at the gym early, and was halfway done by the time I joined.  I ran with her until the end of her workout, then we did some stretching together.  By the time that was done, I was hungry and didn’t feel like hopping back on the treadmill.  I called 1.5 miles good for the evening, and rewarded myself by using the escalator instead of the stairs.

What? I'm preparing for a marathon, OK? Every bit of rest counts!! [Kidding.  There's no 'stairs' option in this particular spot.]

What? I’m preparing for a marathon, OK? Every bit of rest counts!! [Kidding. There’s no ‘stairs’ option in this particular spot.]

Tuesday: Run (4.1 mi)

I met another client for an early morning run.  Many of my training plans include once-per-month telephone consults, and I offer my local clients the chance to substitute a run together for a phone call.  This is useful in many ways – and just a little bonus for my locals!  Depending on the pace and distance, I don’t always include these in my training tally, but this was a taper week, so every mile was going in – including these four!

I came home and had these for lunch.  In fact, I had this for lunch almost every day this week:

Homemade nachos, topped with refried beans&corn, cheese, salsa, and a salad.

Homemade nachos: Lay the chips on a plate and top with a refried beans/corn mixture and cheese, then broil for 2 minutes. Garnish with salsa and a salad on top.

Wednesday: Yin Yoga

Carbs!

And since we’re talking food, my breakfasts this week pretty much all looked like this.

I was hoping for some hip stretching; instead, Joyce had a class full of back stretches planned.  I still left feeling relaxed and calm.

Dear Alan: Sorry I skipped your spin class.  But leg resting, and all that jazz.

Thursday: Run (3.9 mi)

I wanted to get my legs moving before boarding my flight to Perth – so I ran 10 min easy/10 min tempo/10 min easy.  This was enough to get everything flowing, but not so much that I exhausted myself.  In the afternoon, I was PERTH-BOUND!!!!

Friday: Walking around Freemantle

Sightseeing report pending.  But we saw dolphins, got shipwrecked, and went to jail.  It was an exciting day.

Saturday: Shake-out run (2.5 mi)

Grace & I couldn’t stop exclaiming, “It’s so COOL!  It’s so NICE!  This weather is AWESOME!!!!!!!”  We ran along the Swan River, which would be part of the course the following day.  Only difference was that we were on the pedestrian path, and on Sunday, the road would be closed for us.  Yippee!!

Sunday: Perth Marathon (26.2 mi)

Here’s the link to my Perth Race Report, Part 1 and Part 2.

Along with the stretching and rolling I did, my weekly workout time was 7 hrs, 15 min (although 3 hrs, 30 min without the marathon!).  This was a smidge light for a pre-race week: I’d planned to drop my mileage to about 50% (20-25 miles) the week before the race, but instead only ran about 12 miles.  [However, if I counted the previous Sunday’s run, which was technically part of the “week before”, then I was at 17 miles.]  Honestly, though, I wasn’t too fussed.  I’d already put in my training, so my goals for the week were to keep moving, but not get too tired or injured.  And I succeeded.

A quick word about pre-marathon food – I trained just fine on my normal diet, so I didn’t plan to change much in the week before.  I think the biggest changes were that I didn’t buy any Pringles the week before the marathon, and did made sure to eat 3 full meals each day (sometimes I just snack through lunch).  Toast was a popular breakfast that week, and nachos were common for lunch.  Dinners were starch + protein + veggies; and since KMN was out of town, they were often thrown together at the last minute.  Like I said – I eat pretty well on a regular basis, and didn’t see any need to change a solid system that worked well during training.

Finally, in the days leading up to a big-effort workout or race, hydration is very important:

Hydration

Look, Mom! I emptied them ALL.

And with that, I’m outta here. Final post-marathon thoughts, post-marathon Workout Round-Up, and a report from last Sunday’s 10K + Stair Climb race all coming soon!

