Before Going Back to Reality

I’m going back to Boston today!!!

As sad as I am to be leaving my family, I am very looking forward to being with my friends and doing all the learning and activities back at Boston University. It’s been almost 8 months after all!

I don’t know how I’ll do jumping back into reality after what feels like a five month vacation (with study abroad and winter break), but these last few days of break have been the perfect last hurrah.

Here are some things I’ve done before going back to reality:

1) Made my favorite green silver dollar banana pancakes from The Healthy Maven on Thursday morning.

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as always, topped with Greek yogurt, peanut butter, cinnamon, maple syrup + glass o’ milk

2) Gone on long, contemplative walks around the neighborhood.

3) Had lots of solo dance parties in my room.

4) Tried a new fitness class for free with a voucher that came in the mail! It’s called Body Burn, and I think the concept is similar to that of Orange Theory Fitness. You wear a Polar heart rate monitor across your chest, and you try to keep up your HR elevated at around 80-90% of your max HR throughout the entire 45 minute circuit training class.

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Since I went to the relatively new Friday 9AM class, I was the only one who showed up, so it was basically a 30 minute personal class with a swole Italian-American trainer. It was fun! Some treadmill, rowing, TRX, weights, resistance band work, and abs. It wasn’t the hardest thing ever, but I wasn’t pushing myself that hard (my quads were still sore from Wednesday + plantar fasciitis). Hopefully I can go again one day!

5) I’ve eaten a lot of cold roasted vegetables straight out of their container. Doesn’t take much to please me.

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G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

6) Madre and I went on a sushi and bakery date on Friday ♥︎

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7) I ate plenty of said bakery items.

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huge, buttery poppy seed rolls

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amazing apple cinnamon cake (look at all that apple! and the crumble topping 10/10)

8) I saw Daliza and Michael on Friday night! It was lovely catching up with those two.

9) The fam and I attended a 6 hour defensive drivers’ course on Saturday. #weekendthings. It’s for insurance reduction. We went three years ago to a different company’s course, but this year’s by AAA was a lot more interactive and less boring 🙂

10) We went to Mass and a huge, fancy {Groupon} dinner at  Xaviars X2O on the Hudson on Saturday night!

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just some of the goodies: brown butter pine nut ricotta ravioli for my appetizer (THE BROWN BUTTERRRRR) // Madre’s seared tuna sashimi appetizer //  my banana walnut bread pudding // Madre’s carrot cake // Ben’s warm chocolate lava cake  // delicious quail with kale, mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes for my entree // Ben’s grilled octopus appetizer // complimentary chocolate almond truffles after the whole meal (“omg they’re giving us more food.”)

We share everything when we eat out, but this was still SO MUCH FOOD (thanks to Groupon – three courses were included for EACH person!). And if what’s pictured above wasn’t enough, Pop had a pâté plate for his appetizer, Ben had pork chop for his entree, Madre had an incredible stuffed chicken for hers, and Pop had rabbit and egg noodles for his. They also had complimentary cheese biscuits to start, so you know we were on board for that.

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The food and the company were just splendid 🙂

10) I ate some refreshing soluble fiber the next morning in the form of delicious chia egg white banana oats for the first time in a long time!

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11) I’ve been movin’ and groovin’ in the good ol’ basement.

  • Saturday: Michelle and Lori’s 100 burpee workout (subbed full burpees for the side burpees) before the defensive drivers’ course
  • Sunday: 700 reps of Jess’ killer 1000 rep workout (subbed bent over rows for the T pushups)

My workouts were feeling just meh last week, which is totally fine, but it was nice to finally feel like I could attack Sunday’s workout and finish feeling totally spent!

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I was keeled over on my side right before I took this photo

12) I ate a slice of Chicago deep dish sausage pizza that my aunt sent us.

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oh hot dang

13) I packed a crap ton of stuff for college, because Megan and I are living together in an apartment, wee!!

14) I’ve indulged in watching Kyle Hanagami’s dance choreography on repeat.

I can’t wait to dance again (not this well, but I can try)!

15) Lastly, I’ve been blogging (obviously). I will miss the freedom to blog at a leisurely pace, but alas, schoolwork calls!

