Morning Run

As planned, I woke up this morning around 7:10 am, so I could get a run in before going to work. I was a bit hesitant about running in the dark, but much to my surprise, there was some light out (I couldn’t tell because from my window I can only see the pisos across the street unless I stand right by the window and look up, which I didn’t do). Shortly after beginning the run, the sun started coming up, so I was pleased. The temperature was perfect (upper 50s) and the morning air was still and serene. The only bummer is that I could only run for 45 min. because I had to get back and shower before metro-ing to work. To make up for such a short run this morning, I decided to go out for a walk this afternoon. I ended up walking over 3 miles! It was really relaxing! I could get used to this walking business. For the past week or so, I’ve been doing cool down walks and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

Today, my most favorite Spaniard and second most favorite person in the world, Antonio, is coming back to Spain after being on vacation, so I won’t blog again until he leaves Madrid. I like spending every min. I can with him. Gotta keep my priorities in order, right? :) I’ve been saving my “off” day for tomorrow so I don’t have to worry about doing anything but going to work and having fun with Antonio! I’ve run 9 days in a row! My legs are little peeved with me, but they’ll get over it.

Anyway! Here are some pictures I took this afternoon on my walk:

A Vespa on Paseo de la Castellana

An old wax (or plastic) man in a store window on Paseo de la Castellana. This is the guy that startled me the other day. ha.

Random "El Pueblo de Madrid" statue on Paseo de la Castellana.

I love fountains!

Distance: 5 miles + 3.26 mile cool down walk

Time: 45:16

Pace: 9’03”

Calories: 563 + 268

Weather: Very cool and serene this morning and warm this afternoon. Like yesterday, though, the shade helped cool down the walk this afternoon.

Terrain: 5 hills

After the run: I felt happy to have at least finished 5 miles before I had to go in and get ready for work.

Sunny Rundays…

After an amazing first day at my new job, I came home and ate leftover garlic chicken and potatoes for lunch! It was awesome. I didn’t get my run in this morning, so after my lunch digested a bit, I hit the road running! I was initially planning on running this evening, but I get really impatient when it comes to running and, while I enjoy the thought of running and even doing it, I really enjoy getting it over with. I definitely prefer morning running, but it wasn’t too bad out this afternoon. It was about 83 degrees and I was able to find respite in the shade provided by the tall buildings! After running 7 miles, I decided to come back to my piso and grab my camera, so I could take pictures of the park I run in while I did my cool down walk. I typically walk between 0.5 and 1 mile, but today I walked 2.50! I had no idea I was walking for so long.

Here are the pics I took during the cool down walk.

Fanta Zero on my cool down walk!

Principe de Vergara!

The park I run in!

I love sitting on the benches in the park in front of the fountain!

Loving this tree! Feels like fall (still!) :)

I forgot I would have an audience this afternoon! I run right beside these outdoor cafes and people like to stare as I run by.

Tonight, I ate toasts for dinner. Three of them had olive oil and jamón on them and three of them had light cream cheese and salmon. In the middle of the plate are some red peppers, onions, and tuna. And all of that was washed down with a Fanta Zero Limón.


I titled this post “Sunny Rundays,” because I think I’ll be running in the afternoon sun most days. In the morning, however, I’m hoping to get up before the sun and get in a 45 min. run. When I get home from work, I’ll take another long walk. That’s it for this post!

Distance: 7 miles + 2.50 mile cool down walk

Time: 1:01:47

Pace: 8’49”

Calories: 789 +282

Weather: Warm and sunny!

Terrain: 5 medium sized hills and one “big” hill

After the run: I felt really hot, but glad to have gotten the dreaded afternoon, sunny run over. I was excited about the cool down walk.

Running Retiro

Wow! What an amazing run I had this morning! First of all, I slept in until 9:50 am. That was glorious! I was debating whether or not I should throw on my running clothes and hit the road or wait and run later in the evening. Because the weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and really cool, I decided to just go ahead and do it. I followed the running route I had planned for yesterday morning without any problems. I am amazed at how quickly I could run from my apartment to Retiro. Princípe de Vergara isn’t nearly as long as I thought it was. When I arrived at the park, I had only run 1.5 miles.

In the 10 months that I’ve been in Madrid, I’ve never once gone running in Retiro mostly because I thought it was too far away from my piso and that it’d be silly to take the metro there just to run. Had I known I could get there so quickly on foot, I would’ve been running there this entire time. The atmosphere was amazing! I don’t know if every day is like it was today, but there were SO many runners out running. It was so incredibly motivating. I think I spent the first two miles in the park smiling! When I got to the really massive hill that runs through Retiro, the smile sort of went away, but I was pleased that my pace didn’t go over 9:03.