Finish this sentence: “My dream nachos would be topped with ___________________________?”
[See above photo for my answer.]
[Huh? You don’t dream about nachos?  What’s wrong with you?!?]

What are your tips/tricks for staying hydrated?
[This isn’t a problem for me, but I have clients who struggle to drink enough during the day.  I’m always looking for more helpful suggestions to provide to them!]

Weekly Workout Round-Up (July 29-Aug. 4)

This was a pretty full workout week, including with a super long run on Friday.  I was coming off a weekend with a 22 mile run, as well.  Hello, intense marathon/ultra training!

Monday (July 29): Rest.

I am always tempted to get the week off to a strong start, but between heavier weekend training and a pretty busy schedule on Mondays, I’m often taking a rest day instead.  But I did manage to do some stretching and rolling, which was much appreciated by my tired legs!

Tuesday: Run (4 mi) & Spin

Oh, Tuesday.  So full of happy running enthusiasm!

Oh, Tuesday. So full of happy running enthusiasm!

Obviously there wasn’t much notable about Tuesday’s workouts.  BUT Tuesday’s dinner was pretty tasty.  I tried my hand at making baked calzones:

2 Tuesday Calzones

 

 

Fresh breadmaker bread + This stuff —>

Deliciousness.

= DELICIOUSNESS.

Best of all? We managed to devour them before the ambient humidity took all the crunch out of the crusty top of the bread!

Wednesday: Tempo Run (5.4 mi) & Spin

I had this Tempo workout on my schedule:

10-15 min EZ
20 min @ Tempo
10-15 min E

On this particular morning, KMN and I did what we call “running together-apart”: We ran our warm-up to the park together, then ran separately around/through the park for our tempo work (since we run different paces/workouts), then ran home together as a cool-down.

After the trouble I had with 2 x 10 min @ Tempo the previous week, I was a bit worried about getting this workout done.  But starting early, choosing a known course, and having KMN out with me helped tremendously – and I finished right on target!  Definitely a mental boost, for me!

Thursday: Body Pump

Post BodyPump stretch session: Knees are getting so low!  Three cheers for hip flexibility!!

Post BodyPump stretch session: Knees are getting so low! Three cheers for hip flexibility!!

I’ve been trying to normalize my work schedule a bit, and sometimes this means skipping morning or early evening gym classes.  On this day, I substituted a lunchtime BodyPump class at the gym closest to our apartment.  I usually avoid this spot because it is SUPER crowded, but at lunchtime on a weekday, I was actually able to get a spot in class – and still have space to move.  Although, I did almost get knocked out at the end of class by aunties rushing in to claim “their” spots for the next class!

KMN was out for a work event, so I made myself roasted veggie salad with balsamic vinaigrette, with a side (topper?) of freshly breaded/lightly fried chicken breast.

KMN was out all evening for a work event, so I made myself roasted veggie salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and a side (topper?) of freshly breaded/lightly fried chicken breast.

Friday: Long Run (27 mi) & Swim

This run will definitely get its own post, but in short – I am training for a marathon at the end of August and a 50K at the beginning of October.  I wanted to do at least two 26-28 mile runs as part of my 50K prep.  However, fitting both of those runs between marathon recovery (1-2 weeks, even if I take the marathon easy) and ultra marathon taper (2 weeks) didn’t leave that much time for TWO long training runs.  So I decided to do one in August, before the marathon.   [Remember this is a post from a few weeks ago – this run took place back on Aug. 2, making it 3+ weeks before my marathon.]

In short, this run was easier than expected, and in a flash, I saw all my other (shorter) runs with a different perspective.  Also, swimming after a long run is a BRILLIANT idea.  No, seriously: Brilliant.  You’ll have to stop back later for all the gory details, though. 🙂

Saturday: Run (3.4 mi) & Yin Yoga

I knew it was important to keep my legs moving, to flush any waste leftover from Friday’s long run – so when KMN went out for a run on Saturday, I joined him.  Of course, he made an entire loop around the reservoir (and then some) – I hopped off the trail and came home, for just a short, easy effort.  My legs felt shockingly good.