I hope you all have a great Monday! Dance, eat lotsa carbs, and let someone know how much you love them.

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

Best thing you ate this weekend?

Have you ever tried Orange Theory Fitness or something similar?

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Day in the Life: Internship Abroad

There are only a couple weeks left of my Dublin study abroad experience, can you believe it!?

I shared a day in the life post a couple months ago when we still had classes all day, but now we are well into the internship phase of the program, which involves a full day (more or less) of work Monday through Thursday.

I intern at a private physiotherapy clinic that focuses on dry needling, manual therapy, massage, and Pilates classes. I am loving it! The people are wonderful, the patients are so kind, and I am learning a lot about the international physiotherapy scene. I even get to massage patients who are willing to let a li’l student knead them out.

Here’s what Monday looked like this week. This was actually an unusual day because we had a conference in the evening, which threw off the work hours a bit, but it’s still a general idea of what goes on.

7:55 AM – First alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:04 AM – Second alarm goes off. “I could get up now. But I don’t have to and I could use more sleep.” Reset alarm for 8:30.

8:30 AM – THIRD alarm goes off. Drag butt out of bed. Go to the bathroom, brush teeth, say morning prayer.

8:50 AM – Head to the kitchen for breakfast. There is never a day when I am not excited for overnight oats.

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so ugly, but the value is within.

9:05 AM – Decide that I should roast my broccoli that’s been sitting in the fridge for days. I get home late on Mondays (and especially this particular day), so I know I’ll be happy to have it already roasted when I get back at night.

9:30 AM – Start typing this blog post as I wait for my broccoli. (Somewhat unrelated: Ever since I read Paige’s post on her productivity secret, I’ve been using the “Pomodoro Method” to get work done this past week, and I am a believer! Definitely check out Paige’s post if you’re interested.)

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I use this pomodoro method app

9:45 AM – Broccoli is out of the oven. I taste test as always, no matter how hot it is.

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olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper at 400F for ~30 min

9:50 AM – Let the broccoli cool for a bit, pack it up, wash the dishes.

10:10 AM – Squeeze in a very quick warmup + workout. I was feeling energetic and willing to sprint, but you know me. I don’t actually run (plus I have my bursitis as an excuse), so I sprinted in the form of burpees with Lori and Michelle’s 100 burpee challenge. It’s one of my favorite workouts of all time!

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10:35 AM – Stretch and figure that I would be cutting it too close to shower before I need to leave to catch the bus. I’m not sweating that much…

10:40 AM – Comb hair, put on makeup, pack my bag, and put on a good dose of deodorant (I promise I am a hygienic person).

11:00 AM – Leave the dorm to catch the bus. I walk to a farther bus stop because the bus would take a little while to get to the closer stop anyway, so I might as well meet it farther down.

11:20 AM – Hop on the bus and pull out this honker of a book.

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People probably think I’m actually 12 years old, but HP is worth it ♥︎

11:40 AM – Hop off the bus and walk a couple blocks to work.

11:50 AM – Arrive at work. My bosses didn’t have too many patients in for the day since they were preparing for the conference, so my day involved helping them with the prep, researching for my paper on trigger points, and the usual desk duties.

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I also snacked on these “milk & cereals” flavored BelVita biscuits throughout the early afternoon. They kind of taste like coconut biscuits, which is a-okay with me.

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3:30 PM – The biscuits held me over quite well, so I had a very late lunch. ‘Twas this ugly-looking egg and sausage scramble that I had made the night before. It tasted like stuffing since I used the same sausage and herbs I used for Thanksgiving, so in other words, it was delicious.

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pork and apple sausage + one egg + egg white + sautéed onion + spinach + thyme + sage possibly?

I followed this with a big, juicy orange.

4:20 PM – Leave with one of the physiotherapists for the conference at a hotel in Dún Laoghaire (pronounced “Dunleary”).

4:40 PM – Arrive at the hotel and help set up and sort through all the logistics of the night. I ate a Cadbury caramel chocolate at some point. My supervisor told me, “This is the only kind of chocolate. America does sweets well, but they don’t do chocolate well.”

