Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mom and Dad Visit Scotland: Days 1 & 2

Yay, my parents have come to Edinburgh to visit!

Day 1: Mom and Dad arrived on Wednesday afternoon, about 6 hours late due to weather delays out of Pittsburgh. These delays also caused them to miss their connecting flight in Newark, so they ended up taking a later flight, which first took them through London, Gatwick. And of course with all the rearranging of travel, their bags couldn't keep up. Argh.

Because of the late arrival, we didn't do much other than exchanging money at the post office and then grocery shopping. Dinner was Black Bean Polenta Pie. Yummmmm! This is the first time I've had the chance to make this for anyone.

We were all exhausted, so it was a fairly early night.

Day 2: We got off to a slow start, but it was a nice day for Edinburgh -- cloudy with the occasional break in the clounds letting the sun shine through, and not too windy. Just a few sprinkles later in the afternoon.

We walked across the Bruntsfield Links and through the Meadows to my place of work. Along the way, we stopped to admire these beautiful spring flowers.

After showing off my fairly unremarkable office and extremely cluttered desk, we walked into Old Town, stopping to have lunch at The Elephant House. The Elephant House bills itself as the birthplace of Harry Potter. It is one of the coffee shops where J.K. Rowlings would go to write.

After lunch, we wound our way down Candlemaker Row, then up Victoria Street and George IV Bridge to the Royal Mile. We crossed High Street and leisurely strolled down the Mound. From here, the Castle is clearly visible, rising above the Princes Street Gardens on the left. Here are a couple of pictures of my parents in front of the Gardens.

We ended our day at the tourist infomation center, where we bought tickets for the Royal Edinburgh Tour, a two-day pass with entrance to the Castle, the Palace, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. That's for Saturday.

We took the bus back to my flat, and I made Chicken Parmesan for dinner, with a Tivali escalope for me. Mom and Dad said it was yummy, and I was pleased. I think this is only the second time I've cooked chicken in my life. In the evening, we watched an episode of the Vicar of Dibley. (Thanks, Scope, for giving me the idea!) Just as we were starting to watch, my parents luggage was delivered! There was definitely much rejoycing.

Tomorrow we're planning to hit a couple museums. The weather is supposed to be pure Scotland: very windy and rainy, and not much fun to be out there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pros and Cons

Pro: Oh my gosh! I ran 3 miles tonight! Three miles on the treadmill with 0 incline at about a 14 mph pace, but still. [Edit: Oops, make that a 14 minute mile pace. :+)] This is the farthest/longest I've run since...since...well, ever. Previously, the longest I'd ever run without a walk break was probably 25 minutes about 3 years ago, the last time I tried this running thing. Over the past few weeks, I've only been running 7-8 minute intervals! And tonight I felt like I could have kept going, but the gym was getting ready to close.

Con: I ate a bag of chips with lunch, and a Cadbury Cream Egg and a small chocolate bar on the way home from work. Can you say stress eating?

Pro: Hopefully, I ran off at least the small chocolate bar.

My theory for tonight's marathon at the gym is that the Cadbury Cream Egg actually came from the Energizer Bunny. The question now is, how badly am I going to pay for this tomorrow, and I'm talking about the run, not the junk food.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Weekly How I'm Doing Log

It's been a good exercise week! I actually got three runs in this week (see stars to the left), plus dance class and pilates class. Woo!

I also did better on the sleep front, i.e., actually getting myself to bed consistently at a good hour. This is something that is incredibly hard for me, and yet so much hinges on it. Staying up too late throws everything off the next day (exercise, work, healthy eating, etc.) and increases the likelihood of a headache by probably 1000%. I have a ways to go before I can say I'm back on track with proper sleep habits, but this past week was definitely..err..sleeping in the right direction. :+)

Healthy eating? Hmm...well...I guess ups and downs would be the best way to describe the past week. Some days I ate very well, and most of the other days would have qualified as good if it wasn't for the chips and chocolate and excessive amounts of cheese. Mmmm, cheese.

Next week I'll be traveling part of the week, which means that all of the above will be about 10x more difficult. So we'll see how I do. I will definitely be taking my running shoes, so hopefully I'll have some fun running in a new place to report.

One last running related bit to share - I've decided to put aside the running schedule that I was following from the Beginner's Running Handbook. The goal of this schedule is to train one up to run a 10k race - something that is just not important to me right now. So I'm just going to work on getting my three runs in each week, gradually increasing the length of the running intervals. If I can get two, 20-30 minute running workouts during the week plus a longer running workout on the weekend, I'll be pretty happy and I think that's enough for now. At this point, it just doesn't matter (much) to me whether I'm doing 5 minute running intervals or 10 minute intervals, as long as I'm getting out there and getting at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 3x a week. I'll revisit the last 1/3 of the schedule from the the Beginner's Running Handbook later this summer, and maybe sign up for a 10k race in the early fall *gulp*.