In the afternoon, I attended a Yin Yoga class, knowing that the extended stretching would be great for my legs.  Unfortunately, I made one crucial mistake: I forgot that the Saturday class isn’t taught by my “normal” instructor, who has apparently spoiled me.  I appreciate the way she presents yin, and talks us slowly and carefully through each pose, providing lots of options and suggestions.  For some reason, the Saturday instructor and I just don’t mesh as well.  So the stretching was good, but I didn’t exactly leave with a “zen” feeling…

BUT this Brownie a la Mode and I meshed VERY well for a Saturday evening treat at Neli's!

BUT this Brownie a la Mode and I meshed VERY well for a Saturday evening treat at NeLi’s!

Sunday: Run (5.2 mi)

Sunday night, "less-than-enthused" face.  There's a reason I usually run in the morning, folks!

Sunday night, “less-than-enthused” face. There’s a reason I usually run in the morning, folks!

As my marathon training has progressed, I’ve grown bored with all my normal routes.  Furthermore, I procrastinated this run until Sunday evening.  Dark + Bored = I chose a one mile loop near our apartment….and ran around it 5 times.  While this might earn me some odd looks from the folks at the bus stops, at least it doesn’t require much mental energy!  Chunking is easy: 1 loop at a time.  Plus, I can perform “track workout” style bribe myself: “Just one more” (and then another, and another, and another).  And somehow, it’s psychologically easier for me to be closer to home, even if I have to pass and re-pass my starting point repeatedly.

I finished with a little loop in the residential area behind our apartment.  While back there, a taxi driver slowed down and asked me for directions – a first for me, in Singapore!  [He was either really desperate, or knew that runners are good people to ask for directions.]  This amused me for the last half mile of my run.  It’s the little things!

And that was my week, in workouts and notable food.  Thanks to my super long run on Friday, my total workout time for the week came to 14 hours (exactly). Somehow, that number isn’t so hard to hit with a long run over 4 hours long!

What’s your favorite calzone filling?

Have you ever heard of “Emmental” cheese?
[This is called “Swiss cheese” in the US.  I went shopping for Swiss, couldn’t find any, thought Emmental looked about the same (color, holey-ness), and gambled that it was the right stuff for my roasted potato salad.  Subsequent research indicates that I was correct.]

And now, I’m headed out for yet ANOTHER Sunday evening run.  What is it with procrastinated Sunday runs???  Anyone else?

Lovin’ on Rochester – and – The Best Chauffeur EVER

I failed to capture the whole crew; but here's dessert!  From back to front: Watermelon, Balsamic Blueberry Pie, Berry Custard Tart, and Chocolate Chip Cookies.  NOM!!

I failed to capture the whole crew, but here’s dessert! From back to front: Watermelon, Balsamic Blueberry Pie, Berry Custard Tart, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. NOM!!

Our Fourth of July celebrations were awesome.  Things started off right with a fantastic run, and the good times just kept rolling.  I partied (gently, responsibly, and while wearing compression sleeves) with a few dear, dear friends.  These are ladies who I’ve known since I was in fifth grade.  The intervening 20 years have included LOT of bad hairstyles, boy drama, and general shenanigans.  But the true test of friendship:  These girls bore witness to – but wouldn’t, for any price, spill a word about – some of the most embarrassing moments of my adolescence.  So don’t even bother asking them about “pants”, “band pants”, “blue paper men”, or “Sir Holly the Fibber”.

Hopefully, they won’t hold it against us that we threw them out around 11 PM, as we had Big Plans for Friday the Fifth: KMN and I were headed for ROCHESTER!!  My parents have been kind enough to share their cars with us while we’re here.  There’s only one catch…both of my parents drive cars with a manual transmission – and Run With Holly is an automatic girl, all the way.  [Yes, she should learn.  No, she hasn’t yet.]

