Dedicated Run

Tues, Feb 28
Ran 35 min in the fitness center at Babson College

So right before my run this morning I learned that a second student died from the school shooting that happened yesterday at Chardon high school. I decided to dedicate my run and prayer to the students and families in Chardon affected by this awful tragedy. The school is very close to JCU and we have students that are from that school enrolled at Carroll. It feels weird that I’m out of town during all of this. I would rather experience this in my community and most of all with my family near me. Jus so sad and a waste of young lives. Yes, we indeed need a Savior.

Long Run – check!

Sun, Feb 26
Ran 6 miles on the treadmill at Life Center
Time: 1:06:00

Well, I wimped out and ran inside today. But I did get my long run in this weekend so that is definitely a win!! I couldn’t do my normal run in the morning because I had a late night on Friday so I had to get it in today. I had thoughts of running outside this morning – it was nice and sunny, but a little chilly for my taste.

So I took Zach with me to Life Center – he climbed the rock wall and I got my run in. It was really tough. I ran the first 2 miles at 5.7 and then had to bring it down to 5.3 for the duration of the run. I’m definitely finding it harder to be motivated during this training cycle. To tell you the truth I’d rather just run like 3-4 times a week about 5 miles and really concentrate on yoga. However, I committed to the May 1/2 marathon so I will do it.

This week will be interesting because I will be traveling Monday – Wednesday. I’m bringing my kicks so I’m planning to get a couple runs in, however! Just no yoga until Thursday – boo!

Chopped: JCU Style!

Friday night I participated in a Late Night event at Carroll called “Chopped”. I was on the student affairs team winning team with two other colleagues. Here is a pic of us at the end of the night. Did I mention that we were there cooking until 2am??!!

We had SUCH a fun time!!! Since I blogged before about the “Ramsey edition” it seemed fitting that I share the JCU Chopped experience too. Here is how it worked:

There were four teams:
1. My team of student affairs (we were handicapped by the way because everyone else had 4 people)
2. The SUPB team (programming board of students)
3. The CALA team (students in the Culinary Arts Learning Association student org)
4. A team of students picked from the audience at random.

There were 3 rounds:
1. Appetizer – 20 minutes
2. Main Dish – 40 minutes
3. Dessert – 20 minutes

After each round one team was eliminated. There were four judges, one of which was a local chef from a local area restaurant. The evening started out by a cooking demo by the local chef. While this was going on the teams were able to plan and make a strategy for the dishes. We only were told that the secret ingredient for the appetizer for gnocchi. We would be told the other secret ingredients right before that particular round, if we made it that far. We could use any of the food on the display table and we were told what proteins were available. We were each assigned a cooking area in the JCU kitchen. My team and I first decided that we would make a gnocchi soup for the appetizer. We then came up with a couple options for both the main and the dessert so we could easily switch if the secret ingredient didn’t work with our first choice. Our options for the main dish were: a version and chicken cordon bleu with a twice baked potato or a veggie stir-fry with either chix or ground beef. For dessert we decided on chocolate pudding using bananas somehow. That one was a little less flushed out.

We began and put our soup together pretty quickly. We made up some chicken stock with some paste they gave us. We cut up carrots, onions and celery and threw that in a pot of the stock. We mixed together some “soup” spices and added some cayenne pepper and a couple bay leaves. They provided us with a bag of frozen gnocchi so we added that towards the end coupled with some already cooked diced chicken. We kept tasting it to make sure it had the right amount of salt, etc. It was yummy! We had it on the judges table right on time and they LOVED it!! We called it “Gnocchi Soup for You!” from the soup nazzi Seinfeld episode. We then served the rest to the students in the audience. Some came back for seconds and we heard comments like, “they should serve this in the dining hall!!!”. We sailed into the next round!

Oh, I should mention that I kept commenting on how fun this was to my teammates and they agreed. Another fun dimension of the evening was our host. One of the international student from the UK was our host and she was hilarious! She kept walking around and asking both the chefs and the audience members various questions. It made it really entertaining although I have to admit I was a little annoyed when I was deep into my cooking mode. I did find myself yelling “time, what is the time?!!!” a few times – a little bit stressful, but totally fun at the same time.

