Thursday, December 30, 2010

Always a Benanna Moves

Hey everyone -

I've decided to move my blog over to wordpress.  You can now check out everything at

Make sure you change your feeds/links/blog rolls to the wordpress site to catch all the updates.  Postings will probably appear on both sides for a brief period of time, but not more than a week. 

Overall, a good end to 2010

Today is my Friday! Our office usually gives us two days off for Christmas, but since the holiday fell over the weekend, they gave us one day for Christmas, and one day for New Year's Eve.  So today was my Friday.  YAY!

I've had two particularly good runs this week.  So after each I've taken some time to reflect what made these runs better than the others.

1. My goals

I tend to set some pretty terrible goals for myself, runningwise.  For example, I'll head to the gym after not running for a couple of days and say "oh I'm gonna run for 40 minutes non-stop"  or "I'm gonna run 5 miles today non-stop."  For me, the first mile is always the toughest, both mentally and physically.  But once I get through that first mile, I'm ok.  However, when I'm still in the first mile, I start thinking "omg, I can't do this for 4.5 more miles," and I doubt myself, making it harder to keep going.

However, the past two runs I've set realistic goals for myself.  Tuesday morning I got up and ran before work.  Because time was tight, I set the timing and 25 minutes and just had myself go.  No promises to run non-stop.  Once I was about .75 miles in, I evaluated how things were going and saw that 2 miles was a realistic option for me.  I ended up running the whole time without stopping.  However, if I needed to, I was prepared to stop and walk.

Today when I ran, I updated my pace a bit from Tuesday.  Because I upped the pace, I told myself that if I needed a short one or two minute walking break between miles, that was fine.  And that is what I did.
  • .75 miles - moderate pace
  • .25 miles - fast pace
  • 1 minute 20 seconds - brisk walk
  • .75 miles - moderate pace
  • .25 miles - fast pace
  • 1 minute  30 seconds - brisk walk
  • 2 minutes - moderate walk
Not putting so much pressure on myself really helped me to keep going.
not actually my feet - source


Breathing when you are running is different that how you breath the rest of the day.  At least it is for me.  When I don't focus on my breathing, I seem to take in a lot of quick, short, shallow breaths.  As a result, I never really feel like I have the oxygen and energy to continue.  However, this week I've really focused on concentrating on breathing.  For me, its four counts in, six counts out.  Is it normal for my exhale to be longer than my inhale?  For some reason I thought they were supposed to be the same length, but that hasn't worked for me yet.  This 4/6 count seems to work the best for me right now.  I also think focusing on my breathing and running, and not the numbers on the treadmill screen in front of me, has  helped a lot.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Five goals for 2011

2011.  Its a big year.  I'll be a quarter century years old.  I'll change last names.  And as expected, I'm working on a list of goals for 2011.  Here is what I have so far. 

1. Maintain a workout regimen: get at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week.  Since most of my exercise tends to be on the active opposed to moderate style, that puts me above what the government recommends for a healthy lifestyle
2. Cook more: Cook at least one new meal per week, and to have a dinner that does not focus around pasta at least 2 other days of the week. I can not eat pasta forever.  Ok, I probably can, but it wouldn't be a good idea.  Maybe I'll find a cook book to cook my way through (a la Julie and Julia!)

3.  Get married with as little stress as possible:  I try and make my goals measurable and concrete.  Not sure stress level is really measurable.  But I think this is an important one. I will do as much planning and organizing up to the wedding as possible to make things move smoothly during the weekend's festivities.  Any idea how I can make this goal more measurble?

4. Blog Blog Blog: Keep on blogging.  Every day isn't realistic right now for me.  But I will find a schedule that works for me and stick to it. 

5. Excel at work: Again, I don't get too specific about work things on here, so lets just leave this here and ya'll can trust me that I have a plan.  Cool?