If the whole lawyering thing doesn't work out, I think he has a possible second career here.  :)

If the whole lawyering thing doesn’t work out, I think he has a possible second career here. 🙂

Thankfully, KMN learned to drive (I believe) an army truck with a manual transmission.  Ergo, I have a chauffeur all weekend!  With this arrangement, the drive to Rochester just flew by: A 90 minute nap, chatting, some coaching, reading the Drew University magazine to him, finalizing Rochester plans, and suddenly we were pulling into Bruegger’s Bagels on Mt. Hope.  While these bagels are not really up to New Jersey standards, they are acceptable by Rochester standards – and they were a once-a-week treat for me during grad school.  Munching on an Everything bagel with cream cheese was a nostalgic experience.

We were soon joined by M. (my partner in crime throughout graduate school) and her husband – who drove many hours to come visit with us, and some other Rochester friends.  M. and I walked over to the Medical Center to see who was around, but on this Friday-between-a-holiday-and-a-weekend, the place was eerily quiet.  We managed to surprise a few people, most of whom were pretty shocked to see us together again, since, although we were pretty inseparable during grad school, we currently live thousands of miles apart.  I also got to enjoy an iced coffee with E., another smart and savvy scientist that the University of Rochester brought into my life.  I photographed none of these adventures.

In the evening, we met up with some of my Rochester running family.  It’s no secret that I love Rochester – and these folks are a big part of the reason.  Getting a PhD is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding (damaging?) experience, and these are the people who picked me up, dressed my wounds, and sent me back into the lab again and again.  Some of them were my surrogate parents, and others stepped in as siblings, when I needed family.  My coaching mentor is also part of this group, and I can’t begin to repay what she has given to me – in experience, opportunities, and faith.  There are never enough hours over dinner when I’m hanging with these guys and gals.  I could sit at the table for hours, listening to their tales, sharing about Singapore, and laughing over our past adventures – I love soaking in their energy, enthusiasm, and good humor.  I was so busy doing so, in fact, that I forgot a photo.  Again.

The awesomeness continued this morning, when one of “the other Hollys” drove out to me so we could go for a run, sorta like old times (after wasting five years of vaguely knowing each other but not getting seriously introduced, we finally started running together at lunch – four months before I graduated).  We logged some miles on my beloved Rochester Canal Path, and blabbed about science and running.  Besides the fact that my more-buff-than-ever arms STILL felt twiggy next to hers, the morning was a rousing success.  Except – you guessed it – I didn’t take a picture.

But I DID take a picture of brunch, which KMN and I enjoyed at James Brown’s Place, on Culver Road.

Huevos Rancheros!

Huevos Rancheros!

I can’t believe that, after over six years in Rochester, I’d never been to this spot.  The breakfast was delicious, the servers were so friendly, and there were at least eight other items on the menu that I wanted to order.  [Blackberry pancakes with peach sauce?  Cinnamon raisin or banana bread french toast?  Omelets galore?  One of each, please!]  We enjoyed our breakfast – and the genuine neighborhood feel – by eating at an outdoor table.  Splendid!

Then, it was time for a Blogger First: A real, genuine, blogger meet-up.  OK, maybe there were only two of us, but how many run-bloggers can Rochester really support, anyway?  Griselda Mood and I yakked about Rochester, running, blogging, training, families, marathons, and did I mention running?  Yes, she’s just as enthusiastic and funny as her blog suggests.  And guess what?!??!  We remembered to take a picture.

My First Blogger Meet Up!

My First Blogger Meet Up!

The only sad bit?  C-Money was down for the count, cutting a tooth and running a fever.  Guess I’ll just have to stop back and meet her some other time.  🙂

I suspect our husbands were similarly relieved when we both returned, unscathed, from meeting a stranger in the park.  [Actually, we really met at Lovin’ Cup, where the staff patiently let me sit for a total of three hours and two coffees this afternoon.  But whatever.  Details.  Next time I’m dragging her out for a run!  To a park!  I’ll even submit to a background check first, if her husband still doesn’t believe that my intentions are pure.]