The estanque in Retiro! I love rowing those boats!

After the very pleasant run, I popped into the chino store and got a Bon Bon and a diet coke. Unfortunately, when I was trying to make sure my cell phone was securely placed in the pocket of my shorts, the can of diet coke fell to the ground, busted, and started spraying me! A couple of people watched and one man laughed with me. After getting the second diet coke, I walked to my colegio. Google Maps says it takes 30 min. to get there, but I made it in 24, stop lights included. The pavement seems fine for my rollerblades, so when I’m skating to school, I should arrive in way less than 24 min. The only bummer is that when I’m skating home, I’l have to skate up fairly lengthy hill. It’ll probably be a pain the first couple of days, but I suppose I’ll get used to it.

For dinner tonight, I made a recipe Antonio taught me a week ago today, “pollo al ajillo.” Basically it’s a garlic chicken. When Antonio and I made the chicken last Sunday, we ate homemade french fries with it, but this evening I cut the potatoes into little squares and cooked them with some red and green bell peppers. I did use olive oil to semi-fry the potatoes, but they were by no means drenched in oil like we do when we make french fries. Is there a term for “semi-frying” potatoes? Ha. I know very little about cooking. Obviously.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: chicken breasts cut into little squares, olive oil, garlic, white wine, laurel leaves, pepper, and nutmeg.

Preparation: put all of that into a big pot on the stove. Before adding the wine, nutmeg, and laurel leaves, wait until the chicken has been cooking for some 10 to 15 min.

Pollo al ajillo

Potatoes with peppers!

I forgot I had taken my spices to my new apartment, so I had to go without the nutmeg and I added almonds to the mix tonight. I think I did a good job, especially considering it was my first time cooking it alone! Also, I intended to only eat half of the bread. I shouldn’t have put it on the plate because I ate it all! oops! Tomorrow night, I’ll have leftovers for dinner! score! (slash, in case you’re wondering what’s on  the fork in the picture below… It’s spicy mustard. Definitely not my thing, so I didn’t eat it with the meal.)

I consider it a success!

Dinner was great tonight and for dessert I would love to have eaten birthday cake with my dad and family to celebrate my dad’s  birthday! Today, he turned the big 5-O!  At least we got some celebrating in before I came back to Spain!

The cake I bought for my dad in August!

Tomorrow morning, I start my teaching job! I have to be at work at 9 am, so I’m not sure when I’ll go running. I think Ill wait until the evening because I’m not sure I’m comfortable running in the dark here and I’d have to run in  the dark if I get up at 7 am. If it’s entirely too hot tomorrow evening, then I might have to make myself run early anyway and just carry mace with me! :)  Seriously, though, I hope there are lots of early morning runners in Retiro. If there are, I will feel safer running in the dark!

That’s it for this post!

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 1:02:06

Pace: 8’52”

Calories: 739

Weather: sunny and cool

Terrain: mostly flat and one massive hill

After the run: I felt excited to be living near such a wonderful park this year! I can’t wait to move into my new place!

A Winter-y Run

Before going to bed last night, I planned out an awesome new route for this morning’s run. I had planned on running from my apartment to Retiro (Madrid’s most famous park). Once arriving at Retiro, I would stop at a local chino store (basically a super cheap convenient store that is run by a Chinese family) and buy a bon bon and a diet coke for 1 euro and then I’d walk to my new colegio (elementary school). I’ll be living near said chino store as soon as the internet man comes and installs internet in my piso (apartment). According to Google Maps, it should take me some 30 min. to walk to the colegio. Who wants to walk 30 min. there and 30 min. back? Not me. Which is why I bought… rollerblades! I need to make sure the pavement and the sidewalks on my route are okay before I strap on the blades and wheel to school.

I woke up this morning and while I was walking down the stairwell, I could smell rain! It rained a lot last night, but fortunately on my run this morning it only sprinkled a little. I was tempted to go back in once I realized the rain coud be a threat, but I decided to run anyway since I had woken up early on a Saturday.

Getting from my current piso to the park is pretty much a straight shot, but because I (do not) have a crazy awesome sense of direction, I managed to get off the main road and ended up running towards what looked like a “bad” part of the city. Long story short, I didn’t quite follow my planned route AT ALL, but I did see some new things. I really enjoyed my cool down walk. I listened to the Home Alone soundtrack! The music coupled with the cloudy, really chilly weather really made me crave some Christmas! :) (If you know me, you’re probably wondering when am I not craving Christmas.)