Are you developing a list of goals for 2011?  What goals have you set for yourself?  Any ideas how I can make my stress free wedding goal measurable?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Four Days in October

Last night, Ben and I watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 movie Four Days in October. 

The movie is about games 4,5,6 and 7 of the Red Sox/Yankee ALCS Championship game.  The movie skips games 1-3 (because they sucked), and focused on the amazing comeback of the Boston Red Sox. 

It was fantastic.  Maybe it was the nostalgia in me.  Maybe it was my love for all-things-Boston (especially the Sox!).  But I loved every second of the movie.  I found myself sitting there going, “omg I forgot about that part!” or “I remember that – it was awesome!” throughout the whole movie. 

Especially at the end when they showed the streets surrounding Fenway Park after game 7.  Not gonna lie – I put the TV on pause and tried to find myself in the crowd. 

If you were in Boston during October of 2008, I highly recommend you watch this film, if only for the memories!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 5 stories of 2010

As its the end of the year, it's time to recap 2010. 

1. The Engagement
Sure, the actual engagement happened in 2009.  But waking up engagement on January 1st and having my family coming into town was pretty exciting.  Plus, planning this wedding was one of the biggest topics of 2010, and it all began with the engagement. 

2. Ben and I move in together
Shortly after the engagement, Ben and I moved in to our apartment just outside of D.C.  Living together has been exciting and we've learned so much more about each other during the past year.  I absolutely adore our apartment, and we were both devistated when we thought we were going to have to move this January (don't worry, we aren't moving). 

3. Securing a wedding location
After tons and tons of research, we finally narrowed our wedding location to three places.  Each different but awesome in their own way.  But when another couple wanted one of our location, we were given less than 24 hours to stake our claim.  After lots of analysis, talking and tears, we decided to take Hibernian Hall.

4. Haddis' passing
 The death of Haddis was both shocking and sad.  Ben lost his best friend and a groomsman in our wedding.  I'll never forget when Ben recieved that phone call.  Some days, it doesn't seem real. 

5. Running a 10K
When we all decided to run a 10K, I wasn't sure we were actually going to follow through with the plan.  But somehow, we did.  Despite getting lost, running a mile warmup, and being 10 minutes late, it was an amazing experience.  It has inspired me to keep on running.  Bring on Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon 2012!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blizzard False Alarm

Well, I wasn't totally sure that I was going to make it back to D.C.  They predicted a huge snow storm to hit the east coast.  Well, it hit some of the east coast, but it didn't cause nearly the hassle predicted. 

Both my mom and my sister were very concerned about the drive back to D.C.  Like didn't want me to go concerned.  They spent a good portion of Christmas night trying to talk me into staying.  While staying would have resulted in me working from home on Monday (while my mom makes me breakfast and lunch), it also would have meant a long train ride and not getting back to D.C. until like 11:00 on Monday night.  Not ideal.

So the kid I was carpooling with and I left at 9:00 in the morning and we were prepared for the worst.  For the first hour, as we drove to Philly, we had some moderate snow.  Visibility was fine, but the snow was definitely falling around us.  From the moment we entered Pennsylvania until the moment we entered D.C., we didn't see a single snowflake.  And once we got to D.C., it was extremely light flurries. 

After arriving home, Ben and I made wings (hot wings for him, honey bbq for me) and put away all our Christmas presents. I'm just sad there is no Eagles game to end the night!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at home

Nobody decorates for Christmas quite like a mom.  Its no nice to be home and see the house decorated for the holidays.

Our Christmas tree.  Totally in the wrong room of the house.  It's been in our family room forever, but recently my mom decided to move it into the dining room

Ever since I was in the Nutcracker when I was in the 2nd grade, my mom has collected nutcrackers.  We used to have enough ornaments to fill a second tree.  One of the books in this display has my entire cast's signature.  

Remember when I told you my mom had every piece of the Lenox Holly china.  To show I'm not exagerated, above is a picture of not one, but three small lamps that are part of the Holly china collection.  See, the collection expands beyond plates and dishes.  We also have a lovely china nativity collection.  When I was little I was afraid to go even NEAR this nativity set for fear that I would break a piece.