I collected KMN from the largest (and most book-less) Barnes & Noble I’ve ever seen, and we zoomed out.  My handsome chauffeur delivered me to a meeting with a client, and now…here I am.

We have grand plans to enjoy some Dinosaur BBQ later tonight.  [Good BBQ isn’t so common in Singapore.]  I cannot wait to get my hands on some of their Tomato-Cucumber Salad, and an order of fresh french fries, and their cornbread, and probably a rib or two.  So if I’m MIA tomorrow, blame the food coma…

Rochesterians: What’s your favorite brunch spot in the area (I’m filing it away for next time!)?

Runners: Do you have a “running family”?  When have they pulled you through a tough time?

Anyone, anyone at all: What’s your favorite BBQ “style” food (doesn’t have to be the meat)?

2013 Weekly Workout Round-Up (June 10-16)

Hello there!  Been spending a fair bit of RWH time scheming over some new plans and projects, so I’ve missed a few planned blog posts.  BUT, it’s not too late to take a look at what happened last week.  So let’s start there.  [If you’re new here and want a basic introduction to the cast of characters and what we do over here, check out this summary post.]

Monday: BodyPump and Yin Yoga.

My afternoon snack.  Obviously, someone was craving her freggies.

My afternoon snack. Obviously, someone was craving her freggies.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Chest Track in the new BodyPump release.  First of all, it’s HARD.  The instructor told us to load up our bars with more weight than normal.  Being a rule-follower, I couldn’t help but comply.  Then, halfway through the chest presses, my face crumpled into crying mode and I truly felt angry at the instructor.  This was totally unfair of me, I know.  No one FORCED me to load up the bar – I added the weight myself.  The lifts are hard (VERY hard), but I was executing with good form (safely).  Still, my whiny-cry-y face crept in and, had the instructor been standing over me at that moment, I probably would have made a few choice utterances.  But since I’m there to work – not to an hour of my time lifting weights that are too light for me – the push was good.  Painful, but good.

Yin yoga with Joyce is always a treat for me, and my hips always thank me for going.  After class, I booked it out and headed to the airport.  KMN had been traveling for work, and was on his way back to Singapore!

Costco Loot: Walnuts, pecans, and coffee - just the essentials.  :)

He had been in LA. He brought me back some Costco Loot: Walnuts, pecans, and coffee – just the essentials. 🙂

Tuesday: Run

The disadvantage to waiting half a week before doing your workout round-up is that you forget the details.  Something happened on Tuesday that distracted me from my intended longer workout, but I can’t remember what it was.  So you can just pretend I went skydiving or something…

Wednesday: Tempo Run & Spin

Roast the chicken in the morning, then just zap it (and the potatoes) in the microwave when you roll in at 9:30 PM, after spin class...

Roast the chicken in the morning, then just zap it (and the potatoes) in the microwave when you roll in at 9:30 PM, after spin class…

I am a firm believer in the tempo run.  Tempo runs are great physiological training – they teach your body how to process waste more efficiently, so that you can run stronger, longer.  They are also fantastic mental training – they force me (or you) to run in an “uncomfortable” zone for an extended period of time.  I know this helps train me – and my runners – to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and learn how to keep our brains from shutting down while our bodies still have more to give.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This wasn’t a heroic tempo workout: warm up, 2 x 6 min @ tempo, cool down.  Just about 4 miles total.  But I’m excited to start building on this foundation.

Thursday: BodyPump, Yoga

After Thursday’s workout, I ran into the supermarket (admittedly, the upscale supermarket) for some cheese.  While there, I spotted this:

Yes, that is the price for one small bottle of Naked Juice [$7.40 USD].

Yes, that is the price for one small bottle of Naked Juice [$7.40 USD].