We found out that the secret ingredient for the main was portabella mushrooms and we thought this could easily fit into our first choice chicken dish. They provided already cooked chicken breasts so we layered portabella mushroom, bacon, romano cheese and a little parsely on top of each breast and got it crispy. We had to punt on the potato. We originally thought we would do twice baked – cook them in the microwave and then do the second round of cooking in the oven. No microwave. So we just decided to bake them. It was a convection oven so I knew it would be faster than a traditional oven, but I had never used one so I wasn’t exactly sure how long they would take. We rolled then in oil and kosher salt, turned the over to like 450 and hoped for the best! Meanwhile we made a topping for the potato of yogurt, chives, and portabella mushrooms topped with some crispy bacon. We got the entree, “Chicks in Blankets” to the judges right on time once again! They liked it, but said the chicken was a little dry. The potatoes were not completely done (close), but the bites they tasted must have been okay because they liked them! We sailed through to the finals!!

On to the dessert round! Our secret ingredient was strawberries…easy, peasy! I started making the pudding with milk and whole lot of chocolate chips over a makeshift double boiler. My team was cutting up strawberries and making our banana balls…mashed up bananas with a little bit of sugar and graham cracker crumbs rolled into balls and then rolled in chopped peanuts. As I was making the pudding I started panicking because it was not getting very thick. My teammate suggested thickening it with cornstarch. Before thinking too much I dumped some in and it immediately started clumping into big chunks in the vat of chocolate goodness. Oh no! Just about then the professional chef come over and asked me what I was making. He confirmed that adding cornstarch wasn’t a good move. Yeah. So I tried removing the big chunks as best as I could. The host came over and asked me what I was making and I quickly responded with, “chocolate soup – it is French!” She loved that response and started going on about how it was so creative!!! My teammates were down for it so we made it work. Our masterpiece was “Chocolate Soup with Monkey Balls” and the judges LOVED it!

I have to admit – it was pretty tasty! Let’s just say it was tasty enough to win the whole kit and kaboodle!!! Now, it might have just been the cute name that won them over, but either way, we won and it felt good! What a fun night!!

Feeling better going out the door

Fri, Feb 24
Yoga at lunch

I am here to say that you should like what you do. I mean, you should enjoy whatever exercise you choose to do! I know this sounds elementary, but how many of us do things just because we think we should and we don’t even enjoy it! I am giving you permission to stop right now. And find something that you just love. I want you to feel better about yourself, your life and your body after the activity than before. Are you looking for suggestions?? I’ll give you just one since lots of people don’t want to try running………………YOGA! Just try it. Try it for a week and I GUARANTEE you will feel better after the class than before. What do you have to lose? You are worth it!!!!

Kickboxing Kicked My Butt!

So I decided to attend my first kickboxing class at Asian Sun last night while the boys were taking a tae kwon do lesson. It was rough. I should first tell you that the studio is very busy and the classes continue to start and stop quickly throughout the evening. So there is not a lot of transition time in between classes. First off, I had to get the large punching bag over from the side of the room to the middle. I had watched ladies do this and it looked easy (LOOKED easy). I soon realized that the big black base of it was pretty much immovable. I could not move it from ground zero to save my life. If this was my first test of being able to do this class, I fail miserably. I was told by the veteran “kick-boxers” that you have to knock it on its side and then roll it over to the middle. Yeah, right. Luckily, I was saved by another woman who agreed to share her bag with me – apparently there is two people to a bag. Okay, I’m set.

Right about then the music starts to pulse and I feel for a moment that I’m at a rave. Then I hear the instructor scream out to the group beginning instructions. “Get your gloves on!!” Gloves, uh, what gloves – I don’t have any gloves. My partner tells me “oh, yeah, you are definitely gonna need gloves” and suggest I borrow some from the front desk. I sprint from the rave to the front desk and borrow some gloves from the young and very tan, I might add, girls working the desk. (Did I mention the studio also has a few tanning bed?! It kinda reminds me of those mom and pop stores you see in the country…”guns, bait and cigarettes” except we have tae kwon do, kickboxing and tanning….hmmm). Thankfully I get the gloves on and carefully stow my rings in my wallet and join my partner as the class is beginning.

Right at the beginning I start to question my decision. We start with jumping jacks. Lots of jumping jacks. Now, let me be clear – I detest jumping jacks, but it is not for the reason you might think. I can handle the cardio workout that jumping jacks bring on, but what I can’t handle is the impact. Ever since I did that bootcamp class as my “cross-training” last spring I put jumping jacks in the “torture” category. I just find any jumping around activities that is NOT running to be too hard on my calves. And guess what? It turns out that kickboxing has lots of jumping around. Ugh. I gave it the old college try, for sure, but I really didn’t enjoy it that much. These people were intense and sorta crazy. They did sequences of like up to 24 and 30 roundhouse kicks in a row, but not slowly – quickly and jumping. Nope – just cannot do that. The instructor was a firecracker. She had about 1% body fat with a really short haircut and cute as a button and I would definitely want her on my team. She punched and kicked severely with major energy. Yowwza. The highlight of the class for me was the ab work and the pushups. Oh, yes, planks I can do!! It was a great low impact ab workout that I did give my all to.