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I must admit that this stuff is LUSCIOUS

6:00 PM – Head downstairs to the exhibition tables for tea and biscuit hour (a fine practice which I’ve come to love in Ireland).

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I put milk in my tea and I don’t know why. It does nothing.

7:00 PM – Conference begins! It was hosted by a woman from Parliament with the Migraine Association of Ireland, and our physiotherapy company gave a presentation about myofascial trigger points as a potential source of migraines, which can be relieved through massage and dry needling.

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7:30 PM – We give our presentation to the first session. When I say “we” and “our”, I mean the owner presented and I was the guinea pig for dry needling. It was fun having a couple dozen people staring at my trap muscles twitching like crazy.

8:15 PM – Second session presentation.

9:00 PM – The therapists stick around to answer questions before we clean up everything and head back to the clinic to drop it off.

10:00 PM – Back at the clinic, where we unload everything. They kindly call me a taxi to get home.

10:20 PM – Get home ready for FOOD. I warm up my pre-roasted broccoli (*ding*) + leftover pizza from Sunday night.

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11:00 PM – Shower after reading blogs for a bit.

11:30 PM – Pray and head to bed.

So this might not be a true “day in the life,” because I don’t usually have work until 10 pm, but it was still an exciting day of interning!

So tell me: 

Three things in your daily routine. 

What is your favorite chocolate brand? 

Have you ever heard about trigger points as a cause of migraines?

Challenged

I’m forgetting that the weather usually gets colder once fall hits.

I have to wear socks and sweaters in my dorm room, which currently seems like a foreign concept to me. Like, I can’t just be in athletic shorts and a t-shirt all the time now? I have to “keep warm”!?!?

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up cold overnight oats though.

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strawberry banana peanut butter overnight oats overfloweth

Also, who knew strawberries were so good in Ireland!? I feel like I already talked about this. Deja vu.

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Lunches have been looking mighty similar these days, but I don’t hate it. Eggs and veggies are always welcome in my belly.

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As are cheese and carbs.

Lunchtime is a madhouse these days, because we often only have a one hour break to come back to the kitchen, prepare our meals, eat them, and then walk back to class. Plus all the cleaning and maneuvering around 10 other people doing the same exact thing. It sounds like I’m complaining, but I kinda love the rush of “we all have to eat! NOW!”

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Food brings people together 🙂

I would say that the challenge of sharing a kitchen is nothing compared to the moral and mental challenge of my classes so far. It’s not that they are too academically difficult (yet), but all my courses (contemporary Irish society, ethics in healthcare, and healthcare practice and policy) have something to say about the Catholic Church and all the hot topics that surround it these days.

And I get it– just a mention of the Catholic Church stirs up a lot of hubbub.

Sure, I get uncomfortable in class being one of the two practicing Catholics here (especially because everyone knows that I’m a devout Catholic), but I’m loving every minute of it. Not because I want to get all defensive or play the victim, but because I need to be challenged in my beliefs. I want to know what others think of “people like me”. I need to dig deep into why I believe what I believe, and facing the (sometimes stinging) commentary of those who oppose my beliefs is one effective way of doing that.

(p.s. I’m not leaving the Church anytime soon.)

The best part? We all still get along and respect each other. And there have been a couple of very kind people who have shown their appreciation for my POVs, even if they don’t necessarily agree. This was especially comforting yesterday after I expressed my opinions in class, practically shaking with nervousness. (I’m not kidding, but I’m also not asking for pity.)

I might make a vlog expanding on all my thoughts later. My brain is exploding with thoughts and reflections all the time these days!

Anyway, let’s get back to food for some relief from this rather serious topic. Dinner this week has been pork chops with sautéed onions, potatoes with red pesto, and roasted broccoli. A delicious and satisfying meal. Yay for fats!

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Moves and grooves have been short and sweet. Except on Monday when I did a 50 minute Fitness Blender HIIT workout. Tuesday was 35 minutes of yoga + a slow and easy 12 minute lunchtime workout, and yesterday was a 100 burpee workout! 🙂

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that’s all the time it took! gotta leave time for stretching!