Friday:  Run, Spin

In retrospect, this seems quite funny – but Friday was “a bit hazy”.  [This week has been more than a “bit” hazy, as Singapore is experiencing dangerously high levels of haze, thanks to forest fires in Indonesia.]  I procrastinated my run until the very last moment, sneaking out just in time to run, shower, get lost at Buona Vista MRT station (I’m special that way), and meet KMN for a dinner date.  I was craving Mexican (or even American-pseudo-Mexican) food, so we decided to try out Senor Taco at Star Vista.  [No, this is not the same as Señor Taco in the US.]

Chicken enchiladas, rice, and beans.

Chicken enchiladas, rice, and beans.

Our analysis?  The service was crummy, the food was decent, and the price was a smidge high.  In the US, we probably wouldn’t be back.  But given the difficulty of finding really good Mexican food in Singapore, we might be back here one day, when another craving hits…

Saturday: Long Run

18 miles!  I’ve already mentioned this run in an early post, while discussing how important it is to accept and embrace where you are in your running journey.  But, since I know you are all interested in every gory mile, here’s a breakdown of how the run went:

For starters, I broke a sweat before I even left the house (at 5:30 AM).

For starters, I broke a sweat before I even left the house (at 5:30 AM). And yes, the photo is upside down. That’s the perspective from which I took it. Creativity, peeps. Creativity.

6.5 road miles very early, to meet up with GCA
[Drunk people along Scotts/Orchard Road = hilarious.  I’ve already started my Saturday…they haven’t even ended Friday yet.  We both found the other’s choice of “recreation” to be amusing.  I didn’t talk about theirs as loudly as they commented on mine, though.]

2 miles around the southeast corner of the island with GCA
[We were trying to find our way onto the Green Corridor at its start – the old Tanjong Pagar railway station.  I talk a bit more about the Green Corridor in my 2013 Green Corridor Run Race Report.  Unfortunately, the starting point is apparently fenced in and locked up on non-race-days, so we had to be a little creative and back track to find a place where we could get on without bush-whacking or drain-jumping.]

6.5 miles along the Green Corridor with GCA
[Running with a friend is always excellent distraction; I was thrilled at how smoothly these miles passed, and suddenly I had 14 miles on my watch!  Then, she showed me a very conveniently located Cold Storage, where we enjoyed a few minutes of air conditioning and bought some drinks.  Hint: Soaked compression capris + intense air conditioning is almost as good as an ice bath, I think.]

Feet at the 15 mile mark.

Feet at the 15 mile mark. Yes, she found more mud than I did.

1 mile along the Green Corridor without GCA
[She headed home; I had a few more miles to cover.]

2 miles along Dunearn Rd
[I was going to hop the bus home anyway; I just ran from bus stop to bus stop until I hit my target distance.  This was excellent psychological bribery – bus stops are a quarter to half mile apart, so “just one more bus stop” always seems feasible!  And the truth is…stepping onto an air conditioned bus after a long run feels fabulous.  And yes, out of respect for my fellow passengers, I brought a towel to sit on, and tried to find a seat by myself.]

The magic formula of 1 salt tab + 1 Nuun per hour worked its magic again!  Folks, I’m (hesitantly) thinking that I may have conquered this electrolyte thing!  However, there was some major chafe-age after this run, mostly in un-photographable areas.  My post-run shower was…invigorating?  startling?  painful??  Thankfully, such things scab over pretty quickly, and I’m good to go…for about 24 hours, until it starts to itch.  Faaaabulous.  But – moving on!

Sunday: Cheer squad for the Pocari Sweat Run.  Thanks to the way the course was designed (out and back over the Marina Barrage building, described and shown in my 2013 Venus Run Race Report), I was able to stake out a spot from which I could see runners ascending and descending both times they conquered the slopes.  I cheered my fool head off, had a great time, met some awesome people, and gave lots of sweaty high fives.

He calls himself "Ah Siao" ("crazy" in the local Hokkien dialect).  He races dragging a tire behind him, to raise awareness for Match For Life, a bone marrow donor program.  He's a bit crazy - but aren't we all?  Check out his Facebook page here!