Bottom line – kickboxing is not for me and I’m okay with that. I felt like I failed at first, but hey, I tried it and I can just put it in the “no thanks” column. But, if I ever decide to stop running someday, I might try again. Until then, just give me my yoga for cross-training so I can always feel good walking out the door afterwards and not like I just went to a rave.

Tae Kwon Do

So the latest on the Ramsey family activity front is Tae Kwon Do!

It all started when I got Zach a free 6-week trial at Asian Sun Martial Arts gym for his birthday. He started out a couple of weeks ago and loved it immediately!!

As we were watching Zach do his class I could tell Mike was intrigued by it too. It has some of the things that are appealing to Mike for working out: 1) it has equipment (see picture below), 2) it involves a structure that measures your progress (belt ranking) and 3) “you get to beat on something”.

I had to swear to keep my picture of Mike in his uniform on my camera, but I was allowed to share the equipment…

Plus the people there are really nice and they offer some other cool cardio classes, so we naturally pursued a family membership! Well, last night Mike I went to our orientation/intro session. My plan was to go to the kickboxing class at 6:30pm while the boys went to the TKD class, but I figured I would at least do the intro in case I ever wanted to try TKD myself. The intro was okay for me. I got a little confused with the various moves. But I have to admit it was fun to kick into the punching bag and yell as little “HUT!” as I kicked!! But then the boys and I parted ways and went to our separate classes.

Here are some pics of Zach’s first sparring experience…

I was in for an experience with this kickboxing class, but I’ll save that for another entry…

Ugli Fruit

Had a good one this time!! I bought an ugli fruit and really had no idea what it was all about. They were on sale at the grocery store, so I thought I’d try it since we hadn’t done “fruit frenzy” in such a long time. Here is what it looks like:

Here is some info about it: UGLI® is the registered trade mark under which Cabel Hall Citrus Ltd. markets its brand of tangelos from Jamaica. This tangelo is a variety of citrus fruit grown exclusively in Jamaica and exported by Trout Hall Ltd. to markets all over the world. It was discovered growing wild in Jamaica over 80 years ago and has been developed by the family of the owners of Trout Hall Ltd. into the commercial variety now in production. The original tree is believed to have been a hybrid formed from the Seville orange, the grapefruit and the tangerine families. Since 1924 when it was first discovered several improved scions have been used by Trout Hall Ltd. to produce the current variety which is so popular.

When buying the UGLI® brand of tangelos do not be misled by their appearance, you will love their sweet and tangy flavour. “The Affliction is only Skin Deep so the Beauty is in the Eating “™

UGLI® are easily peeled and may be eaten like a tangerine, or cut in half and eaten like a grapefruit. The pegs and juice may be used to make many sumptuous sweet and savory recipes.

The fresh flavour of UGLI® is delicious in many recipes, adding a subtle tang to both sweet and savoury combinations. Being easy to peel, with generous sized segments, the fruit lends itself to many dishes. It is exceedingly juicy, and has a flavour that does not need added sugar unless you have a very sweet tooth. The simplest way to serve UGLI®, is to cut them in half, loosen the segments, and eat with a spoon – this is a delicious breakfast dish. For lunch or dinner, try sprinkling with sherry or Kirsch, and serving as a first course, or offer UGLI® as a fruit course for dessert.

UGLI® are remarkably juicy, and squeeze easily for refreshing drinks. A glass of UGLI® juice makes a refreshing, flavourful change to fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit. The juice is delicious warmed as a hot toddy with rum, and sweetened with honey or brown sugar, or used to make ice creams and soufflés. Peel, slice away the pith and cut out the segments to use in a salad, as a cheesecake topping, or on its own as a dessert drizzled with sherry or Kirsch. The peel and juice together make marvelous marmalade.

UGLI® come in different sizes varying in diameter from 4 inches (10 cm.) to 6 inches (15 cm.) and many varieties of colour from green to greenish-yellow, to yellow, and some even orange! They are only harvested and sent to market after they have ripened on the tree, so what is found in the store is always ripe fruit even though the skin may be green. Inside, the flesh is always orange to deep orange, and although the early season fruit in December and January is slightly more tangy than the later season fruit, they are all sweet and juicy!According to what I read, the ugli fruit is a combination of a

Here is what they look like in the center.