It’s nice to get in some kind of movement before I sit for 5-6 hours of class throughout the day. But sleeping is also a priority, which is why my workouts have been “squeezed in” so much lately. I’ve been waking up wanting to go back to sleep FOR.EV.ER. (whoa, that sounds more morbid than I intended).

I used so many parentheses in this post.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday! I will be playing Gaelic football and possibly some other Irish sports today for class. God help me.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt challenged in your beliefs in school?

What have you been eating for dinner this week?

Do you forget that the weather changes too?

What is your favorite quick workout?

Two Museums, Two Desserts, Two Blistered Feet

I did something this weekend other than “oh ya know, just layin’ low…” !!!

Not that there’s anything wrong with laying low (after all, I love kicking up my feet after work these days). But it’s nice to exit the abode and live a little, especially when the weather is as gorgeous as it was this weekend!

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Friday

There’s nothing really to share about Friday except that I worked, ate my favorite dinner of the week, and went to bed at 9.

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brown rice with eel + avocado = all the good things in sushi, amplified in a bowl

Also, BEN CAME HOME FROM SPAIN! He completed El Camino de Santiago, which is historically a Christian walking pilgrimage. There are many routes, but Ben did a super long one that totaled 890 km (553 miles) within 32 days. Casual.

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Congrats, Ben! YOU ROCK.

He actually came home at 2 AM Saturday morning, but I snuck into his room later in the morning to say hi to him before I left for NYC.

Saturday

Since I went to bed so darn early, I woke up at around 6 AM for some sunrise moves and grooves!

100 burpee workout // 10 reps of each // Click here for demos!

  • 10 tuck jump burpees
  • 10 T pushup burpees
  • 10 candlestick to chair burpees
  • 10 alternating side burpees (this one actually hurt my shoulder a bit because the pushup becomes kinda awkward, so I would not recommend this variation)
  • 10 broad jump burpees
  • 10 spiderman pushup burpees
  • 10 handstand burpees
  • 10 superman burpees
  • 10 dive bomber burpees
  • 10 plank jack tuck jump burpees

I tried to do some new/weird variations to keep things interesting, so it was definitely a fun (and tiring) one!

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banana bread baked oatmeal with plain peanut butter + “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter from The Peanut Principle

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from the farmers’ market 😀

Plus a couple pieces of my mom’s egg white pork bake.

After washing up, Pop dropped me off at the train station to head down to the city! Cue this Tori Kelly song (because she is the soundtrack to my life).

First of all, I saw an extraordinary number of dads with their kids on the train/in the city that day, and it made my heart explode.

Secondly, Park Ave looks so clean and luxurious, but it honestly just smells like manure. #overrated

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First stop of the day was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can you believe I’ve lived in NY for 11 years, and this was my first time going there?

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I guess if you don’t live in NY, you don’t really see the big deal. But this is one of those “must see” attractions in the city.

I did my tourist thing while waiting for my friend, Christine.

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Squealing greeting + photos in front of the MET, because we’re bananas (yellow on the outside, white on the inside, in case you haven’t seen me make that joke 100 times on the blog).

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apparently this is where Gossip Girl cast ate lunch in the show??

In we went!

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We interspersed our “ooo’s” and “aaah’s” with some serious girl talk and some attempts at reading our people’s language.

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My contribution every time: “I have no idea what it means, but it looks familiar.”

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At least we’re proficient in fit fam culture.