Cute little mini-town

I guess Ben should be lucky that I only decorated our apartment a little bit, and didn't turn the whole thing into a Christmas wonderland :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'll be home for the holidays

Well, my day started here:


and ended here:

and now I can work on a computer that lets me update with photos!  I'm exhausted now, but look for more posts throughout the weekend!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

T-3 Days

Christmas is just 3 days away! I'm so excited!  Things have been super super busy, so I am very ready to head home for the holidays.  Just one more day of work and then off to my parents I go!

Well, I've been an epic fail regarding the Yoga 31 Day Challenge.  With the craziness that is December, I totally fell off the bandwagon.  I've done a handful of yoga classes, but I can't really say I've been really good about following it.  But at least I've been thinking about doing yoga?

I have however, started to work the elliptical into my workout routine.  I haven't done the elliptical in forever.  In college, I could just jump on to the elliptical and go for hours.  But give me a treadmill and I would practically cry my way through a mile (little did I know that after the first mile, it gets better).  The first time I jumped back on the elliptical, I thought, "well that blew!"  So I've decied to start weaving it the elliptical back in with running. 

Speaking of... off to the gym and then to pack for my trip back home!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays!

What a weekend.

Thursday night was the office Holiday party at Panache in the Golden Triangle.  The company rented out the whole restaurant and we had apps and cocktails.  It was a lot of fun to be able to mingle and meet everyone's significant others. 

Friday night we went to Shiro, a Japanese habichi steakhouse, with Tal and Geoff.  The place had amazing fried rice.  I went with Chicken Teriyaki and Ben had Filet Mignon - both were excellent choices.  Afterwards Tal and Geoff came back to our place to hang for a bit.

Since we are spending Christmas with our respective families, Saturday night we made a special steak "Christmas dinner."  Then this morning we woke up early and opened the presents under the Christmas tree.  Both of our parents were nice enough to mail us some presents to have under our Christmas tree.  Mrs. B got us a pasta maker and a bunch of Le Creuset cast iron cookware.  My mom got us some fancy tea cups, lots of tea and an indoor golf putting range that spits the ball back out at you. 

I'm working on my computer, which is holding on by a thread and not letting me upload pictures to the blog (its barely registering all the letters that I type....).  Hopefully pictures can be put up later. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today's regularly scheduled program....

Today's scheduled yoga workout video review has been interrupted due to ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas and Home Alone 2.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Cookies

It's December.  While I adore making cupcakes (and I think this month's open-ended Mystery Cupcake Challenge sounds like a great idea), to me, Christmastime means cookies.

So, now I just have to decide what cookies I want to make. 
  • I know I definitely want to make some sugar cookies.  Last year, I got some great cookie cutters in Christmas shapes for Christmas.  I think some sugar cookie trees and angels sound delightful. 
  • I'm also thinking about making some thumbprint jam cookies.  Cookie+strawberry jam = wonderfulness that is totally worth the calories.
  • Peanut butter cookies.  This comes from the girl who keeps a jar of peanut butter at her desk and snacks on it by the spoonful.  Are you really surprised?
  • White chocolate cranberry.  I absolutely love these cookies, but I can only make them during the holidays.
What are your favorite holiday cookies?  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yoga Challenge

So, I kinda fell off the yoga band waggon.

"But Anna, it's only December 5th.  How have you fallen off already?"

 Well, December 2nd was the day we get to get our Christmas tree.  We left right after work, and by the time we got home, I was ready for bed.

December 3rd...I forget what happened.

On December 4th, I had the pleasure of babysitting Parker.  Babysitting was from 3:45 until about 10:45 (including travel time), and then Ben and I decorated said Christmas tree until after midnight.  While I know about said evening plans, I forgot to schedule in yoga during the first part of my day.