He calls himself “Ah Siao” (meaning “crazy” in the local Hokkien dialect). He races dragging a tire (“tyre” to you locals) behind him, to raise awareness for Match For Life, a bone marrow donor program. He’s a bit crazy – but aren’t we all? Check out his Facebook page here!

As I walked back to the subway after the cheer session, I even remembered to take a Snapshots of Singapore photo, mostly for Jeano, who is often requesting such things, on behalf of all my non-Singaporean blog readers.

The buildings of downtown in the background, construction in the foreground.  Such is Singapore...

The buildings of downtown in the background, construction in the foreground. Such is Singapore…

The rest of Sunday was full of church, chores, and a Father’s Day Feast of local food.  Not a bad way to end a decent week of training!

Total Workout Time: 11 hours, 26 minutes

Overall, this was a solid week for running, and my body felt great. I made certain to spend time stretching and rolling – my  hips, legs, and feet gave me no issues at all.  I was a bit bummed to keep missing swim workouts – but since I’m not doing any swim racing in the near future, this isn’t a huge problem (except that I enjoy swimming!).

My goal for this week (already in progress) is to keep my workout plans flexible, which may be necessary to fit in what I safely can, despite the serious haze.  But we’ll talk more about that in this week’s Workout Round-Up.  Stay tuned.

I’d ask for a “tire” or “tyre” vote, but I know the answer will be split purely along geographic lines…

If you’re a Costco shopper: What are your Costco “must buys”?

I am still craving Mexican food.  So who’s meeting me for a Chipotle visit when I’m in the US next week (East Coasters only, unfortunately)?

Confessions of a Country-Turned-City Mouse

Sometimes, I use this space to talk about weird, annoying, or frustrating things I’ve discovered about living in Singapore.  But the truth is, I love living here.  And I love it for many, many reasons.  But tonight, as I actually work on a serious (and probably controversial) blog post (not this one, another one), here is one of those reasons:

At 7:04, I tossed my wallet into my purse and stepped out the door.

I put on my shoes, took the elevator downstairs, walked three blocks, and had this made up fresh for me in about 3 minutes (no, I did not call ahead), and for $5 SGD ($4 USD):

Chicken Rice (a local favorite), and Kai-Lan (veggie)

Chicken Rice, a local favorite dish. Although usually, the chicken is served on the rice, and the veggies are separate. This is a very deceiving presentation of this dish. Still: Plenty of delicious and moderately healthy local food to fill my belly!

Then, I walked a block and stopped at one of the local supermarkets.  I picked up some necessities, and some soda water (for diluting my lime juice – which is practically a necessity):

Mostly, things that are too bulky or heavy to buy on my "regular" weekly shopping trip.

Mostly, things that are too bulky or heavy to buy on my “regular” weekly shopping trip.

With groceries in tow, I walked home.  I took the elevator upstairs, removed my shoes, let myself into the apartment, set down my bags, and checked the clock.  It was 7:22.

I was born and raised in a relatively rural area (that is now, sadly, nearly suburbanized) – and I love the solitude of life in the country.  But I do appreciate the convenience, efficiency, and eco-friendliness of being able to get dinner and groceries, without ever setting foot in a vehicle, in a mere 18 minutes.  [Where I grew up, 18 minutes would get us very close to pulling into the parking lot at the nearest grocery store.]

Furthermore, there are 4 gourmet ice cream parlors within a 5 minute walk from our front door.  Shh…Do you hear it?  You do, right?  One of them is calling my name, right?  That’s what I thought!   Catch ya’ll later, dudes! 🙂

We keep open boxes of tissues in four rooms of our apartment.  How did they all manage to end up empty in the last 24 hours?
[Apparently, we distribute our tissue usage very equally, over both time and place.]

Can you do any errands by walking (or cycling) where you live?  Do you?

What’s your dinner plan for tonight?