Art eventually drains ya girls, so we headed over to lunch at Bluestone Lane for some Australian fare at around 1 PM.
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the restaurant is an extension of an Episcopalian church!
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I spy vegemite toast and the word “brekkie”
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Christine got the egg and bacon roll + I got the Aussie meat pie with mint pea puree
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dynamite
Our waiter was Australian, which really added to the experience. Arman, I could not stop thinking about you.
We made it our mission to find both ice cream and Levain Bakery for dessert, so we took the scenic route and walked around the Central Park reservoir. It was the absolute perfect day to do it! Hot, but not unbearable, and bluuuuuue skies.
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We didn’t know where to get ice cream, but we happened upon Amorino Gelato, which is famous for making roses out of their gelato! That stuff is expensive, but it is undeniably pretty and delicious.
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Christine got fruity flavors + I got pistachio, black cherry, and a cookie butter flavor!
That cone was tiny and that gelato was melting wicked fast. You would think I was a magician, that’s how quickly I made it disappear.
We continued walking and found the legendary Levain Bakery. I had been hearing about their incredible chocolate chip cookies since I moved to New York, basically. This was THE DAY.
But first, a short wait on a line that spanned half the block. Expected.
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this is my “THIS IS BETTER THAN DISNEY WORLD BUT I’M TRYING TO BE CIVILIZED” pose
We descended into the little bakery…
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…I bought one chocolate chip cookie and one oatmeal raisin scone. We desperately needed to charge our phones, so we walked over to a Starbucks, where I finally unveiled the glory…
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 these are both HUGE
…wait for it!!!
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You have no idea how long I had been waiting to take that money shot. Ladies and gents, this was one of the best things that my taste buds have ever encountered. I’m not even a big fan of chocolate.
Warm.
Crispy on the outside.
Slightly under-baked and gooey on the inside.
Melted chocolate chips.
Rich walnut chunks.
Thick and decadent.
a poem about Levain’s chocolate chip cookie by Alison
Christine and I split the mega cookie, and we had a few bites of the scone, which was fantastic as well. Not too sweet at all, but BUTTERY. The bag smelled like buttered popcorn. Mmmmm.
Afterwards, we walked back around the reservoir to where we started, and continued with some more girl talk until Christine had to leave. Next museum of the day was Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design with one of my high school dance company mates, Susie!
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had to take a pic of this
This is probably my favorite museum of all time. It’s so interactive, and the vibe is an intersection between classical architecture and modern technology.
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They give you this high tech pen that acts as a memory stick. The pen has a “+” sign on the back that synchronizes to the “+” sign on each description panel on the exhibits. When you go home, you go onto their website and enter your unique code that they gave you, and you can see pictures of all the exhibits you saved via the pen. MAGICAL.
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This immersion room is your childhood dream. You basically design your own wallpaper with the pen, and watch it come to life in front of your eyes.
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Five stars for Cooper Hewitt! Thank you so much, Susie, for suggesting it!
We worked up a good appetite playing around in the museum. Susie chose an excellent Greek restaurant called Korali for dinner.
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a rare moment when no cars are about to run you over in the city
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beet salad with grapefruit, pine nuts, goat cheese, fennel, dill and scallions
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when the manager walks up to you offering a FREE platter of melted Greek cheese, you do not refuse (such a nice gesture of them!)
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soup of the day: lentil
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Susie gave me a bite of her lamb shank, which was heavenly
We also walked by this gem of a Citi bank sign (great eye, Susie).
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This is Gabby Douglas, US Olympic Gymnast. But peep the caption in the upper left hand corner…
THIS is Allyson Felix, US Olympic Track and Field Runner:
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Alright, Citi Bank.
And then I bid NYC a good night.
Ben picked me up at the train station, and I was all excited to tell him that I walked 11 miles that day (according to the Apple Health app), but then I remembered that he had been walking an average of 20 miles per day for the past month. Overachiever.
I still gave myself a foot massage before bed.
Sunday
I got up a little past 7 to get ready for Mass and say goodbye (already!) to Ben and Madre. Not for long though. Pop and I will meet them in Florida soon for our big family vacation next week!
Breakfast after Mass:
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I also had leftover roasted broccoli while cooking this. Cravings, man.
I watched some gymnastics, read some blogs, and napped before getting up and eating again. Sundays, man.
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smoked salmon avocado toast + unpictured carrots and hummus + half a frozen banana
Then I started this blog post and FaceTimed with my beautiful friend, Briana, from college. Followed by some killer moves and grooves in the basement (which I have deemed to be my “pain cave”).
60 seconds strength/45 seconds  cardio/20 seconds  plyometric/15 seconds rest
3 rounds of each block, 1 minute rest between blocks
BLOCK #1
BLOCK #2
  • pistol squats (30 sec each leg)
  • jumping jacks
  • broad jumps over a step, lengthwise
BLOCK #3

BLOCK #4

I hadn’t done a workout that made my quads cry in a while. I stretched out before Pop and I went to one of our favorites for dinner— Bareburger!