The description was accurate – they were quite yummy!! I enjoyed it more than an orange. Zach gobbled it up too and said he had a new favorite fruit!! I guess I’ll be buying more ugli fruit – can’t judge a book by its cover or crazy name.

Twisted Sister

Thurs, Feb 23
Yoga at lunch

Today’s practice was most excellent. We didn’t do as much vinyasa flow, but we did lots of twists and balancing poses. It felt so good as always to stretch out. We also did a long lunge onto our forearms before we did half pigeon on each side and that made it feel so much better! I felt like I got deeper into the pose that way. I am amazed after every class how much better my entire body feels. We do shevasana at the end because it is a restorative pose. No wonder it feels so good! Yes, it feels relaxing, but also it feels like every cell of my body is relaxed, but yet energized at the same time. Namaste again and again!

Girls on the Run!!!

Wed, Feb 22
Ran OUTSIDE at lunch!!!
Time: 48:58; Distance; 4.5 miles

Okay, this run was so many kinds of awesome!!!! Where do I start? Well, first I went outside!!! Finally, after being on the treadmill all during Jan and most of Feb. I was really apprehensive about it getting ready in the locker room. I’m not sure why. I had gotten comfortable with my little routine with the treadmill that I somehow started thinking I won’t be able to run outside. Yes, I know. This makes absolutely no logical sense, but this is just how I roll. I felt the same way when I brought it in to start running on the treadmill a couple months ago after only running outside. I think it is just that I get comfortable with routine (don’t we all) and don’t really want to change (yep). But the ironic part is, sometimes that is the VERY thing we need most!!!

So the next awesome thing about today was my g-friends!! So we kinda have this running group that has cropped up! There are four of us (so far)- Angie (my GA), Mary Ann and Marilyn. We all do yoga together so we chat in the locker room all the time. One day a few weeks ago, Marilyn asked me if I’d like to go running with her sometime outside. I said I would love to, but it would just depend on the weather (such a wimp!!). We picked Wednesdays because it didn’t conflict with yoga or other scheduling stuff, but it just never worked out. Either I had something during lunch, we had a snowstorm, etc. Then last week the three of them ran together while I went to some lunch thing (yuck), but I promised I would go the next week. Cut to today and I went! It was supposed to rain, but it didn’t – it was a bit chilly when we started out, but it was so fun! It felt great getting out and getting away from the treadmill!! It was so fun running with a group too! We ran in pairs and it seemed to work really well. Mary Ann lives locally so she knows some really good routes. Plus running with a group lessons the chance that I’ll get lost! I actually enjoyed doing the hills that were throughout the run too…just not the same as an incline on the treadmill.

The last and final awesome thing about today was my so cool watch!! Whoo- hoo! I finally could use the GPS feature on it! I did not calibrate it yet, but I think it is actually closer than I originally thought. While it measured 4.65 miles, Mary Ann said it was a 4.5 mile route. Not too bad! Plus with the GPS feature on, my watch which syncs runs to, tracks the distance on a cool map feature that shows the elevations too. It is just way cool. My legs feel naturally tired tonight…a good tired. I will sleep good tonight for sure. Sweet dreams runner girls!!

Yes, I needed that!

Tues, Feb 21
Yoga at 6am!

So today I decided to go to yoga before work at the Yoga Lounge. I decided this for a couple of reasons: 1) I had a meeting scheduled right til 12noon and I wasn’t sure I would get out in time to go at lunch, and 2) i just wanted/needed a legit class. Now, I am not slamming my yoga at work. It is awesome – the teachers are awesome too! But, the setting doesn’t always lend itself to that legit yoga feeling – the cool studio, the heat, etc. I had not been to the lounge in over a week and I just needed my dose. Once again my experience did not disappoint! It was overall a great class, but there were a couple of highlights. First, the instructor helped me get deeper into the half pigeon pose by pushing on my back. It was great and really effective! The other cool thing was that I was able to do this new pose that I’ve tried only one time before, I think. It has a long “asana” name that I don’t remember, but not a short cut name. I’ll try to describe it. You are seated in double pigeon, let’s say with your right leg on top of your left. You begin to cradle your right leg back and forth moving it up higher and closer to your head. You bring it above your head with your right hand and place your left hand down at your side. Then you cross your left ankle over your right, put your right hand down and bring your crossed legs out to the side, kind using chattarunga arms. I held it for a few seconds – yes! Plus the instructor noticed and encouraged me which felt good.

This is what it looked like – but not that perfect!!