Before finishing the cool down walk, I went into an American food store, Taste of America, to see how much Quaker Oats cost. I knew the prices were high here, but I suppose I had forgotten just how high they are. Here’s a list I made on my iPod touch while browsing the items:

Regular sized box of Lucky Charms- 8,95 euros = $12.71

1 box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal (packets)- 8,00 euros= $11.36

1 box of Pop-Tarts- 5,50 euros= $7.81

1 can of frosting- 4,30 euros= $6.10

1 reg. sized jar of peanut butter- 4,50 euros=$6.39

The price of the cereal just blows me away! Some of the items weren’t so so expensive and I plan to go back and buy some of these:

1 round container of Quaker Oats (13 servings)- 5,55 euros= $7.88

Canned pumpkin- 2.85 euros= $4.05

I’m willing to pay $7.88 for oats because since being back in Madrid, I’ve eaten my instant oatmeal for dinner almost every night and I’m almost out. I’m excited to start mixing stuff into my oats! First thing to try is peanut butter and I’ll go from there. It’s off to bed with me. I still haven’t decided what I’ll do in the morning in terms of running. It’s supposed to be 63 degrees out at 10 am, so I might sleep in a bit since I’ll be starting work on Monday and sleeping in won’t happen that often.

Distance: 7 miles + 1.10 mile cool down walk

Time: 1:02:17

Pace: 8’53”

Calories: 789

Weather: Cloudy and cool with an occasional drizzle. I was cold during my cool down walk! It was awesome because the heat gets old from time-to-time and it made me feel like we were somewhat in the winter season.

Terrain: a few hills and another slight upward hill. I have walked a million times on this particular “hill,” but didn’t notice it’s hill-like qualities until I was running it today.

After the run: I felt cold on the outside, but warm and toasty on the inside (I love Christmas!).

Running in the City

I ran my first 5k during crew try outs  back in the fall of 2006. I think I cried when Sydney Adair, hiding behind a bush and keeping an eye on those trying out for the team, yelled at me when she saw me walking. Ah! So much has changed since then! My last two years of undergrad, I really enjoyed running 5Ks on my favorite alma mater’s beautiful campus. It was great breathing in the fresh air, taking in the beautiful scenery, and dodging deer and their poop! Running through nature is nice and so is running through cities! This morning on my run, I got to thinking about the pros and cons of city running!

Nature running:

Fall 2009, Berry College Mountain Campus

October 2009, Berry College Mtn. Campus

City Running:

Ave. de la Constitución in Sevilla, July 2010

Center of Madrid, spring 2011

Pros of City Running:

1. In big cities like Madrid and Sevilla there are several parks you can run in. I like to start my runs here in Madrid in a small park near my apartment and then during the second half of the run, I pound out the miles on the city’s streets! You get the best of both worlds, nature and city!

2. There are typically lots of other people out exercising, especially in the mornings. I love passing by other runners while I’m out running. Last week, I also really enjoyed seeing the bikers and rollerbladers going at it in Parque María Luisa in Sevilla. Seeing others exercise motivates me.

3. There are lots of windows! Yes. I am vain. I like to look at myself (especially my legs) when I pass a window. Don’t worry, so do the business women who are all dressed up for work! ha.

4. With windows come window displays! I enjoy looking at stores’ window displays as I run by. The other day, I was startled by a an old man made of wax sitting in a chair by the window. I’m going to try and snap a picture of him before I move out of the area and/or before he is moved out of the window.

5. Pedestrian crossings and their respective crosswalk lights! Okay. I’m not going to lie. I sometimes really enjoy when the little man turns red and I have to stop so I don’t get hit by cars and die. Real reason= it’s great stopping to catch my breath! I’ll also admit that I’m more often than not really tempted to stop when the crosswalk man hovering over a one lane road is red and it’s more than crystal clear that no cars are coming! Most days, I’m not ridiculous and I cross the road when I know for sure that no cars are coming, but there have been a couple of times when I did stop. I’m sure people thought I was weird, but, eh, they weren’t out running 7 miles.

6. The scenery! I absolutely adore Spanish architecture, so running in between the beautiful buildings is very wonderful! Also, the tall buildings provide lots of shade when the sun is up and shining.