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I made my own burger: turkey burger, spinach, sprouts, tomato, pimento cheese on sprout bun + ketchup and mustard
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sweet potato fries with their curry ketchup + special sauce
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the inner beauty of my burger
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Pop’s “Hog Wild” burger: wild boar burger, pimento cheese, frizzled chickpea onions (!?), fried egg, and pickled green tomatoes on a brioche bun
Decadence once again.
We picked up some groceries afterwards, and now I’m finishing typing this while watching sports on TV (← yay for Olympic season coming up!). ‘Twas a fabulous weekend filled with good food, great conversation, and even better people.
Back to the grind today, but one more week until vacation! Hope you all have stellar Monday. Give yourself a foot massage. You deserve it.
So tell me:
Two things you did this weekend!
What is your favorite museum?
What is the best cookie you’ve ever eaten?
Are there any sports you are following currently?
 

Weekly Moves and Grooves XXVIII {Fitness with Friends}

The pressure is finally on.

I was telling you all on Thursday that I wasn’t quite feeling the pressure to study for finals, but it has definitely hit me, don’t you worry. One more week—we can do this! Moving and grooving (especially outside when the sun is out) has been a wonderful way to take a study break and get the blood flowing in between long periods of sitting.

weekly moves and grooves

This week involved more workouts with friends (only two, but that’s still more than usual). I should work out with buddies more often— it’s twice as fun and motivating!

Sunday

Rest

Monday

circuit workout a la dorm

4 rounds:

  • 6 chair mountain climber complexes (10 decline mountain climbers ➔ step off to one side ➔ pushup)
  • 20 tuck jumps
  • 10 pushups to T
  • 20 jump lunges
  • 10 burpees
  • 20 modified v-ups

This took a little over 20 minutes, and I was beat from those chair mountain climber complexes.

Tuesday

Purely Twins’ 100 burpee workout

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Agh, my favorite.

Wednesday

squats with PJ + assisted pull-ups and burpees + ab tabata

This was my first time ever having a squat buddy! PJ saw that I was at the squat rack and came over to be my spotter (which I guess I should have more often?), and we ended up taking turns squatting our hearts legs out. I don’t remember how many sets I did, but I started with 115# and worked up to 135#.

PJ was squatting somewhere between 200-300# (he’s been in the 1000 pound club— the total pounds of his bench, squat, and deadlift were over 1000 lbs…actually, 1200 lbs!).

Whatever the weight, we were both waddling the next day.

I also did 10 min. EMOM (every minute on the minute):

  • 3-5 assisted pull-ups (70-80# assistance)
  • 5 burpees

Then 4 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

Thursday

Rest (for SURE)

Friday

4.54 mile run

Hey, hey look at that. I ran! As usual, I was having an internal debate as to whether I wanted to run or not, but the weather was perfect, and I thought it would be a good study break/shake out for my sore legs.

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I ran in the afternoon and just took a screenshot of this at night, in case you were wondering about the time.

I wasn’t planning on running negative splits (let’s be real, I don’t usually plan on running, period), but I was chasing this random guy towards the end who was running slightly faster than my pace. Also, starting off slow and steady definitely works well.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Saturday

ultimate frisbee with friends

Wowza, this was a WORKOUT, but it was incredibly fun! I can’t do sports that involve hand-eye coordination usually, but I can do frisbee. We were all smoked after playing, but it was just what we needed during study period.

All my workouts caught up with me by Saturday afternoon after frisbee, so I was walking slower than a snail for the rest of the day. The only thing I wanted to do was eat, foam roll, and sleep. I did one of the three. Guess which one!

{answer: eat}

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Hope you all have a lovely Sunday! It’s a steamy 72F today and 81F tomorrow here in Boston!

So tell me:

Do you like working out with friends?

Have you run outside recently?

What was your favorite workout this week? Frisbee wins for me!