But, today is December 5th, and I am back on yoga!  Today, I decided to try  I downloaded a few different free videos to try.  Today, I did the Yoga for Weight Loss #1 - Beginner.  I probably could have down an intermediate level class, but I always seem to start with beginner.

Overall, I liked this class.  While still a beginner class, I feel like I got a better workout than with the "21 Day Yoga" video I tried out on Dec. 1.  If there was a day that I needed a lighter workout, I would definitely do the Yoga for Weight Loss #1 again.  Today I did a quick run (a little over a mile at a faster pace than normal), so pairing this yoga routine with the run was perfect.

I also downloaded Yoga for Weight Loss #2, so I'll have to let you know how that one goes.

Have you used  What videos from there have you found to be great workouts?  Have you tried yoga routines from other sites that you think I should try?

Christmas Time!

Thursday night, Ben and I headed out to get what was to become my very first real Christmas tree!

Growing up, my family always had a fake tree.  So I'm super excited to have my very own, real Christmas tree!

Picking out the tree!

Me with the tree hanging out of Ben's jeep
Our tree!

Well, we weren't able to actually decorate the apartment until tonight.   So first we set everything out to prep tree decorating.

While watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, we put the lights, beads and ornaments on the tree.  The lights are mostly white (warm white LED lights - we had to go to two different Targets to get enough) with a bit of red scattered around the tree.  Then we put the red beads draped around the tree with silver and red balls, clear and silver icicles, and silver snowflakes.  And of course, a red star at the top!

 We also decorated the rest of the apartment.

Christmas pillows for the couch

Vase with silver beads and sparkly flowers


Thursday, December 2, 2010

31 Day Yoga Challenge

After talking to Jane last night, I decided to partake in the 31 Day Yoga Challenge (also seen here). 

Basically, the challenge is to do at least 20 minutes of "structured" yoga each and every day. 

I was hesitant at first, as I'm pretty positive I won't be able to do yoga EVERY single day during December.  However, I'll  decided I'll be happy if I can set aside time for 75% of the month (23 days) for some daily zen.  75% is better than never getting in the game, right? 

Since my December won't really jive with me taking part in any time of formal class, most of my yoga sessions will be through videos from On Demand or downloaded from the Internet.  I figure I'd also provide a review of the videos as I try new ones throughout the month.  

So last night, while Ben was watching the Duke game, off I went to our bedroom to start the challenge.  I went to the On Demand section of Verizon FiOS and chose the 21 Day Yoga Workout (similar to this).  The workout ran 21 minutes long (just over the 20 minute requirement!).

This yoga workout is very low-impact and I felt like it focused more on stretching than building muscles.  It is a pretty good video for a beginner.  While it may have been a short 21 minute video, I was expecting it to be high impact workout.  Instead, I barely broke a sweat! 

Would I do this workout again?  Possibly if:
  • I'm doing it the day after a long run and I'm sore so I need to get a good stretch in
  • Or I'm using it as a cool down session after a more intense arm/weight workout

Are you a yoga fan? Are you doing the 31 day yoga challenge?  What yoga resources do you follow when you can't get to a studio?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Goals!

Let's hope that I do better with December's goals than I did with November's...

December Goals:
Get a real Christmas tree and decorate it and the apartment for the holiday season!
  Make at least one batch of Christmas cookies!
Run at least 20 miles throughout the month (including this short week, that’s just 4 miles a week)
Do at least one hour of yoga each week.  Whether its once a week for an hour or six 10-minute sessions, it doesn’t matter.
Pack a real lunch at least 3 days per week (throwing a granola bar in my purse and calling that and a bag of chips “lunch” doesn’t count)
Create a training plan for the upcoming March 8K
Confirm all the loose ends on wedding planning
Plan the honeymoon
Schedule engagement photos

Here's to December!

Thank You

Thank you to everyone for your comments, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls.  Ben and I truly appreciate your kind words, thoughts and prayers during this time.