Cons of City Running:

1. Sometimes it’s annoying when you have to play “dodge people” with fellow pedestrians. Some people are slow. Some people hover to get out of your way, but really hover and get just right in your way. There was  one time back in May (I believe) that I actually ran into a woman. We were both looking at each other and I suppose both of us assumed the other would move. Wrong-o!

2. Hills! Ha. I suppose this could be a plus too because hills help strengthen your legs, but most days I’m not too thrilled about having to tackle some of the hills that are in my running route. There’s one that is just slightly up hill and more than just slightly annoying.

I can’t really think of anymore cons at the moment.

All in all, I think I prefer city running to nature running, but I most definitely enjoy them both. That’s it for this one!

Distance: 7.00 miles + 0.62 cool down walk

Time (of run): 1:02:58

Pace: 8’59”

Calories: 789

Weather: I was out and running at 7:30 am, so the sun wasn’t up for the first 30 min. and the second part of the run, the sun was hidden behind the clouds. Nice and cool out!

Terrain: 5 hills and the more than just slightly annoying hill

After the run: I had to make sure I was back at my piso in time to shower and make it to my teaching orientation on time, so I felt rushed. I was also a little bummed that I had forgotten to add the Home Alone soundtrack to my playlists and that I couldn’t do a full 1 mile cool down walk.

About My New Blog!

Welcome to my new blog, guys!

When I was at home for 3 weeks over the summer, I became addicted to reading running/health blogs. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about people’s experiences with healthy living (i.e., eating well and exercising)! The first blog I stumbled across belongs to a hardcore/seemingly fun woman who lives in NYC and lost a lot of weight by living the Weight Watchers lifestyle. She has a super cute bike and helmet and blogs about her experiences with trying to live healthily. A couple of days after discovering the NYC biker’s blog, I came across a running blog written by a friend I met in Sevilla back in 2009. Through her blog, I came across some of the most popular running blogs and since then I’ve tried to keep up with them daily. I enjoy reading the blogs for a couple of reasons. First of all I enjoy them because they motivate me. I think to myself, if these girls can do it, so can I! And, secondly, even though we don’t know each other at all, I can relate to some of their experiences. For example, a couple of the blog writers are addicted to candy and claim they run so they can eat unhealthy foods. Finally someone understands me! It’s much better to run and then eat a cupcake than not run and still eat the cupcake. :) Right?!

I’m starting up this blog for a few reasons. One reason is that the blog can serve as a great place to keep track of my mileage. Secondly, I’m currently considering training for the Madrid half-marathon that will take place in spring 2012 and if I do decide to train, I can write about my experiences here. Because I typically run 7 miles a day, I feel like running a half-marathon in the spring is a very feasible goal. I just have to slowly increase my mileage. I’m thinking the blog could also help me stay motivated to eating healthily. Here in Madrid, I typically eat cereal, yogurt, from time-to-time a sandwich, and fruit. I think I’m lacking in some areas.  I need to be eating lean protein and definitely vegetables. Also in regards to eating, Antonio teaches me how to cook! Here I can share the recipes with you and share with you my experiences in the kitchen. Perhaps the thrill of sharing will motivate me to cook more. The last reason for starting the blog deals with the Thoreau quote at the top of the page. When I’m out running, I do a lot of thinking! Most of the time, I enjoy this! I do a lot of planning and I’ve been known to take notes on my iPod touch so I won’t forget my thoughts! I also have a lot of really random thoughts and it could be fun to share them. For example, this morning for the life of me I couldn’t remember where the running of the bulls takes place. Finally “Pamplona” came to me. (Okay that thought isn’t that fun, but it was random). Another thought was that I’m so excited about teaching my Spanish kids about how we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in the U.S. I think a lot of my ideas for fun English learning activities will be birthed on my early morning runs.

I’ll try and keep my ramblings here to a minimum. Those of you who read my Spain blog know that I’m a detailed person and that I like and tend to share almost every detail. Fortunately for you, I don’t think there will be that much I can say about running. Also, I’m still trying to figure out wordpress, but hopefully soon the blog will look a little better.

As of now, I’m thinking in each post, I’ll give you the info logged in my Nike+ history on my iPod, perhaps how the weather was (so I can remember my precious running days in Spain), the terrain of the run, and how I felt after the run. We’ll start with today!

Distance: 8.00 miles + a 1 mile cool down walk

Time: 1:13:12

Pace: 9’08”

Calories: 902

Weather: Brightly shining sun and gently blowing breeze! Perfect weather!

Terrain: 5 hills

After the run: I felt strong for having run 8 miles and was excited about doing a cool down walk.